Wednesday 28 October 2020

SAY Award 2020 - the shortlist

During this crazy year, where there have been no gigs since March, music fans have had way more time than usual to go back through their record collection and to add to it by discovering new music.

Tim Burgess has helped shine a light on the art of the album, with over 500 listening parties to date! And over the last few nights he has held parties for all of the shortlisted albums for the 2020 Scottish Album of the Year Award, with the winner set to be announced tonight (Thursday 29/10).

With everything going on in the world, I think the SAY Award 2020 is the most important year for the award yet. It really does give us all a night to reflect on our creative and talented nation and appreciate the music, the art, the nights out and the friendships that often come through a shared love of music.

It's worth taking a moment to think of the artists, bands and labels across Scotland who are still getting music out into the world during current restrictions. Those that are still creating - thank you.

And my thoughts go out to venues, staff, promoters, sound engineers and all the crews that help to put on incredible events throughout Scotland; from stadium shows and festivals, through to modern venues like the Hydro and all the incredible small venues across the land. Your work alongside bands and artists brings so much joy to so many people and I can't wait to get out to gigs again. Imagine the atmosphere at those first shows where we can go wild! 

I can't begin to imagine how difficult things are for you, take care.

So the SAY Award 2020!

Over 300 albums were nominated for the award and the 10 remaining have a chance to win an incredible £20,000! 

That kind of money can make a huge difference to bands and artists; established or new. And speaking of new, I should highlight that eight debut albums make up the shortlist this year! 

The 10 shortlisted albums in the running are;

Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild

Bossy Love - Me + U

Callum Easter - Here Or Nowhere

Cloth - Cloth

Comfort - Not Passing

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West - Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

Erland Cooper - Sule Skerry

The Ninth Wave - Infancy



Personally, I've really fallen for the Erland Cooper album and bought it on vinyl at the weekend. It's a truly beautiful and emotive album. And I'm also very fond of the Callum Easter album and wish I had followed up on recommendations from people to check it out much earlier than I did. It's got a real charm and warm feel to it and I love the variety throughout.

The eponymous debut album by Cloth has won many fans and their #timstwitterlisteningparty last night was very enjoyable and insightful. I think it might be the favourite to win.

I've enjoyed attending a number of SAY Award ceremonies over the years. This time people from all over the world can attend! Simply subscribe to The SAY Award YouTube channel.

The ceremony will begin at 7pm tomorrow night - Thursday 29th October.

Previous winner include; Auntie Flo w/ Radio Highlife, Young Fathers w/ Cocoa Sugar, Sacred Paws w/ Strike A Match, Anna Meredith w/ Varmints, Kathryn Joseph w/ Bones You Have Thrown Me And Blood I've Spilled, Young Fathers w/ Tape Two, RM Hubbert w/ Thirteen Lost & Found and the inaugural winner back in 2012 was Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat w/ Everything's Getting Older.

Read on for a little bit about the shortlisted albums for 2020.

Good luck to all and well done for making the shortlist.

Blanck Mass - ‘Animated Violence Mild’
Animated Violence Mild was written throughout 2018/2019 at Blanck Mass’ studio outside of Edinburgh. These eight tracks are the diary of a year of work steeped in honing craft, self-discovery, and grief - the latter of which reared its head at the final hurdle of producing this record and created a whole separate narrative: grief, both for what I have lost personally, but also in a global sense, for what we as a species have lost and handed over to our blood-sucking counterpart, consumerism, only to be ravaged by it.

Bossy Love - ‘Me + U’
Glasgow-based, enigmatic, alt-pop duo Bossy Love - comprising Scottish producer, songwriter and drummer John Baillie Jnr (Dananananakroyd / BABE), and Indonesian/Australian vocalist and songwriter Amandah Wilkinson (Operator Please), released their highly-anticipated, debut, 12-track album, ME + U in November, amidst a storm of critical acclaim. Further developing their style for emotionally candid and confessional, yet anthemic, IDGAF lyrics, atop propulsive, rich, pop production, ME + U was selected by The Guardian in their list of Best Albums 2019, before highlighting Bossy Love a second time; in their list of Amazing Musicians To Watch Out For In 2020: “Me + U is the stuff fantasies are made of… best Scottish pop act since Chvrches.”

Callum Easter - ‘Here or Nowhere’
Callum Easter’s dark poetic vision find its most compelling form yet on Here Or Nowhere – a sparse, stark, deeply personal and by turns hopeful, menacing and despairing clutch of intuitively retro-futuristic songs united, as he explains, by “a feeling that the world is fucked up and a belief that people can fix it together.” It’s entirely written, performed, recorded and even mastered by the artist himself between his flat and his studio, save for backing vocals from Sisters Jacqui and Pauline Cuff (Soho/Leith Congregational Choir), as captured by Tim London.

Cloth - ‘Cloth’
Recorded at Scottish indie mainstay Chem 19 with engineer Derek O’Neill (King Creosote, The Phantom Band), Cloth is the self-titled debut album by the acclaimed Glasgow-based three-piece. At once hauntingly sparse and sonically grandiose, Cloth weaves a gentle spell over its 10 carefully crafted tracks. Minimal, chiming guitars, punctuated by deep electronic grooves, set a lush backdrop for Rachael Swinton’s soaring voice, as she recounts tales of lost friendships (‘Curiosity Door’) and melancholic reverie (‘Brooklyn’). The album artwork for Cloth was designed by Glasgow-based artist Jamie Johnson.

Comfort - ‘Not Passing’
All standards are falsehoods
I am no less a woman than a cis-gendered runway model
Prejudices are not opinions
There is no debate
Let them think i look like a man
Let them think I am mentally deluded
I am cultivating in the cracks of their disgust
I have nothing to live for but myself
My womanhood needs no permission
This record is for the people who don't make it
Who don't feel safe enough to live it
Who will be
Who are
We deserve our beauty
And the world will catch up to us

Declan Welsh & The Decadent West - ‘Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold’
Recorded at 7west and produced by Glasgow staple Chris Marshall, the album affirms the message that politics are always personal. They’re tethered to our every day and whether it’s through music, social media or conversations with friends, this need for collective comfort and camaraderie is more important than ever. As opener and single ‘No Fun’ cheekily asks in a London accent, who even listens to guitar music anymore? For Welsh and The Decadent West, it’s a need to create messages of solidarity to those that feel lost and unheard, providing an insatiable, refreshing contrast to the squawking suppressors.

Erland Cooper - ‘Sule Skerry’
‘Sule Skerry’ is the second album in a triptych by the contemporary composer and multi-instrumentalist Erland Cooper. Described by MOJO as “Sonic postcards from Cooper’s native Orkney”, the series examines the air, sea and land, as celebrated by Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown. Sule Skerry is bookmarked by Cooper’s solo debut, Solan Goose (an album of the year at 6Music, The Quietus, Music OMH and more) and by 2020’s Hether Blether. On Sule Skerry Erland Cooper takes inspiration from the sea, describing the album as “a nautical map, something to refer back to when you get lost at sea”.

The Ninth Wave - ‘Infancy’
From explorations of self-torment and paranoia (“This Broken Design”) to not being accepted by society (“Flower Into Wounds”) and the overwhelming fatigue of living in a superficial culture(“Half Pure”), “Infancy” is, at its core, a mirror of the darkest facets of living in modern society. The Ninth Wave’s uncompromising message is delivered in a gargantuan, electrifying sonic style that can’t fully be likened to anyone who’s come before them.

 «Re-Up» exists to replenish the underground and remind them what Nova is really about. DIY written all over the album’s DNA, Nova offers her unfiltered truth on crime, clubs, afters and getting money and self-growth. Bassy trap sits side by side with lo-fi hip hop and heavy grime features beats by $1000 Wallet, Inkke and Kami-O, AJM, T.Morgan & Evil M, all local producers based in Scotland, complemented with imagery of drunken street fights, a twisted game of Monopoly and sniper staring down the viewfinder.

SHHE’s self-titled debut album is a sparse, evocative and atmospheric journey of introspection and exploration of identity that demonstrates her ability to capture movement, change and the light and darkness that haunt the human condition. It was impacted by her time in Iceland, where she began work on a project that explores the connection between sound, landscape and sleep. The album is an encapsulation of Shaw’s breath-taking gift for wrapping carefully constructed electronic soundscapes around delicate yet self-assured vocals and lilting melodies. SHHE has found herself on the precipice of unlimited creativity and she’s ready to dive in head first.

Tuesday 27 October 2020


Ahead of Paul McCartney releasing McCartney III in December I thought I'd revisit McCartney from 1970 and McCartney II in 1980.

McCartney, Paul's debut solo album that officially announced The Beatles had split, is lovingly raw, playful, soulful and warm, perfect for the darker nights. I've been playing it a lot over the last week or so.

On reflection, I think Paul was both brave and clever to release this collection of songs as his debut album. Brave, well because he bares himself musically and emotionally, in a different way that he did with The Beatles. Where he once sang And I Love Her, with Maybe I'm Amazed he's now singing I really f**king love her and need her, she feels the same and I'm so lucky. And Paul being Paul, he shows off, playing some brilliant guitar and drums ... just because he can.

Clever, because it draws a clean line post Beatles; this is Paul McCartney doing what he does, doing what he loves, doing it because he really needs music in his life. 

Dig out your copy, or find it online, sit back and press play.

Here is what I wrote down when revisiting the album.

My favourite Linda McCartney photograph
Paul keeps baby Mary warm in his jacket

When The Beatles Anthology series was broadcast and then released on CD in the mid-90's, Beatles obsessives poured over demos, out-takes and hidden gems. But then that is what they were expecting.

I very much doubt that Beatles fans were expecting home-made recordings, one-man jams and instrumentals from the first Paul McCartney solo album. And it really was a solo album; written, performed and produced by Paul, although Linda features a (blink and you'll miss it) little.

McCartney is an album I became aware of as a 15-year old after watching Paul play one of the first MTV Unplugged shows. I knew all The Beatles songs and even a few of the covers that Paul played, but it was exciting to hear him play the first ever song he wrote, I Lost My Little Girl, and he also played 3 songs from his debut album; Every Night, That Would Be Something and the simply gorgeous Singalong Junk.

Back in 1991 you couldn't log on to google and type in the name of the songs or search Paul McCartney discography to find out where you could get these songs. You had to do some digging.

The MTV Unplugged performance was released as an album (I got it on cassette!) so it was later on when McCartney's back catalogue was reissued on CD that I eventually got to hear his debut solo album in the way he intended.

McCartney was released in April 1970 and it really did draw a line between Paul and The Beatles. The pre-album press release that accompanied promo copies was issued in the form of an interview with Paul, with the questions written in conjunction with Derek Taylor, long term Beatles press officer.

McCartney stated that the break with The Beatles was due to business, personal and creative differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family and that he hadn't missed his (former) band mates when recording.

Check the full press release Q&A HERE

Paul might have not missed them while recording, but he missed them, he really missed The Beatles. The break up of his beloved band (who he really led with his project ideas after the death of Brian Epstein; Sgt Peppers, Magical Mystery Tour, Let It Be and Abbey Road were all driven by McCartney) had sent McCartney off to his Campbeltown farm in Scotland with Linda, her daughter Heather and new baby Mary. Living a reclusive lifestyle and drinking heavily, Paul would later reflect that he experienced a breakdown.

Asked to describe the texture of the album in a few words, Paul answers; "Home, Family, Love."

When asked if he'll do another album, Paul answers quite defiantly; "I will continue to do what I want, when I want to."

Paul & Mary, photograph by Linda McCartney

With McCartney, he certainly does what he wants. Describing his recording set up Paul has said it was "a Studer 4-track recording machine, one mic and nerve"

With one song Hot As Sun dating back to the 1950's,  two songs (Teddy Boy and Junk) from The Beatles trip to India in 1968 through to songs written in Scotland, through to improvised jams (Valentine Day, Momma Miss America and Oo YouMcCartney is a beautiful organic record, largely recorded at his home in St John's Wood in London.

While Lennon was taking primal scream therapy and pouring out long held grief into the Plastic Ono Band album that would come out later in 1970, McCartney was dealing with it all on his own with the help of Linda, who, in the press release, McCartney says is "a shoulder to lean on .... and someone who believes in me constantly."

So it is apt that McCartney opens his eponymous album with Lovely Linda, as short (44 seconds), classically melodic number that ends with Paul giggling. You can almost imagine Paul hitting record and then playing it to Linda, with that little (stoned?) giggle at the end.

That Would Be Something has a real bluesy feel to it, McCartney picks out a riff and groove and at times he hums along to it. The rawness suggests that it might have been just one take for everything, satisfying McCartney's creative urge and allowing him to move on to the next song.

Valentine Day is a jam with himself, a rough and ready rhythm, McCartney improvising on lead guitar and drums. Carefree fun.

The melodic but starkly confessional Every Night is perhaps McCartney's own Help! He just wants a blow out, to lie in bed, then realises he is quite happy just to stay in and be with his love.

Every night I just wanna go out, get out of my head

Every day I don't wanna get up, get out of my bed

Every night I wanna play out, and every day I wanna oooh oooh

But tonight I just wanna stay in and be with you

And be with you

It's a beautiful song, I love McCartney's voice and delivery, the gorgeous acoustic rhythm guitar and how Paul just hums a middle eight

Hot As Sun is a glorious instrumental, the guitar riff is sublime, typically catchy and there is a great drum roll at the minute mark. The closing 40 seconds Glasses, is McCartney making sound effects on wine glasses.

Back in his Beatles days, Paul had a melody he woke up humming that he was convinced was by someone else. He would improvise lyrics to the melody, calling it Scrambled Eggs, it would eventually become Yesterday.

Junk is an absolutely beautiful melody over a gentle acoustic. McCartney's voice is at its dreamiest and the reason I brought up Scrambled Eggs, is because I get the sense that Paul is improvising lyrics to fit the melody - he does so brilliantly. I could listen to this melodic gem all day.

Man We Was Lonely is classically upbeat McCartney, reflecting on being lonely and hard pressed to find a smile, but then realising that he wants to lie with his love for a while at home. Again coming back to the Home, Family and Love theme that runs through the album.

More guitar, McCartney whispers to himself as Oo You kicks in with a swampy bluesy guitar riff and he just jams along with himself, letting out a classic Macca yelp every now and again, sounding like he's having fun.

McCartney creates a great feel with Momma Miss America, probably the most polished instrumental on the album, the addition of piano and organ help create a band feel to it. It has a cracking groove, with the bass underpinning it all. 

I'd be lying if I said I was a fan of Teddy Boy. That said, there is a typical flowing McCartney melody throughout.

Singalong Junk is McCartney at his best, the music is so dreamy, melodic and romantic, just beautiful. I do prefer this instrumental version.

