Alice Temple – Be With You In A Minute
Posted on May 4th, 2010 by Alan @ 7:38 pm

I stumbled across a new album by Alice Temple last weekend (wifi on the train, or the iPhone… I’m not sure which is the best technical leap forward this century, but they combined beautifully to help a 2 hour journey pass like a dream) and after having it on fairly heavy rotation all week I thought I’d share my thoughts on it plus a couple of my personal highlights.

The first thing that struck me about the album was Alice’s voice – so distinctive, even more so than in the Eg & Alice days (almost 20 years ago!) as it’s a bit edgier these days. The next thing is that this album has got so much variety – after hearing Chemical Way a few years ago, from her 1999 album “Hang Over” which I’ve still not tracked down, my expectations were a bit lower than I’d have liked them to be. It’s not that I didn’t like Chemical Way, it’s just that it wasn’t a patch on Eg & Alice, and I loved that album. Still do. But this new album has tracks on it that have that same bittersweet feel to them – this track, If I’d Met You, is in that vein.

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The album swings between these more melancholic tracks, goes into territory more reminiscent of NIN with tracks like Black Sheep, jump-about rock with Take Me To Your Leader, and this next one, The Saint Of Love.

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I’m happy in a way that I’d set my expectations fairly low, as this album really grabbed me. I’m even more eager to get my hands on Hang Over now – if anyone can help out please shout!

More good news – after finding this album I googled Eg, and he released a new album, “Adventure Man”, last year too! Alice features on a couple of tracks (including Pull Me Through, which is apparently a re-recording of a track from Hang Over) and now I’ve managed to get Be With You In A Minute out of my CD player I’ll maybe get a wee review of it on the site before too long.

You can buy “Be With You In A Minute” on iTunes. Yeah, I’d rather have it on CD too, but I think we’re both showing our age now.

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Filed under: Alice Temple andEg & Alice
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Art School Dancing
Posted on May 4th, 2010 by Alan @ 1:48 pm

I managed to catch a bit of Ally Gourlay’s radio show on Leith FM last night (every Monday night from 10pm til midnight, on www.leithfm.co.uk or 98.8 FM if you’re local) – wish I’d caught more of it as it was superb. I was listening via the Wunder Radio iPhone app, and will be doing that again whenever I’m out of the country.

The show details are on Ally’s facebook page – I’ve no idea if anyone can see this if they’re not his FB friend, so just in case here is last night’s playlist:

  • THE PINK FLOYD “See Emily Play”
  • THE VERMIN POETS “Like Poets Often Do”
  • PAVEMENT “Here”
  • GREENSKEEPERS “Low And Sweet”
  • FLOXYTEK “Classic Pure”
  • AIR “Sexy Boy”
  • COCTEAU TWINS “Pink Orange Red”
  • DONOVAN “Sunshine Superman”
  • CARL BRADNEY “Slipping Into Darkness”
  • P.J. HARVEY “Sheela-Na-Gig”
  • COMPULSIVE GAMBLERS “Stop And Think It Over”
  • JULIAN COPE “Planetary Sit In (Every Girl Has Your Name”
  • CODEINE VELVET CLUB “Hollywood”
  • THE MOVE “Vote For Me”
  • EDGAR BROUGHTON BAND “Up Yours”
  • SEX PISTOLS “Anarchy In The UK”
  • SLUDGEFEAST “S.O.S.”
  • THE BEATLES “Within You Without You”
  • BOYSNOIZE “Transmission”
  • CULTURE “Lion Rock”
  • MADNESS “Forever Young”
  • THE CORAL “I Remember When”
  • THE CREATION “Creation”
  • DEPECHE MODE “New Life”
  • T. REX “Metal Guru”
  • CREAM “Strange Brew”
  • DIGITAL AIROBIC “Dual Modul”

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You know you’re a progaholic when…
Posted on Mar 17th, 2010 by Alan @ 11:34 pm

… you sing along to the keyboard solos!

My brother and I went to see It Bites a couple of weeks ago, it was the second time I’d seen them since they reformed a couple of years ago. On the first occasion John Mitchell had just joined as Frank Dunnery’s replacement, and this time round there was another replacement – Dick Nolan has been replaced on bass by Lee Pomegranate. Or something. He’s a great performer, unlike the original he plays with a smile on his face, and his classical training in, erm, Take That’s backing band really shows!

The support was from the Aynsley Lister Band – an awesome blues guitarist who really ought to be way more famous than he is. A generous guy too, sharing his name with the other 3 musicians on stage.

But enough about blues, we were there for widdly widdly prog, and we weren’t disappointed. The Bites were in fine form, and before we knew it it was 5 to 10, and they announced that they only had time for one more song – the ABC in Glasgow turns into a disco at 10pm, so they had a strict curfew. They had a cunning plan though – one that they’ve used before…

In between songs at the gig John Mitchell made reference to Virgin Records thinking they’d signed a pop group back in the 80s, and I’ve now got a fantastic image of the band sitting in their A&R man’s office on completion of the “difficult” second album. The first had spawned the bubblegum rock hit “Calling All The Heroes”, and they must have been expecting more upbeat 4-minute power pop classics. They were probably reasonably happy with side 1 (no big surprises in the first two tracks “Midnight” and “Kiss Like Judas”) but the longer the album went on the dafter it got. By the time it reached track 6, “The Old Man And The Angel”, John Beck would have been straightening his top hat, Bob Dalton sorting through his Dungeons & Dragons pieces, Frank Dunnery changing his name to Francis and pulling on a kaftan, and Dick Nolan would have been sitting there looking glaikit. “The Old Man And The Angel” is 9:21 of prog gold, and contains the aforementioned keyboard solos that my brother and I were singing along to in the car coming back from the Glasgow gig. Back in the day I used to sing along to the latin bits too, but thankfully I’ve forgotten them now!

After that spell of prog mayhem there’s a nice wee ballad (“Hunting The Whale”) and Virgin must have been relieved that the moment of self-indulgence had passed – time for another single. Aye right! Time for “Plastic Dreamer” more like, the late ’80s forerunner to Hollywood classics like “Small Soldiers” and “A Night At The Museum”. I’ve got a theory that there are two versions of this song, and the original was called “Plastic Reamer”, a song about what happens when you get locked in a sex shop at night… “The rabbits made love as I watched and applauded” – gotta be, right? So after that, the A&R chap has a wee Glasgow ABC moment and thinks, time for one more song. Yeah baby, time for 15 minutes of nonsense, and you’re not saying no to this because we’ve blown the budget and this is the title track!!! Ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for “Once Around The World”!

Hands up who thinks these two songs were anything other than a wind-up???

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Filed under: It Bites
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February Birdie Songs: Lurchio, Get Me Banjo!
Posted on Feb 4th, 2010 by Alan @ 11:48 pm

I love mandolins and banjos. The brightness of their tone puts a smile on my face every single time I hear one, without fail. It’s possibly got something to do with a childhood memory of my grandad playing his banjo – although I only heard him play 2 or 3 times as he wasn’t the kind of guy who liked being the centre of attention. I’ve got no talent for string instruments myself, I learnt to play the mandolin part of Losing My Religion when I was a student and bought one of my own about 10 years ago, which to my shame I still can’t play.

Here are some of my favourite tracks featuring these glorious instruments – and posting this blog has inspired me to get the mandolin down from the attic and learn how to play it. Or at least play along with REM again.

Click here for the mix tape!

Playlist:

  • Porcupine Tree – Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – The Upper Peninsula (iLike) (buy)
  • Eddie Vedder – Rise (iLike) (buy)
  • Yes – I’ve Seen All Good People (iLike) (buy)
  • REM – Losing My Religion (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother! (iLike) (buy)
  • Nickel Creek – When You Come Back Down (iLike) (buy)
  • Eddie Vedder – No Ceiling (iLike) (buy)
  • Rod Stewart – Mandolin Wind (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – The Dress Looks Nice On You (iLike) (buy)
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    No-Man – Mixtaped
    Posted on Dec 5th, 2009 by Alan @ 2:04 am

    The Birdie Mix - December 2009

    What better way to blog about the release of the No-Man DVD “Mixtaped” than with a No-Man mixtape? I meant to do this back in August/September after going to the preview screening of the DVD (a documentary called “Mixtaped” on one disk, and a live show called “Returning” on the second disk) but as usual lack of time won the battle with my good intentions.

    Like a lot of people I came to No-Man through Porcupine Tree, and probably like a lot of people they were a slow-burner for me. Nowadays while Porcupine Tree excite me and I eagerly await every next release, I find I listen to No-Man just as much if not more than them.

    The documentary DVD is unusual in that with most bands if you like them enough to buy the DVD you probably know pretty much everything about them already. But No-Man have led such a low-key existence that it’s packed with surprises. Who would have thought, for example, that it was Tim Bowness and not Steven Wilson who had the sillier hair! Although Wilson does beat him in the daft hat stakes. There are a few gaps in it though, for example when talking about the One Little Indian years they mention that they would regret “what would come next” without saying exactly what it was.

    The live DVD is great, although I was a bit surprised that they “rocked up” their live sound. Never having seen or heard them live I’d always imagined more of a jazz club feel to their shows – having said that it’s a terrific performance and it is no surprise that they’re as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

    Check it out, and enjoy it.

    Playlist:

    1. Walker (from the compilation “All The Blue Changes”)
    2. Break Heaven (from “Loveblows & Lovecries”)
    3. Things Change (from “Flowermouth”)
    4. Angeldust (from “Flowermouth”)
    5. Pretty Genius (from “Wild Opera”)
    6. Sweetside Silver Night (from “Dry Cleaning Ray”)
    7. Night Sky Sweet Earth (from “Speak”)
    8. Only Rain (from “Returning Jesus”)
    9. No Defence (from “Returning Jesus”)
    10. Back When You Were Beautiful (from “Together We’re Stranger”)
    11. All Sweet Things (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)
    12. Truenorth (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)

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    Filed under: Mixtapes andNo-Man
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    Sir Vincent Lone – Rove On Wraith Of Raith
    Posted on Oct 23rd, 2009 by Alan @ 10:56 pm

    splashes

    About time I resurrected the blog, eh?

    I went to see Jackie Leven at the Kirkcaldy Polish Club (HEY!) last night and he was superb. I just had to post this track by his good friend Sir Vincent Lone – as Jackie said in his intro last night, “the first line is brilliant”.

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    Find out more about Jackie and Vincent here, and buy Troubadour Heart here.

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    Filed under: Jackie Leven
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    Clement Freud R.I.P.
    Posted on Apr 16th, 2009 by Alan @ 9:55 am

    Very sad news, the man was brilliant.

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    April Birdie Songs
    Posted on Apr 9th, 2009 by Alan @ 10:16 am

    The Birdie Mix - April 2009

    Playlist:

    1. Tartan Specials – No Team GB (iLike) (buy)
    2. Simple Minds – Glittering Prize (iLike) (buy)
    3. Big Country – Fields Of Fire (iLike) (buy)
    4. Jackie Leven – My Spanish Dad (iLike) (buy)
    5. Blackfield – Summer (iLike) (buy)
    6. Elliott Smith – Junk Bond Trader (iLike) (buy)
    7. LEO – Ya Had Me Goin’ (iLike) (buy)
    8. Del Amitri – Driving With The Brakes On (iLike) (buy)
    9. Jellyfish – Bedspring Kiss (iLike) (buy)
    10. Pink Floyd – Coming Back To Life (iLike) (buy)

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    Filed under: Mixtapes
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    KEEP THE FAITH!
    Posted on Mar 25th, 2009 by Alan @ 4:06 pm

    believe

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    Filed under: The Beautiful Game
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    No Team GB!
    Posted on Mar 24th, 2009 by Alan @ 4:22 pm

    The Tartan Specials keep on knocking out belters like this, go to www.tartanspecials.com for more!

    Get the Flash Player to see this content.

    For more information on the risks of a GB team at the 2012 Olympics, go to www.noteamgb.com

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    Filed under: Tartan Specials andThe Beautiful Game andVideo Killed The Radio Star
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    This blog is intended as a way to spread the word about music I really like, and encourage others to support artists who are making great music. "Try before you buy", if you like. If you hear something you like here, go and buy it - I'll post links to online shops where you can buy each track I blog about.

    If you're reading this and you are the artist, or their record company, and you don't want a track I've posted to be available to hear in this way just email me and let me know - I will be more than happy to take the file down straight away. I've heard of other bloggers getting threatened with letters from lawyers, and there is absolutely no need to waste your money on that with me!