SOAK is the utterly astounding talent that is the barely 17 year old Bridie Monds-Watson. Having released a couple of EPS she is the first signing to Chvrches’ own label Goodbye Records. Her first single for them is the spellblinding ‘Blud.’

Chvrches have done a remix which is awesome (as Chvrches have shown themselves to be, repeatedly):

She hails from Derry and this is the video that she has made for the single (hauntingly lovely, I think you’ll find)

This is a live performance of an earlier track called ‘Sea Creatures.’

The Blud will be released on March 17 and these are the forthcoming live shows, where she will be supporting Chvrches and George Ezra, as well as a headline show in London.

2 March Birmingham, Hare & Hounds w/ George Ezra
3 March Bristol, Fleece w/ George Ezra
4 March London, Dingwalls w/ George Ezra
5 March Dublin, Academy w/ CHVRCHES
7 March Newcastle, Academy w/ CHVRCHES
8 March Glasgow, Barrowland w/ CHVRCHES
9 March Leeds, Metropolitan University w/ CHVRCHES
10 March Birmingham, Institute w/ CHVRCHES
12 March Cambridge, Junction w/ CHVRCHES
13 March Cardiff, University Great Hall w/ CHVRCHES
14 March London, Forum w/ CHVRCHES
15 March London, Forum w/ CHVRCHES
10 April London, St Pancras Old Churs **HEADLINE SHOW**

LCD Soundsystem bow out in spectacular style for Record Store Day


Record Store Day is a bit bittersweet for someone who loves Record Stores as much as I do. Great that you’re coming to check out what’s on offer – but what about the rest of the time? And those people who merely go to snap up stuff to flog on ebay? Scumbags. Utter, TOTAL SCUMBAGS.

One of the most amazing things I have heard about coming this coming year for Record Store Day (April 19, 2014) is the 5LP boxed set (yes, FIVE LPs) of The Long Goodbye: LCD Soundsystem Live At Madison Square Garden, This is an unabridged recording of LCD Soundsystem’s near four-hour farewell show at New York’s Madison Square Garden, back in 2011. This will get a full release on May 19.

This below was LCD Soundsystem’s very first single, back in 2002. ‘Losing My Edge’ is one of my favourite tracks of the last twenty years, and this video shows what was clearly a great night being put to bed in style.

And there’s a rather awesome steal from Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’ included here, too…

The following is the 28-song strong tracklist (deep breath):
Dance Yrself Clean
Drunk Girls
I Can Change
Time To Get Away
Get Innocuous!
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House
Too Much Love
All My Friends
Tired / Heart Of The Sunrise
45:33 Intro
You Can’t Hide (Shame On You)
Sound Of Silver
Out In Space
Ships Talking
Freak Out / Starry Eyes
Us v Them
North American Scum
Bye Bye Bayou
You Wanted A Hit
Someone Great
Losing My Edge
All I Want
Jump Into The Fire
New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down

The return of Broken Records


I can’t claim to have been the first blogger to have written about Broken Records, but I first wrote about them back in August 2007, when they appeared as the support to Emma Pollock at Edinburgh’s Cabaret Voltaire. Over the last six years I’ve seen them many times (I did try to count earlier, and it’s well over half a dozen) and they have been responsible for two utterly brilliant albums in Until The Earth Begins To Part and Let Me Come Home. The former topped my end of year list in 2009 and the latter no.3 in 2010.

So yes, I am a confirmed fan.

And now more good news. March 24 will see the release of the four-track Toska EP, comprising the title track, along with ‘See You On The Way Down’ ‘Ward 3 and ‘Revival.’ Believe me, this is a rleease you will want to own.

For now, they have made the title track available to stream here.

Their new album Weights and Pulleys will follow in May…

The return of DZ Deathrays

DZ Deathrays

DZ Deathrays’ debut was a rather fine release called Bloodstreams. (read my review over at God Is In The TV). The Brisbane two-piece are shortly to return with a new album called Black Rat which will no doubt blow away any cobwebs.

This is the first track to do the rounds, it’s called ‘Gina Works At Hearts.’ (I am assuming this is nothing to do with Edinburgh’s Hearts of Midlothian football team, known as Hearts or the Jambos…Hearts-Jam Tarts-Jambos…No? Please yourself, then.) For best effect, turn this up as loud as you can (I would have done, it’s just we’ve just got the wee man down, but I cranked the headphones up really loud to compensate).

The return of Brody Dalle

Brody Dalle

Ten years ago, I remember being wowed by Brody Dalle, then frontwoman of the Distillers and their third album Coral Fang.

She’s now about to release her first ever solo album, Diploid Love, and the first track to do the rounds is ‘Meet the Foetus/Oh The Joy’ which features backing vocals from Garbage’s Shirley Manson and Emily Kowal of Warpaint.

Turn it up!

Diploid Love is released on April 28.



