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  • Alistair Braidwood

January Sales: It’s The Month in Music…

This is going to be a bit of a bumper posting as it includes some of the new music from December that was overlooked in all those end of year roundups. I’ll just crack on if that’s all right with you. First off is an early contender for album of the year (it’s a hard habit to break!) It’s the latest album from R.M Hubbert which is called Thirteen Lost & Found and is simply sublime. It includes guest appearances from the likes of Aidan Moffat, Alex Kapranos, Emma Pollock, Alasdair Roberts, Luke Sutherland, Marion Kenny, Hanna Tuulikki and more (Phew!) but it is Hubbert’s outstanding guitar playing that is the major attraction throughout. If you heard his last album First and Last you’ll already know that the man can break your heart with just six strings. Thirteen Lost & Found is a stride forward in terms of scope and production but it doesn’t lose Hubbert’s intimacy and heart. You can witness this for yourselves in this clip, recorded for Insularis Records, as he plays three of the instrumental pieces from the album:

Last week I went to Glasgow’s Black Sparrow to see Calum Ingram, who was very good, but I was left blown away by the first band on that night, The Lotus Project. They are one of those bands I feel I should know but somehow don’t, probably because I spend far too much time writing this. What I mean is that they had a familiarity that made them immediately appealing. There are shades of Liz Fraser and Beth Gibbons in the vocals of Marie Claire Lee and if there is a better percussionist around at the moment than Signy Jakobsdottir then they must be a hell of a player. Here’s a clip of their cover of the mighty KISS’s I Was Made For Loving You which gives you a clear idea of what they do:

The quality of the stuff that’s appearing in my inbox these days is remarkably high. Three examples of this come next. First off is Edinburgh’s The Machine Room who featured in November’s roundup, and who have their debut EP Love From a Distance released on the 5th March. I’m privileged enough to have heard it and if you like accomplished pop music with chiming guitars, soaring vocals and a rhythm section who drive everything on then you have to check them out. There’s some early New Order in there, echoes of Ride, Bauhaus and even Birdland (anyone else remember them fondly?) but they also have the contemporary feel of Washed Out and Blank Canvas. Have a listen and see what you think:

And now to My Tiny Robots, a band who it’s hard to believe I haven’t yet mentioned on Scots Whay Hae!. I bet they’re saying that as well. The latest release is Zut Alors which came out on the 23rd January and it’s a piece of off-beat folky weirdness which reminds me of Les Negress Vertes, not because of the French vibe, but because My Tiny Robots have a distinctive sound, but you’re never quite sure what that is, and I get the feeling that they don’t either. This is a good thing, and this is Zut Alors:

Eugene Twist is the best name to have entered my inbox in some time. Could the music stand up to that billing? Eugene listed his influences as Costello, Dylan and Sexsmith so is a man of taste. He is also a man of rare talent. His album is The Boy Who Had Everything, and it is well named. You can hear his influences, and more than a hint of Nick Lowe, but this is a sound and a voice that is confidently his own. It is another example of what I mentioned higher up the page, that there is such a lot of music of genuine quality out at the moment that it gladdens the heart. From The Boy Who Had Everything this is If There’s Love Where I’m Going: I’ve seen If You Lived Here You’d Be Home By Now a few times live now and they always intrigue and entertain. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea (one of my more heated arguments of recent times was over their merits. Drink had been taken) but if you like yer Peej Harvey, Lydia Lunch, Marc Almond, Jaques Brel, even the lovely Kate Bush, then I think you’ll approve. The following video was shot in one of my favourite places in Glasgow, the Necropolis, and it’s for the song Sleeping Beauty:

And finally, The Jon Cohen Experimental are in Glasgow at BLOC tonight and in Edinburgh at the Wee Red Bar tomorrow. Jon Cohen is a man who was in The Dears and The Social Register among others, and has shared producers with the brilliant Kathleen Edwards who will be in town on the 24th of February at Oran Mor. With that CV you just now he’s going to be good, and this is sheer class. This is Don’t Be the Cloud:

So that’s the year so far and if things continue this way I’ll be more than content. We live in good times, make sure you make the most of them, and if you like any of the music above remember they all have further tunes and songs for your enjoyment, so give them your support and buy an album, or EP, or go to a gig. We live in good times, but don’t take them for granted as you’ll miss them when they’re over.


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