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  • Alistair Braidwood

Midsummer Night’s Dreams: The Best New Music from July…

There are some months where it is, relatively, easy to pick the best music. July 2013 will not go down as one of those. If I have had an inbox of better quality music then I’ll have to go back and search for it because it doesn’t leap to mind.

As I’m listening to all the contenders for the final selection I have no real idea of just how long that will be, but it’s going to be a doozy. I usually try to make it 6-8 songs long, but this will be a director’s cut.

So, with so much to get through, let’s get cracking. First off is a rather beautiful EP by Edinburgh’s Stampede Road, led by singer/songwriter Graeme Duncan. It’s called White Rooms, and this is the title track, which is a wonderfully evocative song, full of yearning and memory. It reminds me of Stephen Stills, Townes Van Zandt or, for a more recent reference, Clem Snide. But it is quite lovely in its own right, and sets the highest of standards for what is to follow. Have a listen:

Luckily the standard never drops round here. Next up to prove that point is the second single from Lost Ghosts. They released their debut last month, which you can hear in June’s review, and if they keep this quality up then we are in for a real treat. This is Summer Nothing:

Now, to crank the noise up a wee bit further, this is Fatherson. It’s the harmonies that lift this above the usual rock cliches. Crashing guitars, skin-tight snares, and even a bit of tambourine, this is rock music of the kind which is all too rare. This is the video for Mine To Me, and it will stick in your head for days to come:

While we’re in the mood for some great rock/pop music, here are Quiet As A Mouse. Their single An Accident Waiting To Happen (Awoo Woo Woo) featured in March’s roundup, and they are back with Home Is The Hardest Place To Find, a song with a bassline slung so low it reminds me of Killing Joke’s Youth or Peter ‘Hooky’ Hook, and when it’s added to everything else you get a song which goes a little something like this:

There’s a poster in the sandwich shop which I often frequent during lunchtime (Bite Me in Cessnock, since you ask) which advertises Emma’s Imagination, so I realised that this is someone many people will have already heard of, even if Emma had so far passed me by. I was intrigued to hear the music which sprung forth from her imagination, and it’s a pleasure to discover that the single, Pour It Out, is really very good indeed. It has a swampy, bluegrass feel, and wouldn’t be out of place on an episode of True Blood. Here’s the video:

Next are Miasma with the video of the month, and a great song. This is a band who understand how to play, and do it with almost nonchalant ease. This song is The River, and it goes through so many movements, twists and turns that you have to stick it on straight away to make sure you haven’t missed anything. I really like this:

I hope you”re enjoying it so far, because I’m about to raise the bar even higher. I may just be in one of those moods, but the next three tracks are so far up my street that they are in danger of disappearing over the horizon. Very different, but each one hits the spot and are currently being played night and day. First are Cfit, who strictly speaking should be included in next month’s review as they contacted me in August, but I couldn’t wait to share. Maybe I’ll stick them in next month as well. They make the kind of electronic music I love; moving, moody and magnificent. You can pre-order the album Morning Bruise now, and as a taster this is Coke and Spiriters:

The fact that Looking for Lola said they enjoy Scots Whay Hae! has nothing to do with the praise I’m about to hand out. You know me better than that. Imagine Mazzy Star had been brought up in Glasgow listening to folk music instead of Santa Monica, and The Velvet Underground, and you have an idea of what to expect. The music is great, some of the best of its type I have heard in some time, but it is the combination of strings and the beautiful vocals which make this very special indeed. Hold on to something and get ready to swoon. From the album Something Shatters, this is Danny’s Waltz:

I’m going to finish with PoP Campaign, and their new single Where We Are Living (Shut Yer Piehole). They are on a mission to reclaim Pop Music from the cynical, corrupt and corporate, you know who they are. You can sign up to PoP Campaign’s Popaganda here, but their music represents why I fell in love with the Pop music of Giorgio Moroder, Chic, New Order and The Human League, all those years ago. This is how you round off a roundup, and an evening as well. Now citizens of the world, they are returning to Glasgow for a hometown gig in Bar Bloc on Oct 29th, and I will be there as I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening than listening to this with other folk and a drink in my hand. In fact, I may just call the neighbours in and do that now.

I hope you enjoyed this roundup because it’s been an absolute pleasure putting it together. And I managed to keep it under 10 songs, I think. August, you have work to do…


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