Monday 25 October 2021

Wet Leg at McChuills

Wet Leg, Hester Chambers & Rhian Teasdale

Wet Leg came to my attention in the summer when 6 Music grabbed a hold of their glorious pop punk debut single Chaise Longue and just wouldn't let it go. And anyone who heard it, held the song close to their hearts just as tightly. Funny, catchy, urgent, cool, full of hooks and brilliant guitars - the sound of summer.

Around that time the band announced a tour, including a date in my favourite Glasgow pub - McChuills. You can read all about my love for the bar HERE

I grabbed a couple of tickets and kept an eye on the band. Wet Leg followed Chaise Longue with the superb Wet Dream, more energetic new wave pop, full of yelps, funky beats with scratchy, noisy and vital sounding guitars, suggestive lyrics and enough hooks to floor Tyson Fury.

What makes you think you're good enough

To think about me when you're touching yourself?

It very quickly became apparent that Wet Leg were one of the hottest new bands in the country and that McChuills was going to be far too small a venue to meet demand. I fully expected the gig to be upgraded to St Lukes or King Tuts.

Thankfully it wasn't. Both for the 100 or so people in McChuills and for Wet Leg on stage. They won't be playing that many more gigs where they are just a couple of feet from the audience, staring into the whites of their eyes. 

It was actually quite refreshing to read the band come out in some recent interviews and admit that they were still developing, so playing shows like this was really important. And it is, playing packed intimate venues like McChuills is both fun and a great road test for both band and songs.

As it was, there was a stage where I thought the gig wasn't going to happen as the sound engineer wrestled for 45-minutes to fix an issue with a microphone on stage, looking a little flustered at times as the crowd began to grow a little restless.

So instead of a 9pm start time, Wet Leg finally came on at 9.45pm, quickly bursting into action and winning the crowd from the get go.

Wet Leg are Rhian Teasedale and Hester Chambers, but when they play live they become a 5-piece. Their drummer was brilliant, downing beers in between songs and driving them along. Teasedale and Chambers both played guitar, the bass was groovy, underpinning everything, while at times there was a 3rd guitar or keys/synths.

There was a brilliant rawness about Wet Leg last night. They were tight but loose and they have found a sound that generates fun and excitement on stage and off. Chambers held her guitar high, playing inventive solos and riffs around Teasedale's rhythms. 

Wet Dream was played early on (full setlist below) and most of the songs were upbeat, spiky, melodic and fun. Supermarket sounded like a lost gem from the Britpop era; slightly ridiculous but so catchy I almost found myself singing along. Think Elastica meets Sleeper with Jarvis Cocker on writing duties.

There was a couple of slower numbers and towards the end Teasedale brought the band into a huddle on stage to decide how many songs they could still play. We got another 3, all fun and full of energy, the band having real fun with the instrumental sections in Angelica, with Chambers and Teasedale bending backwards as they played their guitars.

Of course, there was only one song that could close the show, there was no encore. Wet Lege ended with the brilliant Chaise Longue, the crowd singing along, shouting the What? section to in answer to Excuse me.

Frantic, furious and cool, McChuills went suitably wild. Wet Leg easily showcased that they have more singles and what is bound to be one of 2022's most anticipated albums up their sleeves. They were the hottest ticket in town last night and it looks like their April show at The Mash House in Edinburgh is already sold out. Hopefully they add another Glasgow date - be quick in trying to get a ticket if they do!

It's always good to catch a band on the up, it will be interesting to see just how high Wet Leg can go. 

Sunday 24 October 2021

Never Ending Mixtape part 65

Drug Store Romeos                                          Roisin Murphy

Welcome to another bumper addition of songs to my Never Ending Mixtape playlist on Spotify. I've actually added a lot more songs, so I might need to write a bonus blog to catch up in November.

What a mix! From David Crosby demos to brand new artists like Drug Store Romeos who have released one of my favourite albums this year. In between we have an incredible brass/gospel/street cover version of the Joy Division classic Love Will Tear Us Apart, a sublime Dimitri From Paris mix of Sister Sledge, and a song called Darth Vader Helmet by Sneeze!

Ummm there is a lot more including a couple of songs from San Francisco's The Umbrellas who have also released a brilliant album this year. There are old favourites from PJ Harvey, a brilliant Nirvana b-side, Evan Dando and then a couple from Saint Etienne's recent album.

PLus loads more songs that I discovered in October by Lee Moses, Albert King, Albert Toussaint, Still Woozy .....

Dig in and enjoy. 

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

You'll find the full list of additions below.

