Thursday 30 March 2023

25 years of Badly Drawn Boy

Last nights Badly Drawn Boy show in the wonderful setting of Saint Lukes was an absolute treat.

Badly Drawn Boy (AKA Damon Gough) is touring to celebrate 25-years of releasing music. His first 2 albums as Badly Drawn Boy were on constant rotation when Lynn and I started dating, so we snapped up tickets as soon as they came on sale. A chance to celebrate 22-years since we started going out!

We usually like to venture upstairs in Saint Lukes to get a good view of everything, however after meeting friends for a drink in the bar, all the good spaces were snapped up. However we could look down and see some space right at the front. So that's where we ventured.

Armed with drinks, we managed to squeeze through the crowds that always hang back to be in the second row and there was a decent amount of space. 

We caught the end of Craig John Davidson who had been asked to support. Craig ended with a lovely story of him buying Have You Fed The Fish? in an Aberdeen record shop as a 15 year old because of the cover. Davidson fell for Badly Drawn Boy and was inspired to start playing guitar. A lovely story and Davidson's set was well received.

As we waited on the main act, my friend Joe pointed out there were no drums onstage. There were a couple of keyboards, an acoustic and an electric guitar.

Badly Drawn Boy came on stage at 8.30pm promptly, not looking to dissimilar to the first time I saw him back at the QMU in Glasgow many years ago. This time it was fresh orange that he was swigging, rather than a bottle of Jack Daniels.

A bottle of water and a Rubix Cube (that sadly remained untouched through the gig) sat on a small table next to the main mic.

Gough started strumming his guitar and introduced his first song Shake The Rollercoaster. We didn't miss a drummer, we didn't miss a band. For almost 2-hours were were under the spell of Badly Drawn Boy. 

I imagined that this was Damon's version of Springsteen's Broadway residency. Stories were told, songs were sung, any resemblance of a setlist was abandoned as requests were rewarded and Gough told us how the Glasgow audience always made him feel at home.

Damon had the audience laughing at many of his stories, while others had us wondering if we had something in our eyes. This Song was written for, and dedicated to, a friend that went missing, never to return. The set ended with a beautiful piano rendition of Someday by The Strokes, dedicated to Damon's older brother Simon who sadly died 18-months ago. 

Most of the set saw Damon at the centre of the stage armed only with his trusty acoustic guitar. The melodies and grooves he created were gorgeous. Occasionally a loop pedal was used to sublime effect. 

Highlights? Well, the whole set was tremendous. And I'm sure Damon could have played another hour or two. The fact that you could have heard a pin drop throughout was testament to how engaged the audience were. 

But a few for me were;

The Shining, Gough beautifully picking and strumming his guitar, his naturally melancholic voice singing warm sun, warm sun, warm sun over and over again was simply gorgeous.

A wander over to one of the keyboards/electronic pianos had Damon starting and then stopping Have You Fed The Fish? before the audience encouraged him to keep going. 

It's one of my favourite Badly Drawn Boy songs. I love the mundane lines I need a new eiderdown, I want some binoculars balanced against the philosophical hook (beautifully sung by the audience last night);

sometimes you've got to, rewind to go forward

there's some, good times, around the corner

And then back to the day-to-day life but have you fed the fish today? 

Stories of going to Matador Records office in New York, seeing posters around Manchester with his name (but were they only up on the route he walked?), missing a couple of Peel sessions he was asked to play, and having All Possibilities used in a Comet advert were brilliant.

Pissing In The Wind tugged on heartstrings, the audience gently backed Damon on the stunning chorus.

Just give me something

I'll take nothing

Silent Sigh was a big song for me and my wife Lynn when we started going out. The way Gough plays the piano makes it look like he can create melodies out of thin air. Maybe he can. There was certainly evidence on display last night to indicate that he can!

You Were Right was vintage BDB; funny, flowing, a tinge of sadness, pop culture references, stunning melodies and the beautiful question do the colours of the rainbow look the same to everyone?

And there were more stories of loved ones that were lost; Caroline Aherne, who Gough got to know through soundtracking The Fattest Man In Britain and Tony Wilson who Damon wrote Tony Wilson Said about on his last album.

The soundtrack totally passed me by and I've been listening to it today. And do you know what? I think Badly Drawn Boy can create beautiful heart warming melodies from thin air.

