Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

20 Bands I Loved The Most in 2010

Sure, we all love The National... but whatever. I like this lot more.

My Chemical Romance for bringing colour back, for an addictive new album, and for Gerard and Frank being such super-lovely interviewees that I will definitely be a hopeless fan girl forever.

OK Go for continuing to be super-smart, super-creative, and super-hot. Also, for the lemonade.

LightGuides for making awesome songs, being pretty, and hosting the best Christmas parties.

The Xcerts for making exactly the album I wanted from them in Scatterbrain.

Paramore for being the best live band in the world.

Twin Atlantic for consistently outdoing themselves in every way. Can't wait to hear the album.

Fun. for bringing together two of the greatest pop songwriters of our time – Nate Ruess and Jack Antonoff.

The Boxer Rebellion for being awesome big shot movie stars now.

Little Comets for simply filling me with joy, making me dance, and Advent Calendar days 5 and 24.

Steel Train for making an awesome album with a particularly awesome first track.

The Format for 'If Work Permits' and all their other songs. (Wish I didn't miss the boat so badly).

New Rhodes for a wonderful finale and for years of enriching my life in many ways. for being one of the very very best wee Scottish bands til they split :'(

Kitty The Lion for being good enough for me to accept Jocasta Sleeps no longer existing.

Jocasta Sleeps for getting back together for a one-off show and being as good as I remembered.

Biffy Clyro for being even bigger mega-famous rock stars now and making Scotland very proud.

30 Seconds To Mars for incredible rock shows, 'Alibi', 'This Is War', and for complimenting my cashmere hoodie.

Penguins Kill Polar Bears for not ditching 'Sandcastles'.

Mumford & Sons for 'Lover Of The Light' and making me almost able to tolerate banjo.

Idlewild for playing a crazy amount of post-announcement, pre-hiatus shows and often playing 'Everyone Says You're So Fragile'.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Steel Train

Jack Antonoff is in Fun. Jack Antonoff is in Steel Train. This makes me automatically very open to what Steel Train do. Even if I wasn't though, I reckon their new album 'Steel Train' would have won me over equally quickly.

For some reason, Steel Train, like Fun and The Format, appear to have some trouble getting the UK to listen much. I suppose the Scottish scene, which I'm guessing most of my readers are a part of, should understand this problem. Bands can be no.1 in the Scottish singles chart and play to one man and his dog in England the next week. I don't think Steel Train even have a deal over here.

Anyway, that's all not entirely important. What's important is the music, how awesome it is, and why you should listen. They put the whole of the album up to stream a few weeks ago - for free - at (and it's still there). Since that day, when Fun tweeted the link, I have been completely hooked.

'Bullet' is an absolutely stunning album opener. It's a quirky, modern 'Born To Run', perfect for singing along and punching the air to. From the second Jack opens his mouth, with the line "Fell in love in the back seat of your car", it's like... WOAH, he doesn't even get to sing in Fun.! It will make you want to open your window and jump around the room as if you just won the World Cup, even if you're still in your pyjamas and all the neighbours are watching.

The rest of the album is great too. They're a little bit Modest Mouse, a little bit Arcade Fire, a little bit Flaming Lips, a little bit Phoenix... It's a bit twee, it's a bit weird, it's got a tremendous sense of melody and is mostly upbeat. There's even a tiny bit of rap. The kind of cute indie boy rap that ought to never, ever work and never, ever be tried... but they pull it off.

The closing number, 'Fall Asleep' is a pretty little number than becomes consumed in distorted guitar as it twinkles and fades. It could have been some epic, drawn-out finale, but they keep it short and sweet in a way that makes the record even more incredibly, irresistibly more-ish than it started off. First time I listened to the album very quickly became about five listens in a day. CD was preordered within a week.

Anyway, seriously, go listen to it. It's an awesome pop record that adheres to all the rules of melody and musicality while playfully pushing the boundaries of their instruments' sounds. It's upbeat and intense like some sort of super-cute cross-breed puppy.

