Presenting…The Grubby Mitts


There’s no shortage of bands who seem to have taken years to follow-up albums – the Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine and David Bowie are just some of the names that spring to mind. But The Grubby Mitts have taken eight years to complete their debut.

That debut, What The World Needs Now Is The Grubby Mitts is released on March 9. The Bedford band are lead by artist Andy Holden alongside his friends and long-term collaborators Johnny Parry, Roger Illingworth, James MacDowell and John Blamey. Now in their early thirties, the five of them have been playing together in various line-ups since the age of twelve.

They released their debut single ‘The Way To A Friend’s House Is Never Long’ and its follow-up ‘Standard’ to support from DJs like Steve Lamacq and Tom Ravenscroft, and even found time to collaborate with the legendary Damo Suzuki (once of Can), and it’s refreshing to hear a band who actually are producing music that is hard to categorize. This is indie music as the spirit intended – independent and following its own path. Their mitts may be grubby but this is a tonic for the ears and the soul.

Presenting…Viet Cong

Viet Cong

Despite their name, Viet Cong are actually Canadian. (Much like Berlin were, in fact from LA, and Kim Wilde had never been to Cambodia.) The Calgary, Alberta band will release their self-titled debut on January 19. Vocalist and bassist Matt Flegel and drummer Mike Wallace, formerly of Women, who joined forces with guitarists Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen to make a rightly acclaimed post-punk sound.

Their hotly tipped debut includes the following two excellent tracks:

The tracklisting for the album (released through Jagjaguwar outside of Canada) is as follows:

1. Newspaper Spoons
2. Pointless Experience
3. March Of Progress
4. Bunker Buster
5. Continental Shelf
6. Silhouettes
7. Death

The band will also be playing a handful of dates in Scotland and England in February:
February 4 Oslo, London
February 5 Deaf Institute, Manchester
February 6 Broadcast, Glasgow
February 7 Brudenell Social, Leeds
February 8 Green Door Store, Brighton

Presenting… All We Are

All We Are - Keep Me Alive - Photo Credit David Edwards - Shot_01_821- 300 dpi

All We Are are a three piece who met at Liverpool University. They are Ireland’s Richard ‘O Flynn (drums, vocals), Norway’s Guro Gikling (bass, vocals) and Brazil’s Luis Santos (guitar, vocals). Having toured with the likes of Jungle, Warpaint and London Grammar, they will release their debut, self-titled album on Domino on February 2, from which the new single ‘Keep Me Alive’ comes from. What’s exciting is to listen to a band who draw on both indie and dance influences, but not in the done-to-death for a generation way that that usually implies.

‘Keep Me Alive’ is a slightly unusual song, and the video, directed by Abbie Stephens, just has to be seen to be believed. It’s a more than just slightly unusual video…

The videos for their two previous singles can be seen below:

The album tracklisting for All We Are is as follows:

1. Intro
2. Ebb/Flow
3. Stone
4. Feel Safe
5. Honey
6. I Wear You
7. Keep Me Alive
8. Go
9. Utmost Good
10. Something About You
11. Life Of Seven

Presenting…Paper Rifles

I get no shortage of submissions here, and singer-songwriters are two-a-penny in this inbox.

But Edinburgh’s Paper Rifles -actually a one man band- who is a teacher by day (as I was one for several years I’m always sympathetic!) has released a single and an EP over the last couple of months which you can stream (and buy) via bandcamp and Anti-Manifesto label.

Much of what Jon has set out to do is to debunk the notion that a singer-songwriter has to conform to a certain type. There’s a rough charm to these recordings -and I mean that as a compliment. Angry and eloquent and rather compelling…

Please check these out:

Forthcoming albums for 2015

17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Show

Bob Dylan will release his 36th studio album, Shadows In The Night, next month

Another year – and a whole host of albums on the way!

Not all of these will appeal to everyone, and certainly not to me, but here is what the release schedules have coming up. Please note: dates are correct at the time of writing and relate to the UK only.

January 12 Diagrams Chromatics; Justin Townes Earle Absent Fathers; Fences Lesser Oceans; Hayseed Dixie Hair Down To My Grass; Panda Bear Panda Bear Meets Grim Reaper.

January 19 Above & Beyond We Are All We Need: Belle & Sebastian Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance; Decemberists What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World; Enter Shikari The Mindsweep; Fall Out Boy American Beauty/American Psycho; Funeral For A Friend Chapter and Verse; Joey Badass B4.Da.$$; Kid Ink Full Speed; Marilyn Manson The Pale Emperor; Mark Ronson Uptown Special; Sleater-Kinney No Cities To Love; Waterboys Modern Blues; Laura Welsh Soft Control.

January 26 Charlatans Modern Nature; Chicane The Sum Of Its Parts; Gaz Coombes Matador; Selena Gomez For You; Indiana No Romeo; Rae Morris Unguarded; Papa Roach F.E.A.R.; Phantom Band Fears Trending; Pond Man It Feels Like Space Again; Alasdair Roberts Alasdair Roberts; Meghan Trainor Title; Charli XCX Sucker.

February 2 Blind Guardian Beyond The Red Mirror; Bob Dylan Shadows In The Night; Staves If I Was; T’Pau Pleasure and Pain.

February 9 Blackberry Smoke Holding All The Roses; Father John Misty I Love You, Honeybear Idlewild Everything Ever Written; Kodaline Coming Up For Air; Overtones Sweet Soul Music; Peace Happy People; Gretchen Peters Blackbirds; Subways The Subways; Unthanks Mount The Air.

February 16 Carl Barat & The Jackals Let It Reign; Steve Earle & the Dukes Terraplane; Imagine Dragons Smoke + Mirrors; Jose Gonzalez Vestiges and Claws; Ne-Yo Non Fiction; Texas Texas 25; Thunder Wonder Days.