Another Day - Strawberry Switchblade

Electric Silence - Drug Store Romeos

Yes, I'm Changing - Tame Impala

Ex-Factor - Lauryn Hill

She's A Bad Girl - Lee Moses

Born Under A Bad Sign - Albert King

Last Train - Albert Toussaint

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Hot 8 Brass Band

Thinking Of You (Dimitri From Paris mix) - Sister Sledge

These Days - Still Woozy

Tailwhip - Men I Trust

Pumped Up Kicks - Foster the People

Autumn - The Umbrellas

Pictures - The Umbrellas

Collage - Lady Blackbird

Can You Get To That - Funkadelic

This Is Love - PJ Harvey

Back To Life - Soul II Soul

Stinkin' Thinkin' - Happy Mondays

The Word - The Harvey Averne Dozen

Riff 1 (demo) - David Crosby

Tamapais High (at about 3) - David Crosby

Sleeping - Tangled Shoelaces

The Same Thing You Thought Hard About Is The Same Part I Can Live Without - Evan Dando

Pond House - Saint Etienne

Little K - Saint Etienne

Lenny - Supergrass

A Parting Gesture (Peel session) - The Bluetones

All The Way - Du Blonde & Andy Bell

Made of Moods - Massage

Don't Ever Pray In The Church On My Street - The Reds, The Pinks & The Purples

Play (On My Mind) - The Boys With The Perpetural Nervousness

So Fast - Tape Waves

Babies Are A Lie - Pip Blom

Missing You - Smudge

Darth Vader Helmet - Sneeze

Shaky Ground - Sneeze

F**k and Run - Liz Phair

Stella - Jam and Spoon

Incapable - Roisin Murphy

Monsterpiece - Raf Rundell

Dee Tour - Karen Young

People Lets Dance - Public Service Broadcasting

Whine & Grine/Stand Down Margaret - The Beat

Do This To Me - Julia Bardo

Pleasure Of Love - Tom Tom Club

Even In His Youth - Nirvana

Thursday 21 October 2021

10 from Smudge

Smudge formed in Sydney, Australia, 30-years ago back in 1991. Tom Morgan wrote the songs, sang (most of the songs) and played guitar, Paul Duncan was on bass (later replaced by Adam Yee) and Alison Galloway was on drums.

The story behind their formation is kind of strange, Morgan and Galloway were asked to form a band and contribute a song (Tom wrote Tea, Toast & Turmoil),to a split EP on local label Half A Cow records, run by Nic Dalton who went on to play in The Lemonheads during their most prolific, successful and exciting period.

Storytelling, melodies, humour and clever word play over fuzzy/acoustic guitars were at the heart of Smudge and they quickly set about releasing singles and EP's via Half A Cow and also Domino Records.

Three EP's were collated on the 1993 compilation Tea, Toast & Turmoil before the band released their debut album Manilow in 1994.

One of the many things I love about Smudge is that a song only lasts as long as it needs to, or, as much as Morgan had written at the time it was recorded! Funny You Should Mention That is only 24-seconds long, Top Bunkin' Duncan is only 4 seconds! While the sublime Real McCoy, Wrong Sinatra is 1 minute 21 seconds. If Smudge want to record squalling guitars feeding back - they do. 

But it's the power punk/garage pop gems and the sweet acoustic songs that Morgan seemingly tosses out for fun that I love the most. 

In 1991, not long after forming, Morgan met Evan Dando from The Lemonheads during an Australian tour and they became close friends. Dando returned and the two got together, writing/co-writing a number of songs that would appear on It's A Shame About Ray, Come On Feel The Lemonheads and Car, Button, Cloth.

Dando and Morgan appeared a match made in heaven. I'd love for them to get together again to see what they could come up with.

You, Me, Carpark Now (1996) and Real McCoy, Wrong Sinatra (1998) completed a trilogy of albums for Smudge. Although I'd highly recommend their 2010 compilation This Smudge Is True, collated by Nic Dalton and released on his Half A Cow label, which contains an epic 28 songs. If you are new to the band then it's a great place to start.

Smudge still play a handful of shows every year in Australia. Tom Morgan released a solo album, Orange Syringe, in 2013, while he is also still a member of Sneeze with Nic Dalton. 

Here are 10 of my favourite songs by Smudge with YouTube links to them all, plus some bonus Lemonheads/Dando versions.

I've also created a playlist on Spotify - 10 from Smudge. 22-minutes and 13 seconds of brilliance!

Smudge in 2014

Tea, Toast & Turmoil

Opening with an infectious guitar riff before Morgan sings without coming up for air, flying through the song, telling a story about getting up in the morning after the night before. I particularly love the section from 42-seconds in (below) where things just flow so effortlessly - listen out for Galloway's little backing vocal - wash my hair - followed by a giggle. CLICK HERE if you don't see the video below.

And it scares me, when I find out

I've been falling

And jumping like a jack in the box

Well I'm gonna go home

Yeah I'm gonna stay in

Gonna wash my hair (wash my hair)

Scary Cassettes

A love song to more than one person, certainly to Lou Barlow and Lou Reed.