Steel Train may not be a new band, but they're certainly not a tired old one. If you've ever needed convincing that there is great music out there that the UK foolishly ignores, here it is.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Detour Wee Jaunt

Detour took me on a wee adventure:

Monday, 24 May 2010


It's half past ten on a Saturday night and I'm sitting outside with Nate Ruess from Fun. They've just played their first ever Scottish show, in front of a sizeable crowd in the Art School as part of Stag & Dagger. Their infectious and extravagant pop sounds less polished live, but their energy and presence creates something equally captivating.

Their record is so full of gems that they leave incredible songs like Be Calm and The Gambler off tonight's set list. Obviously I had a word with Nate about this, and am fully expecting to see Fun back before the end of the year to satisfy my demands.

If you're familiar with Nate's old band – The Format – you'll know the boy can seriously sing. His main comrades in Fun are Andrew Dost (ex-Anathallo) and Jack Antonoff (Steel Train), although the live band amounts to six.

Their debut record Aim & Ignite is released in the UK on 7 June. If you're impatient, though, it is already out Stateside and is already on Spotify too. It's pretty awesome.

How would you describe Fun?

Nate: To me it's just pop music. There's a lot to it from a recording stand point, but I think when you break it down, we're just writing pop songs, like in the 60s, 70s sense. Or even the 80s. We strive for a chorus, and we hope the songs are catchy and yet we want them to be meaningful if the listener decides...

Why did you decide on the name, Fun?

Nate: Because ice cream was a stupid name.

Well, it's probably more Google friendly than Fun, although I think your SEO isn't too bad.

Nate: I hope so. I haven't Googled myself recently.

This is your first time in Scotland. Have you had a chance to explore?

Nate: Not really, we've just been within a half mile. And we're all so jetlagged that we pretty much slept the ride from Liverpool to Glasgow. Which is sad because I think that we all appreciate where we're going, I think there just comes a point where we all just shut down.
We're going to a movie after this. I would like to enjoy Scotland, but I suppose we see a cinema as an opportunity to take a breath. I always like to assume that I'll be back wherever it is that we are.

Well, I hope you'll be back soon.

Nate: I hope so too. I'm going to have haggis that time.

I've never had haggis.

Nate: Why?

Because it's gross!

Nate: The concept is disgusting, but if everyone's eating it, there has to be something to it.

No no no. I suppose I have a problem with the concept of foods. I liked cheesecake until I found out it had cheese in it.

Nate: I know. It took a little getting used to, and then cheesecake became my favourite dessert. So I'm sure haggis, cooked in a sheep's belly... I'll find a way to rationalise it.

I'm sure you could get some tonight if you wanted. Loads of wee places sell it.

Nate: Oh, I feel like it's everywhere, but I've taken my tour of Scotland with the nachos. A real traditional Scottish meal.

You've just come off tour with Paramore and Relient K in the States. How was that?

Nate: It was wonderful. It was the biggest tour that we've ever done and I felt like we did a really great job of being ourselves up on stage, and getting whatever it is that our message is across. But furthermore I think that both bands were just great tour mates and I think we all left the tour being like, this was too short of a tour, and hopefully let's try and make more dates out of it in the future.

You play with a lot of bands that don't really fit together with Fun musically. Do you ever find it difficult to connect with crowds?

Nate: No. We play for so many different crowds, whether it's hipsters in New York or Brooklyn, or scene kids across the United States. We've always told ourselves, let's not cater to anybody, let's just be ourselves. There's something very rewarding about that, when you have a show and it's successful no matter who you're playing for.

What's been your best show to date?

Nate: We had a show in Phoenix where I'm from, with Jack's Mannequin. It was a big show, and it just felt like it was our show even though we were opening up for them. From my old band I'm so used to having a certain level of success in that area of the United States, and that was the first time that it really didn't feel like anything had changed.

How different is it being in Fun compared to being in The Format?