February 23 Black Star Riders The Killer Instinct; Champs Vamala; Aaron Ffye 10 Songs; Gang Of Four What Happens Next; Kid Rock First Kiss; Pop Group Citizen Zombie; Public Service Broadcasting The Race For Space. Additionally, the Prodigy’s sixth untitled album is due for release in February.

March 2 Blue Colours; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Chasing Yesterday; Modest Mouse Strangers To Ourselves; Rixton Let The Road; Veronicas The Veronicas; Steven Wilson Hand. Cannot. Erase.

March 9 Grubby Mits What The World Needs Now Is The Grubby Mits; Madonna Rebel Heart

March 16 Labrinth Take Me To The Truth; Twin Shadow Eclipse.

March 23 James Bay Chaos and the Calm; Errors Lease Of Life; Jermain Jackman Jermain Jackman; Laura Marling Short Movie; Seasick Steve Sonic Soul Surfer; While She Sleeps Brainwashed.

March 30 Circa Waves Young Chasers.

April 6 Marina & the Diamonds Froot.

There are also reissues and compilations forthcoming from The Almighty; Bowling For Soup; Extreme; Judas Priest; John Martyn; Kylie Minogue; OMD; Pretenders; REM; Siouxsie and the Banshees; Tyrannasaurus Rex; and Rick Wakeman

There is also a very long list of artists who are expected to release new albums, or at least have been working in the studio, and are expected to release new material at some point in 2015 (at least, from when I worked on this article!):

Action Bronson; Adele; Ash; Bat For Lashes; Bjork; Black Sabbath; James Blake; Blink 182; Cappadonna; Chic; Chvrches; Coldplay; The Cure; De La Soul; Django Django; Dominic Waxing Lyrical; Drake; Elbow; Everything Everything; Faith No More; Fergie; Fleetwood Mac; Florence and the Machine; Brandon Flowers; Garbage; David Gilmour; Girl Band; The Good The Bad and the Queen; Haim; Michael Kiwanuka; Kendrick Lamar; Libertines; Lil’ Wayne; Limp Bizkit; Maccabees; Metallica; Giorgio Moroder; Van Morrison; Motorhead; Muse; My Morning Jacket; N*E*R*D; No Devotion; Frank Ocean; One Direction; Palma Violets; Passion Pit; Radiohead; Red Hot Chili Peppers; Rihanna; Rudimental; Emeli Sande; The Selecter; Slayer; Smashing Pumpkins; Ringo Starr; Gwen Stefani; Suede; Tame Impala; Teenage Fanclub; Frank Turner; U2; Vaccines: Kanye West; Wilco; Wolf Alice; The Wrens; The XX; Jamie XX.

The blog sound of 2015


I was flattered to be asked to cast my vote for the Blog Sound of 2015, and the winner of the competition is Låpsley. The Liverpudlian producer and songwriter became an instant hit with music bloggers when she uploaded her song ‘Station’ to Soundcloud towards the end of 2013. She subsequently signed to XL records in 2014 and releases her debut EP The Understudy for the label on January 5th.

Låpsley continues a pattern of female vocal acts topping the poll. Previous winners are Banks, Marika Hackman, Haim and Friends.

lapsley new pic

Alongside 17 Seconds, the other blogs that participated were A New Band A Day, A Pocket Full Of Seeds, A World Of Music And Madness, Across The Kitchen Table, Alphabet Bands, Beat Surrender, Beat2aChord, Both Bars On, Brapscallions, Bratfaced LDN, Breaking More Waves, Brighton Music Blog, Daisy Digital, Dots And Dashes, Drunken Werewolf, Echoes and Dust, Electronic Rumors, Even The Stars, Everything Flows, Getintothis, God Is In The TV, Hearty Vibes, Hitsville UK, I Love Pie, Just Music That I Like, Kemptation, Like 1999, Lipstick Disco, Little Indie Blogs, Love Music : Love Life, Music Broke My Bones, Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt, My Day By Day Music, Never Enough Notes, Not Many Experts, Notes For A Road Sign, One Album A Week, Popped Music, Queen Beetch, Rave Child, Scientists Of Sound, Some Of It Is True, Song By Toad, Sounds Good To Me Too, Sound Of Now Music, Spectral Nights, Sweeping The Nation, The Blue Walrus, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, The Electricity Club, The Evening’s Empire, The Mad Mackerel, The Metaphorical Boat, The Paper Penguins, This Must Be Pop, Thoughts On Music, Three Beams, Too Many Blogs, The VPME, and What If I Had A Music Blog.

The return of The Waterboys


Happy New Year, for what I hope will be a fantastic year for music (though, to be fair, one of my theories is that every year has lots of good music, you just have to look for it harder some years than others).

I’ll be doing a piece on albums to look forward to this year, but one of the records I’m looking forward to in January is the latest album from The Waterboys, Modern Blues. Released on January 19 It’s their twelfth studio album by my reckoning, and the tracklisting is as follows.

1. Destinies Entwinned
2. November Tale
3. Still A Freak
4. I Can See Elvis
5. The Girl Who Slept For Scotland
6. Rosalind (You Married The Wrong Guy)
7. Beautiful Now
8. Nearest Thing To Hip
9. Long Strange Golden Road

There’s a handful of videos doing the rounds enabling you to hear some of the tracks from the record.

According to the Waterboys’ website, the album was recorded in Nashville, and as well as long-term fiddle player Steve Wickham, the album also features Memphis keya player “Brother” Paul Brown and bassist David Hood from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Adding to the soul flavour is Austin soul guitarist Zach Ernst while backing vocalists include southern soul legend Don Bryant.