Tag Archives: Apache Darling

Apache Darling – ‘Go’

Led by keyboardist Andrew Black and vocalist Stefanie Lawrence, the audaciously poptimistic Apache Darling return with the soaring ‘Go’.

After slots at T in the Park and King Tut’s new music showcases they’ve built a reputation as impressive pop performers with a handful of great live singalongs so it’s exciting for fans to finally get their hands on a studio version of a track that has been a mainstay of their live set for several years.

With gloriously retro keyboard sounds and eighties key changes, ‘Go’ is a shamelessly bright and bold pop statement of intent with a passionate refrain that will have you howling “where you go, I gooooo” like a lost Cyndi Lauper single.

It’s Lawrence’s vocals which give Apache Darling their star quality and here she shines, delivering a skyscraping vocal that brings a touch of Vegas diva to the Glaswegian underground.

In the bridge, she urges listeners to “gamble on the girl”, on the strength of ‘Go’ plenty of people will heed her advice.

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Words: Max Sefton

Late with FOUND, Supermoon, Apache Darling, The Spook School at The Lighthouse, 9/10/15

Tonight at The Lighthouse, the bands form only one of a number of events at The Lighthouse Late, an evening featuring talks, workshops, two films, a market, a DJ and burlesque, besides the gig.

It’s a cool place to hang out for an evening, just by being surrounded by stuff to look at, at this sort of mini-festival.

The Spook School

First act, Edinburgh ‘queer-trans-pop-punk’ act The Spook School, are sneeringly frantic and noisy, with a brand of power pop in the vein of The Only Ones and Violent Femmes, drawn through the lens of the noise rock of the likes of No Age or Wavves.

A facade of effortlessness disguises some keenly structured three-part harmonies, and songs that take clever about-turns and shifts.

The live set up is such that crash cymbals dominate the sound, but it’s such that the moments where the music cuts out and the three vocalists are left exposed are all the more violent and jarring.

Apache Darling is a highlight of the evening, playing bombastic synthpop that unabashedly embraces anthemic 80s pop rock and power ballads.

A largely a capella, and incomplete, rendition of David Bowie’s ‘Starman’ acts as a pointer to Apache Darling’s influences with regards to huge, theatrical, emotional pieces, with a strong focus on melody.

When lead singer Stefanie Lawrence quietly thanks the crowd for moving forward, then forgets the next song Apache Darling are playing, it’s a jolting experience to see her so unimposing just after hearing such a powerful voice.

Supermoon

Third on are Supermoon, a new name for Meursault, fronted by singer-songwriter Neil Pennycook, an outfit whose sound has developed from Meursault’s lo-fi indie-folk roots into lavish, lush ballads.

Pennycook remains consistently at the peak or near the peak of his emotion throughout, while the music accompanying provides all the emotional nuance and suspense.

It’s a particular phenomenon of Pennycook’s music to a particular note at the peak of his range he hits over and over through the set, that could be the crux of many another song, but is repeated until it becomes just a feature, but this is suited to the 30 minute set, where this level of intensity doesn’t tire.

FOUND2

Headliners FOUND are an art collective and band with a changing lineup, best known for creating an emotional robot band called Cybraphon that responds to how much online attention it’s receiving.

This lineup is a reserved band for a headline act, a band that perhaps willfully forgoes accessibility for experimentation and surprise.

The band plays with having the immediate impression of a less complex indie band – Foals, Bombay Bicycle Club, say – but the songs are filled with more experimental touches that rise up out of the murk, that don’t reveal themselves instantly.

A synth riff builds in a couple of songs that quietly bubbles until it explodes in a burst of noise.

There are exciting ideas in the performance, but it’s not always clear what the band is trying for – the set is made up of reimaginings of all sorts of styles that aren’t always clear, some songs sounding like ironic appropriations of styles, some not.

