Monday 21 September 2015


I was going to wait for my copy of the album to arrive, but seeing as Chvrches have been good enough to stream their album on NPR (here), I felt I had to write a hastily put together first impression review. The news is good - Every Open Eye is an excellent album.

There are many things about Chvrches that I love. First up, they come from Glasgow and have put Scottish electronic music on the map in impressive style. I always regret being a bit slow out of the blocks with them as I just missed out on having them on my first Glasgow Electronic piece. Just after the band asked me to send some questions, they exploded worldwide and I missed my chance. They had significantly bigger things on their plate and the remarkable success they had with The Bones Of What You Believe was hugely well deserved. Secondly, the band, especially Lauren, are huge Depeche Mode fans and they supported DM on the Delta Machine tour so that gets them infinite love from me. Thirdly, and most importantly, they make superb electronic pop music and Every Open Eye is only going to see them become more and more popular and justifiably so. Here's a track by track take:

Never Ending Circles
A powerful start to the album that combines a huge sound with the band's trademark vocal sample stabs and, like the whole of the album, puts Lauren's vocals to the fore to great effect. This has show opener written all over it.

Leave A Trace
One that most people will know already and, as daft as it might sound for a band only two albums into their career, a classic Chvrches track. It's just brilliant synthpop, albeit synthpop with a sinister undercurrent. The song benefits from sparser than usual instrumentation too. One final thing to note is the synth line at 3 mins 21 that echoes the main riff - a small thing but something quite brilliant

Keep You On My Side
Keep You On My Side starts off at a frantic pace with a Pet Shop Boys So Hard like bassline, building to a chorus backed with swirling synths and percussion exploding everywhere. It's another that is sure to blow the roof off any venue it's played at

Make Them Gold
The most straightforward pop song thus far, More Than Gold has echoes of 80's style production and Vince Clarke like synth lines throughout and a chorus that somehow feels classic already. 

Clearest Blue
Clearest Blue is the first standout track here. It's up there with Chvrches best and is an absolute joy, basically perfect. Bonus points too for performing the nice track of mentioning the album name in the song which never fails to please (see also: Depeche Mode's Pipeline and Lie To Me). Finally, if the moment at 2 mins 12 seconds where Lauren sings "Will you meet me halfway up" followed by an explosion in a synthesizer factory doesn't make your hairs stand on end, you're doing music wrong.

High Enough To Carry You Over
This track sees Martin Doherty take over lead vocals and, like Lauren's vocals elsewhere here, his are much more prominent than ever before. Filled with more 80's style synths, it's a different pace to the rest of the tracks on album, but really works well.

Empty Threat
If there was one track to maybe leave off it might be this one. It's good but a bit too similar to the rest of the faster tracks here and lacks the edge and bite of say Keep You On My Side or Never Ending Circles

Down Side Of Me
A slower track that starts off with a R&B like feel, Down Side Of Me develops into a lovely electro-ballad, the highlight of which is a wonderful vocal from Lauren. 

Playing Dead
Playing Dead is the first of a run of three tracks that end the album brilliant. It's a beast of a song that recalls, yes I know, Depeche Mode and New Order and has a chorus that most bands would kill for.

Bury It
Wow. Along with Clearest Blue, this is the standout track on an album full of wonderful music. Basically, Bury It is the sound of an angry Yazoo having a fight on a dancefloor and that is not, and never could be, a bad thing. Just brilliant.

This ends the album perfectly, with wave upon wave of swelling electronics supporting Lauren's again superb vocal pefectlt. A slow, moody but optimistic end to the record, it's a sublime track.

The difficulty with one of these instant listen reviews is that I'm hearing the album for the first time and judging it, rather than immersing myself in it as I'd usually rather do. Like The Bones Of What You Believe though, this is an important record and so the instant review approach is necessary. The pleasing thing is that Chvrches have managed to make a record that is easily the equal of their debut and it's one that is bound to see them become ever more popular and rightly so. Every Open Eye is a very special record indeed.