I've been told that you've been bold with Harry, Mark and John

That's my second favourite line from my fifth favourite song

Hope you like Lou

Morgan goes on to mention Lou being pride of place at number 1 and 2 and lay his heart on the line with the declaration;

And if you're gonna make a move

For some space in my life

You gotta share it with Lou

It's all over in 72-seconds, guitars fizz, the drums crash and there is just the right use of organ to underpin everything else going on over the top. CLICK HERE


A perfect example of Morgan's songwriting genius. I imagine he literally turned  conversation he had with a friend into this gem of a song. Beginning by telling his friend exactly what a Divan is.

Well it's not much like a lounger, it's more like a sofa bed

And if you get the feeling you'll be hanging around

Well you can, crash out on my divan, you can, crash out on my divan

There are only 3 short verses, each bookend-ed with the crash out on my divan hook. Oh to be able to write a song like this! WATCH HERE and CLICK HERE for the Lemonheads version.

In the morning i got things to do

I've gotta be up and out by ten

But if you're still asleep then I won't wake you

You can, crash out on my divan, you can, crash out on my divan


I love how Morgan begins each line in the verse with this is ...

It works so well, Morgan's vocal sounds as urgent as the guitar riff that introduces the song.

This is the place where I save face

This is the spot where I jump off

This is the part where I lose heart

There is then a beautiful chorus;

Over the pain and I'm past the bleeding

It's not the tracks, it's where they're leading

The song ends with the hook it's irrelevant, I'm an elephant, she's a mouse. Genius! I could imagine this being a huge hit in the hands of Dave Grohl. CLICK HERE and here is Evan playing it live.

Don't Wanna Be Grant McLennan
An early example of Morgan's humour and clever songwriting as he talks about self-doubt he feels about writing songs, lyrics come out like cliches and he sounds like someone else. He wants to be like Robert Forster from legendary Australian band The Go-Betweens but the songs I write in the middle of the night make me sound like Grant McLennan - also of The Go-Betweens.

Morgan cleverly mentions song titles, fits in the names of all The Beatles and rhymes McLennan with John Lennon. This was actually the last song I chose for this feature, but I kept coming back to it as it's so fun, I can imagine being a teenager in Sydney and going to see Smudge blasting this out. 

The way Morgan and Smudge flow into a lyrical and melodic nod to The Go-Betweens Bye Bye Pride is genius.

Cos I want you to know
That I didn't know someone could be so lonesome
Didn't know a person could give off so much emotion

Impractical Joke

Smudge in full flight; a bass groove, driving rhythm guitar, acoustic at times, gelling perfectly with electric, chiming in all the right places and a yearning Tom Morgan vocal.

Waiting with that baited breath, for the wind to change

It's just a well-worn out suggestion, to occupy the day

I wished that I knew when I threw it away

That I could deal with feeling this strange

I love the flow and the feel of this song. Watch the video.

Skateboard Trickery

Alison Galloway (I presume) takes on lead vocals for this song. The lyrics to the first verse into the chorus/bridge are so clever; comparing sleeping on the side of the bed furthest from the wall and closest to the door with living by the side of the beach that's furthest from the town and closest to the sea.

Galloway then ponders if this is a tendency to want to be able to get away quick and easy, which is a delicious hook.

Galloway's vocals are super cool, I'd love to hear her sing more. I wouldn't be surprised if she sings in a band that I haven't heard of yet. 

Gotta have the time to take time

The time it should be mine

For skating down the line

I love the flow of this song, the big noisy fuzzy guitars, the hooks, the break, the instrumental and then the closing section where the song breaks down to be just Galloway singing over Morgan playing guitar.

Watch this cool skateboard video here.

Real McCoy, Wrong Sinatra

At only 1 minute 21 seconds long, this is Morgan in full flow, telling a story and singing a song that seems to just roll off his tongue. I love this live version - below or click here and here is Evan singing it.

She's just a little bit

Less out of it

Than she was when we first met

Meth amphetamine

And dirty magazines

And still buying cigarettes 

Down About It

Fellow fans of The Lemonheads will recognise this from the Come On Feel The Lemonheads album. Morgan co-wrote 8 of the 15 songs with Dando. Perhaps, Morgan was particularly fond of this one (or wrote the lions share of it) given that he also recorded it with Smudge.

After a short intro the words just flow out so naturally at a beautifully fast pace, just right. And I love the little instrumental to conclude. All over in 2 minutes 19 seconds. Listen here

It gets the same every time I shy

Away from the blame and I stand my time

But you still wonder why

I get so down about it

Outdoor Type

The finest example of Morgan's storytelling with humour approach to songwriting. This is a genius at work. A chiming electric picks notes over a battered acoustic as Morgan tells his tale of falling for a girl and lying to say that he is an outdoor type like her. 

Recorded on a to a Tascam 244 4-track, Outdoor Type funny, heartfelt, melancholic, reflective, sad but also somehow uplifting. This is the art of songwriting at it's absolute best. 

