Friday, 26 August 2011

Five for Friday 26.08.11

This weeks tunes are inspired by the DJ Greg Wilson. I can't get enough of his amazing selection of mixes over at his soundcloud account

Greg's mixes are flawless and he drops in some amazing surprises at times.

We start with 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' which appears at the end of his Bestival set, the edit played is just sheer joy. This is a rare and unreleased version that Greg may have got his hands on.

We then change pace with this Leo Zero edit/remix of 'No Tears To Cry' by Paul Weller - check the strings when they kick in, gorgeous.

Followed by a romp by ELO 'Last Train To London' again with glorious strings that Greg makes full use of in his Bestival set. The refain 'I really want tonight to last forever, I really want to be with you' would have sounded amazing at a festival.

Fleetwood Mac are next with the stunning 'Everywhere'. The opening lyric is just so catchy and emotional. 'Can you hear me calling, out your name? You know I'm falling and I don't know what to say.'

I'll end with a tune Greg has ended his sets with, the euphoric 'Movin' On Up' by Primal Scream.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Adam Stafford, Miaoux Miaoux & Mondegreen at Stereo

Last night I headed down to Stereo for the launch of Adam Stafford's latest album; 'Build A Harbur Immediately'. I had seen Adam on two previous occassions and I had also managed a sneek preview of the album back in March whilst down in London with Miaoux Miaoux.

For those that haven't seen or heard Adam before I would strongly recommend that you check him out. Why? Well he is extremely talented, inventive and original.

The excellent Scottish bloggers Peenko and Aye Tunes were putting on the night. Lloyd and Jim are extremely passionate about independent music in Scotland and if you check Peenko's blog from last week you'll be able to read a brilliant track-by-track guide of the album by Adam himself.

On to the night itself, sadly missing the band Paws who had unfortunately received some of the saddest news you can ever receive during the week; my thoughts go out to them. Check one of my latest blogs for a review of their last single.

Mondegreen opened. A 3-piece band that seemed extremely shy and unprepared with no setlist, so shy that the singer/guitarist stood stage left behind a pillar.

That was all part of their charm though, at times they seemed quite slacker-esque like Pavement, but at their best they ripped into riffs and soaring vocals like The Bends era Radiohead. When they went for it like that they were very impressive.

I was looking forward to hearing Miaoux Miaoux through the excellent Stereo soundsystem and he didn't disappoint. 'Hey Sound' and 'Cloud Computer' were excellent, but it was new songs 'Autopilot' and 'Stop the Clocks' that really benefitted from the sound system. The squelchy bass of the former sounded beautiful, but it is 'Stop the Clocks' that really highlights how strongly Miaoux Miaoux is developing his sound and songwriting. Trust me, this is one of the songs of the year.

On to the headline act (pictured above). Stafford took to the stage looking like he was meaning business with a sharp haircut and dressed in a shirt and tie. Stafford lets his imagination run riot by using vocal loops, layer upon layer of them. At times he must have 6 or 7 different vocal sections going on at once, coming across like a one man band version of the Beach Boys.

'Shot- down you Summer Wannabies' is a song that I would recommend to anyone wishing to check Adam out for the first time. Beautifully atmospheric, passionate and just f**king brilliant. It starts off with a vocal riff like something that wouldn't be out of place in Walt Disney's The Lion King (that is honestly a compliment) before Stafford layers some simple 'CChhh cchhh's' over for a 'beat', some haunting backing vocals and then he sings from the heart.

because you came and you wanted to show the world, 
that you hadn't been swallowed up in the fluttering wind

Stafford is soon dancing around the stage, all Curtis-esque, twitching with the noises he makes, getting lost in the music. Several of the audience were doing exactly the same.

The first half of the show saw Stafford performing on his own, although if you shut your eyes you would be guessing at the number of people that were on stage creating such a wonderful sound.

The second half witnessed the introduction of some guests that had appeared on the album, two femal backing singers, lead guitar and viola. They only enhanced the sound and left me wondering just what it sounds like in Adam Stafford's head. 

The record is on as I type and like the layers that Stafford introduces to so many of the songs, it has a great deal of depth and I imagine I'll be playing it a good few times during my week off that is coming up.

'Frederick Wiseman' is another highlight; really gentle, Stafford's voice is soothing and the introduction of the different layers just leaves you wondering what is coming next. 

I'd highly recommend the album.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Five for Friday 19/08/11 - Uplifting

5 tunes that should put a smile on your face, make you feel good and make you wanna dance;

Outrageously good

Michael Jackson singing with all his heart

So powerful, so good

The middle eight in this leaves me grinning from ear to ear

And to end Gladys Knight takes a hear breaking song and sings it with so much soul that it just lifts you

Friday, 12 August 2011

Lady North/Paws - Gerry Loves Records split single

If you google Gerry Loves Records the following blurb will appear on your screen;

A tiny DIY Label in Edinburgh, Scotland, producing quality musical artefacts. 

It is a pretty perfect description.

The first release on this tiny DIY label with a great name (a play on Teenage Fanclub's Gerry Love for any non-Fanclub fans) was a little over a year ago, in April 2010, another split single featuring Conquering Animal Sound and Debutant. Since then releases have also included music by; Trapped In Kansas, Yahweh, Japanese War Effort, Miaoux Miaoux, Wounded Knee and Fox Gut Daata. Now we arrive at LOVES005 with the release of a new 7-inch featuring Lady North and Paws.

Before I go on, it is worth going on to the Gerry Loves website where you get to listen to all the releases to date, hopefully before you buy one or two. 

Full credit to Gerry Loves Records for pouring their heart, soul and cash into Scottish independent music.

A split 7-inch single reminds me of my youth and Nirvana sharing vinyl space with Jesus Lizard. I still have the 7-inch, it is probably worth a decent amount.

The artwork (Gerry Loves Records like their artwork) is more simple than the previous split 12-inch that came out at the tail end of 2010. Lady North get one side and Paws the other in a hand silk screened cover.

Let's check out what is on offer on the vinyl that comes inside.

Lady North offer 'It's All About Gettin' that Claude Monet'. Their music is described as 'math rock'. Now I'm not quite sure what that means, what I get on listen is evidence of a band that are clearly shit hot and exceptionally tight. The recording sounds pretty live, perhaps because of the fact that it sounds like freeform jazz or a jam at times, really loose, yet they know what they are doing.

You can get lost in this, I imagine it would be brilliant live and I'm regretting not going to the launch night at Captain's Rest earlier this month. 

There is what could be considered a drum solo at times, the music veers from jazz to prog to what could also be considered heavy rock at times. 

Paws are up next with the track 'Lekker'. I caught them at Sneaky Petes in Edinburgh back in April and I really enjoyed their energetic set and guitar sounds.

If anything, they sound even more ferocious live with 'Lekker' than they did that night in Petes! 

'Lekker' is under two-and-a-half minutes of driving guitars and beats. The vocals are distoted to the extent where it is quite hard to make out the lyrics at times (along with the fact that they fly through the song) 

yeah we just started something new, but i am still pretty terrified of you

It is a pop punk, fierce love song and over before you know it with a catchy; 

'holy f**k I think I'm falling in love, with you, love uv uv uv, with you'.

Check an acoustic version below;

I look forward to the next release.

Five for Friday 12/08/11

Completely off the cuff today although starting with this beauty from the past as Lauren Laverne just played it on 6 music.

Followed by some genius by Damon Albarn;

And Teenage Fanclub playing with Edwyn Collins at Mono!

3 beautiful minutes of gorgeousness from Big Star.

And we end with abit of Hot Chip - great tune.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Discopolis - Lofty Ambitions

One person/record label that I can rely on to discover, promote and release fantastic independent music is Jen Anderson who runs the small digital label Eli and Oz Records.

Jen has fantastic taste in music and she has released tunes by the likes of Bear Bones, Miaoux Miaoux, Open Swimmer and Kobi Onyame.

If that isn't enough Jen also manages the wonder kid that is Unicorn Kid who is signed to Ministry of Sound Records.

The latest release on Eli and Oz is 'Lofty Ambitions' by a young Edinburgh band called Discopolis who I caught at the Wickerman Festival last weekend. They seem to be capturing the imagination and ears of the right people. I certainly enjoyed their set, which did start a little shambolic but it got better as it went on.

So 'Lofty Ambitions' is their debut single. It's a nice title for a band to launch themselves with, I am a sucker for things like that. The single comes complete with a video that comes across as half art school, half 80's American teen flick with the band breaking into a house party they aren't invited to and ending up everywhere (their music may end up everywhere) - showcasing the bands sense of humour and their mates. Look out for the guy with the white beard from the art school section and the bands mate with the shirt and the can of lager going for it with his dancing and ending up at the feet of the band on his knees, although I also laugh at the guy with the long hair at 2 and a half minutes in. Check it out at the end of this blog.

Anyway, on to the music; it is atmospheric, simple enough to sing along to on first listen, dancey enough to emmmm dance to, euphoric hands in the air type stuff as it builds - it's good.

The single starts with the lines;

You always doubt my love, don't ever doubt my love
You always doubt my love, don't ever doubt my love

The song builds into an instrumental groove before slowing down to the lyrics above before the song picks up pace again and it doesn't let up from there on in, playing on the 'Don't doubt my love' line.

It's so simple yet so effective, how many of us have felt like that at some point in time?

Discopolis are definitely a promising band that I look forward to catching live again. They have quite a few videos on YouTube that you can check, I particularly like the instrumental When Ghosts Get Angry (the tune and the video - almost a kind of DIY Daft Punk video). Another beautifully titled song Cold Summers Turn To Scottish Winters showcases a different style and the singers vocals, while my personal favourite is Timber Merchants see below.

Five for Friday, 05/08/11

Kicking off with Marvin and Tammi, if you don't own their duets album you really should track it down. If you or any of your friends are ever short of a first wedding dance song, pretty much any song off that album will hit the mark.

Super bad and super funky James Brown doing what he does complete with an outstansing moustache! I was lucky enough to catch him live in Glasgow a couple of years before he past away - one of my all-time top gigs. His band were shit hot and he was just the master.

Kick back with this super slow groover from Sly, the bass just melts everything else away.

And then get on your dancing shoes for this northern monster.

We end with one of the most life affirming tunes I have ever heard.