Happy New Year!


Hey folks.

Happy New Year and hope you had a good one. I’d not intended to take such a long break from the blog, but I hope you had a good time.

It’s fair to say that 2013 was a pretty great year for music, and there was no shortage of releases for people to get excited about. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that it’s becoming increasingly common for albums to appear with little or no fanfare. Three cases from the year that spring to mind are the surprise announcement of David Bowie’s first album in a decade, The Next Day on his 66th Birthday on January 8. Towards the end of the year, a matter of days after Beyonce’s label chief had told the world that her fifth solo album would be out at some point in 2014, it was released overnight via iTunes. And after a gap that made The Stone Roses and Guns ’n’ Roses seems slight by comparison, My Bloody Valentine suddenly stuck their head up above the parapet and announced that their twenty years in the making m b v would be available in a matter of hours – and it was.

Of course, these were surprises for different reasons, with the big deal with Bowie being that it was assumed he had quietly retired. But as far as we know, this is what to expect in 2014 (NB dates are for the UK).

Even January looks like being not as dead as you might expect. January 6 sees Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks release the sixth Malkmus solo album Wig Out At Jagbags. The same day will also see the release of Plagues of Babylon by Iced Earth, Nina Persson Animal Heart and Patterns Waking Lines. A week later, January 13, the day of the latest Bruce Springsteen album High Hopes, Broken Bells release After The Disco, Gyratory System Utility Music, East India Youth Total Strife Forever,Run The Jewels Run The Jewels and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings Give The People What They Want. January 20 is the day that Mogwai (above) Rave Tapes, Warpaint Warpaint, Rifles None The Wiser, Beth Nielsen Chapman Uncovered, Sophie Ellis-Bextor Wanderlust and Mary Chapin Carpenter Songs From The Movies hits the street. January 27 is a busy day with releases from Cymbals The Age Of Fracture, Dum Dum Girls Too True, Indica Shine, Of Mice and Men Restraining Force, Primal Fear Delivering The Black, Red Dragon Cartel Red Dragon Cartel, David Crosby Croz, Paul Rodgers Royal Sessions, Mike Oldfield Man On The Rocks, and You Me At Six Cavalier Youth.

Watch out for bored journalists somewhere writing about a possible Britpop revival for ooh, at least half an hour (it was twenty years ago after all), when in late January there are re-issues from Ocean Colour Scene (Ocean Colour Scene and Marchin’ Already, released on January 20), Gene (who re-issue their first four studio albums Olympian, Drawn To The Deep End, Revelations, Libertine and the compilation To See The Lights on January 27), Cast (who re-issue All Change, Mother Nature Calls, Magic Hour and Beetroot on January 27 and two of Luke Haines’ 1990s acts The Auteurs and Baader Meinhof (re-issuing New Wave and Baader Meinhof, respectively also on January 27).

February will see Katy B Little Red, Maximo Park Too Much Information, Young Fathers DEAD, Quilt Head In Splendour, Rosanne Cash The River And The Thread, Grand Magus Triumph And Power, Family Rain Under The Volcano, Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow, Within Temptation Hydra, Arthur Beatrice Working Out, Seth Lakeman Word Of Mouth and an as yet untitled McFly album (February 3). There will also be releases from Cheatahs Cheatahs, Temples Sun Structures, Neil Finn Dizzy Heights, Cage The Elephant Melophobia (February 10), We Are The In Crowd Weird Kids and Death Vessel Island Intellectuals (February 17), St. Vincent St. Vincent and Milagres Violent Light (February 24).

March meanwhile will give us the release of Rufus Wainwright’s compilation Vibrate on March 3. This will be followed by Metronomy Love Letters, Joan As Policewoman The Classic, Fenster The Pink Caves, Blood Red Shoes’ self-titled fourth album and Elbow’s sixth as yet untitled album (March 10), Lyla Foy Mirrors The Sky, Sabina Toujours, Black Lips Underneath The Rainbow (March 17),Jimi Goodwin Odludek and Johnny Cash’s unreleased album Out Among The Stars (March 24). This month will also see the release of Kaiser Chiefs Education Education Education And War and Band Of Skulls Himalayan (March 31).

In Scotland, Edinburgh has often played second fiddle to Glasgow, but there are new releases expected from Withered Hand, Broken Records, Meursault and The Last Battle. No confirmed release dates as yet, but well worth keeping an eye out for.

There are albums with titles but no firm release date as yet… including Manic Street Preachers Futurology, Kelis Food, Tori Amos Unrepentant Geraldines, Professor Green Growing Up In Public, Azealia Banks’ long awaited debut Broke With Expensive Taste, Blondie Ghosts Of Download, Beck Morning Phase, and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga’s duets album Cheek To Cheek. LCD Soundsystem are also expected to release a live album of their final show in New York.

…while there are a number of artists who have been spotted near studios of late, including Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Interpol, Wu-Tang Clan, Brian Wilson, Adele, Damon Albarn (who is said to be working on both a solo album and a new Blur album), The Horrors, Staves, Carl Barat, Health, Charlatans, Howler, Best Coast, Muse, Big Pink, Alabama Shakes, Lily Allen, Bodycount, Black Submarine, Bwani Junction, Dead Weather, Cypress Hill, Snow Patrol, Jay Electronica, Emeli Sande, Sia, Solange, Flying Lotus, Foster The People, Liars, Let’s Wrestle, First Aid Kit, Courtney Love, Mastodon, Maccabees, TV On The Radio, Lana Del Rey, Metallica, Frank Ocean, Nine Black Alps, Modest Mouse, Rita Ora, TLC, Smashing Pumpkins, Wild Beasts and last but by no means least, Kanye West.