Dando covered it with The Lemonheads, but this original is the best version. I do love this version of Evan playing it acoustic in Smudge's native Sydney with the crowd singing along. Goosebumps!

You'll find the full lyrics below the video.  And also a list of previous Ten From ... blogs.

Always had a roof above me, always paid the rent

I never set foot inside a tent

Couldn't build a fire to save my life

I lied about being the outdoor type

I never slept out underneath the stars

The closest that I cam to that was one time my car

Broke down for an hour in the suburbs at night

I lied about being the outdoor type

Too scared to let you know

I knew what you were looking for

I lied until I fit the bill

God bless the great indoors

I lied about being the outdoor type

I've never owned a sleeping bag, let alone a mountain bike

I can't go away with you on a rock climbing weekend

What if something's on TV and it's never shown again

It's just as well I'm not invited, I'm afraid of heights

I lied about being the outdoor type

Never learned to swim, can't grow a beard or even fight

I lied about being the outdoor type

Previous 10 from blogs (all at the time of writing)

1. The Vaselines

2. The Lemonheads

3. The Pastels

4. Primal Scream

5. BMX Bandits 

6. Belle and Sebastian 

7. The Charlatans 

8. Hope Sandoval 

9. Edwyn Collins 

10. New Order 

11. Carla J Easton 

12. Stone Roses

13. Echo and the Bunnymen

14. Oasis 

15. The Jesus and Mary Chain

Sunday 17 October 2021



Primal Scream's Screamadelica recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. It is, without question, a seminal record, one that not only captured the times, but also celebrated days gone by and looked to the future. 30-years on, it's still doing that, a mark of how extraordinary an album it is.

Bobby Gillespie and his band have been in a reflective mood of late; they haven't released any new material since 2016's Chaosmosis. However, there are times in life when it is good to pause and reflect on achievements, to celebrate them, to remember ... if you can. 

Primal Scream lived at 100 mph for a lengthy period, so they could almost be forgiven for forgetting about albums they recorded. They kind of did! 2018's The Original Memphis Recordings (BLOG HERE) was an extraordinary find by Andrew Innes, with the guitarist literally discovering an album (that would go on to become Give Out But Don't Give Up) in a cupboard. Country tinged soul, Primal Scream cutting loose, Gillespie pouring his heart out on some outstanding ballads and the band blasting out rock n roll.

And now to celebrate Screamadelica at 30, Primal Scream have brought together all the 12-inch singles from the time in a lavish, luxurious boxset. The Farley mix of Come Together is simply sublime. 

They've also brought out Demodelica, a collection of previously unreleased demos and work-in-progress mixes, the hackney studio demos and home recordings are of particular interest to me.

Andrew Weatherall is a name forever associated with Screamadelica. Yet if you dig deep into the albums history, you learn of Andrew Innes suddenly getting his hands on a sampler, new equipment and of a band keen to blur and smash boundaries. Bobby Gillespie seems to have a new air of confidence around him and a freedom to experiment.

So, for me, Demodelica is an important public release, in that it allows us a peek into the bands creative process at the time. Of course Weatherall was important to Screamadelica, but listen to the lyrics of Higher Than The Sun, the arrangements on the demos, Innes and Gillespie were on to something. 

That comes across in a beautiful ragged Damaged with (presumably) Robert Young on electric guitar and Gillespie sounding confident in the beautiful ballad he's created. He's not quite got the I never felt so happy lyrics yet, just singing the melody.

The opening Jam Studio Monitor Mix of Come Together would go on to pretty much be the Farley mix of the song, with Weatherall taking it to incredible heights with his lengthy version. I love both of them.

Movin' On Up is coming together nicely, the lyrics not quite there, the feeling and intention definitely is. 

Higher Than The Sun features twice, the Isle of Dogs home studio mix highlights how fully formed the instrumental part of the song was almost from the off. You then hear things progressing with Gillespie singing on the Jam Studio Monitor Mix.

The Home Studio version of I'm Comin' Down is gorgeous, just vocals, electric guitar and tambourine man, Gillespie sounds like he really is coming down. There is a great bit after the chorus at 2-minutes 18 seconds when Gillespie says 'let me hear you play it one more time' and Young delivers a great guitar solo.

I'm coming down
I can't face the dawn
I'm coming down
I feel too far gone

There are 3 versions of Don't Fight It Feel It on here. The first is 2-minutes long, the sound of Innes playing with his sampler, The Beatles Hey Bulldog features heavily, beats, psychedelic synth sounds and house piano chords are introduced.

Hypnotone come in to mix things on the second Isle of Dogs Home Studio mix, stretching things, something is happening, the idea is developing, horns are introduced, there are more things going on.

