Posts Tagged ‘Glasgow’

99% of other reviews make a beeline for comparisons with At The Drive-In and …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead with this Glaswegian quartet, and this is certainly true of tracks such as ‘Go Away, Don’t Leave Me Alone’ and ‘Dust To Light’.  I’m surprised that there’s very little mention of early Idlewild.  Not since their 1998 ‘Captain EP’ has a Scottish band combined infectious energy and youthful exuberance in such a manner.  United Fruit have a knack of melding their discordant music into something quite anthemic. Tracks such as ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘The Alarm’ portray this perfectly, shifting gears and winding the abrasive instrumentation into radio-friendly choruses, it’s an impressive trick, one that also reminds of the satisfying, ear-drum bursting dynamics of former Glaswegian Indie-Rock heroes AC Acoustics.  As too is the whirlwind, overwhelming start to ‘Confuse Her Now’ which recalls Sonic Youth at their most raucous.  Again there’s room for melody amidst the fiery, post-hardcore shouts, corkscrewing guitar interplay and breakneck speed instrumentation.

A muddy production mix means a lot of this LP loses its impact, however.  You really want tracks such as ‘Kamikaze’ and ‘Red Letter’ to overcome this, but they don’t quite make it. The vocals can be difficult to decipher especially when the band are at full stride, while the drums could do with a good bit of oomph, instead of the damp, watery sound prevalent throughout– though they’re actually kind of reminiscent to that of Sonic Youth’s ‘Sister’, so perhaps the drum sound on ‘Faultlines’ was intentional..  Production issues aside, this record is definitely worth investigating especially by those with even a passing interest in any of the bands mentioned above.  As a start this record is noteworthy, but with a prestigious slot secured for the T Break Stage at this year’s T in the Park Festival, United Fruit seem destined to go onto bigger things.

The Cosmic Dead are four psychedelic warlords from Glasgow with a penchant for trippy, long-form grooves that summon the spirit of Komische legends such as Neu! and Can and the Space-Prog oscillations of Hawkwind, amongst other trance-inducing influences.  This results in an 80 minute long debut record, released on cassette, containing four slabs of epic, sonic heaven, complete with pulsating waves of drone, acid-soaked guitar fireworks, fleeting vocal glimpses and throbbing, motorik percussion — all underpinned by an earthy, low-end bass rumble, of course.

The best thing to do here is turn your stereo up full blast and go with the flow, allowing these colossal waves to wash over you.  ‘The Slow Death of the Infinite Godhead’ is the best track, impressing especially when the band hits (interstellar) overdrive, unleashing massive, tumbling ‘audio generator’ sounds that feel like they’re going to swallow you up. Opening gambit, ‘The Black Rabbit’, meanwhile, may seem indulgent given its near 20 minute lifespan but remains enjoyable throughout with its furious, liquid riffs complimenting the bass and synth drone, allowing the juggernaut drums to take centre stage around the instrumental meanderings.

‘Father Sky, Mother Earth’, at 40 minutes long, takes up the whole of Side B, starting sedately and mantra-like, before this young quartet erupt in an intense fashion, hammering home the notion that, like their live show, they’re at their best when they’ve got the pedal to the metal and the controls set for the heart of the sun.  Julian Cope would love these guys

‘The Cosmic Dead’ cassette can be obtained from Who Can You Trust Records limited to 150 copies, while a digital version is available at the bandcamp link below.

Here’s something I thought I would never see, but it would appear Glasgow’s finest Mogwai are beginning to reap the commercial benefits of signing with SupPop in the USA and releasing arguably their most radio-friendly record to date in ‘Hardcore While Never Die, But You Will’.  The band performed ‘San Pedro’ live on the Jimmy Fallon show last Monday on national TV in the USA, lifted from their recent LP.  It’s probably my least favourite Mogwai record in their discography, but it still has its moments. It’s both strange and amusing to see the band look as dour as they did the first time I saw them in front of about 50 people back in 1996., proving all that money they’re now raking in hasn’t went to their heads!

I’ve been a bit slow on the uptake here but, United Fruit are another band currently creating a splash in and around Glasgow and with new album ‘Fault Lines’ ready to go (May 30th I believe) and a UK-wide tour due to start in support of the record, things look set to get a lot busier for this quartet.   Especially since they were recently announced as one of the 16 bands to peform on the T Break stage at this year’s T in the Park Festival.  ‘Go Away, Don’t Leave Me Alone’ (posted below) whets the appetite somewhat, an incendiary slab of furious post-hardcore/post-punk.  It’s literally bursting with youthful energy and there’s a nice balance between the discordance of the swarming, razor sharp guitars and melody on this number — It is most certainly not without its hooks.  To these ears, there’s a strong connection with ‘Madonna’-era …Trail of Dead, though there’s also mention of bands such as Fugazi, Shellac, At The Drive-In and Oxes on their last fm profile and various other reviews. ‘Fault Lines’ comes on the back of the locally acclaimed ‘Mistress, Reptile, Mistress EP’ and looks set to propel these lads into a wider audience.

Gone are the short, sharp shocks and brutal sensory assaults of their two previous records.  In their place is something a little more refined, and a great deal more enterprising.  It’s always a joy to see a band that you’ve been with from the start progress their sound in this manner and Take A Worm For A Walk Week have hit musical pay dirt on ‘TAWFAAW’, revealing a band that’s become more musically intelligent and imaginative.

At just 25 minutes long, this is hardly what you would call an LP, but still it’s more than double the length of some of their previous recordings.  The Glaswegian quartet career through the songs effortlessly here, retaining all of their nervous, chaotic energy while adding new and compelling twists along the way.  There’s a bundle of brass instrumentation, for example, strewn across a number of tracks.  There’s also some brilliant horror B-movie synths that adds toe-tapping tension, see ‘So Alive’ and ‘No Right’ in particular.  They even attempt a chorus or two.

Lyrics are kind of indecipherable in a maniacal sort of manner.  If frontman Joe Quimby isn’t screaming, yelping, shrieking, gasping, cackling or howling, then he’s delivering quick-witted lines in a thick Scottish brogue like a cross between David Yow and Alex Harvey.   The sort of accent that has hardly done the likes of The Twilight Sad any harm at all.  A totally captivating performance.

Emma Pollock (of Delgados fame) adds haunting vocals on the creeping ‘Coach Perry’ to form an album highlight, while the downright funky ‘So Low’ is also a feature track, showing this outfit can slow things down without losing any of their acerbic impact.  Opening number ‘These Luscious Things’ is another favourite, inventively combining thundering bass with abrasive guitar, with brass adding the flourish, the pummeling and mischievously-named ‘Shagadugaday’, meanwhile, is destined to be a live favourite with its rapid-fire precision.  Likewise  ‘Like My Pacifier’ delights with its machine-gun like delivery, deranged lyrics and battering horn section, like Rocket From The Crypt on a week-long bender with Shellac.

The fact that each of the ten tracks has something new to offer is the true story of this record.  While Take A Worm’s idea of accessible music is enough to make the more casual listener cower behind the sofa, after all this record is anything other than conventional, there’s much going on here to suggest that this lot may just have opened plenty of doors for themselves.  More to the point, for those who crave a sound that’s fresh, exciting and totally original, ‘TAWFAWW’ is, without a doubt, the album for you.

The Seventeenth Century’s reputation, particularly in their adopted hometown of Glasgow, has grown at a furious rate since their inception in 2009.  They deal in effervescent and adventurous folk-rock, where traditional instrumentation meets with euphoric 4-part harmonies.  It’s a heady mix and one that proves to be very intoxicating over the course of this 4-track 10″ EP.

It would be all too easy to label this quintet as Scotland’s answer to Arcade Fire, the songs certainly set out on similar enchanted paths to that of their Canadian counterparts.  But there’s a little more than meets the eye here.  ‘Amongst Other Things’ for example, experiments with various woodwind and acoustic instruments and twinkling piano to create a beautiful tapestry of sound, reminding of Danish collective Efterklang.  Lead track ‘Young Francis’, meanwhile, wanders into the Prog/Folk territory occupied by Shearwater, the vocals particularly reminding of Jonathan Meiburg’s melancholic croon albeit with a distinctive Scottish edge to the tone.  Its hook-filled choruses and marching-band drums are certainly an EP highlight

The vocals, in fact, are wistful and infectious throughout, containing a certain quality that keeps you going back for more, with the celebratory ‘Countryside’ being a case in point — the only complaint here is that it ends all too abruptly. I can imagine this would all be a joy to behold live, the aforementioned harmonies (think Beach Boys-quality here) alone would be interesting to witness, and there are reviews online to back this up.  Which makes it all the more pleasing that The Seventeenth Century’s career is unfolding in my own back yard.

