Friday 31 October 2014


Shona Brown is a Glasgow based musician who, on 10 November 2014, will release her Narrow Road e.p, as the first of her 10 in 10 project which will see 10 releases in the next ten months. Shona combines flute and vocals with electronics and loops to create really rather lovely soundscapes. 

The e.p. features three tracks - The Narrow Road, Tall Trees and The Language of Birds. The Narrow Road is, of course, the lead track and it's a mix of haunting flute, Eno era Music For Airports piano and some really rather cool beats and electronic noises that float around in the background. Track 2, Tall Trees carries on the theme although musically it leans more towards an ambient feel, again bringing to mind the likes of Brian Eno, but it adds Shona's vocals and it sounds fantastic. Being the electronic music geek I am, I love the beats she uses here which are tucked away behind the music but which played loudly would sound brilliant on their own. The balance she strikes between them and the main body of music is just right. The final track on the e.p. is The Language Of Birds which is my favourite here. Starting off with some sampled vocals and backwards electronics and piano, it builds into a beautiful track with some Florian Schneider Autobahn era flute, vocal harmonies and, again, some lovely looped beats.

All in all, this is a really interesting release and one you should have a listen to. The 10 in 10 project is a cool idea too and I'm looking forward to what comes next.

The Narrow Road e.p. launch party will take place at Cafe Cossachok in Glasgow on 9 November. Full details of that and of everything else can be found on Shona's Facebook page

Tuesday 28 October 2014


New Build's debut album, Yesterday Was Loved And Lost, was a joyous thing filled to the brim with supremely catchy tunes and featuring Do You Not Feel Loved? which remains and will remain one of the finest electronic songs ever recorded. After that release the band returned to their day jobs which, of course, include Felix and Al's in Hot Chip, but happily they've returned with their second release Pour It On, which not only matches their debut's electronic exuberance but sees it, raises it and betters it in quite brilliant style.

One noticeable difference this time round is that Pour It On is far more electronic than Yesterday Was Loved And Lost, and that is no bad thing at all. Opener The Sunlight is typical of the band's approach; it's a fairly lengthy track at just over 6 minutes, that builds up layer upon layer of electronics before settling into a groove that sweeps you away. The final track Pour It On works in a similar way and both bookend the album marvellously. Conversely, track two Look In Vain is an electropop cracker that updates Dare era Human League, mixes it with Vince Clarke esque synths and wraps it all in melodies that are impossible to forget. Throughout the album you can pick out influences such as those two, New Order and so on as well as the likes of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem, neither of which are of course particularly surprising given the band's members.

Joy and Al in the studio

The album is full of delights from the songs I've mentioned above to the arpeggiated joy of Different Kind to to the slower, more melodic Witness and beyond. It's a great album from start to finish and is highly recommended to anyone with any interest in electronic pop music. You really should check it out.

Tuesday 14 October 2014


Dan Snaith a.k.a Caribou is back with a brand new album that is surely one of the electronic albums of the year. Our Love, the fourth album released under the Caribou name, beeps, bleeps, pulses and twitches in all the right places, making it a wholly engrossing listen from start to finish. The album carries on in a similar vein to 2010's excellent Swim, but it feels far more personal than that release. These are songs of love and longing with lyrics that are tinged with regret, all enveloped in warm sounding but clinical synths and the crispest of beats.

Silver (listen below) is a standout track and a perfect example of the album's theme. Over a beautiful arpeggiated baseline and an almost queasy sounding sample, Snaith sings of losing a loved one to the arms of another in a sad falsetto ("I wish I'd never met you/It doesn't mean I can't get over you"). This is extremely personal music, which can be a rare thing in the electronic field, and that mix of the personal and electronics permeates the album. All I Ever Need is a minimal track with a distinct R&B feel in places which again tugs at the heartstrings ("My next love will be the best I ever had"), Second Chance a detuned version of a downbeat love song and Your Love Will Set You Free an atmospheric album closer which dreams of the person you loved but let go.

Our Love is an exploration of the end of a relationship masked in some of the most inventive electronic music you'll hear at the moment. Experimental and, at times, testing, it's an album that deserves a couple of plays. Once you do that, you'll fall in love with it.

Monday 13 October 2014


John MacLean's first couple of albums on the permanently superb DFA label perhaps, as all acts on the label were bound to do, we obscured by the genius of LCD Soundsystem who WERE the DFA label to most people. James Murphy's premature killing off of LCD has however left a gap to be filled on DFA - a leader is needed. With In A Dream, MacLean has successfully auctioned for that part.

As can probably be guessed from the cover (above), ex LCD'er Nancy Whang has joined The Juan MacLean as a permanent member and here presence here is a real success. MacLean isn't the strongest of singers and for the majority of the album, Nancy sensibly takes lead and the combination of MacLean's programming and ear for knowingly retro sounds and her vocals produce some truly marvellous tracks. The album kicks off with A Place Called Space whose electronics recall Giorgio Moroder taking a trip on Trans Europe Express and whose crunching guitar chords surely soundtracked an 80's detective show. Add to those a killer chorus and we're off to a flyer. There is an 80's synth feel throughout this album from Kraftwerk to disco and beyond. Here I Am sounds like a mid 80's Madonna track before she left New York, Love Stops Here a New Romantic track gone dance which ends with a a guitar part that New Order MUST have recorded and You Were A Runaway seems to mix up Papa Don't Preach and Fleetwood Mac's Little Lies to frankly marvellous effect. The album's highlights are the mesmerising A Simple Design and the outstanding shared vocal of I've Waited For So Long, both of which take those 80's synth sounds but beef them up to quite brilliant effect. Listen to I've Waited For So Long below

If you're a fan of DFA acts such as LCD Soundsystem, 80's sounding music (I'm not tarring this blog with that 80's revival festivals featuring Howard Jones pish) or anything electronic with beats that will demand you dance or at the very leaf groove about a bit, this is for you. It's superb.

The Juan MacLean Facebook

Wednesday 8 October 2014


Depeche Mode have today announced the release of their new live DVD which is entitled Live In Berlin. The show was filmed on November 25th and 27th 2013 towards the conclusion of the outstanding Delta Machine tour. There are a number of different versions, the most exciting (personally speaking) of which is the Deluxe version which comes in a box with the standard 2 dvd version of Live in Berlin, another dvd called Alive in Berlin which includes the full live show filmed from all manner of jaunty angles, interviews and for the Gore fans among you (i.e. me) a Bordello acoustic session featuring wee Martin belting out no doubt superb versions of Condemnation and Judas. There's also a 2 cd audio version of the live show. Finally, there's a Blu Ray cd of Delta Machine recorded in the I'm still not sure what it is format of 5.1.

Live In Berlin is released on 17 November

A full almost entirely unobjective review of the dvd will follow probably in the very early hours of November 18.

Pic courtesy of

Monday 6 October 2014


As part of the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, Machines In Heaven and Atom Tree are playing a gig together at the The Glasgow School of Art this Thursday (9 October) with additional support from Jo D'arc and DJ Dribbler.  Get along to the gig's Facebook page and invite yourself. All ticket information is there too

As you should already know, Machines In Heaven and Atom Tree are two of the most exciting electronic acts to come from Glasgow in ages and their initial releases (Machines In Heaven's Glasgow Jihad e.p. and debut album bordersbreakdown, Atom Tree's Tide of Thorns e.p. ) rightly received much praise in the music press, music blogs and, of course, on here. I've seen both bands live before and their gigs are always worth seeing and it's especially cool to see how bands have grown as live acts over the last 12 months. My last review of Machines In Heaven live is here ( and the last Atom Tree review can be found here ( both of which will give you an idea of what to expect. To refresh your memory further, here is the beautiful Die For Your Love from the Tide of Thorns e.p.

An additional incentive to come along on Thursday is that you'll get to hear previews of the new e.p's the bands have in the works, both of which will be released on the ace Hotgem. Machines In Heaven's Hindu Milk e.p. is due to be released in November and promises to build on their already impressive catalogue. A preview of the lead track Hindu Milk can be seen below from the band's recent gig at The Night Fair on 28 September.

Atom Tree meanwhile, fresh from shows at The Night Fair and Tenement TV, release their new e.p. Clouds on 21 November and it's bound to be one of the releases of the year. 

Music aside, the Scottish Mental Health Arts and Film Festival, which is now in its' 8th year, is a hugely important nationwide cultural event that definitely deserves some of your time. It emphasises the importance of arts and film and this year focuses on power, specifically the power arts and film have to enforce change. For all info about the festival, click here ( and make sure you get along to something.

Thursday night's gig would be the ideal place to start.