The continued evolution of Aidan Moffat


There’s various theories about what ‘Lucky Pierre’ means (and the wiki entry doesn’t list one in particular), but for those of you not aware, L.Pierre is one of the monikers that Aidan Moffat records under. Over the years, he’s also recorded as part of The Sick Anchors (with Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai), with jazzman Bill Wells, as part of the scots indie collective The Reindeer Section, fronting his own band and of course, as one half of Arab Strap with Malcolm Middleton.

His latest release is an EP, Surface Noise, which has been described as being an affectionate tribute to the wear and tear of vinyl (I know there’s a growing trend in cassettes, fer Chrissakes, and there are American blokes who fetishise the 8-track cartridge, but I cannot see this happening with mp3s). Released on September 16, the six tracks are awesome. Don’t just take my word for it, go and buy it when it comes out.

Mr. Moffat has a way with melancholia and beauty that I can but marvel at. My first encounter with Arab Strap was hearing John Peel play ‘Here We Go’ on his show in 1998. From then on I bought as much of his stuff as I could. This included one of my most treasured 12″ singles, the Bis remix of ‘Turbulence’* and yet somehow I never managed to see them live before they split in 2006. I did, however, manage to interview Malcolm Middleton in 2007. I’d love to interview Aidan Moffat too…

* Strange story. Nearly ten years ago, I was DJing at Fopp in Edinburgh for the launch night of Sons & Daughters’ Love The Cup album. This remix was playing when Sons & Daughters arrived. For reasons I do not know, the look that Ailidh Lennon gave me when she heard me playing that could have shattered glass (maybe she was sick of my gazing at her at gigs). I never knew why. I did lend Scott Paterson my guitar strap and he later gave me a beer backstage at a gig where Sons & Daughters played with Aberfeldy and the Fire Engines.

Album Review: Stephen Kellogg


Stephen Kellogg -‘Blunderstone Rookery.’ (Bread and Butter Music)

For someone like this reviewer who has got really fed-up with a surfeit of singer-songwriters, it is a mark of how great this record is that I have played it so often before sitting down to review it. Erstwhile leader of The Sixers (no, me neither – but on the strength of this album I really ought to investigate) it’s really a rather wonderful record.

The title doffs its’ cap to Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, but this is a very American record, in terms of its lyrical concerns and sound. Americana and folk are labels that are branded around to the point of bordering on the meaningless, but there’s evidence of both here. If I could compare him to two other artists, then it would probably be Tom Petty for the sound and Bruce Springsteen for the lyrical concerns.

The centrepiece of the record has to be the penultimate ‘Thanksgiving’ which at ten minutes long (wait! come back!) sums up the life of a man from birth to death and all inbetween. And it doesn’t feel like ten minutes either.

A strong piece of work, don’t let it pass under your radar.


Blunderstone Rookery is out on August 12 on Bread and Butter Music.

Roy Harper – he’s back!


Perhaps the interview I am most proud of doing above all others is my interview with Roy Harper in 2011 (read it here).

The great man is set to release his first studio album in 13 years on September 23 on Bella Union. Entitled Man Or Myth, the first track to do the rounds is the gorgeous ‘Time Is Temporary.’ (You can read the press release here)

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. The Enemy
2. Time Is Temporary
3. January Man
4. The Stranger
5. Cloud Cuckooland
6. Heaven Is Here
7. The Exile

There are three English dates lined up, too:

22nd October – Royal Festival Hall, London

25th October – Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

27th October – Colston Hall, Bristol

Stream more tracks here

Gig Review: Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd, Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, August 2.

Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall has some of the best programming of anywhere in the Scottish Capital, and not just during the month of August. And before anyone says it, no, I’m not on a retainer for saying that.

Stanley Odd have been around for a few years now, and their profile has risen considerably with the release of their two albums, Oddio and Reject. This is, in fact, their only Edinburgh gig this entire year. A sure sign that you’ve made a serious impression, when you are only doing one gig in the space of a year in your home town.

The thing is, they’re going places because people have woken up to to, frankly, just how sodding great Stanley Odd are. Tonight they’re backed by the Electric String Orchestra, who they played with at Celtioc Connections in Glasgow earlier this year. And when firm favourites like ‘The Numbness’ ‘Killergram’ and ‘Get Out My Headspace’ are bolstered by the ESO, it’s truly something to behold.

So yes, there will be those who can’t see beyond the idea of any Scottish Hip-Hop act being some kind of a novelty. But like fellow city stars Young Fathers, Stanley Odd are keeping it real (no rapping like how they perceive an LA gang member to do), and the only way is up.

A bit of humour and an amazing death metal album

This cropped up in my facebook feed earlier today, and made me laugh:

Heavy Metal Goat


As I’m typing this, I’m listening to this album, Hell Awaits by Slayer, very loud, very fast and really very good (just for the record: I streamed this album on YouTube last week, and then went and bought the album. Anyone who tells you that streaming stops people buying music is wrong, it’s more likely to encourage people to buy it).

Does there have to be a reason?


I’ve been on a bit of a New Order thing of late, and I’m still of the opinion that Technique, from 1989 (and an album I bought on cassette, aged twelve!) is their finest.

This was the first single from the album ‘Fine Time’ released towards the end of 1988, and with a sort of Christmas theme. Sorta…

This remix is worth tracking down, too, no point posting these as mp3s any more as they get ripped down immediately, even when you can’t buy them…

Fine Time (Messed around mix)