A song for today #25


Another day, another scary amount of submissions in my inbox (hint: try and write something that’s going to grab mine or any other blogger’s attention).

” I´m an independent artist from Germany. My name is TYGAPUSS and I make fast Garage music for women who work smart and party hard;)!

Currently I´m working on my debut album. As a bloody newcomer I would love to get a review!”

This debut single is fun and punchy. I don’t know a lot about the band, but I can tell you this much:

They are Anna Gette (vocals), Hannes Weißbach (guitar), Jo Heger (bass) and Youbi Deinas (drums). This song ‘He’s Savage Like An Animal’ is a whole heap of fun, and you should turn it up loud, annoy your neighbours and enjoy the video at face value.


woodpigeon 2016

I’m both surprised and embarrassed to discover that I haven’t featured Woodpigeon on this blog before.

Firstly because they are absolutely brilliant, secondly because main man Mark Andrew Hamilton is someone who I used to work with in Fopp many years ago, when the Canadian was based in Edinburgh. And he’s collaborated and played with a number of Edinburgh acts, including eagleowl and and Withered Hand, both of whom have been featured on this blog many times before.

The new Woodpigeon album is entitled T R O U B L E and is released worldwide on April 1. Damn Clash for describing the first track ‘Faithful’ as as Roxy Music meets John Grant, because that’s exactly what it sounds like, Godammit. Simultaneously frail and classy, and the sort of song that you want to listen to again and again. Very beautiful indeed. Take the time to listen to it.

Whilst I’ve been away…


…from the blog, not from writing or music, obviously!

I didn’t intend to leave the blog for a week, but I have had a couple more pieces published over at God Is In The TV.

First up, the rather fantastic fifth album from the Mystery Jets, entitled Curve Of The Earth, which you can read here. I’d always sort of liked them, but this new album has made me want to investigate them a lot more thoroughly.

You can watch the video for ‘Telemere’ from the album below:

Additionally, I’ve also profiled a rather ace tune called ‘Wonder Why’ by Malka which you can read all about and stream (ahead of its release in two weeks) here

Meanwhile, something that arrived in my inbox today, which I didn’t expect to like, was the debut single from Zayn, he once of One Direction, a band I had no time for whatsoever.

To my surprise, this track and video are absolutely brilliant. Whether he will do a George Michael/Michael Nesmith/Robbie Williams/Justin Timberlake remains to be seen, but just try and take this at face value…

Forthcoming from Mogwai

Mogwai 2015 01 - credit Steve Gullick

Mogwai picture by Steve Gullick

A mere matter of months since the career-spanning Central Belters compilation, Mogwai have unveiled details of a new album.

Atomic will be released on April 1. The album is composed of reworked versions of the music recorded by the band for the soundtrack to director Mark Cousin’s acclaimed documentary Atomic: Living In Dread and Promise, which was first shown on BBC Four last summer. Constructed entirely of archive film, Atomic is an impressionistic kaleidoscope of the horrors of our nuclear times – protest marches, Cold War sabre-rattling, Chernobyl and Fukishima – but also the sublime beauty of the atomic world, and how x-rays and MRI scans have improved human lives.

Director Cousins says of the film: “I’m a child of the nuclear age, and in my teens I had nightmares about the bomb. But physics was my favourite subject in school, and I nearly studied it at university. Learning about the atomic world excited me. It was like abstract Star Wars.”

Meanwhile Mogwai leader Stuart Braithwaite says ‘The Atomic soundtrack is one of the most intense and fulfilling projects we’ve taken on as a band. Ever since we went to Hiroshima to play and visited the peace park this has been a subject very close to us. The end results, both the film score and the record are pieces I’m extremely proud of.’

It’s not the first time Mogwai have tackled soundtrack work, having been responsible for the scores to both French TV series Les Revenants (The Returned) and Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait.

The tracklisting for Atomic is as follows:

1. Ether
3. Bitterness Centrifuge
4. U-235
5. Pripyat
6. Weak Force
7. Little Boy
8. Are You A Dancer?
9. Tzar
10. Fat man

The first track to be heard from the album ‘U-235’ can be streamed below:

Presenting…The Shimmer Band

Shimmer Band

A band’s debut single should sound like a manifesto.

And several plays of The Shimmer Band’s debut single ‘Shoot Me (Baby)’ sounds like a band who have a lot to say. A submarine emerging through the stagnant waters of a January seemingly overrun by Justin Bieber and the horrible realisation that David Bowie isn’t coming back.

The band are Tom Newman (singer), Willz Hatcher (drums), Tom Smith (guitar / synths), Tom Kuras (bass) and Babsy (guitar). On this, their debut single they draw on the nihilist electronics of Suicide with the party anthems of Sly and the Family Stone meeting Krautrock and sound like they’ve come to remind Kasabian of how it ought to be done. Is it groundbreaking? No, it’s not – but it sounds like so much bloody fun.

For all I know, the band may burn out within six months or fail to release anything of worth to match up to this single. But to paraphrase Casablanca, we’ll always have ‘Shoot Me (Baby).’ Amongst those to have supported the single are 6Music’s Steve Lamacq. Let’s hope it snowballs from here – reportedly their debut album will be out in the spring.

David Bowie remembered


To say I am gutted by the death of David Bowie at the age of 69 is an understatement.

I had written the review of his latest album Blackstarthe day it was released, it appeared on God Is In The TV, then both that site and this blog hit problems.

After careful consideration, I am going to publish the review below just as it was on Friday. Fair to say the two promotional videos, as displayed below, can only be viewed in a different light now.

David Bowie -‘Blackstar.’ (ISO/RCA)

Well, Happy Birthday to you Mr. Jones, and may I say…oh, a present for us, a new album?

Of course, David Bowie’s new album has been on the cards for some months, and it’s fair to say that fifty years into his career, a new David Bowie album is still an event for a lot of people. It may not be delivered in a ‘WOW! Look how big my ego is’ kind of way, but what is impressive is that this many decades in, it’s about what this artist can still deliver, as opposed to displaying a polite interest because of past glories.

Three years ago, on his 66th Birthday, Bowie re-appeared, from what many had assumed to be retirement (though this was never publicly acknowledged) and announced the imminent arrival of The Next Day, his first studio album in ten years. Listening to that album now, rapturously welcomes as it largely was at the time, it wasn’t one of Bowie’s more adventurous records. But Blackstar is Bowie experimenting again, as he has done throughout much of his career, forging new paths, sometimes so ahead of himself that the public have been scared to follow.

A little over a year ago, Bowie released a career-spanning compilation Nothing Has Changed. The token new track on that album ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’ and its b-side ‘Tis A Pity She Was A Whore.’ Both those songs appear here – but in radically different form. Sure, there’s a still a hint of jazz about the proceedings (in a good way), but any concerns that Bowie might have unleashed an album of jazz-rock monstrosities on the world should be discounted. Whilst there was much pontificating on the internet about what this album would consist of, it’s clear that whilst Bowie has been taking in Kendrick Lamar (particularly on ‘Girl Loves Me’), he’s still managed to make a record that sounds like David Bowie. The voice is as strong as it has ever been, the lyrics slightly impenetrable – or should that be *probably* based on the Burroughsian cut-up techniques that he has used for many years.

‘Lazarus’ the second single to be released from the album is probably a case in why this album is worthy of your attention. It hangs together as a stand-alone song, yet explores so many ideas with its Berlin trilogy atmosphere meeting Faith-era Cure before smoothly blending into Portishead meets Bernard Hermann. ‘look up here I’m in heaven/I’ve got scars that can’t be seen.’ It contains as much mystery as Bowie has ever given us – and yet if Bowie were ever to play live again (don’t count on it), it would be a song that you could imagine people singing along with.

And it seems almost noteworthy in this day and age that the album is only seven tracks long and clocks in at less than three-quarters of an hour. There’s a lot of ground covered in that time, but there’s no flab on here. It does require quite a few listens as an album in order to get to grips with it, but Bowie has rarely concerned himself with making albums that are simply background music.

