More goodies from the inbox

The new MGMT video for their current ‘free download’ ‘Flash Delirium’ has hit the inbox: weird, wonderful and quite odd…

Their new album is out on April 12, entitled Congratulations and you can stream the entire thing here.

If you fancy having ‘Flash Delirium’ here for your iPod or whatever…here you go!

MGMT -’Flash Delirium.’ mp3

Meanwhile, Teenage Fanclub’s ‘Baby Lee’, from their forthcoming album Shadows is now available as a free download too…

Teenage Fanclub -’The Shadows.’ mp3

Here it is!

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Our first physical release, available now on CD and also on download.

A couple of great reviews that we’re really chuffed about:

Maverick Magazine: ****

The work of a Renaissance master with his paintbrushes replaced by a guitar.

Based in Edinburgh and releasing his second solo album, it is here that Chris is really carving himself a fine career. The plaudits have come thick and fast, such as a glowing review in the Sunday Times, and here no criticism will be heading towards this albums direction as it really isn’t necessary.

Consisting of twelve songs with all but one written by Chris himself, the best song of these dozen tracks has to be The Beatles. A sound which could have been created by talented teenagers in their parents basement away from prying ears just so not to steal their authentically awesome sound, this is Rockabilly music at its’ best circa 1962 and what a sound it is. The first prize has already been awarded, but the silver medal of this album must go to Running song. Telling of a story of despair that I’m sure many would relate to, the tale sung about so passionately adds vitality to the spirit of a song which paints a somewhat morbid story but played in such an upbeat sprit. The bronze medal is awarded to Beggar to fall. With its opening efforts on piano instantly drawing you in, this appealing aspect seems to spread itself to the rest of the instrumentations and certainly to Chris’s vocals as they more than hold themselves when up against the fine, aforementioned piano efforts.

With this being just Chris’s second album, here is to him releasing a third because what a sound that album will possess. RH

Is This Music?: ****

There’s soulfulness at the heart of this album that immediately makes one warm to it. While many singer-songwriters albums tend to drown you in melodrama, melancholy and sincerity, there is a wry honesty here that makes you smile. The lyrics are both humble and knowing as they strive to tell you something you didn’t already know about life. Summer may well have long gone but its’ sounds are here for all to see in Bradley’s plangent melodies and straightforward, unsentimental lyrics. Each song gels beautifully with its’ discmates, creating a fully-rounded and very satisfying listen. This is an entire album that takes its’ time to burn slowly and surely onto your synapses. Its’ ripe and juicy melodies making you want to sink your teeth into it. At The Outpost is a little stodgy in places, but such minor inadequacies can be overlooked by the quality on display here. ****

Rock ‘n’ Reel:

Aberfeldy native, Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Chris Bradley gets you from the moment the arresting rhythm of ‘The Man I Love’ kicks in on this, his follow-up to 2008’s Voices.

And there’s better yet ahead on this hugely enjoyable set of lean acoustic arrangements anchored by an acute pop sensibility and Bradley’s warm delivery – ‘Beggar To Fall’, ‘Golden Girl’, ‘Goddess Of Love’ and ‘Running Song’ (a nod in the direction of Steely Dan) fall around you like confetti. Even the Status Quo-like boogie riff on ‘The Beatles’ works!

And there’s an endearing DIY approach to the album, with Bradley playing everything (except for a guitar solo by Riley Briggs) and producing.

A Master’s graduate in composition from Edinburgh University, he merits a first for At The Outpost’s consummate thesis on the craft.

[sic] magazine: 7/10

Chris Bradley is the real name of the Marvel comics hero-turned-villain Bolt, a character who commanded electrokinesis and suffered from devastating headaches. Happily, this Chris Bradley does not inspire the very same. This Chris Bradley is an Edinburgh-based, eclectic singer-songwriter who projects confidence in place of lightning, variety instead of forcefields. Disappointed? Don’t be.

Bradley roams successfully from Neil Young sepia tones to Nick Drake laments, from piano-led storytelling that occasionally recalls James Taylor to power-chord pop. Utilising his day job compositional skills, Bradley’s songs are lush and narrative-based. Furthermore, he has friends in the right places having become an established part of Aberfeldy‘s chamber-pop bosom since 2007. Riley Briggs naturally therefore repays a few favours and cameos on guitar solo throughout the irrepressible midpoint “The Beatles”.

Peculiarly the easygoing lead single “Waltzing” places late on the tracklisting but leaves an impression, just as the folkish strains of the opener “The Man I Love” does. It’s not the gay anthem one might expect, and is instead a powerful paean to Bradley’s late father that comes back-to-back with “Beggar To Fall”, a decidedly more up-tempo affair. In turn, it sets the scene for the country-fried, toe-tapping sunshine provided by “Golden Girl”, a track that hints at The Allman Brothers catalogue while suggesting something The Cave Singers might produce after several years of AA meetings. Later still, “Running Song” has a dose of the Elton Johns to it, bobbing along happily in piano-pop country.

Listening to At The Outpost in full is repaid with a strong finale. “Not What It Was” is highly assured stuff, built on solid repeats and comes filled out by electric and acoustic guitar patterning before breaking into incongruous yet welcome synth spirals. The sparse, guitarless stomp of “Your Close Friend” is a particular highpoint taking in a boisterous rhythm borrowed from the Blues as it goes.

At The Outpost suggests either a sense of wilful ostracism in its creator, or one who comfortably calls the road his home. Whichever, Chris Bradley seems comfortable on this release. It’s emotional but not overly revealing, and it appears that when he drops his guard further it will more than pay to be around.

At The Outpost is released March 29th 2010 on 17 Seconds Records and will be followed by the re-issue of Bradley’s debut album Voices.

Chris Bradley -’Golden Girl.’ mp3

Chris’ facebook page

Chris’ myspace page

Presenting…Vacuum Spasm Babies

vacuum-spasm-babies-science

Vacuum Spasm Babies are a couple of scots who describe themselves as being ‘oddballs’ and state that they are ‘like-minded blood-relatives with a love of guerilla recording, shouting and recorders.’ They consist of Malcolm Spasm (who states that he is ‘notoriously unemployable’), who “fiddles with computer innards in his plush apartment on the edges of a rough Edinburgh housing scheme, where he hopes that one day his experiments will lead to the perfect wrong sound” and one Charles S. Bravo who “lives in a hammock in the Scottish Borders. He likes to watch the grass grow until the gin haze becomes too thick, then he writes songs.” This may or may not be true – but it doesn’t matter. It sounds great which is why I have lifted great quotes from their press release and put them in quotation marks. (After all, if you were a musician and stated ‘Oh, I just stay at me mum’s…it’s not going to give much by way of mystique, is it?) Their influences include bands as disparate as Add N To (X) and …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead.

The “Science EP” will be free to all to download at SharkBatter.com from Monday 5th April. It’s an excellent 4 track EP , which follows the bands debut album Whipping Clowns, which they released last year (which if you want to support them, you can buy at iTunes or on eMusic). Lead track ‘Science Division’ has a rather fab and lo-fi video and my favourite is the synth-pop beauty ‘Chemical Burns’ which they have graciously allowed me to put up a week before its’ release, and is one of my favourite tracks so far this year:

Vacuum Spasm Babies -’Chemical Burns.’ mp3

Pop along and make friends at their myspace page.

More new music in my inbox

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Yet again…lots of brilliant music coming my way and I’m trying to get through it all! I’ve already heard at least thirty new albums this year, and still haven’t had time to write reviews for them all (in some cases, because I won’t get back the time required to advise people, constructively, that it’s not worth their time or money either). But three things that are most definitely floating my boat.

First up are 4AD’s The National, who will be releasing their new single ‘Bloodbuzz Ohio’ in May. This might be one of my favourite tracks so far this year. This is the first track to come from their forthcoming album High Violet and you can download it for free by going here:

Download ‘High Violet’ by the National here!

new-pornographers-2

Meanwhile, the New Pornographers, the Vancouver -based supergroup that includes A.C. Newman and Neko Case have just released an excellent track called ‘Crash years’ which can be downloaded from iTunes (not on eMusic when I checked two minutes ago). You can hear the track on their facebook page here. this is taken from their forthcoming fifth album Together.

Last, but most definitely not least, Teenage Fanclub are due to return with their first new album in five years at the end of May, entitled Shadows, to be released on May 31. This year will mark twenty years since the release of theirseminal debut single ‘Everything Flows’ and the attendant debut A Catholic Education.

teenage-fanclub_shadows
The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

1. Sometimes I Don’t Need To Believe In Anything
2. Baby Lee
3. The Fall
4. Into The City
5. Dark Clouds
6. The Past
7. Shock And Awe
8. When I Still Have Thee
9. Live With The Seasons
10. Sweet Days Waiting
11. The Back Of My Mind
12. Today Never Ends

Hear ‘Baby Lee’ here on Soundcloud.

Album Review – Super Adventure Club

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Super Adventure Club -’Avoid Zombies’ (Armellodie)

What would happen if, in Scotland, you allowed the spirit of the Cramps to mix with the post-hardcore sounds of Shellac? Well, duh, you’d get the fantastic and not a little frightening Divorce. Obviously.

But if into that mix you also put a fear of Zombies that was topped off with an endearing scottish quirkiness…then you’d have the fantatsic Super Adventure Club. Their forthcoming new album Avoid Zombies takes all of the above influences and makes it into something really special that becomes pretty addictive. All being well, by now you have heard the rather ace recent doube A-side single ‘Pick Up Sticks’/'SAC Attack.’ But there’s far more on this album than you might expect.

‘Sheila’s Stabiliser Wheels’ is none other than an attack about sexism towards men in modern society. There’s an instrumental called ‘Think Like A Fish’ which is about the dangers of think driving – we’ll have to take their word for this (that that is what the song is about, rather than questioning the idea that thinking too much whilst you’re driving is dangerous. Like… duh. There’s fun and seriousness here, which is seemingly an unusual combination in pretty much any rock music over the last fifty years, where it might be one or the other, but… both? Here are a band to mess with the status quo (and probably Status Quo, come to that). And frankly, with a line like ‘That’s a fake nose -I can see it from here/and those joke-shop plastic fangs make you look like Alan Carr.’ Ouch. Brilliant!

There’s always been something utterly cool about three-pieces (The Jam being the finest example ever, but hats off to Doves, Bis and Biffy Clyro too), and Super Adventure Club’s new album will light up your year.

Providing you avoid Zombies, of course…

****

Avoid Zombies is released on April 12 on Armellodie.

Super Adventure Club -’Nosferatu.’ mp3

Super Adventure Club on myspace

Announcing 17 Seconds Records’ latest signing…The Last Battle

the-last-battle-lineup

I feel as happy as a child on Christmas morning (well, apart from the fact that Mrs. 17 Seconds isn’t here). Not only is it the first day of spring, but 17 Seconds Records is proud to announce its’ ninth signing, The Last Battle.

Left to right in the above photo they are: Arwen Duncan (vocals, percussion), Ella Duncan (glockenspiel, melodica), Scott Longmuir (Vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin), Liam O’Hare (drums), Flora McKay (‘cello, vocals, percussion) and Paul Barrett (bass, studio production). The band will be releasing their debut album for 17 Seconds in September, entitled Heart Of The Land, Soul Of The Sea. So cool is the album’s pedigree that not only have they done sessions for Song, By Toad but it also features contributions from Neil Pennycook of Meursault and Bart from eagleowl (who does not have a surname, that anyone is prepared to tell me). They’ve been getting some serious love from the scottish blogosphere too, not only from me, but also from The Steinberg Principle,Have Fun At Dinner, the Suitcase Orchestra, and of course, Toad.

Pop along to their myspace to hear them and see footage from the Song, By Toad session.

Album Review – Emma Pollock

emma-pollock-the-law-of-large-numbers

Emma Pollock -’The Law Of Large Numbers’ (Chemikal Underground)

Having released her debut solo album Watch The Fireworks on the legendary 4AD in 2007, it’s perhaps appropriate that Emma Pollock’s sophomore album sees back her on Chemikal Underground, the label she co-founded and which this year is celebrating its’ fifteenth anniversary. Much has been made of her membership of The Delgados and Chemikal Underground founding, but hopefully the focus will start to be on Emma Pollock: solo artist.

Watch the Fireworks was a hugely enjoyable album, and tracks like ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘Acid Test’ were amongst the best of 2007. It was perhaps a more immediate album than The Law Of Large Numbers (a title that Pollock, the digh priestess of Scottish indie has said that she herself doesn’t understand). However, repeated listens over the last two weeks have reaped rewards for this listener. Bookended by a piano theme of ‘Hug The Piano’ which features a piano motif which continues into ‘Hug The Harbour’ the first track to do the rounds from the album.

The album has some far more unusual arrangements than its’ predecessor; no more is this shown thn on my favourite track on the album ‘Red Orange Green’ which eerily evokes the feeling of a child’s msucial box, possibly just before it goes insane (I mean this as a cmpliment). And the lyrics still pack a powerful punch, ‘How you gonna break my heart/when you’ve never even made my day?’ she sings on ‘I Could Be A Saint.’

Emma Pollock’s music has won many fans over the last fifteen years in the guises she has been working in, and there is no question that without her contributions to the scottish music scene, it would be a poorer place. She’s still delighting and surprising us here, and long may she continue to do so.

****

The Law Of large Numbers is out now on Chemikal Underground

Emma Pollock – ‘Hug The Harbour.’ mp3

Alex Chilton remembered

alex-chilton

2010 is becoming a really awful year for musicians dying. Alex Chilton, front man of Big Star and record producer of the Cramps’ Songs The Lord Taught Us has died of heart complications, aged 59.

Though first making his name with the Box Tops, it was with Big Star, formed with the talented and tormented Chris Bell that Chilton really made his mark on history. In the first part of the seventies, they released three outsanding albums #1 Record, Radio City and best of all, Third/Sister Lovers. A major influence on R.E.M. and Teenage Fanclub, the band was covered by the likes of The Bangles (‘September Gurls’), Teenage Fanclub (‘Jesus Christ), Elliott Smith (‘Thirteen’) and This Mortal Coil (‘Kangaroo’ and ‘Holocaust’) [Bell's 'You and Your Sister' and 'I Am the Cosmos' would also be covered by This Mortal Coil]. Though the band never had major commercial success in their lifetime, the wealth of artists lining up to pay tribute to them hopefully eased some of the pain. In 2000, NME writers voted Third/Sister Lovers the no.1 heartbreak album of all time, ahead of albums by the likes of Joy Division, Mogwai and The Cure.

After Big Star split, Bell sadly died in 1978 and Chilton continued with an erratic solo career. He went into production, most famously producing the songs that would make up the Cramps’ Gravest Hits EP and their debut Songs The Lord Taught Us. Rather like many cult artists in the pre-internet age, as with Daniel Johnston or Nick Drake, their profile grew by being covered and name-checked by other artists.

Rest In Peace, Good Sir. Seriously; check out the three Big Star albums. Your record collection is the poorer without them.

Big Star -’Holocaust.’ mp3

Big Star -’Kangaroo.’ mp3

This Mortal Coil -’Holocaust.’ mp3

The Cramps -’Human Fly.’ mp3

17 Seconds Records update

17-seconds-records

Hiya people, this is a very short update as I’m shattered and I really need to sleep.

However, the new 17 Seconds Records website is up and running, and we think it looks great! Cheers, Willie. Most importantly, it has the shop up and running and amongst the things you can buy is the forthcoming Chris Bradley album, At The Outpost. Some great reviews coming in for this, and if you cannot hold on ’til the album’s out, go and buy the ‘Waltzing’ and ‘Bored Little Rosie’ singles on download.

meanwhile, there’s a lot coming the way of the blog, so much that I wonder where this weekend is going to go. There are interviews with both Kid Canaveral and Midas Fall to be written up, lots of reviews, including the new album by Emma Pollock, and as ever, a whole heap of bands I want to feature.

This is not to do them down but if you haven’t heard Beneath Us, The Waves, they are truly awesome.

Oh, and there’s an imminent new EP coming from We Were Promised jetpacks called The Last Place You’ll Look. This track has been made available as a free download:

We Were Promised Jetpacks -’A Far Cry.’ mp3