Best of the Year 2016 (Part Two)

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Before I get on to the return of some big hitters, I’ll mention Gold Furs, the solo project of Becca Murray, an up and coming Glaswegian lo-fi singer/songwriter with an intriguing, sometimes Nico-esque voice that also reminds me of Siouxsie at times.

Becca lists her influences as ‘ghosts, magick, rock n roll, time travel, dreams, death, lust, alcohol, sex, anything with soul’ and is a fan of a very wide array of artists from The Cramps through to Ennio Morricone.

Her Dreams EP is out now via Bandcamp and if you’re even more old school than me you might want the limited edition cassette release of this, the cassette casing being flecked with gold glitter which looks fantastic.

From it this is Nobody Knows:

 
Next up is Honeyblood, an act that I have featured twice before and adore. The lead single from second album Babes Never Die, this is Waiting for the Magic, which along with Justine, Misery Queen is my favourite track from a consistently strong album:


And now the return of two big hitters. Firstly, Pixies.

Pixies released their first new album in ages last year – no I don’t count collections of EPs like Indie Cindy as ‘new’ albums.

For a while in the late 1980s, Pixies were one of my two favourite bands in the entire universe along with My Bloody Valentine. Nowadays, sans Kim Deal, they still make fantastic music but we all know they will never be as manically brilliant as they were back then with Black Francis’ ferocious, tonsil-shredding screams and hollered unhinged lyrics, and that amazing barrage of razor sharp guitar, furiously pounded drums and malevolent basslines that left you frazzled whenever you were lucky enough to see them live.

Head Carrier is nowhere near as good as Doolittle or Surfer Rosa. Many critics loathed the album, usually ones that enjoy bores like Kate Tempest whingeing on about whatever easy target she whinges on about.

On tracks like Might as Well Be Gone, Tenement Song and All I Think About Now the quartet do still shine, although I preferred the latter song when it was called Where Is My Mind? Only joking. I think.

Directed by bassist Paz Lenchantin (who is a very good Kim Deal tribute act it would have to be said) this is Classic Masher:


Finally, the Jesus and Mary Chain are back.

Produced by Youth, who also provides bass on the record, their first new album in umpteen years, Damage And Joy, will be released on March 24th 2017.

According to Paste: ‘It’s a far cry from their early shoegaze sound, and develops the cleaner, distinct layers they opted for later in their career, though their iconic distortion isn’t totally absent and the music still feels raw.’

Despite having always thought of myself being a Mary Chain fan since their early days I seem to have missed their ‘early shoegaze sound’ but anyway, this was the first taster from the upcoming album, this is Amputation:


And here’s six more of my top 30 songs of 2016:

Those Unfortunates: The Servant
Explosions in the Sky: Logic of a Dream
Chorusgirl: Chorusgirl
Lurkers GLM: Nearly Home
Miracle Glass Company: T.R.O.U.B.L.E
& The Strokes: Drag Queen

For more on Gold Furs: https://www.facebook.com/goldfurs/

For more on Honeyblood: http://honeyblood.co.uk/

For more on more on Pixies: http://www.pixiesmusic.com/

& for The Jesus and Mary Chain: http://thejesusandmarychain.uk.com/

Tied Up In Nottz, A Perfect Storm & The Wind That Cried The World (Best of 2014, Part Two)

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Change of plan. Instead of the best thirty tracks of the year, I’ve decided to make it 35. So, again in no particular order, here are the final twenty of those selections plus ten albums that are either compilations, reissues, recorded live or soundtracks.

