Archive | April, 2012

Lightships Set Course For The Summer

14 Apr

You may’ve guessed from previous blogs that I’ve always been a big fan of Scottish guitar-janglers Teenage Fanclub.

So when I stumbled across news that TF’s Gerard Love was to release an album of his own, under the name Lightships, I was excited but also a bit nervous. After all, as one of three songwriters, Love usually contributes a few tracks to each TF album, so would the quality control dip now he’s got a entire 41 minutes to fill?

One spin (yes, I got the vinyl version with it’s alluring green artwork…) to Lightships’ Electric Cables banished my fears. It may be pretty slight, but the ten tracks include enough harmonies and gently-tugging hooks to power an whole summer’s feelgood musical whimsy.

Featuring TF collaborators Brendan O’Hare and Dave McGowan, it may already be my favourite ‘Teenage Fanclub’ album since 1997’s Songs From Northern Britain.

Here’s the video of Sweetness In Her Spark…


Low At Easter

6 Apr

Seeing Low in concert for the first time at the Glee Club in Birmingham earlier this week felt a bit like a religious experience. The seated crowd responded to the Minnesota act with a kind of reverent adulation which frontman Alan Sparhawk good-naturedly poked fun at.

Low’s reputation, built over almost 20 years of sticking to their own rules as rock fads ebb and flow, obviously preceded them. Every one of Sparhawk’s expressive guitar shapes and Mimi Parker’s  floor-tom thuds was made to count –  the husband and wife’s harmonies mapping a lifetime of yearning and survival.

They closed their main set with Murderer from 2007 album Drums and Guns. And, with themes of divinity and violence, for me, it’s got that ‘Good’ Friday feel…


Duke Special’s back

5 Apr


Duke Special’s long been a favourite in the Bate household. Check out the preview for his new album above.

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