Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Getting Away With It

Getting Away With It by Electronic is one of my all-time favourite songs. It is majestic pop courtesy courtesy of Bernard Sumner (New Order), Johnny Marr (The Smith) and Neil Tenant (Pet Shop Boys) coming together to create something quite perfect.

Sumner and Marr co-wrote the music, with Sumner and Tenant co-writing the lyrics and the opening line is a beauty, coming shortly after the catchy stabbing piano chords and dreamy strings.

I've been walking in the rain just to get wet on purpose

Bernard Sumner delivers potentially his best vocal performance. And he doesn't hang about in getting to the hook and chorus, his voice beautifully entwining with Neil Tenant's.

I've been getting away with it all my life (getting away)
However I look it's clear to see that I love you more than you love me
However I look it's clear to see that I love you more than you love me

The second verse follows instantly, Sumner pouring his heart out in a lyric Marr's other songwriting partner would have been proud of, but Sumner's performance and delivery is a million miles away from that of Morrissey.

I hate that mirror it makes me feel so worthless
I'm an original sinner but when I'm with you I couldn't care less

The song is brilliantly written (musically and lyrically), structured, performed and produced. I love singing it, I love dancing to it and I love listening to it.

I thought I gave up falling in love a long, long time ago
I guess I like it but I can't tell you, you shouldn't really know

I've been talking to myself just to suggest that I'm selfish
I've been trying to suggest that more is less and I'm repressed

It was the Electronic's debut single - I struggle to think of a better one, although the trio admittedly had quite a background! Here they are performing the song on Top of the Pops.

Greg Wilson, my favourite DJ also loves and appreciate this song - so much that he edited and 11-minute 30 second version of it!

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Everything Flows TV - episode 1

I love YouTube. I come from an era where I recorded music videos and performances from The Word, Top of the Pops, the White Room, Later with Jools and BBC coverage of festivals like Glastonbury and T in the Park on to VHS cassettes!

And there was a market for this. Some enterprising individuals would mass produce their homemade bootlegs and sell them at record fairs. So I forked out £15/£20 for everything I could find on the Stone Roses, Oasis and The Charlatans!

Of course nowadays any TV show a band has ever done is online, as is their promo videos, interviews, official live footage and plenty of bootleg footage - some good, others shoddy.

I love when people I follow online post good stuff to watch, so I thought I would introduce what will hopefully become a regular feature - Everything Flows TV.

Episode 1 features brilliant stuff from The Beastie Boys, Nirvana, AC/DC and Jimi Hendrix.

The Beastie Boys fly through Sabotage live on the Letterman show. Check the ferocious energy and fun they are having. Superb!

The Word, broadcast late on a Friday night on Channel 4, was essential trash TV for a young teenager. There was some truly awful stuff broadcast, but some incredible live performances. Check Kurt's intro to Smells Like Teen Spirit, Captain America (to become Eugenius) t-shirt and the brilliant performance - Nirvana were such a tight live band but they could just go crazy - and they on TV.

There used to be so much music on TV. This was extremely memorable! Nirvana were booked to play their current single Lithium on Jonathan Ross' show and were introduced to that effect. Broadcast live, they decided to tear through Territorial Pissings instead! They blitz through it with exceptional punk rock energy and intensity, leaving Jonathan Ross a little shocked but he makes the most of it with a little joke.

Speaking of energy - a few people recently posted this brilliant video of AC/DC performing It's A Long Way To The Top If You Wanna Rock n Roll. Rocking out in the street (complete with bagpipes!) the band look like they are having the time of their lives - something that they always transferred to their fans.

In 1967 it must have seemed like anything could happen - and it often did. 2-days after the release of The Beatles seminal Sgt Pepper's, Jimi Hendrix and the Experience opened with it .... in front of The Beatles (Paul and George).

