Friday, 29 August 2014

Music - Part 279 - Eoin Glackin

Eoin Glackin – Rain Finally Came (IRL Records)
Out Now

Rock n Folk singer/songwriter release his second album. 

The young Dubliner, Eoin Glackin seems to be making a few waves and is catching a lot of attention making him one of Irelands newest rising stars, and quite rightly so.

Writing songs that are simple, he combines traditional folk with bits of blues and good old Rock n Roll together with some fine, biting lyrics to make an album that is very easy to listen to but at the same time quite thought provoking. 

Take Mrs Campbell and its tale of the shooting of her Son, its gut-wrenching and heart-breaking and delivered with compassion and empathy.  “Who’ll tell Mrs Campbell her Son’s not coming home?”

With a market notorious to break through, Eoin has found himself with the task of making it elsewhere first before Irish radio will play his music.  It’s a travesty, as his is a home-grown talent that should really be embraced and nurtured.  Rain Finally Came was originally released in Ireland last year and coupled with the Pretty Girl EP (containing the album title track) which was released in the UK last month, the seeds are hopefully sown.

Eoin’s timing may be quite perfect too as 80s chart regulars, Deacon Blue return next month with a new album.  Perfect as there are some similarities between their story telling and his, also despite differing homelands the voice of Ricky Ross does sound quite similar.

The curiously titled Ninja Turtles makes perfect sense when listening to the words, and No One Had A Light even has a touch of gospel.  With some incredibly high notes being hit on What Am I To You? and a quite brilliant backing band often accompanying Eoin’s self-taught piano and guitar, Rain Finally Came could just be a break for the young man.  He clearly has belief in his undoubted talents, let’s hope that others do too.



Published on Louder Than War 24/08/14 - here

Music - Part 278 - Jona Overground

Jona Overground – On The Outside (IRL Records)
Out Now

Intricate pop duo release their debut album.

If anyone were to compare modern day writers to greats such as Bacharach and David, or Goffen and King it would have to be completely and wholly justified.  It is therefore with much deliberation that such a comparison is about to be made.

Jona Overground singularly known as just Jon an Anna write quite superb, classic sounding pop songs which have their roots firmly embedded in the 60s and 70s.  Like the beautiful voices of Dionne Warwick, Dusty Springfield and Carole King, so Anna shows why her incredibly sought after backing voice, used by the likes of Kylie, Erasure and Lionel Richie, really needs to be given the spotlight in its own right.

You’ll be convinced that you’ve heard tracks like Let’s Pretend and If You Were Free somewhere before because they contain the magical qualities that the aforementioned writers have in abundance.  Jon too is undoubtedly a talented guitarist and pianist (though his vocals on Time For Games are slightly flat) and the pair have a partnership which is well capable of writing some unforgettable songs.

Aside from the sublime timeless pop that they have the ability to seemingly create with little effort, they can also turn their hand to more dance/disco orientated tracks like My World Your World.

After individual successes (classically trained Jon has also written music for the BBC, Channel 4 and ESPN) the natural progression is to record as a duo such that their talents seem to ‘click’.  Album closer Fallout is another track that breeds the air of familiarity that much of the album contains.

The only thing that Jona Overground really need is one of those lucky breaks and you’ll hear them all over the airwaves.  They have a sound that will be adored by many and maybe, their songwriting skills will soon be in demand by many major artists too.  Remember the name as it will almost definitely come into your life again.



Published on Louder Than War 23/08/14 - here

Music - Part 277 - Trans Am

Trans Am – Volume X (Thrill Jockey)
Out Now

Heavy, electro-rock trio release their tenth album.  

You’d almost be forgiven for thinking that Volume X is a compilation of ten different artists each presenting one track each.  Trans Am clearly defy definition and are fresh and entertaining for it.

Formed in Washington DC in 1990 they are known for releasing a string of styles from Krautrock to metal, from synthpop to folk, mainly instrumentals with dance overtones.  Their eponymously titled debut album was based around improvised instrumental versions of 70s M.O.R. sounding rock efforts.

From the almost doom metal beginning of opener Anthropocene to the almost OMD like I’ll Never, Trans Am seem happy to follow any style which they feel comfortable with which sees some tracks including the dreaded vocoder (will that thing ever go away?)

As slight, whimsical tracks like I’ll Never fade away, mammoth ones like Megastorm emerge begging to be played at, ironically volume 10 and no doubt in the process rupturing an eardrum or two. Night Shift could almost be Kraftwerk and Backlash is just plain mad, frenzied thrash metal.