McCartney has always sung of love, but never so personally as he does on the exquisite Maybe I'm  Amazed, which is quite simply a classic. For me, this is one of McCartney's very best songs.

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time

Maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you

Paul's voice is clear and soulful, reflective as to where he is in life, how deeply in love he is and how appreciative he is of the love they have for each other. 

Maybe I'm a man, maybe I'm a lonely man

Who's in the middle of something

That he really doesn't understand

The guitar solo sets for stun, McCartney singing-a-long in the background, it is a gem of a song. I love how true to the original McCartney has stayed through the years, he was on to something, playing the lot! What a show off! :-) 

The trippy abstract Kreen-Akrore closes the album; drum solos, chants, loud electric guitar.

And that's it; a fascinating, kind of lovingly ramshackle insight to McCartney at work and play, ranging from jams, little snippets of melodies, riffs and ideas that could have been developed, through to the sublime Maybe I'm Amazed

It certainly documents a time, Paul's feelings and realisation of his love and need of Linda, the way he can easily conjure melodies and ideas, the fun he has with music and his talents.

McCartney went on to release Ram by Paul and Linda McCartney in 1971, also forming Wings and releasing their debut album Wild Life in the same year.

I'll blog on McCartney II in November and then review McCartney III in December upon release.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Desert Island Disco

Back on 25th August I decided to submit a selection of tunes for the Desert Island Disco section on Lauren Laverne's brilliant BBC6 Music show. 

I'd kind of forgotten about it and then just over a month later I had an email from Lauren's team to say they loved the choices and would I like to be the guest on 16th October?

YES was the very quick answer and I was doubly delighted because it would be my daughter Rosie's 6th birthday.

I always think music sounds better on the radio. Do they sprinkle some kind of magical BBC dust into the equipment? 

From the 16 tunes I submitted (maybe a little overboard, but hey, I got excited), Lauren and her team had to narrow it down for around a 20-minute mix. Lauren's producer very kindly told me on the phone that they hoped to squeeze in an extra track ... and so the 9.30am news was a little late!

They chose; Going Back To My Roots by Ritchie Havens, Northern Piano - Ultraworld, Controversy - Prince, Jumpin' Jack Flash by Anada Shankar and I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston.

Thanks to Lauren and her team for their lovely words about the mix - one of the best ever! And they said they loved the choices so much they would play another couple later in the show - the Chemicals and Frankie Wilson!

And thanks to everyone who listened and sent tweets and messages. Really appreciate your feeback.

You can listen back to the show HERE and you'll find my full list of songs I submitted with some blurb below. (I'm on at 1 hour 38 minutes)

As mentioned on the show, it was emotional thinking back to nights out in bars,in clubs and at gigs in various venues across Glasgow. Oh how I long to get out in town to listen to music with friends and I have a real urge to dance a night away!

You can listen to the full list without the magical BBC dust via a Spotify Playlist HERE or search for Everything Flows Desert Island Disco.

1. Come Together - Primal Scream

2. I Believe In Miracles (extended version) - The Jackson Sisters

3. Going Back To My Roots - Ritchie Havens

4. Get Up Offa That Thing - James Brown

5. Controversy - Prince

6. If Everybody Looked The Same - Groove Armada

7. Northern Piano - Ultraworld

8. Jumbo - Underworld

9. Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) - Frankie Wilson

10. Stars - Mr Fingers

11. Swoon - The Chemical Brothers

12. Together In Electric Dreams - The Human League

13. I Wanna Dance With Somebody - Whitney Houston


14. Jumpin' Jack Flash - Anada Shankar

15. Don't Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes


16. Nothing But A Heartache - The Flirtations

With this Desert Island Disco, I like to think that the eclectic taste enjoyed and promoted by many of the club nights I used to go to in Glasgow comes across in this selection of tunes. Nights like Melting Pot are (pre COVID) still going strong. I love pre-club / post-gig nights in bars like The Variety and McChuills. It was very much a case of anything goes and everything flows. In Glasgow, that always tends to be the case.

McChuills, High Street, Glasgow

Occasionally some friends and I would book a function room in a bar and play tunes that ranged from 60's beat, Motown, Northern Soul and indie, through to disco, electro and euphoric pop. We'd book downstairs in O'Henry's (now the Yes bar), McPhabbs or Blackfriars in the Merchant City. Once in the brilliant The Old Hairdressers which has such a cool New York loft art vibe going on.

And any excuse to DJ at a friends birthday or before/after a band I knew was playing was always welcome. 

A good night for me is a DJ playing tunes that either gets people dancing or coming up to the decks to ask about the song and artist - ideally  both! It's good to play tunes people know and can sing-a-long to, but also great to introduce people to new music that they immediately get into. 

I'll never forget being in a bar in Ibiza in 2001 as dawn was approaching and the DJ played Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing - a brave choice, totally uncool, so totally cool, just perfect timing, everyone embraced it and sang with their arms in the air or around their friends.

So my selection of tunes is based on the motto anything goes and everything flows. Choosing the songs has made me realise how much I'm missing Glasgow pubs and gigs. My clubbing days are largely behind me but I cannot wait to get out for a night of dancing. In fact, I am going to put on a night to play tunes and dance with friends as soon as we are allowed!

We start off with an all-time favourite beginning with the declaration to Come Together - we know that music is music.

We then kick on with a soul/funk/disco vibe; the euphoric I Believe In Miracles, going into the stunning Ritchie Havens cover of Going Back To My Roots - the house style piano always gets me going, James Brown does his thing and I always remember my friend Stephen Watt dancing like crazy to this in Nice n Sleazy when I played it after a TeenCanteen show. 

Moving on to the insane Controversy by Prince - the first time I heard it I thought the DJ was mixing - no, it's just the insane Prince production and ear for a tune that he had!

I've enjoyed some incredible shows by Groove Armada in Glasgow over the years and If Everybody Looked The Same reminds me of dancing on tables and chairs in McChuills after a show at the Barrowland.

The Ultraworld tune tips a nod to Optimo, while Underworld just take you on a journey and I'm reminded of one of the sweatiest nights ever at the Barrowland. We then alter for a blast of northern soul from Frankie Wilson that everyone can sing and clap along to, whether you've heard it before or not. A number of years ago Russ Winstanley from the Wigan Casino played a DJ set at Barraloadasoul at the world famous Glasgow Barrowland and to see one thousand people busting moves and punching the air to the refrain was magical.

Lets head for the Stars with Mr Fingers, before blissful electronically Swoon-ing to the Chemical Brothers, before ending with a double header of vocal pop heaven with The Human League and Whitney Houston. 

If there is time, we blast back in with an outrageous cover of Jumpin' Jack Flash, before the incredible Don't Leave Me This Way, another song that people can sing-a-long to, keeping up high with the chorus, but just easing it down gently and warmly at the end of the night.

And it's always good to have one in the bag, just in case there is dust on one of the records, or you get extra time, the stomping Nothing But A Heartache by The Flirtations that absolutely blew me away the first time I heard it at a northern soul night in Blackfriars basement back in 2001.

So there you go. Psychedelia, funk, soul, electronic bliss and pure pop perfection.

Thursday 15 October 2020

A Real Hero


Trust Me #17

I was in the old Captain's Rest on Great Western Road when I first heard this song. It was one of those 'what the f**k is that?' moments as it drifted up the stairs to where I was working the door for a friends band. I abandoned my post to go downstairs and listen.

The continuous synth bass pattern was infectious, the crystal clear vocals were sublime, the little synth riffs were all kinds of dreamy gorgeousness and I was just lost in wonder for a few minutes as the song played out the PA.

Afterwards I went up to Gerry Blythe who was DJ-ing and asked him what on earth he was playing.

Upon seeing the film, I fell even deeper in love with the song. A collaboration between French electronica artist College and Electric Youth.

Austin Garrick (Electric Youth) was inspired to write A Real Hero by a quote from his Grandfather, who spoke of airline captain Chesley Sullenberger after the US Airways Flight 1549 water landing incident in January 2009, referring to Sullenberger as "a real human being and a real hero" which became the songs refrain. The song also includes the line "155 people on board" which refers to the survivors.

Meanwhile College (David Grellier) said that he took inspiration from cinema and in particular the kind of lone hero from the Mad Max series. 

It's an exceptional song, both music and vocals create a really emotional feel to it and that is amplified when you see it in the film on the big screen. The song and lyrics fit absolutely perfectly.

Check a live performance and the recorded version below.

And all of the songs in the Trust Me series (listed below) feature on the Everything Flows Trust Me playlist on Spotify. Search for that or click HERE

Previous Trust Me blogs

1. Something On Your Mind by Karen Dalton
1A. Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells
2. I Am, I Said  by Neil Diamond
3. Where's The Playground Susie?   by Glen Campbell
4. If You Could Read My Mind by Gordon Lighfoot
5. Gimme Some Truth by John Lennon
6. Gone With The Wind Is My Love by Rita and the Tiaras
7. In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans
8. The Music Box by Ruth Copeland
9. The Ship Song by Nick Cave
10. Sometimes by James
11. I Walk The Earth by King Biscuit Time
12. Didn't Know What I Was In For by Better Oblivion Community Centre
13. When My Boy Walks Down The Street by The Magnetic Fields
14. The Man Don't Give A F**k by Super Furry Animals
15. All Flowers In Time Bend Towards The Sun by Jeff Buckley and Liz Fraser
16. Are You Lookin' by The Tymes

Sunday 11 October 2020

10 from New Order

Continuing my semi-regular series of blogs where I write about 10 of my favourite songs from my favourite bands / artists. It was always going to be hard to narrow it down to only 10-songs from New Order!

New Order are like a perfect band for me. Through the 1980's they seemed lost in their own world, pop, but with a desire to experiment with sound and equipment. They could party hard, they were/are successful - but not too big. They had their own little club in Manchester that they could play (and pre Acid House they had to play to keep it running!). The band were all characters and attracted characters, Bernard Sumner had/has amazing hair, they had complete control of their music and art, they suffered heartache, they kept on going.

And they were/are gloriously imperfect. At times (most of the time) they didn't know how to work half the equipment they bought. Their manager (Rob Gretton) and label manager (Tony Wilson) were certainly characters but they also essentially bankrupted them. Despite the incredible journey they had been on, Hook and Sumner ended up hating each other. They (at least for a while) lost money on every 12-inch single of Blue Monday.

I got into the band around the release of 1993's Republic and the stunning single Regret, although I was well aware of them at the age of 14 in 1990 with the World Cup single World In Motion.

Discovering Substance was an eye opener, this was a band who did things their way. Non-album singles like Temptation! And as I dug through the bands 80's catalogue, I learned just how prolific they were; 5 studio albums, a staggering 19 singles and the aforementioned Substance compilation.

Can you imagine following New Order from the start through that decade and beyond?! What a journey.

I was too young for the 80's and even just a little young in 1993. They broke up after Republic, so it was amazing when they got back together to release Get Ready in 2001. I tried to catch them as many times as I could; taking in brilliant shows in Glasgow and Manchester over the years. Even post Hooky they played a blinding show at the Academy touring Music Complete, although it wasn't quite the same without him patrolling the stage. Whenever I saw them live, it was like the band had 2 frontmen.

Watching New Order live was a real sense of occasion. I met fellow fans who travelled across the country (and the world) to follow them. The level of passion and dedication they inspire is incredible.

Hooky's love of New Order (and Joy Division) shines through in his books and his endless run of shows where he performs their back catalogue. I do wish that he and the rest of the band could make up, even for a one-off show. Sadly, I don't think I'll see that happen.

Bernard Sumner is one of my favourite guitar players, songwriters and singers. He makes his limitations really work for him and the song. He pushes himself at times and he is never afraid to go with the first riff or line that comes to mind.

Narrowing down my favourite New Order songs to only 10 was very tough. I do love later day singles like Crystal (what a comeback single, all hooks and chorus and more hooks!) and Krafty, but not enough to make my top 10.

Two songs from Technique are included, but they could easily be replaced by any other 2 of that album on another day; particularly All The Way and Round & Round.

And Face Up has become a real favourite of mine since seeing Hooky perform it at the Glasgow School of Art a few years back, but it just couldn't quite squeeze into my top 10. 

Love Vigilantes became a real favourite for a long time after I travelled down to see them in Manchester and they opened the show with it. And then there is True Faith! And Blue Monday may be New Order's most famous song and I love when they play it live, or in days gone by I loved hearing it in a club or pre-club, but it probably wouldn't be in my top 15 favourites. I can't remember the last time I played it.

So, after careful consideration, here are my;

 10 favourite New Order songs. 


One of my all-time favourite intro's. The synths burst in and cut to guitar a couple of times before both then  crash into bass and drums, with Hooky leading the way. I love Bernard's vocals on this one, the production is sublime, everything sounds effortless.

Maybe I've forgotten the name and the address

Of everyone I've ever known, it's nothing I regret

The Perfect Kiss - Substance Edit

An 8-minute epic electro pop gem. Hooky's bass sounds like he could be in Level 42 at the start, then there is an immediate change in pace and a sublime programmed electronic groove kicks in before heavenly synths create a pure hands-in-the-air feel after 1-minute 19 seconds.

Sumner's lyrics are playful, none more so than the second verse;

I have always thought about

Staying in and going out

Tonight I should have stayed at home

Playing with my pleasure zone

The way New Order use the 8-minutes to play and stretch this song out is pure brilliance. The breakdown (complete with frog sounds) is beautifully chilled before the beats kick in and take the song to conclusion with powerful synth stabs and Hooky going for it on bass. Glorious!

I've included the official video and also a brilliant 1985 performance from Toronto with Bernard on cowbell wearing shorts, sports socks and slip ons!

Your Silent Face

The first time I heard this was when New Order played the Barrowland Ballroom in 2001. I was absolutely blown away, the synths, Sumner's delivery, humour and just the way the band looked and sounded. They knew full well what a f**king masterpiece they were performing.

And of course I was taken by surpise and delight by the audience participation after Sumner's delivery of the line; you caught me at a bad time so why don't you ... and a large section of the crowd yelled PISS OFF.

Their return that year with the Crystal single and a burst of shows led me to properly explore their back catalogue as I tracked down vinyl albums and singles in second hand record shops across Glasgow and on eBay. Power, Corruption & Lies is probably my favourite New Order album, although I think Technique is the best.


What an incredible debut single! When Ian Curtis committed suicide in 1980, shortly before an American tour that was set to break them, the rest of the band had a number of choices to make. 

Numb with grief, the band went in to rehearse, Sumner and Hook have both said in their books that they just didn't know what else to do. No-one wanted to be the singer, but Sumner ended up taking vocal duties and just over 2-months after Ian Curtis' death, the new trio of Sumner, Hook and Morris (that night going under the name The No Names after Factory band The Names pulled out) played a 4 or 5 song set - no-one can quite remember. 