It’s funny, all these years later, there are still a handful of independent labels that will come up with something new, and I’ll feel that I have to check it out because of the label concerned. And top of that list for me is still 4AD.

Lo-Fang is the work of LA-based musician and producer Matthew Hamerlein. He’s due to release his debut album next week,entitled Blue Film. His work has been described as being ‘electronic torch song’ and it seems like an accurate description for the music of these two tracks ‘When We’re Fire’ and ‘Look Away’ (do watch the videos as well as listening to the tracks).

The album was written and recorded during his world travels everywhere from a farmhouse in Maryland to a hotel in Cambodia to studios in London and Nashville, and was completed at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles. I’m just about to check it out, the final thirty seconds of ‘Look Away’ took me by surprise in the very nicest way…

Stream the album in its entirety here

The return of Ben Watt: solo artist


Ben Watt, by Edward Bishop

There’s so many people coming out of the woodwork after a lot of time has gone by that I’ve come to the conclusion that it can only be a matter of time before Robert Smith and Steve Severin collaborate on another project together under The Glove moniker. Hell, if Bowie can come back after ten years as if nothing’s happened, well, anything can happen.

The latest OMG moment is that of Ben Watt. Back in the early eighties he released a fine solo album, entitled North Marine Drive and an EP with Robert Wyatt, Summer Into Winter. Still in his teends, he went off to Hull University where he met Tracey Thorn, who he formed Everything But The Girl with. He’s run his own label Buzzin’ Fly, and written

His new album is called Hendra and comes out on April 14. The album is a collaboration with Bernard Butler (of Suede fame and noted record producer), and Ewan Pearson. Oh, and another contributor to the album is Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd, no less, who features on ‘The Levels.’

The album tracklisting is as follows:
‘Golden Ratio’
‘Matthew Arnold’s Field’
‘The Gun’
‘The Levels’
‘Young Man’s Game’
‘The Heart Is A Mirror’

He’s also on tour, though dates so far are only for England:

Feb 23 – London, St Pancras Church – SOLD OUT
Feb 24 – London, St Pancras Church – SOLD OUT
April 15 Sheffield, Greystones
April 16 Newcastle, Cluny 2
April 17 Liverpool, East Village Arts Club
April 18 Hebden Bridge, Trades Club
April 19 Cambridge, Junction 2
April 21 Nottingham, Bodega
April 22 Guildford, Boileroom
April 23 Norwich, Arts Centre

Album Re-issues: Cast

Cast -‘All Change’/’Mother Nature Calls’/’Magic Hour’/’Beetroot’ (Edsel)

In mid-1995, indie/alternative was having a commercial purple patch. And there were a handful of acts where people who had already had a pretty damn good crack at fame were coming along for their second acts. Dave Grohl had stepped out from his drumsticks to release his debut album as the frontman of the Foo Fighters, and Shaun Ryder, his brother Paul and Bez from the Happy Mondays had regrouped as Black Grape. And then there was Cast.

Liverpool’s Cast were formed from the ashes of two lauded Liverpool indie bands, Shack and The La’s. Cast frontman had been bass player for the latter, whose debut album had been raved about five years earlier, slagged off by the mercurial frontman Lee Mavers and who to this day has not got round to releasing the follow-up. It was the time of Glastonbury ’95, when Pulp stepped in at the last moment for the Stone Roses, and when Supergrass’ ‘Alright’ proved the summer’s anthem (it was more than an ‘alright time for yours truly- I passed my driving test, left school and got into university. Much of the music of this time is indelibly etched into my brain). ‘Fine Time’ came out the week week as the aforementioned ‘Alright’ and was the first of four top twenty hits from the album. The second single was their own ‘Alright’ – and I remember being down the front of a gig at one of Leicester’s Universities where John Power asked why I was waving at him, to which I replied ‘Canihaveyourplectrum?’which at the end of the set he duly gave me (the same night I met a man called Gem Archer who was the frontman of the supporting Heavy Stereo. Mr. Archer would go onto join Oasis in 2000, and then onto Liam Gallagher’s Beady Eye after the Gallagher Brothers eventually imploded. Hell, I even got a backstage pass that night. I was eighteen, the world felt like it was my oyster and Cast were part of the soundtrack.