Wednesday 16 September 2015


The 6th Scottish Alternative Music Awards (SAMAs) take place on 8th October at The Garage in Glasgow. The SAMAs are a hugely important thing as they shine a light on Scotland's remarkably fertile music scene, exposing a whole number of bands to a wide audience and gaining them much justified publicity. Initially started by Richy Muirhead as an alternative to the usual industry nonsense of the BRITS etc, the SAMAs have taken on a life of their own and this year's ceremony features a string of excellent bands up for a number of awards. 

There are 8 categories in total which you can read through on the SAMAs page (links below), but for this blog I'm having at look at only one - Best Electronic. 

There are six nominees competing in this category and I feel sorry for whoever has to choose the winner as the nominees are all superb. First up is SEQUEL (@sequelsoundx) who produces some of the crispest, loudest techno electronica type slices of noisey joy I've heard in ages. Brimming with the sheer joy of loud electronic music, tracks like Fear Party (below) and Rocky are just frankly brilliant and music that you HAVE to hear. Head to SEQUEL's Soundcloud page for more (

Next up we have Bdy_Parts (@BDY_PRTS) who fuse guitars, electronics and a keen ear for pop melodies to give us something incredibly catchy and quite wonderful. Cold Shoulder (below) is a prime example, with the band's trademark sound taken in an R&B direction but still retaining the edge and feel of earlier tracks like IDLU.  Check out their Soundcloud page for more (

Our Future Glory are the next nominee and regular readers will know that I'm already a huge fan (see ). One listen to Battleheart (below) is going to convince you I'm right to be excited and, trust me, if you get a chance to see them live do it - absolutely incredible.

Crash Club are one of the bands playing at the award show on the 8th and their brand of electronic rock is bound to impress on the night. My inevitably baised Depeche Mode tuned ears note hints of then Basildon boys darker moments in Crash Club's tracks and that is absolutely fine by me. Sometimes, this type of electronic music can sound a bit clunky, but not here. Crash Club produce something very fine indeed as you can hear on their Soundcloud page ( Check out Jawbreaker  below for a hint of what they can do

DJ Clyde Rouge produces quite excellent stripped back house with teeth juddering bass at levels that will help even the shyest persons on earth dance. Sometimes all you need is music that you can dance to and DJ Clyde Rouge knows how to produce music for that very purpose. Have a list to the magical Too Hip (Preview) below for an idea of what's going on here, then head to the Soundcloud page ( for much, much more

Last but by no means least we have Lockah who produces house and R&B influenced electronics that give nods to the likes of classic era Human League, melting together a host of styles to produce  something quite superb. Almost every track is a winner and Lockah's recent It Gets More Cloudy album is a cracker. Head to to listen then buy it - to help you out, here's the excellent Heate Legend

Like I said at the start, good luck to whoever has to judge this category. Choosing 6 bands alone from the immense amount of electronic music in Scotland just now is hard enough - choosing one from these six is nearly impossible. 

For the full run down on the SAMAs and to read about all 8 awards categories head to and keep an eye on the SAMAs Twitter feed for all the information you need (@OfficialSAMA). Get yourself along to The Garage on the 8th of October to join in this celebration of al that is good about Scottish music and buy Richy a drink to say thanks to him too. He deserves it for his excellent work.

Tuesday 15 September 2015


Depeche Mode's 2005 album Playing The Angel was the first one the band released when internet piracy was prevalent. 2001's Exciter might have attracted some attention piracy wise, but it was nowhere near as easy to get your hands on early leaks in 2001 as it was in 2005. Mindful of the risks of exposing the dark beauty of Playing The Angel too early, advance watermarked cd's were sent out to reviewers, pluggers and so on of an album called Dark Force by a mysterious band called Black Swarm. Some of these cds contained the 12 tracks we know as Playing The Angel but others contain a different beast altogether.

