Sunday 28 June 2015


Edinburgh's Wozniak, whose superb Five Star featured on the first Almost Scottish Fiction ep release their second ep. Auster tomorrow (June 29), the follow up to their superb debut e.p. Pikes Peak.  Auster represents a leap forward for the band as it takes their shoegaze  and post rock influenced sound and adds layers and layers to it producing a set of four songs that are brilliantly noisy but also multi layered and really quite clever.

Opener Snow Effect is a slice of Ride or Slowdive like fuzz noise with wonderfully whispered vocals that packs quite a sonic punch and ultimately is an outstanding track. Amongst the four excellent tracks here, Snow Effect is the standout for me. Next up we have Wings Of Pegasus which starts like My Bloody Valentine before a bassline Kim Deal would be proud of propels the song forward into a rush of shimmering guitars that's really quite marvellous. Gospel Of Infinity adds even more power to the mix with a track built around a crunching riff and an almost military drum beat that is reminiscent of Mogwai but has Wozniak's own stamp on it thorough. The e.p. then ends with the 8 minute beast that is Helder + Zelda. An initial slow build of bass and spiky, reverb laden guitars lead to a wall of noise that is quite breathtaking before the track returns to its beginnings, ending the e.p. perfectly.

As someone who is old enough to remember shoegaze the first time round, it's great to hear artists like Wozniak use the power and drama of that type of music as a basis for their own hugely impressive work. Auster  is an excellent e.p. and Wozniak clearly have something special about them.

Wozniak release the Auster ep on June 29th on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, select record shops and through their own Bandcamp page

Wozniak Twitter @band_wozniak

Saturday 27 June 2015


Mystery is the debut e.p. by Edinburgh based singer/songwriter Gus Harrower who, despite only being the tender age of 16 years old, has produced an e.p. that displays fine songwriting abilities and an ear for melody that is really rather wonderful. I should declare something of an interest here as Gus' uncle John is a lifelong friend of mine and the two of us have a band that first started before Gus was even born which makes me feel incredibly old. By releasing this e.p. Gus has already achieved much more than we ever did and, if Mystery is anything to go by, there are exciting things to come from this obvious talent.

As all good e.p's should be, the e.p. contains four tracks. Lead track Mystery is the standout; melodic acoustic guitar led pop that is underpinned by piano and keyboards. The key element is Gus' vocals and harmonies both of which are hugely impressive. I'm not as bang up to date on the modern pop world as I perhaps ought to be beyond a fully understandable love of Taylor Swift's 1989 but I hear the likes of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago in this track and others on the e.p. and that's no bad thing. Go But Don't Quite Leave is a pacier track that has all the qualities of Mystery present throughout, whereas Try is just Gus and a piano and again it displays truly gifted songwriting. We end on Deeper Under, a slower, more mournful track that rounds the e.p. off nicely. 

What really strikes you about this release is the quality of the songwriting and performance throughout and, for a debut release, it's an impressive thing indeed. I'd recommend you go and check it out.

Mystery by Gus Harrower is available now on ITunes.

Tuesday 16 June 2015


Fiona Soe Paing featured as one of my New Bands of 2015 a while ago, a feature that was borne of my failure to pick up on her superb work earlier than this year. Rather superbly, Fiona has now signed to Hotgem Music home of Machines In Heaven and one of the coolest labels you're going to find. Her single, Heartbeat is released on 19 June ahead of her new album and it's a wonderful, wonderful thing. 

Let's not forget that Fiona's work has been complimented by none other than Mr Vince Clarke, a man who any reader of this blog will know is someone that I consider to be one of the most important electronic musicians there has ever been. When Vince says you should listen, you really should and Heartbeat is a track that you really must listen to. Fiona specialises in experimental electronic music that never fails to draw you in and Heartbeat combines a hypnotic feel with powerful vocals that builds upon her earlier works and adds new layers and depths to them. It's mighty stuff and is hard to put down even after repeated listens, even if that phrase doesn't quite work in these digital times. The video (below), as premiered on the 405 this week, is quite mesmerising too, albeit fairly scary but on a good way.

Bring on the album I say. This is electronic music as it should be.

Heartbeat by Fiona Seo Paing is released on Hotgem Music on 19 June. Fiona is performing at the Edinburgh Festival this year as part of Creative Scotland's Made In Scotland showcase

Fiona Seo Paing
Hotgem Music


Glasgow based producer Monogram's debut release Romance rightly gained much praise when it was released in October last year. A wonderfully urgent pop song, combining an almost post punk feel with melodic pop hooks, Romance is a superb track as you can hear below:

Happily, a new Monogram track, Anno has popped up today and, like Romance, it's a cracker and hopefully a sign of what to expect in the future from Monogram. Flying past in a blizzard of drums, Johnny Marr like jangly guitars and building to a frantic climax, Anno is bound to cause as much of, if not more of a stir than Romance. Monogram is surely one to watch.

For more info, check out Monogram's site , Soundcloud page and Facebook page.

Friday 12 June 2015


Continuing their theme of releasing nothing but outstanding records, Glasgow's Night School Records have just released Hard To Please, the debut album by Sally Dige, a Berlin based Canadian musician. The album is a collection of first class electropop and is quickly becoming one of my albums of the year.

Opener and title track Hard To Please sets the standard quickly with an A Broken Frame era Depeche Mode feel, especially with its Leave In Silence like baseline. Diego's vocals are captivating, both on this track and throughout and they match the music perfectly. Immaculate Deception follows and whilst I realise this is both (1) and obvious and (2) a tedious comparison, Depeche Mode spring to mind again with the track having a distinct Speak & Spell vibe, albeit one with Siouxsie on vocals if you can imagine such a thing. Trust me, it's a very good thing indeed. So Far Away has a harder sound with Pretty Hate Machine style beats and harder, less obviously poppy synths, before the superb Doppleganger finishes off Side 1 beautifully with a wonderful piece of cold wave synthpop. I say Side 1 because I managed to get my hands on one of the limited edition clear vinyl releases as you can see below

Side 2 continues where Side 1 left off with the Yazoo like Losing You. Don't let the comparisons to the early synth genius Depeche and Yazoo make you think this album is a retro sounding 80's thing by the way; that's just not the case. It takes influence from that era no doubt, but it retains a modern feel throughout. Your Girl and A Certain Beauty follow, the former following a Cocteau Twins path, the latter a more gothic one and both are a joy to the ears. The album closes with the dark Dance Of Delusion which reminds me of The Cure in the Faith and Pornography days and that can only be a positive.

Hard To Please is an album that is bound to appeal not only to fans of synthpop but also to anyone who enjoys artists who manage to combine a feel of experimentation with electronic pop which is never an easy balance to strike. Given that this is her debut album, and given that she strikes that balance so impressively, Sally Dige is an artist that I know I'm going to be keeping a close eye on. You should too.

Sally Dige Hard To Please is released on Night School Records and is available on vinyl and cd. GO to to find out more

Tuesday 9 June 2015


Normally, I only tend to review either Depeche Mode, Glasgow bands and so on but I'm making an exception for Rolemodel, a Canadian band who followed me on Twitter ( @davidjmcelroy or @almostprdalmost by the way) and piqued my interest. They are a dream pop electronic band based in Toronto, originally a solo vehicle for Jordan Allen but now expanded into a full band. Their six track e.p. Claire was released on Hand Drawn Dracula Records and I'm fallen in love with it

Combining a distinct 80's synth influence, thankfully from the good parts of that genre with the likes of New Order, some shoegaze and some stupendous pop melodies, this e.p. is one to hear. Title track Claire is a moody, atmospheric track with a chorus that deserves to burst from every radio in the land and it sets the tone perfectly. Teen Idol continues the moody atmosphere, in a way like Cold Cave without the sneer, before the brilliantly named, and indeed brilliant, Trans Canda Misery lands on you with a lead synth line that Gary Numan in his Tubeway Army days would be proud of. It's icy synth perfection and quite, quite wonderful. The New Order go pop of Who You Know follows and the next track Cruel Intensions displays a similar influence, though this time Joy Division, albeit more in their Atmosphere moments. The e.p. then ends with Until which rounds it off perfectly.

For something that came out of the blue to me, Claire  really is a great release and, as I said, something you really should hear. Jordan Allen's voice matches perfectly with the music and general feel of the songs throughout and, altogether, Claire really is something of a hidden gem of an e.p.

Rolemodel - Claire is released on Hand Drawn Dracula Records and is available on their bandcamp page here

Rolemodel wesbite

Monday 8 June 2015


Today sees the release of Volume three of Almost Scottish Fiction e.p. which is a collaboration between us and fellow Scottish music blog, Scottish Fiction. Each month we bring you six tracks by six Scottish artists and this month we've lined up six cracking tracks for you.

Head to the Almost Predictable Almost or Scottish Fiction bandcamp pages (links below) to grab your free e.p. and enjoy the music. Be sure to check out the six bands' various websites and social media pages too and keep supporting the Scottish music scene. Your tracks this month are:

Machines In Heaven - Taxpayers Compass
Machines In Heaven have provided us this exclusive track for this release. Combining the power of Aphex Twin and Radiohead circa Kid A, this is a masterclass in electronic pop music that still retains the band's experimental edge.

Mt. Doubt - Leap
Taken from Mt. Doubt's debut album My Past Is A Quiet Beast, this track is a driving number with shimmering guitars creating a War On Drugs style feel. Leo Bargary's vocals complete the package with a baritone quality reminiscent of Matt Berninger.

Shards - Just To Get Something Started
Shards debut release Just To Get Something Started perfectly shows off the band's brand of melancholic electronica, which the band have christened melancholitronica. It's part ambient, part experimental and really rather fantastic

WASHED - One To Five
WASHED is the new electronic project by David, previously of Fiction Faction. This track, One To Five, offers a tasty insight into what has been going on in the studio, with reverb vocals draped over rising and see-sawing synths.

In:Tides - Yours Is The Earth
Yours Is The Earth is the closing and title track from Glasgow post-rockers in:tides latest e.p. If you like your music layered, building and with arena filled atmosphere, then this will be right up your street.

Analog Angel - Your Breath
Your Breath is Analog Angel's most recent single, released ahead of their rather exciting support slot with former Kraftwerk man, Wolfgang Flur in Norwich on 20th June. The track is a much poppier affair than the band's previous releases, though no less powerful.

Thanks to all the bands for allowing us to use their music. Thanks too to Stuart Cowan (@kpdcowan ) for the photograph and to Finlay at Burnhouse Industries for additional artwork.

See you next month!

Sunday 7 June 2015


As part of a show put on by Detour at the Science Centre in Glasgow, Marnie played a set on Friday 5th June that once agains showcased the strength of the songs on her most recent album Crystal World. The Science Centre atrium really is a spectacular venue for a gig and the electronic sound of Marnie, Lockah and Errors seemed tailor made for the venue.

Marnie, live at Glasgow Science Centre, 5 June 2015 (Photo by me)

Marnie's set was mainly taken from Crystal World with opener The Hunter kicking things off brilliantly. It was followed by my favourite track from the album, We Are The Sea,  which is as strong a synthpop song as you'll hear this or any other year. Sugar land and Hearts On Fire were up next before Marnie's most recent track Wolves which was superb. Ladytron's Seventeen came next, highlighting the difference between the starker sound of Ladytron and Helen's solo work. That's not to say it wasn't great to hear that track as it remains something of a favourite of mine. The set then ended with an extended version of Submariner which rounded it all off nicely.

It really was an impressive show with the Crystal World working really well live. I had a chat with Helen afterwards and she said that work is going to commence on the next solo record soon. If it's anything like Crystal World we'll be in for a treat and if she's playing live near you, go to the gig. 

Thursday 4 June 2015


Glasgow based producer Julian Corrie returns with the second Miaoux Miaoux album, some three years after the superb Light Of The North. School Of Velocity carries on with the beautifully crafted electronic indie pop theme of that debut but adds many extra layers, producing a really rather wonderful album.

The album is littered with perfectly executed electronic pop, a prime example of which is the brilliant Star Sickness. Combining bleeps, beeps and guitar to perfect effect, topped off with a superb chorus, it's one of the standout tracks here and is one is surely destined to grab a lot of attention. Luxury Discovery is another cracker too, bringing to mind, at least to my ears, Prince in his synthesizer dominated years. The track that was used to preview the album It's The Quick is just superb too, taking a much dancier route and even adding the odd Vince Clarke analogue bleep here and there which is always welcome. Peaks Beyond Peaks sees The Cairn String Quartet join in to produce a yearning love song which halfway through turns from an electro ballad into a trance like affair before turning back again and pulls it off which is quite a trick. The album closes with the beautiful Mostly Love Now which like Ribbon Falls on Light Of The North brings the album to an end perfectly. It's a stunning track, wrapping a beautiful melody in wave after wave of warm electronics. The best thing about a track this good ending an album is that it makes you put it back on from the start and listen to it again and again. 

School Of Velocity is a real treat and, if there's any justice at all, it's going to see Miaoux Miaoux become bigger than ever before. Highly recommended.

School Of Velocity is released on Chemikal Underground and is available on limited edition of 300 heavyweight vinyl (I got one!), cd and download.

