Saturday, 8 October 2011

Martin John Henry - The Other Half of Everything

Let's get it out of the way right now, as the founding member of De Rosa Martin John Henry is at least partly responsible for two of my favourite albums, Scottish or otherwise, of the last ten years. You can make it three albums if you count the De Rosa Appendices. With that in mind it would be quite a surprise if I didn't like The Other Half of Everything, Martin's debut solo album.

There's no surprises ahead then, I do like the album. Rather a lot in fact. Yeah, ok, let's throw measured critical analysis out of the window (Ha! as if that has ever existed at Aye Tunes!) and get to it, I bloody love this album.

Breathing Space starts the album off in a fairly mellow, gentle style, before Span comes along and quickly lets you know you are in for something a bit different. Span embraces the electro elements of the album, and ends up being something not far off a big disco floor filler. The album continues to switch between mellow and upbeat throughout, blending the acoustic and the electronic beautifully. If you can listen to current single Ribbon on a Bough without your head bobbing check your pulse, you might be dead.

There's not a bad song on this album, although since I've had various version of I Love Map since it popped up on an Off The Beaten Track compilation in 2007 it does by now suffer from over familiarity, and too many highlights to name. Closing track There's a Phantom Hiding In My Loft does deserve a special wee mention though, just because it wraps up an excellent album beautifully.

If like me you find yourself missing De Rosa on regular occasions you owe it to yourself to pick up The Other Half of Everything. It is not just one of my favourite things I've heard this year, it is one of my favourite things I've heard since, well, the second De Rosa album.

If this review was a photograph it would be one of me sitting stroking the album lovingly. I make no apologies. We don't do star rating at Aye Tunes, but Martin John Henry can have five of them anyway.

The Other Half of Everything is released through Gargleblast Records on October 10th. The album is available to pre-order on Bandcamp.

Before that there is a launch gig at Stereo in Glasgow on October 8th (oops, I'm cutting this review a bit fine) with support from Adam Stafford and The Seventeenth Century.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Shivers - UK Tour & New Video

New Fence Records signing The Shivers are heading to the UK shortly for a couple of weeks of gigging. The Shivers are a two piece New York based rock-pop group, and since I liked their new album - available now from Fence Records! - and since one of the gigs is put on by my occasional gig putting on partner Peenko, this is pretty much just a blatant plug for the tour.

First though, here's their new video for album title track More.

You can catch The Shivers around the UK at the following places and dates:

31st Oct - Fence Hallowe'en Party, Wilmington Arms, London, supported by Player Piano & Jinnie Common.
1st Nov - The Cluny, Newcastle, supporting King Creosote & Kid Canaveral.
3rd Nov - Alington House, Durham.
4th Nov - The Tudor House, Wigan.
5th Nov - Fence’s Flamin’ Hott Loggz, Anstruther, Fife. All day event.
7th Nov - Mono, Glasgow, with support from Randolph's Leap & Where We Lay Our Heads.

8th Nov - XOYO, London, supporting Givers.
10th Nov - The Louisianna, Bristol,  with support from Player Piano.
11th Nov - South Street Arts, Reading, with support from Player Piano & Barbarossa.
12th Nov - The Hobgoblin, Brighton, with support from Barbarossa

More details and ticket info for all gigs can be found on the Fence website.
For more on The Shivers visit their Facebook, blog, or - again - the Fence website.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

This Silent Forest - The Fight

Lost in the midst of my gig self promotion last week was this new single from This Silent Forest. It is too good to let pass by without mention, so I'm invoking the good old "better late than never" ruling to mention it this week instead.

Having recently completed the terrifying sounding task of writing and recording a song every day for 30 days  - I can't even knock out a blog post a day and this requires no creativity, unlike songwriting - This Silent Forest have a new single out now through Never Make Friends Records.

The Fight is a grand sounding number. A slow build and storytelling lyrics teamed with rich layers of instrumentation build to a huge climax, resulting in a song that is sweeping and epic, without falling into the trap of sounding contrived that can often follow such things. Straddling the pop and modern folk camps, The Fight is pretty excellent really. The single is backed with a couple of alternative versions.

The Fight is available to download from iTunes and Amazon. A remix by Oh You Dancer is also available at iTunes and Amazon. The 30 songs in 30 days can be found on the band's Youtube page.

The Fight by This Silent Forest

This Silent Forest: Facebook - Youtube

New Release: We're Only Afraid of NYC - We Lived Here [Free Download]

I don't know, you hear nothing from We're Only Afraid of NYC for about a year then all of a suden you get a flurry of activity.

Back in August the band released Walls as a free download and played King Tuts as part of Rock 'n' Roll Damnation, and this week they have another new single our.

We Lived Here is, as always with We're Only Afraid of NYC, a free download, available now from Bandcamp. Consistently a band that I enjoy, We Lived Here is no change there. Quite downbeat and mellow for the most part, with explosions of furious noise breaking out just when you are sitting comfortably, We Lived Here is another welcome reminder that while We're Only Afraid of NYC might not have been terribly visible for a large chunk of the last year, they haven't been wasting their time.

We're Only Afraid of NYC: Bandcamp - Facebook

Monday, 3 October 2011

Free Songs From Poor Things

Poor Things have a wee freebie to offer you. I mentioned this last week while pimping out their gig that was taking place last night, but now the free stuff is available this is a gentle reminder to start downloading and get your virtual paws on some swag.

R U Sitting Comfortably is a three track free download. You can grab it from Bandcamp or from the handily embedded players below.

Festival by POOR THINGS

The History Society by POOR THINGS

Retreat by POOR THINGS

French Wives Have Numbers

You can't beat titling your first post of the week like a spam email subject, promising scantily clad European ladies, can you? I'm not talking about that kind of French Wives though, and there's no premium rate phone lines involved.

French Wives are, for those that haven't been paying attention, a band from round these parts. Not French, not wives, but one of my favourites anyway.

Recently the band have been working away on their debut album in the studio with producer Tony Doogan, and now they are ready to share the first fruits of those sessions.

They'll be releasing a single, Numbers, on October 24th, with that debut album to follow early next year.
You can have a wee listen to Numbers below. It is hardly a secret that I'm very fond of the band, so it will come as no surprise that I really like the song. Maybe they'll finally manage to get people to stop calling them folky soon too, since they quite blatantly aren't.

Numbers by French Wives

To celebrate the release of Numbers French Wives are going off on a wee tour later this month. You can find them at these places on these dates:

Aberdeen, Drummond’s Cafe - 19/10/11
Glasgow, Mono (Single Launch) - 20/10/11
Edinburgh, The Third Door - 22/10/11
Newcastle, The Tyne Bar - 23/10/11
London, Bull and Gate - 24/10/11

Suport for the Glasgow gig comes from Blochestra and Endor, and tickets are available now here.

They've also gone and got themselves a shiny new website, which you can find at Pop over there for more music, videos, and other fun things.

French Wives: Website - Bandcamp - Facebook