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  • Alistair Braidwood

January Rhythym and Blues: It’s The Best New Music From The Last Month…

Sorry I’m late… The last couple of weeks have been mental. But you don’t care about that, and why should you; so let’s take a deep breath and crack on with a delayed roundup of the best music from January.

One of the reasons it was such a mad month is due to a fantastic Celtic Connections, which saw amazing shows from Mogwai, R.M. Hubbert, Norman Blake and Joe Pernice’s New Mendicants, Bobby Womack, Bill Callaghan, and many more. With sold out gigs, and great word of mouth, it seemed 2014 was a vintage year for the festival.

My best night was undoubtedly the Olive Grove Records Showcase, something I predicted last month, where a line-up which included Randolph’s Leap, Jo Mango, The Moth and the Mirror, The State Broadcasters and Woodenbox gave us over five hours of uninterrupted musical magic. I could talk about personal highlights, but this was about a collective and was a night where everyone shone, with Olive Grove proving once more that when it comes to signing bands, they have impeccable taste.

New to me were Call To Mind, who more than held their own in such illustrious company. This is the first release from their forthcoming debut album, and it is A Family Sketch:

One of the best albums from last year was Keeping Company With Wolves from Miss The Occupier. Critics often make a lot of Roz Davies’ instantly recognisable vocals, and rightly so, but this is as a tight a band as you will find, with thumping bass, chiming guitar and driving drums (and a splash of keyboards) all working together to produce a sound which continues to make them stand out from the crowd. One of the best tracks from the album is Your Fairytales, a dark and disturbing song which channels Angela Carter and Alfred Hitchcock, and which now has a video to match:

Glasgow band, Natalie Pryce, released a double A-side single in January, and have a video for each track. Like Miss The Occupier, they are a band who embrace the darker side of life. They would make the perfect house band in a David Lynch movie, and that includes looking the part in some very natty suits, which endears them to me even more. In summary, a Glaswegian Afghan Whigs is a pretty good description. It was a toss up as to which track to feature here, and Janine won. This gives you a good idea as to what they are up to:

White Town by Stampede Road featured in the best of the year musical roundup, and I am delighted that they have followed that up with something equally interesting and arresting. When I listen to Stampede Road I am transported to their world, and my own dulls in comparison. Even after hearing only a little of their music you just know that this is a band of class and quality, and this is Old Town:

Winter Tradition, another Scots Whay Hae! favourite, also had a new single released in January to coincide with their current tour. The track is Departures, and if you do get the chance to see them live I urge you to do so as they are as good in the flesh as they are on this video, which, as you’ll see, is pretty impressive:

Perhaps the most interesting new release of the new year promises to be The Diary of a Lost Girl, from former This Mortal Coil vocalist, Louise Rutkowski. It comes out on the 21st February, and the most immediate comparison when you listen to the opening track, The Mearns, is with Kate Bush, as well as Louise’s previous work. As matters progress you may not forget those comparisons, but you understand them as the music follows its own path and puts them into perspective. I just know I’m going to be playing this all year, and it is album of the month in a month that was full of strong contenders. You can listen to all the tracks over at Soundcloud, but in the meantime, enjoy this preview video:

One of those best album contenders is the long awaited release from the magnificent Young Fathers which came out last month. It is called Dead, I just love the sound they make, and if you have a pulse I think you will too. This is the new single, Get Up, but go and get a copy of the album, it will improve your life:

That’s all for last month, except I should mention the new Mogwai album, Rave Tapes, which is fabulous, but then you probably know that already. Coming soon, the best of February, and I promise you won’t have to wait as long next time…

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