Magic was in the air last night. I do hope that Damon might return to Glasgow for another show. After all, he did say he had worked up 80 songs in advance of the tour. 

Wednesday 29 March 2023

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

30-years ago #2
Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use) by Sub Sub

Released 30-years ago today (29th March 1993), Sub Sub's Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use) was a super catchy, squelchy, fun soulful electronic pop tune that reached number 3 in the charts. I recall buying it on cassette single. I wish I'd got it on vinyl! But being at school, I probably only had enough money for the cassette at the time.

Sub Sub were brothers Andy and Jez Williams with their friend Jimi Goodwin. They brought in Melanie Williams on vocals. The band would go on to release their album Full Fathom Five on Robs Records (the label formed by Rob Gretton, New Orders manager). 

Goodwin and the Williams brothers would go on to form Doves following a studio fire where all their equipment and recordings were destroyed.

But back to Sub Sub! The single was a smash, selling 700,000 copies, allowing the band to buy their own studio and spend years creating new music that would be released as Doves.

There is an excellent Guardian article here; How we made Sub Sub's Ain't No Love (Ain't No Use)

I'll be blogging (fairly regularly - hopefully monthly) on releases from 30-years ago for the foreseeable future. 1993 was such a pivotal year for me as I finished school without really knowing what I wanted to do. And I was a musical sponge! Pouring over the NME & Melody Maker on a weekly basis and using spare cash on visits to record shops.

I was big into the whole indie and grunge guitar scene, but to this day I love a good pure pop tune and this is a belter. Enjoy.

Previous blogs in the series

Tuesday 21 March 2023

Anything Goes & Everything Flows DJ Mix 22

Hello and welcome to my 22nd in a series of 60-minute playlists/mixes. 

With these mixes I  try to create the vibe I would get from entering The Variety / McChuills in Glasgow on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, where DJ's would (and still do) work their magic to get the crowd in the mood for moving on to a club, or in my case, often opting to just stay in the bar.

In these magical bars that I frequently visited through my 20's, the DJ's would spin incredibly cool tunes, many that I had never heard before, causing me to go up and ask the DJ what they were playing. McChuills and The Variety were places where the music policy was very much anything goes and everything flows.

My last few mixes have been very soul heavy, so with this one I really did just go with the flow. We kick off with a sublime instrumental by the super talented Gruff Rhys, then we have divine Whyte Horses before some old faves by The Avalanches, The Go! Team and Jurassic 5.

They still sound so fresh!

Elsewhere we have a brass band covering Joy Division, retro dance sounds by The Bees, a moment of euphoria by Flaming Lips and some blissful electronic music to get lost in by Underworld and LCD.

Throw in the super cool Misdemeanor, The Funk Brothers, Tim Burgess fronting The Chemical Brothers and an instrumental of The Charlatans Sproston Green to close and ... it's a pretty cool eclectic mix.

Search for Everyting Flows DJ Mix 22 on Spotify or CLICK HERE


Caitlin's Theme - Gruff Rhys

Ecstasy Song - Whyte Horses

Since I Left You - The Avalanches

Ladyflash - The Go! Team

Concrete Schoolyard - Jurassic 5

Misdemeanor - The CB's

Life Is Sweet - Chemical Brothers w/ Tim Burgess

Tell Me It's Just A Rumour Baby - The Funk Brothers

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Hot 8 Brass Band

Chicken Payback - The Bees

Race For The Prize (Mokran Mix) - The Flaming Lips

Jumbo - Underworld

Us V Them - LCD Soundsystem

Sproston Green (instrumental) - The Charlatans

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Sympathy For The Devil

Cover version of the month #84
Sandie Shaw covers The Rolling Stones

Choosing to cover the Stones Sympathy For The Devil has to be classed as a bold move. I mean, it's understandable that artists would want to play the song, to jam the song, to feel it out ... as Sympathy For The Devil is an exceptional groove and an incredible song. But to cover it! 

The Rolling Stones recording of the song, over 5-days in June 1968, was captured on film by Jean-Luc Godard and released under the title One Plus One. It's quite something as The Stones really take their time on it. You can find it on YouTube

You see Jagger and Jones working on the vocal melody, soon joined by Richards, looking resplendent in shades. Richards adds a bit of groove, Charlie Watt adds the beat while Bill Wyman looks bored and stoned on bass. 

Richards groove is stripped back, Jagger slows things down and he has been quoted as saying he originally intended it to be a folk-y Dylan number. How things change!

The footage is extraordinary. Richards jamming on a bass, the band taking it down a blues-y route and then just before the 24-minute mark in the documentary, we heard extra percussion being introduced. The groove is back, faster, pacier and it is hugely enhanced. I love the scene with The Stones and friends all crowded round a microphone recording the woo woo's, the camera then pans round a screen and you have Jagger singing the lead vocal. Incredible stuff.

Sympathy For The Devil opened the Stones Beggars Banquet album and became a real highlight of their live sets. Jagger would act possessed and really play to the audience and cameras, as demonstrated on The Rock n Roll Circus album/film.

The groove running through Sympathy For The Devil is simply extraordinary, the Stones are in top form. Lyrically, Jagger touches on Christ, the Russian revolution,  the Kennedy's (with the remarkable line -  I shouted out who killed the Kennedy's, when after all, it was you and me), cops and finally introduces himself as Lucifer.

Decades down the line, favourite bands of mine like Primal Scream (Loaded) and The Charlatans (One To Another) would take inspiration from Sympathy For The Devil, recognising the importance of the groove and how the woo woo's could be sung en masse by their fans.

Sandie Shaw's version doesn't stray too far from The Stones. After all the riff and groove are both so unbelievably strong, why change?!

Her guitarist goes for it, the beats and percussion are 100 mph at times, the bass is just about keeping it all together and Shaw's voice cuts through everything like a knife. 

At around 4 minutes 10 seconds things slow down and Shaw is almost whispering her vocal, but as the instruments cut, her voice rises with dramatic effect to deliver the line;

I was around when Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt and pain

I made damn sure that Pilate, washed his hands and sealed his fate

Everything comes back in and the closing 50 seconds are absolutely furious as the beats and percussion get faster and faster. Everything eventually fades out. Somewhere, lurking in a studio vault, is the recording. I'd love to hear how long it went on for and if it eventually just collapsed. The drummer and percussionist would probably be in a heap!

Nothing can top The Stones though! Just check the 8-minute + official video from the Rock n Roll Circus. Jagger is on fire, whipping himself, his band and the crowd into a frenzy!

Sympathy For The Devil official video (live from the Rock n Roll Circus)

Album version

Sandie Shaw version

All previous cover version of the month blogs are listed below. 

I've also compiled the Everything Flows Cool Cover Versions playlist, featuring original versions and covers on Spotify. CLICK HERE The Stones original and Sandie Shaw's cracking cover have been added.

Previous covers of the month

13. Hurt
39. ABBA-esque
40. Jumpin' Jack Flash
64. Lola
82. Drop

Saturday 11 March 2023

Never Ending Mixtape part 80


Welcome to the latest update to my Never Ending Mixtape which now has 3,214 songs!

Dig into Juliana Hatfield's Some Girls band - a band that completely passed me by! Thanks to Gary Sloan for pointing me in the direction of this phase of Juliana's long and distinguished career.

Elsewhere we have dream pop, some gems from the sensational Young Fathers album (their current tour looks amazing), we have gems from the legendary Burt Bacharach, songs by Weyes Blood who was sublime at the QMU last month. She returns to Glasgow and the Old Fruitmarket later this year.

I spent a very pleasant evening in the company of This Mortal Coil, so they have a few songs added to the mixtape, likewise with Whyte Horses. There is an incredible 10-minute plus groove by Cornershop and all kinds of other delights to check.

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

Play from the start, click shuffle, or scroll to near the end to play the latest songs that are listed below.

Feel It - Some Girls

Almost True - Some Girls

Launch Pad - Some Girls

He's On Drugs - Some Girls

(Druun) - DIIV

So High - Ringo Deathstarr

Long Live The Strange - Gaz Coombes

Yesterday's Paper - The Bug Club

Ocean - Ren

Ululation - Young Fathers

Drum - Young Fathers

Geronimo - Young Fathers

Fear Is Such A ... - Whyte Horses

Ride Easy - Whyte Horses

None Of My Friends - Liz Lawrence

Something Big - Burt Bacharach

And So Goodbye My Love - Burt Bacharach

Raindrops keep Fallin' On My Head - B.J. Thomas

History - Groove Armada

Everyday - Weyes Blood

Something To Believe -  Weyes Blood

Baby It's You - The Beatles

Thinking About You - Beck 

Fake Protest Song - Whyte Horses

I Walk On Guilded Splinters - Johnny Jenkins 

Another Rider Up In Flames - The Charlatans

I Can't Sleep - The La's

Sproston Green (instrumental) - The Charlatans

Repititioner - Thus Love

Kangaroo - This Mortal Coil

Sixteen/Gathering Dust - This Mortal Coil

Strength Of Strings - This Mortal Coil

This Guy's In Love With You - Herb Alpert & The Tihuana Brass

Brixton Fish Fry - Steve Mason

New Hair New Me - Eyes of Others

I See You In The Shrubs (Andrew Weatherall remix) - Eyes of Others

So You Say You Lost Your Baby - Death In Vegas

The Best Of It (Casino mix) - White Horses w/ La Roux

Spectral Mornings - Cornershop

Window Pane - The Real People

Monday 6 March 2023

Starboard Hazes EP2

My band, Starboard Hazes recorded our second EP at La Chunky Studio in Finnieston, Glasgow on Saturday 28th January. It was almost exactly a year since James and I had ventured in to record our first EP. 

On that occasion we roped in our friend Calum on drums. We hadn't rehearsed with Calum in advance. Indeed Calum thought he was only in to record 2-songs. We persuaded him to record a couple more and the songs Out Of My Mind and Reflected Sunlight were both recorded in 1-take to create a 4-track EP. Calum's skills helped us produce something we loved. 

This time James and I were going in as a fully formed band after the addition of Andy (bass) and Jamie (drums) and we had rehearsed!  

The cover of EP2-Sunshine
Taken in Elie, August 2022

We recorded 3-songs with the magnificently named Gaspard Casanova on production & engineer duties and have again produced something we love. Here is my take on the EP;

  • Sunshine - One of the very first songs I wrote as a teenager! The song only ever had two verses, just using the D and G chords, but it always stuck with me. I guess due to the simplicity and the fact the melody is pretty strong (in my opinion!). Years later I wrote a third verse/chorus/outro section after meeting my wife. I loved the way she would tilt her head to the sunshine and close her eyes. This wasn't a song I intended to bring to the band but last September I was jamming the chords during a break in a practise session, Andy had picked up James guitar while he was out the room and asked me what I was playing. We jammed along with Jamie on drums and by the time James came back we had something! So James then picked up Andy's bass - the joy of having a talented band! I couldn't believe how quickly we transformed it. Sunshine was always an acoustic song and I'd always just played it in a normal tuning. But when we jammed I had my Capo on the 3rd fret and I just kept it there. Now it's kind of Lemonheads-y/Velvets-y and then the outro goes a little Stone Roses. Andy's guitar on the outro is sublime. James switches to bass, creating a very Mani-esque bass groove. Jamie's drumming throughout is superb.
  • Yeah! - I love the groove of this song, just the same 4 chord sequence over and over again. Great to jam on. There is a warmth to it, brilliant lead guitar from James. It's got a real Teenage Fanclub feel to it - obviously a good thing in my book! 
  • I Still Dream That I Can Fly -  A two chord song that was originally inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain's Why'd You Want Me? Or you could say it rips it off! Garage pop psychedelia. I like the way we build this up, break it down and then let loose. Who knew what fun you could have with 2 chords! I really love the way James introduces the organ sound in the outro. I think we only rehearsed this a few times before going into the studio and we captured it in two takes. I think there is a real freshness to this song as a result. Fun to play in practice, I look forward to playing it live.
  • Sunset - The dreamy psychedelic groove at the end of Sunshine reminded me of the Stone Roses, so I wondered what it would sound like backwards. An old Roses trick that inspired Don't Stop and a number of b-sides. This is the result. Rather gorgeous! I think I sound better backwards! 
All of them are love songs. Sunshine about the heady heights of young love and walks in the summer sun. Yeah! and I Still Dream That I Can Fly have that broken heart, lets try it again/I'll never get over you/keep positive vibe.

The EP is out now exclusively via our BANDCAMP page where you can stream/download. We'll get it up on other sites in the near future.

We play 13th Note next Friday, 10th March with support from Scottish Fault Lines. DJ Phil Redfearn will be playing before, during and afterwards.

