Moving on…. er…. over… er…. across the sea!


So, some of you are might already be aware that myself and my partner in crime Caroline, are relocating to Vancouver this week, but others are perhaps not. While I don’t  normally share much other than my musical musings on here, this is a biggie.

Rest assured I intend on continuing with the blog and updating as much as possible. There’ll be a bit of a break in posting but normal service shall resume, albeit on Canadian time, once I get settled in etc. It’s all very exciting and pretty nerve racking at the same time but hey, that’s what life’s about surely? Anyway, I won’t take up too much more of your time & I hope to be back sharing new and exciting music with you all very, very soon. Thanks to everyone who’s help make the blog what it is, readers, bands, frequent and infrequent contributors alike and a super extra special thanks to those of you who made the BarryGruff gigs possible and ever so special. I salute you!

So, before leaving you, here’s ‘Gallant Foxes’ from Neil Davidge and featuring the wonderful Cate Le Bon, who I’ve been obsessed with since the turn of the year. An amazing song with Le Bon’s stunning vocals matched by Davige’s pristine production. See you on the other side.



The Pictish Trail – ‘Wait Until’


With the reissue of his albums Secret Soundz Vol. 1 & 2 on Moshi Moshi Records fast approaching on June 9, The Pictish Trail has kindly given us a first glance at Alan Cameron and Ben Cowie’s new video for Vol. 2 track, ‘Wait Until’.

‘Wait Until’, is a tender, slow building and softly blossoming hazy piece of ambient pop. Amid the hazy cloud of electronics and layers of vocals it is imbued with a weight of melancholy, sadness and loss that comes from being the first song that Lynch penned following the passing of his mother. A carefully tempered and marvelous piece of folk-influenced balladry and warm electronics. Although Vol. 1 has remained elusive (that’ll be put right on June 9th) Secret Soundz Vol. 2 is a magnificent record and was a particular favourite from last year on it’s original release. Hopefully this new found partnership with Moshi Moshi sees The Pictish Trail reach a far greater audience, and one befitting of his supremely creative talent.

Check out ‘Wait Until’ below. Eigg-cellent!

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Introducing: Oxygen Thieves


Oxygen Thieves are snarling alt-rock quartet – Alex Fewtrell, Rob Fewtrell, Dan Tilling and Alex Rose – from the Wirral.

They take their influences not only from their surroundings, and my there are many to work with on Merseyside, but also from bands like The Pixies, Television and Sonic Youth to create  raw, intense, snarling alt-rock, filled with intense, dark, apprehension. The dark, deep, gritty and raw grind of ‘To Boast’ captures the essence of Oxygen Thieves perfectly. Layers of dissonant guitars, constant driving rhythms and drawled, gritty vocals with a scouse lilt perfectly project dark overtones and add a sense of gripping intensity to proceedings. ‘To Boast’ is but one of many great tracks from their excellent debut EP, We Found the Thieves. Oxygen Thieves ferociously excel with an eruption of vitriolic disillusionment amid wailing guitars, bass riffs and doom laden noise.

We Found The Thieves EP is out now via their own Secret House Records. Stream it in full here.

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Courtney Barnett – ‘Anonymous Club’



Having only recently unearth the rambling, freewheeling anti-folk of Courtney Barnett‘s, The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas, any excuse has been sought to wax lyrical about this wonderful artist and record.

In pairing a few jangly chords with her lazy drawl, Barnett cast a woozy spell over listeners with her hazy tales of vapid suburban life and aimless procrastination. The Melbourne native has a marvellous way with words and an equally glorious way of delivering them, the record is charming, funny and filled with sharp observations. So, yeah, that ‘excuse’. Well, Barnett has recently released ‘Anonymous Club’ along with it’s beautifully animated visual companion, and provided the aforementioned opportunity. It’s a slow-burning, tender folk lullaby, with a warm, faintly glimmering feedback-kissed strum that matches melancholic romanticism and longing depicted of her a night in with a lover. ‘Anonymous Club’ is but one of many absolute gems which litter The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas.

You can check out ‘Anonymous Club’ & ‘Avant Gardener’ another fine example of her superlative ability, and a sure fire future classic, below. You can stream The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas in it’s entirely here too.

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Eugene McGuinness – ‘Godiva’


Eugene McGuinness has announced his return with news that he’ll be releasing a new album, Chroma, on July 7th via Domino Records.

Chroma, the follow up to the strutting, self-assured indie of 2012’s Invitation To The Voyage is said to be “a direct, stripped-back guitar album”. Lead single ‘Godiva’ suggests as much. The polish of last album has been dispensed with somewhat, and replaced with the twisty and much more scuffed up indie that is ‘Godiva’. Saying all that, it still contains all the components which make his previous work so endearing; namely melodic guitar pop, a harmonious melody but treating it to a blaze of distortion. McGuinness has always been able to eke out a perfect balance between catchy pop and exhilarating indie and it looks as though he’s continuing that tradition.

Chroma, which also features ‘Fairlight‘, the single he released last year, is released on July 7th, the same date as ‘Godiva’. Of which you can check out for yourself below.

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Sake – ‘Almost Never’


Sake is a new project from North Wales songstress Chloe Leavers and ‘Almost Never’ is the debut release from Leavers’ new guise.

‘Almost Never’ is a delicate, elegant, brooding and undeniably impressive (re)introduction to her talents. ‘Almost Never’ slowly unwinds around Leavers’ stunning voice before textured instrumentation gradually unfurls, swelling through sweeping atmospherics, subtle electronics and icy guitars, before reaching a simply stunning climax. She’s produced something oh so beautiful and intoxicating, and her voice, well it’s just stunning. Hushed or soaring, it’s just stunning. An utterly bewitching, enchanting and captivating three and half minutes.

You can listen to ‘Almost Never’ below and download for the price of your email address here. You will not get a better deal than that today, guaranteed.

Velvet Morning – ‘Barrett Land’


Velvet Morning and their self-coined ‘smooth psychedelia’ sound were introduced to us last month, and now 19 year old Samuel Jones and company are back with a brand new track called ‘Barrett Land’.

‘Barrett Land’ sees Velvet Morning proliferate their dreamy slumbering wonderland – it’s a wonderful piece of alluring, swirling psychedelia that is every bit as seductive as any of their previous work. An eerie guitar line, rumbling bass and loping melodic guitar jangle, gently spill and sprawl over one another in slo-mo fashion, whilst the washed-out, whispery vocal sit upon dense, reverb-clad soundscape to evoke a hazy serenity. Just throwing it out there but perhaps ‘Barrett Land’ is Velvet Mornings homage to the late great Syd Barrett, or perhaps not. Either way, it is yet another woozy, spaced-out psych-pop gem from an ever growing collection of stellar songs from Velvet Morning, who, on this evidence are going from strength to strength – and long may it continue.

Check the tranquil ‘Barrett Land’ below.

Introducing: Tuff Love


Tuff Love are Glaswegian trio of Julie Eisenstein, Suse Bear and Michael O’Hara, who are signed to Johnny Lynch’s (aka The Pictish Trail) Lost Map Records. A good omen to begin with.

The Scottish trio shell out a sort of classic soft indie with a touch of grunge, punk and addictive fuzz pop. There tunes are sun-streaked and soaked with mesmerising rhythms, dreamy melodies and whispering vocals, with the latter adding a slightly shy or humble aspect to this dazzling, infectious and brilliance. While these are the intrinsic components of their sound, they can mix it up quite a bit, ensuring there’s nair a dull moment. Tuff Love are at their most muscular with ‘Poncho’, a track of beefy guitars and stout rhythms aplenty, while the trio hit full harmonic glory with ‘Sweet Discontent’ as the airy soft vocals float upon a delightfully bouncy guitar riff delightfully, and equally rhythmic percussion. Their pièce de résistance is the heart-racing racy crash and jangle of ‘Flamingo’, it is simply 2 minutes and 20 seconds of pop perfection with lots of summery shimmer amid the noise. A decidedly brilliant opening salvo from the Glaswegian trio which is only the taste of more to come, hopefully.

Tuff Love’s debut release, Junk EP, is out now on Lost Map Records. For now you can give some choice cuts the once over below.

The Emperor Machine – ‘RMI Is All I Want’


We’ve been here before haven’t we? The Emperor Machine aka Andy Meecham doing something rather wonderful.

In the past it has been his remix capabilities that have come in for fervoured praise and rightly so, the man has something of a Midas touch when it comes to art of remixing, everything he touches turns into pure gold. On this occasion the shoe is on the other foot, well sort of, the praise is for his own track ‘RMI Is All I Want’ of which has kind of stood in the shadow of Erol Alkan’s rework that has doing the rounds pretty much all over the place. Alkan’s rework is not with out its merits, in fact it’s pretty bloody amazing too but for this discerning numskull, the original ticks all the boxes and more. It’s funk and disco fuelled beauty just oozing with coolness from the off, due in no small part to the funky as hell bassline shuffle and mind enducing groove, pulsating relentlessness toward a synth-laden climax. A final adornment of a majestic master class which leaves me with one serious question; why don’t I own more records from The Emperor Machine? That’ll be one thing rectified rather sharpish, especially as his fourth album under the moniker, Like A Machine coming on May 19th.

‘RMI Is All I Want’ is out now through Southern Fried Records. and you can listen to both the original and Erol Alkan’s rework below and make your mind up for yourself.

Introducing: Mowbird

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Ignore the yawning in the image above, it’s difficult to envisage boredom being an issue when it comes to Wrexham quartet, Mowbird.

Formed in 2010, Mowbird have been steadily building themselves a reputation in their native North Wales, and it’s easy to why. They fuse their predilection for lo-fi-fuzz pop, with parts surf-rock, slacker indie and some garage punk nuances to create fun filled blasts of sub 3 minute, easy to listen to, yet not run of the mill tunes. There is a real spontaneity and energy to their sound, a theme that runs throughout their excellent debut LP, Islander. It kind of feels like an unrehearsed and unplanned journey into the unknown, that succeeds in going where feels right without putting a single foot wrong. The album is filled with scuzzy, charming, soul-consuming guitar jams, of which ‘Return to the Sea’, ‘Islander’ and ‘Empress’ are fine examples of their prowess. Hurled together with exuberant bursts of energy, and a sheen of poppy harmonies, melodies, catchy hooks and some stunning organ work (an intrinsic part of their sound), and you’ve got yourself absolute joyous amalgam of sounds that lives in the moment. The right moment. There is no issue concerning their qualities, the question is; how have they remained a secret for so long?

You can check out some choice cuts from Islander below, and if they are to your liking, check out the album in it’s entirety here.