If April is indeed the cruellest month then September 2012 was the most hectic for a while. But while I was travelling here and there I was still able to fit in listening to some new music that helped me make it through the rain, over the rainbow and, well…you get the idea with that.
A truly eclectic selection this month, and the quality is reassuringly high. There is electronic post rock, instrumental beauty, theatre, a great piece of sunshine pop to lift the lowest of spirits and the return of some Scottish legends.
I’m going to start with Iglomat and their first single from their forthcoming album Super Complication, Live Fast, Die Whenever. To my ears there’s a bit of a Boards of Canada influence here, and that is never a bad thing. If you like scuzzy keyboards, gliding guitars and driving drums (and who wouldn’t) then this is for you. You can find out more about them here, but sit back and enjoy this first:
Next off is something that promises to be rather special. A Band Called Quinn are one of the most interesting and experimental bands around, involving themselves in many musical and artistic forms while never losing their unique identity. Tomorrow night in The Arches in Glasgow they are part of Biding Time (Remix) in collaboration with Tromolo Productions, a night of film, theatre, music and probably more. It kicks of at 7.30pm, if there are still tickets available, and it should be a great night. Here’s a taster of what to except:
Now it’s the latest single from one of Scots Whay Hae’s favourite musicians, and people. It’s the return of Arran Arctic, who podcast listeners will have heard playing and chatting some months ago. Arran said to me that his new album was darker than before, but I like it that way. This is the first single, Covers, and listening to it makes me long to hear the full album. Arran, I know you’ll read this so look away now to avoid embarrassment. This man makes some of the most achingly beautiful music around today, and everyone should buy his work. But you don’t have to take my word for it:
And now, to change the mood completely, a new band to me from the reliable Flowers in the Dustbin label. I love a great slice of pop music, and this is surely just that. The band are The Deadline Shakes, the song is Sweeten the Deal, and if they’re playing near me soon could someone let me know as I imagine they’re great live:
And finally, two bands who have been away for a while, one decidedly longer than the other. First is the welcome return of Frightened Rabbit with the EP State Hospital. There are a lot of bands around just now who make a noise similar to FR, but not many do it as well. This is how you do it. This is title track State Hospital and it is quite superb:
And then there is the surprise return of Deacon Blue with a new album The Hipsters. Me and Deacon Blue go back a long way. The first gig I went to see in the Barrowland Ballroom was their good selves after Raintown had finally got the recognition it deserved. There seems to be a public perception that Deacon Blue are throw away pop, or are not ‘serious’ or something. They’ve certainly never been bothered by being ‘hip’, as that title shows, but they are capable of making music that moves me.
All I can say is that if Paul Buchanan had written and sung the opening track of the new album, Here I Am In London Town, people would be going nuts (including me). This is what Deacon Blue can do, and with songs like Born in a Storm and Sad Loved Girl they achieved it. There has always been a melancholy in their music; even when the beat was up the lyrics were often downbeat. Raintown is an almost perfect album, and while The Hipsters doesn’t reach those heights, it does at times get close. This is the title track, and I’m going to follow it with a live version of Sad Loved Girl as it makes all my points more eloquently than I could ever manage: