Saturday, 28 March 2015

That's My Jam #56 - Turtle - Silent Weapon

Jon Cooper, the real name behind the musical moniker of Turtle, has been causing a bit of a frenzy amongst muso types with his spacious and luscious electronic music.  The trend continues with Silent Weapons  a track off his forthcoming second EP Colours.

Featuring whispy vocals, complete with mysterious lyrics, atop hazy electronica, the track really ignites in the final third with pulsing synths and floating guitars whirling round together in a seductive mating ritual.  It's a different dimension to the music of Turtle, intelligent and emotional leaving a real embedded connection with the listener.

Album Review - Bronto Skylift - Date With A Ghoul

Who knew that just two guys could create such a ruckus?  It's certainly not a challenge for Iain Stewart and Niall Strachan, who both impressively screech and crash about in Bronto Skylift's Date With A Ghoul.  In fact it's a walk in the park.

The album is the Glasgow duo's second full length album.  Recorded at Chem19 in Glasgow and mastered by Steven Ward, it's the follow up to 2010's The White Crow.

Despite losing the rawness that accompanied their debut, Date With A Ghoul  is a full on heavy record, with comparisons to Nirvana's Bleach  not far from the mark, with the droning simple chord changes on Shark  drawing similarities.  Although, be warned as there’s none of that loud/quiet dynamic carry on.  Your ears are dragged through the record with no rest bite.

There is a little humour thrown in amongst the noise.  For example Shit Hoody  could be about a poor fashion choice or a day trip to the seaside.  Who knows?  The lyrics are indiscernible.

The simple punk ethos is present.  Short tracks with simple chord changes layered with bawling vocals.  The amount of energy Strachan and Stewart cite tires the listener by well, just listening.  A live show is assumingly their weekly work out.

- Holly Callender

Bronto Skylift - Date With A Ghoul  is self released and available here.  Catch the band at Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh on 22nd May.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

That's My Jam #55 - Youngstrr Joey - Michael

s well as being a member of Spinning Coin (check them out here) Cal Donnelly also goes under the alter-ego of Youngstrr Joey.  In that guise, he has released his debut EP 'proper', via Number4Door; a Glasgow DIY label with a tendency for uncovering gems.

The whole EP, which is called Cheerleader,  is pretty grizzly and dare I say nihilistic, with vocals that whilst not directly saying it scream "fuck you", and a kind of (I assume) deliberate out of step melody running through the four tracks.  That's no bad thing, and opener Michael  is a beast of a track, with Donnelly repeating "show me how to be cool" atop a three chord lo-fi guitar sequence which then proceed to scream chaotically.  There's a gleeful 'do-do-do-do' break in the track, which sounds both inviting and vicious at the same time.  A perfect tagline for the whole EP to be honest.

We're Only Here For The Banter - Catholic Action

Catholic Action are very much one of the bands of the moment.  The band, led by Chris McCrory also of Casual Sex and Pinact, have gathered a reputation on the live scene, which is being replicated with their recorded output.  The tracks for their forthcoming split with Poor Things sound fantastic, and there's plenty more in the pipeline too.  I caught up with lead singer Chris to find out more.

Hello! How the devil are you?

I'm very warm, but very well thank you.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

I think everyone hates it because it's so hard!  Plus, musicians are inherently lazy.  It's a lose/lose situation.

I will say that I definitely get off on a mix of strong melodies, sweet harmonies, classic pop songwriting and strange sounds however.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

As a recording engineer, the studio often exerts a strong influence on our music.  However, we're just as likely to have songs come together live in the rehearsal room or through simple bedroom demos.  We're a live band ultimately - but having the studio allows us to expand musically, and incorporate sounds and ideas that'd otherwise be impossible.

The one constant ideal throughout all of these processes however is the importance of the song.  To me, a good song should work just as well with an acoustic guitar as it does with the bells and whistles of a recording studio.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

You will see: Andrew Macpherson exhibiting complete mastery of the electric guitar, Jamie Dubber shooting bass lines from the hip, Ryan Clark's stylish punctuality in full effect and me pushing hair out of my face.

Tell us about your next planned split with Poor Things

Our first ever tour was back in November with Poor Things.  We immediately fell in love with each other (and each other's music).  So naturally, a split release was in order!  Fuzzkill are going to release it as a limited edition cassette/digital download!  You can get your hands on it through Fuzzkill's bandcamp or at one of the shows on the tour.

What else have you got planned for 2015?

We have a lot of music that we want to show you, we have a lot of gigs that we're very much looking forward to playing! We'll be at:

Edinburgh / Banshee Labyrinth – Friday 27th March
Aberdeen / Cellar 35 – Saturday 28th March
Inverness / Mad Hatters – Sunday 29th March
Glasgow / Broadcast - Friday 3rd April
Manchester / Big Hands – Saturday 4th April

What are you listening to at the moment?

I was listening to a new track of ours for far too long on end… (The joys of mixing).

But right now (thankfully), I'm listening to Tearing The Place Apart  by Sparks.  It has camp class and a sleazy swing.  It's classically melodic yet completely skewed.  A perfectly unhinged piece of pop music.   I highly recommend it.

Check out more from Catholic Action

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Album Review - digitalanalogue - Be Embraced, You Millions!

digitalanalogue is a solo project by Ian Turnbull from Edinburgh’s Broken Records and this debut release Be Embraced, You Millions!  is an album that displays a haunting beauty that can’t fail to draw you back time and time again for repeated listens.  Recorded on a mixture of old and new home recording equipment (hence the digitalanalogue tag), the album draws its influence from the last two years of Ian’s life from his “excitement at first time fatherhood and family life” to death of his mother from a terminal illness, with the parts of the song titles in parenthesis offering clues to the various events they are based on.  The mixture of emotions inspired by these highs and lows informs the album’s feel throughout.

Opener Café Royal (Difficult Conversation)  is a beautiful track that begins with a kind of Brian Eno Music For Airports  style piano before elements of post rock guitar work their way in, reminiscent of Mogwai, or Sigur Ros in their more placid moments.  It’s a gorgeous piece of music and a real scene setter for the album.  The piano led tracks are the stand outs for me on this release.  The wonderful Bow Bar (I’m Sorry, I Was Miles Away),  with its slightly treated piano sound redolent of The Caretaker’s haunting albums mixed with the melody of Depeche Mode instrumentals.  Album taster track ID83846 (Don’t Look Down)  too is a wonderful piece of work.

The stand out track, and the one most clearly linked to the personal events that inspired the work is No.99 (I Love To Go A Wandering).  It starts out with eerie electronics, before strings transform it into a heartbreaking piece of music that is interwoven with sampled dialogue of conversations between a father, their child and the child’s grandmother.  It really is quite a breath-taking track and works fantastically well as the album’s centre-piece, musically and emotionally.

The remaining tracks on the album fall more into the post rock category with a collection of drones and loops interspersed with samples and piano parts.  Tracks such as Wapping Road, Bristol (Always In The Right Place At The Right Time)  or London Road (Busy Brain)  providing a counterpoint to the more considered, almost ambient moments on the record.  The album ends on an upbeat note with the magical Creag Ruadh (Keep Going)  which feels distinctly like light at the end of the tunnel.

Be Embraced, You Millions!  is ultimately a very uplifting record and one that you can’t help becoming affected by, even after just one listen.  Superb stuff.

- David McElroy

digitalanalogue - Be Embraced, You Millions!  is out now on Song, By Toad Records either digitally via all good online music retailers or on limited edition 12” vinyl from all good record shops or here.  The vinyl comes in a hand-printed sleeve with photography and writing by Ian himself.  .

Monday, 23 March 2015

That's My Jam #54 - Poor Things - Friends

The reverse of our previous jam; which came from Catholic Actions; is two new offerings from trio Poor Things being released as part of a split cassette via Fuzzkill Records.

Friends  is the lead track from Poor Things, and is their first original new material since their eponymous debut album which was a firm favourite round these parts last year.  With a sweet acoustic intro, leading into plenty of fuzzy guitars, the track wraps the influences of Teenage Fanclub around it and bursts out with fresh impetus.

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 23rd March 2014

Last August we dabbled with an all vinyl podcast which went down pretty well.  So naturally I thought it was time to dust off some records and do it again; but this time live in the studio for two hours!  Which given that our wee radio studio is not set up to play vinyl at all was a fun challenge!  So if you'll forgive the odd RPM mishap and some crackles, then dig into music from Errors, Jonnie Common, Withered Hand, Le Thug, Frightened Rabbit and more! 

John Knox Sex Club - Animals
Japanese War Effort - Summer, Sun, Skateboard
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - If You Keep Me In Your Heart
FOUND - Machine Age Dancing
Errors - A Rumour In Africa
Django Django - Storm
We Were Promised Jetpack - Quiet Little Voices
Jonnie Common - Shark
Martin John Henry - Span
Admiral Fallow - Beetle in the Box
Aberfeldy - Love is an Arrow
Lightships - Fear and Doubt
Belle and Sebastian - Come on Sister
COVER LOVER - LCD Soundsystem - Live Alone
Rachel Sermanni - Eggshells
Travis - Side
Withered Hand - Heart Heart
Tuff Love - Poncho
Frightened Rabbit - The Loneliness and the Scream
The Seventeenth Century - Banks of Home
Biffy Clyro - Saturday Superhouse
Le Thug - Sense in Scotland
Ambulances - Shine on My Shoes

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Scottish Fiction - 23rd March 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud