Tuesday 25 May 2021

Dreaming Of You

Trust Me #25 

I'll be blogging on The Coral's fantastic new album Coral Island next month.

Before then, I thought I would write a bonus Trust Me blog on their 2002 single Dreaming Of You after watching a sensational performance from Later with ... Jools on the iPlayer.

CLICK HERE if you can't see the video embedded below.

Dreaming Of You is a 2 minute 20 second slice of pop perfection, brimming with the confidence of a band totally in the zone, full of complete belief in their playing style and talent.

A funky bass riff introduces a rhythm that could easily have been influenced by skiffle, with a melody played on an organ/keys and then over the top of that are glorious backing vocals and the voice of James Skelly.

The Coral make full use of their 100 seconds. At 1-minute 25 seconds an 'oh yeah' introduces an instrumental section with xylophone and yearning backing vocals until 2-minutes when Skelly comes in with a final chorus.

Only 22 upon release, Skelly displays raw and rich soul in his vocals that portray love and lust mixed with realisation and honesty. Look at the incredible Later footage above, he is totally going for it, his band are totally on it, they are all in the zone. They look like a real gang, Bill Ryder-Jones on guitar, still in his teens, looks cool as a cucumber, they all look unphased to be on the Beeb's flagship music show, determined to use their time and smash it out the park. They do!

The first verse is only 2 lines, straight into the chorus that ends with a bitter kiss off.

Up in my lonely room

When I'm dreaming of you

Oh what can I do

I still need you

But I don't want you

The second verse is doubled in length, Skelly has realised it's gonna hurt, but I'm gonna have to say goodbye. Then it's into the instrumental before one final rasping chorus.

Dreaming With You is a glorious burst of pop soul, everything you could want from a band in their teens and early 20's. Unfiltered, heartfelt music delivered with urgency and passion by a band who have always been in their own bubble, as beautifully demonstrated on their new album. Check the original video HERE

You can listen to all the songs I've featured in my Trust Me series in a playlist by searching for Everything Flows Trust Me on Spotify or by CLICKING HERE

You can also read about the previous songs I've written about by clicking on the links below.

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
17. A Real Hero by College & Electric Youth
18. Feelings Gone by Callum Easter
19. Sunday Morning by The Velvet Underground
20. Did I Say by Teenage Fanclub
21. Don't Look Back by Teenage Fanclub
23. Belfast by Orbital
24. Clouds by The Jayhawks

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Little Pop Rock by Sister Vanilla

I keep intending to write more blogs about albums I enjoy and love. What holds me back is that I tend to go feature length and write about every song. That can take a while!

So, I'm going to hold back a little in length, but make up for that in terms of quantity and quality. Here is a blog on an album I only discovered recently.

Sister Vanilla is a band formed by Linda Reid and her two big brothers; William and Jim of The Jesus and Mary Chain. They released their only album, Little Pop Rock, back in 2005.

I remember reading about the project, but I wasn't aware an album came out, only discovering it after recently reading Zoe Howe's excellent book Barbed Wire Kisses on The Mary Chain.

I love it! Scuzzy fuzzy guitars, hooks, grooves, urgency, fun and a glorious sense of don't give a f**k, like they were just doing it for themselves and no-one else. 

Opening with the gentle acoustic lullaby that is Pastel Blue, listeners are easily lured into a Velvets'y world where Linda Reid has crashed a car due to listening to The Pastels. It's as beautiful as it is barmy.

i didn't listen to a word  that was said

I got The Pastels playing in my head

I play guitar and write a tune or two

I do what it takes to get me through

Can't Stop The Rock is a brilliant duet with brother Jim, dripping pure Mary Chain melodies, guitars and beats. It sounds gloriously pure and raw, like the Reid clan are having fun, you can almost feel the smiles. Linda even sings of being happy. Check the video HERE

And I'm falling

And I'm happy

Stumbling through the dark

I've been stumbling through your heart

K To Be Lost has a playful keyboard melody over a scuzzy rhythm, which really gets going and Linda singing almost tongue in cheek - from a fan perspective? The vocal melody is as delicious as William Reid's guitar sounds. 