But it's when Denise Johnson comes in on the third version with the lyrics that perfectly capture the mood of the music, of the Scream Team and the the generation of kids that were partying all night, that the song lifts. And the voice, ooooffffft, Johnson adds euphoria and soul.

Gonna live the life I love
Gonna love the life I live

The Hackney Studio Vocal Melody recording of Inner Flight captures some magic in progress, Gillespie finding his way over a guitar laden with effects. The work-in-progress continues with the Henry Acapella Jam Studio recording, just over a minute of gorgeous vocals that sounds like it could easily fit in on the recent Feel Flows Beach Boys boxset.

The lysergic lullaby Shine Like Stars also has 2 versions, the Eden Studio Demo is mesmerising, sounds and samples being worked on as Gillespie sings beautifully.

Demodelica closes with the Eden Studio Demo of Screamadelica, the beats sound sublime as warm guitar chords wash like waves, wah wah guitar is introduced over synths that are under pinning everything and then a vocal comes in - utterly joyous.

Demodelica is another welcome and important addition to the Primal Scream story, their discography. I think it highlights just how far they had come from 1989's eponymous album, all speed and leather trousers. 

Speed made way for ecstasy, Andy Weatherall fell in love with their ballad I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have and remixed it into Loaded, he phoned Gillespie and Innes from clubs to tell them dancefloors were going insane when he played it. Loaded gave the Scream their first top 20 hit and a taste of success.

Gillespie always had a vision for Primal Scream, Demodelica is the sound of Bobby and his band edging closer and closer to capturing the magic of the bands he loved and loves ... the sound of Primal Scream becoming a different band.

Check the blog I wrote on Screamdelica at 20 here.

Friday 8 October 2021

Poster Paints at the Poetry Club


God it's so good to be back at gigs. 4 in under a month. Each time I have felt elated from the sounds, the company, the atmosphere, the venues, the little moments of magic, the banter ... 

Through the course of the 4 gigs I've gone from grand (Assembly Rooms) to larger and legendary (Barrowland) to pretty small and legendary (King Tuts) to super cool and intimate - The Poetry Club.

Owned by the artist Jim Lambie, the capacity of The Poetry Club (situated through a blink and you'll miss it door next to SWG3 in an old railway arch) is a mere 120, You walk into a small bar area with a couple of Lambie designs on the walls, then through the to gig venue that somehow incorporates a little balcony due to the high ceilings.

Support on the night was a solo set by Broken Chanter, AKA David MacGregor. In the intimate setting I grew to appreciate his guitar playing and style, songwriting and storytelling, all the more. Should We Be Dancing? from his eponymous 2019 debut album is a gem of a song, as is Don't Move To Denmark which was my favourite of MacGregor's songs on the night, he really got into a flow at the end, repeating the a glorious chorus over and over.

don't move to Denmark, don't stay on my behalf,

the brass on my neck made you laugh all night, all night

what if you stay and I disappoint

thoughts like this keep me up all night, all night

On to Poster Paints, their first headline show after 3 support slots with Teenage Fanclub last month. This time they had their own teenage fanclub with a number of cool young kids standing to my right.

The band played beautifully, full of confidence, unafraid to play slower songs that built, but also playing faster paced songs like their two singles to date; Never Saw It Coming and Number 1. Fall Hard could well be a candidate for single number 3, while the closer My Song is fast becoming a favourite, the way the song develops after a couple of minutes, with new layers being added, the pace picking up, New Order style synths being introduced and the hypnotic guitar riff just keeps playing, backing vocals come in ... sublime. Might be too long to be a single, but for a gig and album closer - perfect!

I gave you the chance to have and to hold me

It turns out, that I got it wrong

Poster Paints invited Broken Chanter up on stage to sing a song called Ribbons in place of Lomond Campbell who co-wrote the song, due to Campbell living in the Highlands. The dreamy psychedelic, reverb-y guitars were sublime. Carla came in to sing the chorus - a gorgeous song.

The song that melted my heart, probably most hearts in the room, was a beautiful ballad called Hard to Sweeten. Callum on drums switched to a mellatron, while the band delivered gentle chords and riffs, while Carla's voice was crystal clear;

Cause I was warned of love like yours

That's hard to sweeten

But I adore a fire that burns

That scars me deeper

A beautiful song, it sounded instantly classic, a beautiful gig. I look forward to seeing what Poster Paints do next.

Photo by Robert Winning

Thursday 7 October 2021

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ mix 5


This months 60-minute mix, inspired by the kind of tunes that would be played in McChuills or The Variety Bar back in the early 00's (where the motto seemed to be anything goes and everything flows) is very electronic focused, with more than a passing nod to euphoric pop. 

It might be my favourite 60-minute mix to date that I've done. It certainly is at present! If you're my age then you'll remember when Madonna came back from 5/6 years of blandness with the epic Ray of Light. It was a sensational return to form, instantly reminding everyone she was the Queen of Pop. 

