Thursday 29 October 2015


Regular readers will know that Edinburgh's Mt. Doubt is something of a favourite of this blog's. My Past Is A Quiet Beast is one of this year's outstanding debut albums and Mt Doubt's live performances add new layers to the intricacies of the recorded versions of the tracks, giving them a Springsteen/Eddie Vedder/The National hybrid feel that doesn't fail to impress.

Showing that they're not resting on any laurels, the band have released a new single Soak which is free to download from the Soundcloud link below. Soak starts off sounding more confident that Mt Doubt have ever sounded, combining a chopping guitar riff with Leo Bargery's standout vocals before opening up and welcoming you into a delightful chorus which adds a superb harmony and vocal from Annie Booth. Like all Mt Doubt's music there are many layers to explore here and it's yet more proof that Mt Doubt are onto something special.

Soak by Mt Doubt is out now and is available as a free download.

Mt Doubt Facebook


Etiquette are yet another band to feature on here who are part of the Hand Drawn Dracula roster. You know the rules by now - if it's on that label then it's going to be good. Like two of my favourite local labels Hot Gem and Night School, Hand Drawn Dracula turns out one superb release after another and Reminisce, the debut album by Etiquette is another such record.

Etiquette are Graham Walsh and Julie Fader, both of who have been around on Canada's incredibly diverse and rich indie scene. Reminisce is primarily synth dominated with many of the songs having a feel of a combination of cold wave, mid 80's Cure and melodies that bring to mind Depeche Mode somewhere between Some Great Reward and Black Celebration. That kind of combination only means one thing - Reminisce is exactly the sort of thing that I, and regular readers of this blog, love.

A couple of tracks aside, more of which shortly, Reminisce moves at a dreamlike pace, working as a whole rather than as a collection of songs which is impressive. The opening bleeps and synth washes of Pleasantries almost immediately surround you in virtual dry ice and they lead to Brown & Blue which increases the pace, bringing to mind the more pop oriented synth led sounds of the mid 80's albeit with a distinctly modern feel. As the album progresses via Attention Seeker, Outside In and Sleep To Wake Up, you become immersed in Etiquette's very clever electronic pop, with Julie's vocals being a standout. Their crisp clarity is a perfect counterpoint to the music.

Suddenly though, Twinkling Stars arrives. It's a riot of Vince Clarke like synths taking on Ladytron at their peak with Kraftwerk refereeing and it's an absolute gem as you can hear below. It's not the most representative track when you consider the album as a whole but it really works in the context of the record.

The last three tracks, Promises, On And On and Island round off the album perfectly, with On And On being one of the other notable tracks here. Reminisce really is a wonderfully autumnal, electronic album that manages to give atmospheric tracks enough edge to keep your attention throughout and it's one that I'd recommend you check out.

Reminisce by Etiquette is available now on Hand Drawn Dracula.

Etiquette Facebook
Hand Drawn Dracula

Tuesday 27 October 2015


Today we once again look beyond Scotland, venturing to wonderful Toronto where we find synthpop duo High Jinx. Comprising Ranny Lee on vocals and Mark Moby Holman on musical duties, the band produce a bang up to date take on classic synthpop with songs that you simply can't get out of your head once you've heard them. Their new single Close To The Sun is a prime example as you can hear below. Clean, hook laden electronics mix with superb vocal melodies, producing a near perfect example of modern synthpop - it's quite wonderful

It's not all about Close To The Sun  however as High Jinx have already produced a back catalogue of hugely impressive electronic pop. Check out the Cut And Run ep for example - it's a real gem and displays the many facets to High Jinx work perfectly.

One of the many joys of writing this blog is discovering new music and 2015 has already been quite a year for that. High Jinx are yet another band to add to the list of new discoveries for this year and, believe me, you're going to like them.

Close To The Sun is available on High Jinx Soundcloud page and Cut And Run is available now through ITunes.

