Friday 29 July 2016


The Spanish word museo means museum in English and, like far too many things in my life, I discovered that word via Depeche Mode. It appears in the video for Pimpf, as you can see above, where the lads are having a wonderful time, laughing and enjoying another Anton Corbijn videoshoot. Anyway, the idea of a Depeche Mode museum is something that appeals to me and, if you've read this blog for a while, no doubt you too, so this is my attempt at it. Kind of. 

Every so often I'm going to write a blog that has a look at unusual releases in the Depeche catalogue. Some are rare, some stupidly rare and others fairly standard, but overall hopefully interesting. I know that when I started collecting DM items, I always loved looking at photos of what I still had to collect and that's still true now even though my collection has grown somewhat in the last few years. Other people seem to like that sort of thing too, hence the Depeche Mode Museo series. 


LCDBONG16 front

Ah the 1980's. During that decade, Britain was ruled by a tyrannical beast named Margaret Thatcher whose hobbies included crushing the working class, closing or selling off most forms of traditional British industry and inspiring a culture of greed which resulted in the emergence of a group of people known as "yuppies." Primarily, they were young, increasingly wealthy city workers who wore red braces, drank champagne and generally acted offensively as many parts of the country suffered under the rule of Thatcher. One thing they were noted for was their use of Filofaxes which were essentially diaries with mini ring binders in them allowing you to store all manner of things from the address of your coke dealer to the price of rare champagne. 

Never ones to be blind to a trend, Depeche Mode released a bewildering limited edition remix cd pack as part of the Everything Counts (Live) release known as a Filofax pack. As you can see from the pictures, the release complete complete with holes, if that's not a contradiction in terms, allowing you to safely pop it into your Filofax. Quite why anyone would want to do this is beyond me. Perhaps it would make sense to do that if you'd just bought the Filofax pack and you wanted to keep it safe until you got home? I really don't know.

LCDBONG16 rear

The Filofax pack came with a 3" cd containing three rather excellent, brand new remixes of Everything Counts, Nothing and Strangelove. As you can see, that cd was housed in the lower of the two slots on the rear of the release. The upper slot was there to hold the standard release 3" cd on which you'll find live versions of Everything Counts, Nothing, Sacred and A Question Of Lust all of which were of course recorded at the Pasadena Rose Bowl on 18 June 1988. My version of the standard cd (CDBONG16) remains in its own case, as I've never quite felt the need to add it to my Filofax pack. Getting the LCDBONG16 out of its cardboard home is tricky enough as the pack isn't what you'd call robust and I'd rather preserve it than damage it.

Ultimately, the Filofax pack is a nice, quirky release. I've done a lot of looking but can only find one other Filofax release, Wire's Silk Skin Paws ( Interestingly, that was also on Mute. It seems someone at the label must have had a problem involving love of a Filofax and storage of cd's and this was their solution.

Given that LCDBONG16 was a limited edition release, finding a copy now is pretty tricky, especially if you want a copy in mint condition. At the time of writing this, Discogs have four for sale starting at £58 ( but none of them seem to be in mint condition. As you can see above, mine has a few creases but overall it's in decent shape. 

On the wonderful, there is some debate as to whether or not a few LCDBONG16's were released in a card sleeve alone i.e. not as part of the Filofax thing and without holes. Most people say no, but some say yes. Even when photos of this apparent release are produced, it's generally thought that the package has been skillfully cut from the Filofax pack. I've never seen any version of LCDBONG16 other than the Filofax pack, so I think a separate LCDBONG16 card sleeve release is unlikely. If you have it though, and if it's definitely not harvested from the Filofax pack, do let me know.

So there we are. The Depeche Mode Museo is officially open and the first artefact is the curious, almost pointless, but ultimately lovely Filofax pack. The next addition to the Museo will be along soon..

Wednesday 27 July 2016


Last year's winners of the Almost Predictable for best album of 2015, Priest, return with a new free download single We're The Same. The track still shows off Priest's masterful grasp of synthpop, but this time there's more steel to it with the addition of more muscular beats and something of a more aggressive feel to the music. They've not quite turned into Nine Inch Nails, but by adding some power to their sound, Priest have simultaneously retained what made them so appealing in the first instance whilst adding new dimensions to their music. Once again, they show that they're genuine contenders and a breakthrough is only a matter of time.

Go and grab your free download on the band's Soundcloud page.

Priest Soundcloud

Tuesday 5 July 2016


Mt. Doubt's 2015 debut album My Past Is A Quiet Beast was one of my favourite albums of last year with its blend of deep lyrics and dark, intriguing guitar pop a real breath of fresh air. Leo Bargery quickly established himself as one of Scotland's most interesting new singer-songwriters, and In Awe Of Nothing, a quick follow up to My Past..., shows that the last twelve have only scratched the surface of what Mt Doubt is capable of. Merging dark pop with indie rock, bits of post punk and powerful, affecting songwriting, In Awe Of Nothing is yet another, tremendous Mt. Doubt release.

Recent single Afterglow (below) shows Mt. Doubt at their best with its irresistible melodies encased warm but edgy guitars. Thirst, Sheer And Utter and Soak are in a similar vein, each one distinct from the other, but all following one of Mt. Doubt's key paths - emotional, guitar led, anthemic indie pop with a near the surface undertone of sheer power that is only revealed when the song's are played live. There, songs which grab you on record take on a new life and that's one of the most intriguing things about Mt. Doubt. Both in their recorded and live versions, these songs are impossible to ignore.  Closing track Bastard Sea comes closest to combining the two and it's a thrilling end to the album. Bargery gives us the full Matt Beringer meets Eddie Vedder vocal style that sounds so huge live and it's a real treat.

In Awe Of Nothing is a noticeable step on from My Past Is A Quiet Beast, mainly because the songs here have a fresh confidence to them, feeling less confessional and private that the tracks on the debut. That's not to belittle that album of course because, as I mentioned above, I love it and you really should hear it, but In Awe Of Nothing adds new dimensions to Mt. Doubt's sound and is yet more evidence that this is a very special band indeed. It's a special album too - give it a listen.

In Awe Of Nothing by Mt. Doubt is out now on Scottish Fiction on very limited vinyl, cd and download. Mt. Doubt are playing the T-Break stage this Saturday (9 July) at 2 p.m at T In the Park. Check out their Facebook page below for more details and for all news and upcoming gigs.

Mt Doubt Facebook
Mt Doubt Bandcamp

Friday 1 July 2016


One of the most thrilling things about Glasgow trio Machines In Heaven is the near relentless way in which they develop. Never shy to push their own boundaries, the band have moved on quickly from their debut album bordersbreakdown, altering shapes and styles through the superb Hindu Milk and Displacer  releases and now we find them at Phenomenology.  As second albums go, it's hugely ambitious, mixing styles, jumping around here and there and sending you deep into a world of electronics. Happily though, it's wonderful album. There's none of the Machines do pop of Displacer or Feel Slow here but this band are all about development and trying new things so that's fine. Welcome to an entirely different world.

On first listen the album can seem a bit challenging. There's a lot going on all over the place and it's probably not designed to be taken in in one fell swoop. Once you've absorbed the whole thing though, you're hooked and each listen reveals further delights. Let's Hang Out At Pluto for example is a wonderful track built around a vocal that's distorted and treated, with electronic sounds and guitars bounding around either side of it, taking you on a cosmic journey. Logarithm  is my personal favourite, a wonderful electro symphony that stands up easily with the band's best work. It's a joyous track, bursting with synthy delights. The heavily vocodered vocals only add to the experience. A must hear.

Elsewhere on the album, you dip your toe into dark electronic waters with Ruix Con with its despairing lyrics ("I wish I'd known you/I wish I'd never known you")  set against a background of the kind of chilling noises that strike an immediate chord with you. Davey's vocals are really impressive here too, showing a real depth that matches the song. 8034 sees the band produce one of their heaviest sounds yet, as the track explodes into life in the last few minutes with the mix of electronics giving way to a full on post punk explosion of guitars and bass. It's exhilarating. Dr Whit follows a similar plan, but instead it's proggy, meandering electronics drag you in, before a burst of noisy but uplifting melody takes you home. Again, it's another track you want to here. The band even dabble in cosmic dicso with 20-XX and that too works beautifully.

Elsewhere, you'll find tracks with a space jazz feel to them, tracks with a Krautrock feel in places and, as you'd hope, scorching electronica. 

There aren't many bands like Machines In Heaven really. Their ability to make experimental music whilst simultaneously keeping it melodic enough to grab the ear and refusing to compromise on anything is quite brilliant. Phenomenology is yet another step forward for the Machines and they show no signs of slowing down or doing anything other than continuing to boldy go where very few other artists are brave enough to go. This is a proper, full on magnum opus of an album and, once you crack Phenomenology's code, you are going to be hooked.

Phenomenology by Machines In Heaven is out now on Hot Gem Tunes and is available in all the usual digital places.

Hot Gem Tunes