Nate: Well it's a different group of people. I think that Fun has achieved in some regards a lot more than The Format has, but I'm so proud of what we had done in The Format. We didn't have anything – I guess all we had was a touring fanbase in the United States and we made the most of it. We're still working towards that in Fun, and with The Format it was really all that we ever had. That's all I really end up caring about at the end of the day anyway.

Is the creative process quite different?

Nate: It can be. It really depends. I mean, now there's two instead of one, so the two might feel the need to speak up, I guess, a little bit more in the creative process. And they're both just so talented that they can be let loose on any part of any song and figure it out. Whereas The Format was just, two of us who had grown up together with an assumption that we would be able to make it through, but I think it took a lot more work for The Format than sometimes it does for Fun.
When me and Jack and Andrew get together, I don't think it's that we progress as a band - I think that we progress as individuals, get together, and try to figure it out from that. We don't necessarily see eye to eye on that many things, but it works in a way that we can respect each other.

If you could recruit anyone from any band to join yours or be involved in some kind of project with, who would it be?

Nate: Well, I'm a singer, so I can't make myself obsolete... I think from a technical stand point, I'd always had my eye on Andrew and Jack. They were always the two guys. Andrew is my favourite person when it comes to composing harmonies or playing piano, and I think Jack is my favourite person when it comes to guitar, or even dissecting a song and constructing a beat. So I'm not even bullshitting, those are the two guys I'd work with, because I know how good they are.

So not even someone for a token guitar solo in a single or something?

Nate: Well, Jack would be the guy to play that guitar solo - that's the thing!

What singers do you look up to?

Nate: Otis Redding, Freddie Mercury, Eddie Vedder, Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows and Van Morrison. Just soulful singers that, well, none of them really adhere to the structure of the song, which is something that I'm trying not to do.

What's next after the rest of these UK dates?

Nate: We've been touring for the last four months, so we're hoping to go home and sleep for a little bit.

What do you miss most about home?

Nate: I don't know. I really don't remember. My home situation is so... it doesn't make very much sense anyway, so sometimes it makes more sense to be on tour. I guess I miss having a day off. Just time to do whatever I want. But otherwise I'm just as content being on the road.

Lastly, what's the most FUN you've ever had?

Nate: Probably involves dancing, but without me realising that I'm dancing. If that makes sense.

Listen to Aim & Ignite now on Spotify
Fun on MySpace
Fun on Twitter

P.S. Remember the CD is out on 7 June :)

The Pop Cop

Last week, one of Scotland’s finest and most highly respected music blogs vanished.

The Pop Cop, before its untimely demise, introduced me to some great new music. The Pop Cop picked up on bands that I'd love to say I picked up on myself first, but usually didn't. The Pop Cop informed me of a lot of Scotland-specific music news that I wouldn’t have got as quickly or as readily elsewhere. The Pop Cop was, no offence to the rest, my favourite.

But given the combination of the music industry’s bizarre, self-mutilating behaviour, some misunderstandings, and the rather brutal handling of things by the blog hosting service (sorry Blogger, you know I love you, etc.), The Pop Cop wasn’t rewarded for his awesomeness and his band plugging finesse. No. He was shut down.

Extra interestingly, the straw that broke the camel's back – or exceeded the arbitrary limit set by Blogger of complaints for linking to copyrighted material – was a complaint that didn't even point towards anything in particular.

So anyway, there's not really much point in me droning on about it, pulling the situation apart, or anything else, because you can read about it for yourself.

Read about The Pop Cop's unfortunate situation

I think it's quite obvious that the decision to pull the plug on The Pop Cop was pretty daft. It's also pretty poor form that Blogger are apparently ignoring the situation and not offering the guy who ran the blog to get access to his account to at least recover three years of work and take it somewhere else.

But mostly I think it highlights the bigger issue – that the music industry needs to sort its game out. They want people to listen to music, buy records, go to shows, etc. Yes? Music blogs want to help people find bands they like to do all those things. Yes? So we're striving towards the same thing. Yes? Can we be friends then?

Anyway, I could ramble for hours. In fact, I have an unpublished blog about the even broader issue of mp3 downloading that I may wheel out soon, too.

But for now, I hope you'll support The Pop Cop in his plight.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Stag & Dagger Glasgow

Antlers at ABCCompared to all the other wee city centre festivals, Stag & Dagger is surely the most chilled out and mature. The queue to exchange tickets for wristbands seems to keep coming at a steady (although fast-moving) pace almost all evening, plenty arriving as late as 9 or 10 to just catch a few of the bigger bands.

With the sunshine blazing brighter than Glasgow's seen for yonks, it was quite nice to take a break in a nice wee dark venue – and ideal weather for those who could be bothered to walk out to Captain's Rest where a lot of the best bands were billed.

In the city centre venues, all the big names seemed to be scheduled in the same, 9.30ish slot, resulting in the festival suddenly seeming twenty times as busy as it had earlier, with queues forming all over.

Up against We Were Promised Jetpacks, A Place To Bury Strangers, My Latest Novel and plenty others, American band Fun pulled a decent crowd in the Vic Bar and played like a band worthy of a much bigger stage.

Fun at Vic BarThey may be a 'new' band, but with their rich history (Nate Ruess was the front man of The Format, and his new bandmates are from Steel Train and Anathallo), a half hour set seemed a bit like giving Jenson Button a Nissan Micra to do the Grand Prix in. Just plain silly. The six songs from their debut album Aim & Ignite that they played were awesome, but the set felt like it ended far far far too soon.

Sitting outside the Art School chatting to Nate for my interview at 10.30 at night, it was still beautifully warm, and Stag & Dagger's momentum showed no sign of waning. In its typical way, though, the last train home marked the end of my night. The line-up and the scheduling may not have gone entirely my way, but Stag & Dagger was still a lovely wee day out.

And Fun. Were. Amazing.

Monday, 17 May 2010

The Whisky Works

The Whisky Works release their debut single today. And their debut EP next week. Even though it's sort of a re-release. Shhhh. The only reason I bring it up is because the original EP launch gig last summer was one of the best gigs I've ever seen. There's another launch gig on Thursday at Nice 'n' Sleazys that you should probably go to. Sadly, I can't.

Anyway, go listen to The Whisky Works on MySpace.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Idlewild call it a day, maybe

When I was 18, my favourite band (RUTH, anyone? Their singer went on to much bigger success as Aqualung) broke up. I had an awkward summer where I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself, then Idlewild came along and before I knew it, I was chasing a drunk Bob Fairfoull across a field at T in the Park to get an autograph. Crazy.

Like every hardcore Idlewild fan seems to, there are bits about Idlewild I like and dislike, and whenever they release a new record, I think it's rubbish in comparison to the old stuff. But I always seem to come around to everything they do. I'd currently make the controversial shout that my favourite Idlewild albums are Hope Is Important and Warnings/Promises. Not a cool choice, but seriously... 'Too Long Awake' is an incredible song.

Anyway, things were weird for Idlewild for a while. What they wanted to play and what they wanted to write seemed to clash with what the fans wanted to hear in an irreconcilable way. But lately it all seemed to have come back together, not least at their last few shows. They really looked like they were enjoying playing the old songs, and the crowd were greeting the Post Electric Blues stuff with genuine warmth.

But instead of us all living happily ever after, Idlewild have called indefinite hiatus - and people who know people tell me that the break seems fairly permanent or at least very long term.

Here's hoping those people are wrong.

Saturday, 24 April 2010


Gliding magnificently somewhere between post-rock, post-punk and... umm... Postal Service, is Galleries. It's beyond all comprehension that Bloc was so empty on Thursday for the band who have apparently existed for over a year. Mind you, it wasn't completely empty. I've seen mighty bands play to far fewer people. But the point remains – Galleries should be a big deal.

