…so that was the noughties!


Tippi the cat wearily surveys the vinyl from her perch

There are pedantic sods out there who will say that the next decade doesn’t start until 2011…umm, too bad.

It’s been a busy decade with highs and lows, and soundtracked by some amazing stuff. Odd, considering that at the start of 2000, I was wondering whether I was being left behing as I failed to get into Nu-metal or garage. Thankfully, there’s been lots of brilliant stuff.


Highs: Getting married; moving to Scotland; being my brother’s best man at his wedding; becoming an uncle; getting cats; finally getting to work in a record shop; the invention of the iPod; meeting wonderful new friends in Scotland; the critical re-evaluation of The Cure; starting a blog that’s allowed me to interview people and get free music and into gigs for free; getting a Masters Degree; becoming a fully qualified teacher; Edinburgh’s music scene flourishing; getting to DJ again; going to New York -twice!; seeing my brother’s career in comedy and acting take off; the resurgence of post-punk and its’ infleunce on contemporary indie; setting up my own record label; Obama’s election; Great TV in the form of Life On Mars, The Office, CSI; ‘world’ cinema playing in multiplexes; successfully giving up smoking and drinking; nights out in Edinburgh and Glasgow; The Wire magazine; American Hip Hop and R&B; Grime; Dubstep; Kate Bush finally releasing a new album; finally having my own car; getting to see the likes of the Pixies (twice!), Blondie, Television (Twice!), Dead Kennedys, Julian Cope, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave (also twice!), Morrissey (three times), U2, Lou Reed…

Lows: Death of our beloved Jake the cat; black dog; the NME’s decline for much of the decade; people who showed they could not be trusted; the loss of three music venues in Edinburgh (La Belle Angele, The Venue, The Liquid Rooms); Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; Labour letting us down; George W. Bush’s administration impacting on life here; the BNP; Tommy Sheridan proving to be human after all; the frightening prospect of a Tory Victory in 2010; the continued existence of racism, homophobia and domestic violence (and fuckwits who label any attempt to challenge this as political correctness gone mad)…

There’s been so much music that it’s hard to rank it all – this is just a handful of what’s floated my boat this decade.

The Delgados -‘No Danger.’ mp3

Gnarls Barkley -‘Crazy.’ mp3

The Bug -‘Angry.’ mp3

CSS – ‘Let’s Make Love and Listen To Death From Above.’ mp3

Franz Ferdinand -‘Shopping For Blood.’ mp3

Beyonce -‘Crazy In Love.’ mp3

LCD Soundsystem -‘Losing My Edge.’ mp3

Burial -‘Archangel.’ mp3

Santogold -‘My Superman.’ mp3

Low – ‘California.’ mp3

>Usher -‘Yeah.’ mp3

The Rapture – ‘House Of Jealous Lovers.’ mp3

Radio 4 -‘Dance To the Underground.’ mp3

Interpol -‘NYC.’ mp3

Missy Elliott -‘Get UR Freak On.’ mp3

Estelle -‘American Boy (featuring Kanye West).’ mp3

Skream -‘Midnight Request Line.’ mp3

This is by no means a complete list; I’ve intentionally left out anything from this year. The list could also include M.I.A.; White Stripes; Strokes; Yeah Yeah Yeahs; The Libertines; Dizzee Dascal; Arctic Monkeys; Outkast; System Of A Down; Calexico; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy; Kylie; Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds… and many of the scottish bands I’ve championed – and those I have signed.

Happy New Year!


33 1/3 Part 19


Missy Elliot -‘Miss E…So Addictive.’ (WEA,2001)

2001 was something of a watershed year for me, personally and musically. At the start of the year, I was doing teacher-training and trying to come to terms with the fact that nu-metal was there to stay; Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Korn. I was starting to despair of Stereophonics and Travis who seemed to be what ‘indie’ had come to pass for. And the less said about the relationship I was in the better. The fallout that I experienced in the middle of that year was pretty grim.

By the end of the year, I found myself living in Edinburgh, and starting to rebuild my life. And get into some great new music. One of the records I picked up just before I headed south for Christmas at my folks’ was this, the third album by Missy Elliott. I’d been learning about the fact that there was a world beyond indie -and it wasn’t just in the NME either, but over the radio.

Missy Elliott looked cool as. She could rap as well as any man – quite a lot better, she worked with Timbaland (a man who has probably shaped the sound of this decade more than any other producer, apart from The Neptunes), and she came up with the goods when it came to the music. The production is phenomenal; few records apart from Public Enemy have ever been produced this well. The beats on this album alone would make it a classic, but then there’s the songs that once bitten, you’re forever smitten. Hell, even the opening intro is worth it, and that’s something I’ve never been able to say about many Hip-Hop albums.

And of course, then there is the matter of ‘Get UR Freak On.’ This track remains one of the best, not just of that year, but of the decade. The way it incorporated an asian influence meant hosts of others in the Hip-Hop and pop worlds started picking up on Indian sounds (and if anyone mentions Kula Shaker I will shoot them). Let’s say that there’d have been No ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears without this track. The sonic additions bedazzle and amaze.

It was a watershed year…more up and downs than a bloody rollercoaster, but the music got me through. And this was one lady I was defniitely counting on staying around.

Missy Elliott -‘Get UR Freak On.’ mp3

Six seminal sounds

It’s been a good weekend, and I’ve got lots of stuff done.

However, I figured it was time for something a bit different on this blog.

Adapted from a couple of CD-Rs that I made up a couple of years ago, Seminal Sounds CD-R 1 and er, Seminal Sounds CD-R 2, here are six tracks that I figure did a hell of a lot to change the face of music.

A Guy Called Gerald -‘Voodoo Ray.’ mp3

The Human League -‘Being Boiled.’ mp3

BBC Radiophonic Workshop -‘Doctor Who(Original Theme).’ mp3

Missy Elliott-‘Get Ur Freak On.’ mp3

Aphex Twin-‘Windowlicker.’ mp3

Billie Holiday-‘Strange Fruit.’ mp3

I shouldn’t need to post long justifications about these. Let’s just say, the first three tracks are milestones for electronic music, the Human League being one of the coldest things I have ever heard, whilst -in a completely different way, the Doctor Who theme is one of the warmest. Missy Elliott and Aphex Twin uped the ante, and deservedly got NME writers singles of the year for their tracks, whilst the Billie Holiday is haunting beyond belief, in a way that leaves Suicide, Nico and The Doors way, way behind.

If you like what you hear -and I believe you should -go check them out, via Amazon or iTunes, or better still, an independent shop.

These mp3s will be up for a week. Enjoy.