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Music With Mabel

Check Out the latest installment of Music With Mabel

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2010 Top Tracks

Have a listen to our top tracks from 2010

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Interview - Frankie Rose

Read our interview with Frankie Rose and The Outs

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Introducing - Gospel Music

We catch up with Owen Holmes, the man behind Gospel Music

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Featured Band

This week's featured band are Scotland's very own unsigned French Wives

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Album Review

We tackle David E Sugar's debut album Memory Store

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Album of the year

Check out our album of the year round up for 2010

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New Music

Telekinesis have released more details on their upcoming second album and are giving away a free MP3 for you to enjoy

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Top Stories This Week

Bright Eyes return with a free download and new album

  • Monday, 10 January 2011
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • Excellent news that Bright Eyes are back with a new album (The People's Key) which is all set for release mid February via Saddle Creek Records. From the sounds of the debut track 'Shell Games' we're in for a real return to form.


    It seems to fall out somewhere between Digital Ash... and I'm Wide Awake..., which is just fine to me...


    Check out the track right here.

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    We're back... (Eventually)

  • by
  • euan mackay

  • Happy New Year!


    Well, after an extended Christmas break we are back and refreshed and ready to re-start posting some new music we like round these parts. Expect a little more action here, once we crank up the motor and get running at full tilt.


    In addition to just outright laziness, we have been busying ourselves working behind the scenes on a new (and hopefully) improved facade of the blog which we hope to unveil in the next day or two...


    Expect a huge fanfare and a deluge of press coverage...


    Either that or a solitary posting and a minor irritation to you readers when you realise you can no longer find anything...


    Signing off for just now, but expect to hear more shortly...


    In the meantime... a couple of videos to celebrate our return...







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    Some good stuff that passed us by over the last couple of weeks...

  • Thursday, 23 December 2010
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • Well, let's face it, things round these parts have been a wee bit quiet of late. This has been caused mainly by the fact that 'Proper Work' got mad hectic, baby daughter became increasingly all-encompassing and well, Christmas kinda happened upon me...


    Anyways, excuses out of the way, the upshot meant that there has not really been much time dedicated round these blogging parts over the last few weeks, which has meant that we missed out on quite a few decent little single/EP releases...


    Here's a quick roundup of what we missed over the last few weeks...


    Roman Photos - Decline
    Roman Photos come out of Atlanta and play really quite an ambient electro vibe, without sounding anywhere nearly as horrible as that description makes them out to be. They released a 7" on Double Phantom Records and recently had another track released on Josh Fauver's (Deerhunter's) label. For more info and to buy the 7"  click here.


    The Savings And Loan - Pale Water
    The Savings and Loan are a Scottish duo who are making some waves up north. They released their album 'Today I Need A Light' via Song, By Toad Records back in early November. Their sound is quietly dark and is compared to Cohen, National Nick Cave amongst others so you get the jist of what it sounds like. I'm digging it quite a lot at the moment, which perhaps suggests I'm nit quite in the Christmas spirit just yet. Anyways, Have a listen to this track and then go buy the record here via the label for just £8.


    Satellite Stories - Mexico
    Scandinavian 'Party Indie' anyone? Pretty much ticks all boxes right? So when I stumbled across 'four daring and unsigned satellite heroes from the arctic city of Oulu, Finland' and realised that they were singing a song called Mexico, I just had to give it a wee whirl. Turns out, it's really rather catchy. Party Indie isn't a million miles off, neither is 'What Vampire Weekend's second album should have sounded like'... Check them out here.


    Showstar - Building A House



    This is a bit of a funny one really as I'm not 100% certain if I really enjoy how belgian-britpop/indie this is or if it drives me a bit crazy. Either way it's eliciting a response of some sorts so that has to be a good thing right? Check out Showstar on their website here.


    So what do you make of this little lot? Anything in here capturing the imagination?
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    Favourite Tracks - Top 20...

  • Wednesday, 15 December 2010
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • OK, so we listed out our favourite albums of the year last week, but below we have another list for you, because it's that time of year just now, and everyone loves some list action, right?