Buy/Order

Ones To Watch: Tokamak

Posted: May 15, 2011 in One To Watch
Tags: ,

I’m back from Prague refreshed and raring to go.  To kick things off, here’s the latest ‘One To Watch’ this time coming from Scottish trio Tokamak.  Once you navigate through all the scientific mumbo-jumbo from which Tokamak probably  took their name from, you’ll find that this criminally unsigned Glaswegian outfit are very pleasing to the ears indeed.  I’m getting hints of Neu! and Can in the motoring ‘Invasion of the Rectangles”, with the brooding cello work adding a nice touch of tension before the band explode in a distorted frenzy.  The nicely named ‘Fucktard’ is another highlight in this bunch of assorted tracks, a totally raucous affair with driving guitars, sci-fi electronics and motorik drums where it sounds like they literally attack their instruments when they approach the riotous chorus.  ‘Gartnavel Heckler’ portrays them in a different light again where Tokamak weave an interesting spoken-word story something akin to The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, again when the band let loose they’re a joy to behold.  I’m not sure if these tracks are out-takes, rehearsal jams or work in progress’ for a later recording (although they are labelled as ‘not quite finished yet’ at their Soundcloud page), what I do know is they are quite tremendous.  A difficult to describe sound that takes its influence from instrumental bands like Do Make Say Think, the aforementioned Komische/Krautrock movement and marrying it with a huge helping of progressive attitude, though I do also detect a hint of former Glasgow heroes pH Family in their sound too.

Take A Worm For A Walk Week – ‘Take A Worm For A Walk Week’ (Midmarch Records)

Here’s another older review I wrote back in early January 2007.  This one details the debut offering from Glaswegian quartet Take A Worm For A Walk Week.  The reason for posting this will become clearer in a week or so, when I review their new LP ‘TAWFAWW’, which has already scored a 9/10 from Rocksound and a 5/5 from The Skinny.  What I’ve listened to on their bandcamp page sounds like one of the most engaging, fresh sounding records I’ve heard from a Glasgow band in some time, this band have seriously progressed in their relatively short lifespan.  For now though, let’s delve into the past and learn about their debut record.

This release from Glasgow group, Take A Worm For A Walk Week, is a ‘slight’ departure from has went on in this site previously. But, I like to think I am an open-minded guy and will give most things a try. The artwork for this CD (a mass of skeletal bodies on a black background) points to a band a little more direct and, perhaps, dangerous.

Dangerous, however, would not do the music here justice. It’s ferocious, blistering, menacing and bludgeoning. The group themselves have been gaining a reputation locally on the Glasgow live circuit and also nationally, supporting the likes of Sikth. Kerrang! and Rock Sound both gave the band excellent reviews recently and the music on this self-titled release seems to back up this up.

I have to admit to being behind the times when it comes to heavy rock, my own tastes have just moved in a different direction of late. Having said that though, 3 or 4 years ago I would have lapped this album up.

It is a relentless blast of discordant noise that jumps effortlessly between Eyehategod sludge and Dillinger Escape Plan time signatures. In fact, it is the impeccable and complex rhythms that propel this 13 track, 15 minute release above its peers. It barely pauses for breath and it must take a remarkable amount of concentration when playing this stuff live. The razor-sharp vocals are delivered in the same manic manner as Jesus Lizard frontman David Yow, possibly even more deranged!. While some of the instrumentation simply bludgeons you into submission.

Fans of calm, ambient soundscapes need not apply here, but if you like gutteral roars, impeccable time signtaures and sludgy guitars this is the album for you. What it lacks in length is more than made up for by the outstanding delivery and instrumentation.

About as subtle as a knife to the face, as grating as feeding your hand into a mincer, take a worm for a walk week thrust their riffs down your throat, then scream them into your bowels. Tech as fuck, fast and hard, mixing the intensity of eyehategod with the speed of agoraphobic nosebleed, and almost Jacob Bannon esce vocals. Hailing from Glasgow, featuring ex-members of Torqamada, their self-titled album weighs in with 13 tracks.

The album was recorded by Aereogramme’s Ian Cook, and boasts stunning artwork from artist Richard Forbes-Hamilton, who has designed for such acts as ASVA, depicting a writhing mass of bodies, fading into corpses, a perfect metaphor for the desperation and pummelling nature of this band. ‘TAWFAWW’s 15-Minute debut will leave you felling disoriented, irreparably violated, and with a charred and bloody mess where your face used to be.

Source: http://www.recordstore.co.uk/productdetail.jsp?productPK=unittest-V03JKaJkEHQm1nI2qN3IEb-1

One of the main aims of this site is to promote Scottish music, particularly from my native Glasgow.  It’s a city that is a lot smaller (just over 1 million people in the greater Glasgow area) and quite close-knit in comparison to the likes of more cosmopolitan places such as London, New York and Toronto, but it has an equally interesting music scene — with lots happening and very frequently.  One band that have been on my radar for a while are three-piece Super Adventure Club.  I saw them supporting Volcano! and they more than held their own that night.  I was impressed by their quirkiness, inventive song writing and clever lyrics.  They have an odd sound that’s hard to pinpoint (trust me I’ve tried and tried), unique but with vague reference points.  As the video for smart, almost telepathic live performance of  ‘Dog With Two Dicks’ shows these two boys and one girl are an impressive live unit.

There’s a few records available via Scottish imprint Armellodie

Evocative poetry readings of some of the greatest poets are combined with an introspective music and eclectic videos. This was produced in 2006 for a unique performance in Glasgow, UK.