Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Someone That Loves You

20 odd years ago I regularly tuned into the Radio 1 Evening Session hosted by Steve Lamaq and Jo Whiley - 2 enthusiastic music fans who easily transferred their knowledge and passion to the airwaves, subsequently turning me on to all kinds of music.

Lamaq is now on 6music’s drivetime slot and Jo Whiley has a few nights a week on Radio 2. I tend to listen to Jo’s show on the way to play 7-a-side football on a Wednesday night. It’s a late night kick-off at 9pm, so I sometimes leave the house with plenty of time to spare and take a leisurely drive over whilst listening to Jo’s show.

Last week she played this gem - Someone That Loves You by HONNE and Izzy Bizu. I fell for it immediately, the chorus was instant, the way the song flows, the feel, the vocals - all sublime.

Someone That Loves You is equally dreamy and euphoric, combining pop, soul and electro with ease - sounding modern, yet familiar - just perfect. The male and female voices combine superbly to tell a tale of love and lust with Izzy lifting things for the chorus.

Don’t touch me
Boy I want you
Not allowed to
You have someone that loves you
I’m waiting 
And I’m patient
I’m deluded
You have someone that loves you

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Manic St Preachers at the Hydro

I featured a guest blog by my friend Joe recently. Now it is the turn of his lovely wife Emma.

Emma is a huge Manics fan and after her enthusiastic posts on social media at the weekend I thought I would ask her to follow Joe with a guest review. Her passion and knowledge for the band really shine through.

Maybe I should turn this into a regular Mr & Mrs feature!?

Manic Street Preachers Glasgow Hydro.

I have been a Manic Street Preachers fan for over 20 years which is a little bit over half my life. I have seen them live in various venues over the years. I was excited to receive tickets to the Hydro gig as a Christmas gift from my husband. The gig also fell on the weekend of our wedding anniversary which was a good way to celebrate.

To be honest the first time I heard the Manics I didn’t know who they were but I knew I liked their songs.  Watching Top of the Pops was an institution in our house and in the early nineties whilst still in primary school I was learning to play guitar (classical and very badly) and I remember seeing scruffy men playing bouncy guitar and later I learned that it was the Manics playing Motorcycle Emptiness. In 1994 I began to buy the NME every week and started to read more about the band. I never really went for the boy bands, guitar music was what I was raised on. I remember hearing of the disappearance of Ritchie Edwards on the Radio One news before school one morning and then following the stories in the NME in the weeks and months that followed. I was 13 twenty years ago when Everything Must Go was released and obsessed with music saving up dinner money to buy albums.  It was an album that meant a lot to me and that still does. To hear it played live in full was something very special.

Saturday nights gig at the Hydro was not only the best Manics gig I have ever been to but my best live gig experience of all time. When the band walked on stage and launched into Elvis Impersonator my heart sang such is the emotional connection I have to these songs. I am one of those annoying people at gigs who like to scream out the lyrics whilst pumping the air with my fist and there was certainly plenty of those opportunities at Saturday’s gig. James Dean Bradfield’s voice was liquid gold perfection and he and Nicky Wire were in good humour bouncing off each other. Nicky had about four wardrobe changes but my personal favourite was the white Captain’s hat. 

The big hits like A Design For Life, Australia and Kevin Carter were everything you would expect them to be. There were scissor kicks from the band, singing and bouncing from the audience. For me though the highlights of this gig were the opportunities to hear the album tracks and slower songs played live. As usual the Manics visuals were spot on especially for these tracks. Small Black Flowers That Grow In The Sky was hauntingly beautiful. The crowd was obviously delighted to hear The Girl who wanted to be God and Removables and these became snarling sing a longs. 

For me a real highlight was Interiors however not all of my section of the crowd seemed in agreement with this. I love Further Away and have included it on a few romantic mix tapes in my time as I think it is a song which describes being in love well. The finale of this section of the gig was a euphoric rendition of No Surface but All Feeling with included the surprisingly beautiful release of streamers in the colours of the Welsh flag by the clearly emotional James Dean Bradfield.

