At home with Edwyn Collins

I know I said I was busy, but ya gotta make time for some new music.

In this case, please head on over to his myspace page to hear new Edwyn Collins tracks called ‘Home Again’ ‘Leviathan’ and ‘You’ll Never Know’

For those who don’t know, Edwyn suffered a cerebral harmorrhage two years ago, but has made great progress in recovery.

Give up a few minutes of your time and check it out. This is not a comeback but the sound of a man whose nearly thirty year career continues to delight. And then join a campaign to get all the Orange Juice and Edwyn Collins albums properly available in the UK. This is part of our heritage, dammit!

I won’t write any more. The music speaks for itself.

In brief…I Love it when you call

I was going to do a gig review for my Friday night’s gig which was great fun, but the last few days have been a bit hectic, with school and car accidents (unrelated, I hasten to add).

All I will say is this: The Feeling are great live. They put on a show and have some excellent tunes. No, they aren’t musical pioneers, but that’s not the point (if you go along expecting this, then you are frankly an idiot). A show that left you feeling warm, and that the money had been well spent. Nobody got preachy, the band seemed to be enjoying themselves and no-one acted like arrogant fools. The Fray, as a support band, I’m afraid I found a bit dull…

Keep watching this space. There will be more music soon. I cannot see the madness evaporating, but it might subside. A bit. Hopefully…

Can I have some remedy?

This is NOT a post about the Black Crowes (a band who, like the Smashing Pumpkins, I love on record and was left high and dry when I saw them live on both occasions), but the line must have prompted something in my head.

Whilst I like the aforementioned Crowes, there’s something about their name when used in conjunction with various other muso-type bands that just starts to act as a turnoff. I say this because I got a friend request on my MySpace page from a band who sounded just like the sort of uninspiring but overinspired-by muso types (with too much emphasis on pre ’76 stuff) and another band that just did nothing for me.

BUT what I did get was a friend request from a band called Penny Black Remedy. Having checked out their MySpace page this is a fantastic band led by one Keith Thomson who is a Scot now based in London. The band have influences from the last seventy years – one track ’95 Charing Cross Road’ manages to combine elements of both Country and Reggae. Above all I hear a band who know how to take their influences and do something with ’em. Their website has more. Do check them out, ask to be their friend, and support ’em.

Penny Black Remedy website

Penny Black Remedy MySpace

By the way, I have flagged up the Best Scottish single poll that is Jock ‘n’ Roll. They are now looking at finishing taking votes in the next week or so, so get over there and vote. At the moment, it seems ‘Party Fears Two’ by The Associates will triumph, which is no bad thing, but make sure you have cast your vote.

Be good…

Ringo…what the …?

The other day, whilst nosing around a few of the links I have posted at the right hand side of this blog, I paid a visit to Spoilt Victorian Child. One of the tracks that they had posted (and they had a sign on the record shop bit saying ‘please free to download and share) was by a band called Ringo Deathstarr. And it was called ‘Some Kind Of Sad.’
Bloody Hell. (Swearing isn’t always a sign of a limited vocabulary, sometimes it’s a sign of complete and utter disbelief).
OK, so I could compare it to Psychocandy-era Jesus and Mary Chain, but the sheer what the heck is perhaps more akin to the shock, wonder, disbelief and goddamn awe of hearing the Mary Chain’s ‘Upside Down’ single (which is so gloriously raw it makes that album seem almost produced).
But that might still be looking for too obvious comparisons. It’s so noisy it’s maybe even more comparable to hearing ‘Stabbed In The Face’ by Wolf Eyes (a track so scary that it kinda makes Suicide’s ‘Frankie Teardrop’ sound like Aqua’s ‘Barbie Doll’).
It’s such a joy to listen to. It will annoy the hell out of some people, divide friends, cause frictions between couples. And quite possibly split ageing indie kids down the middle in the ‘OK who’s side are you on? ‘cos you’re now working for a living, stopped being veggie, and have a CD player in your car, you bloody sellout!’ kinda way.
That’s what music should do.
As far as I can tell, they don’t have a record out as yet. But they’re working on it.
In the meantime, download this track, and go and say hi to them at MySpace, where they have two other tracks ‘Sweet Girl’ -which adds My Bloody Valentine circa ‘Isn’t Anything’ into the mix and ‘In Love’ which sorta reminds me of Joy Zipper jamming with Curve.
In the meantime, if you are completely confused by the bands who I’ve been comparing them to – and I mean all this as a compliment – then go to a record store or an online store and check them out.

Forget the mush, sod the slush…

…How’s about an honest Love Song?

This was a hit for The Cure in 1989, and I love it for the fact that it’s honest about love, rather than being hopelessly mushy. Robert Smith reportedly gave a copy of the song to his own wife Mary as a wedding gift (just for the record, they married in 1988, so it wasn’t like handing her one of his own records out in the public eye).

