- Alistair Braidwood
June’s Tunes: The Best New Music From Last Month…
Mr Idol tells no lies, it is indeed hot in the city…tonight! Looking out on High St, the sun is in the sky, taps are ill-advisedly aff, and Calippos are oot, so here’s the best new music from the last month to provide the perfect soundtrack.
Most tastes are catered for as we move from light to shade, and from quiet to loud, and back again, but they all seem to fit. There’s even the appearance of a Scots Whay Hae! contributor. Who could it be? Is it Chris Ward’s New Jack Swing album or Ian Gregson’s long awaited Acoustic Stax Classics? You’ll have to read on to see…
First off, we have an EP from Glasgow three-piece (I love a good three-piece) Foreign Skies, and they are here to bring some class to proceedings. We get a lot of music sent to the site that many would categorise under that unwieldy term ‘post-rock’, and it takes something special to make it to the final round-up. Foreign Skies have walked it with their hugely impressive EP This Human Error, which you can hear and buy here. The first track is ‘Swells’, which a good description of what their music does, and how it makes you feel. This is a ‘Making Of’ video which will give you a flavour of what to expect:
One of the best ways of testing new music is to go and spend quality time with it. Take it for a walk, and if you find yourself abandoning it to return to old favourites then something has gone wrong. I recently took a sun-kissed stroll around the east end of Glasgow with Forgetting The Present, the new album from Remember Remember, in my ears and it was the only music required. You may already be familiar with their work, but I think this is their best yet; an acoustic/electronic/ambient shimmering soundscape which shows a musicality and imagination that most bands would die for. There are many who try to create this type of multi-layered sound, but there are few who will succeed like this. One of the albums of the year so far, it will remind you of summers past while being perfect for right here, right now. This is ‘La Mayo’:
If you were around in the late ’90s, you may remember Andrew Montgomery from his time in Geneva, a band who flirted with major league success. If you weren’t, or don’t, then you’re in for a treat as the best thing about Geneva was Montgomery’s voice. While many of their contemporaries made music that often became indistinguishable from each other, Montgomery’s voice shone in comparison, and helped Geneva stand out in what was a crowded market of British guitar bands.
He’s back with a solo album, Ruled By Dreams which will be out later in the year, but if the first single is anything to go by it should be something to treasure. That voice remains, but with more emotion than before, as though life has taken it’s toll in the intervening years. It put me in mind of the solo material of Steven Lindsay, or early Antony and The Johnsons. It is quite gorgeous, and it is called ‘After The Storm’:
Another singer you may recognise from elsewhere is Leo Condie, either as front man of The Low Miffs or as a superb interpreter of the songbook of Jaques Brel. He has a new band, simply named WHITE, whose debut single, ‘Living Fiction’, is out now. It’s a spectacularly groovy piece of new-wave pop which features hand-claps and sax to help it on its way. There should be more of this type of thing, I say, and I hope that’s exactly what WHITE will provide. You’re going to enjoy this:
I’ve featured Collar Up before on these pages, and I will continue to do so as long as they keep releasing singles as good as this. Less upbeat than you may normally expect from them, which is understandable considering the title, it is still a wonderfully crafted pop song which is a reminder that some of the most moving and memorable ones care understated and melodic. From their indispensable album Ghosts, this is ‘I Wanted To Hurt You’:
It was generally agreed around these parts that PAWS’ Cokefloat was one of the best albums of 2012. The boys are back with Youth Culture Forever, and they now feature Mr Ryan Drever who you may know from writing reviews for The List magazine, and who joined us for the Scots Whay Hae! roundup podcast of 2013. I’ll admit I haven’t got round to listening to the whole album as yet, but what I have heard promises great things. This is ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’, and you can tell by song and video that this is a band who intend to conquer home and away, and if I were a betting man I’d have a tenner on them doing just that. Take a listen:
I’m going to finish this month with Gadgies and Radges from The Ladywell Lout which I’ve only listened to once, and which I’ll need to do so a few more times before I make up my mind if it is genius or madness, and with song titles such as ‘Trancetasticminimalplastic’, ‘Out the Champions League’ and ‘Phil Collins Got A Drum Kit When He Was 5’ I’m guessing it’s a bit of both. If Aidan Moffat and Kieran Hebden were asked to to provide the soundtrack for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games I hope it would sound something like this:
That’s yer lot for another month. I’m off to have a grape Slush Puppy…