There is more! 

Pet Shop Boys mixing Blur, then what about OMD, Talking Heads and Human League one after another! The blissful One Dove, the genius of David Holmes, a real old fave to kick things off and more!

Search for Everything Flows DJ mix 5 on Spotify or CLICK HERE

Bentley's Gonna Sort You Out - Bentley Rhythm Ace

69 Police - David Holmes

Only Love Can Break Your Heart - Saint Etienne

White Love (Radio Mix) - One Dove

Hit - Sugarcubes

Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use) - Sub Sub

Time Is Now - Moloko

Electricity - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads

Together In Electric Dreams - Human League

Ray of Light - Madonna

Girls & Boys (Pet Shop Boys Remix) - Blur

Getting Away With It - Electronic

Tuesday 5 October 2021

Tim Burgess at King Tuts

In the lead up to this show I had multiple debates with myself; I was going 100% its Tim at Tuts! I wasn't going - Tuts is tiny, there is no ventilation + it's sold out and will be rammed, COVID central! I'm double vaccinated I am going 100% it's Tim at Tuts! Repeat to fade.

Music + the chance to see one of my favourite singers in one of my all-time favourite venues + kind of an opportunity to say thanks to a lockdown hero for the listening parties over the last 18-month, won over. I was going. Lockdown is over, COVID isn't going anywhere, but the vaccination is really working, time to put it to the test.

Burgess, as always, has been a busy bee. Along with raising spirits, smiles and highlighting all kinds of artists and albums with his listening parties (check his incredible new book), he released his album I Love The New Sky on Bella Union.

The album grew on me, it's definitely one that I had to step away from and come back to in order to fully appreciate the songwriting, style and substance within the record. I think there was just so much going on in May last year. I know I wasn't the only music fan to find themselves listening to lots of old music rather than new releases, when the world was stopping and changing in front of our eyes, I was seeking something familiar. 

Anyway, back to King Tuts.

I enjoyed the walk from Central Station. Glasgow city centre was eerily quiet, the shadows of the beautiful old buildings on St Vincent Street loomed over me. Always remember to look up in Glasgow, we are blessed with some stunning old architecture.

Grabbing a beer in the downstairs bar, the doors soon opened and I made my way up the famous stairs to the venue section of King Tuts, walking up the other half dozen stairs to take my usual place behind the sound desk. It felt good to be back and it was lovely to soon be joined by friends Duglas and Jim, two people I would normally see quite regularly out and about at gigs, but not for a long time.

Tim actively encourages fans to get along to his shows in time for support acts, so it was pleasing to see Tuts pretty busy for Apostille, AKA Michael Kasparis, head honcho of Night School Records and part of the fab team at Monorail Music. 

Michael took to the stage, standing behind a bank of equipment; a synth, a sampler and (for later) his phone. Turning knobs and pressing buttons, Apostille layered beats on beats, screaming over the top before introducing synths and finally singing - coming on little Ezra Furman in terms of the speed and passion his words came out. The song may be called Natural Angel, I really enjoyed it.

Michael, normally pretty quiet and mild mannered when I see him in Monorail, was completely the opposite as Apostille. 'Are you all glad to be back at live music ... after me?' was a nice little joke to further break the ice with the crowd. 

Then there was a moment where Michael's phone buzzed in front of him just as he was introducing a song. It was his Dad. 'Dad, I'm playing a gig', Michael then held his phone to his mic so the crowd could hear his Dad say 'oh enjoy it, I hope it goes well', 'No. I'm playing a gig right now! Everyone say 'hi dad''. The audience responded and Michael's Dad wished everyone well. It was a funny and lovely heartwarming moment, the kind of thing I've really missed.

Michael played a very enjoyable set, shaking his head like Animal from The Muppets, getting lost in his beats, moving around the stage, like Freddie Mercury in Dave Grohl's body (a compliment). Great fun. I can only imagine the energy Apostille would generate from a headline show! 

Towards the end Michael gave his mobile number out and said he would happily act as a dating service for fans at his gig. Someone sent a message and it was really was his number, so Michael read it out. New fans were easily won.

One of the odd things about last night was that there was no music playing in between acts. I assume this is to stop people talking loudly over the top of it, part of the new rules and regulations we have to live with. I missed it. Tim or The Charlatans usually play cool tunes before they come on. I missed the lights dimming, the buzz and anticipation of an act coming on stage and the entrance music they chose.

So, at 10pm Tim and his band just casually wandered on to the stage to a huge cheer and cries of 'I love you Tim', of which there were plenty through the show. Dressed in a white t-shirt, blue dungarees and with his bleached blonde moptop, Tim could probably pass for someone in their mid-30's, he is ageing well and looking well.

