Friday, 21 July 2017

My favourite Beatles song

Don't Let Me Down has been my favourite Beatles song for a long time now. Probably since my late teens or early 20's. There are many, many others I love - Got To Get You Into My Life, Tomorrow Never Knows, I Saw Her Standing There, Something, Here Comes The Sun, Strawberry Fields Forever, I'll Follow The Sun, Two Of Us......

However, at least for today, I thought I would write why Don't Let Me Down is my particular favourite.

In a nutshell, it is the bluesy, soulful rawness that is evident from Lennon's count-in (on this version) that brings in Billy Preston on organ, beautiful guitar by Harrison and Lennon's rich voice. McCartney and Starr lock in to a groove and create a solid platform for the others.

Lennon is so head over heels in love with Yoko Ono that he had to say it in 4 words rather than the usual 3. Lennon lays himself bare, committing himself completely and urging (pleading with) Ono not let him down. It is soulful, powerful and emotional. Lennon leaves the listener with no doubt.

The middle eight is possibly my all-time favourite, Lennon really goes for it and I love the melody and flow.

I'm in love for the first time
Don't you know it's gonna last
It's a love that lasts forever
It's a love that has no past

Don't let me down

The legendary rooftop performance

This is my favourite Lennon vocal performance and he is singing a love song like no other - he sings to Yoko in the choruses and his friends and the world in the verses, telling his tale, so good he had to tell someone.

And from the first time that she really done me
Ooh she done me
She done me good

By the last choruses Lennon is shouting 'hey' and 'whooping' as he really goes for it, his vocals are raspy and raw, Billy Preston plays some exquisite organ and just listen to Macca's bass.

The rooftop version (above) is my favourite; The Beatles last stand. They look fantastic - Lennon with his classic long hair, middle parting, side burns, round granny glasses and fur coat; McCartney in black suit, shirt and brown shoes complete with beard; George somehow making green jeans, converse and a fur coat look the coolest outfit going, Ringo looks a little cold and stoned in his red mac.

There are smiles - look at the way they all look at each other at times. They not only look fantastic, they sound AMAZING. If I ever get my hands on a delorean, some plutonium (or the knowledge of where and when a bolt of lightning would strike) and a flex capacitor - then I would head back for this show rather than the Cavern Club, Shea Stadium or Hamburg.

It's a tantalising glimpse of how good they still were - despite the differences between them at this stage.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Introducing Sun Rose

Sun Rose - great name, positive and warm - Everything Flows

Maximalist melodramatic funk-pop outfit from Glasgow - band description on Facebook

We like to take our time - Gus Wemyss, Sun Rose

For fans of Todd Terje, ESG etc - Maioux Miaoux

Sun Rose are a brand new band signed to Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG) who have just released their debut single Smirk ahead of their debut album later this year. Check the video below or head to iTunes to download or Spotify to stream.

Inspired by the likes of Talking Heads, Daft Punk, ESG and Kraftwerk, Calum Muir and Albert Kawmi began writing the songs which would form the basis of the Sun Rose debut album over the winter of 2013/14.

The friends had previously in a band together - Nevada Base - but then life got in the way. Things stalled a little until Gus Wemyss (also a previous member of Nevada Base) got involved in 2015 and by late 2016 Julian Corrie (Miaoux Miaoux and now Franz Ferdinand) was involved with production and mixing.

The completed album is an absolute gem - techno, electro, melodic, funky, disco, harmonies.... I'll be blogging about that nearer the time of release.

One of the beautiful thing about this band is that their only ambition was to release it on vinyl and play a couple of shows! It is all about the music - so much so that they have only recently set up a Facebook page. And the band name was only confirmed shortly before the release!

Smirk is fantastic - the guitar playing, vocals and changes in pace mean that there is an edge throughout. The piano break is sublime and then the synths and beat take things higher. The final 30-seconds take things even higher and leave you wishing for an extended mix. I can't wait to see and hear them play it live.

The Brian Sweeney produced promo video features members of the band and members of the LNFG label in a kaleidoscope style effect - keeping with the flow and changes of the song.

Check it out below.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Never Ending Mixtape part 10

Welcome to the latest additions to the Never Ending Mixtape.

We flow through hip hop, euphoric disco, a synth masterpiece from Drive, punk pop and some stunning guitar pop from Scotland.

The Never Ending Mixtape now has 157 songs - over 11 hours of music for you to explore and enjoy!

So delve in from the start, or skip to the end to play the songs listed below.

Know How - Young MC
The bassline was 'borrowed' by the Stone Roses for Fools Gold.

Le Freak - Chic

Testify - HiFi Sean
A current fave in our house.

Thinking Of You - Sister Sledge
Possibly my favourite Nile Rodgers song.

A Real Hero - College featuring Electric Youth
I still remember hearing this in the old Captains Rest and demanding to know what the hell it was - it still (and always will) sounds incredible!

I Want To Kiss You - The Spook School
Punk pop perfection - full of energy

Alison's Starting To Happen - The Lemonheads
Contains one of my favourite lyrics ever She's the puzzle piece behind the couch, makes the sky complete

Stutter - Elastica
A reminder of why Elastica were so well loved when they burst on to the scene

Baby Gets High - Blake Babies
A gorgeous song by Juliana Hatfield and co

Panic On - Madder Rose
I have this on 7-inch and it remains a fave

Say Something New - The Concretes
You Can't Hurry Love - The Concretes
2 moments of pop perfection from The Concretes

Let's Get Out Of This Country - Camera Obscura
Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken - Camera Obscura
2 moments of exceptional music from Scotland's Camera Obscura

Nothing To Be Done - The Pastels
Thank You For Being You - The Pastels
And 2 moments of brilliance from the legendary Pastels

Vapour Trail - Ride
I blogged about their new album last month, but check this guitar gem

April Skies - The Jesus and Mary Chain
Another stunning piece of Scottish guitar pop

Discolite - Teenage Fanclub
Radio - Teenage Fanclub
And 2 Gerry Love beauties

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Introducing new Scottish music

The Second Hand Marching Band
Featured in a few blogs over the years

While my blog is completely free range - allowing me write about anything I desire at any time - I do love to discover new and up and coming bands/artists on the Glasgow/Scottish music scene.

I am now in the tenth year of writing my blog. So I've enjoyed looking back over some old blogs and I have to admit to being pleasantly surprised at the number of live reviews, interviews or features of DIY/unsigned artists that I have covered and in some cases championed (or managed/advised).

Here are links to blogs written on discovering bands/artists for the first time. Sometimes literally on formation, maybe at their first gig and on occasions - a long time after I should have heard about them/seen them/listened to them. (I have blogged about many of them more than once)

As a co-founder/board member of Last Night From Glasgow, I'm taking even more of an interest in the Glasgow and Scottish unsigned and DIY scene, determined to use the label to give artists a platform or a leg up to the next level. So look out for (semi)regular 'introducing' features.

Feel free to get in touch with recommendations.

Previous introductions include (note the list isn't exhaustive)

Sonny MarvelloSecond Hand Marching BandSeventeenth CenturySkies FellAdmiral FallowMiaoux Miaoux Conquering Animal SoundRoddy Hart and the Lonesome FireDiscopolisLady NorthPawsAdam StaffordThe Moth and the MirrorNevada BaseRemember RememberRachel SermanniErrorsThe Son(s)Warren McIntyre and the Starry SkiesTeenCanteenRick Redbeard ChurchesVelveteen Saints ,Flash TalkSkinny DipperDr Cosmos Tape Lab ,Tuff LoveKloeNeon WaltzInsomniac ProjectNovember Lights , Best Girl Athlete , Wuh OhColonel Mustard and the Dijon 5Catholic ActionKiDDSpinning CoinSaint PHNXMark W GeorgssonEtteEmme WoodsStephen Solo, BooHooHoo, The Vegan Leather, Outblinker , Gerry Cinnamon , Medicine Men , The Bar Dogs , Fnuf and the Fairylights , Mark W Georgsson , KVASIR ,

Also see 16 for 2016 

The Moth and the Mirror

Monday, 3 July 2017

Introducing - Radiophonic Tuckshop

Do you fancy discovering a band full of melodies, hook, humour, invention and a touch of psychedelia who sometimes record on an old Tascam Cassette Recorder? A band that are still evolving and haven't even played a handful of shows yet but have an EP coming out?

A band who describe themselves on Facebook as wonky pop, looney tunes and merry melodies, all swimming in nutty effects with a rich Beatleish undercurrent, clattering along like Supergrass doing Badfinger by way of an XTC Bond theme, all compressed vocals, ringing and lightly toasted guitars, stop/start riffs and a brilliant rhythm section. Extradordinary - slightly psychedelic and Super Furry super-tuneful!

I hope so!

Well look no further than Radiophonic Tuckshop, the new band formed by Joe Kane, the effervescent fizzbomb who has been in (and still is in) a number of other bands including my personal favourite Dr Cosmos Tape Lab. If you haven't read any of my previous blogs on them then check them out HERE Their Beyond The Silver Sea LP was my album of 2015.

Joe has recently contributed to the latest BMX Bandits album that you can read about in last months blogs, produced the Ette Homemade Lemonade album (and played on it and co-wrote the brilliant Heaven Knows) and still travels the world playing in Beatles tribute bands, including the famous Them Beatles - not a bad way to make a living and one that indicates his talent.

That talent has transferred to his recent project - Radiophonic Tuckshop who I caught at Nice n Sleazys back in April when they supported TeenCanteen. They played brilliantly and sounded superb and from a chat with Joe it all sounded very spontaneous and exciting - so I thought I would email him some questions to find out more.

You can read the interview below and look out for their debut EP coming out via Last Night From Glasgow in July with a launch show at the Hug and Pint. Excuse the cut and paste format, something went wrong when copying Joe's answers - hope you think it looks cool!

1. How did the Radiophonic Tuck Shop form?

I'd been toying with the idea of a new project for the best part of last year but wasn't keen on making it the ONLY JOE KANE solo ego-fest type thing again. I fancied more of a fake band ethos and Radiophonic Tuckshop was one of the names I had floating around that I was quite keen on. I started working on new songs and recordings at the end of last summer but was getting a bit fed up with me playing everything. It can get a bit hard to surprise yourself musically doing all the instruments.

The guys from Freckfest contacted me around March and asked if I fancied supporting BMX Bandits which I thought sounded fun but I didn't have a band and told them to leave it with me. I contacted a bunch of my longtime friends (who mostly happen to be musical) and luckily found a bands worth that were free and up for it. Sessions were easygoing and within 2-weeks we had a set. Everyone didn't hate it and seemed quite keen to carry on past the initial gig. Quite good!

2. Does this mean the end of Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, or is that a project you might return to in the future?

We're very together and in constant contact but just a bit busy with other things. I got a bit busy with being away for a long spell (or two) so we lost momentum but we have a full LP in the can awaiting release and we will record again in the near future. Side 2 is one long song suite/ghost story entitled Dead Man's Pyjamas and it's the best thing we've ever created. We recorded 4 albums plus a bunch of b-sides in two years so everyone deserves a rest!

3. You've got an EP coming out - tell us about the sounds and the songs on it

We knew we were going to do an album but had fresh arrangements of some older songs of mine that I thought had fallen by the wayside in the past so we decided to do them as their own little thing. The new live versions were all improvements so it seemed like a good idea to get them down. We decided to record the band live to the Tascam 424 mkiii 4-track cassette recorder (last used on Beyond The Silver Sea) at the room we rehearse in (Ian our drummers magical 'Bunker'). It took us one evening to record all of the backing tracks then another few weeks of drop in overdub sessions for vocals etc. 

Running Commentary is the most obvious poppy one and in a previous life it was a less rocking more ornate arrangement that didn't work quite as well. It's more power-pop now and it suits it. We had fun on the video (coming soon) wearing silly trousers and taking over a street for an afternoon.

Buried Alive is the oldest song on the EP and has never been released in any form. It originated around 2004 and existed only a a skeletal late night demo for a long time but I always enjoyed its spookiness and thought it had a bit of potential.

Rockingham Palace Revisited started out as a drone jam which I banked thinking later on it could be reversed and used as the basis for something and that's exactly what I did. I sat up until 5am the other week recording bird song out of the window and harmonising with myself through a pedal basically trying (and failing) to do Dennis Wilson. Bring It On Girl was recorded (with Marco Rea) a few years ago for a Shindig magazine cover CD that never actually happened so I suppose it's never been released. This new version was fun to do with the whole band. It's about accidentally getting married and trying to escape an island of misery (true story). My favourite one is maybe As Hard As I Feel which is a song that doesn't make much sense really but is more of a feel and sound piece (!) than a standard song. It's like 3 and a half minutes inside my head. I can see us going down more of this route sonically than the standard guitar pop direction in the future.

4. Do you have future plans for the band? Things have happened quite quickly to date

We are now officially in album writing and recording mode. It's very exciting and I think it will be a real mix of sounds. We have the full band to play with but I also like the idea of more electronic sessions and bringing in additional instrumentation. I feel like I've made variations of the same weird pop record for the last 15-years and want to push myself production wise and experiment a bit.

5. What kind of stuff are you listening to at the moment?

I enjoy lounge and exotica stuff, late 70's and early 80's groove stuff, especially the extended 12-inch versions of things. I love a lot of the Bollywood stuff from the 70's too and I think arrangement wise there's a lot of stuff I'd like to draw on from those genres. I obviously listen to all the usual good stuff as well and will probably f**k off all these exciting ideas and just re-write another 12 Beatles and Beach Boys songs. That's OK too!

6. You are well known for your love of The Beatles - what do you make of the Sgt Pepper 'makeover'?

It's mostly a worthwhile endeavour but there's a few things I wasn't so sure about, like panning the lowery organ part of Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. What was all that about? When it becomes someone who has nothing to do with the original music creation and production taking liberties like that then I think they need to have a word with themselves. The 2 bonus CD's of outtakes is where it's at for me.

7. Do you have a favourite Beatles album? Is it possible to choose just one?

I love different albums for different reasons! Love them all. White Album has probably been the most influential though as it was a favourite for a long time as it made it OK to put out a whole bunch of wildly varied stuff on an LP. It's like a catalogue of brilliant production sounds.

8. How do you write your own songs?

When I write songs I either start on a piano, guitar, ukulele or even a Casiotone and just feel about to see if anything's there. Usually not. Sometimes things can write themselves quite quickly or you just get a wee bit that you can bank for later. I'll hear a section in my head when I'm out occasionally and just whistle it on to my phone and pick it up when I get home. That's quite good. A lot of the time I just start working on a piece of music for fun and the song comes over it later and it ends up the finished thing. It's good to not have one way of doing things and to try out different methods from time to time.

9. Is there anyone you would like to write with?

Always Stu Kidd. We always come up with something. That will happen again. Same with Nic Denholm my old writing partner from The Owsley Sunshine. We always come up with something even though he is in LA now. Duglas and Marco I'm also a fan of and enjoy working with them too so more of that would be good. Aside from people I've worked with before though I'd love to write with the Radiophonic Tuckshop guys. There's a lot of scope there and I hope they all contribute to new material and it's not just my hackneyed old ideas! I really enjoy collaboration and I'll write with anyone if it's fun and fruitful. It usually is.

10. What can we expect from your live shows?

Silly trousers and weird loud pop songs. We want to become a bit electronic so we'll gradually ass new songs and instruments. We'd like to do more festivals and have our own dancing troupe. It might happen. We're having fun creating and we hope we can entertain people with it. If no-one likes it and we still have fun that's the main thing.

Radiophonic Tuckshop play the Hug and Pint on 30th July to celebrate the release of their Running Commentary EP via Last Night From Glasgow on 28th July. Tickets and ltd edition physical EP HERE