Monday 25 January 2016


WEATNU Records (We Are The New Underground) is an immensely impressive organisation of electronic artists with a mission to expose as many of their collective's works to as many people as they can. Combining an internet radio station, a record label and a magazine, the label plugs loads of new artists each month, covering all possible areas of electronic music from head melting experimentalism to ambient to drone electronics to classic synthpop and beyond. It's certainly one to watch as there is so much fascinating music to discover even with just a cursory listen to the odd track. They first came to my attention when vvsi remixed a track by How Hot Is Your Cloud for a remix project. Having loved vvsi's debut album Dispersions (, I checked out their remix, the original artist's material and the WEATNU label itself and found more than enough to grab my attention.

Anyway, WEATNU Records is now a year old and to celebrate that they've released a compilation called Year One. There are many reasons for you to get this. Firstly, it features 72 tracks. That's right - 72 tracks. Radiohead have only released around nine tracks in the last 6 years. This has 72 tracks straight off the bat. Secondly, it only costs $8. Now, I'm no economist but that's remarkable value, and that's before you even translate the cost into Pounds Sterling. I've listened to the whole lot twice (not in one sitting I might add) and there is a remarkably high success rate for this many tracks with the contributions by How Hot Is Your Cloud, Anodic8 and Terminator Benelux ones that jumped out at me straightaway. There are many, many more cracking tracks there though and for the price, it's impossible to argue that Year One is anything other than an absolute steal. Have a spin through the tracks below then get over to WEATNU's page to get the album. You won't regret it.

Here's the link The album is up on Mixcloud too. Here's part 1 and you can find part 2 at



What is it with Canada at the moment? There is so much good music pouring out of that country that it's getting increasingly hard to take it all in. Meter Bridge are a synthpop duo from Nelson, Canada and their new single It Was Nothing is a wonderful mix of dark electronics and crisp Kraftwerk like beeps and bleeps. Written about a public figure spreading lies to make money, It Was Nothing is an intriguing track with more than enough to satisfy anyone whose ears prick up at the mention of electronic pop. 

As if all that wasn't enough, the single comes with a remix of It Was Nothing by blog chum Rodney Cromwell which, as you'd expect, is a triumph. Similar in sound and feel to last year's epic Age Of Anxiety, Cromwell's remix of It Was Nothing is an synthpop masterclass.

Two tracks, both wonderful examples of electronic music at its finest. What's not to love about that? Listen below then go and buy it

It Was Nothing is released on 6 February via WEATNU Records

Wednesday 20 January 2016


As you may know, this blog and Scottish Fiction released a few e.p's last year called Almost Scottish Fiction. Our idea was to release a free monthly e.p. showcasing the best new Scottish music and the response we had was fantastic.

We're about to start the monthly release schedule again and so, if you are a Scottish band or artist, please feel free to submit tracks to us at 

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you'll know that it has a specific interest in electronic music but please feel free to send music of all genres.

Every release comes out on the first Monday of each month,is free and is available to download from this blog and Scottish Fiction's own bandcamp pages. The next release is scheduled for 8 February and there are still a couple of spaces left.

Friday 15 January 2016


Jo Mango's new e.p. Wrack Lines sees her and four leading Scottish singer-songwriters explore the dichotomy that exists between being a musician on the road and the toll that touring takes on the environment. Jo became conscious of her own personal carbon footprint as she toured America by plane and road in 2007, causing her to fully consider the sustainability (or unsustainability) of life on the road. Wrack Lines is an e.p. immersed in these concerns, from its superb artwork that uses the tracked movements of each artist throughout the 2015 festival season, to each track's lyrical concerns, making it, not only a superb e.p, but also something to really cause you to consider your own environmental impact. Above all else though, it's a wonderful example of fine songwriting.

Opener Loneliness and Rhythm featuring Admiral Fallow's Louis Abbot is an intimate duet between he and Jo, with the vocals almost whispered to each other over a stark but atmospheric musical accompaniment. RM Hubbert pops up on the next track, Sustain, which is a quite lovely, dreamlike track, delicate but captivating. My personal favourite, Believe Me, I Know featuring the ever excellent The Pictish Trail, is a superb pop number. It features The Pictish Trail's usual collection of bleeps, beeps and vintage drum machines, with Jo's vocals sounding like they're beamed in from another planet almost like, and forgive the comparison but it IS a good one, the radio style vocals you hear in Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star. Trust me on this and while you're at it, admit you love that song too. The lyrics are superb too, documenting the tension the musicians feel between life on the road and wondering if all the hassle is worth it ("Playing to literally tens of people...just to cover my travel home."). Jo goes solo for the fourth track The Sky Exploded, a beautiful, warm ballad which recalls the Icelandic ash cloud and its effects on travel plans in 2010, telling the tale of a a cancelled flight to Spain proving the catalyst for a road trip. The e.p. ends in another duet, this time with Rachel Sermanni, and the track, Bitter Fruit, is a fitting end to an excellent release. Definitely an e.p. you'll want to hear.

