Presenting…Mark Wynn

Mark Wynn

Mark Wynn hails from York. According to the blub from his own press release, he has a ‘ knack of blending despair, humour and kitchen-sink realism in a new-found lo-fi acoustic punk setting.’

He is a spectacularly prolific artist, having released…ooh, a mere four albums last year, and already two EPS and a split album with his friends The Sorry Kisses this year.

He is great -and if these quirky songs and wonderfully silly songs don’t appear, well, maybe it’s cos you’re just a po-faced prat, eh? He is better than Lenny Kravitz, and deep down, he knows it (read his blog if the last sentence just went completely over your head.)

Mark Wynn -‘Bukowski’

Mark Wynn -‘And Dave Went Mental’

Mark Wynn -‘Bill Burroughs Was My Baby’

Stream his stuff and buy it from his bandcamp

Cool as Kim Deal


It’s been announced today that Kim Deal has left The Pixies.

“We are sad to say that Kim Deal has decided to leave the Pixies. We are very proud to have worked with her on and off over the last 25 years. Despite her decision to move on, we will always consider her a member of the Pixies, and her place will always be here for her. We wish her all the best.

Black Francis, Joey Santiago and David Lovering” from their facebook page).

There’s already a rather one-sided band over on the NME site saying that the band definitely shouldn’t continue without her. It’s a decision only they can make. Sometimes it’s like an egg without omelettes (people conveniently forgetting that sometimes people may need to eat and pay bills), sometimes the results can be surprising. Maybe some people thought Joy Division’s remaining members should never have recorded together again after Ian Curti’ suicide in 1980; they did regroup under a different name, though…She’s touring with her ‘other’ band The Breeders, and still wowing people.

One of the coolest people ever to rock a bass guitar, here’s some of the songs Kim Dealhas been involved with other the years, as a Pixie, a Breeder and an Amp…

The Pixies -‘Gigantic’

The Breeders -‘No Aloha.’

The Amps -‘Tipp City.’

Album Review: Scout Niblett


Scout Niblett -‘It’s Up To Emma.’ (Drag City)

Emma Louise Niblett, known as Scout Niblett, is British, but sounds American. In a world full of sensitive singer-songwriters of both sexes, there’s a rawness, honesty and confrontation here that has more in common with the likes of Liz Phair, Cat Power or PJ Harvey. And when an English singer starts off a record with a lyric like ‘Think I’m gonna buy me a gun, a nice little silver one/And in a crowd someday, you won’t see it coming, anyway’ you sense that there is no mucking around here.

It’s not just the lyrics that are raw; the music accompanying her is electric guitar (no solos) and a selection of drummers, delivered in a way that makes the White Stripes’ early records seem over-produced. If you want it sugar-coated, you’ve come to the wrong place, kiddo.

Even her cover of TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’ is upfront and in your face; while the original suggested sassy American lasses who weren’t taking any crap, in Scout’s hands, you sense she would death-star the scrubs, in a manner reminiscent of Sissy Spacek as Carrie, shortly before all hell breaks loose.

So no, not an easy ride, but one that is worth taking.


It’s Up To Emma is out now on Drag City.

Album Review: Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura Desire Lines

Camera Obscura -‘Desire Lines’ (4AD)

There’s a lazy sort of pigeonholing which sees Camera Obscura being simply filed next to fellow Glaswegians Belle & Sebastian in the twee-pop/c-86-type indie. Fact is, there’s a lot more to it than that, and their fifth album (and second for 4AD) sees them offering up yet another appealing selection of tunes.

Whilst there have been some suggestions that this album doesn’t bring anything new to their sound, there’s more of a country-americana feel to their sound than ever before, and whilst it’s still recognisably Camera Obscura, there’s definitely less of the ‘twee’ about this album than any of their others (not that I am being dismissive of twee-pop, you understand).

This may be due, more than just in part, to the fact that it was recorded in Portland, Oregon with producer Tucker Martine, and features guest vocals from Neko Case and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James. Case -also just about to drop a new album -can be heard on the album’s strongest track ‘Fifth In Line To The Throne.’ This is Camera Obscura delivering their bittersweet pop in one of their finest recorded moments.

Traceyanne Campbell is actually rather underrated as a lyricist, and she’s at her strongest on ‘New Year’s Resolution’ resolving to ‘write something of value’ and suggesting that I’ve been cool with you …The sooner you admit it, I will, too.”

I don’t know if this is their strongest album -I’ve really lived with Underachievers Please Try Harder
and Let’s Get Out Of This Country the most. But it probably says something about how high a standard the band have set over the past decade-plus that this isn’t necessarily their best album, but it is most definitely a strong record and a very good place to start if you haven’t heard them before.

Desire Lines is out now on 4AD.

