Yesterday we gave the first share to the brand new Peter Cat video for ‘Hand Through Hair’, here’s a little something the man behind the band had to say about it:
“To paraphrase Liz Lemon, we’ve been workin’ on our night cheese.
“Our new single ‘Hand Through Hair’ is a cocksure cocktail of fuzzed-out guitars and frustrated desires; equal parts glam-rock stomp, art-school pomp and egregious self-pity.
“It’ll have 90s kids digging their parents’ greasy Mud and Slade LPs out from the attic in a furtive frenzy, and thus go some small way to bridging the intergenerational divide we as a society are currently mired in.
“It was recorded at Glasgow’s all-analog Green Door Studios, and mixed by producer wunderkind Chris McCrory of Catholic Action, who’s given it as many thumbs up as he’s buy trenbolone acetate online biologically capable of (I’ll leave you to infer the precise number).
“You can hear ‘Hand Through Hair’, and more, in an intimate (probably too intimate) live setting on the ‘PETER CAT IS RUINING IT FOR EVERYONE’ UK tour, beginning 6th June at Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh.”
The world of And Yet It Moves had fell quiet for some time, and no one despite a small group of people knew exactly what was happening, however Dale Barclay the frontman of the group contacted me wanting to shed light and share exactly the ordeal that has happened.
Cutting to the chase, at the tender age of 32 Barclay was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma brain cancer and as a result has relocated home to Glasgow from the band’s Berlin base to focus on fighting that, but from what is a quite terrifying reality has born a man more awake than ever before.
When I met up with Barclay and band mate and now wife Laura St. Jude, they came across like they had done in the past, the most welcoming enthusiastic people you could ever meet in your life; now two artists caught up in a whirlwind of a medical catastrophe are making the only choice; to face to head on, keep creating, keep fighting and enjoy everything that comes your way.
When putting together this piece I wasn’t quite sure how to approach this piece, however the best way felt to go Barclay’s raw dialogue, a stream of inspiring consciousness, about fear, life, beauty and what really matters:
Being diagnosed with cancer is potentially the scariest thing that can happen in someone’s life, can you explain what your initial reaction to finding out was?
Exhilaration, doom, sadness for my family and Laura (St. Jude), seeing them upset was worse than being told. The fog only really clears after surgery for me. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, telling me my adversary was turbo charged is the moment I’m recalling. Post surgery. A moment seared into me. Grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. Unmethylated. Wild type mutation. It’s pure instinct. Run or fight. It was a morning of crystal clear clarity, every detail is there, the power of facing uncomfortable truths, it has to be faced. A lesson for some in never jumping the gun. My reaction now is rage, I’m fuckin raging and must remain so. I’m in the fight of my life. I have much to do. The stage, they say, is set. Cancer can fuck off. All barrels are loaded. Fight, fight, fight every day is the way. Music and words are the bullets. Clarity is the light.
Can you go into detail about the scenario that led to going to hospital and finding out?
I had two seizures, one in Frankfurt before a Laura St Jude gig, the second was the night before an And Yet It Moves show in Portsmouth. Laura and I had been living in Germany but after the second one returned to Glasgow. The docs were testing me for epilepsy, there’s no history of that in my family, so, there was one doctor in the RAH that flagged it and got me a scan, and by that point I was drugged up enough to forget her name. I shall be forever grateful to her. If she hadn’t taken the initiative then, the tumour may have keep growing until it was too late to rumble with it. My lady of the RAH I thank with every ounce of my being. I remember much more after surgery, waking up with a tube sticking out the side of my head, the nurses that took care of me, I remember everything, being told it was grade four, the docs faces, the tears from the people I love and who love me, my tears. I felt no fear. I feel no fear. I feel awakened. If you’ve watched the Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson then that’s it. The sky has never looked so beautiful. I feel more alive now than ever before. Cancer has brought liquid gold clarity to me, like a gift from the reaper, I am grateful. A clear mind now is paramount. I must fight and will. No mercy will be shown and none asked for. It’s war, let there be no doubt.
Without going into too much technical details can you tell us aboit the form of cancer you have?
I have grade four Glioblastoma brain cancer. All cancer is aggressive. Some more than others. Mine is primary, which means it’s contained in my brain and has not spread or migrated from anywhere else in my body. I am extremely fortunate that that is the case. Fight or flight time and it’s all on black. Run and die or fight and live. No heads in the sand here. Ever. Never. My surgeon, Mr Alakandy, his team, Wuillie and Big Chris, cut 90% of the cancer out, the remaining 10% must be burned. I’m on Chemo, Radiotherapy and a clinical trial. I attend the Beatson in Glasgow. My treatment is on going for the next six months at the very least. I would also urge anyone reading this that has cancer or if someone they love has it to Google cannabis oil and cancer.
You recently got positive news, what was that and how did that effect you?
I recently got my first MRI scan since leaving hospital and starting treatment. No growth. A smiling oncologist is worth more than heaven could hold. No doubt. A fine day. First one so it’s a gravel pit to now bounce to the future off of. And it warmed my blood to see Laura and my family and friends smiling. Good vibes all over. It’s always onwards never a backwards step. Onto the next one.
How has having cancer affected yourself and those around you, both in terms of living habits and life view?
There’s before and after no doubt. A silver edge crossed and there’s no way back even if I wanted to. And I wouldn’t if I could. Cancer can’t be ignored. Or it can but you die if you do. I refuse to die, I have too much to do and see, too much music to make, I fight with drugs and music and love and friendship, all remnants of bullshit have been flamethrowered from my being. Sugar is gone, cancer loves sugar, the solution they inject you with when you get an MRI scan has glucose in it, when it gets to the tumour it creates a creates a feeding frenzy and the fucker lights up like Christmas. If anyone reading this reckons it’s a good idea to feed your enemy I would urge them to take a permanent swim in the Clyde. Certainly trying to cut back on the smokes and the cocktails is recommended. It can be done. Put your arms around anything or anyone you love and don’t let go. Now.
