April’s Guys: The Best New Music From Last Month…

I apologise for being a bit later than normal with this, but I seemed to go on a week’s holiday by mistake. Won’t happen again. Anyway, welcome to the best new music from April of which there was quite a lot. As well as what follows, we had the long list of this year’s Scottish Album of The Year Awards (more of which below) which once again highlighted how deep and wide and tall Scottish music is at the moment.

Last month saw a lot of electric dreams, melancholic musings, and moving melodies. A track which exhibits the latter two comes from The Deadline Shakes with their new single ‘Phonecalls In The Bath’. Always an interesting band, this shows a real leap forward in their songwriting and confidence in their music. Starting slowly it builds to reach epic proportions while never going over the top, and is packed so full of hooks you could do yourself an injury. Classic pop in the tradition of The Go Betweens, The Woodentops, Camper Van Beethoven and Sugar, this gets better with every listen and for me is the first classic pop song of summer 2015. Sun out, windows down, this is the perfect accompaniment. Good work fellas. Have a listen for yourself:

And I’m not even sure it was the best thing I heard last month. At least its equal, and, depending on your mood, perhaps even better, is ‘Just To Get Something Started’ by Shards. It’s lo-fi electronica of the kind that I’m a sucker for, in the tradition of Susumu Yokota, Harold Budd and our very own Arran Arctic.  Minimalist music to lose your self in, it has been the soundtrack to my recent evenings. The Deadline Shakes in the daytime, Shards at night. That’s a pretty good combination:

Just as electric, but more upbeat, is WASHED, a solo project from Fiction Faction’s David Richards. It’s a work in progress, but that progress is rapid and is already bearing fruit if ‘Cinders’ is anything to go by. It’s a song that demands repeated listens, and after having done just that I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so addictive. I can break down the separate parts and work out what works best, but I realised that I don’t want to. I’m just happy to lie back and let it work its magic. Try it. I think you’ll like it:

I love pure pop, and that’s how I would describe Aquafaux. If New Order’s Gillian Gilbert had joined Johnny Marr to form Electronic instead of Bernard Sumner this is close to what they would have sounded like; music that shimmers and lifts you up while all the time having a melancholy at its heart, making great use of the strange change from major to minor and back again. If you think I’m havering, then you may be right, but they made me do it. From their Spellbound EP, this is ‘She Will Deceive You’:

While we are dealing with pop music, April saw the return of the mighty Django Django with their new album Born Under Saturn, which you’ll probably know already as they have been everywhere recently, but that doesn’t mean that we should ignore them as they remain one of the most interesting bands around. I’ll keep it simple; get your hands on a copy and you won’t be disappointed. Need proof? I’ll give you proof. This is ‘Reflections’:

Woodenbox have a new single out, ‘More Girl Than Friend’ from their forthcoming album Foreign Organ, out on Olive Grove Records in June. If you get the chance to see them live then you really must as they are one of the great live acts about today, and new material from them is always eagerly anticipated. Imagine if Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell made a record after they had been to counselling and this is what I imagine it would sound like, with both, if not entirely happy, then at least in harmony and without the potential death in the woods. I have a hunch that Foreign Organ is going to be vying for people’s ‘album of the year’ votes, and I can’t wait to be proved right. This is ‘More Girl Than Friend’:

Talking of albums of the year, as mentioned at the top of the page the long list for the Scottish Album of The Year is out now, and you can listen to all the possible winners, a different one each day, at their home page. It’s an impressive list, where the favourites are probably Young Fathers, Mogwai, Honeyblood, The Phantom Band or King Creosote, all of which are great records, but every single one is worth hearing, and you can’t always say that about such lists. 

Scots Whay Hae! has a few favourites to mention, including Happy Meals Apero, Blue Rose Code’s The Ballad of Pekham Rye and Slam’s Reverse Proceed,  but if we absolutely, positively, had to pick just one winner (and someone must) it would be Kathryn Joseph’s Bones You Have Thrown Me and the Blood I’ve Spilled  which is not only the album I listened to most last month, but is, along with P60’s Models (see last month’s roundup), the best thing I have heard this year so far. This is the first track on the album, ‘The Bird’, and I am in love with it:

Thanks for listening. Next month, something completely different…

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