The mixed up styles aren’t limited to single tracks either as K Street demonstrates 80s pre-programmed rhythms, uncontrollable guitars and the line “what’s your fucking problem?” all in less than ninety seconds.  Wonderful stuff.

The opening riff to Insufficiently Breathless maybe unintentionally steals from John Lennon’s Woman but it’s a wonderful sweeping almost mystical end to a truly enjoyable album.  Even the prog-rock style of Night Shift becomes acceptable after a couple of listens, although trimming a minute off the running time wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Like label-mates White Hills, their ability to mix and thrash differing styles can only be applauded, and if this is the sort of stuff that Trans Am can put out after a quarter of a century together then let’s look forward to the next twenty-five years.


Thrill Jockey
Trans Am website
Trans Am on Twitter
White Hills on hiapop Blog

Published on Louder Than War 30/08/14 - here

Music - Part 276 - Anja McCloskey

Anja McCloskey - Quincy Who Waits (Sotones Records)
Out Now

German born singer, songwriter and accordionist releases her second album.  

Based on the evidence of Quincy Who Waits, ‘that difficulty second album’ is fatly becoming a thing of the past as Hamburg born Anja McCloskey breezes through twelve acoustic folk and traditional based tracks with confidence and aplomb.

The songs are formed around the accordion sound which alone creates an uncommon sound nowadays, and Anja’s often beautiful voice is uplifting and just simply very special.  With a CV that boasts work with the likes of Helen McCookerybook and album credits with guest including Marcus Hamblett of Eyes And No Eyes and Hannah Miller of the Moulettes amongst others, the follow-up to 2012s An Estimation album is a fine fine piece of work.

Tracks like Red are purely class.  Telling the story of many hours of driving alone through the Southern States of America it painlessly glides along with an angelic breeze and comfort.  Insane veers towards the Romany Gypsy sound that becomes quite prevalent throughout the album.

The debut single from the album, Too Many Words is haunting and stealthy.  A lovely but simple arrangement is effective and catchy, combining beautiful fiddle with gorgeous layered vocals.  The tempo is lifted slightly with Why Tea which boasts four different time signatures tucked away in an enigmatic track which is jam packed with intrigue.

Amongst the listing are three tracks which were written several years ago and gain their first outing here.  Suit Yourself, Henry Lives and the stark The Calm sit perfectly with Anja’s new material.  The later threatens to break into a harder harsher track with the introduction of percussion and a marvellous male backing voice, but resists the temptation perfectly.

The Des Moines Memorial Bridge in Iowa contains a plaque inscribed with the words ‘Quincy Who Waits In The Daffodils’ which was the inspiration for the track of the same name. 

An often moving and beautiful album which contains some quite stunning vocals and musical arrangements could quite easily be one of the surprise releases of the year.



Thursday, 28 August 2014

News - #HarFest2014 Featured On Ralph's Life Blog

#HarFest2014 is already attracting attention from outside Rossendale!

Mike Lindley (ably assisted by his canine friend, Ralph) has written a lovely article featuring an interview with Paul.  

Mike is no stranger to charitable events as he recently compiled a double cd of 40 acts in aid of The Fine Line Project and Rethink Mental Illness, as well as arranging a live launch event in Camden earlier this year.

Mike will also be very kindly donating some of the Ralph's Life cds to #HarFest2014 which we will raffle off on the day.

To read the article in full, click here.

An interview with Mike Lindley
Ralph's Life cd review
Ralph's Life cd for Mental Health Charity
HarFest Blog

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Music - Part 275 - The Ainsley Band

The Ainsley Band – 5-4-3-2 She’s Not The One (Philophobia Music)
Out Now

Wakefield alternative Indie band release their new album.  

This could be one of the saddest albums you’ve ever heard.  One of the saddest until you ‘get’ it.  The basis to Michael Ainsley’s lyrics on 5-4-3-2 She’s Not The One are of heartache and split with the subject’s girlfriend to the point where he often contemplates suicide. 

Depressing eh? Well no, not really because it’s also written with an amount of honesty and humour which makes it very appealing.  There was a certain Mancunian songwriter and lead-singer who was often accused of being depressing but wrote some of the loveliest lyrics you’d ever heard, if you bothered to listen.

Much the same can be said about Ainsley.  Another bottle of whisky, another argument, another self-obsessed reminisce.  Some of the words on this album of some of the finest you may ever hear let alone this year.  In Michael Ainsley we have that rare thing – a songwriter that writes pure poetry.

I Think About You Always have a very poignant lyric but is lifted by the rare appearance of a full backing band and boisterous vocals which only make it sound like great fun and one of the many album highlights.

Dry Tongue is heart-breaking and crying out for a full orchestral accompaniment, or maybe that would be too predictable.  The piano only backing is perfect.  If you take time to listen to the words you’ll maybe see the similarity with the aforementioned lyricist, Morrissey.  These Failures could be put to a Marr guitar riff quite easily with Stephen pouring out every emotion and feeling.

Torn Photograph (Idiot) has shouting chorus vocals over an acoustic guitar “it’s fair enough, avoid me at all costs……I’m better off being dead, put a bullet in my head”.  It’s acoustic post-punk at its finest and on Letter Let Her Go the true beauty of Ainsley’s lyrics shine through and most blokes could relate to it in their hour of selfish self-pitying sorrow.

Special mention also to Stuck In Freefall which rises and rises to a quite brilliant crescendo and has some very fitting production.  Today’s earworm.

At less than thirty minutes 5-4-3-2 She’s Not The One is short, but just short enough.  It’s a wonderful example of quality over quantity and deserves your attention pronto.



Music - Part 274 - Cabaret Voltaire

Cabaret Voltaire – #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985) (Mute)
Out Now

Experimental electro legends Cabaret Voltaire release a new compilation.  

As the story goes, if as many people were at the 150 capacity Manchester Free Trade Hall in June 1976 for a certain Sex Pistols gig  as they say they were, there would have been around 4,000 attendees.  Similarly, if all the people that claimed they have always been huge fans of Cabaret Voltaire were, then they would have had a string of number one albums to accompany their arena tours.

The year of Voltaire digital releases continues with an essential retrospective containing tracks from their Rough Trade years of experimental post-punk electro to the Some Bizarre (on Virgin) dance orientated, similarly experimental years up to 1985.

For anyone wanting a quick introduction to the group, this is the album for you.  Opening with their harsh, raw, sometimes difficult to listen electro punk efforts such as Do The Mussolini and the incredible Nag Nag Nag, the then trio broke down and created new boundaries in music as the likes of Human League and Daniel Miller’s The Normal watched in awe and envy.  Combining the punk attitude with electronics was undoubtedly ground-breaking and the steel walls of Sheffield were soon knocked down.

As Kneel To The Boss and Landslide could well have been influences on The The’s classic Soul Mining album, any other track on this collection could have been the catalyst for any other artist since.  Inserting sound bytes before any else had even contemplated the idea, another Voltaire trademark became commonplace in years to follow.

Marking the ‘other’ side to the group following the departure of Chris Watson in the early 80s leaving the duo of Kirk Mallinder and Richard H Kirk (now the sole member) to continue as a more dance/funk/house outfit but still with that anarchic ethos that had been born in the previous decade.

For the first time on cd the 7” versions of some of their later releases are present.  From the throbbing bass of Just Fascination to the unique sound of Crackdown, from the rolling drumbeats of Sensoria and Kino to the amazing I Want You which still sounds as fresh today as when it was recorded.  Ending with the perverted sexual overtones of Warm this is a superb line-up of tracks from one of the most influential groups of the last 40 years who were so ahead of their time it’s almost untrue.


Mute Records
Richard H Kirk on Twitter
Cabaret Voltaire on hiapop Blog
The The on hiapop Blog

Published on Louder Than War 18/08/14 - here

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

News - Suzi Quatro To Release Career Spanning Box Set

I make no secret of the fact that Suzi Quatro was my first love, crush, whatever........

The Girl From Detroit City is a beautifully presented 4-CD boxed set, celebrating an amazing 50 years in the music business for rock ‘n’ roll queen, Suzi Quatro.

The 82 tracks on offer here span the whole of Suzi’s career, including three songs by the Pleasure Seekers, the all-girl rock band, which Suzi formed along with her sister Patti, and which signed to Mercury Records in 1968. Her massive chart hits from the 1970s also feature, including the ‘Chinnichap’ numbers, Can the Can48 Crash and Devil Gate Drive and a whole wealth of material from the 1970s onwards, through to tracks from her critically-acclaimed 2011 album, In The Spotlight, which witnessed her reunion with producer, Mike Chapman; highlights of which included Suzi’s covers of Goldfrapp’s Strict Machine and Rhianna’s Breaking Dishes plus a Chapman number, A Girl Like Me, which he wrote especially for her.

The Girl From Detroit City comes complete with fascinating up-to-date liner notes, tracking Suzi’s career from the outset to the present day, and it presents a wealth of album & poster artwork and photographs, including a shot of Suzi’s incredible vintage Ray-Ban collection!

Suzi Quatro was the most successful female artist of the entire Glam Rock period (Suzi’s style and music were not truly ‘Glam’ but this was the era, which saw her shoot to stardom) and her influence on subsequent generations of female rock musicians are widely acknowledged. It’s been well-documented that Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett both drew inspiration from Suzi but so have many others, including Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth, who was encouraged to learn to play bass by listening to Quatro albums and, more recently, KT Tunstall revealed that the cover photo of her 2007 album Drastic Fantastic was based on Suzi’s image.

In celebration of Suzi’s 50th year in the music business, the BBC will be hosting a special performance of her one-woman show, Unzipped, in London on Friday 26th September. It will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on Thursday 2nd October. On 29th September Cherry Red will also release the single The Girl From Detroit City on digital download only. This brand new song was recorded in 2013 and is exclusive to this compilation. Written and produced by Mike Chapman, the song speaks of Suzi’s early days in Detroit and her discovery by Mickie Most.

50 years on and Suzi Quatro has no intention of slowing down. She’s about to embark on another massive live tour and in 2015 she will finally publish her poetry in a book called Through My Eyes


Friday, 22 August 2014

Music - Part 273 - Paul McLinden | Biscuithead | Flaunt | Draw | Men In The Sky

Here’s another handful of singles that those lovely Record Companies like to keep my Postman busy with:

Paul McLinden – Head Happy/Cheer Up (OneInchPunch Records)

An AA sided single which is something rather special.  Both tracks from the forthcoming Head Happy album released later this month.  Glaswegian Paul McLinden amply displays his credentials with two very catchy efforts.  Head Happy is a hypnotic and repetitive song making you feel all super-duper for the day.  Cheer Up is a comletey different style, rockier but still as enjoyable.  Godd work Fella!


The Paul McLinden website is here.

Biscuithead and The Biscuit Badgers – Cheese (Crabophone)

With a name like theirs you’d maybe expect Biscuit And The Biscuit Badgers to be slightly bonkers, but they’re not.  They are actually completely unhinged.  If you like Reeves And Mortimer you’ll probably love their daft sense of humour.  Words are hilsrious and cleverly hang over frm one line to the next.  Completely mad and pure genius.


The Biscuithead website is here.

Flaunt – I Might Have Broken Ur Heart

Despite some very silly spelling in the title, this si actually a pretty good track.  It’s simple and atmospheric notes compliment the voic perfectly, and with some added blips and bleeps along the way it’s all very pleasing.  Desribed as the “modern day equivalent to Keats” (not sure myself), the American act show promise.


The Flaunt website is here.

Draw – Alone Again Or (Empire Records)

A very creditable cover of th Love classic which was made popular again by The Damned.  Released to raise money for the Children’s Hospice Assocation Scotland.  Originally fecorded in 2002, Alone Again Or was archived by Empire Records shirtly after the band split.  Released for the first time some 11 eleven years later it has elements of the orohinak whilst tipping a cap in te]he direction of Mr Vanian and crew.


Draw are on Twitter here.

Men In The Sky – Doom (Radio Edit)

First time I’ve ever heard of a single being released from a previously EP, but what do I know?  The Scousers release an edited effort from Version 1.0.1. and why shouldn’t they?  Echoes of Peter Hooks bass and Depeche Mode circa 1993 combine to make a cracking track with some excelnnet drum sounds and guitar twangs.  Watch out for Men In The Sky, you’ll hear a lot more of them.


The Men In The Sky website is here.

Music - Part 272 - Transmission 13

Transmission 13 – Time Will Pass You By (Assembly Field)
Out Now

Ambient drone Transmission 13 release their new album.  

A fourth album in four years for Transmission 13 and the brainchild behind the project, Maurice Doogan has only gone and done it again.  Time Will Pass You By, the first album for a ‘real’ label comprises of ten tracks mixed as one to create a joyous episode of high-tech clinical ambience that will both impress and delight.

For the first time, there are collaborations – Ullapul, Antonia de Braga, Placement – and with openers Data Funk and Tangled And Wild Ivan Black assists to make T13s already wondrous tracks even more intriguing. 

Imagine sitting in an empty boat, gliding over still waters through a darkened cave with only a candle light for vision as droplets of water fall from stalactites into the crystal waters around you.  Imagine floating up above the fields, the continents, the World and drifting amongst the cold shimmering stars.  Transmission 13 will take you there. Even an appearance by an echoing bagpipe fits in beautifully.

There are succinct sound bytes lovingly inserted throughout too.  Philosophy and time travel and even a discussion on punk rock in Punk Wreck, Fans Riot featuring one John Peel talking the simple sense that the great man used to.  A reference to ‘punk clergy’ is marvellous.

Where Doogan succeeds in the often criticised world of Ambient is in his rather unique ability take the simple of sounds and ideas and re-assemble in sumptuous layers and patterns to create a sound which is fastly becoming his own.  The rising bass tone of The Stars Shine Through The Darkness (with Matt Barlow) threatens to explode but manages to maintain a dignified decorum that he only seems to be able to achieve.

After each album, it’s difficult to see where the sound can go next and how it can better itself,  but it appears that Transmission 13 is in safe hands and we can now relish next year’s album number 5 with confidence.



Music - Part 271 - Shake Your Halo Down

Shake Your Halo Down – Signals EP (Philophobia Music)
Out Now

Multi-layered alternative pop artist Shake Your Halo Down release their second EP of 2014. 

There seems to be an element of mystique surrounding Shake Your Halo Down, which is nice.  The brainchild of main man Chris Charlton from Wakefield seems to be one of the few things that a quick dabble of Google will reveal.  That’s good as the music is given the chance to stand up on its own merits and it does.

The EP also boasts guest appearances from Stewart Ramsay (Bad Owl), Chris Price (The Unthanks), Kerry Ramsay (Laboratory Noise) and vocalist Olivia Cherry, but to add more secrecy which tracks they are on is unclear!

There are four distinct sounds across the quartet of tracks here.  Opener, Stop Talking About The Weather has a fierce pounding drum and the harmonies between male and female vocals are perfect.  A simple guitar solo breaks up proceedings before the hook continues once again.  It’s a highly infectious melody which could well become your earworm for the day.

Sometimes I Don’t Believe The Things You Say features a broad Scottish accent of spoken words with an accompanying female vocalist (Cherry at a guess).  Maybe a sweeping generalisation, but the main vocal does remind of the Trainspotting opening sequence.  It’s near ‘funky drummer’ beat is clean and precise and the singing vocal, whilst sounding like it’s recorded in a shoe box, adds a twist and a commercial hook.

A slightly more experimental Undercover has an initial jazz/funk backbeat with the odd hint of a Stone Roses rhythm guitar thrown in for good measure.  The backing is sparse until three minutes when a synth dance sound is introduced to liven things up once more.  Again, male and female vocals merge to make a really interesting track.

With closer This House Is Mine there’s more than a passing resemblance to the mighty Cabaret Voltaire circa their Code album where a frenetic dance sound combines with single soundbytes and hushed vocals.  The speedy synth effect is interesting as it moves along with very little percussion accompaniment.  Essentially a dance track, its seven minutes soon pass by with another highly infectious descant.



Thursday, 21 August 2014

Music - Part 270 - Los Cripis

Los Cripis – Long Play (Unwork Records)
Out Now

Argentinian garage/punk trio Los Cripis release their new album.  

Like almost every punk band, Los Cripis met, decided to play music and away they went.  With two guitars plugged into the same amp and merely the thought that they should really get a drummer, they went on to record three albums in no time at all.

Their D.I.Y. jungle rock come surf punk isn’t easy listening, in fact the intro to opener A Hill On The Beach sounds like the guitarist (Nicolas) is tuning up.  The guitars often sound out of tune and dismembered from the remainder of the tracks and that somehow holds the embryo of the appeal.  It’s a lesson in how to make an album if you really want to.

What follows is quite enthralling as Frankenstein has raw instrumentation with a sweet sweet voice provided by Josi, it really shouldn’t work but does.  Her voice, whilst not perfect often takes the edge off the grungy, gritty guitar and Marta’s manic drums.

They’re certainly not boring, far from it as their unpredictability from track to track grows and grows including a cover of The Beach Boys’ Don’t Hurt My Little Sister which somehow sounds great as a para-punk track and puts a slight New-wave slant on the side of Los Cripis.  Out of tune?  You bet it is, and you can imagine Brian Wilson crying the first time he hears it.

The brilliantly titled All My Friends Are Dead is as punk-pop as Los Cripis could possibly get and is probably as commercial as they will ever be, and closing the album with Double Song, a plodding pseudo Velvet Underground messotopia of impulsive key changes and irregular directions, the trio show why they are receiving plaudits from not only their homeland but across Europe too.


Unwork Records
Los Cripis website

Published on Louder Than War 14/08/14 - here