You’ve kept on writing and performing since having the operation, has cancer affected your approach to this in any noticeable ways?
My love for my loves has increased more than I ever thought possible. I’m greedy for beauty and it’s everywhere. I would not go back given the choice. Music, writing, reading, friendship. I have not stopped writing since leaving hospital, I thank Steven Thomas especially for the encouragement and inspiration to not stop. I haven’t. Thank you Steven, my brother. The truth is in the book. I want more of everything I love. I want to be in good company more than ever. All doubt is gone. I have no need for it any more. It’s fuelled me up to now but cancer has cremated it. I’m grateful. My purpose is music. It’s in me. Where it goes I go. Laura and me are here for music. Music is the answer and the source of all my power. Life. Source. All of the above.
What does this all mean for And Yet It Moves?
And Yet It Moves live and create in Berlin. Laura and I have to be in Glasgow for 2018, my treatment is on going for this year, so until I’m not shackled to the hospital we can’t tour. We were just setting up album two. To be continued…
You have formed the Cain’s Collective, can you tell us more about that (who it is collectively, what they do, how you met and what is planned release/event wise for the future)?
CC is Laura St Jude, Dale Barclay, Steven Thomas (poet), Kelsey Black (painter), Paul Barclay (photographer). Paul and I met at T in the park, when the Snakeheads played there. Many miles together since. Laura and I and Steven and Kelsey got talking at a And Yet It Moves gig and haven’t stopped since. Steven’s first book will be published by Cain’s Collective. Steven will have a 7” vinyl out soon. Me and Laura are will have a split 7” out in June. Kelsey’s artwork will be landing. Steven is main support for Dale Barclay and Laura St Jude shows in June (21st, Edinburgh-Sneaky Petes, 22nd Glasgow-The Art School). Steven’s book and the vinyl will be on sale at the Cain’s Collective stall at the gigs.
Has Cain’s Collective been something you’ve thought of putting together before this happened, or is it more a case of seizing the scenario that life has thrown your way?
Cain’s Collective is most definitely seize the moment, we unexpectedly find ourselves back in Glasgow fighting brain cancer, so what can be done now we are here? That was the question. I’ve never been more sure of anything before. Magic is real and fairies exist, there will be blood.
The battle commenced. It must be fought to the death. Poetry, music, imagery from a deep dark place speaking many uncomfortable truths! We create through the inspiration of each other as part of Cain’s Collective! Cain’s Collective is a group beyond society a family of creatives, brothers and sisters bound by blood and bone. If you lift the dirt and the gravel, you will find us there. Creation on many different platforms, from blood, from love. Darkness guides our hands and heads, our pens and paint brushes, it seeps from cracks and minds alike. In this ceaseless war of life, we are here to put forward our woes and worries, our love and hate. The truth is on every line and can be read between. In the field Cain rose against Abel his brother and killed him, what have you done? Listen! Your brothers blood cries out to us from the soil. It’s head in hands, the sweat dripping down your cheek, a clear vision. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, we confront with dilated pupils, we confront. It’s a dark night, it’s a throat cut, it’s a warm embrace here at Cain’s Collective. Welcome to ‘Cain’s Collective’, publishing, bookmaking and record company for the rebel hearted among the humans. In the great tradition of independent labels and publishers we provide cover for outsider artists that the mainstream media can neither fathom nor handle. Words, images and music from beyond the standard model. We only release work we truly love with focus on quality and clarity. Cain’s Collective; for those creative souls cursed to wander through a life of artistic exile, shunned by the ignorant and ignored by the masses. We aim to liberate those minds from the shackles of modern society through art, poetry and music. Bound together by a need to create, we are a band of brothers and sisters working collaboratively as a non-profit organisation to produce widely accessible, inclusive to all anti-authoritarian art. We believe in artistic liberty and freedom of speech for all. We denounce any use of censorship, our work is honest and must be acknowledged. Condemn those who create for profit. Art for art’s sake always. No exceptions.
Steven Thomas of Cain’s Collective
During all of this you and Laura got married, was this something that was in the pipeline for a while, it doesn’t seem to have changed anything between the pair of you, but it would be good to get your feelings on what made you take that step.
Yes, we had been engaged to be married for two years, living together for six, it was past the time to do it and there is no more waiting. When Sailor married Lula, it was no cold December, for true love and the sacred heart, a Saturday morning to remember. A moment of pure beauty in a sea of darkness. A blood red wedding. Boots size nine. A Benny Hamish special. Sailor and Lula forever and always.
Cain’s Collective established February twenty eighteen for good reasons. Based in Glasgow, Scotland.Limited run signed and numbered books, paintings, prints and vinyl releases coming soon. Dale and Laura play 6/5 Stag and Dagger, 12/5 Pie and Brew, Glasgow (acoustic)
10. TeenCanteen – ‘Millions’ [Last Night From Glasgow]
‘Millions’, and the Sirens EP that contained it, was an unexpected deep and emotional turn from TeenCanteen, but this track is quite possibly their strongest work to date. This very personal number cover reflects on singer Carla J Easton’s feelings on her dad’s passing some time after the fact, but counteracts the subject matter with irresistibly sweet melodies and pop drenched harmonies.
9. Catholic Action ‘Propaganda’ [Modern Sky]
Catholic Action marked the announcement of their upcoming debut album In Memory Of, with the release of new single ‘Propaganda’ – a tirade against club nights which only play landfill indie, it is no coincidence that the track is named after a Glaswegian club night which specialises in exactly the same thing it berates. ‘Propaganda’ is frantic glam rock banger as lead singer Chris McCrory repeatedly snarls “I will never be like you” over a wall of guitars and a melodic synth hook. This is glamorous indie rock and roll done exactly the way it should be; don’t bet against them being the saviours of the great British guitar group.
8. Breakfast MUFF – ‘Babyboomers/R U A Feminist’ [Armour Foo]
In double A-side Babyboomers/R U A Feminist’ Breakfast MUFF present a very cogent, energetic, exciting and interesting single that captures well their on-stage unpredictability, style and dynamicity. ‘Babyboomers’ employs a more traditional structure, but toys with it and messes it around; this effort is mirrored in the intergenerationally disparaging lyrics, while ‘R U A Feminist’ generalises less and is more of a personal tale. Both songs are replete with well-placed and tonally appropriate punk-rock sensibilities, fine music and wonderfully unique vocal harmonies.
7. Sacred Paws – ‘Strike A Match’ [Rock Action]
‘Strike a Match’ is a perfect distillation of Sacred Paws’ similarly titled album with its infectious, intricate and squeaky-clean indie. Inflected with warm, Afrobeat guitar, playful handclaps and tropical percussion, this track is definitely a belter for those precious afternoons spent down the park in the sun. Eilidh Rodgers’ backing vocals interweave sweetly intriguing echoes around Rachel Aggs’ effortless new wave delivery, while subtle brass brightens those addictive melodies.
6. KAPUTT – ‘Feed My Son’ [Fuzzkill]
‘Feed My Son’ is just a crackingly poetic track about ownership of far more than one needs encapsulated in a super addictive guitar pop shell. The energetic track uses catchy guitar and skull embedding saxophone riffs to accompany the social commentary.
5. Marnie – ‘Lost Maps’ [Disco Pinata]
If ever a record managed to be exactly on point, tick all the correct boxes and yet still be utterly thrilling, ‘Lost Maps’ by Marnie is it; it’s an absolute belter. A growling, electronic, thuggishly sleek beast of a tune by the frontwoman of Ladytron, ‘Lost Maps’ transcends its elements and delivers heavy, processed beats, a dark bassline but with the sort of dreamy top end and vocal to drag things from the gutter into the stars: a little excitable that description, perhaps, but, tracks that manage to appeal to the most tedious of disco-bores – me – yet also be dripping in pop are all too rare.
4. Bossy Love – ‘Body’
Yet another dose of dance-floor inducing brilliance Bossy Love, ‘Body’ is a high octane, pulsing bit of soulful pop that should be a smash hit. This duo are destined for something very big very soon and they fully deserve it.
3. ST.MARTiiNs – ‘othr grls’
Dundee’s ST.MARTiiNs have a real knack for a glimmering pop noir number and ‘othr grls’ is probably their best work to date. The track is a sleek, vibrant pop number that utilises a strong dream-like vocal performance that embeds into your psyche and doesn’t let go. Despite its message about disillusionment with the people around you ‘othr grls’ feels upbeat, however it never gives in to full on sugar-coated pop, providing all the hooky goodness with a hazy ethereal majesty.
2. HOME$LICE – ‘Come Up To Fade’
‘Come Up To Fade’ thrashes the Young Creatives EP into life in proper old-school garage rock fashion; lead vocalist Josh McDowall howling like a youthful Julian Casablancas as melodic guitars and urgent drums race each other behind him as HOME$LICE gave an early contender for song of the year.
1. LYLO – ‘Your Father’s Eyes’ [El Rancho]
Already an oddity unto themselves by the fact that they are one of the only bands around who have a saxophonist amongst their members, LYLO have garnered an ever growing reputation as a formidable live act. ‘You Have Your Father’s Eyes’ is a work of beauty – from the moment the atmospheric intro leads into the jazz funk of the verses, LYLO have you hooked. Mitch Flynn’s dreamy, reverb-drenched vocals on the chorus gently chime “you know it gets me every time” benefitting from their own idyllic production. By the time Iain McCall’s sax solo draws the track to a close amongst a cacophony of noise, an almost spiritual journey is complete.
‘Spiritron’ was the standout in an unexpected joyous surprise of a Golden Teacher full-length, No Luscious Life. The track captures the band’s effervescent live sound with an addictive mess of punk energy, otherworldly synths and Detroit funk, dancefloor hitting beats.
19. Shredd – ‘Flight of Stairs’ [Fuzzkill]
‘Flight Of Stairs’ begins with a thundering bass, and little time is wasted before the riffs are brought out backed by powerful, crashing drums. It’s Shredd by name, shred by nature as lead vocalist as guitarist Chris Harvie unleashes a relentless assault on his instrument and his distorted howls carry throughout, with a style reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer. The end product sounds absolutely massive, benefitting massively from the production of Bruce Rintoul, who has encapsulated the intensity of their riotous live performances.
18. Be Charlotte – ‘One Drop’ [AWAL/Kobalt]
The industrious trio Be Charlotte, fronted by hyper-talented vocalist Charlotte Brimner brought some damn good vibes early in the the year with ‘One Drop’, a glorious mashup, encompassing indie pop, slick beat boxing and electro. Delivered in an unmistakably Scottish accent, which, refreshingly, Brimner makes no attempts to minimise, with lyrics “filling me with doubt, that I can’t compete with the rest” are surely redundant given this band’s inevitable future success.
17. Martha Ffion – ‘We Make Do’ [Turnstile]
Running at only two and a half minutes, ‘We Make Do’ is perfect in its form, from the hook laden chorus, to the timely middle-8 and its radio-talk vocal treatment, it sits perfectly ready for you to press play once more.
16. Monoganon – ‘Black Hole’ [Lost Map]
Comparable to the all-encompassing black holes drifting through our solar systems, the five-and-a-half-minute track is an immersive experience, holding its listener in one place while dreamy synths and scattered drum beats unravel over introspective lyrical refrains of: “Crush me, I am nothing.” As ‘Black Hole’ culminates into a haunting piano and vocal ending, there is time for reflection of Monoganon’s interstellar journey through galaxies of wonder, psych-pop and gender contemplation.
15. Spinning Coin – ‘Raining On Hope Street’ [Geographic]
There’s something out of time about ‘Raining On Hope Street’, a sense of being suspended in a fleeting, wistful dream. This paean to the simple joys of friendship, collaboration and time spent just hanging out in the country and city tugs the heartstrings in all the right places, reminding us that solidarity in any form should be cherished especially in today’s volatile, isolating times.
14. FOREIGNFOX – ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ [Scottish Fiction]
Dunfermline five-piece FOREIGNFOX used an intersection of opposing genres to make ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ a captivating culmination of despair, hope and optimism. You can hear Jonny Watt’s pain in the track, released as a double A side split with Mt. Doubt; it’s beyond sadness and feels like there’s a need for respite, a desire to return home. ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ is a climatic force in the face of dismay, building to a brutal honesty finale.
13. AMOR – ‘Paradise’ [Night School]
Inspired by the disco sounds of 70s-era Philadelphia International Records, AMOR bring their avant-garde disco sensibilities to life through epic soundscapes. The debut single from the supergroup featuring Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand fame, Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler and Michael Francis Duch, begins with a Blue Monday-style thumping kick drum, before a light funk instrumental gives way to a full-on funk stomp with Richard Youngs’ Bowie-esque vocal refrain of “calling from paradise/can you get through?” piercing through the heavily-layered synths. Pushing the 15-minute mark this is never going to be considered radio-friendly hit, however, there is enough here to suggest that AMOR will continue to be an ongoing concern amongst the members’ other projects.
12. Babe – ‘Wisteria’ [Kartel]
Sheer twinkling beauty in an addictive pop shell, ‘Wisteria’ was our pick of Babe’s Kiss & Tell album, however it could have been any number of tracks from that release. This slice of buoyant electronic bliss is special in it’s own right and shows Babe at thieir glimmering best.
11. The Spook School ‘Still Alive’ [Alcopop!]
The infectious indie pop delivered by Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School has all the honest charm of previous efforts with a punchy joyfulness that has become synonymous with the group. On ‘Still Alive’ dreamy vocals soar over traditionally catchy riffs, perfectly sound-tracking the nostalgia and hope of today’s twenty-somethings. 2017 Spook School ooze confidence, displaying the features of a band ready to emerge from the Glasgow winter gloom with self-assured melodic indie that could warm the coldest punks looking for a new contemporary musical home.
30. Siobhan Wilson – ‘Whatever Helps’ [Song, by Toad]
Immediately, ‘Whatever Helps’ shows off a more darker tone than Siobhan Wilson’s earlier, more twee-sounding material; the delicately soft vocal remain, but it is now layered, and more ominous sounding. An ode to fighting against a lost love, and the depression that comes with it, the lack of a backing band on the track allows Wilson’s gorgeous voice to drift like a lonely stranger passing through the night.
29. MC Almond Milk – ‘1995’ [Save As]
‘1995’ is a nostalgic journey through summers filled with dirty gutties and bowl cuts that will have anyone of a certain age and disposition grabbing a bottle of Devon’s finest tonic wine and heading for a park with Oasis blaring on their Walkman. As the story continues from 1995 to 2015, the narrative goes through the ups and downs of life and growing up; the craft is how the beat and music becomes more frantic during the less pleasant parts of Almond Milk’s formative years and relaxes when he raps about the good times.
28. Annie Booth – ‘Chasm’ [Scottish Fiction/Last Night From Glasgow]
Written about the barriers we put up between ourselves and others to feel better/more comfortable when in fact it makes us more distant than ever ‘Chasm’ is a lyric-driven beauty that builds over a chirpy alt-rock enthused rhythms as Annie Booth’s warm silky voice teases over the top in a conversational yet heartfelt tone. On her EP three years ago Booth displayed a knack for cleverly written songs, but there was a raw element about the release the has been honed in on here, clearly her experiences with in Mt. Doubt have evolved her sound, making her not just one to look out for in the Scottish folk scene but on a much wider scale, both musically and geographically.
27. Young Fathers – ‘Lord’
‘Lord’ offered the first taste of Young Fathers’ third record and what have they given us? Is it a call for redemption? Or a message from another plane? Whatever it is, it’s proof that Young Fathers are still a band like no other, because in the best way possible, it sounds like several different songs at once. One song is a gentle, baby’s own piano, one part a gospel choir of harshly treated vocals, one part bleak electronics evoking a droning cello or a glass wall vibrating. It’s Dante’s Divine Comedy in a song and the sign of an act that still has no shortage of ways to confound, an intriguing scene setter for where the trio might go next.
26. West Princes – ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’ [vodoidARCHIVE]
Lifting you beyond the rain drenched dreariness of Glasgow’s synonymous party street that we can only assume these guys are named after, West Princes brought beautifully warm breeze with ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’. The first taste of released material from these guys is subtle yet playful number that gives us a taste of band who are likely to have a big 2018.
25. BDY_PRTS – ‘Rooftops’ [Aggrocat]
‘Rooftops’ is an upbeat slice of electronic indie-pop reminiscent of Robyn or La Roux; warm chords power a rising melody line that sounds like Marina & the Diamonds are shaping for a big-lunged chorus as O’Sullivan and Reeve knit their voices together for an impossibly catchy refrain. There’s a touch of Jenny Lewis to the lovelorn chorus “the pieces of my heart are falling from the rooftops” but for song that seems knitted together from a handful of different sections, it’s the lush call and response finale that lingers long in the memory.
24. Mt. Doubt – ‘Tourists’ [Scottish Fiction]
‘Tourists’ is a story about Leo Bargery’s fear of flying with a tone is tongue and cheek, while the melody is a smooth, free-flowing mantra. The composition is sincere but the sentiment more jovial, Bargery’s voice has the capacity for wandering through low tones, luring you into a peaceful hum, before leaping up an octave or two. It’s got a hummable chorus, that plays darkly humorous lyrics off giant guitar chords and some neat female backing vocals, from Annie Booth, as Bargery contemplates whether he might be happier in ‘Southend in Sea’ and deploys the rather smart line “my aversion to aviation, keeps my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds”.
