Martha Ffion – ‘Kennedy Hair’


Last year, Martha Ffion released my favourite record of 2018 with her long-awaited debut LP Sunday Best; a beautiful record filled with gleaming guitar-pop, wistful-ballads, swooning sixties inspired indie-pop and touches of folk & country.

The Irish-born, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter is back with a wonderful new single ‘Kennedy Hair’; a super catchy slice of bittersweet indie-pop. Working with the excellent Lost Map Records again, ‘Kennedy Hair’ the first release in the label’s brand new PostMap Club – a series of postcard releases and other exclusives – references It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia while critiquing post-Brexit politics. As evidenced throughout her debut, Ffion’s prowess for observation is second to none. Lyrically she is clever, witty, and often times a sharp tongued, while her ear for a melody is only rivalled by her powers for observation, making for an incredibly infectious, lush and beautiful song. A phenomenally catchy slice of swooning, bittersweet indie-pop, it will be bobbing around your head all day, and you will be all the better for it.

Listen to ‘Kennedy Hair’ below and find you more about PostMap Club here.

Martha Ffion also appeared on the latest episode of NPR’s ‘World Cafe’ for music and a chat, you listen to that here too.

London-based Lazy Day Return With Beautifully Melodic New Single; ‘Disappear’


If you cast your mind back to Record Store Day last year, you may remember Lazy Day teaming up with Tuff Love for excellent split single, ‘Portrait’ / ‘Groucho’.

Well, since then, things fell sadly quite – until now that is. The London-based quartet have teamed up with Lost Map records to release their brand new single ‘Disappear’. Now 18 months is a bloody long time, but this is a beautifully melodic return, and one that radiates warmth. Led by Scantlebury’s powerful and compelling croon, it quietly builds from ambient origins, as guitars chime and flicker around the vocals before being engulfed by a swell of instrumentation – exploding into life with tight percussion, cascading melody and thick and crunchy guitars billowing from all sides. ‘Disappear’ perfectly balances the light with the dark. Scantlebury’s vocals splattered with melancholy and yearning, are tempered by hazy guitar textures, dreamy melodies and lively drums to give life to a sort of lo-fi, dream-pop/grungey hybrid. Phenomenally brilliant, and unforgettable.

Released on a super limited run of 7″ vinyl, ‘Disappear’ is backed by b-side ‘All The Time’. Limited or not, we have here, listen to to ‘Disappear’ below.

Pictish Trail shares ‘Dead Connection’, New LP Coming in September


Scottish singer-songwriter Pictish Trail, a.k.a. Johnny Lynch, has shared newest release titled ‘Dead Connection’. The single is taken from his upcoming album Future Echoes which is due for release on September 9.

The follow up to the excellent double album Secret Soundz Vol. 1 & 2 has been in the works for a couple of years. ‘Dead Connection’ follows the first single off the record, ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave)’ – a mysterious, cinematic and slightly darker side to Lynch’s DIY electronic-tinged indie/folk (with a bit of hip hop) – in offering us a glimpse of what to expect. The latest tune is a little different. It is much more uplifting, buoyant piece of electro-pop, with a Moon Safari-esque playfulness to it. Add to that a touch of the psychedelic, bouncy fuzzy bassline and spectral vocals drifting through the synths, ‘Dead Connection’ twists and turns toward sheer polished perfection! While the lyrics lend a slight air of the melancholic, the music raises the tune toward the uplifting. Brilliant and wholly infectious.

Future Echoes is set for release on September 9th, check out ‘Dead Connection’ below now.

Franz Ferdinand’s Nick McCarthy forms new band ‘Manuela’, & debuts ‘Cracks in the Concrete’


Having recently announced a time out from guitarist duties with Franz Ferdinand, Nick McCarthy has announced news of a brand new project, Manuela.

Manuela is a musical collaboration between McCarthy’s and his wife, vocalist and songwriter Manuela Gernedel, and ‘Cracks In The Concrete’ marks the pair’s first released single together. The single is a joyous introduction to their eclectic, off-the-wall post-punk meets disco sound. Instantly addictive, it slinks and shuffles along with echoing, surging guitar lines and snappy percussion, to create a refreshing DIY pop sound, full of intensity. With Manuela’s debut album expected to be announced sometime soon on the fabulous Lost Map Records, this is a perfect taster and a delicious intro to the pair’s sounds.

‘Cracks In The Concrete’ is available as a postcard (plus download!) from Lost Map, and you can check it out below.

Rozi Plain – ‘Marshes’


Rozi Plain’s Friend is an absolute treasure, and the album is one of 2015’s choice releases.

Following up from that, the Bristol songwriter and musician has compiled a collection rarities, session tracks and remixes for a new release, with new song ‘Marshes’ leading the way. A gentle and deftly-arranged distillation of folky, indie and ambient pop that utterly beguiles, as Plain’s voice punctures the gloomy aura fashioned by distant cymbals and ghostly atmospherics. A sleepy, whispering and otherworldly number that like the finest moments from Friend, discovers beauty in the most curious of places. A wonderful song, demonstrating perfectly what Rozi Plain is all about. A timely reminder, in that regard.

You can check out ‘Marshes’ below and Friend of a Friend is out now via Lost Map – listen here.


Pictish Trail – ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave)’ + New Album Due in 2016


Scottish musician and songwriter Pictish Trail, aka Johnny Lynch, has unveiled a brand new single ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave)’.

From his hideaway on the Isle of Eigg, Mr. Lynch has been working away on a third Pictish Trail album, which is due for release in the late summer. Our first taster lifted from the forthcoming record is ‘Far Gone (Don’t Leave)’, and it is a simply splendid return. Inspired by Fargo, it’s a song about paranoia, the fear of being caught, and how that pushes people into desperate situations. With that in mind, unsurprisingly it has a curious and mysterious cinematic quality arrived at as a wonky keyboard bassline conspires with a heavy hip hop beat, all soaked in reverb. A slightly darker side to Lynch’s DIY electronic-tinged indie/folk but in saying that, it isn’t any less impressive.

Ahead of a new album, there is plenty to keep us occupied while we await follow up to Secret Soundz Vol. 1 & 2. Pictish Trail will release a postcard single via his own Lost Map imprint. Check it out now.

Tuff Love – ‘Resort’



Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados Tuff Love, have already graced us with a terrific trilogy of EPs in recent times. Those EPs – 2014’s ‘Junk’, and last year’s ‘Dross’ and ‘Dregs’ – marked them as one of the most exciting new bands around, all dazzling, fuzzy indie pop with sugar-sweet melodies and crunching choruses and shoegazey guitars galore.

This promise has been condensed into a single release, Resort. Ordered chronologically and marking the culmination of their hard work, it tells the Tuff Love story so far. Perhaps surprisingly, Resort sits together decidedly well as a ‘record’ in itself, especially considering the fragmented time in which they were recorded and originally released. Tuff Love strike a perfect balance between these contrasting ingredients of their sound. In all of three-and-a-half minutes, opener ‘Sweet Discontent’ outlines exactly what Tuff Love are all about. A racing melody is underpinned by a tattered grunge-echoing riff and a coarse, churning rhythm, and Julie Eisenstein’s dreamy, almost listlessness vocals, which exudes a sense of rage, sorrow and unhappiness. Raw yet dainty, blissfully rambunctious guitar-pop anthems, channeled through a haze of lo-fi recordings, is what they excel at. Of which any number of tracks from Resort will testify too; ‘Crocodile’, ‘Slammer’ or ‘Flamingo’, take your pick!

It’s not clear how far along Eisenstein and Bear are with a debut album proper, but Resort sits together rather nicely indeed. Not only does it allow us to draw a line under these excellent early EPs, it reminds us how good Tuff Love and you get the feeling they are destined for big things.

Resort is out now through Lost Map Records (buy or stream now).

Tuff Love – ‘Crocodile’ & Compilation LP ‘Resort’


Tuff Love have announced they are to release a compilation LP called ‘Resort’ in January.

It’s been a fine year for Tuff Love and their burgeoning band of fans, with the Glaswegian scuzz-pop aficionados concluding a triumphant trilogy of introductory EPs. The album will be composed of the band’s three EPs thus far – 2014’s ‘Junk’, ‘Dross’ from this February, and most recent release ‘Dregs’ – in one 15-track compilation . To coincide with the news of the LP, to be released via the mighty Lost Map Records on January 29th, the duo are releasing Dregs track,‘Crocodile’ as a single. ‘Crocodile’ strikes a perfect balance between contrasting ingredients of their sound. With a tattered grunge-echoing main riff, and Eisenstein and Bear’s charming two-part harmonies and dreamy vocals, it outlines exactly what Tuff Love are all about, all in two-and-a-half minutes. Tuff Love have impressed more and more on each and every occasion, and it’s been solid gold irresistible listening from first to last. Here’s to more of the same in the future.

You can listen to new single ‘Crocodile’ and check out the tracklisting for ‘Resort’ below.

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Rozi Plain – ‘Best Team’


Sort of folk but sort of indie too, Rozi Plain is tough one to box off.

Something that can be agreed upon is however; the London-based songstress is a supremely talented and engaging songwriter. Testament to this assertion is her third album, Friend, which was released earlier this year through Lost Map Records. It is a laid back, delicate and intricate blend of gentle and deftly-arranged folk, indie and ambient pop. An utterly beguiling album, it is a record to get lost in, such are the subtleties, textures and layers at play. If you’re still not sold on the merits of Friend, her latest single ‘Best Team’, will sway you away from the dark-side. As endearing an introduction as you could ask for, the deftly-arranged ‘Best Team’ drifts along a mellow vibe, imbued with a touch of melancholy, only to be lifted with bursts of brass, busy percussion and fluttering sounds. Singing with a sense of wonder, her vocals are mesmerizing, beautiful and shimmering. A delightful listen that demonstrates perfectly, what Rozi Plain is all about.

You can check out ‘Best Team’ and a few other choice cuts below. Both Friend and ‘Best Team’ are out now via Lost Map Records. Rozi Plain has a slew of live dates across the UK and beyond – check ’em here.

Introducing: Martha Ffion


Martha Ffion is an Irish-born, Glasgow-based singer-songwriter, who has been making a bit of a name for herself.

So much so that Ffion has teamed up with the irrepressibly magnificent Lost Map Records, to follow up her 2014 debut EP, Go, with double a-side ‘No Applause/Lead Ballons’. ‘No Applause’ is a glorious and infectious slice of fuzz-pop,  combining dainty ’60s girl-group vocals, sprightly rhythms, crunchy surf-grunge guitars with rumbling bass tones and punchy percussion. Ffion has drafted in some of Glasgow’s finest – label mate Suse Bear of Tuff Love plays bass and produced the song, The Phantom Band’s Iain Stewart provides drums and Poor Things’ Craig Angus supplies lead guitar- on the new single. The retro charm of ‘No Applause’ will warm your heart,  get your toes tapping and have you smiling from ear to ear.

Martha Ffionn has a couple of live dates coming up (see here) and also supported Honeyblood & Colleen Green recently; ‘No Applause’ in particular carries a certain similarity to the latter’s finest work. You can listen to ‘No Applause’ and ‘Go’, the title track to the 2014 debut EP, below.