The second section of the gig was rareties and hits. Highlights for me were hearing the cover of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head from the Help album which James described as the time the Manics  got “swept up in that thing called Britpop”. Motorcycle Emptiness and You Love Us were their usual guitar rift driven sing along jump about greatness. Roses In The Hospital is my personal favourite Manics song and was so powerful it inspired me to actually leap into the air despite being 22 weeks pregnant. 

The only song of the night that I must confess I never wish to hear again in my life was 2013s Show Me The Wonder.  Sorry boys the wonder escaped me entirely in response to this dire ditty. However the rugby boys behind me seemed to find it the highlight of the night so each to their own. The showed ended with If You Tolerate This… . The chat on fan forum sites had expressed doubt as to how this would work as a show closing track but it was really moving especially with the pink tissue paper blown into the crowd to represent cherry blossom.  

It was a fantastic gig made all the better for me (don’t hate me) when I got to meet James Dean Bradfield over breakfast the following morning. He was a lovely man, despite being hungover he was gentle, warm, approachable and self –deprecating, returning to the breakfast room to collect me for my photograph. I told him that I had been into the Manics for over 20 years and that I felt that made me a very discerning 12 year old girl. His reply “Im not so sure”. Well James in light of Saturday’s performance I have to stand by my original statement. What a gig, what a man! Cant believe I met a legend!!!

Friday, 20 May 2016

May 2016 podcast

Everything Flows Podcast #8 - May 2016

I don’t tend to put a great deal of thought into what I am going to play on my monthly podcast. I tend to have one song in mind and take it from there. I do try and stick in a couple of Scottish artists.

This months podcast all stemmed from Indiepop Ain’t Noise Pollution by The Pooh Sticks (great song title, as is I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist) that popped up on my iPod when I stuck it on shuffle. The song appears on a brilliant boxset I bought and blogged about back in January 2014 - Scared To Get Happy - a story of indie pop.

That led on to a couple of other songs from the boxset and some classic indie pop by The Pastels, Sebadoh and The Vaselines, along with a classic by The Beach Boys from their Pet Sounds album that celebrates its 50th anniversary.


Indiepop Ain’t Noise Pollution - The Pooh Sticks
This Brilliant Evening - In Embrace
I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist - Another Sunny Day
Thank You For Being You - The Pastels
Dusseldorf - Teleman
Hang On To Your Ego - The Beach Boys
Different Drum - Stone Poneys
Soul and Fire - Sebadoh
The Day I Was A Horse - The Vaselines
Inky Spies - The Vaselines

Previous Everything Flows Podcasts

Podcast #1 featuring Teenage Fanclub, David Bowie, Dr Cosmos Tape Lab, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, JR Green, The Undertones

Podcast #2 featuring The Troggs, Happy Meals, Rose McDowall, The Frank Popp Ensemble, Fun Boy Three, Jo Mango and The Pictish Trail, Miaoux Miaoux, Yo La Tengo

Podcast #3 featuring Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Marlena Shaw, Natalie Prass, November Lights, Molly Nilsson

Podcast #4 featuring The Chemical Brothers with Beck, The Charlatans (Brian Jonestown Massacre mix), BMX Bandits, Edwyn Collins, The Parliaments, K-Klass, White

Podcast #5 -Tim Peaks Electric Fields line-up featuring The Charlatans, Yucatan, Blueprint Blue, Documents, TeenCanteen, Horsebeach, Hot Vestry, Riding the Low, Tim Burgess

Podcast #6 featuring JR Green, Hinds, The Groove, Doug Tuttle, Second Hand Marching Band, Emma Pollok, David Bowie, Lesley Gore

Podcast #7 featuring Catholic Action, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, The Supremes, George Carrow, Prophets, LCD Soundsystem

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Afterglow by Mt Doubt

One of my fellow board members at Last Night From Glasgow Records is my friend Joe Judge. We met at parenting classes back in 2011 and quickly found that we shared a love of music and football, as well as the fact that we were about to become Dad’s for the first time.

Earlier this year, Joe emailed me to say he really liked a band called Mt Doubt and that I should check them out.

Mt Doubt currently have a 7-inch single out on Scottish Fiction Records, so I asked Joe if he would consider writing a blog review. It’s gone pretty well and Joe will be writing another future blog on the bands forthcoming album.


It is a real pleasure to have been asked by Murray to guest write this blog. It is particularly exciting for me as I’ve been asked to review an act that has really caught my attention over the last few months. I first heard Mt. Doubt on the wonderful (but now, sadly, no more) Scottish Fiction radio show. Shortly after this I found out that Neil Wilson, who ran the Scottish Fiction radio show, podcast and blog, had set up a Scottish Fiction record label and planned to put out a Mt. Doubt single. I was really disappointed when I missed the launch event for the single at the end of April due to having too much other stuff going on at the time. It sounded like a great bill. I was delighted when the opportunity to write this blog came along. Cheers Murray!

If you haven’t heard of Mt. Doubt, and I hadn’t until fairly recently, it is the project of Edinburgh based musician, Leo Bargery. Mt. Doubt started life in early 2015 and in that short time has attracted a fair bit of radio airplay and press attention. Vic Galloway identified Mt. Doubt as one of “25 Scottish Acts to watch in 2016”.

What attracted me to Mt. Doubt initially was Leo’s voice. It is complex: deep and rich but it also has a sombre, fragility going on. The songwriting is clever and melancholic and Leo clearly has an ear for a melody. The result is gorgeous, delicate but immediate indie-pop music. I heard Leo describing his material as “fairly depressing songs with occasionally catchy choruses”, and I think he is being very self-deprecating. The songs are a delight to listen to and appreciate over the course of an evening, maybe with a couple of beers.

Afterglow pairs Mt. Doubt up with producer Mark Morrow of The Winter Tradition. Leo and Mark have worked together previously on his debut album, My Past is a Quiet Beast. Afterglow kicks off with a gorgeous synthy intro that is both catchy and melancholic. Leo’s vocal comes in and perfectly weaves the narrative of the song, building up to an evocative, emotional chorus.

We are slipping through the Afterglow 
Like petals in the undergrowth
We bloom and bloom and now I have no one
Not even you

The chorus really showcases Leo’s vocal and I can see why Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly and Neil Wilson are so keen on it.

The B side, Hotel Key, slows the pace down a little and is a little more acoustic. The song starts with just guitar and Leo’s vocal and, again, slowly builds as it progresses. The pace quickens when some more instrumentation is added and again, Leo’s voice conveys the emotion of the song delicately and carefully:

I wish that I could suck the words back through my head 
to the recess where the dickhead lives and fills me up with lead

Mt. Doubt has that real knack of contrasting quiet and loud, fast and slow, and conveying a rich range of emotions. Both songs really demonstrate this. I think Hotel Key could have worked equally well as an A side.

I am looking forward to more things to come from Mt Doubt. I think they are pretty special. The single is available on 7inch vinyl from Scottish Fiction records and I hear that another album is in the pipeline. I will be keeping an eye out for it.

Check the video HERE

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Sonny Marvello 10th anniversary

Sonny Marvello celebrate their 10th anniversary as a band with a show at Stereo on Thursday 26th May.

Here are 10 amazing memories I have of the band as a fan, manager and friend;

1. Seeing them for the first time
Back in November 2008 I went to the aftershow party of Glasgow versus Cancer at Sloans in Glasgow City Centre. I was rather drunk and stumbled into one of the upstairs rooms where a number of bands were scheduled to play. Kassidy (who went on to be signed) were on and I was reminded of Mr Big!

I stumbled into another room where Will Sergeant from Echo and the Bunnymen was playing some cool sounds and then back to the live room to see who was on next.

The performance I witnessed may well be my favourite ever from an unsigned act in Glasgow. The five piece smashed it out the park. They had a gaggle of loyal friends and fans down the front but more importantly they got others who had never heard of them, never mind hearing their music, dancing.

They had a song that sounded a little like Girls and Boys by Blur, echoes of The Beatles and Bowie, they were sensational. They looked the part, dressed in vintage blazers and the singer had a red top hat on.

I asked the bassist between songs who the band were called but I couldn’t make it out. I think I asked him at least 3 more times including once on the stairs afterwards.

The next day I woke with a stinking hangover (although not as bad as the one my friend Wigs had when he woke up on my sofa) and I couldn’t remember the bands name, or find any trace of them in the listings for the aftershow online.

Finally I tracked them down...the band were called Sonny Marvello. And I wanted to manage them. I sent them a message on MySpace to talk about how I was blown away.

2. Meeting Stephen Farrell for the first time.....and then the rest of the band
In April 2009 I met with singer and songwriter Stephen Farrell in the 13th Note and we shared several pints of Stella to discuss music and the bands history. The band were prolific, they’d self funded a trip to New York City for a week and had an incredible time, winning best unsigned act at a prestigious festival. They’d played the popular Burlesque night Club Noir and smashed it out the park, they’d set up their own Sssshhhh club night - kidnapping people and taking them to secret locations in a bus, they’d gone close to being signed but like so many had been f**ked over by people promising them the earth and failing to deliver.

They wanted to release music. (check their BANDCAMP page as they have put up loads of old demos)

Within a couple of hours I had scribbled together a plan and we were a team.

After winning Stephen over we then arranged further beers with Mick Caldwell (guitar), Craig Douglas (bass), Mike Walker (keys and synths) and Michael Bryans (drums). We met at Bar Soba in Mitchell Lane and got quite pissed (again) before heading back to Sloans where i had invites to a showcase by a band called Sugar Crisis that producer John McLaughlin had somehow got signed!

They were terrible but I was keen to network. When I told the band where I was off to it was like a red flag to a bull. I found out that John had messed them around a little.

The band came along and waltzed into the venue. Stephen found John and called him something unprintable in this blog. As much as I respect what John has achieved in the music industry, I thought this was great - PUNK ROCK!

3. The Oxfam Basement photo shoot

First things first, I wanted to get some band promo shots done that highlighted their style and image. I knew Andrew who managed (and still does) Oxfam Music and Byres Road and I had been down into their basement and being the geeky kind of music guy I am, I thought ‘this would be great for a photo shoot’.

My friend Dave took some great shots of the band checking records and goofing around. It was my first experience of the Sonny Marvello gang mentality. They were in a different zone, bouncing off each other, ripping the piss, generally just being sound guys.

I love the photo’s. The band just looked and sounded great, I had really fallen for them.

4. The Stereo shows
The band wanted to get some money together to record with Brian O’Neill at Cava Studios in Glasgow - not cheap! I asked them how many people they could realistically get to a Glasgow show. They said 200 no bother so I went out and booked Stereo for a show in early July.

They packed the place out and we easily cleared £500 after rewarding the support acts with some good money.

We rebooked Stereo for September and all of a sudden the band had more than £1,000 in their account to head into Cava. I think it was at the second show that a fellow Castlemilk band called The Cinnamons (led by Gerry Cinnamon) supported. The atmosphere was incredible, everyone was totally up for it, it was a celebration of music and art from Castlemilk.

The area of the city has a rough reputation. Through Sonny Marvello I have met some amazing people, all based around Castlemilk Youth Complex - an amazing facility that offers kids in the area an opportunity into the arts.

Sonny Marvello were super tight; Stephen patrolled the stage, hit all the notes and gave it 100%, Mick Caldwell was the best guitarist I had (and have) ever seen on the unsigned band circuit, Craig Douglas held it all together with funky bass and amazing harmonies, Michael Bryans created beautiful beats and Mike Walker played keys and synths to lift things even higher,

5. Easy Boys/We’re All Cruel 7-inch single
A fan of the band ran a blog called Bluesbunny and wanted to start a label. He liked the recordings from Cava and so pressed up some delicious 7-inch singles on gatefold vinyl.

The feeling I had of getting the test pressing and then the final copies was incredible. Easy Boys was the song I thought sounded like Blur. It was total euphoric pop.

We’re All Cruel was epic (and the band went on to make it even better) later in life for their Sparks to Fire album.

6. The Pull Me Up EP

The next release was the Pull Me Up EP. The review above captures it pretty perfectly. Then there was time for another photo shoot with Dave, this time in a field on the outskirts of my hometown of Carluke. It was another great day with the band....being a band and we had a great time.

7. Charlie Sheen
Stephen is writing songs and coming up with ideas all the time. In an ideal world he would be a songwriter based in New York or London.

Around the time of Charlie Sheen’s meltdown with drugs and orgies I sent Stephen a text and set him the challenge of writing a song called Charlie Sheen - You’re Living My Dream

Stephen responded the next day and published a film of him, Craig and Mick singing it acoustically into an inflatable crayon!

The lyrics were clever and playful, I particularly like;

I saw you once in my hometown, scoring some Charlie

8. The 100 club - Fire Went Out and the Ruby Tuesday’s Vintage Store secret show

I was keen to keep momentum going and came up with the idea of a fanclub to raise funds. For £10, people would get a mini acoustic album (on a CD that looked like vinyl), a badge and access to a secret gig. Early crowdfunding!

So another £1,000 was raised.

The mini-acoustic album was recorded in just one day and features my favourite Sonny Marvello song, the absolutely stunning Fire Went Out. The closing section still sends shivers down my spine. I think it shows just how close they are as a band and friends and how supremely talented they are.

The secret show mentioned as part of the 100 club was to be held at a vintage clothes store above a tea room in Bath Street following a talk and performance at the Apple Store surrounding the use of Apple products at Rocket Science studios and for filming the above Fire Went Out video.

Everyone invited followed me up Buchanan Street and along Bath Street to the ‘secret’ location. It was hilarious. Federico (who owned the now closed store) was the perfect host. We got in loads of booze and the band played an acoustic set. Kevin Harper, friend and fan of the band, also ended up playing an impromptu set from the roof outside the shop!

Good, good times with good, good people.

9.  The Loch Lomond Festival
The band were keen to keep things going and I was also keen to make sure the band were a little different. Rather incredibly (considering their songs and ability) they were overlooked for festivals in favour of bands deemed a little cooler.

Being the creative and determined guy that I am, I thought ‘I’ll organise our own festival’, so I did!

My original idea of booking a campsite was cancelled as I worried about the weather and the logistics involved. Instead Craig and I drove up to a youth hostel on the banks of Loch Lomond to meet the manager and agreed to book out the whole hostel for a Saturday night in October for a festival.

Tickets were £40. For that you got a roof over your head, Sonny Marvello, Model Jet Pilot, Kevin Harper and entertainment by rising magician Ryan Davidson. Oh and i DJ’d long into the night.

What a day and night it was! Check in was at 2pm and drinks were flowing shortly after. Someone took a dip in the loch at midnight, there was the mystery of the dump in the sink (don’t ask!), Sonny Marvello somehow blagged a laser light show and smoke machine, Kevin Harper was sensational and we had a great laugh talking music and film, Model Jet Pilot rocked and everyone had an amazing time.

10. Rocket Science and the Sparks To Fire album
All the momentum and all the fun we had was incredible. It really was a great time. After all the fun there was a different kind of momentum as the band got down to the serious business of recording an album at Rocket Science studios with Ross Hamilton and Michael Bannister.

It took a while! But the results were incredible.

Time moved on and I suggested (foolishly looking back) that perhaps a change in band name would be good for the band. So the band name changed to Flash Talk for the Sparks to Fire album.

