Your Next Favourite Garage Bands (Best of 2015, Part Three)

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One of my favourite discoveries of the year has been Night Dials, a five-piece outfit that have been creating a buzz in London in recent months at venues like the Monarch in Camden and St. Moritz on Wardour Street.

I recently interviewed the band for Shindig magazine, where drummer Paul explained that the band met during their college days and were brought together ‘by a mutual love for good music and all things 1960s.’

Certainly that love of garage, psych and a number of West London bands like The Yardbirds is evident in much of their material but there’s some Jesus and Mary Chain in their musical DNA too and the guys also share a fiercely independent attitude to making and releasing music. ‘It’s all homemade and recorded very quickly,’ according to Paul, so think something along the lines of a non perfectionist La’s with William Reid on guitar, covering some forgotten gem by an Eel Pie Island outfit that supported The Rolling Stones in 1966.

During 2015, Night Dials released two double A sided singles. I’ve Done More Things is an incessant slice of pristine garage pop while I’ll Sleep When I Die is a gorgeous lo-fi lullaby. The follow up, Waiting At Your Door/Little Flame is available now on Ciao Ketchup Recordings and here with its drenched in acid-fried colours, swirling patterns and animal head masks is Waiting At Your Door:

So here are my final batch of the best singles and album tracks of the year:

Night Dials: Waiting At Your Door
Lola in Slacks: Soirée
Lonelady: Bunkerpop
Low: What Part of Me
Nicolas Godin: Widerstehe Doch Der Sünde
Tuff Love: Duke
New Order: Tutti Frutti
The Fall: Auto Chip 2014-2016
Natalie Pryce: Søren
The Creeping Ivies: The Witch House

The sound of The Creeping Ivies isn’t a million musical miles away from that of Night Dials. Hailing from Glasgow and now signed to fabby local label Flowers in the Dustbin, their recent album Your New Favourite Garage Band rounded up a number of previous releases including the track featured here and another with the enticing title of What Would Joey Ramone Do? Earlier this year, I saw them perform a supercharged set of pared-back rock’n’roll at McChuills, with vaulting vocals from the cool as fuck Becca, feral guitars and some wonderfully noisy drum bashing. Just my kind of night.

This is The Witch House:

For more on Night Dials, click here.

For more on The Creeping Ivies, click here.

As for reissues, box sets, compilations and live albums, here’s a list of ten of the best:

The Nectarine No. 9: Saint Jack
The Velvet Underground: Loaded
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Live at Barrowlands
Various Artists: The Odyssey: A Northern Soul Time Capsule
Pre Ubu: Elitism For The People 1975-1978
Jock Scot: My Personal Culloden
Chris Bell: I Am the Cosmos
Various Artists: Marc Bolan Presents the Soul Sessions
Bis: I love bis
Various Artists: Ork Records: New York, New York


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There’s some potentially very fine shows taking place in Glasgow over the next few days. On Thursday _Linden play the Poetry Club in Glasgow and the following night Lola in Slacks, one of the most promising new Scottish acts to emerge in recent years, will be launching their debut single Tramlines at the CCA.

FFS Barrowlands


Oh and tonight FFS will be onstage at the Barrowlands, a show that a grown man maybe shouldn’t be getting quite as excited about as I am but one that promises to be a very special event that will live long in the memory. Sparks and Franz Ferdinand for fuck’s sake! At the Barrowlands!

I’m especially looking forward to hearing their version of Sparks’ This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us, a song that never makes any of those lists of the greatest ever singles but which certainly should.

Here are Sparks performing the song in 1974 on German TV pop show Disco with an audience that seems to have been collectively on valium. In fact, I’m guessing that Ron and Russell would have had to dispense with the sound effects and fired real gunshots in the studio to have elicited any sort of reaction from this bunch.

And now for some Franz Ferdinand without Sparks, performing what is still their best known work Take Me Out live last year at T in the Park – and no complaints this time about their reception from the audience, who were likely on the Buckfast collectively for the show:

For more on Sparks click here. For more on Franz Ferdinand click here and for more on FFS, guess what? Yep, click here.