The band released All Change a month or so later. Nearly twenty years later, it has held up pretty well. Though within a year, Cast would be getting lumped in with ‘Dadrock’ – the brand of Britpop that seemed to have been so backward looking it was almost entirely based on 60s and 70s rock -there’s still a freshness here, not least the two other singles ‘Walkaway’ and ‘Sandstorm.’ But that said, there’s also the rather fine ‘Promised Land’ and ‘History.’ All four re-issues are bolstered by extras and the first disc gives us the excellent b-sides ‘Follow Me Down’ and ‘Better Man.’ (****)

Cast mother nature calls

The world should have been theirs for the taking. All Change was the best-selling debut by a band on Polydor, trouncing the likes of those with a much hipper pedigree (The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Jam). In late 1996 they released ‘Flying’ as a standalone single (included on disc 2 of All Change), and I remember not particularly caring for it at the time. Time has actually improved it. Sad to say, that’s more than can be said for 1997’s sophomore album, Mother Nature Calls. Of the four re-issues, this has dated the least well of all of them. It did well at the time – I remember the single ‘Guiding Star’ was an anthem I remember bopping along to during their set at a very muddy Glastonbury in 1997, and the album opens on ‘Free Me’ which could have been a single. As it was, the other two singles ‘Live The Dream’ and ‘I’m So Lonely’ were typical of why the album seemed so dull in comparison to their debut. And it seems really stodgy and overproduced in 2014 (**).

Cast magic hour

By 1999, the consensus was that Britpop was over. As a romantic, I’ve always felt the death-knell was when Oasis released a folly of a third album in Be Here Now and Noel Gallagher was seen on the front pages shaking the hand of Tony Blair (a man who’d been elected the first Labour Prime Minister in nearly twenty years and then promptly started annoying the hell out of those of us who had worked so hard to get him elected, by reneging on pretty much EVERYTHING). It wasn’t that cut and dried, but several bands had split, and the chart positions were slipping for those who still remained. Cast gave us a third album Magic Hour, which perhaps proves the biggest surprise of the lot. It is, quite simply, their best album. ‘Beat Mama’ was the band’s last top ten hit, and yet it’s the title track which typifies an album that’s rockier and dreamier than I had remembered. If you only buy one of the re-issues, this should be it. Maybe not a lost classic, but an album that should be re-evaluated. (****)

cast beetroot

In 2001, the band released Beetroot. I don’t think I’d (knowingly) heard it until I put the re-issue in the CD player. Music had moved on again, the twin nightmare of nu-metal and UK Garage was fading and it was a new wave of bands from America like The White Stripes and The Strokes who were leading the charge. The fact is that Beetroot is completely different beast from the rest of their back catalogue. The band had been investigating Latin rhythms and dance music and put their sixties records back in the attic. The album failed to make the top forty, and the ‘Desert Drought’ track was the only single released from it. Yet it’s fun -and it must have been a little frustrating year later, when they called it quits to see a young band from Liverpool called The Coral releasing an album that matched the catchy songs of the early days with the experimentalism of the last album. Elastica must have known how that felt… (***)

The re-issues are certainly exhaustive – and the multiple versions of some tracks can be a bit much to take in one sitting, and the remixes included are ‘of their time,’ to put it kindly. But with the twenty years since the Britpop movement began under the microscope again, there’s two albums and a lot of singles that deserve to be remembered as part of the time.

All Change, Mother Nature Calls, Magic Hour and Beetroot are out now on Edsel.

EP review: Stumbleine featuring Violet Skies


Stumbleine featuring Violet Skies -‘Chasing Honeybees EP’ (Monotreme)

Following on from his rather fine debut album Spiderwebbed, UK producer Stumbeleine has teamed up to collaborate with Welsh singer-songwriter Violet Skies.

Ahead of their April album Dissolver, they have released this five track EP. I must confess that when I first heard it back at the end of last year I wasn’t all that keen. However, going back to it a couple of months later, it’s grown on me a bit.

I think perhaps part of the problem was that I found second track ‘Just Tell Me’ a bit dull, and at first ‘The Moonlight Flood’ seemed a bit too much like Leona Lewis’ ‘Bleeding Love’ to stand on its own merits. But the latter track improves on repeated plays. Added to which, opener ‘Clip My Wings’ and closer ‘Caroline’ are pretty good.

However, the highlight on this EP is the cover of ‘And Then He Kissed Me.’ It’s sometimes not really understood how much of an influence the Phil Spector songbook and wall of sound had on not only on girl groups but also on punk, indie (especially the c-86 variety) and shoegazing. If you’re not familiar with Stumbleine’s sound, it is 1 part shoegaze to 1 part electronica and with the vocal here, it’s a cocktail that shows up what a great reworking it is of a song that is now fifty years old.

Oh, and none of the tracks on this album are on the forthcoming album.


Chasing Honeybees is released by Monotreme on February 10.

Stream and download ‘Clip My Wings’ from the EP here

Check out Stumbleine’s bandcamp here

Simian Ghost’s gorgeous tribute to Broadcast’s Trish Keenan

Echoes Of Songs

I should probably put my hand up and say that while I liked a lot of what I have heard by Broadcast over the years, I cannot claim to know much about them or their music. The death of Trish Keenan three years ago was felt deeply by many -and if you would like to read more about her, I started with her obituary over on The Guardian website.

Swedish Ghost’s tribute to her is entitled ‘Echoes Of Songs’ and it is simply gorgeous. It’s out this week – take the trouble to listen!

This is the Luke Abbott remix of the track:

They are playing in London next Monday – read more about it over here.