Monday 23 November 2015


I just subscribed to Flying Vinyl, a project that delivers 5 7 inch singles to your door every month (link below) and my first delivery today contained a number of gems including a single by Belfast five piece Pleasure Beach. 

The single features two tracks Go and Dreamer To The Dawn, both of which combine electronics, dreampop, an Arcade Fire feel and a huge sound and both tracks are fantastic. Dreamer To The Dawn especially sets the pulse racing with its marvellously and shamelessly massive chorus and Go is how Bruce Springsteen might have sounded if he'd come from Belfast and used synthesizers. As introductions go, this single is a cracker.

The band have just released a new e.p. featuring a remix of Go (video below), Dreamer To The Dawn (the title track) and Hayley and are supporting The Vaccines in December on their Belfast gig. Pleasure Beach are certainly a band to keep an eye on.

Pleasure Beach Soundcloud


One of this year's most interesting new Scottish electronic bands Shards have returned with their third track Sad Sayonara, Goodbye (Errant Media) which is available as a free download from their Soundcloud page.

Shards continue their foray into the sound they have dubbed melancholitronica with Sad Sayonara, Goodbye and, to be honest, that's as good a name for this type of sound as any, Experimental, but with a pop twist, the song is a haunting track that builds and builds to a wonderful climax. As with Shards' previous two releases, Just To Get Something Started and Afterwards, Sad Sayonara, Goodbye has the ability to hook you in and keep you returning, time after time. As I said above, it's a free download too, so you really have to check it out.

Shards Sad Sayonara, Goodbye is releases on Errant Media and is available now as a free download

Errant Media Twitter

Friday 20 November 2015


Music Complete is already rightly regarded by many as one of the great New Order albums, a spiritual successor to 1989's mighty career highpoint Technique. One of the most thrilling aspects of all this is the new vitality New Order have and that vitality was abundant at last night's show at the O2 Academy in Glasgow. I've seen New Order a few times, I've seen many, many gigs and this gig is the best I've ever seen New Order play and is undoubtedly one of the best concerts I've seen. This is more than a late career renaissance - this is New Order in their absolute prime.

Opener Singularity set the tone perfectly. What is already a driving track, mixing guitars with electronics like only they can, was transformed into a pummelling opener that got the packed venue going straightaway. It was some start and then they played Ceremony which is just about as good as anything at all gets. That song never loses its edge and is one of the most thrilling things you'll hear live. Mind you, the two couples who spent most of the gig talking until Blue Monday came on might disagree. Why do people do that? £40 for a ticket and all you do is chat to someone who can't hear you. Baffling and rather annoying. Anyway, I digress.

The show was in its stride straightaway and Crystal carried that on effortlessly. The film and lightshow are worth noting at this point. Most tracks had their own films and they all complimented the songs perfectly. The lightshow too was amongst the best I've seen. The band were regularly silhouetted leaving the music and its accompaniments as the focal point and it worked perfectly. A frankly spectacular version of one of my all time favourites 586 followed Crystal leading into Restless and Lonesome Tonight, the old and new merging perfectly. The way the Music Complete tracks seamlessly gel with the older classics says so much for this album.  Just when you thought this gig couldn't get any better, they then played Your Silent Face. I could have cried and might have done if I hadn't been so sweaty (it was like an oven in the venue). Your Silent Face is simply one of the most beautiful songs of all time.

New and old then mixed again with People On The Highline and Tutti Frutti both louder than war, dance epics that got the whole room moving as one. Even people at the bar were dancing. Following them with a belting Bizarre Love Triangle nearly took the roof off the place. No matter how much I try, I just can't get into Waiting For The Sirens' Call even when it is played in remixed form to fit the set so that was a slight lull, but the end of the main set more than compensated for that - Plastic, The Perfect Kiss, True Faith and Temptation. I'm repeating myself slightly, but it is worth pointing out that, amongst three of the greatest songs ever written, Plastic didn't sound out of place at all. Any chance to hear The Perfect Kiss should be taken and this current versions is as good as any they've done. True Faith always immediately takes me back to listening to it in my bedroom when I was 15 and it never fails to send armies of shivers down my spine. Following that with an epic, stunning versions of Temptation was almost cruel as it could easily have reduced many in the room to gibbering wrecks of joy. Thankfully, we all held it together and the room almost exploded with energy in what I saw people saying on Twitter post gig was one of the best live versions of Temptation ever. It's hard to disagree. Mesmerising.