Teenage Exorcists, Ron Asheton & Pieces of Me (Best of 2014, Part One)

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Same as last year except spread over two posts, in no particular order, thirty of my favourite new tracks released during 2014, at least I think they’re all from 2014, along with ten of the very best compilations, reissues or soundtracks and five books.

My top ten albums in order will follow on before the end of the year but for now, here’s the first batch of single tracks together with my the five music books that have impressed me the most.


The Amazing Snakeheads: Here It Comes Again
Morrissey: World Peace is None of Your Business
Opium Kitchen: We Will Be
TV Smith: I Delete
Mogwai: Teenage Exorcists

Beck: Turn Away
Ming City R*ckers: I Wanna Get Out of Here (But I Can’t Take You Anywhere)
The Rosy Crucifixion: Sinners
The Nightingales: Dumb and Drummer
The Sexual Objects: Ron Asheton

King Creosote: For One Night Only
Cleaners From Venus: Imaginary Seas
Cosines: Out of the Fire
Lola in Slacks: False Lines (demo)
Lucy’s Diary: Pieces of Me

The Written Word

Viv Albertine: Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys. Faber.
John Lydon: Anger is an Energy: My Life Uncensored. Simon & Schuster.
Peter Doherty: From Albion to Shangri-La (Transcribed and edited by Nina Antonia). Thin Man Press,
David Stubbs: Future Days: Krautrock and the Building of Modern Germany. Faber.
Steve Hanley & Olivia Piekarski: The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall. Route.

Blindfolded, The Return of Simple Minds & Some Psychedelic High-Rise Flats


There’s a new Simple Minds album due out in November. Ten years ago this information wouldn’t have really interested me very much. I’d largely given up on the band and doubted that any real return to form was ever very likely.

Once though, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, they’d been a favourite band of mine when their sound was like Neu meets the Velvet Underground by the banks of the river Clyde.

I Travel, written about their experiences while touring Europe for the first time, was post-punk disco, arty but also accessible – it gave a lyrical nod to Eno’s Music For Airports and used to fill the dance floor in Maestro’s in a flash. Or listen to Theme For Great Cities for further evidence of just how fantastic they could sound, with the almost spectral, sometimes shimmering synth of Mick MacNeil and Derek Forbes’ indestructable bassline.

Simple Minds Glasgow City Hall 1980

Like the high-rises in Toryglen where Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill had grown up, the music of Simple Minds gradually fell out of favour. The flats were demolished and at one point the band were left label-less.

Jim Kerr appeared more concerned with opening sushi restaurants and following Glasgow Celtic than making music. Covers album Neon Lights was the nadir, failing to climb any higher than #141 in the UK charts. Simple Minds soldiered on though and, to their credit, refused to join any I Love the 80s money spinning nostalgia fests.

With their 30th anniversary looming, Simple Minds began celebrating their past while also looking to the future, planning to make an album that as Jim Kerr put it: ‘belied the fact we’d been together for three decades’.

2009’s Graffiti Soul, just about lived up to this hope and was their finest for a very long time. The newly recorded tracks on last year’s Celebrate compilation kept up the good work. Although still a little too glossy for my liking, Broken Glass Park showed a revitalised band determined not to just go through the motions. Stagefright, a free download from 2011 also included in Celebrate was even better.

I instantly liked new track Blindfolded when I heard it on Sunday night’s Billy Sloan show on Clyde 2 (and the first live session by Glasgow band Lola In Slacks on the show was superb too incidentally). Anyway, see what you think, shot in Paris and Berlin by Damien Reeves of Noisebox, this is Blindfolded from the forthcoming album Big Music:

For more on Simple Minds: Facebook

And finally, seeing Toryglen from a distance on several bus journeys some years ago, I couldn’t work out what had happened to the tower blocks there as they suddenly looked distinctly psychedelic.

Nope, I wasn’t on acid or magic mushrooms and I did later discover that, pre-demolition, they had been used for an award winning TV ad:

The Glasgow Mix Tape

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Did anybody watch the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games?