The other cds still say the album is Dark Force  by Black Swarm, but the tracklisting is:

1. Aggravated Condition
2. Sturm Und Drang
3. Maximum Sufferance
4. The Crucifixion Of The Sinners
5. The Night of The Damaged
6. Darkness At Zethanon
7. The Final Temptation Of Lucretia
8. Bloodied Soul, Crushed By The Monlith 
9. Sweet Blackness Of Night
10. Annihilation Of The Innocent
11. Pain And Suffering In Various Tempos
12. Final Redemption: Battle The Dark Forces

As you'll see, titles more suited to a Norwegian death metal band. I imagine that if you were a reviewer who liked that kind of music, hearing Precious instead of The Night Of The Damaged  or Macro instead of Darkness At Zethanon may have tipped you over the edge.

I'd love to know who chose the song titles...

Monday 14 September 2015


Full details have been released of Martin Gore's new e.p. MG E.P.

It will be released on 9 October on double 12" and features five tracks including two new ones. The tracklisting is:

A: Europa Hymn (Andy Scott Remix)
B1: Brink (Virgil Enzinger Vinyl Edit)
B2: Pinking (Christoffer Berg Remix)
C: De Nada
D: Gifting

The e.p. can be pre-ordered from Mute here

Now, you might remember from a previous piece on here (click) that Martin was running a competition for fans to submit a remix of Featherlight for inclusion on this release. As the keen eyed among you will see, there's no such remix on the double vinyl set. The winning remix by Mantra Of Machines might end up available digitally but there's no word on that yet. Have a listen to it below. On his Facebook page, Martin said that the task of choosing the winner had left him "on the verge of madness" - hopefully that means he had fun. 


Hot on the heels of Dave & Soulsavers' tour, Andy Fletcher is hitting the road with a series of DJ slots around Europe. Andy promises "a new and dynamic set" which he'll hopefully bring to the UK at some point.

Picture courtesy of

Fletch's DJ dates are celebratory affairs - little surprise given that Andy the most affable, fan facing member of Depeche Mode. Many people overlook Andy's role in the band and it deserves recognition that without him in the background, especially during the band's darker years, we probably wouldn't have the band as a going concern today. Let's face it, Andy has the job all us DM fans want - the band's biggest fan playing in the best band there is. No-one should have anything other than respect for Fletch.

Anyway, the DJ dates are:

October 3 - Stereo Plaza, Kiev
October 22 - Viennale International Film Festival, Viennna
October 23 - Ringlokschuppen, Bielefeld
October 31 - Warehouse Club, Rome
November 7 - KB3 Club, Copenhagen
November 27 - Taubchenthal, Leipzig

All ticket details here

Friday 11 September 2015


Hot on the heels of May's Colours E.P, Glasgow's Jon Cooper a.k.a Turtle has just released his debut album It's A Good Thing through Bandcamp. To these ears, it's a huge leap on from Turtle's previous releases, stripping the music back and going for a more minimal, lo-fi feel in places, which helps the raw emotions of certain songs shine through. Cooper's vocals are prominent which makes tracks like the superb Adverse Effect and Just A Test stand out, giving the songs a Thom Yorke like feel which is a delight. The latter track's instrumental last minute and a half is pure electronic heaven too.

Fans of Turtle will recognise all the elements that brought Turtle to so many people's attention from the off with clever electronics merging with genuine songwriting talent throughout. For a debut album though, there's an impressive degree of confidence here and justifiably so. Slower instrumentals like Point Of Change,  an Eno like piano led piece, merge happily with dancier tracks like Solar or Bruce Lee, and the album flows nicely from beginning to end. 14 tracks is maybe a track or two too many but that's a minor quibble - when there are hazy, gorgeous songs like Body and Daytime Television to lose yourself in, you can easily forgive that. All said and done, It's A Good Thing is an album that is bound to appeal to electronica fans of all types as there is an awful lot here to love. It's an album I'd highly recommend.