    I've not obeyed the usual rules of conduct here, in as far as we have some artists here that appear on both album and track lists... but let's face it having a favourite list without the National and Arcade Fire would somehow seem lacking...

    1. Ready To Start - Arcade Fire
    2. Bloodbuzz Ohio - The National
    3. Boyfriend - Best Coast 
    4. The High Road - Broken Bells
    5. Swim Until You Can't See Land - Frightened Rabbit
    6. Automobile - Gospel Music
    7. Undertow - Warpaint
    8. King of Spain - Tallest Man On Earth
    9. Girls FM - Happy Birthday
    10. Floating Vibes - Surfer Blood
    11.  Chinatown - Wild Nothing
    12. Next Girl - The Black Keys
    13. Remember Last Time - Avi Buffalo
    14. Thieves - She and Him
    15. Blow It Up - The Vaccines
    16. Get Some - Lykke Li
    17. The Darkness Rises Up - Broken Records
    18. A Glamour - Phantom Band

    19. Becoming a Jackal - Villagers
    20. Never Stops - Deerhunter

    So, what do you think? How does your top tracks list marry up? Let me know...
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    Interview: Frankie Rose (without her Outs)

  • Thursday, 9 December 2010
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • Bursting out from the long shadows of various Brooklyn hipster bands, Miss Frankie Rose finally finds herself fronting up and facing the limelight on her own merit. This year she’s already struck a chord with her excellent 60s-girl-group-cum-garage-pop self titled debut record. More recently though, she’s just announced details of her first tour of the UK which, excitingly, is kicking off tomorrow (dates in full below). Ahead of the tour, we caught up with the former Vivian Girl, Dum Dum Girl and Crystal Stilt to see just what she had to say about life in the limelight and get her thoughts on going it alone as well as hearing what she had to say on some of her favourite records of this year….


    Firstly, for the benefit of those less familiar, would you care to introduce yourself and give a reason why people should listen?


    I am Frankie Rose. Listen or dont listen. It’s honestly all the same to me!


    Good work on the debut album and also news of the first UK tour, where and when was your first live show, what do you remember about it?


    My first live show was a generator show in a park in San Francisco. I must have been 20 or something. It was with my first punk band: “Shitstorm”.


    What has been the most memorable gig that you’ve played? And how about most memorable you’ve attended?


    Watching My Bloody Valentine from backstage last year was pretty incredible.


    After playing in the shadows for a few bands in the past, how does it feel to have given up the sticks and finally be out front taking the limelight?


    Its been a bit scary, but I get better at it everyday. I’m used to being able to hide. In the front, you just can’t do that, it’s sink or swim.


    The album has a lot of high points. ‘Candy’ is my favourite track on there. What is your favourite song on the album and why?


    I like the Aurthur Russell cover (You Can Make Me Feel Bad).



    If you could have written any song, what would it be and why?
    Hmmm. Too many to count.
    The record drew lots of Phil Spector comparisons, who would you say are your main songwriting influences?
    I wish I could write songs as well as Kate Bush.
    It’s just gone Thanksgiving, how did you spend the holiday?
    In Spain at the winter Primavera festival.

    It’s getting to that time of year again, where we all become fascinated with lists, what are your top three albums of this year?
    Tamaryn The Waves
    Wild Nothing Gemini
    Deerhunter Halcyon Digest

    Catch Frankie Rose and The Outs during their brief UK tour:
    December
    10 – Manchester, St. Philips Church w/Wooden Shijps
    11 – Sheffield, The Harley
    12 – Glasgow, Nice n Sleazy
    13 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
    14 – London, The Luminaire “Memphis Xmas Carol” w/ Banjo or Freakout and Elephant

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    The Top 10 Albums of 2010

  • Tuesday, 7 December 2010
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • Well, the temperature has dropped, the snow is out, Christmas ads have been on the telly for at least 3 months, that can mean only one thing... We're in December and the run up to the new year. The time where every man and his dog start to organise things into lists.

    Surprisingly enough, I am no different and have done just that... So should you be in the midst of putting your Santa list together and looking for inspiration, I'd heartily recommend any (or better still, all of the following records).


    Things I've noticed in putting this list together this year:
    - British Music is massively under-represented
    - It's unsurprisingly guitar based
    - There was a lot of synthy type stuff out again this year
    - Much of the 'nu-folk' type stuff was really not that great
    - January was an unnecessarily strong month for releases


    Before we hit the top 10, it's also worth mentioning some other fine records that never quite made the final cut. Some albums I enjoyed this year include:


    Goldheart Assembly - Wolves and Thieves, Woods - At Echo Lake, Best Coast - Crazy For You, Broken Social Scene - Forgiveness Rock Record and Phosphorescent - There's To Taking It Easy... all of whom would definitely have made a top 20 list were I have to have made one...

    These, as is customary, are in reverse order, and make up my Top 10 albums of 2010 with a 'twitter friendly' note on why they are so good...

    10. Surfer Blood: Astro Coast
    Grabbed attention with 'Swim' at the back end of 09. Happily, rest of Astro Coast's surf rock lives up to early hype. More so than The Drums.

    Listen: Surfer BloodFloating Vibes
    Watch: Surfer Blood - Swim (To Reach The End)



    9. Wild Nothing: Gemini

    Wild Nothing picked up on the dreamy shoe gaze sound of 2009 and released an immediate, accessible and, frankly, damn fine album in 2010.


    Listen: Wild Nothing - Chinatown
    Watch: Wild Nothing - Summer Holiday



    8. Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
    Ever prolific Bradford Cox found his old Deerhunter hat + produced an incredible record that's both intimate + anthemic in equal measures.

    Listen: Deerhunter - Never Stops
    Watch: Deerhunter - Helicopter


    7. Midlake - The Courage of Others
    How a band from Texas can produce such perfect winter music is baffling. Midlake's Courage of Others is akin to a grandiose audio hug.
    Listen: Midlake - Winter Dies
    Watch: Midlake - Acts of Man



    6. Black Keys: Brothers
    This is the White Stripes album that Jack White never made. The Black Keys' Brothers is stripped back, bluesy and, put simply, it rocks
    Listen: Black Keys - Next Girl
    Watch: Black Keys - Tighten Up



    5. Avi Buffalo - Avi Buffalo
    The debut album by teenage prodigy Avi Buffalo provides a healthy dose of musical sunshine. Lyrically foul at times, but musically delicious throughout.


    Listen: Avi Buffalo - Remember Last Time
    Watch: Avi Buffalo - What's In It For


    4. Beach House - Teen Dream
    Every spin brings something new. Whether it's heartbreaking lyrics or getting lost in instrumentation Teen Dream has something for everyone.


    Listen: Beach House - Zebra
    Watch: Beach House - Silver Soul


    3. Magnetic Fields - Realism
    Realism is a fine return to Magnetic Fields we know and love following the electric Distortion. Merritt's poetic lyrics are second to none.


    Listen: Magnetic Fields - I Don't Want To Get Over You
    Watch: Magnetic Fields - You Must Be Out of Your Mind (live)


    2. Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    Arcade Fire are a phenomenon, one of only a few bands who are universally adored. This is because they produce music as fine as The Suburbs.


    Listen: Arcade Fire - Ready To Start
    Watch: Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
    1. The National - High Violet
    How to follow up an album like Boxer? Well you take your time and come up with something even better. Dark and brooding ballads done with impeccable style. The most accessible record of the year and one that does not fade with time. Has been on pretty much constant rotation round these parts.


    Listen: The National - Bloodbuzz Ohio
    Watch: The National - Terrible Love (Alternate version)



    So, there we have it, my top 10 records of this year. You can listen to them all (well most of them - Arcade Fire and Avi Buffalo are not available) via Spotify here


    What you make of this little list? Let me know your thoughts... and your top 10s...
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    Introducing: Gospel Music

  • Sunday, 28 November 2010
  • by
  • euan mackay
  • Artist: Gospel Music
    From: Jacksonville, Fl
    Label: Kill Rock Stars / Fierce Panda
    Info: Myspace / Official Site


    Until now, Owen Holmes is perhaps better known for his bass-work with Black Kids. However whilst awaiting the completion of the notoriously difficult second album, he decided to set out on his own under the moniker of Gospel Music.