There’s no question that some will grumble that Bowie hasn’t made an album like [insert particular Bowie album here]. The reality is, though, like a handful of other members of rock’ aristocracy (Dylan and Neil Young, for example), he has continued to reinvent himself over the decades. It may be questioned whether people would be interested in this album if it didn’t feature Bowie’s name on the front. Leaving aside the pertinent issue of marketing and PR of any new album, I can only hope so, being as this album features strong songwriting, great vocals and a wish to push the envelope all on the same album, which few artists a third of Bowie’s age can do. On its own merits, it’s a good album. In the Bowie canon, it’s not perhaps his best, but given the run of albums he had, particularly between 1971-1980, that is hardly surprising. It certainly makes sense as part of Bowie’s awesome body of work, and if this time it did turn out to be Bowie’s final studio album, it would be a perfectly acceptable way to end his career, in a way that seems unmistakeably Bowie.


The return of Savages (part 2)


I wrote about Savages’ forthcoming album Adore Life back in October.

Ahead of the release of their second album, the band have released a new track from the album. The press release aptly describes new track ‘Adore’, as haunting. According to the band the song is inspired by the life of American poet Minnie Bruce Pratt. The video was directed by Anders Malmberg (who has previously worked with Mew and Mø), with Lighting & Concept Design by Tobias Rylander (The XX, Lykke Li, FKA Twigs).

Revealed back in November (somehow missed by yours truly, but I’m going to try and rectify that now) is ‘T.I.W.Y.G’ (This Is What You Get). It reveals a different side to the band from that displayed on ‘Adore.’

The return of The Cult


The Cult photographed by Tim Cadiente

February 5 will see The Cult (Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy above) return with their tenth studio album, Hidden City.

So far, three tracks from the album are available to watch on YouTube, and are available with pre-orders of the album, first single ‘Hinterland,’ ‘Deeply Ordered Chaos’ and ‘Dark Energy.’ You can stream/watch these below.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Dark Energy
2. No Love Lost
3. Dance The Night
4. In Blood
5. Birds Of Paradise
6. Hinterland
7. G O A T
8. Deeply Ordered Chaos
9. Avalanche Of Light
10. Lilies
11. Heathens
12. Sound And Fury

The band are on tour shortly:

February 2016

Thurs 25th BRISTOL, Colston Hall
Fri 26th MANCHESTER, Albert Hall
Sat 27th LONDON, Brixton O2 Academy
Mon 29th NOTTINGHAM, Rock City

March 2016
Tues 1st BIRMINGHAM, HMV Institute
Thurs 3rd ABERDEEN, Music Hall
Fri 4th GLASGOW, Barrowlands
Sat 5th DUBLIN, Vicar Street
Sun 6th BELFAST, Mandela Hall
Tues 8th LEEDS, University
Wed 9th NEWCASTLE, City Hall
Thurs 10th NORWICH, UEA

Forthcoming for 2016


So, another year over, and a new one just begun, as John Lennon once sang.

I’ve written an article that has been published over at God Is In The TV, which outlines some of the albums on the way in 2016, starting with David Bowie’s latest album, Blackstar, which is released next Friday (January 8).

To read the article, click here

In the meantime, a taster for some of the forthcoming music:

The return of Emma Pollock

Emma Pollock

Hello, and a Happy New Year from 17 Seconds!

Emma Pollock will release her third solo album In Search Of Harperfield on January 29. Following the demise of The Delgados in 2005, it’s her third solo album, following on from 2007’s Watch The Fireworksand 2010’s The Law Of Large Numbers. This year also marks the 21st anniversary of Chemikal Underground, the seminal Scottish indie label she co-formed in 1995.

The first single to be released from the album is ‘Parks and Recreation.’ To be released on January 22, it captures her younger self involved with fights down the local park, trying to decide whether to fight or flight is the best response, when all she’d rather do is feed the swans or play basketball.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Cannot Keep A Secret
2. Don’t Make Me Wait
3. Alabaster
4. Clemency
5. Intermission
6. Parks and Recreation
7. Vacant Stare
8. In The Company Of The Damned
9. Dark Skies
10. Monster In The Pack
11. Old Ghosts

In Search Of Harperfield is released by Chemikal Underground on January 29.