It's A Good Thing by Turtle is available now on Turtle's Bandcamp page at


If you like pop music, you should like Erasure. Vince Clarke and Andy Bell have been responsible for some of the greatest British pop music ever released with tracks like A Little Respect, Love To Hate You and Blue Savannah known to anyone who has listened to music since the late 1980's . This year the band are celebrating their 30th anniversary which, for someone who grew up loving them at high school, makes me feel very old indeed.

Anniversary celebrations are becoming more and more prevalent and whilst some seem a tad unnecessary, Erasure's celebration is more than warranted. To kick it off, the band are releasing Sometimes (2015)  on 23 October. It's a brand new remix by David Wrench and, as you can hear below, it's a superb take on Erasure's breakthrough single. Instead of mucking around with the song, Wrench has made a few subtle tweaks and beefed it up where it needs beefed up. Impressive stuff indeed.

The single is followed by a new best of collection, Always - The Very Best Of Erasure on 30 October. You might wonder whether another best of is needed as we've thus far had Pop! The First 20 Hits (which along with Pet Shop Boys' Discography is the definitive British pop singles album), Hits! The Very Best Of Erasure, Total Pop! The First 40 Hits, Pop 2! The Second 20 Hits and Essential. The alcum will be released on CD, download and deluxe 3cd/download and it's the latter that really grabs your attention. Yes, the single cd version contains what is basically the manual on how to write classic pop, but I'd be surprised if any Erasure fans didn't have all its songs in many different formats already. The two additional cd will be what the band's fans really want to get their hands on as they contain a number of classic and originally released only on limited edition 12" and cd single remixes, together with four brand new mixes. The tracklisting for the album is:

CD1: Who Needs Love Like That/Oh L'Amour/Sometimes/Victim Of Love/The Circus/Ship Of Fools/Chains Of Love/A Little Respect/Stop!/Drama!/Blue Savannah/Chorus/Love To Hate You/Take A Chance On Me/Always/Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day)/Breathe/Be With You/Elevation/Sometimes (2015)

CD2: Who Needs Love Like That (Mexican Mix)/Oh L'Amour (PWL Funky Sisters Say "Ooh La La")/The Circus (Eternal Eraser Mix)/A Little Respect (Big Train Remix)/Stop! (Vince Clarke Sync 82 Remix)/Blue Savannah (Der Deutsche Mix II)/ Chorus (Vegan Mix)/Love To Hate You (LFO Modulated Filter Mix)/ Always (Microbots Inside Your Brain remix)/ Fingers & Thumbs (Cold Summer's Day) (Tin Tin Out Remix)/ Breathe (GRN Remix)/ Elevation (BT Remix)

CD3: Victim Of Love (Vixen Vitesse Remix)/ Chains Of Love (Vince Clarke Remix)/ Drama! (Krucial Remix)/ You Surround Me (Mark Saunders Remix)/ Star (Interstella Mix)/ Am I Right (The Grid Remix)/ Run To The Sun (Beatmasters' Galactic Remix)/ In My Arms (BBE Remix)/ Freedom (Mark Pichiotti Strumapella Remix)/ Be With You (Starshapes Remix)/ Sometimes (Erasure & Flood Mix)

There are so many classic Erasure remixes on there that you really should check out if you haven't already heard them. The likes of Drama! (Krucial Remix), Chorus (Vegan Mix) and A Little Respect (Big Train Remix) hark back to a time when remixes were proper remixes rather than just generic club nonsense. I'd highly recommend the 3CD verison of this release.

The band aren't stopping there either. 2016 will see a deluxe super box set reissue of the band's 1985 debut album Wonderland which will come stuffed to the gills with all manner of good things. A 180g vinyl reissue campaign of the band's first three albums, Wonderland, The Circus and The Innocents will kick off in February 2016 too. Here's hoping the reissues continue with a reissue of Chorus, which for me is the band's best work and one of the definitive electronic pop albums.

Until then however, dig into the new Best Of and start celebrating Erasure. They are one of the most important British pop acts of all time and equally one of the most important electronic acts of all time. It's time to fall in love with them again.

Sometimes (2015) is released on 23 October 2015 and Always - The Very Best Of Erasure on 30 October 2015 both on the home of great music Mute Records.

Thursday 10 September 2015


The Soulsvaers and Dave Gahan project The Light The Dead See was a real unexpected treat in the gap between Depeche Mode's Sounds Of The Universe and Delta Machine. Unlike Dave's previous solo work, which I didn't really find to my tastes, The Light The Dead See was a lovely album, filled with gloomy, dark yet uplifting songs that suited Dave's voice perfectly. Today, the now named Dave Gahan and Soulsavers (unlike just Soulsavers last time) have announced their new album Angels & Ghosts which comes out on cd, vinyl and download on 23 October.

The album features nine new tracks:

1. Shine
2. You Owe Me
3. Tempted
4. All Of This And Nothing
5. One Thing
6. Don't Cry
7. Lately
8. The Last Time
9. My Sun

Presumably track 1 isn't a cover of the Depeche track ;). A video for All Of This And Nothing has been released today and you can watch and listen below. I've taken to the track straightaway I must say. Dave is sounding superb which is a great thing in itself.

As well as all this news, Dave Gahan and Soulsavers will be playing a small tour with 6 dates which are:

19 October - The Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles
22 October - Town Hall, New York
26 October - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
30 October - Tempodrom, Berlin
2 November - La Cigale, Paris
4 November - Fabrique, Milan

Tickets go on sale on 18 September. The gigs are certainly hugely tempting as the chance to see Dave perform in such small venues (compared to his usual stages at least) is something I really don't want to miss. Hearing both of the Dave and Soulsavers albums live will be pretty cool too.

Finally, Dave is being interviewed on BBC Radio 6 tomorrow, Friday 11 September. I don't know times or what show he'll be on yet but will put that up on Twitter (@davidjmcelroy and @almostprdalmost) when I know.

All in all, this sounds like a really interesting project. And just think - once that's done it'll soon be Depeche Mode time again.....

Sunday 6 September 2015


Mt. Doubt are a band I've quickly grown to love having been converted to them following the release of their debut album My Past Is A Quiet Beast (review here). The band's powerful live performance at August's Scottish Fiction Presents gig only added to my enthusiasm for the band and, like I said in the review of that gig (here), Mt. Doubt are surely on the verge of something very special indeed.

Today, the band have released a new video for the track Asunder, a Radiohead meets The National tower of brooding melody that will grab you straight away and keep you coming back again and again. Have a look below

Head to Mt. Doubt's Soundcloud page to download Asunder and the rest of Mt. Doubt's catalogue - you won't regret it



Our Future Glory have already played the T Break stage at this year's T In The Park, so once again this post is more of a new to me thing than anything else. I first saw them last Friday (4 September) supporting The Insomniac Project at Nice N Sleazy and their set was quite remarkable. The band are a three piece from Dundee and their take on alternative pop covers all bases from indiepop  to huge dancefloor dominating tracks. Perhaps the best starting point is their recent single Battleheart:

Soundwise, think Bloc Party had they not gone off the boil and instead continued their experiements with dance music. It's powerful stuff an the whole set they played on Friday was filled with equally superb tunes. Head to their soundcloud page to hear the rest (link below) and then try and catch them live - it's something well worth expeirencing. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.

Our Future Glory


As you'll know from a recent post here, The Insomniac Project recently released their debut single, the superb In And Out (Of  My Head) and on Friday they played a lunch gig at Nice 'N' Sleazy, a gig that was quite superb. It was my first experience of the band live and it won't be my last - they have to be among one of the most exciting live bands in Glasgow at the moment.

The Insomniac Project live 4/9/15 - Photo courtesy of TV Eye Photography

The support act Our Future Glory kicked off the evening brilliantly with a set filled with superb indie electro tracks which impressed everyone around me and me too of course. More to come of them on here very soon. By the time The Insomniac Project came on stage, the room was full and the whole crowd was instantly into their dancefloor filling set. From the off they were on superb form with the LCD Soundsystem goes pop genius of Vacillation setting the tone for the gig. Songs that we familiar from their demo releases like Parallells and Breakaway were particular highlights, sounding more muscular and frankly, even funkier that their recorded versions. The band display a rare degree of confidence for a group at the stage they find themselves at and rightly so - the whole thing was hugely impressive and utterly, irrepressibly joyful. By the time the gig ended on In And Out (Of My Head  the whole room was grooving around in many and varied ways and there was no-one there who wouldn't have been delighted if The Insomniac Project played the whole gig again.

Ultimately, the most impressive thing about this gig was the sense you had that you were watching something very special indeed. The Insomniac Project may be in their early stages, but they have already worked out how to transfer the energy of their recorded tracks to the live stage and, surely, they are bound to attract larger and larger audiences and sooner rather than later. They are a band that you have to see live and I'd recommend you do that the next chance you get

Thursday 3 September 2015


You might remember Shards' superb debut track Just To Get Something Started which I featured earlier this year and which also popped up on Volume 3 of Almost Scottish Fiction.  Well, the good news is that today they've released their second track, Afterwards, which you can download at no cost whatsoever below.

A more upbeat take on their trademark melancholitronica, Afterwards is a combination of darkly romantic lyrics and swirling electronica that is as instantly loveable as Just To Get Something Started and just as mesmerising. There's something very impressive about Shards and I can't wait until their next release.

Shards Facebook

Wednesday 2 September 2015


So this is a very new band. As far as I can tell, Glasgow's Smash Williams haven't been going that long at all and, thus far, they only have one song up on Soundcloud. Fortunately, that song, A Splash Of Colour is an upbeat marvel: a riot of synths, guitars and melodies so lovely that you want to listen to it again, again and again. 

I was alerted to it by CHURCHES own Twitter feed and, let's face it, they know their way round glorious music. Have a listen below and keep an eye on Smash Williams. When I have more information and more tracks, I'll pass them on.

Smash Williams Twitter

Tuesday 1 September 2015


Today, views of the blog have passed 100,000. For something that started as a way for me to inflict my views on Depeche Mode's back catalogue on people other than my friends and my long suffering wife, the blog has grown into something I'm hugely proud of and something that I love. 100,000 views may not be a big thing for most blogs, but for me it's huge

I couldn't done any of this without any of you readers, so thank you very much. Thanks also to fellow blogs like Scottish Fiction, XS Noize, Podcart, Goldflake Paint and many more for inspiration and for sharing my stuff. I should say thank you to Depeche Mode themselves as they basically started this - give me a bell Martin. As well as them though, thanks to all the artists who have sent me music, granted me interviews and produced such great tunes - without you all this would only be the rantings of a seemingly deranged DM fan.

Finally, thanks to Pam x

We may as well end this on an appropriate note - have some ridiculously good music

NEW BANDS 2015 NO. 15 - HQFU

OK, strictly speaking this is a solo performer rather than a band per se, but it means I get to keep these new acts in a sequential order which will be important come the end of the year.

Anyway, the newest act to come across my radar is HQFU, the musical project of Glasgow based Sarah J Stanley. She produces quite marvellous eletronica that displays influences as diverse as straightforward synthpop, experimental electronica and even 90's dance music, an influence of Sarah's from tapes she used to nab from her brother. Here's the superb Dust & Dirt as a taster:

There are currently 4 tracks to have a listen to on the HQFU Soundcloud page (click). I'd particularly recommend Dust & Dirt and the excellent Sunburst which you can hear below.

HQFU's debut e.p. form which Dust & Dirt is taken will be released on 6 November. Catch HQFU live in Glasgow this Friday too at The Hug & Pint and keep an eye out for more dates via the links below. I'll have a review of the e.p. up here as soon as possible - I can't wait for this particular release.

HQFU official
HQFU Facebook