    Next week, (29th November in UK, 30th in US) he releases his debut EP 'Duettes' through Fierce Panda and Kill Rock Stars in the US. We caught up with Owen to find out a little bit more on his new project.




    As the title perhaps suggests, the EP comprises a series of five duets each of which features a separate high profile guest, including notably Traceyanne Campbell of Camera Obscura on lead single 'Automobile'. Watch the video for the track here...




    The five tracks on the EP are all relatively short and snappy as well as being extremely catchy. It blends a healthy hint of Magnetic Fields, Jonathan Richman and Moldy Peaches. Needless to say from that, it's a really infectious mix.


    When asked how the record came about a self-deprecating Holmes explained "Over the past couple years my songs have stopped being awful, and in maybe February I noticed I had a couple duet-like tunes in the can. I thought it'd be clever to spell the word "duettes," which to me suggests that the songs are short and simple, so I wrote a few more duets, and ta-da."


    When prompted on how he decided upon each of his collaborators on the record, (there's additional contributions from SoKo, Shirley Simms of Magnetic Fields, Darren Haymen of Hefner and Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls) Holmes suggested that he was fairly clear on who he wanted involved from the off and that only one of his original targets had declined his advances. Being the affable chap he is, he refused to name and shame. Holmes recorded his vocals and instrumentals from the EP out of his apartment kitchen in Jacksonville with his collaborators dialling in from afar.


    Perhaps one of the most endearing qualities of 'Duettes' comes in the shape of Holmes' lyrics. Describing his songwriting process Holmes said: "Stephin Merritt has said songwriting is all about "the nouns, the beautiful nouns," and I'm inclined to agree. My songs usually start with a kernel of truth — something I'm experiencing, say — that's then embellished or twisted to be more interesting."


    Opening the EP with the immortal line 'Baby, I miss the shit out of you' the lyrics span cooking gumbo and home brewing in 'Gamaphobia', learning the works of Tchaikovsky to impress a someone special (yes, he name drops Tchaikovsky in song)  and donating to NPR and baking pasta dough in 'Are Your Parents Still Together' the lyrics are perfectly entertaining, diverse and intelligently bittersweet in equal measures.


    So what's next for Gospel Music? Well it seems it could get quite lively. There are whispers of a full-length record likely to hit stores early in 2011. This is expected sooner rather than later, or at least once he can motivate himself to write the second half of the album. One of the downsides of having gone solo is that "there's no one else there saying, hey, we've gotta write songs, or practice, or whatever". If that weren't enough there's also the possibility of that elusive second Black Kids album surfacing too.


    If that weren't enough Holmes also has plans afoot to to take the Gospel Music on the road. Excitingly shows are being lined up both sides of the pond on either side of the new year. Intriguingly one of his collaborators will be joining him for the shows singing on all the songs. Sadly though his lips again remained sealed for whom the mystery guest would be. Stay tuned for more info a little closer to the time.


    Gospel Music release Duettes on 29th November in the UK, 30th November in the US. Pick up a limited edition numbered 10" copy of the record through Record Drop (Where you get MP3s with your vinyl) or Kill Rock Stars.


    Check out the full interview here:


    Would you care to introduce yourself?


    Owen Holmes — long-distance runner, Democrat, mediocre-but-improving cook, naturalist (in the philosophical sense).


    Congratulations on the new EP, it sounds great, How did it come about?


    Thank you, Euan. Over the past couple years my songs have stopped being awful, and in maybe February I noticed I had a couple duet-like tunes in the can. I thought it'd be clever to spell the word "duettes," which to me suggests that the songs are short and simple, so I wrote a few more duets, and ta-da.