They've got that kind of moody, tense thing going on that Interpol do, and Editors are occasionally not bad at. But the electronic sounds put them somewhere different altogether. There's something of I Was A Cub Scout in that, as well as in some of the vocal melodies.

Sometimes they're so epic and atmospheric that the comparisons to Mew and Sigur Ros don't seem bewildering; and at other times they throw in guitar hooks so catchy and radio-ready that they could stand shoulder to shoulder with The Strokes and The Killers.

Their live performance is perhaps not the most engaging of spectacles, but the sound they create is stupefying. They just get everything so magnificently balanced and so beautifully right that it wouldn't matter if they played hidden in cardboard boxes or under bed sheets like budget Halloween ghosts – I'd still watch.

(Someone should make films to project behind them when they play, though. It would be awesome.)

Anyway, Galleries have new songs on their MySpace, and six songs for free download on the Slow Receiver site. They've got a few shows coming up to, but quite frankly not enough. Someone book them for some more, please!

Download free Galleries songs on Slow Receiver
Galleries on MySpace

(Also, a shout out to The Pop Cop, for being how I found out about them in the first place).

Sunday, 4 April 2010

British Sea Power

British Sea Power at Hinterland Festival. I do love them.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Twin Atlantic / Lightguides

First draft of this involved me comparing Lightguides to jelly and Twin Atlantic to ice cream. Basically, they’re both awesome. Really really really really really awesome. Let’s just leave it at that for now. Here are some photos from The Best Gig Of The Year So Far, and the one the day after.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Some things to listen to...

This deserves an epic write-up at some point because it's an amazing, beautiful wee record. All six songs for free. You can buy a CD too if you feel guilt-stricken by such an arrangement :)

Penguins Kill Polar Bears - Homebound (via MySpace)
They've just uploaded this and it's dead good.

Ke$ha - Dinosaur (on Spotify)
Because it's funny, OK? Actually, I am hooked on this album... Can't explain. I won't bother trying.

I've recently become fascinated by Bazan's deep and complex thoughts on Christianity. If you want a good read that might make your brain hurt, read this Bazan interview. If you just want to listen to music, well, just do that.

This is an awesome song, and I'm excited because they're supporting Twin Atlantic tomorrow. Sold out ABC is going to LOVE it.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Interview with Murray Macleod (The Xcerts)

In case you hadn't noticed, this blog is named after a song by The Xcerts. They're 2/3 Aberdonian, 1/3 whatever-you-call-people-from-Exeter, and their debut album 'In The Cold Wind We Smile' didn't just get a lot of good reviews from people who take music very seriously, but connected with normal people like a good friend or a voice in your head that just *gets* stuff and feels things the same as you. Or maybe that's just me. But probably not.

They've got an honesty and a vulnerability without being introverted or... emo. It's pretty much gutsy, loud pop about, y'know, life stuff. Thinking things. Heavy and light in all the right places, beefy enough for Kerrang! but soft enough for, well, a lot of girls to go to their gigs. Cool girls, though. Obviously ;)

Anyway, if you've not heard them yet - it's OK, I won't judge you – now's your time for redemption.

The Xcerts – In The Cold Wind We Smile (on Spotify)

And for the already converted.... Murray Xcert was lovely enough to answer a few questions for me. So here it is – the first ever Listen Don't Panic interview. Enjoy!

Did you have a nice Christmas and New Year?

Murray: I had a lovely Christmas/New Year. We weren't home very much throughout last year, so it was great to be home and spend some quality time with my family and friends. Christmas is always a treat, and New Year's is just another night out for me now.

Has the problem with wasps in your parents' bathroom been resolved?

Yes, those pesky wasps have been exterminated and don't live with us any more. They weren't paying rent and they never cleaned up after themselves so my mum kicked them out.

How is the second Xcerts album shaping up?

The second record is shaping up nicely, I think we have about 15 songs, but we are going to continue writing up until we actually record the record.

How will it differ from the first?