And artists who seem to have been working on new albums forever, including U2, La Roux and Klaxons are set to have albums out. Outkast are also set to return in 2014. Me? Well, I’ve already set aside Christmas money for vinyl versions of Mogwai, Warpaint and Stephen Malkmus…

You can also stream the Stephen Malkmus album in its entirety:

Getting ready for 2014 part 5


2013 isn’t over yet (am trying to ready my end of year lists, to say nothing of my tips for 2014) and, of course, getting ready for the new music that 2014 will bring.

Even before Warpaint and Mogwai’s new albums are released on January 20, January 6 will see the sixth solo LP from Stephen Malkmus, credited to Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks. Its title is Wigout At Jagbags. As has been pointed out on quite a few sites already, this is more albums than he made with Pavement (Wrestling…was a compilation).

This is the first track to do the rounds, entitled ‘Lariat.’ It’s a lyric video – except the song’s lyrics are translated into French. Presumably for Mr. Malkmus’ amusement, one assumes…

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Planetary Motion
2. The Janitor Revealed
3. Lariat
4. Houston Hades
5. Shibboleth
6. J Smoov
7. Rumble At The Rainbo
8. Chartjunk
9. Independence Street
10. Scattegories
11. Cinnamon & Lesbians
12. Surreal Teenagers

Album Review – Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks


Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks -‘Mirror Traffic.’ (Domino)

Three years since his last album under his own name, Real Emotional Trash, and a Pavement reunion later, Stephen Malkmus is back with his new album. And it’s great. Hallelujah!

What this album demonstrates is that – now amazingly aged forty-five – our hero has two awesome talents in particular. More often than not used together: a masterful grasp of the leftfield pop tune, and a way with a wonderfully nonsensical lyric. With regards to the latter, my favourite has got to be ‘One of us is a cigar stand/and the other a lovely blue incandescent guillotine’ (from ‘Type Slowly’ off Pavement’s Brighten The Corners), though I guess everyone’s got their own favourite.

In terms of lyrics to be remembered from this album I suspect it’s going to be the rather more straightforward ‘I know what the Senator wants/what the Senator wants is a blowjob’ from ‘Senator’. This is going to be changed to ‘corndog’ for the radio edit, apparently. The aforementioned ‘Senator’ and album opener ‘Tigers’ have already be doing the rounds as free mp3s ahead of the album’s release, They give a good example of how great the album is, as do ‘No One Is (As I Are Be)’ and ‘Forever 28.’

It’s now nearly twenty years since Pavement’s awesome debut Slanted and Enchanted. If it were ever doubted, Malkmus is more than just a mere Fall plagiarist, he is rightly revered as a legend on the indie scene and beyond.’


Mirror Traffic is out now on Domino

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Senator by DominoRecordCo

The return of Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks


Stephen Malkmus releases his fifth album (not including those he did as frontman of Pavement, obviously!) on August 22 on Domino.

Called Mirror Traffic, and backed once again by The Jicks, the album has been produced by Beck Hansen, who also produced Thurston Moore’s excellent album Demolished Thoughts earlier this year.

The tracklisting is as follows:

No One (Is As I Are Be)
Brain Gallop
Asking Price
Stick Figures In Love
Long Hard Book
Share The Red
Tune Grief
Forever 28
All Over Gently
Fall Away
Gorgeous George

Domino have made two tracks available to download for free, and this suggests that the album is going to be pretty good. Strange to think it’s now nearly twenty years since Pavement’s debut Slanted and Enchanted.

Stephen Malkmus -‘Tigers.’ mp3

Stephen Malkmus -‘Senator.’ mp3

Despite the fact that these were available as free downloads, these have apparaently been copyright violations?!?!?!WTF!

And as a bonus from his first album (now ten years old!) this is ‘Jenny and the Ess Dog.’

Stephen Malkmus -‘Jenny and the Ess Dog.’ mp3

Soothing sounds

Now I’m getting the hang of this! Trying to unwind and flicking through the stuff I have uploaded to my Ipod has reminded me that I really need to post this track to the blog, because as the second single of the former Pavement frontman’s eponymous debut in 2001, it was a sign that Stephen Malkmus could go on to do great things. This was one of my favourite songs of 2001, the year I moved to Scotland. I never forgot this, but I feel like I have re-discovered it again over the last week or so…

Stephen Malkmus -‘Jenny and the Ess-Dog.’ mp3

Smitten? Thought you might be…

from that Eponymous debut:

Stephen Malkmus -‘The Hook.’ mp3

from 2003’s Pig Lib

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -‘(Do Not Feed The Oyster.’ mp3

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks -‘Us.’ mp3

and from last year’s Face The Truth:

Stephen Malkmus -‘Baby C’mon.’ mp3

As always, if you like the stuff, please support the artist involved, either by buying at Amazon or on iTunes or at your local record shop.

All three albums are worth owning, though I love the first the most perhaps. And obviously, check out Pavement and Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs’ band Preston school Of Industry. Maybe that might just be another post… : )