2010…so far


Me on the decks at Pin Ups, Glasgow

It’s been a great start to the year, musically, and I’ve been trying to hear as much stuff as I possibly can. There’s been some wonderful stuff, some not so good stuff -and no doubt some stuff that I’ll rant about, and yet possibly even change my mind about.

So what’s floated my boat this year so far? Well, I’ve really, really loved the latest eagleowl EP Into The Fold, the closing track ‘No Conjunction’ is without a doubt my song of the year so far. I’ve also been knocked for six by Delorean’s latest album, Subiza, and the Call to Mind EP, all of which got five stars here.

Sure, the scots have had some excellent albums so far this year, what with the sophomore from Meursault, All Creatures Will Make Merry, and debuts from Kid Canaveral and Mitchell Museum. To say nothing of a slew of excellent releases from the likes of Burnt Island, The Scottish Enlightenment, Cancel the astronauts and Fear the Fives.

Further afield, I’ve been loving The Drums, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Dum Dum Girls and the Soft Pack, and the Futureheads have returned with what is clearly their best record since their debut. It’s not all been indie round these parts, though, as you’ll see when I post my review of the latest M.I.A. album, and releases from Konono No.1, Four Tet and Yeasayer have also kept their place around here. I was less than impressed by latest offerings from the likes of The New Pornographers and The National, though…

There’s still another six months left to go, of course, but it’s been great, so far…

Delorean -‘Stay Close.’ mp3

Dum Dum Girls -‘Jail La La.’ mp3

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -‘Round and Round.’ mp3

Meursault -‘Crank resolutions.’ mp3

The Drums -‘Let’s Go Surfing.’ mp3

Soft Pack -‘C’mon.’ mp3

Yeasayer -‘O.N.E.’ mp3

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

Album Review – the Soft Pack


The Soft Pack -‘The Soft Pack’ (Heavenly)

The debut album from the Soft Pack appears to have been a long time in coming. Certainly, the line-up seems to have taken a while to stabilise and the name change – they first appeared on many people’s radar when it was announced that they had changed their name from the Muslims. And then there was the matter of them appearing on people’s tips for 2009 and 2010, which is when people start asking questions…

So here it is. It differs how many tracks you might find on it (10 on eMusic, 12 on iTunes) but having played this album several times over the last few weeks, it definitely get the thumbs up from me. It should be stated that this is probably not the most original album you will ever hear (then again, how many albums can we say that about?) However, what impresses with this album is that it feels fresh and marks the point in which the proto-punk of the 1960s, both in terms of Garage punk and the Velvet Underground meets with the tunes of the c86 era.

Some songs have an aspect of the ‘twee’ about them (twee in the c86 sense – I definitely mean it as a compliment), like the rather fine opener ‘C’Mon.’ Other tracks like ‘Flammable’ bounce around like an early strokes covering The Stooges (again, I mean that as a compliment). At half an hour long or so, this doesn’t outstay its’ welcome, and my interest has definitely been raised. It’s a huge amount of fun – and I’ll be interested to see what they are like live. However, their second album will need to develop substantially in order to show that they have staying power.


The Soft Pack is out now on Heavenly.

The Soft Pack website/The Soft Pack myspace

Getting ready for 2010 – The Soft Pack


Formerly known as the Muslims, the Soft Pack have been steadily rising in profile over the last year or so, and are now getting ready to release their debut, self-titled on February 1, 2010.

The band’s rise seems to have been fairly quick -and no doubt, alas they will be derided in some quarters as a hipster band. They could well be this years The Shins -and I mean that as a compliment -whether or not they have something like the equivalent of being featured in Garden State to help them on their way. I sincerely hope they do well.

The band’s line-up has only come together this year, but they are now vocalist Matt Lamkin, guitarist Matty McLoughlin, David Lantzman on bass and drummer Brian Hill. They play a no-messing indie rock that gets slowly more and more addictive with every hearing. They’ve played with the likes of Franz Ferdinand and The Breeders, which can have done their profile no harm whatsoever.

The tracklisting for the forthcoming album is:

1. C’mon
2. Down on Loving
3. Answer to Yourself
4. Move Along
5. Pull Out
6. More or Less
7. Tides of Time
8. Flammable
9. Mexico
10. Parasites

Check out these free downloads and let me know what you think!

The Soft Pack -‘C’mon.’ mp3

The Soft Pack -‘Answer to yourself.’ mp3

For more legal Soft Pack mp3s go here

The Soft Pack’s website/The Soft Pack’s myspace

The Soft Pack will be coming to the UK in February 2010; including dates in Scotland. Check the myspace for more details.