It would be one of his first gigs in London. Jimi was a sweetie, a very nice guy. I remember him opening at the Saville on a Sunday night, 4 June 1967. Brian Epstein used to rent it when it was usually dark on the Sunday. Jimi opened, the curtains flew back and he came walking forward, playing 'Sgt. Pepper', and it had only been released on the Thursday so that was like the ultimate compliment. It's still obviously a shining memory for me, because I admired him so much anyway, he was so accomplished. To think that that album had meant so much to him as to actually do it by the Sunday night, three days after the release. He must have been so into it, because normally it might take a day for rehearsal and then you might wonder whether you'd put it in, but he just opened with it. It's a pretty major compliment in anyone's book. I put that down as one of the great honours of my career. I mean, I'm sure he wouldn't have thought of it as an honour, I'm sure he thought it was the other way round, but to me that was like a great boost. - Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

SAY Award 2018 launch

The Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award launched this week as labels, bands, bloggers, journalists, fans, record shops and venues were encouraged to nominate Scottish albums released between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018. Full criteria for nominees can be found HERE

The list of nominees is building steadily and submissions are open until 31st May. The (always) lengthy list is then whittled down to a longlist of 20 and then that subsequently becomes  shortlist of 10, one of which comes from a public vote.

I love the SAY Award which really shines a light on the diversity and quality of music our small country regularly produces. I love browsing the nominees and trying to predict who might make the longlist, who will go on to the shortlist and who is in with a shout of winning.

Nominations have only just opened and there are some big hitters - Franz Ferdinand are the largest band on there buoyed by a new line-up including blog fave Miaoux Miaoux; Mogwai's remarkably consistent output of albums ensures they are in the running (have they been in the nominees every year?); then we have Roddy Woomble, previous winners Young Fathers,  Karine Polwart is another artist that is prolific and on the rise, as is Blue Rose Code and we have veterans Hue and Cry.

Conflats by Out Lines, the collaboration between Kathryn Joseph and James Graham from Twilight Sad won many friends upon release, although I have to be honest and say that I just couldn't get into it. I do expect it to fair well though.

It's good to see Ryan Joseph Burns (formerly of blog faves Seventeenth Century) on with his album Absence that I really need to check out. The SAY Award is a good reminder - I still need to check out Any Joy by Pronto Mama and Body Prt Fly Invisible Hero - great title and I'm listening to the opening track as I type.

I recently blogged about the Broken Records album and really hope that progresses to the longlist.
And then I've been digging in and have been enjoying The Great Albatross album Asleep in the Kaatskills which has a great feel to it and brilliant playing. It's kind of country, rock n roll and euphoric indie in the vein of Arcade Fire at times.

Themes for Buildings and Spaces by Andrew Wasylyk is really beautiful and I'd mark that as an early contender for the shortlist and a potential winner. It's very different and it stands out. The vivid song titles like Under High Blue Skies and Come the Autumn are matched by cinematic, dreamy, melancholic instrumentals. I really enjoyed listening to it and will definitely revisit.

Solan Goose by Erland Cooper is an album I checked out after hearing a track on Radio Scotland. A real headphone album, it is another beautifully dreamy album that you can get lost in. Definitely in with a shout of progressing to the next stage and beyond.

Kiss and Tell by Babe is another album I've enjoyed on first listen. A Jimmy Somerville-esque falsetto soars over electronic bleeps, beats and grooves. While No Lusicous Life by Golden Teacher is far out super cool grooves and electronica. It sounds extremely different from anything else I've checked out so far and stands out.

Starin' At The Freaks by December 91 is a title that grabbed me. They sound like they are in their own little world which is something I always like in a band.

 Friends with good taste have encouraged me to keep listening to Post Era by Lylo as the rewards grow with every one.

Speaking of titles, my sister emailed me to say she had nominated an album she discovered via Bandcamp called You Could Not Have Given The Slightest Of F**ks by Jonny Shitbag and the Smokes! It had been released on a tiny Paris based cassette label. It is brilliantly raw punk pop.

I blogged about Siobhan Wilson's album There Are No Saints and it is a real gem, her voice is stunning. I really expect it to progress.

Many indie artists have had a very productive year or so; Spinning Coin with Permo and Martha Ffion with Sunday Best to name but two.

And Last Night From Glasgow has a strong chance of matching (and hopefully beating) last years progression to the longlist with a range of brilliant albums that highlight the superbly eclectic range of music being released - the homemade psychedelic pop from Stephen Solo; the stunning voice, playing, songwriting and feel from Sister John; a mix of electronica, grooves and swagger from Medicine Men, electronic goodness from Sun Rose and young Annie Booth delivering an album that highlights her talent at present and potential for the future on a joint release with Scottish Fiction.

The list of nominations is still growing and I have loads of albums to check out. I hope you enjoy discovering the brilliant music that Scotland produced from April 2017 to the end of March 2018.

Keep up to date with the nominees and listen to them via 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

What We Might Know

From the urgency of the opening chords of They Won't Ever Leave Us Alone through to the bubbling synths that usher in the closing title track What We Might Know, Broken Records deliver big time with the release of their 4th album. 11-songs of heartbreak, parenthood, hope, looking to the future and reflecting on the past, all wrapped in glorious soulful Springsteen heart on the sleeve style.

Broken Records have been on the go for 10-years and this is their 4th album, their first since 2014. Quite a lot has changed during that time and the band have adapted from MySpace to present day, with two releases on the legendary 4AD Records and tours across Europe and USA in between. And that is just the changes in what it means to be in a band - never mind their personal lives which (sounds like) has inspired many of the songs.

Of course what it really means to be in a band, one thing that should never change, is the opportunity to hang with friends, express yourself and to have fun. And that really comes across throughout this spellbinding album. It is refreshingly open, honest, soulful and pure. It sounds like an album Broken Records had to make, if only for themselves.

Back to the opener; They Won't Ever Leave Us Alone is whirlwind of a song, blowing a fresh breeze into your heart to make you sit up with a jolt. The band fly through the song in a euphoric heartfelt way that almost leaves you gasping for breath.

Summer warmth, fading light
As I drive you home at night
Focus on the smallest things
And write them into my heart

If the opening track sets the bar, Let The Right One In accepts the challenge and pushes it higher. The band are on blistering form throughout the album, brilliantly tight but loose and with singer Jamie Sutherland singing his heart out. Producer Stephen Watkins has captured a band in peak condition.

Melodies usher in Open Ground with Sutherland's rich voice offered more space as the pace of the album drops ever so slightly, yet the urgency remains.

Sutherland spits out his vocals during The Inbetween, a man in a hurry to talk about his dreams and memories, the song builds gloriously, the band gel superbly and with ease.

Don't let these dreams carry me away

Anytime is an acoustic beauty, a fragile melodic riff takes us to some place different, Sutherland's voice displays a different kind of richness - one of warmth and concern. The chorus flows and then things drop to a bare minimum before rising again - beautiful.

I mentioned Springsteen earlier on and Broken Records have that whole widescreen soul thing going on throughout the album. The songs flow superbly and Perfect Hollow Love is outstanding.

I know it should be simple
Cause you're the only thing that's ever been clear

Don't turn your back on me
I'm not dying I can fix this yet
Don't turn your back on me
I'm still here I can pay my debt

You can sense how massive When All Of This Is Done is likely to become from the slow brooding intro. Trust your senses. The song builds beautifully, yet where other songs go full throttle the band keep this under control in style and Sutherland's voice is brilliant.

So Free is a slow burning gem before the pace picks up again for Clarity. Broken Records have certainly offered crystal clear clarity on their ability, vision and ambition with this release. At the time of writing I notice that it has already deservedly been nominated for the SAY Award. I really hope it makes the initial longlist and then who knows?

The penultimate Someday You'll Remember Me has another stunning intro where guitar, bass, drums and synth strings combine before Sutherland comes in. There is a little bit of Joy Division-esque bass, a real groove that allows everyone else to work their magic over the top.

And so we end with the title track, the magnificent What We Might Know. Sutherland's rich voice soars over bubbling synths before other instruments lift the song further and a beautifully life affirming way.

Broken Records have been playing a number of live dates to promote the album and have 3 coming up in the next few weeks. You can stream and order their album from BANDCAMP

10/05 - The Borderline, London
12/05 - Night People, Manchester
18/05 - Stereo, Glasgow

Never Ending Mixtape Part 23

More tunes for your ears.

We have newbies from The Go! Team and Alexis Taylor from Hot Chip, a classic from AC/DC, one from Dusty Springfield that I hadn't heard before and a cover of Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself by The Donna's to kick things off!

We then go on a trip with David Holmes, Liquid Liquid, LCD Soundsystem and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, before heading back to the 90's with classics from Massive Attack, the euphoric Yes by McAlmont and Butler and the Super Furries.

Liverpool offers us gems from Echo and the Bunnymen and Bill Ryder Jones, Shirley Bassey is included and some weirdly cool offerings from Jeffrey Lewis (from the brilliantly named album The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane and other favorites), Yamasuki Singers (a song my friend Ben stuck on a mixtape for me years ago), Steve Mason in his King Biscuit Time disguise and a track I discovered by an act called The Bongolian!

Throw in a few others including some northern gems and the stunning power pop of Open My Eyes by Nazz and you have another eclectic selection of tunes added to the Never Ending Mixtape.

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


The Only Thing New Is U Finding Out About It - The Go! Team
Oh Baby - Alexis Taylor
Touch Too Much - AC/DC
Haunted - Dusty Springfield
Dancing With Myself - The Donnas
Don't Die Just Yet - David Holmes
Cavern - Liquid Liquid
You Can't Hide/Shame On You (live) - LCD Soundsystem
Bellbottoms - The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Teardrop - Massive Attack
Yes - McAlmont and Butler
Play It Cool - Super Furry Animals
The Killing Moon - Echo and the Bunnymen
Are You My Love - Kelley Stoltz
I Can Only Give You Everything - Them
Jezahel - Shirley Bassey
You Can't Hide A Light With The Dark - Bill Ryder Jones
Good Fortune - PJ Harvey
The East River - Jeffrey Lewis
Yanamoto Kakapote - Yamasuki Singers
I Walk The Earth - King Biscuit Time
Googa Mama - The Bongolian
If I Could Only Be Sure - Nolan Porter
In Orbit - Joy Lovejoy
Tailor Made - The Lemon Twigs
Open My Eyes (alternate take) - Nazz

Friday, 27 April 2018

Songs from Teenage Fanclub - The Creation Records years podcast

My first podcast in ages!

Teenage Fanclub have announced a series of 3-night shows in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London to play songs from the incredible run of albums they released on Creation Records through the 1990's to 2000.

1991 - Bandwagonesque
1993 - Thirteen
1995 - Grand Prix
1997 - Songs From Northern Britain
2000 - Howdy

I take a look back and play a song from each album and a favourite b-side from the era.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Interview - Lynne and Dave Girdwood

Way, way back in the early 90's I attended Carluke High School and by the time I reached the common rooms of 5th and 6th year I was heavily into music. Delving into my parents record collection, starting my own and becoming involved in a little mixtape culture with other teenagers who were developing obsessions.

There was a metal crowd that worshipped Metallica, Guns n Roses, Iron Maiden and things like that, the indie crowd where the Roses, Fanclub, Nirvana, Inspirals and Charlatans featured heavily (and the Frank and Walters!) and then there were a few cool kids who were embracing house music.

Lynne McGilvary was one of these cool kids and I distinctly remember her cutting about in flares and kickers! She always had a lovely smile and was one of the few people who could easily cut about between the various groups/cliques that the common room held.