Jo Mango & Friends Wrack Lines ep is out today on Olive Grove Records on cd and download via their Bandcamp page. All profits from this release will go to Creative Carbon Scotland and their work to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland.

Tuesday 12 January 2016


In the wake of the news of his death yesterday, I debated whether or not to write anything about David Bowie as I don't know what I can say that hasn't already been said a million times since yesterday morning. Someone like him comes along once in a generation and his music has touched so many people over so many years that the wall to wall coverage of his passing on television and radio yesterday seemed wholly appropriate. It was only on seeing that and on hearing people talk about how he'd changed their lives that I fully realised just what David Bowie meant to the world. Until that point, I guess I'd only thought about what he meant to me. What do I write though? I don't know enough to write an obituary of sorts, I'm not expert enough to write about his back catalogue. I wanted to write something though as I feel I have to let something out as I'm still stunned by his death. As Low is my favourite David Bowie record, I thought I'd focus on that.

When I was in my teens, I went through the stage of getting into music and that stage still hasn't ended 25 years later on. Bowie was one of the artists that I read about back then as being influential and someone whose music I had to hear. Bands I loved then such as Depeche Mode spoke of him as an influence and bands I was getting into at the time, like The Cure, New Order and Pet Shop Boys, used him as a reference point so I had to explore. My love at the time, as it still is now, was electronic music so Low seemed to be the obvious Bowie starting point. Thankfully, my mate Jamie, who was always ahead of us all on that sort of thing, had Low and made me a copy from his Dad's original vinyl. Speed Of Life was scratched on the record, so I got a special fade in version of it - that sort of thing was important. From the off, Low transfixed me. It bursts from the blocks with Speed Of Life, before an unstoppable run of three art pop classics arrives. Breaking Glass is astounding both lyrically ("Don't look at the carpet/I drew something awful on it") and musically with the combination of guitar and Eno infused synth noises a riot of joy. It's followed by What In The World, like Breaking Glass a sort of three quarters finished song, an idea, but something quite superb. The album's best known track Sound & Vision rounds off the run absolutely perfectly. "Pale blinds drawn all day/Nothing to do, nothing to say" fitted yesterday's global mood too, echoing the hollow feeling I had from around 7 a.m.

The atmospheric Always Crashing In The Same Car slows the pace but still stuns me now and then Be My Wife arrives, all pub piano and buzzing guitars - still one of my favourite Bowie tracks. What was Side 1 of this record company horrifying album then ends with the instrumental A New Career In A New Town. This is a sensational track. A yearning instrumental, its title perhaps referencing Bowie's career refreshing move from America to Berlin, it rounds off the first part of the record wonderfully. What I noticed yesterday was that the harmonica riff from this is mirrored in I Can't Give Everything Away, the last track on Blackstar. Given that it is now fully apparent that Blackstar was Bowie saying goodbye, I don't think that mirroring is accidental. Was that Bowie saying a musical goodbye, saying he was going somewhere new? Maybe not, and maybe I've overthought things a tad too much. Can't help but notice the same riff and wonder though.

Side 2 of Low is comprised of four experimental instrumentals that take Bowie's then interest in the European electronic sounds of Kraftwerk and Eno and Krautrock and turn it into something unique and quite breathtaking. Warszawa is the most striking track, with its mood and atmosphere dark and romantic. Art Decade is a slow moving piece, filled to the brim with electronics and effects from Eno's box of tricks. It's followed by Weeping Wall which is propelled along on a buzzing main riff before the song takes a distinct turn in the direction of Cluster or Neu and the closing Subterraneans is more ambient in tone, a beautiful end to a staggering album. To think he did all this immediately after his American conquering Plastic Soul days - it's astounding. Low is one of those albums everyone should hear. If you ever get the chance, do the studio tour at Hansa in Berlin too. To stand where he stood when he came up with this and Heroes is quite something.

I could say more about Bowie and about his other works that have thrilled me. Hearing The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust just about blew me away, the song Heroes itself whose light never dims, the opening riff to Rebel Rebel which positively fizzes with energy and so on. He leaves an unparalleled back catalogue and one that will be discovered and rejoiced in by people for years and years to come. Leaving us with Blackstar was something I guess you'd describe as typically David Bowie. What seemed to be a jazz influenced, fairly experimental record when you heard it last week, has turned into a stunning way of saying goodbye, knowing all that we now know. It's hard to think of any other artist who would have the talent to do something so remarkable. I loved in when I heard it before yesterday morning, and now it breaks my heart when I hear it now, but I can't stop listening to it. As ever, David Bowie is one step ahead of us all, even when he knew the end was coming.

Goodbye David. Thanks for everything. 