    The new EP is comprised entirely of duets with different special guests featuring on each... How did you choose your collaborators?


    It was clear to me early on whom I'd like to have for each one, and lo and behold, all but one singer (not sayin' who) agreed to contribute. It had mostly to do with the nature of each song, as you'd expect. The little stops at the beginning of the verses in "Automobile," for example, reminded me of Camera Obscura's "French Navy," so I went for Tracyanne for that one. I've been a fan since "Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi," which I discovered while "studying abroad" at the University of Edinburgh years ago, so I was happy to see it work out.


    How did the recording process work? Did you get everyone in the studio or was it all done in parts in situ? Any tales to tell?


    No great stories to tell, though I could say that wiring money to the Glasgow studio where Tracyanne recorded her vocals might have been the most convoluted, Kafkaesque experience of my life. Don't tell her.


    My favourite track on the EP is the lead single 'Automobile'. I just can't get it out of my head, it's simple and extremely catchy and your vocal with Traceyanne Campbell's work great together.

    What is your favourite track, and why?



    Beauty and the beast, right? "Are Your Parents Still Together?" has stood out to me lately. It's like, I don't know what kind of music that is.


    Are there any plans to take Gospel Music on the road, if so, where and when? If not, Why not!?


    There'll be a handful of shows for this record. No hard dates yet but I'm looking at either side of the new year, both in the US and UK. One of the contributors will be with me, singing on all the songs.


    You've got a couple of cracking record labels behind you in Kill Rock Stars and Fierce Panda for this release, so what's in the pipeline for Gospel Music? Any plans for future releases?


    I know, right? There'll be a full-length next year, sooner than later — I've got about half of it written at the moment. That album will just be "normal" songs, with maybe the occasional guest.


    The lyrics on the new EP are amazing, think that 'Gamophobia' is the only track I know of where I have seen Jesus and Tchaikovsky name checked in the same verse... Have you got any favourite lyrics on here? Can you talk a little bit about your song writing process?


    Ah yes, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus" is a hymn I sang growing up at church — not sure if it's well-known in your parts. I'm still new at this, but I suppose my favorite lyrics are the most specific ones — about JFK, gumbo, National Public Radio (another American conceit), etc. Stephin Merritt has said songwriting is all about "the nouns, the beautiful nouns," and I'm inclined to agree. My songs usually start with a kernel of truth — something I'm experiencing, say — that's then embellished or twisted to be more interesting. An example from the record would be "I Miss The Shit Out Of You" — the first verse is about my feelings for my girlfriend at the time, but instead of keeping it a straightforward love song, I fictionalized the second verse, wherein my lover says she doesn't miss me quite enough to move to my backwards town to be with me.


    Staying with the lyrics for a little longer, they remind me quite a lot of Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields with perhaps also a hint of Jonathan Richman and Adam Green thrown in for good measure...
    Have you got any particular songwriters that you admire or who have influenced you and your lyrics?



    You nailed it with the first two, or at least I'd like to think so. I'm less familiar with Adam Green's work. I started preferring logical lyrics a few years ago — who knew how much harder it is to write a song that makes sense. To that effect, other favorite lyricists include Dwight Yoakam, Lee Hazlewood, Darren Hayman and Cass McCombs.


    How does it feel to be out there on your own outwith the Black Kids banner?


    That's the catch with a solo project, I'm finding out: you have all the control, and you have all the responsibility. There's no one else there saying, hey, we've gotta write songs, or practice, or whatever. If you don't do it, it doesn't get done, and no one will ever care. At least at first.


    What's happening with Black Kids? Last I heard you were recording a second album...?


    Yep, still writing #2 back home in Florida. Stay tuned.


    Finally, We'd like you to make a mix tape, can you pick five tracks to kick it off?



    Here's what I'm digging at the moment:

    "A Picture Of Our Torn-Up Praise" by Phosphorescent
    "I Can't Talk About It" by El Perro Del Mar
    "Just Like A Movie Star" by The 6ths
    "Rebel Jew" by Silver Jews
    "Jet Plane" by Papercuts
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