23. Savage Mansion – ‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ [Lost Map]
‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ is a fleshy piece of pragmatic laziness, emitting imaginary craft and an unquestionable attitude that textures the track throughout. Launching into a distinctive and highly melodic guitar line, which quickly establishes a prominent radiance; the deadened drums provoke a sense of moody-solace, lifting appropriately. ‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ is a serious slab of attractive songwriting, non-pretentious and thought provoking, excitingly hopeful.
22. Bluebirds – ‘Subcultural Love’
Bluebirds have developed a reputation as being a must-see live act, and ‘Subcultural Love’ certainly shows off an intensity that very few bands are able to capture. ‘Subcultural Love’ is dark and unnerving, drawing the listener into a five minute bind with no respite. Vocalist Daniel Telford’s Nick Cave-esque snarl guides the track murkily, before the track crashes into cacophonous life, as he howls “we need to see some more skin”.
21. Out Lines – ‘Buried Guns’ [Rock Action]
The supergroup of sorts comprised of James Graham of The Twilight Sad, Kathryn Joseph, and Marcus Mackay captured a mesmerisingly gritty, undoubtedly Scottish record in Confrats and lead single ‘Buried Lines’ was the pick of the bunch. The track is a strikingly hypnotic stroll through a mysterious setting, as Graham’s distinctive Scottish vocals intertwine with Joseph’s elegant yet gritty delivery over powerful brooding production.
“a song about finding your feet and washing your socks”, it couldn’t have been put any better. Marble Gods are a band that exude joy, and ‘Washing Machine’ is the perfect example of that with its delightful lo-fi indie pop jangle, sugar coated C86 vocal displays and whimsical lyrics.
39. L-space – ‘Aloe’
‘Aloe’ is about someone being turned into a giant metal bird, need we say more. It’s also a dark, sinister yet dreamy piece of pop that stood out as the best work of an exciting band to emerge in 2017. L-space released a couple of promising EPs this year but it was this single released towards the end the calendar that caught our attention the most as it built from atmospheric beginnings to a ominous climax and left us wanting more.
38. Dama Scout – ‘Suzie Wong’ [Father/Daughter]
‘Suzie Wong’ was just one example of the creative and unpredictable charm of Dama Scout in 2017, and the track centred around a recording of a child’s guitar the band found while on holiday in Portugal is a delightful effort. Another modern pop number that takes in warm and classic indie influences while maintaining a truly fascinating sound, while sugar-coated, dreamlike vocals and and buzzing off-kilter melodies make it one that we’ll keep coming back to.
37. Walt Disco – ‘Jackets’
Walt Disco emerged this year with a shimmering, flamboyant talent and their debut single ‘Jackets’ gave us a taster of what to expect in the near future. The young five-piece here have meshed a charismatic lead falsetto with dynamic guitars and synths to great a sound no doubt indebted to a time before these guys were born, while feeling refreshingly current and exciting.
36. The Vegan Leather – ‘Shake It’
Instantaneously the massive, dirty electronics kick ‘Shake It’ into life, with the boy/girl trade-off between vocalists Marie Collins and Gianluca Bernacchi. Around two and a half minutes in, ‘Shake It’ essentially stops before becoming a different beast altogether. An instrumental seemingly custom-made for big dancefloors reverberates before the chanting finale of “SHAKE! SHAKE IT! SHAKE IT OUT!” Despite still being in their relative infancy, The Vegan Leather already now have an absolute banger, which sets them in good stead for fulfilling their definite potential.
35. And Yet It Moves – ‘Second Earth Song’
Free Pass To The Future was such an intense and genre spanning album that selecting a song wasn’t easy, we’ve gone for ‘Second Earth Song’ though, It’s a bit discordant but you can see the lineage to Glasgow bands of the early ’80s though naturally some of the vocals are then fed through a vocoder and things get rather raucous. It may be nuts, it may be yelling, “Fuck you”, all over the place but it has a joyousness about it, a celebration of itself.
34. Sister John – ‘Sweetest Moment’ [Last Night From Glasgow]
Meeting through the Parsonage Choir, Glasgow’s Sister John make beautiful lo-fi pop with a touch of Americana to their lush, warm harmonies. It’s startling just how assured the songwriting feels right off the bat on ‘Sweetest Moment’, from the conversational opening bars to the beautifully simple refrain “I’ll take it, break it and just before it cracks, it’s the sweetest moment,” it’s one of the most charming and effortlessly melodic tracks of the year. Keening fiddle adds a touch of Gillian Welch, while the gentle backing vocals lend a Laurel Canyon lushness to a track that floats past like a hazy evening breeze.
33. CHUMP – ‘At Least We Got A Song Out Of It’ [Gerry Loves]
‘At Least We Got a Song Out of It’ is rhythmically hypnotic and oozes professionalism and poise as well as laid-back resignation; it’s vocally endearing and musically explorative, well engineered and beautifully recorded. The wash of the cymbals is well placed and overlays the other instruments with a sense of distance. CHUMP do a good job of embracing and balancing the sound of its global and local acoustic elements.
32. December ’91 – ‘Starin’ At The Freaks’ [GoldMold]
We’ve been used to dark, misery drenched sometimes beautiful, sometimes frantic lo-fi punk come alt-rock from Stirling resident Craig Ferrie, aka December ’91. With ‘Starin’ At The Freaks’ is noticeably less lo-fi, with a lively optimistic sounding constantly driving backdrop that comes with an addictive vocal line that recalls the likes of Kurt Vile’s drawl delivery. A bright bit of alternative pop that brings in all the sunshine of the boat journey captured in the track’s video and brings a welcome upbeat addition to the ever growing December ’91 catalogue.
31. Emme Woods – ‘I’ve Been Running’ [Last Night From Glasgow]
Emme Woods is an act that has been rather underlooked by us over the past year, so much so that this single completely bypassed us when it came out, ‘I’ve Been Running’ is a dark contemplative track that perfectly shows Woods’ unique and impressive vocal stylings along with her unquestionable songwriting ability.