High Jinx Official

Monday 26 October 2015


Edinburgh's Eyes Of Others recently featured on Volume 6 of the Almost Scottish Fiction e.p. with the brilliant Binary World and that was my own introduction to the band. The solo project of John Bryden, Eyes Of Others produce a brand of electropop that immediately brings to minds the likes of New Order and Depeche Mode in their electronics meet dance music phases, Hot Chip, Kraftwerk and more. It will works quite marvellously. 

The band's key track thus far is the sublime Never Complain which sounds like a modern day take on The Man Machine in one 6 minute track and it's a song I've been playing over and over again for days. It's one of the best new electronic tracks I've heard in ages - have a listen:

Now you've heard Never Complain you'll be hooked so go and have a listen to the superb Dysfunctional which you'll find on Eyes Of Others Bandcamp page. I've no doubt that, like me, you'll quickly become an Eyes Of Others fan.

The good news is that you don't have long to wait for new material as the Nightwalking e.p. is due for release on 6 November. A full review will follow but having already heard it, I'm pleased to say that it's excellent. Keep a look out for Eyes Of Others - with music this good you're going to be hearing an awful lot more about them

Eyes Of Others Bandcamp
Eyes Of Others Facebook

Saturday 24 October 2015


Once the Delta Machine stopped moving around the world's stadiums and arenas, Depeche Mode commenced their usual post tour hibernation, prompting speculation about what solo efforts we'd see before the next Mode project (as the band seem to call them these days) popped up. Martin's ventures into tech continued with the superb MG,  Fletch looked out his records for some DJ gigs and, after a few teasers on Instagram, it was announced that Dave would once again be collaborating with Soulsavers. The result is the new Dave Gahan & Soulsavers album Angels & Ghosts and, whilst it doesn't make a great leap forward at all from the last Soulsavers album (note - Dave's name was absent then), it's a decent record with its star Dave's increasingly good voice.

All the lyrics here are Dave's and what's interesting is that they follow themes familiar to DM fans: hope, redemption, sin and faith. Gone are the clunky lyrics of his early solo works and instead there's a focus, sometimes a tad too simplistic, that makes the songs work. Set against the dark gospel feel of Soulsavers' music, songs like Shine and lead single All Of This And Nothing stand out impressively, with a real feel of Mode like gloom merged with soaring, powerful music, all topped off with Dave's warm, striking vocals. The final track My Sun is a beauty too, mastering the trick of ending an album on a perfect closing track that seems to sum up the album perfectly. It's also one of the sparser tracks on the album and that's important as sometimes the full on production here can start to feel a bit repetitive. Lately is another example of a track which benefits from a less is more approach. 

It's pleasing to note that this release has gathered a lot of attention and, ultimately, it deserves that. Dave's a natural showman and it's great to see his appetite is still there after all these years. He's not one for retiring into the synth bunker like Mr Gore - Dave will put himself out there again and again and, the fact he and Soulsavers are about to embark on a mini tour shows that he has complete confidence in this record. Overall, you'd naturally imagine that the vast majority of people who buy it will be Depeche fans, hungry for any Mode product between albums, but there's no reason why this won't cause non DM ears to prick up too. Welcome back Dave.

Angels And Ghosts is out now on Columbia and is available on cd and download. A vinyl version will follow in December. 

Thursday 22 October 2015


It's been nothing short of a spectacular few months for Glasgow based Sarah J Stanley a.k.a. HQFU. Her debut release, Dust & Dirt, rightly got a lot of attention both on here, many other blogs and on radio and that led to a support slot with Chvrches at their album release show in London in September this year. At this rate, HQFU will be headlining T In The Park next year. 

All the attention on HQFU is entirely justified and new single Ca$hle$$ Lip$ only serves to confirm that HQFU is a very special talent indeed. Built around an insistent 90's rave like feel (think Orbital's first couple of albums), the track brings that influence bang up to date, adding layers of glimmering electropop that positively radiate with confidence to produce a single that many bands several singles and albums down the line would kill for. You simply have to hear it.

As I've mentioned several thousand times already, Glasgow is, as far as I am concerned, producing the best and most diverse electronic music that you'll find anywhere at the moment. HQFU is yet another superb example of that and Ca$hle$$ Lip$ is as good a track as you'll hear from that scene or any other. 

Ca$hle$$ Lip$ is available now from HQFU's Bandcamp page and ITunes

Wednesday 21 October 2015


Rodney Cromwell's Age Of Anxiety album is one of the finest electronic records of the year (see here) and, without spoiling any surprises, is pretty much a shoo in for a highly placed finish in this blog's Top 20 albums of the year come December. It's clear from the album that Rodney knows how an electronic record should be put together and the release of the Black Dog e.p. (released on Happy Robots Records) shows that he is well aware of one of the other rules of electronic music - a remix e.p. is always a good thing. This particular e.p. is a wonderful thing

The title track of the e.p. is the last track on the album itself. It's here in two forms, Version and Extended Version. Both remixes are by Rodney Cromwell himself and are really cool takes on the track. Version highlights the original's Peter Hook like bass and New Order circa Low Life and Brotherhood sequencers, adding a dancier texture to it and presenting an alternative but superb version of the song. As you'd expect, and as you'd hope for,  Extended Version is exactly what it says it is and, given that it is generally accepted by people who get this sort of thing that extended versions of songs are what 12" singles were designed for, that is a very, very good thing indeed. 

Sandwiched between those two mixes are two remixes of standout album tracks. You Will Struggle (Rod's Glitchy Disco Mix) adds an army of sequencers and drum machines and takes the track on a disco adventure very successfully. It brings to mind classic 12" remixes from the days when that type of thing was constructed with care rather than phoned in by a listless D. J. The highlight of the e.p. is Barry Was An Arms Dealer (AUW's North-Poindexter Remix). Arguably, Barry.. is the best track on Age Of Anxiety and this take on it removes the innocent Speak & Spell era Depeche Mode feel and replaces it with an initially part ambient, part Kraftwerk feel before turning it into the sort of moody electronics mid 80's era Depeche aimed for. It's tremendous. 

If you already have Age Of Anxiety (and why wouldn't you?) then this will be right up your street. If you don't have either release, then all you have to do is go and get both. You'll kick yourself if you don't.

To get the e.p. head to Rodney Cromwell's Bandcamp page . If you're quick you'll be able to get your hands on one of the 10 limited edition promo cd's which I can of course highly recommend.

Monday 12 October 2015

BELIEFS - 1992

It can't all be Scottish music or Depeche Mode reviews around here. You might remember that I featured a band called Rolemodel earlier this year - their Claire e.p. is one of the finest things I've heard this year and one you really must check out (

Anyway, Rolemodel's e.p. was released on the Hand Drawn Dracula label which is based in Toronto and for the lat few months I've been checking out a lot of their stuff with all of it being really rather cool. I'm particularly in love with 1992 by Beliefs which I thought I'd share here. It's the first release from their forthcoming album Leaper and if 1992 is anything to go by, it's going to be an album you definitely want to hear. Imagine Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and The Pixies having a fight - the result is 1992.

Leaper can be pre-ordered from the Hand Drawn Dracula Bandcamp page here ( I've already grabbed one of the 300 limited edition vinyls so be quick. While you're at it, check out Hand Drawn Dracula's whole catalogue as there is a lot there to love. The XIV compilation isn't a bad place to begin exploring - that's available directly from their site.

Hand Drawn Drcaula -

Sunday 11 October 2015


Oxford's Death Of Hi Fi have returned with a new single Swim Away, their first to feature new member and vocalist Lucy Cropper. The single sees the band show a softer, more melodic side to their sound with a mix of reverb laden guitars, their trademark beats and electronics and Lucy's vocals producing one of their best tracks yet. As the lyrics suggest, the song has a floaty, almost dreamlike feel - indeed it verges on a dreampop feel in places which is a new direction for the band. 