Singles

Subway Sect: Born to be a Rebel
The Vaselines: Crazy Lady
North Atlantic Oscillations: August
Simple Minds: Blindfolded
BMX Bandits: My Girl Midge
Moodoid: La Lune
& Sleaford Mods: Tied Up In Nottz


Honeyblood: Super Rat
St Vincent: Digital Witness
James King and The Lonewolves: Fun Patrol
Hookworms: On Leaving
Poppy Seed and the Love Explosion: In the Real
Future Islands: Seasons
& Casual Sex: A Perfect Storm


Young Fathers: Get Up
Alvvays: Adult Diversion
Odonis Odonis: Alexa Wait
Roxy Agogo: When You Dress Up
Sonido Gallo Negro: Inca-A-Delic
& The Phantom Band: The Wind that Cried the World


Compilations

Velvet Underground: The Velvet Underground 45th Anniversary Edition
Franz Ferdinand: Late Night Tales
David Bowie: Nothing Has Changed
The Bluebells: Exile on Twee Street
Edwin Collins, Carwyn Ellis and Sebastian Lewsley: The Possibilities Are Endless OST
Various Artists: Punk 45: Sick On You! One Way Spit!
Pixies: Doolittle 25
Vic Godard: 30 Odd Years
Bis: Social Dancing
& Siouxsie and The Banshees: Peepshow

If anybody’s wondering, my favourite film was Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, favourite documentary is a toss–up between The Possibilities Are Endless and All This Mayhem and my favourite gig was The Nectarine No. 9 performing Saint Jack in its entirety at Rutherglen Town Hall – with Casual Sex supporting. Oh yeah.

The Last Big Weekend & Where You’re Meant To Be

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You may already know that The Last Big Weekend is a two day boutique festival organised by the East End Social that’s taking place in Richmond Park, close to Glasgow’s greyhound racing central, Shawfield Stadium. Saturday’s lineup is curated by Chemikal Underground while Numbers and Optimo have combined forces to curate the Sunday leg.

Mogwai, whose Rave Tapes is one of my very favourite albums released so far this year, are joined on Saturday by John Peel favourites The Wedding Present, former Creation signings Swervedriver and Edinburgh’s fast rising Young Fathers as well as Fuck Buttons, James Holden, The Twilight Sad, Holy Mountain and Honeyblood.

Last Big Weekend

I can’t be there that day as I’m going along to a wedding, although I’d have really liked to see Mogwai headline and just about all of the other bands on the bill. Day Two, which promises to feature some of the very best local and international DJs together with some of the finest electronic music acts out there, isn’t so much my thing apart from the multi-talented ex-LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy, who one day I’d like to see produce a new David Bowie album.

Anyway, on Sunday night I’m off to the Where You’re Meant To Be event, which bills itself as ‘A Musical Road Trip and Film from Aidan Moffat and Paul Fegan’ with the Barrowlands, I’m told, being transformed for the occasion into ‘a cabaret-style cinema venue’ with clips of the forthcoming Where You’re Meant To Be road movie/documentary being screened and anecdotes from Moffat, a natural raconteur if ever there was one, about the stories behind each clip. Of course there will also be songs and Aidan will be backed by James Graham of The Twilight Sad), Jenny Reeve of Bdy_Prts and Stevie Jones (El Hombre Trajeado).

Also performing on the night will be double-act Joe Aitken & Geordie Murison and Glaswegian singer Danny Couper. Should be a very interesting and entertaining evening.

Getting back to The Last Big Weekend – and yes, I was tempted to post a link to Arab Strap’s The First Big Weekend – I’ve started this post with the headliners from day one and I’m going to end with the band who’ll be opening the proceedings on Saturday afternoon, Glasgow based duo Honeyblood, who consist of vocalist and guitarist Stina Tweeddale and drummer Shona McVicar.

Over the past few years they’ve signed to Brighton indie Fat Cat Records, released an album produced by Peter Katis, played T in the Park and toured the States. They’ve been compared to The Breeders, Best Coast and PJ Harvey but I’d say they’re more like Strawberry Switchblade with a snarl (and without the polka-dots) or, and I’m maybe thinking more of Stina’s voice here, The Sundays.

Here’s the alt-country flavoured Bud from their self titled debut album which is definitely worth seeking out:

 
For more on The Last Big Weekend click here.
For more on Where You’re Meant To Be click here.
For more on Aidan Moffat click here.
& for more on Honeyblood click here.