‘X, Y & Dread’ is a very stylish song, which is very sparing with its sound, never over-doing anything, with electronic sounds range from punchy and in your face – perhaps even discordant – to subtle, nuanced and quiet. Stillhound have a distinct style, which this release suggests is developing into maturity.
49. The Great Albatross – ‘An Evening’ [LP]
‘An Evening’ saw light of day before The Great Albatross’ superb full length, Asleep In The Kaatskills, and gave us a taster of what to expect through a warm, tender beauty of a track that draws influences from songwriter Wesley Chung’s American indie rock past and his new home of Glasgow, while the addition of backing vocals from Jo Mango are a delight in themself.
48. Meursault – ‘Klopfgeist’ [Song, by Toad]
Much like a few tracks on this list picking picking a track from an album proved difficult, in this case Meursault’s sublime I Will Kill Again. ‘Klopfgeist’ is a hypnotic track that builds from a ghostly opening to a warm piano line and Neil Pennycook’s impressive vocals. It’s a shiver inducing track when heard by itself, but do yourself a favour and listen to it as part of the bigger picture.
47. Reverieme (Louise Connell) – ‘Ten Feet Tall’
As soon as the opening drum fill kicks the track into life, ‘Ten Feet Tall’ sounds as massive as it’s title would suggest. It wouldn’t sound out of place on Ryan Adams’ earlier work, with thunderous guitars crashing over a piercing organ wail as Reverieme’s, aka Louise Connell, gorgeous vocal flutters between tender beauty, and soaring grandiosity.
46. K Anderson – ‘Cluttered’
In a track that focuses on the cloudy section of relationship where you can’t quite tell if it’s something substantial or just a fling K Anderson has taken a step away from his regular material with a track that oozes pop sensibilities , while maintaining his wry witticisms. It’s an undeniably catchy affair with bassy squelch and plucky guitars that digs right in and has you tapping your feet without even knowing it.
45. Best Girl Athlete – ‘Cigarette Dreams’ [Fitlike]
It was difficult to pick a standout from Best Girl Athlete’s self titled second album, but in the end we’ve plumbed for the cinematic 90s acoustic dreamy pur your heart out along stunner ‘Cigarette Dreams’. Katie Buchan’s soulful voice is hear accompanied by sweeping strings to give as good a taste as any of this fantastic release.
44. Bystandereffect – ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’
Bystandereffect is, if nothing else, unique, and ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’ is a haunting, bizarre, dream-like experimental single. Filled with unusual production techniques and effects, this single is rhythmic, versatile and enjoyable, whetting the appetite for any releases suggesting the “electronic sludge” outfit – as they refer to themselves as – has a lot of ammunition. Not showy or contrived but loose and airy, as creepy vocal work cascades over the unusual electronic elements nicely, generating something seldom heard.
43. Pictish Trail – ‘Strange Sun’ [Lost Map]
‘Strange Sun’ is almost objectively original; in terms of lyrics, atmosphere, theme and the use of instruments, this is a mature and out of the ordinary effort. A dreamy, creeping and sprawling piece, this is a bold single that wanders lovingly through decades of influence; packaging together something simultaneously light and dark, jovial and serious. This is the basis for art and – love it or hate it or something in-between it – should be respected in the music industry.
42. Sun Rose – ‘Smirk’ [Last Night From Glasgow]
Sun Rose emerged out of the ashes of Nevada Base this year with debut single ‘Smirk’, a rejuvenation of 80s synth with a nice Glaswegian twist. The track is so characteristic of 80s electronic synth its like a flashback, a friendly nostalgia that brings on inadvertent toe tapping and head nodding; it’s difficult to stay still when you hear this one play. At first ‘Smirk’ appears deceivingly simple, but in fact offers a much more interesting and complex weave of musicality; a spectacle to behold.
41. Jonnie Common – ‘Restless’ [Song, by Toad]
Questioning, dissatisfaction with the milieu and poking at working life are all themes of this single from Jonnie Common. A master of word play and poetic prowess, Common meanders through ideas about the world and dreams of what could be; it’s a light-hearted soundtrack formed around some deep ideas. The track starts like a laidback stroll on a Sunday afternoon, the soft drum brushes paint a calmness that juxtaposes the ‘Restless’ sentiment of the tune itself. Arpeggiated chords frame sweet melodies that feature electronic blips, this neat addition makes everything that little bit more playful.
10. Foreignfox – I Used To Be A Bellydancer [Scottish Fiction]
Explosive, passionate and honest, I Used To Be A Bellydance added another EP to Foreignfox’s collection, establishing their identity and staying true to the burly Scottish accents and deep-seated, emotive melodies we’ve come to love. Huge, suspense-filled tracks, that are occasionally politically charged, Foreignfox show a concern for humanity and communicates a sense of disconcertion with the current state of things. A mixture of post-punk creativity and Scottish coloured indie-rock, the range of skill offered on this EP are is so potent and so memorable, it’s almost like a trip through a rugged wilderness with your closest friends as Jonny Watt hits you in the gut and grabs your deepest emotions through honest lyrics that convey both vulnerability and sincerity.
9. Hostel Freaks – Squad Goals [City of Glass]
Hostel Freaks, aka David Maitland, produced something with Squad Goals that used a strong formula of repetition and experimentation to set up an intriguing record, which is more than capable of breaking beyond its somewhat obscurity to break any open-minded dance floor.
8. E Bias – The Emmanuel Bias [Kick N Clap]
The Emmanuel Bias, this is not your usual release – how often do you get a supergroup with a Turner prize nominee and a member of Franz Ferdinand chucking out some quirky deep house? E Bias, the project of Luke Fowler, Paul Thomson and the ever versatile Richard Youngs, produced a pretty storming little EP, strong on Chicago vibes whilst not being oppresively old school. Great grooves, simple, stripped back Chicago style drums and bassliness; utterly functional and more beautiful for dispensing with too much ornamentation. Great record with six tracks that look back, but manage to be rather unique and forward-looking at the same time; impressive simplicity beautifully realised.
7. Dama Scout – Dama Scout [Father/Daughter]
Dama Scout’s EP veered from the conventional indie pop formula and delivered unexpected moments round every corner delivering a memorably and joyous record. Exploring a catalogue of theme the band have blossomed in 2017 and their every unravelling breezy sound is one that we can’t wait to hear more of.
6. KAPUTT – Demo 2017 [Fuzzkill]
Demo 2017 is a lively and innovative take on the post-punk, highly energetic cacophony of sounds create a very refreshing and amusing EP, setting KAPUTT but as one of the new bands that everyone should keep their eye on.
5. Frightened Rabbit – Recorded Songs [Atlantic]
Requiring no introduction Frightened Rabbit released Recorded Songs to little fanfare, still this three-track release stands alone as a strong part of the band’s ever impressive back catalogue. Most of the EP’s attention has been centred around ‘How It Gets In’, which the brilliant Julien Baker lends her voice to, but beyond that is another gem that’s well worth getting you hands on.
4. HOME$LICE – Young Creatives
Young Creatives is the sound of a band knowingly stepping up their game, and doing it with ease as HOME$LICE cement themselves as the trailblazers of a lo-fi scene which has been gathering momentum for several years. The band manage retain the edge that separates them from an ever-populated scene, however, they are evidently aware that their knack for a good melody deserves a wider, more commercial appeal.
3. Shredd – Every Time We Meet I Wanna Die [Fuzzkill]
WithEvery Time We Meet I Wanna DieShredd offered a sense of levity and enjoyment without sacrificing their integrity. The EP is a party starter fusing garage, punk and pop elements, as gentle, meandering vocals juxtapose more coarse punk vocals perfectly, while fast, complicated bass; fun, entertaining, technically well executed guitar and cymbal laden, powerful drums. The release seems to descend deeper into traditional garage and punk material with each song without letting go of the vocal work and long-form guitar that distinguishes it from faster, punchier gear. It’s a border smashing debut that whets the appetite for future releases perfectly.
2. RAZA – Futuramayana [Save As]
Glasgow duo RAZA refer to themselves as a “heated conversation”, funny that, because the temperature which radiates off these four songs on show within this beautiful little EP Futuramayana is quite something else, these pieces of beats are reeking of subtly spiced garam masala (and more than a couple absolutely-stonking melodies). Dripping in grease proof stains of lovely synthesised unspoken syllables which cathartically delve their teeth into a violated surface of fun and tango, here we have profusely prolifically the wonderful dynamic which makes RAZA tick over quite deliciously.
1. The Bellybuttons – Wires [Fuzzkill]
Wires highlights an irreplaceable coolness with slick 90s vibes, ‘Referendum on you (enemies)’ captures a calming and airy dynamic, cleverly put together and creatively charged, effortlessly gliding into ‘Autumn Song’, flowing flawlessly alongside the damp and subtle bassline. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness when listening to this EP with a distinct charm drifting from start to finish. Wires is a slow and easy gem, presenting itself with resonating style, creating a playful head-space and good vibes – a severely obvious intelligence.
Nerv00se is the latest peek into the mind of Aberdeen based producer GURL+++, and it’s an interesting piece. The genre defying release utilises heavily cut up vocals, elements of hip-hop, dance and house, with more ambient twist of sleepy keyboard and clunky bass. Nerv00se ends with a real feeling of saying goodbye and closing the door on something; a fitting end to a complex and interesting record.
19. Monkoora – Nuclear BB [Hot Gem]
Monkoora’s Nuclear BB was a entrancing mix of pop production, harsh notes and seething lyrics, but it all comes out rosy in this dynamic EP. It’s a genre spanning affair that takes elements hip-hop, ambient techno and ethereal folk to name a few, throw into the mix some haunting harmonies and the chaotic edge of an artist willing to speak her mind and you’ve got a release that won’t be easily forgotten.
18. Cameron Roxburgh – Outside
Cameron Roxburgh aim to bring experimentalism and something new to the traditional singer-songwriter milieu and this new addition to the duo’s already stellar set of records will challenge your conception of music and offer a change to everyone who dares explore Outside. There’s magic in the clarity of Roxburgh’s words and a deep connection through his disinhibition, even his mum and dad get a mention in ‘+up’, as skillful fingers create a resonating, memorable experience. Outside is full of complexity and yet packed with witty anecdotes for even the most skeptical listener to enjoy, a masterpiece to behold.
17. L-space – Sol 0
Sci-fi influenced dream pop act L-space came to our attention this year and Sol 0 was one release of a few that caught our attention with synth driven tracks full of ethereal harmonies and dreamy guitar.
16. Life Model – Lucky [Frux Tapes]
Lucky was a dose of simmering guitars and blissful dream pop energy and sets Life Model aside as one of the most exciting guitar pop bands in Scotland. Sophie Evans’ sassy, charismatic delivery is matched every step by Chris Smyth’s dynamic arrangements. Life Model are band that had grown impressively of the last few years and it’s great to hear their output coming to fruition on record.
15. Mt. Doubt – The Loneliness of the TV Watchers / Moon Landings [Scottish Fiction]
We couldn’t separate Mt. Doubt’s two EP releases in 2017 so we have fired them into together, collectively they have shown Mt. Doubt’s growth as a band as the feel like a group effort and these releases gives the listener plenty of meaty sounds to get stuck into. Leo Bargery’s booming, yet melancholy vocals stay front and centre but it’s the beautifully constructed tracks are increasing becoming just as important. This is a band with plenty of ambition and with a growing confidence are pushing in all the right directs.
14. Codist – Porcelain Boy [LP]
Listening to Codist’s Porcelain Boy will cause your head to move in every conceivable direction, instead of just the traditional up and down. All of these head movements are in the affirmative, as Codist exceeds the expectations of anyone familiar with them unveiling this powerfully cool, technically brilliant and acoustically pleasing EP. Porcelain Boy carrys tropes from myriad times, places and styles and masterfully packages them together in a surprising and original way; without ever being boring, predictable or twee. Unpredictable without being chaotic and impressive without feeling overdone, Codist spay homage to a great wealth of well-loved styles, presenting a fun-filled and seriously talented band with nowhere to go but up.
