Album: Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire - Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire (Middle of Nowhere Recordings) ****
Well, now this is a pleasant surprise.
This debut album landed in The Playlist's mailbag and proceeded to eat into the next few hours of work time.
It was on repeat for quite some time, thanks to the quality of tunes presented on this 12-track album.
Days Are Numbered gets things off to a promising and atmospheric start, before stunning single Cold City Avalanche delivers on that early promise.
"I missed the punchline to the joke," sings Hart in his infectious tone.
Parts of this album were recorded in a Glasgow church, and The Big Jump certainly has that kind of sound about it. Piano-led, with soulful vocals and a hypnotic vibe, it's a real standout on an album packed with potential hits.
Bright Light Fever shows Roddy Hart can pen stomping big indie tracks too, rattling along at a pace and featuring a clearly Glasgow-influenced lyric in "I'll get a kicking if I'm in the wrong part of town."
The Scottish band are on to something here, and the theme continues on Bad Blood - an ominous sounding indie rock epic.
Our favourite is Not Nervous Anymore, a song on which the band have space to flex their musical muscles and Roddy gets all reflective.
A refreshing release that keeps Scotland on the musical map following recent releases by Franz Ferdinand and Belle and Sebastian.
Album: Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (Polydor) ****
THE grandaddy of industrial rock is back with his ninth studio album, his first since 2008.
Trent Reznor's gritty music has soundtracked the lives of many an angsty teenager, but there's no denying his ear for a tune.
For evidence, look at his classic track Hurt, covered so beautifully by Johnny Cash wielding little more than his voice and an acoustic guitar.
But on to Trent's new material and it's fair to say it's everything you'd expect of him.
Hesitation Marks opens with a haunting build-up, something of a rock cliche perhaps, but the track - The Eater of Dreams - hints of the treats to come.
Copy Of A is far from a classic, but it's unmistakably NIN with it's electronic foundation and eerie vocals.
However, Came Back Haunted - the album's first single - is a masterpiece, up their with NIN's finest work.
A bassline that is part groovy, part twisted underpins Reznor's to-the-point tirade. "I am not who I used to be," he insists, having never sounded better.
Find My Way is as close as NIN come to a ballad, heartfelt and understated in the mould of some of Depeche Mode's finest work.
Things take a turn for the more cheerful on All Time Low, despite the song's mournful title.
Reznor is in wonderful vocal form on this track, ably backed by an optimistic and almost funky guitar lick.
Other highlights include the beautiful Various Methods Of Escape and the massive I Would For You, in which Reznor sings "if I could be anybody else, well I think I would for you."
Nice of you to offer Trent, but we love you just the way you are.
Single: Arctic Monkeys - Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? (Domino) ****
IN anticipation of next week's release of their new album, AM, Arctic Monkeys' latest single comes as a welcome teaser.
While it lacks the immediate appeal of predecessor Do I Wanna Know?, Why'd You Only Call Me When You're High? proves the Sheffield band have talent in spades.
Alex Turner's lyrics are, as always, downright genius and you'll find yourself smiling throughout this laid-back track.
And for the modest sum of just £1.29, you'll get this along with the brilliantly named b-side, Stop The World I Wanna Get Off With You.
A funky, chunky, sexy beast with more of that lyrical wit and a typically Monkeys guitar riff that makes a good case for having been considered as the a-side.
This double treat will keep the longing at bay until AM comes out next Monday.