The encore initially saw emotions of a different kind. Atmosphere was simply spellbinding. Footage from Anton Corbin's video interspersed with pictures of Ian Curtis and Joy Division played on the screens and the song was its usual stunning self. It has that rare ability to make you feel that you are the only person in the room, despite the heaving, sweaty masses around you. A truly intimate, magical moment. Love Will Tear Us Apart, again using footage of Joy Division and Curtis, followed and it took on a celebratory feel, somewhat at odds with the song I guess. A celebration of Ian Curtis, Joy Division and music generally. Our music, our bands. The talkative couples were then rewarded with a closing Blue Monday which still thrills despite its familiarity. A great end to what was a simply sensational show.

10 out of 10, 5 stars, perfection. 

Wednesday 18 November 2015


One of our New Bands of 2015, Kloe, ( has released a new track today called Touch. 

Building on her two previous tracks Grip and Feel, Touch is a synth driven pop masterclass that has a real depth to it a huge sound and a superb chorus. It's only going to add to the Glaswegian's reputation and a song like Touch displays a real knack for electronic pop, which is always going to be a good thing. Check it out below:

Tuesday 17 November 2015


Teen are a four piece from New York who are about to release their third album Love Yes. All About Us is the lead single from that and it's a cracker. A combination of breathless, excitable vocals, a superb harmony part, a pop melody that will lodge itself in your brain and, most pleasingly, a riot of synths that are as bleepy and beepy as you'd like.

Balancing perfectly with the song's catchy, poppy vibe is its theme which deals with everyday misogyny and, as singer Teeny Lieberson says, it "(E)xplores a situation that I have dealt with many times; if sexism is not in your face and one isn't saying it outright, then it couldn't possibly be happening." 

Have a listen below and I'm sure you'll quickly agree that this is a superb track. The album Love Yes will follow on 19 February 2016.

Thursday 12 November 2015


Molly Nilsson is a Swedish born Berlin based artist whose sixth album Zenith has just been released on Night School Records, proving once again that the Glasgow based label can do little wrong. Zenith is a study in atmospheric pop music, offsetting dark emotional lyrics against sometimes surprisingly poppy arrangements, producing a quite intriguing and enjoyable album.

One aspect of the record that stands out immediately is its atmopshere. Cloudy, lo-fi synths dominate most tracks, lending them an dark, moody feel that fits snugly with Nilsson's lyrics. Occasionally, this feeling can seem repetitive, and perhaps the album is a track or two too long, but generally, the foggy atmosphere of the tracks really works. The first few tracks are as good an example of lo fi electropop that you'll hear. The Only Planet and the superb 1995 (below) are wonderful swirling electronic openers with the latter having a tasty distinct 80's pop sheen complete with a subtle saxophone break. It also uses Windows 95 as a nostalgic reference point which is quite wonderful. The album then picks up the pace through H.O.P.E, Mountain Time and Bunny Club, all of which are songs you must hear. Mountain Club somehow brings to mind a vibe of saying goodbye to a loved one boarding a steam train at a Cold War era Ostbanhof in Berlin, despite the fact I've never actually experienced that. 

The highlight of the album is the outstanding Happyness which is a grand, sweeping string laden affair that brings to mind the Pet Shop Boys at the peak of their doomed romanticism era around Behaviour. It's a stunning track and it demands repeated plays. The equally impressive and brilliantly titled Lovers Are Losers follows before the album takes a slight dip in quality with Clearblue and My Body as they both stick a bit too close to the atmosphere of the opening tracks without having any element that makes that stand out. Titanic, Bus 194 (All There Is) and Tomorrow get us back on track however, ending the album almost as strongly as it began.

Molly Nilsson - Zenith limited edition white vinyl (my own copy)

All told, Zenith is an excellent album, full of clever songwriting and production that reveals more and more with each listen. Rather than just being a set of good pop songs, it's a collection of multi-layered songs that draw you further and further into Molly Nilsson's world with each listen and, ultimately, that's no bad place to be.

Zenith by Molly Nilsson is available now on Night School Records on vinyl and cd

Molly Nilsson Facebook

Friday 6 November 2015


I've already highlighted Eyes Of Others as one to watch both on here and on one of my other homes, Scottish Fiction. Proving that Edinburgh is as fertile a ground for electronic music as Glasgow is, Eyes Of Others produce striking synthpop mixed with a dancier feel and it just works. Their new e.p. Nightwalking is released today (6 November) and from beginning to end, it's a joy.

Opener When It Suits moves from 80's influenced synths to the type of soaring, slightly melancholic pop the Pet Shop Boys once specialised in and it sets the e.p. off on the right tack immediately. Rugged Bunch Of Hunks, which is the most Pet Shop Boys title the Pet Shop Boys have never used, is another superb track. Again, there's an 80's feel to the synth sounds but there are also distinct New Order like vibes, almost sounding like a lost Power, Corruption & Lies track in places which is ace. It's followed by the laid back synthpop meets dreampop Vibrates Inside You which is in one moment all floaty atmosphere and then in the next a powerful, guitar led wall of melody that is quite magnificent. We then end on Middles Meet which has a definite feel of early Depeche Mode to it both musically and lyrically, and, from this blog, that is nothing more than a high recommendation.

