What’s a guilty pleasure, exactly?

If you’re a big music fan, and fancy yourself as a bit of a connoisseur, chances are that you’ve had various music themed conversations with friends that might have certain characteristics fairly similar to conversations in High Fidelity. Top 5s of various artists, cover versions, best/worst ever, when did X jump the shark etc.. One of the best ones that my friend Sandy Nelson came up with was that of favourite song you shouldn’t like. His was Paul McCartney’s ‘No More Lonely Nights.’ Mine was Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl.’

But how do we decide whether or not something’s good really? Is there part of some of us (and I’m sure as hell including myself in this!) that sometimes feels uncomfortable about liking certain songs. Scotland now has an ‘indie/alternative’ station XFM Scotland that rather like its’ namesake station in London plays stuff that’s nominally indie, and doesn’t play boybands a la McFly, Westlife etc.. or other such rubbish. I might not be allowed by certain hipsters to like the following, but what the hell, I thought they were kinda nice songs.

Corinne Bailey Rae – ‘Put Your Records On.’ mp3

KT Tunstall -‘Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.’ mp3

The Feeling -‘Sewn.’ mp3

The Magic Numbers -‘Forever Lost.’ mp3

Buy Corinne Bailey Rae

Buy KT Tunstall

Buy The Feeling

Buy The Magic Numbers

The perfect backflip?

As you know, I’m always trying to post towards exciting Scottish bands on here, so tonight I’m going to do a wee post on Ballboy. Like My Latest Novel Ballboy were a band I saw supporting the Delgados (RIP. one day I WILL do a post on Chemikal Underground records and the Delgados). Like Arab Strap, there’s just a real honestness here, and maybe the fact that they come from my adopted hometown of Edinburgh and singer Gordon McIntyre was a Primary School teacher (alright, so I’m secondary but.) Ballboy may have a fair bit in common with the aforementioned Strap, Novel, Delgados and Belle and Sebastian, they are also quite political: ‘I hate Scotland’ was dedicated to Brian Souter and his ‘Keep Clause 28’ campaign, while ‘The Sash My Father Wore’ was actually an attack on sectarianism. They also covered Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, minus the bombast, but with the direct hit of the man’s intent. Not to mention ‘Sex is Boring’ which reminds me of one of my exasperated rants at trendier than thou types. Though not about sex, obviously.

Ballboy -‘I Hate Scotland.’ mp3

Ballboy -‘Sex Is Boring (John Peel Session version March 21 2000).’ mp3

If this whets your appetite, please check their website which has a whole load of downloads. Then, as always,, go and buy Ballboy

Also check out their website sl records which has more on Ballboy and other bands.

Finally, I have now changed the blog so that people can leave comments if they do not have a blog. However, these are monitored – i.e. if you write stuff that’s unpleasant or offensive, it won’t be permitted, and you’ll be hunted down like a dog. There’s also a really nifty little counter letting me know how many poeple have read the blog so I can see how many people are reading this!

All my life…

Reportedly, Razorlight could be No.1 in the UK on Sunday. Overall, I welcome this, as it’s nice to see them do well, even if it’s not the best single they’ve done, and it’s been kinda good to see the scissor sisters at no.1 But hey! I have commented here before how much I think they sound like Bruce Springsteen…but what about the Boomtown Rats? Bob Geldof’s much-maligned band, without which etc.. Whaddya reckon?

Razorlight – America

Buy the Razorlight album on Amazon. Or even better, go to your local high street indie store and buy the single. On vinyl.

boomtown rats _ dont like mondays

Buy the Boomtown Rats on Amazon

My new favourite band…Love Is All

You know that feeling when you buy a bunch of stuff and there were things you set out to get and yet it ends up being the afterthought that you enjoy the most? Yes? No?! Well, it happened almost ten years ago, when I was at uni and my friend Emma and I went into town to buy Pop by U2, which was new out that day. As an afterthought, maybe ‘cos it was on Island as well, I went back and bought Broken English by Marianne Faithfull. The U2 album has had very little play over the last ten years, if I’m being honest. The Marianne Faithfull album is one of my favourites. Just goes to show…

Anyway, I had a similar experience today. I went to get the new Razorlight 7″ (or should I say 7″s, ‘cos multi-formatting now seems to happen on vinyl, after all this time, though i’m not complaining!) and being vaguely aware of Love Is All picked up their new single ‘Make Out.Fall Out. Make Up.’ I am now playing this for about the fourth time already, and that includes all the b-sides too.

Sometimes when I try and make comparisons between artists, I know I run the risk of falling on my face (though I compared Razorlight to Bruce Springsteen in 2003, and that one seems to be being born out more with every passing year). I just feel that they sound so fresh right now, that all I can say is just ‘cos they come from Gothenburg don’t expect them to sound like the Cardigans. I hear maybe a slightly more frantic Concretes and a bit of X-Ray Spex too. That saxophonist is repairing years of damage.

Anyway, this is a brief post as I have to sort out some stuff for teaching tomorrow. But please follow this link here to hear some stuff and see the video for the single.

Then, obviously, go and buy Love Is All