The album is incredible! It really is; check it here - now newly (and rightly) available as Sonny Marvello.

Going into Rocket Science Studios to hear the songs being played back was a different kind of excitement and fun. They were f**king good. Tiny Little Sparks was played on Radio 1 only days after being completed.

Check the videos for Miracle and Run to the Horizon below. I/We should have done more with them.

Life kind of caught up with the dream of being a band - quite a lot of crazy stuff happened around that time. I still hope that this album will be picked up in some shape or form one day. Ripe for TV, film and advertising.

Making friends
My best memory though is of making friends. I had some great nights out; Stephen and Hayley’s wedding, Beatles guitar band, the Buff Club, various bars and venues, the Complex for Craig’s 30th and I still play 7-a-sides most weeks with Craig and Walker. All of the band (and I) have experienced and shared highs and devastating lows in our time as friends. That’s life I guess...and it is a little easier to get by with a little help from your friends.

Sonny Marvello may have a new album out next year. Stephen has also recorded some solo stuff under the guise of...Stephen Solo and I’ll be blogging about that in the very near future.

It’s been great looking back at some of the achievements, the music and thinking about what could have been, what should have been.

The band play Stereo on Thursday 26th May.

Be great to see you there.

The band are also looking to the future and should have a new album out next year. The first side was recorded over 3-days at a rented house in the countryside, the second side is being recorded at present.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cover of the month #12

You’ll Never Walk Alone by Gerry and the Pacemakers

Last week, after an incredible 27-years of fight, determination and patience, justice was delivered to the families of the 96 Liverpool supporters that sadly lost their lives at Hillsborough in 1989. The truth eventually came out, breaking through ridiculous lies, deception and cover ups.

I was moved to tears as the families came out and sang You’ll Never Walk Alone in front of the court - They never walked alone, they remained united and they had the backing and support of Liverpool, the club, the city, players and management (past and present) and fellow supporters from teams all around the world.

I was moved again when there was a mass vigil in the centre of Liverpool and everyone came together to sing You’ll Never Walk Alone.

You’ll Never Walk Alone is my cover version of the month.

Yeah this is a cover, I imagine many people must think of this as a Gerry Marsden/Gerry and the Pacemakers original. This remarkable song, that has taken on a hymnal like quality for supporters of Liverpool and Celtic, was originally a show tune in Carousel, a 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.

In 1963 the Liverpool beat combo Gerry and the Pacemakers released the song as a single, taking it all the way to number 1 for 4-weeks. Gerry Marsden himself has said that DJ’s at Anfield used to play the top 10 culminating in You’ll Never Walk Alone, but when it dropped out the top ten fans just kept singing it.

The song is just timeless, Gerry’s vocals, the beautiful melody, the swelling strings as Gerry sings;

walk on through the wind
walk on through the rain
though your dreams be tossed and blown

The chorus is incredible, soulful and soaring and it comes back immediately, the double impact is sensational, just as the first chorus slows, the strings and Gerry come back in to lift the song to even higher heights; capable of moving listeners to punch the sky, be moved to tears, or both and much, much more. The dramatic pause in the final line, almost like a break in Marsden’s voice just adds to the overall effect.

The lyrics are simple, yet you can’t get much more meaningful and soulful. Sometimes four words are better than three - with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone.

I’ve spoken about the impact of the double chorus, but even a single chorus has an extra edge to it thanks to the clever way walk on is repeated and then the same simple trick is used with you’ll never walk alone. So simple, so effective.

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

The song is over in only 2 minutes and 48 seconds, under 3-minutes of beautiful celtic soul.

Many others have also recorded versions of You’ll Never Walk Alone, including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Kevin Rowland. I, for one, don’t think anything can top the Pacemakers version, although I don’t blame other artists for wanting to try their hand at such a beautiful song.

This is the original from Carousel;

The full lyrics to You’ll Never Walk Alone;

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark

Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone