Forthcoming from Mogwai

Mogwai 2015 01 - credit Steve Gullick

Mogwai, photo by Steve Gullick

It’s now twenty years since Mogwai formed, and this October will see the release of a fantastic compilation by the seminal Glasgow post-rock band.

Entitled Central Belters (Central Belt refers top the middle of Scotland, the bit that includes Glasgow and Edinburgh), it’s a massive 3-CD or 6LP vinyl set that stretches from early singles through albums and EPs up to last year’s Rave Tapes.

The artwork and tracklisting can be seen below:

Mogwai - Central Belters art

CD 1
1) Summer
2) Helicon 1
4) Christmas Steps
5) I Know You Are But What Am I?
6) Hunted By A Freak
7) Stanley Kubrick
8) Take Me Somewhere Nice
9) 2 Rights Make 1 Wrong
10) Mogwai Fear Satan

CD 2
1) Auto Rock
2) Travel Is Dangerous
3) Friend Of The Night
4) We’re No Here
5) I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead
6) The Sun Smells Too Loud
7) Batcat
8) Mexican Grand Prix
9) Rano Pano
10) How To Be A Werewolf
11) Wizard Motor
12) Remurdered
13) The Lord Is Out Of Control
14) Teenage Exorcists

CD 3
1) Hugh Dallas
2) Half Time
3) Burn Girl Prom Queen
4) Devil Rides
5) Hassenheide
6) Tell Everybody That I Love Them
7) Earth Division
8) Wizard Motor
9) Hungry Face
10) D to E
11) My Father My King

There’s a new video for ‘Helicon 1’ (originally released as a single in 1997) directed by Craig Murray and shot on location in Okinawa, Kyoto and Osaka in Japan.

Album Review – Richard Thompson


Richard Thompson -‘Still’ (Proper)

They say we live in the best of all possible worlds. If so, how come Richard Thompson doesn’t seem to be as revered worldwide as Bob Dylan or Eric Clapton? Because he’s got the songwriting chops of the former and is easily the equal if not the greater of the latter when it comes to the guitar. And fifty years into his music career, he is still at the top of his game. Vocally while other contemporaries of his age seem to be struggling, his warm baritone is as fine as ever.

So are there any advancements on this album? Well, it’s no longer news (unless you read the wrong magazines of course) that this album was produced by Jeff Tweedy (of Uncle Tupelo and Wilco fame). And the songs are as fine as ever, with many new fine additions to the already impressive Thompson songbook. The women in Thompson’s songs are not mere submissive groupies, he often seems to regret in his songs that he’s not been able to get them to stay.

It’s not to say that I got into this album immediately – because I didn’t. But what each successive play over the past few months has revealed is that it is full of more fine additions to the Thompson catalogue, and it is up there with the best work he has produced (Rumour & Sigh, Shoot Out The Lights, Mock Tudor and so on). Not everyone can get away with starting an album with a ballad, as Thompson does where with ‘She Never Could Resist A Winding Road’ but Richard Thompson does it with aplomb. And he’s always been able to be clever and funny with it (as you’d expect from a guy who wrote a song called ‘Hots For The Smarts.’) ‘Guitar Heroes’ manages to cleverly play tribute to those who inspired him, and still work as a song – you’ll need to listen to it to understand it. And ‘Long John Silver’ ‘Beatnik Walking’ and ‘Patty Don’t You Put Me Down’…just fine, fine songs.

So if you’re already a fan, you will know what to expect, and you will still marvel. If you’ve never heard his work, why not start here?


The return of New Order

New Order 2015

It feels like it’s been a long time coming – and it has. But September 25 will see the first new studio album from New Order in over a decade.

Entitled Music Complete, it’s the band’s first album for Mute (the label that gave us Depeche Mode, Nick Cave and Liars, amongst many acts), the first one to see the return of keyboardist Gillian Gilbert since 2001’s Get Ready and the first one not to feature co-founding bassist Peter Hook.

