Wednesday 29 April 2015


I recently kicked off a series about my favourite record labels with a feature about Glasgow's Night School Records (, a label that is headed up by Michael Kasparis. He records under the name Apostille and this week released his debut album Powerless which is already one of my favourite releases of the year. Its combination of old school sounding synths and pop melodies that recreate the joy of experimental synthpop is a wonderful thing and it really is an album you must hear.

Life opens the album and it combines the dynamism and frankly pure genius of Fad Gadget with the synthpop meets isolation vibe of John Maus' We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves to great effect. It's a cracking start to the album with the bass line that propels the song along one of those things you hear in an electronic song that just you know is special. The experimental influences take a darker turn on The Collector which fuses the energy of D.A.F. with early Depeche Mode and even an element or two of Pretty Hate Machine era Nine Inch Nails. Again, it's superb. I'm conscious that this review is already 95% comparisons to other bands, but one of the things that makes this album stand out is that it fuses together what, for me, are the best parts of electronic music, draws influence from them, but still has its own sound and feel. 

Bands like D.A.F. and Throbbing Gristle come to mind with the likes of Control or the 9 minute long, epic closing track Slurry where the darker side of Apostille returns, but then tracks like the sublime Deserter and Olivia's Eyes are electrpop of the highest order, albeit with an underlying threat rather than a pure pop sheen. If I was going to pick one track for you to try before you inevitably fall in love with this record, I'd say Good Man (listen below) as it is simply fantastic, taking the elements mentioned above, fusing them together and producing a pulsing, crunching electronic marvel. There is no doubt indeed that this is a very special album and if you have any interest at all in electronic music, especially the experimental side of it in the late 70's and early 80's, you are in for a treat. 

Powerless is released on Night School Records on limited edition vinyl and download

Night School Records -

Monday 27 April 2015


For me, Martin Gore is in the category of musicians who can do no wrong. Ok, there's the odd slip up, but given the back catalogue of songs he's amassed, that's no surprise but on the whole Mr Gore is a remarkable songwriter who has written many, many tunes that are important not only to me, but also to millions of others worldwide. His between Depeche solo albums thus far have been all cover version affairs, with the actual songs being saved for DM and Counterfeit and Counterfeit 2 are both well worth hearing as I've dealt with previously  on this blog ( There was also, of course,  the stupendous VCMG project with Vince Clarke which I'll inevitably write something uncritical of at a future date. MG is new territory for Martin, however, as it is a wholly instrumental album - with his lyrics removed from his music, will it be any good?

The good news is that it is good. In fact, it's better than good - it's superb. Martin has crafted an album of 16 gorgeous instrumentals that cover the whole spectrum of electronic music. Unlike the VCMG project, this album isn't a techno album; instead Martin has focused on moods and textures and that focus gives some of the tracks here a distinctly Depeche feel. Throughout the years, there have been may Depeche Mode instrumentals (see here for more ) and at times they have been excellent with, for example, the likes of Pimpf, Christmas Island, Agent Orange and Kaleid. Pimpf aside, as this is an entirely electronic project, there are echoes of all those tracks in this album.

The first track that was released from the album, Europa Hymn is one which reminds me immediately of Agent Orange, not in the sense that it sounds the same, but in the sense that it invokes the same mood. Synthesizer led music is capable of producing moments of pure emotion and Europa Hymn, like Agent Orange, does that, especially when the wonky melody line comes into play around one minute twenty seconds in. Beautiful. There are other quiet, more ambient tracks here too. Elk sounds quite a bit like the instrumentals that have popped up on the post 1997 DM albums such as Esque from Sounds Of The Universe. It has a very Depeche like melody too and ends with a wonderful lead synth melody. Martin has mentioned the influence of sci-fi on the album, specifically in relation to the songs being a soundtrack for an as yet unwritten sci-fi film, and Elk fits that bill perfectly, along with the likes of Southerly and Blade. The gorgeous Islet is another of the sparser tracks and is a real highlight of the album.