More Photos

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Words: Tony Boardman
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

King Tut’s Summer Nights with AmatrArt, Apache Darling, Le Thug, Miracle Strip, 21/7/15

As King Tut’s Summer Nights gathers pace, four acts gather on the famous stage preparing to make a bid for stardom.

For the standout act of the evening, Apache Darling, it seems like nothing less than being the biggest pop act in the world will be enough, but our first act seem happy with more modest goals.

Stripped back to rudimentary beats and a few additional guitar and keyboard parts (and an impressive moustache) Miracle Strip are an indie-electro duo with a touch of Sparks’ aloof elocution.

Lyrically they’re a little adrift and choosing to release your EP on cassette deserves to be a black mark on anyone’s record (note: the editor disagrees; we love tapes, keep them coming), but their final extended electro workout gets a few feet shuffling.

The variety of styles on show is both a strength and weakness of the Summer Nights series, but Le Thug seem equally happy letting their music wash over the audience.

Their cool female vocals evoke Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins; melodies drifting like icebergs over a shoegaze background.

With a clear debt to eighties power balladeers like Bonnie Tyler and their own hashtag (#thenewpop), Apache Darling should be almost unbearable

Instead they’re the band who gives the night an overdue kick up the arse, effortlessly mastering electro and power pop with huge charm

They’re not quite ready for a smash debut yet; some of their melodies are little fussy, but it’s rare to find a band who so brilliantly channel all that is great about pop music and make it look so effortless.

Tracks like ‘Go’ and ‘More than Me’ are the sound of magpie-like 21st century approach to pop history that practically fizzes with life.

They’re masters of pacing too, following a show-stopping ballad with an irrepressible power pop cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Hot and Cold’.

Keep your eye on Apache Darling, because the sky could be the limit.

Finally our headliners take to the stage; remarkably youthful and dressed they like just stumbled out of a Topman ad, AmatrArt sound exactly how you expect five skinny white guys to sound post-Foals/Alt J.

The quintet is impressively tight, adding muscular layers to their singer’s unfortunately indecipherable vocals.

The portentously named ‘Delirium Tremens’ aims for the gravitas of Radiohead or Bloc Party, culminating in a final spasm that recalls the guitar heavy call to arms of Foals’ Total Life Forever.

Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Elina Lin

APACHE DARLING – ‘FIREBIRD’

‘FIREBIRD’, the new single by Glasgow boy-girl duo APACHE DARLING, pulses along through a familiar shadowy synth atmosphere and is peppered with some catchy melodies, but the production just isn’t as good as it could/should be.

For example the instruments at the start sound too harsh and one dimensional, and they just don’t provide a nice sounding backdrop for vocals, which do have potential.

It picks up a bit as the song progresses, particularly in the chorus where the hook is interesting and the synths more lush sounding, but over-all I get the impression that the fashion of creating a moody pop song with commercial appeal has been (maybe inadvertently) prioritised over composing a song with the kind of air tight, slick production that now-a-days is a standard among successful female fronted synth bands.

APACHE DARLING are by no means a band without talent and skill; the positive support they’ve received so far has been well deserved but ‘FIRDBIRD’ just isn’t a convincing effort, especially when compared to previous release ‘More Than Me’.

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Words: Greg Murray

Tracks of 2014

Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’19 Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’ [Hotgem]

The opening track of the Glasgow electronic trio’s latest EP, Clouds, introduced us to vocalist Julie Knox, who’s powerful and emotive voice slides brilliantly into Atom Tree’s deep synthpop, alerting people the trio on a much bigger scale than before, and rightfully so.

Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’19 Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’ [Olive Grove]

Beautiful and euphoric, Call To Mind’s musical masterpiece is the crowning jewel of their debut album, and with accenting piano and sultry vocals, it is everything that Coldplay think they are, but infinitely better. (Kyle McCormick)

The Duke, Detriot – ‘Accerate’19 The Duke, Detroit – ‘Accelerate’ [Deaf By Stereo]

The Duke, Detroit’s sleek and stylish single threw us, spinning and stumbling back in time to the mid-80s, but they managed to bring it back to life without sounding like poor mimics of the past.