Miaoux Miaoux Facebook 
Miaoux Miaoux Twitter

Tuesday 2 June 2015


5 June sees the release on Hotgem Tunes of the new e.p. from Machines In Heaven and, as with each of their previous releases, this e.p. is another leap forward for this increasingly impressive band. Lead track Displacer sees the band combining their trademark bass thump and swirling electronics with their poppiest melody yet and it all melts together quite marvellously. As the song grows, sounds flit in and out, building to a beautiful climax, with the ultimate result being the band's strongest track yet. It still retains the band's experimental edge, but it adds melodic, joyous layers to it. The full version of the track and the Radio Edit are available on the e.p.

As well as the two versions of Displacer, there are a couple of remixes to enjoy. First up is the Garage Edit of Feel Slow from the band's last release, the Hindu Milk e.p. As the name of the remix would suggest, it's a two step type affair and, like all good remixes, is a remix by the band themselves. The original version of Feel Slow is a wonderful track and this new take on it equally good. The final track on the e.p. is the outstanding Displacer (Drvg Cvltvre Remix) which is one of those remixes that gives the track a whole new energy and feel, taking it to new levels and places and because it's one of those remixes, it's therefore a very, very good thing indeed. All layers of electronics,thumping bass and beats it simply has to be heard. Ridiculously good.

Machines In Heaven are a band that are surely about to outgrow the local music scene and move on to something bigger. Displacer deserves to be heard by as wide an audience as possible and can easily hold its own amongst any of its peers. 

Displacer is released on 5 June on Hotgem Tunes and can be downloaded from ITunes, Beatport, Juno, Boomkat and others.

Machines In Heaven Facebook

Monday 1 June 2015


As I've no doubt said before, Olive Grove Records is a label that keeps releasing outstanding music seemingly effortlessly. The label's latest gem is Foreign Organ, the new album by Woodenbox which brings to mind the likes of Mercury Rev, Wilco and The Beatles while retaining a distinctly Scottish feel and sound, producing a quite marvellous album that should soundtrack everyone's summer.

In comparison to their previous works, Foreign Organ is a confident, in places muscular beast. Opener Somewhere New starts proceedings off gently mixing a beautiful piano line with vocal harmonies and Deserter's Songs-like horns before Life Decays enters changing the mood, bringing a full on pop feel to the album. It's a hugely impressive song, especially around a minute in when a full on horns attack takes the song to a new dimension. It's one of many tracks here that are instantly unforgettable and one that you can well imagine increasingly large crowds losing it to.  More Girl Than Friend calls upon the assistance of label mates Alex and Cat from Skinny Dipper to lend female voices to a song about a friendship that has nothing left but lust. It's an absolute joy with a chorus most bands would die for. The band then go almost all out pop with Roberto which is propelled along on the sort of guitar line that Idlewild used to do well. Again, it's a song that surely can't fail to connect with any audience that hears it. A9 North then slows the pace, a piano led song telling a story of plans being made on a journey which fits in nicely with the feeling of post referendum blues the band felt partly drove the album.

One of my highlights of the album is the next track Directions And My Boy, a father's message to his son that features some quite wonderful Beatles like harmonies that are beautiful. The song has a distinct Paul McCartney in his louder moments feel and that's echoed by the next track Face Able which is another of the standouts here. It's a diatribe against internet dependency, which kicks off like an angry Daytripper before one of the most memorable choruses I've heard in a good while lands, turning the whole song into a riot of pop joy. The irony of writing a review on a blog that will be linked to on Facebook and Twitter whilst singing "He became obsessed with being liked" is not lost on me I must say. The beautiful Carbon Mold follows before Rust arrives, bouncing along on a piano line that makes you jump about in your seat without realising you're doing it. It's an outstanding track and it just makes you smile. The feeling of post referendum blues returns with closer Scotland, a lament for a country that could have been, but one that remains optimistic and dreams of change in the future.

Foreign Organ is a quite remarkable album really. I've played it numerous times today and not just in that excited way you play a great album when you first hear it and love it. I'll play Foreign Organ many more times over the forthcoming months and years because it is one of those albums like, for example as referred to earlier, Deserter's Songs, that has a timeless quality that will mean it will be with you for years to come on many journeys, be they on the A9 or elsewhere. Go and get this album.

Foreign Organ by Woodenbox is released on 8 June on Olive Grove Records and is available on green 12" vinyl, cd and digital download. Stream the album now at The Skinny ( and head along to the launch party at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on 5 June.

Olive Grove Records