I would see Lynne out and about in the years after high school in clubs and at gigs and then we connected through Facebook. Lynne was living in Amsterdam with her boyfriend and hey - she had a couple of spare tickets for one of the first Stone Roses comeback shows in 2012!!! A quick phone call to my wife and a check of Easyjet flights and I was off to catch up with Lynne in Amsterdam.

My wife Lynn and I met Lynne and her (then) boyfriend Dave and went back to their super cool flat to listen to tunes and catch up over rooftop beers ahead of the Roses. Dave was clearly mad for music and also had a healthy obsession with desert boots which I always take to be a good sign! In our short time together it was clear that the two of them were mad for each other and music.

Lynne and Dave are now happily married, back in Scotland and have taken their passion for music to new levels through building a collection (and knowledge) of rare records and super cool tunes, dj-ing across the country and making great friendships along the way.

I always enjoy their social media posts about tunes and records they have discovered, tracked down and played to great reactions and also their little jokes with each other.

In May they get to do something that makes me insanely jealous but also very pleased for them. They get to DJ at the Barrowland Ballroom as part of the annual Barraloadasoul night!

Lynn and I went in 2015 and 2016 and we're in the process of organising babysitters to ensure we can go again. It will be quite something to dance on the hallowed ballroom sprung floor to tunes being spun by two friends.

Ahead of this, I pinged some questions to Dave and Lynne. I hope you enjoy reading their answers as much as I did. See below.

Tickets for Barraloadasoul are available HERE and you can keep up to dates via their Facebook page.

Here is my blog from the 2015 event

INTERVIEW - Lynne and Dave Girdwood

1. Music clearly plays a large part in your lives, is this what brought you together?

Dave - Pretty much, we used to sit opposite each other at work and already had a few mutual friends, the main one being Gav Wallace from the Scuffers (Lynne grew up with him and I worked beside him for 10-years), so we used to chat music all the time. I remember Lynne giving me a loan of a CD that I already had but said I hadn't heard it before, as I fancied her! When Lynne was living in Amsterdam and I was still in the UK we used to send each other tunes all the time. So as you can see music is pretty much brought us together and really is our life nowadays.

Lynne - I remember getting lots of lync messages telling me how much Dave was enjoying the tunes I was listening to on my iPod as I had the volume up so loud! We weren't even sitting opposite each other at that point, I had moved to a different part of the office! Haha!

2. Who had the best record collection when you first met? Do you share collections now? Does it always have to be original vinyl?

Dave - We both had pretty decent collections when we first met and both were quite different, mine consisted of predominately hip-hop, funk and soul, while Lynne's was house music and indie orientated. We mostly buy our records independently but if an expensive one comes up that we can't afford on our own, we'll buy it together. For the music and venues we play it has to be original vinyl and we pretty much dedicate most of our waking hours to sourcing records from all over the world, some would call us nerds or purists but we just like to do things properly.

Lynne - Obviously my collection is the best! (only joking!)

3. How have you influenced each others taste? 

Dave - We still have our own individual taste in records. Lynne will tell me pretty bluntly if she thinks something I've bought is shite (and I''m not shy either). We're always trying to outdo each other with new records, we've spent many an hour playing new stuff to each other before buying or just buying and watching the other one's face when it's put on the decks for the first time. We're also pretty good at finding records for each other, so if I come across something that I know Lynne would like I'll pass it on to her (unless I like it more) and vice versa.

4. Can you remember the first northern soul night you went to together? Any memories?

Dave - First soul night would've been the old Amsterdam Soul Club at De Badcuyp, we also got engaged there and it was the place we visited the night after we got married (also the only soul club tattoo I have). Amsterdam is a pretty special place for us and we go back each year, we're fortunate enough to also DJ there as well.

