Album Review – Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers

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Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers -’Luck.’ (Re: Peater)

A mere two weeks or so after label mates (and, indeed, label masters) She’s Hit release their debut,Pleasure, comes the very welcome release of Luck. It’s a sign that this label are really, really going to be big players on the Scottish Independent scene -and further afield.

Jacob Yates – just in case you haven’t been paying attention – is Jacob Lovatt, formerly of Glasgow’s legendary cult act Uncle John & Whitelock. Though they called it a day after just one album, I consider myself lucky to have caught them live once or twice, halfway through the last decade. In the last year JY&TPGLPs have released two fine split singles with She’s Hit, and their own ‘When You Left Me’/'You Started At the Bottom.’

The band’s sound is indebted to (but not wholely derived from) Tom Waits and Nick Cave in their fiercer moments (think Mule Variations and Tender Prey, respectively). They have their own take on the sound, in which the southern American swamps mix with Northern States’ garages with the rough and ready world of Glasgow’s Maryhill.

There’s no question that you can tell what records the band has been listening to. But it’s the sheer jolts and nerve of this ride which make it such a joy. It’s dark -oh so dark -but just as thrilling. there’s many (myslef included) who feel that Uncle John & Whitelock should have had more recognition. Here’s hoping that this time Mr. Lovatt gets his due.

****

Luck is released on June 20 on Re:Peater Records

As pants the heart for cool(ing) streams…

How did it take the record companies so long to figure out that they could let people hear the music in full (without those bloody adverts) without people not going and buying the records?

No doubt there is software that (illegally) allows people to rip it, but to be honest, I think what most people would liek is the chance to hear the record before it comes out without either a) wasting their money or b) picking up bugs or c)getting cease and desist notices.

Anyway, lots of great albums streaming around the net at the moment, starting with this, the new album from the Arctic Monkeys. It sounds like a return to form to these ears (not that Humbug was all that bad, really…). There is no doubt that the album cover looks rubbish (and let’s face it, it looked a bit stupid when Hard-Fi pulled the same ‘trick’ a few years back) -but don’t let that put you off the album.

suck-it-and-see

http://soundcloud.com/dominorecordco/sets/arctic-monkeys-suck-it-and-see

If you’re so inclined there’s a guide from lead Monkey Alex Turner on the album right here on nme.com

You can also stream the following albums via nme.com at the moment:

Battles Gloss Drop

Death Cab For Cutie’s Codes and Keys

White Denim D

Antlers Burst Apart

Presenting…Strawberry Ocean Sea

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Formed in Glasgow in March 2010, Strawberry Ocean Sea may have a weird monicker but there’s nothing hippyish about their music. Rather, on the evidence of the demos that they’ve posted online, the band set out to evoke the likes of the acceptable side of epic rock, people like Arcade Fire, Echo and the Bunnymen and early U2.

The band -Jonny Skinner (Lead Vocals, Guitars), Greg Kenney (Guitars), Richie Bell (Bass, Vocals), Stuart Kennedy (Keyboards and Vocals) and Cobo (Drums) have picked up a celebrity fan in Glasvegas’ James Allan already – in fact, they claim to have recorded one of their demos in his Mum’s lounge.

They’re also achieveing the rather impressive feat of releasing their debut AA-side single in two halves. The first part ‘Down By The River’ will be released on June 4, with a gig at the Arches.

Already getting the tabloids into a frenzy…I think there’s something tasty brewing here…

Down by the River by StrawberryOceanSea

Today’s The Day by StrawberryOceanSea

Enough is Never Enough by StrawberryOceanSea

Under The Moonlight by StrawberryOceanSea

Album Review – White Heath

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White Heath -’Take No Thought For Tomorrow’ (Electric Honey)

White Heath first made their presence felt two years ago, with the excellent The Sea Wall EP. It was an excellent release -self-released at that – which suggested that White Heath were capable of big things. And they have more than delivered with this, their debut album.

Opening track ‘Maker’ shows hints of jazz and classical as it builds towards its finish. There’s also hints of an epic classical feel on the closing ‘So.’ Fantatsic bookenders for the album -and if one of these boys ends up scoring soundtracks at any point, i wouldn’t be surprised.

Although all four songs that made up their debut release appear here, they appear much more self-confident and mature. Listening back to the EP now (which I still do) those versions seem much less sure of themselves by comparison. First single ‘GG’ is also much improved on earlier versions that circulated.

Given the gorgeous instrumentation, and awesome use of both strings and brass, I daresay some lazy fools will draw comparisons with another Edinburgh band now onto their sophomore album. Fools! This album is astonishing, full stop. But it is all the more amazing when you consider that it is a debut. Given that some of the bands whose careers have started with Electric Honey have gone onto achieve great things (keep up! Biffy, Belle and Sebastian and Snow Patrol), it would be a travesty on this evidence White Heath did not follow suit.

****1/2

Take No thought For Tomorrow is released physically on June 4 on Electric Honey.

GG’ is available as a free download.

Election Day by Jim Sutherland

7 38am by Jim Sutherland

When The Watchmen Leave Their Stations by Jim Sutherland

Past The Satellites, Into The Fray by Jim Sutherland

Gil Scott Heron – we salute you!

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I was sorry to read about the death of Gil Scott Heron today. I wish I could claim to be an authority on his work -but I’m not.

Suffice to say, his music laid the groundwork for Hip-Hop, but also encompassed blues and soul. Last year’s I’m New Here album, his first for thirteen years, saw him building his profile once more.

I was going to post ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised or ‘Living In The Bottle’ – but I think this is an excellent example of his work.

Rest in peace.

Gil Scott Heron -’Me and the Devil.’ mp3

It’s Friday…so it’s covers time

crunchie

Utterly exhausted here.

Sorry for lack of posts over the last few days -yesterday evening I burned my hand and was more concerned with trying to make sure I was actually going to be able to get into work today.

There will be more reviews appearing here over the weekend – but for now enjoy these…

Ash -’Does Your Mother Know? (Abba cover).’ mp3

Black Box Recorder -’Seasons In the Sun (Terry Jacks cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub -’Like A Virgin (Madonna cover).’ mp3

Placebo -’Johnny & Mary (Robert Palmer cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers -’Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H)( M*A*S*H cover).’ mp3

Siouxsie & the Banshees -’The Passenger (Iggy Pop cover).’ mp3

Mercury Rev -’I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

Flying Saucer Attack -’Outdoor Miner (Wire cover).’ mp3

Primal Scream -’Know Your Rights (Clash cover).’ mp3

Sonic Youth -’Hot Wire My Heart (Crime cover).’ mp3

The return of The Horrors

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Just a couple of months after Farris’ side-project Cat’s Eyes, The Horrors return with their third album, Skying.

It will be released on XL on July 11 (July 26 if you are reading this in the US). The first single will be the track ‘Still Life’ which shows that they have started experimenting with brass and yet continuing to hold onto the shoegazing sound. This sounds nothing like ‘Sheena Is A Parasite.’ That was five years ago, mind you…

The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

‘Changing the Rain’
‘You Said’
‘I Can See Through You’
‘Endless Blue’
‘Dive In’
‘Still Life’
‘Wild Eyed’
‘Moving Further Away’
‘Monica Gems’
‘Oceans Burning’

Check out ‘Still Life’ and let me know what you think…

Album Review – She’s Hit

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What…another Scots band releasing a debut? Yes, but listen closely, you’ll be glad you did…

The two singles released so far from this album ‘Re:Peater’ and ‘Shimmer Shimmer’ give an excellent insight into what She’s Hit are all about. They take a love of sixties surf and garage, Suicide, Cramps and Jesus and Mary Chain, and mix it up into something wonderfully intense and intoxicating in the best possible way. The end result is very cool indeed. Yes, those two tracks are amongst the highlights, but so too are ‘Lustless’ and ‘Part One; both of which feature the haunting vocals of Jen Paley of Glasgow’s Astral Planes.

Doubtless, much will be made of famous friends and other well-known contributors to the album (not least Sons & Daughters’ Scott Paterson) and the Scottish scene’s players who have remixed tracks on the bonus disc. Whatever. That’s not what’s the really important thing. What is important is that this is a kick-arse record and you need to make sure you hear it.

It’s been worth waiting for.

****

Pleasure is released on June 6 on Re:Peater Records.

RE:PEATER by She’s Hit

Shimmer Shimmer by She’s Hit

Part One by She’s Hit

Presenting…the Spook School

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For a band that only formed at the start of the year, and have only played a handful of gigs, The Spook School seem to be almost frighteningly precocious and self-confident.

They’re an Edinburgh band who’ve got their roots in twee-pop and c-86 and have their own twist on it. They don’t give much away on their website (though the singer’s called Naomi, it would appear) but they are giving two excellent songs away for free. FREE. FREE!!! get ‘em now or you’ll never know what might have been:

They’re playing Henry’s Cellar Bar on July 2, and the Glasgow Popfest on December 8. By which stage they will no doubt be signed to some very cool record company.

Album review – Kate Bush

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Kate Bush -’The Director’s Cut’ (Fish People)

The notion of the ‘Director’s Cut’ is usually associated with film. But Kate Bush is a visionary artist, and in her case, it is sound rather than vision which she has sought to re-do. Having made just eight studio albums in a career that now stretches over thirty years, her quality control has always been pretty high. By and large, 1985′s The Hounds Of Love is reckoned to be her crowning achievement so far, though I’ve long held earlier albums like Lionheart and Never For Ever in high regard, too.The two albums which provide the source material for this album, 1989′s The Sensual World and The Red Shoes from 1993 are certainly not weak albums. But she has elected to re-work songs from both albums.

In the case of ‘The Sensual World’ (the song), it is about following her original intention. This had been to use Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy from Joyce’s Ulysses, but the Joyce estate had not granted her permission. This has now been granted, the song is re-presented here with changed lyrics and re-titled ‘Song Of the Mountain.’ It’s rather lovely.

It doesn’t always work as well as it should. The vocoder effect on ‘A Deeper Understanding’ detracts from what is otherwise an excellent and effective re-working; several listens in, I’m still not sure this was the right thing to do (the video is awesome, mind). As for the re-working of ‘This Woman’s Work’ it’s not quite as affecting as the original.

Bush has always been a master of the recording studio, and the album sounds fantastic. Thus the re-working of ‘The Red Shoes’ with didgeridoo gives it the feel of a workout in the Australain outback. ‘Rubberband Girl’, meanwhile, sees our heroine imagine what it would have been like to front the Rolling Stones circa Sticky Fingers. ‘Lily’ and ‘Song Of Solomon’ come alive for me far more than they did on the original version of The Red Shoes.

Doubtless discussions will run and run about which versions are better and which are worse than the originals (hell, there’s probably people still debating the (de)merits of the new vocal of ‘Wuthering Heights’ that appeared on The Whole Story). It is clear that, given the input and approach, this is certainly not just a cash-in exercise. Rumours are circulating of another studio album, and her first tour since 1979. Given how long it can be between albums for her, in the politest way possible, I’m not holding my breath.

But it is wonderful to have Kate Bush in any way, shape or form. They truly broke the mould after her.

****

The Director’s Cut is out now on Fish People.