Honey's Dead and Psychocandy

I listened to them all the time

They make songs sound like heaven

Drives me out of my mind

Of course The Mary Chain love a good ballad too, Jim Reid's Angel has that lovely Velvets-y feel that JAMC conjure up at times throughout their career. After that Totp just drips with cool, a long intro, menacing lyrics, glorious guitar, space at all the right times, going beautifully with the flow for most of it though. 

Reid duets with Stephen Pastel on the closing The Two Of UsI met a boy, he was crazy about me

The fuzzy guitar sounds wonderful, Reid's vocal sounds so innocent and pure, Pastel sounds as cool as he might ever have sounded, their voices collide beautifully on the chorus;

The two of us are getting high

We don't need drugs cause we know how to fly

The two of us are getting high

We don't need drugs, just the two of us

The two of us are getting high

Little Pop Rock oozes with a sense of laid back fun. Siblings getting together to create music they love with people they love. 

Friday 14 May 2021

Isn't It A Pity

Cover version of the month #67 - Galaxie 500 cover George Harrison

I bought Galaxie 500's second album On Fire from Missing Records on Oswald Street in the early - mid 90's. At a guess I would say 1993/4.

Missing Records was a regular haunt of mine. I'd soak up interviews and reviews in the NME and Melody Maker and then head into Missing, often buying records on the strength of a review, occasionally I might have heard something on the Evening Session or John Peel's show.

From memory, it might have been a school friend Grant Mitchell who turned me on to Galaxie 500. We would regularly exchange mixtapes and Grant was developing an incredible knowledge and passion for American independent guitar bands. I'm pretty sure he put a couple of Galaxie 500 songs on a tape for me.

On Fire is an album I fell for instantly. It contained so much of what I was looking for as a teenager, mainly that the band looked and sounded super cool.

Listening back to it now, all these years down the line, it is an album that contains a lot of honesty. In the playing, lyrics, delivery, production and in their choice of cover versions.

I featured Galaxie 500's cover of New Order's Ceremony way back in January 2017 as #21 in this feature. Now it is the turn of their take on George Harrison's Isn't It A Pity.

The opening chords sound raw and almost beautifully amateurish, similar to sounds I was making with my first electric guitar in my parents garage. 

Harrison's poetic lyrics take on a new kind of emotional rawness when sung by Dean Wareham as he strains soulfully over glorious warm guitars that are reminiscent of The Velvet Underground at times, of Neil Young at others.

This cover version really melts my heart. The rhythm guitar remains tenderly fragile but steady throughout, then at times the lead guitar just lets rip, while Damon Krukowski hammers his drums and Naomi Yang on bass keeps it all together.

Wareham sings and wrings his heart out in the closing what a pity refrain, and he does a pretty similar job with his guitar. This is a song and performance that moves me every time I hear it.

Isn't It A Pity was originally released on George Harrison's epic 1970 album All Things Must Pass, also as a b-side to My Sweet Lord, Stretched to 4-minutes, Harrison pours himself into the song with what I consider to be his most soulful and emotional vocal on the album.

Remarkably, Isn't it A Pity had been around since the days of Revolver! Rejected for Sgt Peppers, Harrison then hoped to record it for The White Album before representing it during the Let It Be sessions. This is pretty staggering! Perhaps it wasn't completed until after the demise of The Beatles. 

The production is remarkably different. This is Phil Spector working with a Beatles style budget, there are strings, there is multiple percussion, loads of rhythm guitars, a choir, multiple pianos playing at the same time ... possibly Spector's biggest ever wall of sound. It might not create the ferocious glorious racket of River Deep Mountain High, but Harrison & Spector (co-producing) create one of the most beautiful songs Harrison wrote and released ... and he wrote some gems!

Not one single second of the 7-minutes 10 seconds of Isn't It A Pity is wasted. Harrison pours his heart out in the lyrics and his voice is racked with emotion, like he is genuinely pondering some of the questions he is asking in song, the very moment he is singing them.

some things take so long, but how do I explain

when not too many people

can see we're all the same?

and because of all their tears

their eyes can't hope to see

the beauty that surrounds them

isn't it a pity?

The song is extended with Harrison repeatedly singing and stating what a pity, his guitar sings, there is a choir, everything has built to this point and it just keeps going, everything sounds so perfect, the arrangement is simply stunning.