And if you haven’t done so already – and shame on you! – go and buy the record on it’s home album, Disintegration. My favourite album of the 80s. And, according to South Park, the greatest album ever. Actually, my second favourite album ever, behind this…

Make Duke Special top 40!

I had vaguely heard of the Duke Special a few months ago – there was a rather fab track called Brixton Leaves on a free CD. I liked it, still do, but it had joined that ever-growing pile of great bands I must buy.

Then over the last 48 hours, there were two things that raised my attention – firstly, there is a free 5 track ep available for download at his site which included a cover of ‘Stumble and Fall’ by Radiohead, and then an e-mail (record company sent but anyway) saying that his latest release, the single ‘Freewheel’ was hovering around the edge of the Top 40, so could we go and buy it?
Well, I’d got stuff for free, liked what I heard and a few glasses of wine down thought ‘Why Not?’ I was not disappointed, and nor will you be. With his dreadlocks, he reminds me of a member of Scritti Politti circa ’79, but he could and should be joining Mika into the charts. If you buy the ep, you get a gorgeous cover of ‘Drink To Me Only with Thine Eyes’ recorded with Neil Hannon of the Divine Comedy.
what are you waiting for?

Ten Scottish bands for today

(A shot of Aberfeldy live last October. One of the bands you need in your life).

Okay, having done ten tracks last time, this time I thought I would point you in the direction of ten scottish bands you ought to hear.

This is not a definitive list, either of my own making or anyone else’s, but it’s 10 from a selection on my Myspace page that I would like to point you in the direction of. Some of these bands I have written about here, others I haven’t -yet!- so this should serve as an introduction.

Just in case anyone is very highly strung out there, this is not to slag off anyone, but highlight some great bands who are – by and large – active today, and is in no way a slight to The Associates, The Delgados (my favourite ever scottish band), Josef K, Aztec Camera, The Skids, Franz Ferdinand, Arab Strap, Belle and Sebastian…but you need to hear these guys and gals too:

Aberfeldy official site myspace

Ballboy official site myspace

The Cinematics official site myspace

The Fire Engines official site myspace

Mother and the addicts official site myspace

My Latest Novel official site myspace

Odeon Beat Club official site myspace

Sons and Daughters official site myspace

Swimmer One official site myspace

X-Vectors official site myspace

All of these acts have tracks for you to hear on their myspace pages, and many have mp3s for you to download, either on their mypsace page or on their own web pages.

Happy listening, and happy discovering!

Remember: artists cannot survive on goodwill alone. If you like what you hear, please, Please, PLEASE support them. Buy their music, go to the gigs, tell your friends about them. Snobbery and elitism is for losers.

BTW, two more Scottish based blogs you should check out: The Face Of Today and And Before The First Kiss.

The 100th post

(when I started writing the blog, I hadn’t got my cats. this is them, several months ago)

Well, and here we are! This is the 100th post I have done on the blog. Over the course of seven months, my interest in music, along with comments on teaching and hitting thirty have given me something to work on. Whilst I still dream of having as many readers as some of the other blogs, the feedback I have received has been flattering, and if I had as little rubbish to deal with at school as I do here, life would be easier!!

Thanks to my long-suffering girlfriend, and my family for their feedback, and friends and readers (of course, these are not necessarily mutually exclusive) who have helped this come along. I have learned more about computers along the way, and there’s probably fewer rants about it all now…

What I’ve done this time is just to pick ten great tracks, no theme, just stuff I love, and really hope you do too. As ever, if you like’em, do go and buy them.

Here’s to the next one hundred posts. Enjoy the music.

At the end of a tiring week…

Cat Power by Rahav Segev, 1999

Not sure this is a week I would want to live through again. My teaching job has seen me go through more emotions than I was aware the human brain could feel, and certainly deal with. From wanting to throttle kids (note to any parents reading: If you do not bring your children up to show respect and earn it as well as having it due to them you should have to stand in front of some of the classes I teach) to feeling that some could be okay, to a few who actually seem to have been listening… Told by two girls today that I’m like Jack Black in School Of Rock, ” ‘cos you’re a teacher, but you know about Rock Music.” Almost a compliment!

Anyway, am now trying to relax and enjoy my weekend. My long-suffering other half has asked for something gentle on (Radioactivity by Kraftwerk is more mental than I had remembered), so currently on the turntable (yes, vinyl) is Cat Power’s The Greatest. This is like soup for the soul (no chicken here, I’m still veggie!) this album. Enjoy.

BTW this is about my 99th post, so am working on something special for the 100th. Watch this space…

And for anyone who’s never heard Cat Power before, this is from her earlier album You Are Free:

Oh, and if you follow this link, you can download a track by Just Jack for free. Here you go…