Presenting…Frank’s Daughter

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Sometimes I wonder how much of these press releases are really true or not.

‘Frank’s Daughter are Frank (vocals, guitar, keys) and Arthur (guitar, bass, programming), two British musicians who found themselves working in New York in the late noughties.’ (OK, this I can understand).

The idea for Frank’s Daughter was born in a Brooklyn bar over several bottles of red wine and many, many whiskies. (Like thinking you have a daughter? Riiight.) The duo returned to London, but finding the urban environment uninspiring, they relocated to an out of season alpine hotel, taking a van full of recording equipment. There, they spent two months in total isolation, returning with a stack of songs that were finished in their Deptford studio. (So…The Shining meets Straw Dogs. Possibly inspiring, but bloody terrifying). These desolately exquisite songs form ‘The Sound Of A Heart Unravelling’, Frank’s Daughter’s debut album [The Sound Of A Heart Unravelling] to be released in May. (I hope this bit is true, the track is great):

(suggestions that it references Talk Talk, Kate Bush and Aphex Twin are very accurate)

This is NOT the official video, but a viral one they have done. Liking this…

Presenting…Trwbador

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Trwbador (I am guessing it’s pronounced Troubador) are a boy/girl duo from Carmarthenshire in South Wales featuring half Welsh, half Dutch singer and producer Angharad Van Rijswijk alongside the ‘intricate guitar playing and hip hop style productions of all Welsh’ Owain Gwilym.

Their new single is entitled ‘Safe’ and although it’s not out until February 25, I thought it would be really nice to share this with you. Actually their stuff is really rather great, full stop.

They’ve collaborated quite a bit with Cornershop, supported Laura J Martin (who I wrote about on this blog last year) and they have announced the following live dates (just England and Wales):

SATURDAY 23/02/2013 CARMARTHEN, THE PARROT
TUESDAY 26/02/2013 CARDIFF, BUFFALO BAR
WEDNESDAY 27/02/2013 LONDON, SLAUGHTERED LAMB
FRIDAY 01/03/2013 LEICESTER, COOKIE JAR
SATURDAY 02/03/2013 LIVERPOOL, MELLO MELLO
SUNDAY 03/03/2013 THE COMPASS, CHESTER

They have also announced that their debut album will be released on March 25 (according to the press release) or April 1 (according to their website), and that there is another tour to follow, with ‘dates in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester, Glasgow and Edinburgh.’ So it looks like those of us north of the border should get to see them soon.

This, by the way, is the very first song they ever did, and you can download it:

I don’t know anything about this song, except it’s really rather lovely, twee in the best possible sense, and also free to download:

Presenting…Glassbooks

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It’s the honesty of some emails that gets you, and makes you want to write about some bands (it worked in this case because the music’s rather good, too). ‘My band Glassbooks are fairly new to the Scottish music scene and would appreciate any exposure you could give us. We only ever seem to play to our friends because no-one else knows we exist, so if you could help bring our music to the public sphere, we’d be very grateful’ wrote guitarist Adam Carrington.

Adam hails from Paisley, but the Edinburgh-based band are from all over – David Escudero King (singer/rhythm guitar) is Spanish-Canadian; Darren Wilkie (drums) is Glaswegian, while bassist Stuart Fraser is from Aberdeen. Citing their influences as Radiohead, Bloc Party, Interpol, Nirvana ‘any guitar band with a sense of purpose and urgency’ there’s something brewing in their sound, most impressively for a band who have been together for barely a year.

They’ve just released their debut EP as a free download. It comprises two songs ‘Disarm The Television’ and ‘Glassbooks;’ for my money, ‘Glassbooks’ is the stronger of the two tracks but see what you think…

Meanwhile, you can get along to see them at dates in Glasgow and Edinburgh over the next month or so; check their bandcamp.

Album Review: Your Move, Raincloud

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Your Move, Raincloud ‘This Is What’s Left Over From Nothing That’s Happened.’ (Motive Sounds)

Your Move, Raincloud is by and large the solo work of one Samuel Francis Cain, a 28 year-old songwriter. It’s his debut album, four years in the making.

He has a lot of ambition, soundwise, though much of it is not so much lo-fi as no-fi. Quite a few of the tracks on this album are very good, but over the course of fifty minutes, even after several listens I’ve still found it a bit much to take all in one sitting.

However, for my money, if nothing else you should make sure that you hear and buy the really rather fine penultimate track on the album ‘Something.’ It’s absolutely beautiful, in pretty much everything, and a spectacularly cool way to have your heart broken by a song.

***

This Is What’s Left Over From Nothing That’s Happened is out now on Motive Sounds

Presenting…Woman’s Hour

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Another example of a tune I have picked up on as a result of that very old-fashioned method of finding out about new music, otherwise known as hearing about it on the radio.

This got played on Mary Ann Hobbs’ Breakfast Show on 6Music this morning. Even the lady herself admitted that details about the band were fairly scarce, but this much I can tell you (and you could probably find out for your good selves with not much time spent using Google).

They originally hail from Kendal in Cumbria (where Mrs. 17 Seconds also comes from) and are now based in London. They are a four piece, who formed in 2011. The band consists of siblings Fiona Jane (vocals) and William (guitar), along with Nick (bass) and Josh (keyboards). Their song’ Our Love Has No Rhythm’ is utterly lovely. They are supposed to be releasing a new 12″ single on Parlour Records this year.

Supposedly you can downlaod the single for free…I’m still trying to figure out how to do that…but I would happily buy it. You should, too.

Album Review: Cuddly Shark

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Cuddly Shark -’The Road To Ugly.’ (Armellodie)

Following on from their self-titled debut, released back in 2009, ver three-piece Shark prepare to issue their sophomore album, having prefaced it with the Body Mass Index EP towards the end last year.

For my money, the two tracks from that EP that reappear here (‘Body Mass Index’ and ‘Overpriced’) are the strongest here, though I’ve got a soft spot for album opener ‘SPMG’ too. Rather like fellow Scots We Are The Physics, there’s a quirkiness to these two lads and lass, and an admirable sense of not taking themselves too seriously.

Several listens in, I have to say that I would be lying if I said that I was in love with the whole album. But there are some excellent tracks on offer here, and there are far worse ways of spending thirty-five minutes.

***1/2

The Road To Ugly is released by Armellodie on January 28.

Album Review: Marianne Faithfull (re-issue)

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Marianne Faithfull -’Broken English.’ (Island)

Widely recognised by many as her greatest album -including the lady herself -this deluxe edition of Broken English reaffirms why it’s such a highly regarded album, as well as having a second disc of original mixes which actually genuinely illuminate the final album, rather than just feeling that they are tacked on.

If Faithfull had been known in the 60s for being the singer of ‘As Tears Go By,’ and Mick Jagger’s girlfriend, then by 1979, things had changed. She had spent time homeless, lost custody of her son and was still battling heroin addiction. Her voice is deeper, cracked and raw on this album, and yet utterly compelling. Faithfull is a woman who has seen a lot, but even when she’s bitter and angry, as she is for much of this album, in keeping with the punk and reggae influences of era that seep onto the record.

The title track oozes with cold war paranoia -and the second CD shows that it is scaled down from the original mix that was planned. Dedicated to Ulrike Meinhof, the co-founder of the Red Army Faction who’d died three years previously, the song was not an exoneration of Meinhof but a realisation, that there but for the grace of God went she. Her covers of Lennon’s ‘Working Class Hero’ and Dr. Hook’s ‘The Ballad of Lucy Jordan’ she makes her own.

The final track ‘Why’d Ya Do It’ remains one of the most angry songs ever committed to vinyl. (Do not read the rest of this review if you are offended by bad language). As rages at a lover go ‘Every time I see your dick I see her cunt in my bed’ things do not get much more outraged than that. (Astonishingly it was the Antipodeans who seemed most shocked.) Reportedly, the song had been intended for Tina Turner, but it’s no easier to imagine her singing it than it would be Cliff Richard.

1979 was, arguably one of music’s greatest ever years. And Broken English was up there with the best of them. Not just Faithfull’s masterpiece, a masterpiece full stop.

*****

Broken English is re-issued by Island on January 28.

More from Mogwai…

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It’d be daft to say that Mogwai are back, as it’s barely been a couple of months since their remix album A Wrenched Virile Law, but as far as this blogger is concerned, if there’s a new release involving Mogwai, it is right to stand up and shout about it.

As the press release has it: ‘If Mogwai’s decision to create the score to Canal+ supernatural thriller series Les Revenants (meaning ‘Ghosts’) came a little out of leftfield, then what they’ve come up with for the French television network probably wrong-footed even those that gave them the brief.