It's not all about sparse ambience however and there are moments on the album where tracks have a distinct techno feel. Opener Pinking is one such track, Brink another. There is also an industrial influence that comes to the fore too, especially on the brilliantly loud Swanning  its Construction Time Again like metallic noises. Exalt ups the industrial/metallic feel even more and is reminiscent of Trent Reznor's NIN instrumentals in places. Around 35 seconds in, there's a drill like drum noise which brings to mind Master & Servant, though perhaps only if you happen to be me. The song has a twist though as Tangerine Dream like ambient washes appear halfway through, providing a nice counterpoint to the metalllics. Spiral is another of the louder tracks and another standout. It's a booming track with superbly squelchy bass and is a joy to the ears.

One rather cool thing Martin has done is make this album interesting. His natural ear for melody stops the tracks becoming overly experimental, but they are all filled with interesting and very clever twists and turns, more of which reveal themselves with each listen. If you can, try and get the vinyl too as it's mastered superbly and sounds loud and clear. The sleeve is a wonderful thing too, with all the lettering embossed if you like that sort of thing (I do of course).

Is MG only for Depeche Mode fans hungry for anything Mode related between Delta Machine  and whatever comes next in a couple of years? I don't think so. This album stands on its own merits and is a really cool release. Ok, Martin's not going to fill the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on the basis of this release (checks Depeche Mode fanbase, revises opinion) but it's great to see someone like Martin still able to put out fresh, interesting material. Let's hope he takes this approach forward into the new Depeche album - who wouldn't love an entirely electronic, Gore produced DM album? That would be a truly wonderful thing.

MG is available now on Mute Records on cd, vinyl and download from all the usual places.


Si Matthews' new album Tales Of Ten Worlds (Carpe Sonum Records released 9 February 2015) is a rather lovely collection of ambient experimental electronic music that takes you on a journey through a series of sonic landscapes. Named after a short story collection by Arthur C Clarke, the ten tracks, Worlds 1 to 10, really grab your attention and I'd certainly recommend this release to any fans of ambient or even electronic music in general. Follow Si on Twitter ( for more info and check out his Soundcloud page (  to hear some of this album and his other, equally enjoyable work.

Finally, you can listen to and buy the cd here

Thursday 23 April 2015


The Scottish Album of The Year (SAY) longlist was announced last night and can be viewed below and at the SAY site It's crammed full of superb Scottish music featuring albums released between January 2014 and March 2015 and there are many albums on the list that I love. The public vote will take place from May 25th to May 27th following which the list will be whittled down to 10 with that list announced on 28th May. The winner will be announced on June 17th at the SAY award ceremony. My personal favourites are Happy Meals, Mogwai, The Twilight Sad, Erros, Kathryn Joseph, King Creosote and Belle and Sebastian as they have all released superb albums of late. The whole list, however, is a celebration of the remarkably fine state of Scottish music at the moment. Go and vote when the public vote opens and keep an eye on SAY's site and Twitter feed in the meantime 

Belle and Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance
Blue Rose Code - The Ballads of Peckham and Rye
Errors - Lease of Life
Fatherson - I Am An Island
Happy Meals - Apero
Honeyblood - Honeyblood
Idlewild - Everything Ever Written
Kathryn Joseph - Bones You Have Thrown At Me And Blood I've Spilled
King Creosote - From Scotland With Love
Mike Vass - In The Wake Of Neil Gunn
Mogwai - Rave Tapes
Paulo Nutini - Caustic Love
PAWS - Youth Culture Forever
Slam - Reverse Proceed
The Amazing Snakeheads - Amphetamine Ballads
The Phantom Band - Strange Friend
The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave
Treacherous Orchestra - Grind
Withered Hand - New Gods
Young Fathers - Dead

Wednesday 22 April 2015


Kill The Waves are a Glasgow based six piece who first appeared on many people's radars this year with the release of the tracks Vow and Better Days on Soundcloud, both of which are storming tracks. Better Days is simply sublime and, if you do nothing else after reading this, go and grab that song free from the band's Soundcloud page as it will simply make your life better. Hot on the heels of that free download, the band have released their debut album The One That Could Have Been and, pleasingly, the album is a real triumph.

The band combine a mix of electronics and stirring Radiohead or Arcade Fire like power to produce a collection of tracks that grow and develop with each listen. Opener Oak Tree sets the scene perfectly; a brooding tale of love backed with some superbly flickery electronic percussive sounds that ploughs the same furrow Radiohead's Talk Show Host does. Mine follows, slapping you in the face with some quite magnificent electropop before the title track slows the pace and darkens the mood with distinct echoes of The Cure in places. It's followed by Vow which you should already know (see previous praise from me) which then leads into the driving Friends and Deadwave which has a lead synth line Vince Clarke would be proud of. That the song then turns into a gothic, rated vocal joy only adds to the enjoyment. Plastic Face is another slice of excellent synthpop before the once again Cure influenced Shadow enters, with its sound and feel redolent of that band's Disintegration high point , specifically Homesick, which can never be a bad thing can it? Up next is the genuinely brilliant Better Days. It would have been easy to kick the album off with this track as it is a incredibly striking song but I'm glad that easy path wasn't followed as it sits really well at this stage in the album and Oak Tree is an excellent opener. We round off with  Sun Song  and the initially playfully electro sound but all of a sudden guitar explosions of Part 2 which finishes the album off perfectly. 

The One That Could Have Been is a superb debut album that is brim full of top tunes and Kill The Waves are clearly a band full of confidence in their sound and rightly so. A hugely enjoyable debut release.

The One That Could Have Been is released on Bloc+ Music and can be purchased on ITunes, 7Digital, Amazon mp3 and many more digital retailers.

Kill The Waves Twitter
Bloc+ Music

Saturday 18 April 2015


After telling myself I was too tired for this sort of thing, I got up at 6.45 this morning and headed down to Monrail Records in Glasgow to join the queue of vinyl lovers awaiting the early opening for Record Store Day. In my opinion, Record Store Day is a good thing. Obviously, record shops like the superb Monorail should be visited as frequently as possible and not just one day per year, but having a day that specifically focusses on independent record shops is a tremendous notion. 
The beauty of Record Store Day is that it isn't just about picking up rare vinyl, although that's my main aim on the day itself. A quick look at Twitter shows that record shops all over the UK are putting on events throughout the day and there are more bands and DJ's to see that you could actually count. Monorail is no different - there are 8 different acts to see today (see below) and whilst you watch them, Mono will be serving food and drink, creating a marvellous atmosphere. The early punters like me weren't forgotten though as we all got free cakes after purchasing our goods.

So what of the record purchasing itself? Well, I queued from around 7am and was about 40th or so in a queue that had clearly been in place for some time given the number of sleeping bags in evidence. That was the same at one of Glasgow's other great record shops, Love Music, too where people such as Edd Stark had been in the queue since Friday lunchtime. I should say that Love Music is also putting on a day of live music and events with a really cool line up. Anyway, the queue I was in at Monorail was slightly subdued given the early hour but everyone livened up when some kind soul passed around a box of mini doughnuts. Once the store opened, everyone filed in and checked lists etc whilst we slowly made our way into the shop. Once inside, I handed my phone which contained my want list to Stephen from The Pastels (that's surreal in itself!) and I managed to get the vast majority of my wishlist. I picked up:
Suede - Dog Man Star live at the Royal Albert Hall
Happy Mondays - Pills N Thrills and Bellyaches yellow vinyl reissue
Marnie - Wolves 7"
Tuff Love/Lazy Day split 7"
Chvrches - Get Away/Dead Air 7"
Johnny Marr - I Feel You 7"
All I missed out on was the Erasure Violet Flame Remixes 12" but picking up the Johnny Marr 7" more than made up for that. Johnny Marr covering Depeche Mode? Superb.
Yet again then, Record Store Day has been fantastic and, as a vinyl collector, I love being there, taking part and soaking up the atmosphere. If you're reading this on the day itself (18 April 2015), get down to your local record shop, check out the bands and grab a record or two - you'll love it.
And if you're reading this after Record Store Day, get down to your local record shop anyway. Don't just visit it once a year.

Friday 10 April 2015


Olive Grove Records is a label I love. It has a beautifully diverse range of artists from the magnificent soundscapes produced by the wonderful Call To Mind to the supremely catchy pop folk of Skinny Dipper. New signings Henry & Fleetwood are a welcome addition to the label's roster and their debut e.p. On The Forest Floor is an intriguing and quite lovely release.

Henry & Fleetwood are a duo comprising Martin Henry of De Rosa and Gillian Fleetwood of State Broadcasters. The e.p, as the title and cover art (above) belie, has a pastoral feel throughout with songs that evoke the Scottish countryside, viewing it as an escape from the day to day drag of urban life. Combining harp, acoustic guitars and synths, the songs sound like a soundtrack to a lost weekend in a quiet rural part of the country but that's not to say this is an e.p. that doesn't posses a certain power or darkness. All four tracks (On The Forest Floor, Forestry, Timber, Perfect Mess) manage to sound melancholic yet uplifting at the same time and, as you all know, that is what makes the very best music. Timber is my favourite track from the e.p. with its combination of folk and pop producing something quite unique but, overall the release works best heard as one piece rather than individual tracks. Repeated listens reveal more and more layers to the tracks too - this is very clever and very impressive music.

On The Forest Floor is out on Olive Grove Records  on 13 April on limited edition cd and download. There is also an e.p. release show tomorrow, April 11, at The Glad Cafe.

Olive Grove Records Facebook
Henry & Fleetwood Facebook

Monday 6 April 2015


To help promote as much of the best new Scottish music as possible, we at Almost Predictable Almost have joined forces with our friends at Scottish Fiction ( to release a monthly series of free e.p's called Almost Scottish Fiction. Volume 1 is out today and features four tracks in total, with two chosen by each blog.

The tracklist for the first e.p. is:

1. Wandering On A Night Without Stars - Exit-Omni feat. Dear Lara 
2. The Bridge - Malmo 
3. Five Star - Wozniak
4. Machines (Original Extended Edit) - Twissted

All four tracks are superb and yet more evidence of the incredible music scene in Scotland at the moment. Grab these tracks, then go and find out more about each of the artists - you won't regret it.

Thanks very much to all the artists for agreeing to take part. Thanks very much too to Findlay at Burnhouse Industries for providing the artwork. The next e.p. will be available in May.

Wednesday 1 April 2015


Night School Records is a Glasgow based label run by Michael Kasparis. Among the label's many gems, Michael is about to release his own album, Powerless, under the guise of guise of Apolstille on April 27th. If you're unfamiliar with Night School, Apostille is as good a place to start as any. Check out Good Man below which mixes influences from Suicide to, funnily enough to the ears of this blog, Depeche Mode and is a real gem. The album is going to be something special

Apostille aside, there is also much to get excited about on Night School. You might recall that I've mentioned the fantastic Happy Meals before, both in album reviews and on the Glasgow Endless Two feature. Their debut Apero which, if you still haven't heard it, is a must hear came out on Night School and they're playing dates with Apostille in April, including a show at the Flying Duck in Glasgow on Saturday 11th. You can read the review for my full thoughts about Apero, but let's just say that it's one of the most innovative electronic albums I've heard in a while. Here's the video for Altered Images to tide you over until you but the album

Another band you'll want to check out are Paper Dollhouse, whose second LP Aeonflower came out on Night School on 2nd March. The album is a beautiful but stark soundscape that was made to be listened to on vinyl. Like the releases I've mentioned above, the album can be obtained on limited edition vinyl from the Night School site, details below. Here's Helios from the album

These bands aside, the label's roster is stuffed to the gills with superb music from the likes of Rose McDowall and Sally Dige. Every release from Night School is innovative and, from the vinyl shopper's point of view, beautifully packaged with the feel of an album just like you remember they used to be. Labels like this that take the time to ensure that their output is so spot on deserve attention and you really must spend a good bit of time getting to know Night School Records and getting into their artists.

Night School Records Soundcloud
Night School Records Home
Night School Records Twitter