The event is SOLD OUT!  Hopefully we'll get another gig in the diary before too long.

Friday 3 March 2023

Introducing - Eyes of Others


Photo by Christopher Espinosa Fernadez

New Hair New Me by Eyes of Others is the best new song I've heard in ages. I fell for it instantly. It's warm, gooey, dreamy and catchy pop music. When I fall for a song in this way, I play it on repeat ... for days. 

Even though I've had New Hair New Me on a loop, playing half a dozen times in a row on at least three occasions, the beautiful thing about this song is that I still find so much in it. I love how fresh it continues to feel, I keep going back for more.

John Bryden (AKA Eyes of Others) leaves loads of space in this single. Everything hangs on a loose funky bass; beats, handclaps, ukulele drifts in and out, a dreamy synth riff, vocals that are sleepily whispered at times, addictively melodic in a playful sing-song-y way at others. 

Sometimes the lyrics are easy to make out, other times they are blurred in the perfect way, the groove, feel and melody being more important.

The accompanying video also has loads of space. Bryden wanders round snow filled landscapes in Norway, down roads, on frozen lakes, wading through drifts, diving headfirst into deep snow, having fun making snow angels and clutching on to his beloved synth.

The single is out now and Eyes of Others self titled album will be out on Heavenly Recordings on May 19th.

Read on for an interview with John.



EF - I've only just discovered Eyes of Others, but you have been releasing music sporadically (in the form of singles and EP's) under this guise since 2017. You're now ready to release an album, did you have a plan? Or have things just got to this stage pretty naturally?

Now that I think about it, I’ve been making music for about 20 years and only now is my debut album about to be released….so really I’m disgusted with myself and my poor planning.

Where have I been all my life?

EF - I love the way you describe your sound as 'post-pub, couldn't get in the club music' - there is a real dreamy quality to New Hair New Me. Did you find that sound from late nights? Did you/do you have a favourite pub/club?

Hmmm it’s hard to trace where exactly a sound comes from but there’s probably some truth in that as I’ve had a few late nights in my time.

But I don’t drink anymore. I just stay home and eat biscuits so I think some sort of home-biscuit-isolation aesthetic permeates the track too.

My favourite pub is the Regent Bar in Abbyhill, Edinburgh. It’s pretty chilled and friendly.

Earlier on in the life of Eyes of Others you were remixed by the late great Andrew Weatherall. Did you learn anything from the way he remixed I See You In The Shrubs? Did that, or any other remixes, give you any new ideas on how to approach creating music?

Yeah for sure. I remember listening to it for the first time and thinking it was a total curve ball. It was like trying to learn a new language, re many listens. 

Once I got to grips with it I was in awe. I  took a lot from Weatherall’s approach with regards to my own music - not to sit still and don’t just give people what you think they want. 

His remix gave me something I didn’t know I wanted. That’s what it’s all about for me really, when something comes along and just shatters what you think you know and opens doors to other worlds.

EF - Do you play everything on your singles to date and forthcoming album? Do you have a favourite instrument?

In the main I played most of the instruments on the record. And there’s some drum programming there too. Stuart Evans (formerly of Green Door Studio Glasgow, now operating at Green Door West - west as in California) mixed and co-produced the record. So he helped tighten up a lot of the demos with some of his own playing.

For me playing an instrument feels like a car that continually won’t start, so Stuart helped massively there. I should perhaps focus and practice more but I do enjoy jumping around various instruments - just picking up whatever and trying to get a tune out of it in that moment because it feels right for the track.

I got an old harmonium recently. I am terrible at it. It’s my favourite.

EF - Will you have a band for live dates? And can we expect some more to be announced?

At the moment there’s two of us playing live. There’s are more dates to be announced but we have the following:

03 March - The Social London

11 March - YES, Manchester (supporting H. Hawkline)

13 March - Hug and Pint, Glasgow (supporting H. Hawkline) 

30 April - Sounds from the Other City, Salford

27 May - Sea Change Weekender, Totnes

9-11 June, Kite Festival, Oxfordshire 

EF - Lastly, what music are you enjoying at present?

I’ve been listening to these tracks a lot; Tom Waits’ Dog Door, Nelly Furtado’s All Good Things Come to an End, and Shu-de’s Aian Dudal.

Thanks to John for taking the time to answer my questions. Check the single, it's sublime. I'll blog on the album when it comes out.