A quick background to Les Revenants: adapted from the eponymous Robin Campillo-directed 2004 film, the series unfolds in an isolated French mountain town, where the locals are troubled after children who were tragically killed in a bus crash appear to come back to life, unaware that they’d died. A wonderfully captured perennial sense of unease and limbo sustains throughout each episode, with dully lit scenes and a sparsely-set location adding to the atmosphere. “We were actually big fans of the director Fabrice Gobert’s film Simon Werner a disparu, which had a soundtrack by Sonic Youth,” comments Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite of their decision to take the project, “and we found the story for Les Revenants incredibly interesting.”

The band was approached on the basis of their phenomenal work for the Douglas Gordon documentary ‘Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait’. Much like on that Zidane soundtrack, the group have turned away again from their recognised path towards the fascinating new; their familiar layers on layers of textural guitar have been stripped away, allowing isolated piano and keys to wander with grip-like tension through the fourteen tracks. There’s something intangibly Mogwai here still, but it’s been refracted through a fresh prism.’

I love their Zidane soundtrack, and I also love the Sonic Youth soundtrack so am thrilled to bits about this.
What I am slightly puzzled by is the fact that it is being advertised as being out on February 25 -but you can pay for a download of it off eMusic or iTunes (remember to support your local independent record shop though, eh?) and apparently came out in December? No matter. It’s Mogwai. Go get it. Chop Chop.

Stream ‘Wizard Motor’ below:

The return of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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It’s now over a decade since Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s debut album B.R.M.C. announced their arrival. I saw them many times over the last decade, marvelling at their incendiary live performances at many of Edinburgh and (mostly) Glasgow’s top venues. Their first album remains my favourite, though, and their forthcoming seventh album, Specter At The Feast, reprotedly uses this as a reference point for the new album.

The first track to do the rounds is ‘Let The Day Begin.’ It’s a cover of a 1989 single by The Call. Michael Been of The Call, who was also BRMC’s guitarist and vocalist Robert Been’s father and was viewed as an honorary ‘fourth member’ of the band died in August 2012. I have to confess to not really being that familiar with The Call, but BRMC make this song their own.

This is The Call’s version of the song:

The band are also on tour in the UK with support from The Big Pink on all dates (except Leeds):

SUNDAY 24TH MARCH MANCHESTER HMV RITZ (SOLD OUT)

MONDAY 25TH MARCH GLASGOW O2 ABC

TUESDAY 26TH MARCH BIRMINGHAM HMV INSTITUTE

WEDNESDAY 27TH MARCH LONDON O2 ACADEMY BRIXTON

FRIDAY 29TH MARCH NOTTINGHAM ROCK CITY

SATURDAY 30TH MARCH LEEDS O2 ACADEMY

Specter At The Feast is released on Abstract Dragon Records on March 18.

New from the Chapman family

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Another night trying to get to grips with all the submissions in my inbox.

The Chapman Family stood out with their song ‘Adult’, they’d made a track (from their forthcoming album, scheduled for the autumn) that makes me want to dance around the room playing air guitar, irrespective of me being in my mid-thirties.

This reminds me of the late Fatima Mansions, loud and articulate. Turn it up. This is a free download – but I’d be happy to be buy it. Certain sources would tell us guitar music is back. The Chapman Family sound like they don’t care whether it’s in or not this week, that they have to make this music.

You can download it for free from their facebook page

They are out on tour, just in England and Wales, but the tour dates are as follows:

07/02 THE HOP, WAKEFIELD

08/02 THE STUDIO, HARTLEPOOL
10/02 KRAAK GALLERY, MANCHESTER
11/02 FRUIT, HULL

12/02 HOUSE LIVERPOOL, LIVERPOOL
13/02 CLWB IFOR BACH, CARDIFF

15/02 ELLIOTS, ABERDARE
16/02 JOINERS, SOUTHAMPTON

17/02 THE WESTCOAST, MARGATE
18/02 GREEN DOOR STORE, BRIGHTON
19/02 ARTS CENTRE, COLCHESTER
20/02 SURYA, LONDON
22/02 THE RAINBOW, BIRMINGHAM

23/02 THE COCKPIT 3, LEEDS
24/02 THE CLUNY 2, NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE

08/03 GEORGIAN THEATRE, STOCKTON