Lynne - Yes Amsterdam Soul Club! I landed a job over in Holland and moved over to Amsterdam. Dave moved over to live with me not long after we got together. Amsterdam Soul Club was on a monthly basis and we went as often as possible. Brilliant venue, great crowd of punters and amazing hosts that we are lucky to call friends now.

5. Was Dave first to DJ? When did you start dj-ing together?

Dave - I used to DJ at the student union in Dundee when I was living there, then stopped for a god few years before being asked to double deck with someone in Aberdeen at a soul night and I've been playing regularly since then. Lynne also got her start in Aberdeen at a different night and has also been playing regularly since. We've actually only DJ's together a handful of times, it's fun as you can bounce off each other as we have different tastes and styles.

Lynne - I still have to pinch myself that I'm getting asked to play the records I love out at soul clubs. It's amazing! We're both very thankful to get the opportunity to do it and are loving every minute of it.

6. And you DJ regularly all over. What have been your highlights so far?

Both - Dave playing at the last ever Amsterdam Soul Club night, was a great honour to be asked, as the place and the people mean a lot to us. SSW and MSFB - the crowd are amazing and I love how Yogi trusts us to play what we want. If you haven't visited MFSB yet, sort it out! Afternoon clubbing is the future! Being asked to play the notorious Different Strokes New Year's Eve parties, Manchester Soul Weekender and Aberdeen Soul Collective. Being asked to be residents at True Soul alongside some amazing DJ's. Every time we get asked to play somewhere is a highlight and we really mean it as we love playing music to people.

7. Barraloadasoul is still a relatively new annual event. What has it meant for the scene in Scotland and beyond?

Dave - It's one of the biggest soul events in Scotland, it's great to see somewhere that you normally associate with concerts, full of people dancing and having a great time. A major for me is how close it is, normally the weekends mean a lot of travel but this is only 40-minutes away by train for a change.

Lynne  - It's a massive event which is a great thing for the scene up in Scotland as it attracts people who have been into the music for years, but also people new to the scene.

8. What does it mean to the two of you to be dj-ing again at the famous Barrowland Ballroom?

Dave - I think it's still pretty mental! I remember being on stage last year before anyone was in and thinking to myself that the Barras  was way bigger from up on the stage than it looks from the floor. Really appreciate Geraldine asking us back again as we thoroughly enjoyed playing there last time and really look forward to this year again.

Lynne - I have been to the Barras so many times over the years and seen my favourite bands on that stage, so it's unreal that we get to DJ on the same stage as them! Delighted that Geraldine asked us, means a lot.

9. Who are your favourite DJ's?

Dave - For me it has to be Butch, he's always pushing the rare soul scene forward with new discoveries. Henning Borg from Switzerland is another, he's passionate about what he plays and he shows that when playing. Any DJ that shows passion whilst playing their music is a winner. Lastly Mark Linton, who unfortunately is no longer with us, he always told me to play what I wanted and believed in me.

Lynne - It's hard to pick favourite DJ's as there are so many with amazing records who can put together unbelievable sets! Big love for Markie too and very sad that he's no longer the life and soul of the party.

10. Lastly, could you each list your 5 favourite northern soul tunes?

5 from Dave's collection, not necessarily Northern, but definitely soulful;

1. Emmitt Long - Call Me (Donoyia)
2. Paramount Four - You Don't Know (Southern City)
3. New World - We're Gonna Make It (Polydor)
4. Delreys Incorporated - Destination Unknown (Tampete)
5. Sir Guy - I Need You Baby (DPG)

5 from Lynne's collection, again, not all northern, but soulful nonetheless! Oh...and this list could have literally hundreds of tunes on it - picking 5 is very tricky.

1. Brothers of Soul - Dream (Shock)
2. Cookie Scott and the Chevelles - I Don't Care (Orr)
3. Rising Sun - Good Loving (Kingston)
4. Kelly Brothers - Crying Days Are Over (Sims)
5. Johnny McCall - I Need You (Alteen)