Death Cab For Cutie | Black Sun

I know I know. To like Death Cab now is completely and totally uncool. After the shambolic (in my opinion) Codes and Keys, I had officially broken up with the band. It’s a difficult process when you have to accept you’ve outgrown a band that you formally held up as your “favourite every ohemgee.” But despite my best judgement I couldn’t help but check out the latest Death Cab single “Black Sun” off the upcoming “Kintsugi” released March 31. I was overjoyed to find that in a actual fact, it’s not bad at all. Death Cab will never regain what made me love them when I first span “We Have The Facts And We’re Voting Yes” but when a band has evolved and you can still appreciate their new products then there’s no shame in that right?

My Little Empire | New Emperors

So I’ve had a bit of a break blogging lately due to an exhibition that I’ve been putting up over the last 2 weeks that has left my jaded in pretty much every setup. So as a reward for any outstanding loyalty here is a wonderful chance to pick up some new music to compliment your already impeccable and well informed iTunes library. To celebrate the launch of “My Little Empire Records” the aforementioned label have put together a compilation LP of emerging and new acts that 2015 is set to celebrate. Filled with 19 acts that may or may not have flown under your radar it’s a fantastic opportunity and, as it’s released on a pay-what-you-like basis, you can get it for free should you so choose. But don’t be that guy, at least donate a quid? Below is one of the standout tracks from the LP by Tenterhooks that definitely flew under my radar when it was released. I’ll be back more regularly now that my exhibition has closed.

Brooklyn Doran |There’s a Light On EP

It seems to be a recurring theme in current music trends to make deep brooding musical soundscapes and that’s all very lovely, really it is. Sometimes though I have to retreat to my roots of being a broody talentless kid with an acoustic guitar and jeans so tight that the hairs would poke through the denim. Brooklyn Doran seems to be releasing her EP “There’s a Light On,”  a little early. Ideal for a summer evening dancing terribly in a bar it doesn’t lend itself to the dreary Edinburgh winter. Saying that it’s some excellent wish fulfilment and escapism which is fantastically well needed. Reminds me of some of Jenny Owens Young stuff and that’s high praise. I’ve been featuring a lot of requests and I promise to get back to some more current trends but when submissions are this good it’s almost obligatory.

Hotel of the Laughing Tree | Duo

Submissions are great, part of any successful community requires dialogue between all aspects of said community. The tastemakers (which I am not) are not gatekeepers after all. “Hotel of the Laughing Tree” sent me Duo off their new album and considering the tracks I’ve been posting recently I really needed to get out of the headspace of “serious” music’ Not to say that HOTLT (it’s so much easier to type that way) don’t take themselves seriously. Instead you’re given a dancing tune that indie rock seems to have started to leave behind in the advent of it’s greater exposure. There’s still something to be said about guys playing music in a garage for the sheer reason to fuck about and have a laugh. It’s a track that has long been needed to liven up the blog and my own purely selfish soundcloud playlist.

The track is off the upcoming Spring release “New World Sundown” which will be an excellent introduction to the inevitably more cheerful Spring weather which I am seriously excited for.

Skyes | Quarks

Now this is what I’m talking about. I came really late into the electronic music thing, probably due to some kind of pure image of what indie music was and that involved 4/5 sad, introspective young skinny jeansters telling you how sad it really is to be them. Obviously I’ve matured significantly since then, if not then give me a smack. This new track dropped by Skyes would have changed my mind immediately a few years ago. Distorted guitars over syncopated drums and a fantastically nuanced voice make Skyes well worth watching. It’s going to be hard to follow up such a enigmatic track but hey, it’s been done before.

Tamara Williamson | Victoria

Being a trendy young art thing most of the music I get exposed to is made by trendy fringes making trendy fringe music for trendy fringes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all over this stuff, but sometimes it just doesn’t cut my mustard the right way. Music is a great democratic tool and is able to be an enjoyable experience as well as a tool for socio-political debate. For every song about your ex girlfriend there is also a protest song about government spending. It’s true, just ask Mr Bragg.

So here I am writing and featuring this track by Tamara Williamson. Reminiscent of the 90s female singer songwriters “Victoria” is from the new album “Sister Mother Daughter Wife” a protest album about how we treat our women in contemporary society. Sorry if this seems to be too heavy for you alcohol loving trendy fringe blogger but bollocks to you if that’s your mindset. We have as much a responsibility to engage with that we find difficult with that we find enjoyable. A whole album dedicated to women’s rights in it’s entirety bringing true stories into a cohesive position is a great example of what music can achieve. “Victoria” is inspired by the following passage:

“At the age of twenty Victoria found out that the parents who had raised her were not her family, and had been responsible for her abduction as a baby. After many years of searching Victoria found that her father had been a victim of the “death flight’s” where thousands of young Argentinian citizen’s were thrown alive from planes into the Atlantic Ocean. Her mothers body has never been recovered.”

As a track it’s hauntingly sad and sits in that awkward space between musical enjoyment and debate. All proceeds from the album will be going to Amnesty International so buy it and contribute to a debate that is terrifyingly sad to have to be having in the 21st century but that we are obliged to by our participation in modern society. Don’t get butthurt and pretend it’s not a discourse worth arguing and fighting for.

Le Noire | FIRE

This girl really reminds of Gwen Stefani. Imagine that instead of No Doubt, Stefani would start a band with a group of NME fringe kids and you get a bit closer to the sound of Le Noire. I never got on with any of Stefani’s work because, well, it’s Gwen Stefani and for whatever reason I associated her voice with it. Le Noire therefore must have produced something really significant to break down that awful bias in my head and FIRE, released last year just before Christmas, is the perfect way to do so. Abrasive and a definite party tune it’s certainly helping me to cope in my little Edinburgh bedroom which is so cold, I can see my own breath.

Prinze George | Upswing

Prinze George sound to me like how our future heir to the throne will name himself once he discovers millennial rom-coms and Freddie Prinze Jr. Prinze George are being heralded as a “next big thing” which can so often be a red herring to how bands develop. Who actually wants to be a big thing sometimes? Isn’t it just alright to be a good thing? Anyway, latest single after two previous releases and it’s an absolute gem. I’ll be spinning this for the next few months conceivably which is high praise indeed. Hopefully we’ll be seeing a full release from these cheeky monkeys but “Upswing” perfectly wets your appetite.

Fort Lean | I Don’t Mind

Do you ever get those bands that you discovered years ago and then let fall off your radar so entirely that when they finally reappear in your peripheral vision they’re practically unrecogisable? I first listened to Fort Lean when I was 18, growing around the middle and awkwardly growing facial hair that even now could only legitimately be described as below par. They were a great indie rock band that sprung up in that period of time when everything was ruled by people with cool haircuts and synthesisers. Today they dropped “I Don’t Mind,” a song of the new album to be released in the Spring. It’s more mature if you’re a seasoned listener of the band and develops brilliantly over the course of 3 minutes into a track that you can sing to awkwardly to yourself on the bus.

Waxahatchee | Air

This is what I like to see whilst procrastinating in the studio. Waxahatchee are returning for a new album “Ivy Tripp” on Merge Records released 6 April here in the UK, 7th for the US. It’s delicious and slower than the tracks that initially drew me to Waxahatchee. The track Air seems tailor-made for the headphone obsessives among us who pretend we’re really cool and instead just don’t know how to talk to people. It builds slowly and Katie Crutchfield manages to engage with her audience spectacularly as usual. She’ll be following up her release with a European tour that I’m certainly going to catch when she rolls through Glasgow.

23 – Dresden, Germany – Beatpol
1 – Münster, Germany – Gleis 22
3 – Hamburg, Germany – Molotow
4 – Copenhagen, Denmark -Beta
8 – Koln, Germany – Blue Shell
10 – London, England – Electric Ballroom
11 – Bristol, England – The Fleece
12 – Manchester, England – The Ruby Lounge
13 – Dublin, Ireland – Button Factory
14 – Belfast, Northern Ireland – McHughs
15 – Glasgow, Scotland – Stereo
16 – Newcastle, England – The Cluny
17 – Leeds, England – The Brudenell Social Club
18 – Sheffield, England – The Harley
19 – Southampton, England – Joiners
20 – Brighton, England – Bleach

The album is available to pre-order from here.