Thursday 30 June 2016


Happy Meals album Apero was one of my favourite albums of last year, albeit it was released in 2014 - I was just a little slow to catch up. Its shimmering, space disco electronics are a joy to behold and it remains on heavy rotation in my house, When I spoke to their label Night School's boss Michael Kasparis last December (, he said that one of the things he was looking forward to in 2016 was new Happy Meals material. He'd heard demos at that stage and was very excited. Their first release of 2016 is the Fruit Juice e.p.  and, presuming one or two of the tracks were among the demos Michael heard, he was right to be excited. This is a wonderful record.

What Happy Meals have done here is take the best bits of Apero and added a layer of pure pop to them. If You Want Me Now encapsulates that perfectly. The otherworldly feel of Apero is present initially as the sparse, bewitching electronics of the superb opening pair of tracks Run Round and La Labas bleed into it, but the song then veers off in a correctly unapologetic pop fashion, producing a curious but marvellous hybrid of experimental electropop and the kind of pop tweaks that were last heard in late 80's pop hits. Genuinely, there are a couple of points at the song's poppiest point that bring to mind a sort of SAW production feel and why not? It works perfectly. If You Want Me Now is impossible to ignore and it's a song that you are bound to love.

Wonderfully, the duo sort of reprise the song for the e.p.'s last track Now That You Have Me, turning it into a slice of aggressive electroinc disco, adding a layer of darkness and a spot on acid bassline that take the song into another, fascinating dimension. Outstanding. The track that precedes that, Suivez-Moi is a hint of where Now That You Have Me is going to go. It's immediately brings to mind the genius of Liaisons Dangereuses or D.A.F. or even early Human League - sparse, thumping electronics that showcase everything that is great about stripped down, powerful electronic music. Suivez-moi is another song you have to hear.

Fruit Juice is further evidence, if evidence were needed, that Happy Meals are onto something very special. It displays numerous facets of their sound and, thrillingly, despite the diverse feel of the tracks, all of them work perfectly together, producing a stand out release. Go and get your hands on this now. It'll be the best thing you do today.

Fruit Juice e.p. by Happy Meals is available now on Night School Records and is released digitally and on limited edition 12" in a hand marbled sleeve meaning no two sleeves are the same. Very cool.

Night School Records

Friday 17 June 2016


Last Night From Glasgow is a brand new, not for profit, crowdfunded record label from Glasgow that is one of the most intriguing and, quite genuinely, uplifting projects I've heard of in a long, long time. The label is a not for profit label, run by volunteers and funded by members who, for an annual membership fee, receive a physical copy of each release, free access to label gigs and much more. Even though the project is only in its infancy, it has already caught many people's imaginations including my own and I was delighted, and I've got to say, proud to sign up as a member. The most important thing about Last Night From Glasgow is that it is a label that ensures the artists are properly paid for their work and properly promoted. There's nothing not to love about this project.

What of the releases then? Well, the first two are already out and they're as good a start to the label as you could hope. LNFG1 (you have to love the catalogue numbers - admit it) is a double A-side 7" by Mark W. Georgsson . Side A features the track The Ballad Of The Nearly Man, a sparse, quite wonderful track that's both haunting and uplifting. The b-side, and forgive the lack of proper Icelandic spelling here is Songur Hins Maedda Manns, an Icelandic language version of the A-side performed by Sigriour Thorlacius and Arnar Guojonsson that offers and even more delicate take on the track. Both versions are gorgeous and playing them on the 7" single that is LNFG1 makes the experience all the better. The single artwork is also notable too - see below

As well as the single, the label has also released a a strictly limited edition USB only album by Stephen Solo called Pii.  It's a combination of DIY electronica, poetry and video and it's exquisite. A unique release in a unique format and, surely, that's the essence of the Last Night From Glasgow label. I should say that the music on the album is superb - anything with teh DIY electronica label is going to find favour here and Pii is on heavy rotation at the moment.

The next scheduled release is LNFG2, I Don't Drink To Forget, a 7" single by Emme Woods and that's out on 29 July. I for one can't wait and, being lucky enough to have an idea of what's to come from the label, I can tell you that there is a lot more to get excited about.

If you haven't already, go and check out Last Night From Glasgow and I guarantee you'll be immediately convinced. If this is how the music industry is to be run, then I'm 100% behind it.

Last Night From Glasgow

Last Night From Glasgow Facebook

Tuesday 14 June 2016


Avec Sans are an electropop duo comprising Alice Fox and Jack St. James and their new album Heartbreak Hi is as fresh a burst of synthpop goodness as you could possibly want. Like Priest with their self titled debut last year, Avec Sans have produced a wonderful, at times quite thrilling album that fans of electronic pop are bound to love.

Opener Even The Echoes sets the tone, mesmerising and enchanting, with Alice's vocals the focal point among swirling synths and vocal samples that bring to mind the likes of Gold Panda's You. The most recent single Heartbreak Hi follows and it's a cracking track. I was first alerted to this by Podcast, one of Glasgow's, if not the internet's, best music blogs and I've loved it since then. With a chorus that's as fine as you'll hear and music that's as good an example of clean, icy synthpop as you'd like, Heartbreak Hi is a track that deserves to be heard by everyone. 

The album is filled with electronic pop gems thought. Shiver is like a poppy Chvrches and We Are resembles Erasure's peak pop era rom The Innocents to Chorus. It's also an example of Alice's superb vocal range. To carry off songs that are this synthpop focussed you need to be able to sing them well and, throughout this album, the vocals never fail to grab your attention. 

There are moments on this album that you can't help fall in love with. Hold On, The Answer, All Of Time and Close My Eyes are all textbook electropop gems and each one is incredibly impressive. Close My Eyes has one of those choruses that, once you hear it, it will be a long, long time until you stop singing it.

All in all, Heartbreak Hi is an album that is going to appeal to all fans of electropop, synthpop, or, if you want to forget those labels, great pop music generally. My only criticism is that it's perhaps a track or two too long. Had this been trimmed down a little, it would be hard to argue with it being considered one of the best albums of the year thus far. Even as it stands though, Heartbreak Hi, is something special and it's certainly one to check out.

Heartbreak Hi by Avec Sans is available now through the band's Pledge Music site ( They are currently touring supporting Ladyhawke and then go on the road themselves. Check their site and Facebook page for details