Into:Music – Writer’s Choice – Best Albums of February 2019
Big Gold Dreams – A Story Of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989 (Cherry Red Records)
This 5 CD box set from Cherry Red Records has been a long time in the planning but it’s finally here and well worth the wait. Occasionally we can get a wee bit carried away with the anticipation of a record release and at times that can lead to disappointment when that build up doesn’t quite live up to the expected promise.
No fear with this though. In fact, if anything my expectations have been surpassed and then some.
Of course, the period in question can be considered something of a golden age for Scottish music and this is evident from the wide array of styles, from punk through to dance with a sprinkling of indie rock, jangly pop, soul, folk and garage sounds in between.
The beauty of this compilation is the evident love and care put in to “getting it right” and what a job those involved have done. A 70-page booklet accompaniment includes a wonderful introduction from Grant McPhee (director of the documentary of the same name) as well as great sleeve notes from journalists Neil Cooper and Tim Barr. These set the scene with what was going on musically at the time alongside pen picks on each band and a selection of photos, gig flyers and concert tickets.
There’s plenty of big hitters such as The Rezillos, Altered Images, The Bluebells, Cocteau Twins, Simple Minds, Primal Scream and The Jesus And Mary Chain, though from my perspective hearing long forgotten tracks and discovering new songs by bands I was not aware of was perhaps the highlight.
There’s 115 tracks on the box set and too many to list, but Memphis sum it up best on the track You Supply The Roses, with the line ‘searching for hidden treasures’. They’re in this compilation in spades. Seek it out, you’ll be glad you did.
Port Sulphur – Valentino’s (Creeping Bent)
Following hot on the heels of 2018’s critically acclaimed release, Paranoic Critical, 2019 sees Port Sulphur release this mini album of 6 tracks.
Influenced in part by the Edinburgh club scene of the early 1980s, tracks such as Amphetamania and Co-Pilot have an almost cinematic, noir feel to them and remind me of the type of tunes you sometimes hear in the coolest underground bars of Berlin and Prague.
Post-punk funk, with elements of dance, runs through many of the songs, interspersed with insistent, heavy beats, with the stand out track Blood Dub, an eight-minute masterpiece evoking the spirit of Neu! meets Death In Vegas.
This was initially a one-day release only via Bandcamp on 14 February. Hopefully the team at The Creeping Bent Organisation will consider a wider release, it deserves to be heard.