Friday 8 January 2016


I wasn't going to do this as many others have already taken care of this topic, most notably Murray Easton's superb post on his Everything Flows blog where he lists 16 things to look out for this year. Have a read of that as there's loads of good stuff there. Anyway, I keep getting emails about new things and reading about bands and their forthcoming releases so, in no order particularly, these are a few things I'm keeping an eye out for this year:

1. New NightSchool records magic
In a recent interview I did with Michael Kasparis, he mentioned that 2016 will see new releases from Happy Meals, Apostille, Molly Nilsson and two as yet unnamed artists. It's also the label's 5th anniversary and it keeps going from strength to strength

2. A new Machines In Heaven album
Easily one of the intriguing electronic bands around, Machines In Heaven's second album promises to have a more experimental feel than their bordersbreakdown debut. It's going to be superb - that's guaranteed

3. Twissted
One of my favourite electronic bands and one who are definitely going to grab a lot of attention this year, Twissted will be releasing a new e.p. and touring this year. Not to be missed.

4. The Insomniac Project
You've read all about them here already (here and here) and you're going to read a lot more about them this year in many more places. There's a reason James Murphy got scared and brought LCD Soundsystem out of hiding you know...

5. Kill The Waves
The band are due to record their second album for the rather lovely Bloc Music label and, if it's anything like debut The One That Could Have Been it's going to be splendid. Read all about it and Bloc Music's forthcoming plans here

6. King Tut's New Year's Revolution
This is basically the best of new Scottish music crammed into one legendary venue, spread over 16 nights. The gig on 13 January featuring Tongues and Machines In Heaven looks unmissable ( but there are so many wonderful bands to see over the length of the event (7 January to 23 January) that you'd be best advised to take residence in King Tut's an enjoy the whole lot. The Apache Darling headline set on 20 January ( is also bound to be a belter. I've seen them play King Tut's before and they were magnificent.

7. Chvrches at the Hydro on 2nd April
This is obviously going to one of the gigs of the year. A hometown show, a Saturday night and The Twilight Sad on the bill. Ridiculous. 

8. The Twilight Sad
I missed the Barrowlands gig sadly but I'm making up for it a bit by seeing them at the Chvrches show and then in Berlin later on in the year supporting The Cure. The fact that Robert Smith handpicked them to support on a sold out worldwide arena tour is amazing, The Twilight Sad are going to make thousands of new fans this year.

9. Other blogs
I'm going to be immersed in an all consuming Depeche Mode project until the end of March meaning my writing about new Scottish bands will suffer. But, there are far better places to read about that anyway and blogs like Everything Flows, Gold Flake Paint, Podcart and of course one of my other homes and, frankly, one of the best music blogs there is full stop Scottish Fiction will more than take care of your needs. The job these blogs do in promoting new music can't be ignored - go and read them all. 

After you've read this obviously

10. HQFU
This blog's Best New Band of 2015 is going to have a huge year. A new ep, a tour and no doubt more majestic electronic wonderfulness awaits.

11. Call To Mind and The Son(s) at the Glad Cafe on 30 January
Two of the brilliant Olive Grove Records finest bands playing a gig in a great venue about 5 minutes from my house - how cool is that? Just needs a Martin Gore DJ support to top it off. Maybe you can call him Lloyd? Tickets here

There are 11 things for you to mull over. I could have gone on and mentioned the inevitable rise of Kloe, a new Friends In America album, Hot Gem continuing to put out some of the most inventive electronic music there is, the SAYS, the BAMS and more but I had to stop eventually. An in-depth analysis of the samples used on the Death Mix of Fly On The Windscreen won't write itself. 

All I would add is that, as far as I can recall, there has never been a better and more fertile music scene in Scotland than we have at the moment. Go and check all of it out, buy the records (at Love Music Glasgow and Monorail), see the bands, read the blogs and enjoy it. 2016 is going to be quite superb.

Thursday 7 January 2016


Yeasayer are back which is very good news. Their fourth album Amen & Goodbye is due for release on Mute on 1 April. They've released the video today for I Am Chemistry, the first track from the album and it's a typically superb psychedelic electronic skewed pop stew.

As a taster for the album, I Am Chemistry certainly whets the appetite and I can't wait to hear it. Promising a collection of "strange fables from the Bible of a universe that does not yet exist," it's bound to be one of the most intriguing listens of the year.

Pre orders for the cd and limited edition coloured vinyl, normal vinyl and cd are open here


March 17 2016 is the 30th anniversary of the release of Depeche Mode's landmark Black Celebration album. To celebrate that, this blog will be publishing one post each day in March and those posts will include the usual in-depth over analysis of Depeche Mode's work, guest posts, rare archive material and an exclusive interview with a key figure from the period. I am rather excited about the interview I have lined up and I know you'll all enjoy it too.

This all starts on March 1 so keep an eye out here, on Twitter ( and and on Facebook ( where all will be revealed. Time for me to get writing...