Nightwalking is an impressive addition to what is already an impressive back catalogue and it highlights the talent Eyes Of Others have for atmospheric, thoughtful synthpop. Definitely one you want to hear

Nightwalking e.p. by Eyes Of Others is out now on Club Fandango/INgrooves and is available from all the usual digital retailers including ITunes

Eyes Of Others Facebook
Eyes Of Others Soundcloud


Glasgow duo Tuff Love really are quickly becoming a favourite of mine. I still regularly play their previous two e.p's Junk and Dross and Dregs has already joined them on heavy rotation. All three are released through the excellent Lost Map label by the way - it's a label you should all check out. Anyway, to Dregs itself.

The opening track Duke is a wonderful start to the e.p, perfectly displaying the band's ability to merge laid back, summery, lo-fi vibes with fuzzed up noise that brings to mind The Pixies somewhere between Doolittle and Bossanova. The vocals and harmonies are, as ever, spot on too and the change of pace around 2 minutes 20 seconds in a beautiful thing. Crocodile focuses more the harder side of Tuff Love's sound, balancing the louder approach with the pop like vocal melody and then Threads increases the pace more and sounding like a track you know will be superb live. Amphibian and Carbon round off the e.p. with both tracks more reflective in sound and tone than their predecessors, yet they still fit the e.p. perfectly. 

With Dregs, Tuff Love have once again shown that they are band who really are up to something special. It will be a welcome addition to any music collection and, given that their stock is bound to rise sooner rather than later, I'd recommend you investigate Tuff Love right now. You'll want to be able to tell your friends that you knew them first

Dregs is available now on Lost Map Records download and 10" yellow vinyl

Tuff Love
Lost Map Records


Edinburgh singer/songwriter Gus Harrower releases his debut single Girl I Didn't Know today, following up his well received Mystery e.p. which popped up on Soundcloud earlier in the year. The song is a full on pop cracker that has many layers to it, with Paul McCartney in his Wings pop phase like guitar lines and melodies running throughout the song. It's as catchy as anything you'll have heard in a while and it's certainly worth checking out.

The single is available on ITunes and Spotify (links below) and it's accompanies by Stuck On You which you can hear below. 

Girl I Didn't Know is a remarkably confident debut single and it's testament to the talent Gus clearly has as you can hear for yourself at the launch show at The Mash House in Edinburgh tomorrow night (7 November). On the evidence of this single, it's safe to say we'll be hearing a lot more about Gus in the very near future.

Girl I Didn't Know by Gus Harrower is available now on ITunes (, Spotify and other digital retailers.

Gus Harrower Facebook

Wednesday 4 November 2015


Toronto's Beliefs release their second album Leaper on 13 November on the ever impressive Hand Drawn Dracula label. Leaper is an album of shoegaze influenced indiepop that pays homage to the likes of The Pixies, Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and even The Wedding Present, who are a personal favourite of mine, so all the signs point to something very good. What you ultimately get is an album that is as fresh as a daisy, full of fuzzy guitars, great washes of noise and superb melodies, leading to an album that is surely bound to make Beliefs pop up on many people's radars.

Opener Tidal Wave is as good an example of what's to come as anything. An opening feedback squall leads to an MBV like drone of distorted guitar and your attention is grabbed from the off.  I don;t know if it was deliberate or not, but the Dinosaur Jr referencing lyrics ("You're living all over me") are a nice touch. It's a superb start, yet it's trumped by the simply outstanding 1992 which is one of the best things I've heard in ages. Part Pixies, part joyous guitar pop, 1992 is a track you HAVE to hear and you can so below - you can't fail to love it.  Colour Of Your Name comes next sounding like The Wedding Present circa Seamonsters but having fun. It's a summery feeling track albeit one masked in wonderfully fuzzy guitars. Drown and the title track take the pace down a notch, focussing more in atmosphere albeit with added feedback and aggression in the latter which compliments the mood nicely before the excellent pop like Ghosts arrives, wrapping you up in its loveliness.

The album is basically a succession of impressive tracks that doesn't relent at all. Morning Light is another noise encased pop gem and it's followed by Go Ahead And Sleep which reminds you of Ride at their most intense before they let Andy Bell have too much influence. The penultimate Leave With You perhaps suffers by comparison to the breathless opening nine tracks of the album but, that said, it still impresses. The record then ends on the brilliantly titled Swooner which starts off quieter than you might expect but builds to a booming, echo laden climax that ends the album perfectly.

As I said at the outset, Beliefs are band you are bound to hear a lot about soon given the quality of Leaper. There is no harm at all in making a record that pays homage to your influences, as long as there is enough of you in the record itself. Beliefs more than achieve that with Leaper and it is an album that you really have to get your hands on.

