Sign Serpico now!

Hi…yet again, life, teaching and other things are conspiring against me to prevent me from posting as often as I would like.

Anyway, first things first: was given a copy of a demo by a Glasgow band called Serpico to review. please, please, please – the tracks you will hear on their myspace page show a band who are ready and waiting to go. If you have the know-how, sign ‘em. If you don;t but want to hear a band who remind me of Indie rock at it’s epic best, with belief but not bluster, then go here and be their friend:

Serpico’s myspace page

Speaking of great scottish bands, if you haven’t voted at www.jocknroll.co.uk what are you waiting for? If you haven’t checked their site for a while, please do so.

Finally, my current favourite scottish blog is the Vinyl Villain. The music on this site is just SO DAMN GOOD. (and now it’s even got a link!!)

Hope everyone’s well. remember, January’s nearly over, and the Shins album is now out in the UK (review to follow…)

Music for Burns

Tomorrow is January 25 – a night for those of us in Scotland, and further afield to remember Robert Burns. Whilst I cannot claim to be an expert on the man, he is still held in high, high regard here in Scotland as the national bard. He is the man who originated ‘My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose,’ ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ and perhaps most famously ‘Auld Lang Syne.’ In the last five years, Eddi Reader has released a whole album of his songs, and the songs have also been covered by The Delgados (‘Parcel of rogues’) and here, ballboy.
More ballboy mp3s can be found here
Buy Ballboy here

Album Review: The Good, The Bad and the Queen ”The Good, The Bad and the Queen"

Album Review: The Good, The Bad and the Queen ”The Good, The Bad and the Queen”

I tried to approach this album with the best of intentions. I was NOT going to mention the previous (and in at least one case, hopefully two to be continued projects) acts that the four members of TGTGATQ have been involved in. Any acts debut deserves to be taken on its’ own merits.

And this is, without doubt a great album. Coming back after a hard day at the chalkface, or should that be chalkboard, this album is, right from its’ first listen, a warm, strong piece of work. ‘Herculean’ was a limited-release single last year, and hearing it again, it’s like beging greeted by someone who you wish to become more acquainted with. The album is also reasonable in length – it feels like a solid forty to fifty minutes – which is not padded out with filler. In this iPod age, and i’m as guilty of this as the next blogger, it’s great to hear an album that’s iPod proof. You will want to listen to it, in its entirety, on a regular basis.

I was trying not to mention previous work for the band members – but with that line-up it’s hard not to. That’s because this album feels like an album that’s a natural follow-on from Blur’s Think Tank, in a way that Damon Albarn’s (less be honest) scrappy Democrazy wasn’t, and Gorillaz’ Demon Days should not have expected to have been. And with Simon Tong, Tony Allen and Paul Simonon as his new foils, for the first time, I’m thinking that if this becomes Albarn’s main job, maybe I -and you- can live with that.

Back in 1995, the Foo Fighters emerged, very much in the shadow of their leader’s former band (Nirvana, if it needs spelling out for you). They stepped out of that shadow quickly, and I hope these four men can do the same.

9 out of 10.

The Good, The Bad and The Queen -’History Song.’ mp3

The Good, The Bad and The Queen -’Herculean.’ mp3

This post is now a week old, and i have removed the links. If you like it, go buy it!

Album Review: The View ‘Hats Off To the Buskers’

And so it comes to pass…like so many bands before them, feted by the NME and many others, three fantastic singles that have gained progressively higher places on the charts (do we now say ‘Tracks’ chart? Singles chart is, like, so 2006) The View‘s debut is with us. The word is that ‘it’s the best debut since Definitely Maybe.’ Hmm. no hype there, then…

The aforementioned trio of brilliant singles ‘Wasted Little DJs’ ‘Superstar Tradesman’ and ‘Same Jeans’ are present and correct, and they are worth the price of admission alone (assuming you haven’t bought them all already, arguably). There are also some excellent tracks on this Dundee four-piece’s band that are worth hearing – ‘The Don’ and ‘Face For Radio’ certainly impacted on my radar even on first listening. The album is a fun, fine listen – but it is stretching it to say that it’s as good a debut as Definitely Maybe. Call me old -and as a teacher, hundreds of kids do daily – but there is a slight feeling of ‘heard this done before.’

The album doesn’t so much evoke Oasis’ debut, as bring to mind the Arctic Monkeys and the Libertines. Like the View, good bands who sometimes are at risk of their considerable talent being overwhelmed by even greater hype, that has a nasty habit of getting vicious like a media descending on Jade Goody. But like those bands, they have an excellent way with a tune, and Superstar Tradesman still feels as life -affirming as when I heard it a few months ago.

Ignore the hype, and take the album on it’s own merits, of which there are many.

7 1/2 out of 10.

The View -’Superstar Tradesman.’ mp3

The View -’Wasted Little DJs.’ mp3

This post is now a week old and I have removed the links. If you want to hear it, go and buy it!

Buy The View on Amazon

Ipod fun with Quasi

As you will have guessed from the slightly irregular posting over the last couple of weeks, I’m now back teaching and not having the time to post every day. It doesn’t mean that I have given up on the blog, or indeed music. Having been given a new Ipod a couple of months back, and spent a lot of time downloading stuff onto it, I’m quite frequently re-familiarising myself with stuff I had downloaded, and sometimes almost forgotten about.

A case in point would be these four tracks from Quasi. Taken from the wonderful sites that are Insound and Epitonic, Quasi are formerly married couple Janet Weiss (who played with Sleater-Kinney) and Sam Coomes. I am not an authority on this band, but boy am I now smitten. Sometimes they even remind me of Ben Folds Five in their mental jazz wig-outs.

Anyway, try these for size, hope they give you as much enjoyment as they have given me…

Quasi-’The Rhino.’ mp3

Quasi-’Drunken Tears.’ mp3

Quasi-’It’s Raining.’ mp3

Quasi-’Mammon.’ mp3

NB This post is now over a week old. If you want to hear Quasi…
…then as ever, go and buy Quasi, at Amazon (UK) or Ampcamp (US)

Quasi on MySpace

Quasi’s record label Touch and Go

Excited about 2007′s new albums yet?

…mmm, I am, with The View and The Good, The Bad and the Queen due to release their albums in the UK, and Bloc Party, the Shins, Arcade Fire and so many others…how the bloody hell am I supposed to save up the cash for all that lot? Starve?!

Anyway, to whet your appetite, Heather over at I am fuel, you are friends has posted the new Kaiser Chiefs track Ruby here, and the post also includes Martin Luther King Jr.’s I have a dream speech.

Meanwhile, The Torture Garden has a lot of Arcade Fire rarities, including covers of Maps by the Yeah Yeahs Yeahs, New Order’s Age Of Consent and Bowie’s Five Years.

As always, remember, if you like the music concerned, do go and buy it.
Buy The Kaiser Chiefs (pre-order) here

Arcade Fire cannot be pre-ordered at Amazon yet (except for the import) but Ampcamp are taking pre-orders here.

Just a quick one…

…Ever picked up an album, like dirt, dirt cheap and found it was worth more than you thought?

Have been off for a few days with ‘flu (like most of you, prabably!) but I few days ago I picked up the Pretenders’ 2003 album Loose Screw…and this track particularly, seems to have lodged itself in my brain. I know received wisdom seems to be that they were never as cool after the first two albums, but this is a subtle wee gem. Wherever you are, if there are sales on, do check the bargain bins, ‘cos there are some goodies out there!

The Pretenders -’Complex Person.’ mp3

If you cannot pick this up for a pound (hint to UK readers, mine was from Fopp), then there are copies very cheaply here on Amazon.

Enjoy your weekend, wherever you may be!

Where did the holidays go???

I know, I know, a lot of people have had virtually no time off over the Christmas holidays (having worked in retail for many years, always as a lowly shop assistant, I do sympathise), but it’s back to teaching tomorrow…

…which means writing long, long posts on here isn’t going to happen quite so frequently, as I spend evenings marking and preparing.
However, the debut Klaxons album ‘Myths of the near future’ is out at the end of the month. If you haven’t heard them already, follow the link above and then go and buy the album either here at Amazon or your local independent store. Or a really good web-based independent store, such as AmpCamp. American readers, not sure when this is out your way BUT Ampcamp do have this in stock.

Working For A Nuclear Free City

Oh, God bless AmpCamp and MySpace. No, seriously.

Whilst flicking through the web earlier on, the aforementioned ampcamp mentioned Working For A Nuclear Free City. The description, of this band who hail from Manchester, with impeccably cool sounding Manchester sound (no, definitely do not mean Madchester) have swept me off my feet, er, sonically speaking.
It took me a while to find their MySpace, largely because it’s www.myspace.com/wfanfc (that could have been hours spent googling). I was NOT disappointed – to the extent that having listened to all four tracks streamed there, I went and bought their album. They might be indie, they might be dance, but this is not a Madchester re-hash, nor yet another band claiming to be influenced by Gang Of Four etc… So many bands claim to be influenced by violently cool names and yet re-hash the Beatles; rather like the X-Vectors, they are a band with a lot of dance influences.

I can only recommend that you go to their MySpace page, hear the tracks for yourself, and check out these two posts at The white Noise revisited: here and here. They have hints of acts as diverse as the Doves, Happy Mondays and A Certain Ratio – yet there’s something else too…
Now do yourself a favour and go and buy the album, either on CD or even better, on vinyl.

New (and old) music for 2007

NME have brought it to the world’s attention that there is a rather fine new track from Stellastarr* called Warchild over at their MySpace page. Listening to this and other tracks reminds me just how good they are. A new album is due sometime this year.

Get yourself over there, check it out and then go buy yourself some Stellastarr* here

Meanwhile, having been nosing around several online record stores the other day, I am pleased to remind you of the existence of two tracks you have to hear. One is a classic debut from 1990, the other an overlooked gem from last year:

Teenage Fanclub -’Everything Flows.’ mp3

This can be heard on Teenage Fanclub’s A Catholic Education album. Buy here.

Their official website is here and they have a MySpace here

The Rogers Sisters -’Never Learn To Cry.’ mp3

This can be found on their album the Invisible Deck, which can be bought here or you can get a lovely 7″version here. Their official website is here and their MySpace is here.

Now; I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you like the tracks you here; GO AND BUY THEM and support the artists involved (see them in concert, get the records etc..) It’s only fair. The record companies may, especially if large conglomerates, be out to rip people off, but these are generally wonderful, hard-working people trying to make a living.

Speaking of supporting hard-working people, I have been hugely enjoying the Complete Peel Sessions by The Fall, which was one of my Christmas presents. It horrifies me to think that there might be people out there who haven’t heard of The Fall, so -courtesy of Insound here is a Classic, which can be found on the rather wonderful 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong compilation which is an excellent primer to their work 1978-2003:

The Fall -’US 80s/90s.’ mp3

Buy 50,000 Fall Fans Can’t Be Wrong here

(NB Couldn’t find a MySpace for the Fall. Somehow, I’m not surprised…)