Friday, 24 June 2011

20-years since Nevermind

'So earlier this year I blogged about the 20th anniversary of one of my all-time favourite albums; Screamadelica by Primal Scream.

1991 was a seminal year for music and 2 of my other all-time favourite albums were also released that year; Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub and the mighty Nevermind by Nirvana. Reports are out this week that Nevermind is set to get the deluxe, expanded and resmastered treatment this September. So I’ll save a Bandwagonesque blog for the future and focus on Nevermind for now.

1991 was a pretty good year to be a 15!

I discovered so many bands back then, swapping compilation tapes with guys like Grant Mitchell and Martin Callan, devouring the weekly musical press and listening to the Evening Session and the legendary John Peel.

I can’t quite remember exactly how or when I discovered Nirvana. I think it was probably through Grant who probably discovered them through their first album Bleach as Grant was (and is) a bit of a Sub Pop kid with his ear to the ground for new bands and obscure 7-inches. Grant was also well educated by a mutual friend David (Dava) Tough who was a few years older than us and he had an incredible knowledge of independent music that he passed on to kids in our year as Martin Callan (bass) and Scott Sneddon (drums) played in his bands Librarian and All Too Human.

What I do remember quite vividly is being in Glasgow City Centre with Grant and Davey Lamb one day, going into various record shops and Nevermind being played in every single one. There were also posters and billboards everywhere, not to mention t-shirts. Nirvana were everywhere. Nowadays loads of goth/emo kids hang out at Central Station. It used to be indie/Nirvana kids that hung out in Argyll Street outside HMV or at the Museum of Modern Art. I remember one cool girl with bleached blonde hair wearing a black Nirvana t-shirt with a smiley f**ked face and the words; flower sniffin, kitty petting, baby kissin, corporate rock whores. I thought she was beautiful but I never said hi, although she always smiled and recognised me as I walked by. She looked older and cooler.

I also remember a couple of legendary TV appearances. The first being Nirvana’s appearance on the classic youth show The Word that was on late on Friday nights on Channel 4. It was incredibly tacky at times, really cheesey, yet the music on the show was amazing. I think Jo Whiley was the booker...someone who went on to better things anyway. Teenagers used to come home from drinking cider, or stay up late with the TV on quiet in their room, lusting after Danni Behr, laughing at an up and coming Mark Lehmar (check his MC Hammer interview)and wondering how Terry Christian got a job. (that said, Christian is now doing some incredible work for independent and unsigned music in Manchester).

Cobain was in the early stage of his relationship with Courtney Love and promptly dedicated ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ to ‘Courtney Love, the best f*ck in the world.’ Watching this video back just makes me grin from ear to ear.

Cobain and Nirvana has a sense of excitement about them. A garage band who got massive yet remained fiercely independent, still releasing split singles with the likes of Jesus Lizard, still remaining true to their punk roots, singing the praises of (and ultimately turning thousands on to) The Vaselines, Captain Amercia/Eugenius, Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits (from Glasgow alone), Sonic Youth, Mudhoney, Daniel Johnston and the Meat Puppets.

‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ was the song that kicked down doors for Nirvana and left them ajar for countless other alternative independent bands to follow; Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Dinosaur Jr....

Grohl still recalls in interviews how Cobain would order them to practice the infectious riff for hours on end until it was perfected. Well they got it and so did millions of teenagers and the record company and marketing men recognised it too.

The other legendary TV performance that I recall fondly was Nirvana appearing live on the Jonathan Ross Show. They were meant to be playing their current single 'Lithium' but instead they tore into the sheer punk of ‘Territorial Pissings’, kicking over their amps and smashing up their equipment, much to the amusement of Jonathan Ross. This was punk rock, yet the shock tactics that may have scared off some viewers only attracted more teenage kids looking to rebel.

But on to the album, Nevermind; the iconic cover, laden with singles, yet jam packed with amazing tracks from start to finish.

Nevermind is not an album I listen to that often to be honest. Mainly because all of the Nirvana albums I have (other than Bleach) are on vinyl. Somehow that makes the albums even more special.

My copy of Nevermind certainly displays signs of wear and tear, yet lovingly so. It is an album that still gives me a sense of anticipation, a buzz, when I take it out the sleeve and the needle hits the record.

The record starts, of course, with the single that catapulted Nirvana from tiny bars to stadiums, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ (see the video on The Word above).The riff explodes into action, before the bass holds it all together.

A lot of the lyrics to Nevermind were supposedly written last minute, while that may show at times, the fact that maybe not a great deal of care went into some of them, makes them even more special. The first words that come to mind, or the ones that need to come to mind during recording, can sometimes be the best.

And I forget just why I taste 
Oh yeah I guess it makes me smile 
I found it hard it's hard to find 
Oh well whatever nevermind 

While the 'here we are now, entertain us' was adopted as an athem for Generation X. 20 -years down the line it is hard to measure the impact this song and Nevermind as an album had on a generation of teenagers across the world. The loud guitars, lyrics, Cobain's punk rock attitude, the video(s)...everything combined. I think that generation were crying out for a band with meaning to grasp on to and Nirvana obliged.

In Bloom was also a single from the album. The run of singles propelled Nirvana skywards and their sense of humour was allowed to flourish in the videos that accompanied them, none more so than in the video for this one.

There is yet another huge riff, distorted, Cobain's voice straining to its raw best. Two songs into the album, both mention guns, although this one is in a sexual context (to me anyway). The video cuts between suited and bespectacled Nirvana on an Ed Sullivan-esque show, to them playing on the same show in dresses, smashing the place up and being and true to their punk roots. Perhaps a pop at Geffen for the stuff that the record company were enforcing on Nirvana.

Sell the kids for food. Weather changes moods. 
Spring is here again. Reproductive glands. 

 He's the one who likes all the pretty songs. 
And he likes to sing along. And he likes to shoot his gun. 
But he knows not what it mean. Knows not what it mean. And I say yeah. (x2) 

We can have some more. Nature is a whore. 
Bruises on the fruit. Tender age in bloom. 

'Come As You Are' was one of my favourites off this record when it came out. A little mellower, yet with Cobain still showcasing that beautiful raw voice, only in a slightly different way. Of course it wasn't all about Cobain, Nirvana were a true band. Dave Grohl exploding on drums throughout the album and Krist Novoselic keeping it all together on bass. Of course this song also mentions 'gun'. 

'Breed' is one of the punkiest songs on Nevermind and it was a real favourite of mine as a teenager. Listening to it now, it still is. The band tear through it, barely pausing for breath, Cobain spewing out lyrics, Grohl and Novoselic locked in a manic groove, distorted guitars for a solo. The 'I don't care' and 'I don't mind' lyrics were just ripe for teenagers to sing.

'Lithium' is just f**king brilliant. Taking the 'yeah yeah yeah's' from Cobain's beloved Beatles and turning them into something different altogether. Nirvana were tagged with the quiet-loud-quiet-loud brush at times by lazy journalists. In reality they were just a shit hot band that knew when to explode into action as they do to devastating effect in this song with the 'I'm not gonna crack' section.

I like it. I'm not gonna crack.
I miss you. I'm not gonna crack. 
I love you.I'm not gonna crack. 
I killed you. I'm not gonna crack. (x2)

'Polly' slows things down. This was a real common room favourite at school, with both this version and the electric version from Incesticide receiving equal blasts of love on the ghetto blasters. The song is allegedly (well quite clearly really) about the abduction, rape and torture of a girl who had been attending a rock show. 

'Territorial Pissings' is pure punk rock as demonstrated in the Jonathan Ross show video above. Cobain pushes his voice to breaking point screaming 'gotta find a way, a better way' before one of my favourite lyrics;

just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you

If Side 1 of Nevermind is full of singles, Cobain cuts loose on Side 2, kicking off with 'Territorial Pissings' before going on to demonstrate his ability for melody with 'Drain You'. Listening to the lyrics now, it could easily be interpreted as a love song (no Courtney pun intended). 

'Lounge Act' is now possibly my favourite song from Nevermind. I just love the way it flows, the lyrics, the guitars and the hooks. Cobain is just in sensational form with his voice, just spitting out the lyrics towards the end.

And I've got this friend, you see

Who makes me feel and I
Wanted more than I could steal
I'll arrest myself, I'll wear a shield
I'll go outta my way to prove I still
Smell her on you

'Stay Away' is pure punk pop, for some reason it makes me smile. The lyrics are almost bubble gum pop with Cobain rhyming stuff of and Grohl responding, it is fast, furious and fun;

Monkey see, monkey do 
(I don't know why)
Rather be dead than cool 
(I don't know why)
every line ends in rhyme 
(I don't know why)
less is more, love is blind 
(I don't know why)

'On A Plain' is another fave of mine, the lyrics made me smile as a teenager and they still do. It's one of the poppier efforts from Nevermind. Pop isn't a word that may sit well with Nirvana fans, yet Cobain clearly had an ear for a hook and a riff. 

Some of the lyrics almost make fun of the fact that Cobain was still writing them during recording;

It is now time to make it unclear 
To write off lines that don't make sense 

And one more special message to go 
And then I'm done, and I can go home 

The song flows easily from start to finish and lyrics like the ones below hark back to childhood, the humour in the line 'the finest day I ever had, was when I learned to cry on demand' is maybe lost on some. The unplugged version is below.

I love myself better than you 
I know it's wrong so what should I do? 
The finest day that I've ever had 
Was when I learned to cry on commmand
I love myself better than you 
I know it's wrong so what should I do? 

'Something In The Way' ends Nevermind on a mellow and sombre note, in complete contrast the ferocious opening. Telling the tale of when Cobain was homeless and living under a bridge in Seattle. This song is perhaps an early indication of where Cobain was heading post In Utero.

So how do you sum up Nirvana and Nevermind. It is a quite staggering album, all the more so because of the band they went on to become and the icon that Cobain was and is to millions of music fans.

Listening to it again today I am reminded of the faith that you could place in a band like Nirvana. Cobain was funny, confused, passionate, a genuine music fan...all qualities that you would want in a front man. Nirvana became massive yet never sold out. They needed the leg up from a major label to reach the masses, yet they were still punk rock, covering The Vaselines and The Meat Puppets, playing by their own rules. I can only dream about the band that they would have become. It would have been interesting.

Looking at bands today, someone with Cobain's spirit is sadly missing from the music scene. He was a one-off of course, but there appear to be far to many artists and bands that will jump through hoops and play by the rules. 

I can only hope that the flourishing DIY and underground scenes throw up an artist like Cobain or a band like Nirvana to give hope to the millions of teenagers out there. In 1991 I had Cobain, Gillespie, Brown all speaking to me through music, but also teaching me by speaking passionately about their musical tastes. 

This blog could go on and on, I'll simply end by saying that Nevermind still has immense power and depth 20-years from its release. If you have a copy, dig it out.

Five for Friday - Part V, Glastonbury special

So I have the day off today, the papers, TV and Radio are full of Glastonbury coverage. If I have heard 'Glastonbury mud' once, I have already heard it a dozen times.

Here are 5 tunes that may feature prominently on the Beeb's coverage over the weekend;

Lets kick start this Friday with some booty shaking of the highest order in the shape of Beyonce's delightful derriere. Jay-Z is a lucky man indeed. Beyonce is pretty lucky as well, with her man providing several outstanding pop anthems, with 'Crazy In Love' being my personal favourite; taking the horns from The Chi-lites 'Are You My Woman? (Tell Me So)' and speeding them up and making them sound a million times louder. This still sounds fresh, pure pop.

I'm not a huge fan of Coldplay, but I do genuinely love their song 'Fix You', especially the closing section beginning 'tears stream, down your face'. With Coldplay up against U2, both will be trying to outdo each other with their 'big' songs. This has all the makings of a real 'Glastonbury moment'.

So what about U2? Reports coming out of the 'camp' indicate that they are all arguing over what to play. Some early stuff, some political stuff, some crowd pleasers, some new stuff, experimental stuff...They certainly have enough to choose from. 

There is also going to be a protest against the bands decision to move their publishing company to Holland to save money on tax. So it may well be in the bands best interests to just blast out a career spanning best of set. After all, no matter what you think about Bono and his cronies, they do have some incredible songs. This, along with 'One' and 'Pride' is probably my personal favourite and I used to think the video was really cool when I was a kid. I still do, I'd love a band to do this in Glasgow city centre.

So that is the headliners, how to choose 2 more songs from such an incredible line-up. I've already devoted quite a lot of attention to Primal Scream and Screamadelica in this blog, but to see them playing it at Glastonbury would be amazing. I also imagine Kool and the Gang will generate a real party vibe when they play!

I've been listening to The Smiths quite a bit lately and I imagine that Morrissey will throw a few classic into his set. Despite his miserable image at times, Morrissey knows how to wow a crowd. This would be inredible if he launched into this and introduced Marr from the side of the stage, the shimmering guitar echoing across Glastonbury with the sun going down (presuming it comes up). 

I'll end with a burst of euphoric pop by The Go Team, as you always need to dance at a festival and when their debut album came out I found it refreshingly pure, raw and pop. They will be sure to get the crowd going at Glastonbury.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Japanese Popstars (featuring Robert Smith) - Take Forever

My very good friend Dave was up at Rock Ness last week taking pictures for STV, the jammy sod. You can check out his pictures HERE

He came back raving about a band from Northern Ireland called Japanese Popstars as did my friend Kirstin. 

It's taken me some time to get around to listening to them, but do you know what? They were right.

Japanese Popstars released their latest single Take Forever (featuring Robert Smith from The Cure) last week. I have seen their name around, but it was through Dave and Kirstin's promptings that I thought I had better check them out properly. So I'm in the process of checking some of their music, but I thought I'd blog about this belter of a tune that has shot to the top of my singles of the year to date;

Robert Smith turns in a fantastic vocal over bubbling synths that bubble into something quite euphoric, the lyrics set a scene of a time and a place where we have all been (well I have) - the end of a night out clubbing/at a festival, falling in love and not wanting the night to end.

Smith sounds like he is pouring his heart out...and his soul for that matter in his own utterly unique style. Many have tried to copy Smith, none have bettered.

Japanese Popstars take the music right down around the 3 minute mark before building it up until you are just dying for the beat to come in. I can imagine the tent must have been bouncing at Rock Ness. The lyrics are below, the tune (sadly not with a video - at least for this 12-inch version) is above. I'm hoping to track it down on vinyl! I can't wait for them to come to Glasgow.

Yeah you know, tonight will end, it always does
And the end is gone forever, when the sun comes up
And yeah you said, our sun will come, but there's always time
Burning up inside for nothing, save the kiss goodbye
Save the kiss goodbye

Yeah you know, tonight will end, it always does
And the end is gone forever, when the sun comes up
And yeah you say, the sun will come, it's always time
Burning up inside for nothing, save a kiss goodbye

Yeah I said, the sun will come, it's always time
But this burning up inside, is how I know you're mine
And yeah I know, tonight will end, it always does
But the end will take forever, if we falllllllllllllllllllll

Yeah I say, the sun will come, it's always time
But this burning up inside, is how I know you're mine
And yeah I know, tonight will end, it always does
But the end will take forever, if we fall in love

Tonight will end, it always does
But the end will take forever, if we fall in love
And yeah I know, tonight will end, it always does
But the end will take forever, if we fall in love 

Friday, 17 June 2011

Tiny Little Sparks by Sonny Marvello

Sonny Marvello are busy working on their debut album, recording at Rocket Science studios in Glasgow with Ross Hamilton and Michael Bannister (Texas, Mogwai, Avril Lavigne..) 

It is coming together nicely and the band nailed a relatively new song 'Tiny Little Sparks' at the beginning of May. Within a couple of weeks it was being played on Radio 1 in Scotland, selected by Craig McGee (Glasgow Music/Warner Chappell) on the A&R zone on Ally McCrae's show.

I can see that (Tiny Little Sparks) in a festival field with people bouncing and bouncing.
Ally McCrae, BBC Radio 1 Introducing, Detour

Sonny Marvello's songwriting keeps getting stronger and stronger. Tiny Little Sparks is glorious, joyous pop with lots of catchy hooks and harmonies.
Craig McGee,, Warner Chappell Scout

It is HUUUUUGE. Elements of Coldplay, Radiohead and The Who are all merged together to create a song that is crying out to be blasted from stereos across the country.

More studio time is being scheduled for September, in the meantime plans are in place for a ltd single release of 'Tiny Little Sparks' in September/early October and gigs are in the process of being booked.

There will be a rather special announcement to be made by the band in the next week or so regarding the launch party in October.

In the meantime, enjoy the sounds of a band that are really pushing towards creating a rather special album. Check them out at and listen to 'Tiny Little Sparks' at

Five for Friday - Part IV

It looks like the UK is going to be covered by a blanket of rain today and for large parts of tomorrow, so here are five songs for the weekend to take your mind off the weather for a while.

Dinosaur Jr - Freak Scene
The guitar genius that is J Mascis - still sounds fresh and vital today.

Next up we have some warm guitar sounds from The Lemonheads.

And we then change the pace completely with this little number from Tricky - the vocals from Martina Topley-Bird are just dreamy gorgeousness, sublime;

Followed up with this stone cold classic from Tricky's mates in Massive Attack;

And we end this weeks 'Five for Friday' with the mellow sounds of Lou Reed and another stone cold classic 'Walk On The Wild Side';

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I will now sell 5 copies of The Three EP's by The Beta Band

I read something recently that made me go hunting for my old Beta Band cd's. I do have a couple of Beta Band 7-inches, but it was the 3 EP's compilation that I was after and anyone who has that on vinyl is extremely lucky indeed.

I couldn't find them. I used to have all my cd's in alphabetical order. Now they are all over the place in the racks and on shelves, in piles on the floor. I need to spend a pleasant evening getting them into some sort of order. I'm pretty lazy, I've still not transferred all my cd's to my laptop and itunes as I still like to have an excuse to browse through them.

So I went on to YouTube and searched for 'Dry the Rain', my favourite Beta Band song. I was a bit shocked to discover that there isn't a video for it. Now the Beta Band were very careful with their art, they liked to be underground, not sell out etc etc. But this still surprised me.

There are some home-made efforts and there is a live performance from the Beta Band, but no video. Anyway, I'm blabbing on. The purpose of this blog was to highlight what a f**king brilliant song 'Dry the Rain' is and for me to reminisce about going to their last gig at the Liquid Rooms in Edinbugh. It may well be in my top 10 gigs of all time.

The Beta Band were suitably charged for a gig in their home city. They jammed, went off at tangents and when they played 'Dry the Rain' the place went nuts. My sister and I were down near the front and it turned out quite a large contingent of the bands girlfriends and close friends were too. So when the song finished we all kept singing the refrain/mantra.

'if there's something inside that you wanna say, say it out loud it will be OK'
'i will be alright, I will be alright, I will be alright, I will be alright.'

It was an absolutely spine tingling, magical moment with people punching the air, hugging and the band looking genuinely pleased, a little shocked and possibly wondering if they should stay together. The same thing happens in the live recording above, glorious....and I thought it was just at the Edinburgh gig! I still have my ticket....They didn't want to come off and Steve Mason ended up freestyle rapping!

Of course when I went on YouTube and typed in The Beta Band, the famous scene from High Fidelity came up near the top and I couldn't resist watching it. I'll need to order it from Love Film as well, I used to have it on video tape! Check it out below;

Jack Black (Barry) on top form (in the film that made him unless I missed something) pushing a Jesus & Marychain album and bringing out Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and saying 'it's gonna be OK', Dick flirting with a girl over Green Day and pushing The Clash, and then Rob saying 'I will now sell 5 copies of The Three EP's by The Beta Band.' Just brilliant, I imagine Stephen Pastel and Dep in Monorail having conversations like that.

So there you have it, a glorious song. It's DIY indie, punk, folk, pop, euphoric, shambolic, funky, groovy....I love it. Check it out.

New 12,000 capacity arena for Glasgow in 2013

This week saw the soft launch of the Scottish Hyrdo Arena on the banks of the Clyde, next to the Armadillo and the SECC. The Scottish Hyrdo website says it is already being referred to as 'the Hydro'. Mmmm nothing like a bit of mind games to get people referring to the corporate name. Hopefully music fans will come up with another name for it.

Regardless, this is a welcome addition to the Scottish Music Scene, with Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts already commenting that a venue with this capacity would have brought shows by the likes of Madonna to Glasgow in the past.

With the SECC operating to capcity for shows, exhibitions and concerts, 'the Hyrdo' (I need to come up with a name!) is something that is going to generate even more income to the musical city of Glasgow, with hopes that it will host up to 140 events per year and up to 1 million visitors - pretty staggering.

The blurb on the website goes on to say that they venue could generate £131 million per annum to the economy. In tough financial times we Scot's still like a drink, a sing-song and a laugh.

Although I have slagged off the name, full credit to Scottish Hyrdo for investing £1.5 million a year for 10-years in the venue; it will bring jobs and world class entertainment to Glasgow.

Plans are already underway to launch the venue with a string of events, hopefully they will go with a Scottish artist(s) for the opening night with Biffy Clyro already being suggested by Scott Hutchison from Frightened Rabbit.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Five for Friday - Part III

Arcade Fire are on of the most creative, passionate and talented bands out there.

David Bowie is still under-rated, partly because i think like Ziggy Stardust, he is from a different planet. The guy is a phenomenon. Bowie and Ronson on fire.

The re-issue of 'Exile On Main Street' has been on and off my stereo since it came out. This is an example of why. Sheer rock'n'roll.

LCD Soundsystem have been one of my favourite bands of recent times. James Murphy is coolness personified - elements of funk, soul, electro, techno, pop, garage...and anything else that takes his fancy are thrown together to create some spectacular results.

I've recently discovered the album 'Butterfly House' by The Coral. It is a beautiful album, lovingly crafted with tons of harmonies, hooks and some brilliant guitar work. The production is also stunning with elements of late 60's bands like Love a clear influence.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

King Tuts - Summer Nights Album

Summer is upon us and festival season kicked off in Glasgow at the weekend with the West End Festival and this weekend is Rock Ness and Doune The Rabbit Hole and then we have T in the Park, Wickerman, Tartan Heart and loads more to come.

Last summer saw DF Concerts and King Tuts introduce their Summer Nights series of gigs, gathering some of the best unsigned/independent artists in Scotland to play at one of the best and most famous venues in the country. This was followed up by their New Year Revolution gigs in January and Summer Nights is set to return again this July.

Summer Nights is being well promoted on the Tuts and DF social media sites, in newspaper adverts and with the added bonus of a FREE DOWNLOAD ALBUM featuring all of the headliners. (scroll to the bottom of the page).

With quite a few bands that I haven't listened to or caught live, lets delve into what is on offer....

Sonny Marvello - Pull Me Up
Sonny Marvello released their 'Pull Me Up' EP late last year with the Daily Record describing it as 'like the Monkees doing ELO, just perfect to banish the winter blues'. So the album kicks off with a nice slice of upbeat guitar pop. Sonny are going from strength to strength, recently establishing their 100 club and releasing a ltd edition acoustic mini-album (featuring the song below) with an exclusive gig for 100 club members in a vintage clothes store. They are currently recording their debut album, with one of the tracks 'Tiny Little Sparks' recently being played on Ally McCrae's Radio 1 show and being described by Ally as 

'I can see that (Tiny Little Sparks) in a festival field with people bouncing and bouncing.' Sonny are writing big songs, they play from the heart, they have enough hooks to floor Rocky and always put on a show, this is sure to be a great night.

Sonny Marvello  - Fire Went Out, from the 100 club mini-acoustic album

Jumpers Knee - Letter to the Sun

The title suggests another ideal song for Summer Nights. Jumpers Knee are a young band that have been building up a fanbase, a collection of songs and developing their sound. I first heard of them a couple of years ago and they seem to have come on leaps and bounds by the sound of this, developing an electro element to their mod roots. With the motto 'to play live is to be alive' this could be a gig to check out. The best bit in this song is when it all slows down a couple of minutes in and takes on a funky bass groove before kicking in again.

Jumpers Knee - The Hunter

Bwani Junction - Middle Meadow

Bwani Junction hail from Edinburgh and there isn't a great deal of info about them on their myspace or facebook pages, so I can only go with what I have to listen to here. The vocals are kind of new wave, the guitar is quite inventive and melodic and there is a 'we take control, we take control' hook that ensures the song doesn't just pass by. 

Bwani Junction - Two Bridges

Aerials Up - All Your Mothers Daughters

Possibly the stand out track on this album. Everything works on this track, the vocals, lyrics, outstanding musical all combines to produce quite an epic song with strings, vocals straining with emotion. Unlike a lot of the other bands on the album I have caught Aerials Up live and I may well do so again in July.

'cause I've been talking too much in my sleep, I've been talking in my dreams'

Aerials Up - First In The Fire

Fatherson - Gonefission

Summer Nights is a 12 track album with a great range of music, as I started writing this bit for Fatherson I was going to be dismissive of the name of the band (which I don't like) and the song. However the song really developed as it went on and I've now played it 3 times. I could compare them to Idlewild in many ways - melodic guitar at times, crunchy and rocky at others, the vocals sung with a thick Scottish accent. The best bit of the song for me was the complete break at 2 minutes 10 seconds into the glorious refrain;

'there are things that I can't see, I cannot belive in fairytales'

I imagine that Fatherson would be good to see in a live environment as from the sound of this song they are clearly tight in the studio.

If you like your music loud, rocking, raw and raucous then Bronto Skylift may be the band for you. They just don't do it for me though, I'm sure they won't lose any sleep over that! That said this song has its moments, notably at 1 minute 45 when the previous racket develops into an actual hook...just not for too long. I have seen them live, amazingly in the middle of an island in a river in Inverness at GoNorth and can assure anyone interested in seeing them live that they will give it their all.

Song of Return - Trajectory
Featuring a former member of Union of Knives and the prolific Louis Abbot of Admiral Fallow, I was looking forward to listening to this track. This is an atmopsheric song that builds for over 2 minutes until the beats and synths kick in and the song flows from there. The production is top class, as are the vocals. On the evidence of this track Song of Return clearly have ambitions to create epic soundscapes with enough layers to keep you discovering new things on each listen. I think I'll check out their album.

Dead Sea Souls - My Problem 

'My Problem' is radio friendly, upbeat guitar pop. I can imagine this going down well with a lot of people. Check the video below and judge for yourself. 

Davey Horne - Last Train Home

Davey's facebook page says that he takes the best bit from Neil Young and Prince - quite a combination. From the sound of this song its definitely more of Neil Young. This is a good wee song with some brilliant Emmylou Harris style female harmonies kicking in for the last minute;

'if you love me baby you will let me go, please don't hold on too tight'
'cause you know I'm leaving, I'll be outta sight, I'll be on the last train home'

Davey Horne - Someone Like You (Adele cover)

Meursault - Crank Resolutions

Meursault are one of the most prolific independent bands in Scotland and with the backing of the Song by Toad label/blog they seem to have found a label that suits them down to the ground. Their releases have led to a growing fanbase, ever expanding tours and festival appearances. Despite being from the East Coast I expect a good crowd at this Tuts date. This is what Pitchfork had to say;

'Meursault are ambassadors of misery, self-loathing, and huge, heart-heavy choruses. Most sad bastards can generate a modicum of optimism on January 1. But onCrank Resolutions, the sadder bastards in Meursault declare, "I broke down on New Year's Day/ And I mixed my drinks/ And I lost my way," among hyperventilating electronic beats and pyrrhic victory shouts. It's enormous fun, of course, and I can't wait to see a live audience sob along to every word.'

It does start off in a miserable tone, poetic with it, just after the 1 minute 30 second mark it all changes with a beautiful picked guitar riff, then fuzzy guitar washed over everything and the vocals are relegated to the background. This could be pretty special in a love setting with the Tuts sound system. Check this footage from them playing the song at Glastonbury from 3 minutes 50 seconds in.

Seventeenth Century - Banks of Home
I've written about the strengths of Seventeenth Century a few times on this blog. They don't disappoint with this offering. Mark Farmer's vocals twist and soar as he ensures he gets the most out of every lyric. Elesewhere the trumpet lifts the song, the bass and drums lock in, the inventive guitar playing of Ryan Burns is a joy and the harmonies are perfect. It's a dark and moody offering, atmospheric in their own unique way. This is the lead track from their second EP released on Electra French Records. For a look and listen, check out the outstanding track 'Debut Dance' below.

Seventeenth Century - Debut Dance

The Ray Summers - Oh No
The album runs in order of the nights at Tuts, otherwise the tracklisting could have been a nightmare. As it is the album closes with a track by Falkirk's The Ray Summers who have been gigging at a ferocious rate for a few years around the UK and having seen them live I can assure anyone that hasn't seen them that that is where they are most at home. Taking in mod, 60's beat and ska influences, with an ear for a hook and a few songs jam packed with them, they are well worth checking out. Their album 'Russian Tearoom' is available to buy HERE. And you can watch some footage from a previous Tuts gig below.

So well played King Tuts, DF and Craig Johnstone for bringing together this fine collection of bands for a series of gigs and an album. This isn't even half of it! There are four bands on every night....too much for one blog.....check them out and you may find a new favourite band.