13. TeenCanteen – Sirens [Last Night From Glasgow]
With rebellious lyrics and a playful, pop-influenced sound, alongside Carla J. Easton’s distinct vocals, Sirens maintains the high standard that TeenCanteen have set out for themselves, giving an excellent insight into the eclectic ability of the band.
12. Bluebirds – There Is No God
After the spectacular self-immolation of notorious rockers The Amazing Snakeheads, there’s a gap in the market for some grimy, gory Scottish rock and straight out the coffin Bluebirds seem like possible contenders. There is No God is five-tracks of grotty, shambling post-punk propelled by the sort of funereal organ and scene chewing vocals that would even Nick Cave would probably write off as “a bit much”. It’s not music for the faint hearted, channelling the B-movie vibes of The Cramps and the livewire energy of Fat White Family with abandon; there’s an unhinged energy to Bluebirds that is impossible to fake.
11. Withered Hand and A Singer of Songs – Among Horses I [Son Canciones]
After a good wait following his 2014 release, New Gods, Withered Hand returned after spending a week on a farm in Catalonia with A Singer Of Songs’ Lieven Scheerlinck and together the duo have have delivered an EP that has shown a clear progression in sound, with a complex, sunkissed record that doesn’t lose the wit and lightheartedness of his previous work.
Grand Pricks’ offer tracks that seem to always be building, replacing toe-tapping with jumping around wanting more, raucous anti-establishment punk which manages to deliver both the simple hook and feel of 80s skater punk, coupled with eloquent, carefully considered lyrics. Polarnecks hit you with thumping drums and catchy hooks, which mask the somewhat melancholy lyrics. Elements of garage surfer rock, but with a darker undertone, yet still full of swagger, coupled with self-deprecating lyrics, something that a lot of people will be able to identify with. It’s impossible to pick a side on the split, as both bands have a clear, defined style but still manage to create one record which is very difficult to put down, mostly because you will be constantly flipping it over trying to decide which side deserves to go first.
29. Forehead – Bedrooms Tapes [GoldMold]
Sean Garrett’s forehead is an extremely complex and nuanced thing, his solo act Forehead is even more so. Garrett has a number of tricks up his sleeve, not least Bedroom Tapes, the debut EP from Forehead. With catchy musical hooks – ranging in temperance – and soft, emotional and well delivered vocals, all wrapped up in quirky, sporadic, experimental production, there’s not much not to love about Forehead.
28. Radiophonic Tuckshop – Running Commentary [Last Night From Glasgow]
Crammed with distorted, powerpop riffs, dreamy harmonies, Beach Boys-inspired jams, delicious wonky pop and an anthemic footstomper of a closer with a grandiosity akin to Sparks in ‘As Hard As I Feel’, Running Commentary is unashamedly powered by a modern take on retro rock and roll which wears its influences on its sleeve.
27. Wendell Borton – Crawl [Fitlike]
Wendell Borton convey their sense of joviality and lightness quickly, kicking things off with the titular track ‘Crawl’. With some subtle, washed out production, some weird vocal harmonies and some unmistakably fun musical elements, this is a very endearing song, which opens a very endearing EP. A massive point to Wendell Borton’s credit is that their choice of musical lines is quite subversive; they would likely be decried as another group of pop-punk plonkers were it not for their habit of taking a lot of musical back roads.
24. The New Fabian Society – Choke
Choke found The New Fabian Society not wasting a second, gone are the days of 10-minute post punk epics, instead we’re hit with a more focused approach, which allows arguably a higher and more varied output from the band, who’ve been going nigh on five years. With influences that lean less on the psychedelic side here the band really take a punk focus and run with it, with drums soundings like they’re from an industrial rock album at times, bass switching from synth like to simply balls to the wall distortion and a layered production that lets the guitars shine through with more clarity than before.
25. American Clay – Sky Hooks [LP]
Sky Hooks shakes the loose skin off your face with its fuzz induced perfection, providing intelligent verses and humble choruses, forcing you to keep this record on constant repeat. American Clay’s debut EP is highly inventive with a distinctive, solid-stated sound; a ridiculously enjoyable record that gives off a playful, yet subtle maturity.
24. Lanark Artefax – Whities 011
Not one we’ve been hugely familiar with but Glaswegian producer Calum MacRae, a.k.a. Lanark Artefax, has been getting mighty praise all over for his alien techno tracks. Whities 011 fizzes with perplexing sonic complexities and crowd pleasing maximalism that fellow Glasgow boys Hudson Mohawke and Rustie have mastered, while also showing an ear from powerful emotive ambient tracks.
23. Laps – Who Me? [MIC]
LAPS returned after a three-year break and withWho Me? let everyone know that this isn’t some mere side project, cemented further by Cassie Ezeji’s other act Golden Tecaher seemingly calling it a day. It’s an EP that oozes an ultra cool vibe as the duo, who also features Organs of Love’s Alicia Matthews, woo us with an anarchic groove centred record that dips its toes into no-wave soul, mimial industirial dark rnb and dubbed-out house, with an entrancing variety of vocal deliveries.
22. Marble Gods – Songs [Marry Me]
Marbles Gods’ Songs was a wee pop gem for 2017, it’s the perfect wee fuzzy C86 channelled indie pop tape that instills bags of upbeat fun with a tongue-in-cheek humour. Here’s hoping that we get more like this in the near future.
21. Wojtek the Bear – Second Nature
Wojtek the Bear returned with Second Nature, an EP that takes the listener on a journey through changing opinions and lifestyle changes in a typically Scottish manner. The EP takes you on a journey from a band looking for answers and end with the acceptance that what will be will be, through reflective driving drums and melodic guitar. It’s rewarding listen that takes a look at some of the darker sides of Scottish culture through a relatable and almost cheery mirror.