Harrison and Spector weren't finished. There is a second version later on the album, slower, the band feeling things out in a jam at the start, the bass central to the sound, Harrison's voice strains beautifully when he sings and because of all their tears, the backing vocals are angelic and then at 2-minutes 19 seconds the song is lifted to the heavens - I can imagine The Polyphonic Spree might have fallen in love with this section. 

The original lyrics for Isn't It A Pity

Isn't It A Pity is songwriting, musicianship and performance at it's very best. Galaxie 500 were brave to take it on and deserve huge credit for their own stunning version.

Speaking of stuning versions. Nina Simone recorded a spine tingling 11-minute version! You can check it below or on my cover version of the month playlist on Spotify. (Everything Flows - cool cover versions).

You'll find links to all previous cover version of the month blogs below.

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt

Sunday 9 May 2021

Clouds by The Jayhawks

Trust me #24

Back in 1993 there was a BBC Scotland show called No Stilettos, featuring bands filmed live in the lovely setting of Cottiers Theatre in the West End of Glasgow. Hosted by Eddie Reader, bands like The Lemonheads, Trashcan Sinatras, Aztec Camera, BMX Bandits and American Music Club passed through the doors, on to the stage and on to our screens.

As a 17-year old soaking up alternative guitar pop from as many sources as possible in a pre-internet age, it seemed like this programme had been created directly for me. 

In addition to the acts mentioned above, a band called The Jayhawks played, promoting their 3rd LP, the outstanding Hollywood Town Hall.

Clouds and Wichita were the 2-songs filmed for the show, there was possibly a 3rd but I can distinctly remember these two. I bought the album soon afterwards.

Mark Olson on lead vocals and acoustic guitar, alongside Gary Louris on electric guitar and harmonies, absolutely captivated me. The way their voices and guitars combined seemed so effortless and vital. They looked like a proper band, Olson was all smiles, strumming his acoustic way up the neck, Louris made it look easy.

Mark Olson & Gary Louris

So many American bands get that combination of acoustic and electric guitars spot on, The Jayhawks sure hit a sweet spot with rock, country, folk and what would become known as Americana or alt country.

While browsing YouTube I came across this amazing Hollywood Town Hall press kit video the band made for promoting the album.

I've decided to write a blog on Hollywood Town Hall in the near future. In the meantime, I chose to write about Clouds for my monthly Trust Me feature.

Clouds bursts into life with electric guitar, organ and acoustic guitar all at once before Gary Louris settles into a riff, beautifully underpinned by Mark Olson's acoustic.

It's not just the guitars that sound so good together. Louris and Olson's voices gel beautifully as they harmonise, particularly as they sing can you see them shine on the chorus.

Can your diamonds talk to you? Can you see them shine?
Keep them hiding in your room, can they guide you in your time?
Can they guide you in your time?

Clouds is like a burst of warm sunshine pouring through a window and seeping into your room. The closing 50 second instrumental builds and the last 30 seconds are a band in full flight.

Screw that, go back to the start. Clouds is 4 minutes 52 seconds of the band flying; swooping, soaring, gliding, playing ... and then there is the majestic closing instrumental.

The way the band settle into a groove after the initial intro burst is just glorious, Olson's lyrics are kind of Dylan style string of consciousness, fitting together, leading to the chorus. Louris harmonises in all the right places, the little riffs he fires off are stunning, the keys/organ underneath are beautiful and help lift the song. 

Clouds and The Jayhawks made an immediate impression on me all those years ago. It was also a lasting one, I've really enjoyed revisiting Hollywood Town Hall as an album and I'm going to work through their catalogue.

You can check all the songs I've featured in my Trust Me series by searching for Everything Flows Trust Me on Spotify or by CLICKING HERE

God of the rich man ain't the God for the poor
God, men and the state hospital is closed, and wouldn't you know
Winos and office girls in the park
Wanted you alone to walk beside her
Wanted you alone to live beside her, it was morning
Better roads with light on them

Can your diamonds talk to you? Can you see them shine?
Keep them hiding in your room, can they guide you in your time?
Can they guide you in your time?

Windows were broken by your dear one's hands
Gates left swinging by your dear one's hands
An old book statesmen asked if he could step in.
The sidewalks you slept on held no rest
Gave away the money you saved in your trust
You're sorry now
Light hits you funny at the time

Can your diamonds talk to you? Can you see them shine?
Keep them hiding in your room, can they guide you in your time?
Can they guide you in your time?