The songs are very different, they are a little noisier and there is definitely a darker feel to them. I think it will be quite a heavy record, not in a metal, make devil horns with your hands sort of way, i mean lyrically and the overall feel of the songs. I guess in the same way that 'Control' by Pedro The Lion is a very heavy record, yet musically it's not heavy at all.

What influences you now that didn't influence you then?

A lot of things have happened to me personally, so obviously that will have had an effect on my songwriting. We were out on the road for pretty much a year straight, so it's obviously going to take it's toll on your head.

If you're meaning musically, I've been listening to a lot of loud 90's bands and artists like Elliot Smith, Bon Iver. I've read every book by Charles Bukowski since the release of the first record, so maybe that's had a subconscious influence on me.

What was your favourite record of 2009?

My favourite record of 2009 was 'Daisy' by Brand New. There were some really great releases last year, but since the release of 'The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me', no band has connected with me quite like them.

You got backstage at Brand New's Wembley gig. That must have been a pretty awesome fanboy moment?

Yeah, that was a really strange evening for me. One minute I was watching them with 10,000 other people in the room; the next, I was stood in a tiny dressing room chatting away with them. They were incredibly nice guys though and that is always a good thing when meeting people you look up to.

I also met Daryl form Glassjaw which was a really big deal for me. He suffers from the same illness that I have, and he's been a bit of a hero of mine ever since I was 15.

You chose the supports for your December tour. Who was your favourite?

Well, we co-headlined the tour with our good friends Flood Of Red, and getting to watch them every night was really great. I love that band musically and as people. They are a talented bunch of boys and everyone should check out their debut record entitled 'Leaving Everything Behind'.

Besides Flood, we played with some great bands including Montmartre, Cast Of The Capital and He Slept On 57. Both Montmartre and Cast Of The Capital are from Aberdeen, so it's great to see that our home town is producing some great up and coming bands.

If there was an Xcerts big-budget Hollywood movie, who'd play each of you and what predicament would you face?

Tom would be played by Harrison Ford. He can't get enough of the Ford. The man is handsome, we'd just have to hope he could play drums well....or at least look cool behind a kit.

Jordan would be played by Woody Allen. Not only are we big fans of Woody Allen, but we would be able to cut costs on make up as they do look quite similar. Well, their glasses are similar.

Myself, Ryan Gosling. I actually had a bit of a debate with myself on this answer. I'm a huge Mickey Rourke fan, but I think Gosling is more suited for this part......... Good lord, I'm taking this a bit seriously aren't I? haha. I love Gosling, who doesn't love him? I defy any man to watch The Notebook and not cry. He also has one of the most handsome beards I've ever seen. Don't think handsome beards exist? Watch the Notebook.

If you could hang out with Bruce Springsteen for a day, where would you go and what would you do?

Me and Bruce Springsteen would just hang out drinking coffee all day long, and I would just sit and listen to him as he told me stories about his life. Maybe in the evening we'd have a couple of beers and play a few tunes together.

You got to play guitar on 'Captain' as a wee birthday present from Idlewild on the last night of your October tour. If you toured with Idlewild and it was Rod Jones' birthday, which Xcerts song would you let him guest on?

Rod could take his pick. Maybe he could play lead guitar on Home Versus Home...? That would make sense.

You're touring with Fightstar in a couple of weeks. If you could get Charlie to do just one wee Busted song, which one would it be?

Believe it or not, this is quite an easy question for me as I had a bit of a soft spot for Busted ever since I saw an interview with them and Charlie had an Aereogramme t-shirt on. I also thought they had some undeniable pop songs. I like the songs 'Meet You There' and 'Why'. I think 'Why' was the only song on the record that Charlie wrote [LDP: well, he co-wrote some others, but penned 'Why' alone] - it sounded the most legit that's for sure.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pacific Theatre

Pacific Theatre are my friends. I was once their manager for a few months, then we amiably parted ways. It's all good.

Anyway, I owe them a shout out for a couple of things -

They've put a song called 'Far Away' up for free download.

And they're playing at Capitol in Glasgow tomorrow (Wednesday 27 January) with a bunch of bands including two of my wee favourites, Young States and Penguins Kill Polar Bears. It will be a good'un. 7.30pm, £5.

It's A Girl

This morning, this blog got its first 'can you write about my band' email. They're called It's A Girl and I thought it would be nice to reward their speed and efficiency by mentioning them.

Their sound is very much from the Fall Out Boy/Taking Back Sunday school of songwriting, and if they deliver it well live there's no reason why they couldn't be another You Me At Six. I'm not sure what to say about the way each member appears to have a 'colour' (it was the purple one who emailed me), but some sort of reference to JLS has to made...

Anyway, there you go. Email me about your band and I *might* write about you.

Sunday, 24 January 2010


I have recently been reminded of my love for OK Go, which started seven years ago when I saw the video for 'Get Over It' on MTV. I fell instantly in love with a band who wrote smart-but-fun pop music with 'hey!'s and handclaps and bright colours and wordplay... Their debut album had songs about spiders and absent cats, and it all played out in a way that, for every obvious crowd pleasing guitar hook and danceable beat, was imagined in a different way from any band I'd ever listened to before. Their creativity and playful spirit pleased me. As did their hot singer. I never understood why no one else seemed to 'get' it.

Then they started dancing on treadmills and everyone started loving them as a novelty band and it all got a bit... weird. It's like when your best friend gets an awesome new haircut and cool trainers, and suddenly everyone wants to be their best friend. It's easy to drift off.

After hearing 'WTF?', my expectations for album three landed pretty low. I sort of thought they'd gone mental. But that's just because I'm an idiot who can listen to awesome songs sometimes without noticing that they're awesome. When the full album went on MySpace, I gave it a few spins and quickly fell in love with 'Needing/Getting'. And then everything else.

As someone who has never really given Prince much time or attention, I'd be lying if I said how obvious the Prince influence is. But that's what people keep saying, and they're probably right. There's a lot of singing-very-high, unusual sounds and peculiar rhythms. And even the most obvious pop hit ('White Knuckles') is far weirder than its first and second album counterparts. This time, the crowd pleasing moments seem like beautiful accidents rather than the things each song was built around. It's like they've just followed their imaginations and made a brilliant pop record that, actually, critics and musos might like too.

And just to add to my overexcitement, they've done another incredible video. If you haven't seen it, please, first go listen to the album recording of 'This Too Shall Pass' on Spotify. Then, go watch the video on YouTube. Awesome.

OK Go – This Too Shall Pass (on Spotify)
OK Go - This Too Shall Pass video (on YouTube)

There Will Be Fireworks

I thought from the start of 2009 that no album could top 'In The Cold Wind We Smile' by The Xcerts or 'Everybody Loves A Scene' by New Rhodes as my record of the year.

Then one day I decided to Google this local band There Will be Fireworks that a bunch of people had told me were really good. I had ordered their album before I'd even got to the bottom of their MySpace player.

There's something of The Twilight Sad about the way they combine and contrast tender vocals and pretty, quiet bits with these big, heart-stopping loud bits that feel like they fill a room to the point where it could almost burst. But I like what There Will Be Fireworks do better. They're gentler, mostly. Perhaps more obvious too. And more spritely and uplifting. There's more of them, playing more instruments all at the same time, too.

Their album is a masterpiece. Yes, I said masterpiece.

I could mention as well how it was recorded in some wee place near Glasgow, is such a low-key release it doesn't have a barcode, and the PayPal receipt when you order it from their site is under the singer's name. But the album doesn't need any sympathy votes. They're not just amazing in the context they inhabit. They're amazing in ANY context.

There Will Be Fireworks on MySpace

There Will Be Fireworks on iTunes


So... I've decided to start blogging. I aim to brief and probably mainly overexcited. Life's too short for reading about music you could just be listening to. And definitely far too short for reading/writing about music that sucks. Yes?