The artwork and tracklisting can be seen below:

New Order

4.Tutti Frutti
5.People On The High Line
6.Stray Dog
8.Nothing But A Fool
9.Unlearn This Hatred
10.The Game

While no full songs are available to stream or download as yet, there is a short promotional clip for the album that you can see below:

A song for today #15

Lilies on Mars

Lilies on Mars are two multi-instrumentalist musicians and producers Lisa Masia and Marina Cristofalo. Having released their debut album Dot To Dot in 2014, the London-based duo will release their sophomore album ?GO in the early autumn.

The first track from the album ‘Dancing Star’ was mixed and co-produced with Tom Furse from The Horrors. It’s a wonderful slice of retro-futurist pop, that recalls Broadcast and Stereolab, and over the course of it’s four and half minutes manages to feel like it’s distilled the best of a million strands of electronic pop from the last forty years. It’s released on June 29.

Lilies on Mars headline The Lexington in London on June 26.

The return of Mercury Rev

Mercury Rev
Photo: Alise Marie

Mercury Rev will return with their eighth album on September 18.

The Light In You will be released via Bella Union, and the band will also be touring Europe this autumn.

Mercury Rev album cover

The tracklisting for The Light In You is as follows:

1. The Queen Of Swans
2. Amelie
3. You’ve Gone With So Little For So Long
4. Central Park East
5. Emotional Freefall
6. Coming Up For Air
7. Autumn’s In The Air
8. Are You Ready?
9. Sunflower
10. Moth Light
11. Rainy Day Record

You can stream ‘The Queen Of Swans’ below:

The live dates are as follows:

Friday 18 September – TILBURG Incubate Festival
Sunday 4 October – LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Monday 5 October – BRISTOL Trinity
Friday 6 November – COPENHAGEN DR Studio 2
Sunday 8 November – BRUSSELS Botanique Orangerie
Monday 9 November – COLOGNE Studio 672
Wednesday 11 November – BERLIN Postbahnhof
Friday 13 November – ZAGREB Lauba
Saturday 14 November – RAVENNA Bronson
Sunday 15 November – MUNICH Kranhalle
Monday 16 November – PARIS Alhambra
Tuesday 17 November – BRIGHTON Komedia
Thursday 19 November – GATESHEAD The Sage
Friday 20 November – GLASGOW Art School
Sunday 22 November– DUBLIN Button Factory
Monday 23 November – MANCHESTER RNCM
Tuesday 24 November – LONDON Oval Space

The return of Foals

Foals 2015

Foals have announced the release of their fourth album, What Went Down, which will be released on August 28.

The album artwork and tracklisting can be seen below:

Foals what went down

1. What Went Down
2. Mountain At My Gates
3. Birch Tree
4. Give It All
5. Albatross
6. Snake Oil
7. Night Swimmers
8. London Thunder
9. Lonely Hunter
10. A Knife In The Ocean

You can stream the incendiary title track below…

…and watch the very good, if rather disturbing (hey, this is Foals after all) video for ‘What Went Down’ here:

Album Review – Gengahr

Gengahr album

Gengahr – ‘A Dream Outside.’ (Transgressive)

It’s 2015, just in case you hadn’t noticed. It’s well over sixty years since the first rock’n’roll record (even if we can’t agree on what it was), and a myriad of developments and reworkings have followed. What exactly have another four piece guitar band, in this case Gengahr, got to offer us that we haven’t heard a thousand times before, with evermore diminishing returns?

Well, in the case of Gengahr, ONE HELL OF A LOT. Even before the release of A Dream Outside, it was clear from the tracks available that this was most definitely not just another all male indie band rehashing old ideas from whichever decade without a single new idea between them, and a painfully obvious demonstration of what records they’ve been listening to.

First up, Felix Bushe’s voice is something special. High without sounding like a choirboy or doing an unconvincing falsetto, it’s unique and it works. And it doesn’t sound cracked. It works. And then there’s the fact that Gengahr are a clever band, but they use that cleverness well. Instead of rubbing it in your face, it’s subtle. Like the way you realise that the funniest and cleverest guy in the class wasn’t actually the one who was most in your face about it.