Camera Obscura -‘Fifth In Line To The Throne.’ mp3

Album Review: The Undertones


The Undertones -‘An Introduction To The Undertones’ (Salvo Sound)

There have been no shortage of compilations of The Undertones’ five year recording career in the thirty years since they split. But if we put this to one side, this is a fine compilation of singles and album tracks from one of the punk era’s finest bands and one of the greatest bands from the Emerald Isle.*

And there’s so much excellent stuff on offer here. Whilst it’s hard to believe that there might be people who haven’t heard ‘My Perfect Cousin’ ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ ‘Here Comes The Summer’ there remains in common with their US labelmates The Ramones a delight in the pop song, and so much on offer here remains so fresh over a quarter of a century later.

Had they not split in 1983 (though the reformed band has issued two new albums Get What You Need and Dig Yourself Deep, minus original singer Feargal Sharkey) it would have been interesting to see what became of them, ‘Julie Ocean’ is heartbreaking and sublime and ‘It’s Gonna Happen’ a sign that Paul Weller and Elvis Costello weren’t the only ones from the punk scene getting interested in soul.

Not only awesome tunes but the attached DVD includes a wealth of bonus visual material, including the (rightly) acclaimed John Peel-narrated documentary Teenage Kicks as well as performances from The Tube and The Old Grey Whistle Test.

As for ‘Teenage Kicks?’ Well, it’s here, and sounds as brilliant as ever. It’s six tracks in -and yet as this compilation reminds you, there was far more to The Undertones than just that one track.


An Introduction To The Undertones is out now on Salvo

*NOTE: this should not be taken to be a comment on the politics of either Northern Ireland or The Republic of Ireland, or the land of Ireland as a whole, rather a wish not to comment!

The Undertones ‘It’s Gonna Happen’

The Undertones -‘My Perfect Cousin’

The Undertones -‘Teenage Kicks’

More from Bwani Junction

Bwani Junction

Yes, it has been quiet around these parts for the last few days, hasn’t it? But then I’ve just got back from a few days’ holiday.

And in the feed of my facebook page is the news that there is a new track from Bwani Junction doing the rounds, entitled ‘Papa Candy.’ Rather good it is too, rocks pretty hard.

Meanwhile, you can download the Discopolis remix of their last single ‘Civil War’ for free, below.

The sophomore album from Bwani Junction is due out sometime this year…

Thirty years?? Strange, but true


Really quite surprised to realise that it is now thirty years since the Smiths released their first two singles ‘hand In Glove’ and ‘This Charming Man.’

They may only have had a recording career of four years but they were astoundingly prolific in that time. It probably doesn’t matter now, but I think ‘…Man’ is the stronger of the two singles for a debut. It did bring them into the charts, though, and though this wasn’t an official video (they didn’t do those for all their singles), the filmed clip for The Tube is pretty classic.

…and I’d still like to learn how to play that riff on the guitar.

The return of…Boards of Canada

Boards of Canada, Scottish electronic music duo

Yup, the list of artists making a welcome return in 2013 grows ever longer (I’ve just taken delivery of the latest releases from David Bowie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Camera Obscura on vinyl. Yum!) To the list we can add Boards Of Canada who will release their first album in ten years, Tomorrow’s Harvest, on June 10.

There have been all sorts of bizarre stories doing the rounds, playbacks in the desert, people paying $5,000 for 12″ singles with 20 seconds of music on it…I’m just glad to see the Scottish duo back, frankly.

The first track to do the rounds is the really rather lovely ‘Reach For The Dead.’ And whilst to the uninitiated that might sound like a metal track, it is a fine and welcome reminder of the sort of excellent electronica that Boards of Canada do oh so very well.

Give yourself five minutes to listen to this. If it doesn’t whet your appetite for the new record, shame on you.

The album tracklisting is as follows:

1. Gemini
2. Reach for the Dead
3. White Cyclosa
4. Jacquard Causeway
5. Telepath
6. Cold Earth
7. Transmisiones Ferox
8. Sick Times
9. Collapse
10. Palace Posy
11. Split Your Infinities
12. Uritual
13. Nothing Is Real
14. Sundown
15. New Seeds
16. Come to Dust
17. Semena Mertvykh

There will be an unveiling of the album at 9PM UK time tomorrow night (Monday June 3), though God only knows how people will be able to pick up on it…

Presenting…Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: old-fashioned as it may be, I’m still just as likely to pick up on new music hearing on the radio as receiving submissions (possibly because the radio can only play one song at a time, whereas I can get a ridiculous amount of submissions in a day).

I picked up Nadine Shah on Mary-Ann Hobbs’ 6Music Show with her forthcoming single ‘To Be a Young Man’ (out July 8), which is taken from her debut album Love Your Dum And Mad (sic) (out July 22). Having played this several times, each time it becomes clear that this is not just another singer-songwriter and her voice suggests a connection with the great jazz singers as much as the likes of Cat Power or Anna Calvi.

Check out her two earlier EPs

…and let me know what you think.