The single comes with a remix of Swim Away called The Truck Mix which is a really cool take on the track which tweaks rather than overhauls it to impressive effect. One of the band's earlier tracks Lazarus also features on the release. 

Swim Away is available now. To get your hands on it, head to the band's Bandcamp page ( or ITtunes and all other digital retailers. 

Saturday 10 October 2015


Rose McDowall, formerly of 80's popsters Strawberry Switchblade, has just released her album Cut With The Cake Knife on Glasgow's Night School Records. The album features a collection of songs written in the late 1980's which were due to form the basis of the second Strawberry Switchblade album, but the split before they got round to recording it. Now given an official release, these tracks display the full range of McDowall's talents and Cut With The Cake Knife is a real gem of an album.

The album is full of songs that, on first listen, seem like hook laden pop songs but with each subsequent listen, more and more layers are revealed, exposing a darkness behind the pop shine. Whilst the sound leans more towards McDowall's work with Strawberry Switchblade rather than her later industrial collaborations, there is an edge to the album that makes it all the more enjoyable. The likes of opener Tibet (listen below), Sunboy and the title track are all superb examples of indiepop of the kind popular in the period the songs were originally recorded and that can never be a bad thing. The highlight for me is the superb Crystal Days which is as good a pop song as you'll hear in a long time.

Ultimately, it's hard not to love this album with its late summer pop vibes brightening up the early Autumn nights. Deceptively dark, but incredibly catchy, Cut With The Cake Knife is a hugely enjoyable album and is highly recommended.

Cut With The Cake Knife by Rose McDowall is available now on Night School Records

Wednesday 7 October 2015


After a month off, we're delighted to announce the return of Almost Scottish Fiction. It's hard to believe that we're at Volume 6 already and the response we've had so far has been amazing, so thank you all very much for downloading and listening.

As ever, we've got six tracks for your listening pleasure, although this month there's a slight twist. For the first time, we're featuring three tracks from one Scottish label to show off its catalogue and that label is Glasgow's Night School Records which regular readers will recognise as a favourite of mine. Those tracks, together with the three other superb tracks you'll find here make up what is a very exciting e.p. and one we and our fellow e.p. curators Scottish Fiction know you'll love. The e.p. can be downloaded entirely free of charge below.

Thanks for listening and thanks to Michael at Night School too.

Good Man is the first of three tracks we're featuring this month from Glasgow's Night School Records. Apostille is the alter ego of label boss Michael Kasparis and Good Man is a prime example of the electronics inspired by the likes of Fad Gadget that make his Powerless album one of this year's outstanding releases.

Eyes Of Others is the new project of John Brydon, previously of Edinburgh band The Machine Room. Binary World revels in staccato synths with a bittersweet feel.

Sally Dige is the second of our Night School Records artists. Her superb brand of moody, atmospheric synthpop really caught the ear this year. Hard To Please is the title track of her Night School released album and it's one for fans of electronic pop of all genres.

Returning with a brand new album So Solar, Inspector Tapehead have kindly allowed us to feature this track form the album on the latest Almost Scottish Fiction EP. The Cold Slipstream showcases all facets of Inspector Tapehead - a group comprising of Chris Croasdale, Johnnie Common and Ray Mohan Shearer - with cheerful guitars and eccentric, looped feedback

Our final Night School Records artist is Molly Nilsson whose first album for the label, Zenith, is released in November. 1995 is a slice of dark pop music reminiscent of, say, John Maus to whet your appetite for what is bound to be a superb album

Something a bit different and much more avant-garde from the Scottish producer Turtle. Having previously wowed fans with his lush electronica soundscapes, March Of The Capitalists is a Python-esque soundtrack with a gleeful spin on a hopeless subject

Thanks once again to all the artists for taking part. Thanks also to Stuart Cowan (@kpdcowan) for the cover art