Ceremony was in the set and it has been ever since.

Sumner, Morris and Hook sound as tight as tight can be, but in a beautiful loose way, threatening to fall apart or push further forwards, it sounds slightly chaotic in a glorious way. Sumner tears into his guitar at times and creates a playful yet simple riff at others, Hooky plays his bass way down, Morris is sensational with his beats.

When the band tear back into it at 2-minutes 30 seconds it is the sound of a band on fire. Then we have a sublime extended breakdown and then a glorious blast for a 30-second finale.

Check the ferocious Joy Division version 

Oh I'll break them down, no mercy shown

Heaven knows it's got to be this time

Age of Consent

The opening track on the sublime Power, Corruption & Lies album, Age of Consent would most probably have been a single if New Order were not sticking to their no singles on album rule.

Hooky's bass grooves throughout, Sumner's guitar is playful, his lyrics tell a tale, the beat and hi-hats are relentless and at a couple of points the synths threaten to delightfully overpower everything else.

Sumner admits he's not a certain type and then admits he has lost, letting out delightful yelps over an extended outro as the band just let rip.

I'm the kind that likes to tell you

Just what I want to do

I'm not the kind that need to tell you

I've lost you, I've lost you, I've lost you


Bernard picks beautiful riffs on a 12-string acoustic, Hooky's bass grooves throughout, there is a slice of euphoric electric guitar, Sumner's vocal melody is (for me) one of his best - just flowing effortlessly and everything just feels so natural.

One of their very best outro's ... and there are many to choose from.

Vanishing Point

New Order love intro's and outro's, often having 2 or 3 sections to each. With Vanishing Point the band use the first 90-seconds to display musical brilliance, Sumner is also on top form with his lyrics and delivery. There is a sense of hurt and anger to them.

My life ain't no holiday

I've been through the point of no return

I've seen what the man can do

I've seen all the hate of a woman too

The breakdown at 3-minutes 30-seconds lasts a full half minute before the band explode back in with the chorus. A stunning song that really captures the band at their very best.

Thieves Like Us (12-inch version)

Thieves Like Us grooves and is beautifully lazily euphoric in a way that I don't think any other band could achieve. Released in 1984, Thieves Like Us really highlights how New Order had developed as a band, their self production of this song is just blissful, the long, long intro is split into 3 parts, with the second synth riff starting at 1-minute, then Hooky taking over on bass just before the 2-minute mark. Eventually Bernard comes in, singing now you live your life like a shadow, in the pouring rain before pushing his range gloriously by singing

Oh it's called love

And it belongs to us

Before a short second verse where he sings;

I've lived my life in the valleys

I've lived my life in the hills

I've lived my life on alcohol

I've lived my life on pills

Thieves Like Us grooves and is beautifully lazily euphoric in a way that I don't think any other band could achieve. 

Bizarre Love Triangle (Shep Pettibone 12-inch version)

This song takes me places. When New Order play this live it makes me very, very happy. Full of loads of different synth riffs, stabs and flourishes, this is New Order at their very, very best. 

Every time I see you falling

I get down on my knees and pray

I'm waiting for that final moment

You say the words that I can't say

The 7-inch version is a rush, the 12-inch version just takes that rush and keeps it going. 


As perfect as a song can be. The original version just about holds itself together and is all the more beautiful for it. Lyrically brilliant; exceptionally poetic in the verse, then simplistic and playful at times but also full of meaning, easy to relate to.

Up, down, turn around

Please don't let me hit the ground

Tonight I think I'll walk alone

I'll find my soul as I go home

It blows my mind that this was released in 1982. Can you imagine being in your mid-late teens or early 20's when this came out! So fresh, energetic and utterly stupendous?!

You can hear the band shouting to each other when you listen to the epic 8-minute 41 second original as they tear into a groove, before dropping to all Sumner to start with the beautiful;

Oh you've got green eyes

Oh you've got blue eyes

Oh you've got grey eyes

And I've never met anyone quite like you before

After some stunning bass work from Peter Hook, the synth is allowed to just bubble gloriously for a little before Sumner comes in again, his voice rising with emotion.

A heaven, a gateway, a hope

Just like a feeling inside, it's no joke

Sumner's guitar is punky Chic-esque rhythm at times, then picking brilliant little riffs at others. The synth and the beats are steady, Hook meanders up and down his bass with delight.

Each way I turn, I know I'll always try

To break the circle that's been placed around me

Temptation is a top 3 all-time favourite song of mine. I originally heard a rerecorded version on Substance and on the Trainspotting soundtrack, but then I discovered the original on an Italian 1981-82 EP and the rawness just blew me away.

Monday 5 October 2020

Heart of Glass


Cover version of the month #60
The Associates cover Blondie

There is a Scottish indie club night called Simply Thrilled that has quite an active Facebook Group page. I love the chat and passion for music that is regularly displayed on the page and recently started a conversation about cover versions and someone commented on The Associates cover version of Blondie's Heart of Glass.

The Associates are a Scottish band that I have yet to fully explore. Plenty of other people have explored and fallen for them, largely thanks to singer Billy MacKenzie who had a voice and style that many admired.

However I instantly fell for their cover version of Heart of Glass. But lets start with the original. 

Written by Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Heart of Glass appears on their seminal Parallel Lines album in 1978, eventually released as the third single from the album, reaching number 1 in the UK and USA.

The song was actually written as far back as 1975 with the working title Once I Had A Love/The Disco Song. They had tried it in various guises before Parallel Lines producer Mike Chapman asked them to play everything they had, they then teased the pop out of it.

Parallel Lines was the bands breakthrough album, spawning classic singles Hanging On The Telephone (a cover of The Nerves song), Heart Of Glass, One Way Or Another and Sunday Girl.

Heart of Glass has disco at its heart and the punk pop band experimented with new drum machines and synths to get their sound. It grooves, it shimmers and it inspires. The extended outro on the album version just brings a smile to my face and makes me want to dance.

Debbie Harry smoulders in the video, her falsetto is glorious, she looks incredible and just seems in complete control. The band look like they are having fun, making exceptional music with a super cool singer. Blondie were on absolute fire.

The Associates, who formed in 1979, released their version 10-years after Parallel Lines. I absolutely adore it. The music is pretty true to the original, but MacKenzie's voice just changes the song completely. 

On the Blondie version it is Harry's falsetto that introduces the song, with The Associates it feels more like MacKenzie is talking to the listener personally. The vocal is more controlled and assured, but come 1 minute 23 seconds in and for the second verse, MacKenzie moves things up a little notch.

The synths bubble throughout and if Blondie looked and sounded like they were having fun with the original then that is echoed throughout The Associates version.

The post solo yeeeeaaaaahhh, ooooohhh, lost inside, adorable illusion and I cannot hide, we coulda made it cruising section is absolutely euphoric.

When the Simply Thrilled boys throw their first post COVID club night then I sincerely hope that this is blasted out of the speakers in The Admiral bar in Central Glasgow.

Search for Everything Flows cool cover versions on Spotify for a playlist of the covers I have blogged about and read on for a full list and links to previous cover of the month blogs.

Previous covers of the month
13. Hurt

Saturday 3 October 2020

Never Ending Mixtape part 53


We're approaching 1,700 songs on my Never Ending Mixtape. Thanks if you follow it or if you check it out. I hope you find something you love whether it is something you've never heard before or something you haven't heard in a while.

This month I've largely been rediscovering songs that I know. I can't remember the last time I listened to Sufjan Stevens Come On Feel The Illinoise album, what a gem! And then other rediscoveries range from Natalie Imbruglia and Roger Sanchez to old school Flaming Lips and classic New Order.

And how gorgeous is the late Denise Johnson singing Sunshine After The Rain

JUST OUT; the delicious debut single by Wor_kspace, 

RECENT DISCOVERIES; The Associates covering Blondie, Is This The Way To Treat A Girl by The Hesitations, the sensational It's A Trip by The Last Poets

REDISCOVERIES; the incredible debut single by Arab Strap, the sensational pop of Torn by Natalie Imbruglia, Filthy by Saint Etienne, She Don't Use Jelly by Flaming Lips + 2 gems by Sufjan Stevens

Search for Everything Flows Never Ending Mixtape on Spotify for the playlist or CLICK HERE

Poor Old Soul, Pt 1 - Orange Juice

I Can't Stand The Rain - Ann Peebles

The First Big Weekend - Arab Strap

Son I Voted Yes - Stanley Odd

Johnny Yen - James

Slow Emotion Replay - The The

Home Haircuts - The Goon Sax

Thieves Like Us - New Order

Heart of Glass - The Associates

Rise - Public Image Ltd

Falling - McAlmont & Butler

Weekend - Wor_kspace

Taglieben - Guther

Caravan - Music and Movement

Secret Smile - Semisonic

Torn - Natalie Imbruglia

Another Chance - Roger Sanchez

Filthy - Saint Etienne

Here She Comes - The Tymes

People - The Tymes

Ex-Con - Smog

It's A Trip - The Last Poets

Chicago - Sufjan Stevens

Come On! Feel The Illinoise! Part 1-  Sufjan Stevens

12 Bar Original - The Beatles

I've Just Seen A Face - The Beatles

Watch Your Step - Bobby Parker

She Don't Use Jelly - The Flaming Lips

Treat Me Right or Leave Me Alone - Eddie Finley & the Cincinatti Show Band

Anchin Kfu Ayinkash - Hailu Mergia

Is Is & the IRS - Life Without Buildings

(There's Always) Something on My Mind - The Pale Fountains

Up The Hill And Down The Slope - The Loft

Everybody Knows - East Village

Don't Leave Me This Way - Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes

Nothing But A Heartache - The Flirtations

Sirens (Piano Mix) - TeenCanteen

Is This The Way To Treat A Girl - The Hesitations

The Visitors - ABBA

Sunshine After The Rain - Denise Johnson

The Perfect Kiss (Substance edit) - New Order