Leaper by Beliefs is released on 13 November on Hand Drawn Dracula. It's available on download an a limited edition of 300 translucent green vinyl. I've managed to get one.

Beliefs Facebook
Hand Drawn Dracula Beliefs Artist Page


Erasure are 30 years old this year and to celebrate that the band have released a new Best of compilation called Always - The Very Best Of Erasure. Available through Mute, the album is available digitally and on single cd and 3 cd formats. If you're a fan of British pop music then most, if not all, of the songs on the standard release will be familiar to you and will immediately bring a smile to your face. I've been a fan of the band since The Circus and listening to the main cd over the last couple of days has been a joy. It is simply impossible to find fault with the likes of Oh L'Amour, Ship Of Fool, Blue Savannah, yet even songs that good cower in the shadows of A Little Respect, Drama!, Chorus and Love To Hate You which are simply four of the greatest songs ever recorded. Like many other songs I love, A Little Respect thrills me every time I hear it and that will never change. One pleasing aspect of this collection is the inclusion of latter day classics Breathe and Elevation, both of which shows that Erasure can still more than cut it when it comes to electronic pop.

If, for some inexplicable reason you haven't heard it, you need to change that and, if you don't know anything about Erasure, then you need to get the standard cd version of Always - The Very Best Of Erasure as it's as good an introduction to the band as you could get.

Enough of the standard version however as the deluxe 3cd version is far too intriguing a prospect to ignore. Over the additional two cds you'll find 23 remixes, some of them landmark classics and some of them brand new. Of the brand new mixes, two stand out. The Circus (Eternal Eraser Mix by Grumbling Fur) takes the original work theme of the original (the closest Erasure ever came to Industrial - think Depeche Mode's Construction Time Again without the metal) and turns it into a tense, rhythmic track which works splendidly. The second new mix to look out for is Chains Of Love (Vince Clarke Remix) in which Vince turns the original into a dancefloor friendly, electro remix that is quite marvelous. It's similar to the live version from The Violet Flame tour and also has echoes of Vince's outstanding Behind The Wheel remix for the last Depeche Mode remix project. 

ERASURE - The Circus (Grumbling Fur Eternal Eraser Mix) from erasureinfo on Vimeo.

It's likely that most Erasure fans will be familiar with the older remixes that feature here. The likes of Drama! (Krucial Mix), Chorus (Vegan Mix) and You Surround Me (Mark Saunders Remix) are all worth hearing again and again and it's a real treat to be reminded of classics like this. Like the songs on the main cd, hearing these remixes transports me back years and I can remember hearing for the first time. The remix of Chorus for example featured originally on the limited edition 12" and cd single for Am I Right? and I still recall seeing an advert for that in Melody Maker on a Saturday morning in Castle Douglas and going straight into Barnstorm in Dumfries to pick up the 12". 

Ultimately, Erasure have been with most of us for so long that the vast majority of this album will be familiar and will stir many memories. Some people may have lost touch with them over the years and some people might never have heard them. As a way of reacquainting or introducing yourself to one of the most important bands Britain has produced, Always - The Very Best Of Erasure is a great place to start.

Always - The Very Best Of Erasure is out now and is available through Mute Records on 1 cd, deluxe 3 cd and download

Erasure Official

Monday 2 November 2015


Hot Gem Tunes is one of the labels I keep banging on about ( see also Night School Records and Hand Drawn Dracula. Oh and Mute - always Mute) as each release on the label is a joy. Following on from releases by Machines In Heaven, Fiona Soe Paing and YuTaNi, Hot Gem has now released Vultur e.p.  by OKRAA a.k.a Colombian producer Juan Carlos Torres Alonso and it's a cracker. The combination of South American electronics and Glasgow based record label seems like a match made in heaven.

The e.p's four tracks are a glorious riot of beats, electronica and melody that is spot on from the off. The opener and title track starts proceedings off perfectly, combining 2 step with some big analogue sounds quite wonderfully and then the e.p's highlight, the sublime Utica lands, with vocals reminiscent of Jonsii from Sigur Ros over a shimmering, euphoric backing. It's brilliant. Aalasu follows, mellower in tone with beats and bleeps in all the right places, before we end on Trianae featuring Amilie which is the most dance orientated track here and it finishes the e.p. with a proper flourish. 

Vultur is a fascinating release and one that immediately grabs you. It sounds fresh, modern and keeps on eye on hooks throughout, meaning that you're extremely likely to find something you want here. Well worth checking out straightaway.

Vultur e.p. by OKRAA is available now on Hot Gem Tunes via Itunes, Amazon, Juno and Bookmat with physical formats available from Rough Trade and others.