The sidewalks, you slept on
They're so broken
They're so broken down
I'll meet you there
I'll meet you there

Years before and the trees would start to bloom
You walked outside, wanted back in your room, what did you hope for
Turn the corner while you slept.
God of the rich man, ain't the God for the poor
God, men and the state hospital is closed and won't you know
Winos and office girls in the park

Can your diamonds talk to you? Can you see them shine?
Keep them hiding in your room, can they guide you in your time?
Can they guide you in your time?

Written by Gary Louris & Mark Olson

Friday 7 May 2021

Introducing Poster Paints

Meet Poster Paints, my sister Carla J Easton's new band, formed during lockdown with her friend Simon Liddell formerly of Olympic Swimmers and Frightened Rabbits.

Simon recorded some music and sent it on to Carla to see if she was inspired to write melodies and lyrics. She was ... and it worked - rather beautifully.

As lockdown wore on, the two continued creating and soon had enough songs for an album. 

The songs developed with contributions from friends including Ziggy Lomond Campbell, Susie Bear, Jonny Scott, Eugene Kelly, Gabbi Coenen, Andrew Chung and Amanda Williams.

Poster Paints is (in my opinion) the best thing (to date) my sister has been involved in. Simon and Carla have created something really special. 

Debut single Number One has a flowing, bright, breezy feeling to it, the instrumental section with jangly guitars has a dreamy quality to it, the vocals are crystal clear and I love the production. This is scuzz pop for teenage romance.

This is a mere hint of what Poster Paints have in store. 

Spring has sprung and Number One breaks the ice rather nicely, offering glimpses of the sunshine to come. Download it from their bandcamp page. It's out on all other streaming platforms on Monday 10th May.

We got together when we were so young

We were aiming for the sun

But kids are so naive 

I wear my heart on my sleeve

Cause baby you're my number one




Thursday 6 May 2021

Introducing Dead Pony

BBC Scotland has recently stepped up a gear in terms of promoting new young bands / artists. Their TUNE programme on iPlayer and TV channel has introduced me to a number of acts that I'll feature on the blog. 

Dead Pony filmed a performance by the docks in Greenock. I was immediately taken by singer Anna Shields crystal clear voice and melodies, almost in complete contrast to the grungey riffs and noise being created behind her.

Yet somehow it works ... it works well.

Dead Pony - Anna Shields & Blair Crichton

Shields used to busk regularly on Buchanan Street in Glasgow (I'm pretty sure I have a CD somewhere) before going on to form Crystal and then changing their name to Dead Pony.

While (being honest) I much prefer the name Crystal, I imagine there might have been a number of bands across the world stumbling across that name. I'm not sure there will be another Dead Pony, it does stand out!

So does their music. It's almost like Courtney Love fronting Nirvana. Think of Love's poppier songs and melodies, like Malibu or Celebrity Skin and then add in the energy and riffs spilling from Nirvana between Bleach and Nevermind, and you're probably not a million miles from where Dead Pony are. Shields cites her love of pop in interviews, including the likes of the wonderful Dua Lipa (one of my favourite albums from 2020).

Elsewhere Crichton (who wears a Nirvana t-shirt in the Tune episode) shares his influences through the riffs and noises he generates from his guitar. 

Sharp Tongues, their September 2020 single is under 3-minutes of ferocious punk grunge pop, it doesn't let up and I'd love to hear and see them rip through it in a live environment. The hooks come thick and fast.

I've had a little taste of something I cannot forget

I know you're a little bit easy

This was swiftly followed by another single 23 Never Me in November 2020. Shields and Crichton create a glorious blitz as vocals and guitars collide to create a brilliant buzz of energy. The chorus is a frantic blur before things stop almost completely to allow melodies to come pouring through. 

Can't save me from another problem

Never let your feelings show

Crichton then attacks his guitar as if his life depends on it before the band tear though the chorus at breakneck speed for the final time.

Shields demonstrated her commitment by getting the title tattoo'd on her arm.

Dead Pony sounds like they are ready for the next stage - whatever that might be for them. I can imagine they must be chomping at the bit to play live. I'm not sure who has produced them to date - they've done a grand job, but I wonder what a future producer(s) could do with Shields voice, lyrics, melodies and hooks over cool noisy riffs and beats. There is a lot to work with if they get enough time in the studio.

That could well happen. Dead Pony already have the backing of LAB Records who have established a fantastic track record of being a stepping stone for young bands going on to bigger things. In addition, they have management and a booking agent.

One to look out for on the Glasgow scene and way beyond once live shows resume.


Monday 3 May 2021

Never Ending Mixtape part 60

Hello and welcome to the latest additions to my Never Ending Mixtape which has just broken the 2,000 song mark!

We have new acts like beadoobee, Girl In Red and Sarya included with legends like Bowie, Gaye, Dylan and Prince.

Where else would you get Kim Wilde after This Mortal Coil, or Faithless festival anthems sandwiched in between Lou Barlow and Del Amitri?!

There is a healthy does of funk and soul with James Brown and his J.B's band dishing out some incredible stuff, there is a gem from Ruby Andrews and Marvin Gaye at his peak. 

Elsewhere there is loads of alternative guitar pop brilliance with Smudge, Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh and Lou Barlow featuring heavily. There is an 18-minute song from Love, the sublime talent of The Avalanches and loads, loads more.

Dig in! As always, I hope you discover something you haven't heard before that you fall for, or rediscover and old favourite.

Thanks so much for reading the blog and checking the playlist. Special thanks to the 200 people who now follow the playlist - let me know what you have discovered through it.

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

The new additions are;

Coffee - beabadoobee

forget her - girl in red

boys keep swinging - david bowie

who can i run to - gerryhall

checking out (double clutch) - marvin gaye

helix III - kelly moran

you and your sister - this mortal coil

kids in america - kim wilde

how we met (cherry pie) - teencanteen

thinkin' of you - lord echo

if not for you - bob dylan

blowing in the wind - bob dylan

tonight i'll be staying here with you - bob dylan

absolutely sweet marie - bob dylan

catch the wind - donovan

remember we were lovers - bobby gillespie & jenny beth

torquoise - donovan

the less i know the better - tame impala

the sound of the suburbs - the members

teenage kicks - the undertones

everybody's gotta live - love

i ran away - dinosaur jr

loan you loneliness - gruff rhys

hey boy (take a chance on love) - ruby andrews

the outdoor type - smudge

18 in a week - smudge

berlin chair (acoustic) - smudge

alison tells me she's not sure what she got into - smudge

to the bin my friends, tonight we vacate earth - mogwai

my darkest light will shine - felt

i know where syd barrett lives - television personalities

cavalcade - lightships

living room - laura stevenson

it's automatic - zoot woman

eple - royksopp

sweet child o mine - neneh cherry

this is the day - the the

brand new love - sebadoh

vampire - sebadoh

skull - sebadoh

rebound - sebadoh

on fire - sebadoh

ocean - sebadoh

legendary - lou barlow

wave - lou barlow

insomnia - faithless

god is a dj - faithless

kiss this thing goodbye - del amitri

tell her this - del amitri

spit in the rain - del amitri

drunk in a band  - del amitri

manic monday - prince

love ... thy will be done - prince

nothing compares 2 u - prince

don't talk to me about love - altered images

the divine chord - the avalanches

oh the sunnn - the avalanches

we go on - the avalanches

gold sky  - the avalanches

never in my wildest dreams - dan auebach

we're going to be friends - the white stripes

hotel yorba - the white stripes

you're pretty good looking (for a girl) - the white stripes

i'm bound to pack it up - the white stripes

be thankful for what you got - love

revelation - love

i'll break my heart so you don't have to - sarya

make it funky - the j.b.'s

pass the peas - the j.b.'s

intro to the j.b's / doing it to death the j.b.'s

performance - happy mondays

twin tub twin - king creosote

aim in life - the bluebells

cloud 9 - beach bunny ft sarah and tegan

kids (soulwax mix) - mgmt

when you die - mgmt

kowalski - primal scream

save the children - marvin gaye

sound - james

i was alone - andy bell and pye corner audio

cherry cola - andy bell and pye corner audio

symphony space - spiritualized

200 bars - spiritualized

paris is burning - ladyhawke