Events like this really aren’t ‘my thing’, I’ve always been impressed by Danny Boyle’s films since Shallow Grave but despite him being appointed artistic director of the Olympics bonanza a couple of years ago, I just couldn’t muster the necessary enthusiasm to watch a single moment of the extravaganza he put together to kick off London 2012.

Being a Glaswegian, though, curiosity did get the better of me on Wednesday night so around nine o’clock I switched on my TV and settled down to see what sort of spectacle would be on show at Celtic Park.

Unusually the city was bathed all day in sunshine, the temperature reaching as high as 25 degrees C – the only thing higher being the price of drinks inside the stadium: £20 for four pints with shorts even pricier. Hopefully bucketloads of bevvy wouldn’t be required by spectators to enjoy the evening ahead.

We’d been promised the ceremony would be ironic and subversive so when Karen Dunbar and John Barrowman appeared first up with a dreadful song and dance number written especially for the show, I thought maybe it was a joke and that after somebody like the Krankies were introduced up next that maybe Ewan McGregor would quickly appear to recreate his ‘It’s shite being Scottish’ rant from Trainspotting and that things could actually get very interesting.

Okay, I didn’t really think this and the much touted potential audience of one billion plus was down by at least one within minutes. Time for some of Scotland’s national drink.

When I did flick on my remote back I caught a silver suited and more than slightly hoarse Rod Stewart croaking his way at times through Rhythm of My Heart and then Susan Boyle, a woman whose popularity has always remained an absolute mystery to me, performing what seemed like a shortened version of Mull of Kintyre which just wasn’t short enough.

Apparently I missed a giant kilt, hordes of people dressed as Tunnock’s tea cakes, loads of chairs being moved around by dancers along an old Andy Stewart tune and the aforementioned Ewan McGregor starting the ball rolling for some charity fundraising for Unicef.

In retrospect a better idea than my Mark Renton one. And if you’d like to donate five pounds to that appeal text FIRST to 70333.

My TV did go back on again an hour or so later and before I’m dismissed as a ‘detractor’ I’m happy to admit that things had improved. The athletes all seemed to enjoy parading round the multicoloured track (a little Jim Lambie-esque) and taking selfies. The English team arrived to a genuinely warm applause – so much for the Telegraph’s predictions that they might be booed and the stadium went berserk for the Scots, who arrived to The Shamens’ Move Any Mountain in their apparently controversial team outfits, which looked fine and dandy to me. Not that you’re likely to see me dressed in any garb like that the next time I make my way down London Road or Sauchiehall Street.

Billy Connolly, via a recorded message, told the story of Glasgow signalling the city’s support for the campaign to free Nelson Mandela by renaming St George’s Place to Nelson Mandela Place, a decision devised to cause maximum embarrassment to the South African consulate housed there.

Then it was time for the great and the good (I’m guessing) to spout clichés and (I’m guessing) engage in some political point scoring during (I’m guessing again) some very long winded speeches.

TV back off and onto Soundcloud for me where I listened again to the three tracks on new Glaswegian band Lola in Slack’s demo produced by former Simple Mind Mick MacNeil. Much more like the thing.

the Glasgow Mixtape

The bill for the Glasgow Mix Tape event taking place on this Saturday (2. August) is also much more to my taste than anything I witnessed at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

On Glasgow Green that day there will be everything from the Dixieland jazz of Penman’s Jazzmen to the good time ska of The Amphetameanies but the day will mainly reflect what the organisers, the East End Social describe as ‘the city’s extraordinary heritage for independent music making’.

Highlights for me should include The Phantom Band, an acoustic set from Edwyn Collins and, headlining the Living Room stage, Lloyd Cole and The Leopards – who can be seen below on Later performing Women’s Studies:

And this is Edwyn Collins accompanied by Paul Cook on drums doing Losing Sleep, the title track of Edwyn’s seventh solo album:

Keep the faith!

For more on the East End Social click here.

For more on the fantastic Lola in Slacks click here.