Fronting a 6-piece band; drums, bass, guitar, violin and 2 on synths/keys, Burgess engaged well with the crowd during and between songs, dancing, raising his arms aloft and posing for photos when he spotted a phone pointing in his direction. In general, he looked like he was having the time of his life.

Empathy For The Devil was beautifully delivered, The Mall was super dreamy, new song Curiosity was blistering fast paced and full of energy, Yours, To Be was utterly gorgeous and tender, possibly my song of the night. Taken from the Ascent of the Ascended EP that Tim released hot on the heels of the I Love The New Sky album, Yours, To Be is Burgess at his melodic, romantic best.

Sunday morning, unconsciously conscious,
In the backseat of the car
Windows wound down, my arm around you,
Feeling like a superstar

Oh what a feelin'
To be yours

Tim only played one song from his own solo back catalogue, the sunshine pop of Oh My Corazon, which found me punching the sky and singing-a-long. I'll be revisiting Tim's excellent I Believe album through the week. Released back in 2003, a vinyl reissue would be welcome for the 20th anniversary in a couple of years time.

Laurie was another gem from last night, the hook we have friends in other dimensions, they come with the sweetest intentions, suspended in dreams and beautiful things really stood out for me.

Tim and co didn't bother leaving the stage for an encore as they wanted to play two more songs rather than one. Starting with I Got This, the encore upped the pace a little, both songs were more funky, they just had that little more edge to the dreamier songs played earlier, the band had worked the setlist really well.

For the closer Tim led his band into a funky jam that gradually became The Charlatans classic, The Only One I Know. The pace and the funk didn't let up, it was an outsanding version and I captured the first part of it on video until I put my phone down to dance.

Everyone has been burned before

Everybody knows the pain

The lyrics seem to mature and take on even more meaning with every passing year. It's crazy to think how young Tim was when he wrote them all those years ago. Soulful, deep and euphoric.

I look forward to seeing Tim again soon when he is back up at the end of the month to play the FRETS Collective nights in the Strathaven Hotel with his friends Norman Blake and Duglas T Stewart.

If you enjoyed this blog, you might like THIS ONE on my 10 favourite songs by The Charlatans.

Friday 1 October 2021

INTERVIEW - Tangled Shoelaces

Last month I blogged on the magnificent Tangled Shoelaces compilation; Turn My Dial - M Squared Recordings and more, 1981-84.

The innocence, the joy, the experimentation, the freedom, the melodies and brilliant raw pop music created by this young band from Brisbane warmed my heart. 

Tangled Shoelaces formed in 1980 in Brisbane, Australia, Tangled Shoelaces were aged between 10-14, centred around siblings Stephen, Lucy and Martin Mackerras, with their friend and neighbour Leigh Nelson on drums

After falling for the album, that I discovered through the brilliant Monorail e-newsletter, and then blogging on it, I sent a speculative email off to the band to see if they would be up for an interview.

I was thrilled that Stephen replied to say he would be delighted to answer some questions and his brother Martin would also get involved.

So read on for memories of gigs, the future generation, the 'reunion' gig, other music they have recorded under different guises and plans for what sounds like an incredible album with loads of choirs - if the title is anything to go by!

Stephen & Martin Mackerras, Tangled Shoelaces Interview

EF - There are three siblings in the band. Can you remember what kind of music your parents would play in the house when you were kids? how important were your parents in encouraging you all to pick up instruments and play?

S - Very important! Dad is still a member of the Australian Wagner Society and Mum (who recently passed away) loved Joan Baez and Peter Seeger. They both loved and shared classical music with all of us. Leigh's father was also very influential. He was a professional Jazz drummer in Brisbane in the early 1960's. He was very helpful with our original songs, giving us advice about song structure and key changes that made our songs sound more polished.

Both Mr Nelson and Mum in particular encouraged our musicianship by taking us to lessons, buying instruments and coming to see us play. Lucy and Martin learnt classical music and joined the youth orchestra. Martin ended up going to the conservatorium and is a professional music teacher and prolific composer today. His band is called Maya Dreamers.

M - Yes we always heard music coming from Dad's study. When I said I wanted to learn clarinet he immediately said we will get you a clarinet and start lessons!

EF - I love how you focused on writing and playing your own songs. Did you ever play any cover versions?

S - We were all very keen to be creative songwriters. Martin and I both wrote the songs, but Lucy and Leigh made very important contributions. Lucy's vocals made the songs so much better and Leigh's excellent drumming made the songs move to the groove. But yes, we loved music and we did covers of bands we admired like The Fall and Joy Division.

M - Ha ha! Yes, don't forget we also did a cover of AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long. Leigh wanted to do that so he sang it as well! Also Buzzcocks Hollow Inside which I had completely forgotten about until it was mentioned in another interview and then I remembered playing like it was yesterday! The big one which always got the crowd cheering was when Lucy sang Roxanne by The Police. I'm sure we learnt a lot from playing covers.

EF - I hear elements of New Order in the likes of World and Oceans Away, what kind of music were you listening to as the band developed? Would you say you had any specific influences?

S - Oh yes, we loved Joy Division, New Order and all of those Factory bands. Also some Scottish bands like Altered Images. But we also loved local bands like The Go-Betweens and The Church. We went to see a lot of live bands both touring and local Brisbane bands. We also listened to a lot of ABBA and A LOT of classical music, especially Stravinsky and Phillip Glass.

M - Yes I remember being obsessed with Joy Division and New Order. I always remember going to see bands with Stephen.

EF - As someone who also has a brother and sister, how was the sibling rivalry during the years of the band? Did the band and music help prevent you from fighting?

S - At that time we were very close and co-operated a lot. We had a shared musicality and a dream that we could create and perform our own songs. Playing in pubs & clubs and going down to Sydney to record with M-Squared Records, wow! That was fun!!! We were having a great time, so we bonded and became very close.

To this day, Martin and I are very close, especially through our music. Lucy now lives in New York, so we don't see her as much.

M - I don't recall any sibling rivalry at all. We just got on and played the music! There was always a sense of co-operation and shared purpose.

Tangled Shoelaces - in masks

EF - As you reflected back on the band and listened to the songs and recordings for this album, what was going through your mind? Do you have any favourite songs? Is there any you would like to re-record?

S- For decades the songs on the LP existed only as MP3 files on my computer. The release of this record has allowed us all to reminisce and even re-live that exciting time. So, a big thank you must go to Guy Blackman from Chapter Music for seeing the potential. I was surprised that he wanted to put the record out in the first place. I really thought those songs were relics of the past that would never see the light of day! I'm glad to be proven wrong!

M - Yes, i felt the same and it was amazing to hear all the songs remastered etc. I especially love the really early ones I Need A Stamp and Little Bear after not hearing them for so many years. My other big favourite is Giant Rabbits because it shows such maturity and depth of feeling.

S- Thanks Martin - Political Jokes is a gem! You were only 10 when you wrote that!!!

EF - What can you remember about playing live as Tangled Shoelaces? What kind of reaction did you get from people?

S- All I can remember was having lots of fun. It was great to be sharing it all with Lucy and Martin and Leigh was such a good drummer. People seem to like us, I guess because we were so young. But I think the songs were OK. We were always writing new songs and experimenting with our sound. It was a really exciting time.

M - We got really good reactions. At first people were just so surprised! But we did play some gigs later on which were pretty average. I remember once being offended because everyone was out on the balcony when we played and then they all came in when the next band was on!

EF - And I believe you have a show coming up at the start of October! How are you feeling about it?

S - To be honest, I'm a little nervous about it! Martin lives in Melbourne and Lucy in New York. So, Leigh and I have got together with his 10 year old son who is a very talented drummer - like his Dad. We are now playing as a three piece. The gig you mentioned is our first performance ever in 40-years. On 2nd October. We'll video it and put it out on YouTube. Martin, Leigh and I got together earlier this year to do a promo of Movies. WATCH HERE.

I put together Tangled Shoelaces - the next generation! Made up of my three kids and Leigh's son and Martin's son. You can check them out on YouTube - Tangled Shoelaces - What Do You Want From Me Now?

I was hoping they'd carry on the band name and songs into their generation, but they said they weren't interested. Oh well!

EF - Do you have any plans after this? Have you got any other unrecorded songs you'd like to go into the studio with?

S-  Ummmm. Let's see. I hope we can get more gigs. We do have new songs but we'll release them on our own, not as Tangled Shoelaces.

EF - Lastly, what have been your musical highlights after Tangled Shoelaces finished?

S - Interesting question - after TS, Martin and I formed another band called Wondrous Fair. We were a psychedelic folk-pop-jazz band and we continued the exploration of creative songwriting to its limits in that band with three other brilliant musicians. We played, performed and recorded music for about 10-years. Inspired by the interest generated by Tangled Shoelaces - Turn My Dial, we have an album coming out next May called Spirals. I hope we can sell some in Monorail where you discovered Tangled Shoelaces and you might be interested in having a listen. Like all independent music, it'll be on Bandcamp.

M - Yes I'm very excited to hear the Wondrous Fair album! We made some really experimental music but always with a great spirit of fun. We were all in our late teens or early twenties, playing at parties and having a great time.

As Stephen mentioned, I have my own band called Maya Dreamer. We have made 2 albums so far and I;m working on a third called Maya dreamer and the Future Happiness Orchestra featuring the Choir of Light. It has a lot of choirs in it! Sadly, very much delayed due to lockdowns.

I've played clarinet with many other artists, but making my own music has been the biggest highlight for me. It's a very different kind of songwriting, but I've tried to follow in the spirit of Tangled Shoelaces and Wondrous Fair.

Many thanks

Stephen and Martin Mackerras