It’s the way that a song changes in numerous ways, yet still holds together to make a coherent actual pop song. To the extent that no matter how many times I played this album before sitting down to finally review it (at least half a dozen times, conceivably more), it became disorientating in a good way the way a song would mess with your expectations: It’s an indie anthem! No, it’s a seventies funk workout! No it can’t be – this is a late sixties psychedelic workout!

There’s a great run from tracks two to four -‘She’s A Witch,’ Heroine’ and ‘Bathed In Light’ -which may well be the highlight of the album. Yet even if it steps back a little bit after this, it’s impressive that a band can a)work more ideas into a song than some manage over an entire career b)do it in such a way that it doesn’t comes across as punchably smug and c) develop a series of songs that flow together into an album that clocks in comfortably around the 37 minute mark.

It’s possible that not all these songs will work on their own outside of the context of the album. And there is so much to take in (I don’t usually have the time to spend half a dozen listens on an album before writing the review) that those who only give it a casual listen won’t be giving it the attention that it deserves – and indeed, needs. And there’s no doubt that you can make a list of the bands that these guys have been listening to (it’s a long list, mind).

But here’s the thing: If this is record collection music, then it’s record collection music in the same way that DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing or Avalanches’ Since I Left You might be considered record collection music. It weaves together disparate parts of music’s heritage to put something together that’s impressive for any album, let alone a debut.

Get your hands on this album. Spend time with it and listen to it as a whole, rather than just trying a few bits for a few seconds. The reality is that you may listen to it 100 times and still be hearing something you haven’t done before. But boy, will you have fun doing so.


A Dream Outside is out now on Transgressive.

A song for today #14

Slow Riot

Hailing from Limerick, Slow Riot are Niall Clancy (vocals, bass), Aaron Duff (guitars) and Paul Cosgrave (drums). Taken from their forthcoming EP Cathedral, ‘City Of Culture’ is their debut single, a sardonic paean to the City of Culture status their hometown was awarded last year.

‘City of Culture’ is a fine slice of post-punk anger and energy, which draws on many fine acts from the past – but on the evidence of this track (and there’s nothing else on their soundcloud page at the time of writing), suggests that if they have more songs as good as this, then they’ll put Limerick on the international map, musically speaking (most successful band from Limerick at this point in history: The Cranberries).

‘City Of Culture’, and the forthcoming EP, were both recorded at the Manic Street Preachers’ FASTER studio in Cardiff with producer Kevin Vanbergen, (Pixies, The Maccabees, Biffy Clyro). FASTER’s in-house engineer Loz Williams and the Manics’ James Dean Bradfield himself extended a helping hand to the band.

The single’s released on Straight Lines Are Fine on July 10. Why not pre-order the single via iTunes and for now, enjoy it on the soundcloud link below?

The return of The Maccabees

The Maccabees 2015 studio photo_credit Pooneh Ghana_web res[8]

The Maccabees are set to return with their anticipated fourth album on July 31, entitled Marks To Prove it.

The Maccabees_Marks To Prove It_album artwork[3]
The tracklisting for the album is as follows:

1. Marks To Prove It
2. Kamakura
3. Ribbon Road
4. Spit It Out
5. Silence
6. River Song
7. Slow Sun
8. Something Like Happiness
9. WW1 Portraits
10. Pioneering Systems
11. Dawn Chorus

You can stream two tracks from the album below ‘Something Like Happiness’ and ‘Marks To Prove It.’

Two awesome albums for you to check out

Apologies for being rather quiet round here the last few days – I’ve been waylaid by a summer cold, and as ever, have way too many submissions to listen to, never even mind writing about!

These two albums, however, are ones that you should take the time to listen to, and indeed, go and buy.

Yukon Blonde

Yukon Blonde’s third album On Blonde (see what they did there?) is out on June 15 and you can stream it over on


Meanwhile, I never tire of going on about the genius that is Richard Thompson and you can stream his latest album Still either via NPR is you’re in the US, it’s out there on June 23, or if you are based in the UK, via The Guardian. It’s out here on June 29.