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Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x018 Owl John – ‘Los Angeles, Be Kind’ [Atlantic]

Drawing from Scott Hutchison’s emigration to California, the video starts with footage of Scotland, which slowly blends into the bright, optimistic lights of L.A, and probably says more of this achingly melancholy song than a simple review could. (Greg Murray)

Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’16 Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’ [Warp]

HuMo keeps getting bigger and bigger and with a glorious homecoming at East End Social’s Last Big Weekend and this release on Warp it seems his momentum is still building.

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Mogwai-Rave-Tapes-608x60816 Mogwai – ‘Remurdered’ [Rock Action]

2014 saw Glasgow’s post rock behemoths shift away their meatier riffage of recent years and move towards a chilling atmospheric vive, they’re still loud though and the asphyxiating ‘Remurdered’ is one of the best examples of their recent work.

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Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’13 Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’

Intricate and captivating, Vasa’s stand-alone single has an unrelenting urgency at its core, but with layers of percussion and masterful guitars cleverly bolted on, ‘Not A Cop’ shines a light on a promising future. (Kyle McCormick)

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The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’13 The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’ [FatCat]

Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave was heralded as a return to form for one of Scotland’s most powerful yet emotionally draining live acts and ‘Last January’ was the pick of bunch.

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Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’13 Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’ [Song, By Toad]

Burning slowly, ‘Shark’ sees Jonnie Common’s songwriting at a conversational high, built on a foundation of electronics and ingenuity, the canned laughter at the end knows how good it is. (Kyle McCormick)

PAWS – ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart’12 PAWS – ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ [FatCat]

A prime example of PAWS expanded song writing, the cello-laced ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ pulses solidly along on to Phillip Taylor’s stories of heartache. (Greg Murray)

King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’10 King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’ [Domino]

The pinnacle of the From Scotland with Love record (no mean feat), ‘Something To Believe In’ combines true and traditional folk with honest lyrics and a painful poignancy. (Ellen Renton)

Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’10 Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’ [Olive Grove]

Haunting and heart breaking, ‘Hospital Bed’ might just be one of the most beautiful vocals of the year, never mind just in Scotland. (Ellen Renton)

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TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’9 TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’ [S.W.A.L.K]

Sickly sweet vocals and throbbing synths add playful finger-clicking and loving harmonies to make TeenCanteen’s single a loveable release and introduction to the gifted quartet. (Kyle McCormick)

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Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x08 Owl John – ‘Hate Music’ [Atlantic]

‘Hate Music’ is a cathartic, slide-guitar-and-overdrive pedaled song, which Scott Hutchison claims Frightened Rabbit wouldn’t get away with, about the strains and the bitter tastes left by his revered band and the industry they operated in consistently for ten years. (Greg Murray)

John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’7 John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’ [Instinctive Racoon]

Primal and raucous, John Knox Sex Club captures everything they are infamous for in this track, with measured execution descending into enjoyable chaos. (Kyle McCormick)

Tijuana Bibles-500x3726 Tijuana Bibles – ‘Crucifixion’ [Dead Beet]

Tijuana Bibles continue to prove that few bands can write snarling rock classics as well as them. ‘Crucifixion’ has a southern rock swagger that you can’t help bob your head along to, the chorus hook is sublime and the guitar solo is a piece of melodic genius. (Phil Allen)

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Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’5 Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’ [Lost Map]

This track was almost everyone’s first introduction to Tuff Love and we immediately fell for the vocal harmonies and that breakneck drumming. It’s no wonder this track garnered them a lot of attention it sounds like effortless genius in the form of a song. (Phil Allen)

Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’4 Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’ [Fuzzkill]

Sure the bassline sounds like Black Flag but what an intro. Taken from the bands only debut, and looking likely to be only, length album this cut is perhaps one of their most exciting punk throw downs, however it’s given Deathcats patented surf rock treatment with plenty of great backing vocals. (Phil Allen)

Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’3 Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ [A Modern Way]

Stanley Odd’s endearing referendum anthem is made bittersweet given the eventual outcome, but its message of hope and positivity still rings true in a country forging towards a better future. (Kyle McCormick)

unknown2 APACHE DARLING – ‘More Than Me’

The comparisons to CHVRCHES must get tiresome, but one thing that APACHE DARLING does share with the band is their potential for success. ‘More Than Me’ is cool, catchy and clever, and undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s best exports of 2014. (Ellen Renton)

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Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’1 Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’ [FatCat]

Sweet melodies and some of the crunchiest guitars recorded are staples of ‘Killer Bangs’. It’s hard to believe a two-piece can sound this massive even if it is a studio recording. (Phil Allen)

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APACHE DARLING at Broadcast, 30/7/14

Despite not filling every conceivable space on their first residency night in Broadcast there is a definite feeling of excitement and anticipation in the ether concerning the arrival of APACHE DARLING to the stage.

Tonight they are a three-piece with singer Stefanie Lawrence flanked by the flame haired potency of collaborator and keyboard/synth player Andrew Black and bassist Charlotte Printer, they open with the confidence of a band who have been plying their trade much longer than a year and change, and within the opening two tracks they already hold the audience firmly in the palm of their hand.

Second song ’Bleeding Edge’ draws the crowd to attention with its dark, brooding entrance before building to a chorus that releases the tension and unshackles a pulsing electronic refrain; CHVRCHES comparisons aside, the true secret of Apache Darling’s growing popularity is their canny ability to meld together simple but effective song structure with lyrics that exhibit sensitive insight.

‘Go’, Lawrence and Black’s first foray into writing together, is lyrically shrewd as it builds in tandem with Black’s synth heavy samples and keyboard led melodies, Lawrence powerfully repeats the lyric “certain as the sun… certain as the sun… certain as the sun… certain as the sunset…” while Black and Printer support her candid declaration until the song breaks  and soars upon her true meaning as she ultimately concedes “where you go… I go!”.

As their popularity grows, and with bigger gigs in the offing, it’s easy to see why APACHE DARLING have gained such an, as yet emergent, but committed following, the simple understanding of giving an audience what it wants without compromising on musical integrity is their undoubted ace in the hole and never is this more evident than in their choice to cover Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ which they lovingly and respectfully execute while dousing it with their own particular brand of heavy synth and bass.

They end with new single ‘More Than Me’ which, it seems, the crowd has been eagerly awaiting, on this final track they ably fill every possible space with Lawrence’s soaring vocals and Black’s buzzing electronica as he steers the band through their last stirring phase and chord change.

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Words: David Mcphee

Who is APACHE DARLING

With quite a buzz surrounding Glasgow synthpop duo APACHE DARLING after just one track, we threw them a few questions to allow them to introduce themselves, kill the CHRVCHES echoes and maybe entice you to catch them during their weekly Broadcast residency, which started yesterday.

Who is APACHE DARLING?

APACHE DARLING are Stefanie Lawrence & Andrew Black. 

Andrew: We take our name from the ’60s hit ‘Apache’ by The Shadows.

Stefanie: It was the first song my dad taught me on the guitar and reminds me of him. 

How did you get together?

Stefanie: We had known each other for a few years and always talked about writing songs. We knew we had similar musical influences but also introduced each other to new music. We thought this would help when it came to writing. 

Andrew: We both started to get into electronic music at the same time which ended up being a big part of our sound.

What do you guys do previously to APACHE DARLING?

Andrew: We had both been in other bands together and separately, but we were never the songwriters. We can talk about the music we love for hours together and it made total sense to start writing our own. We started writing in our flat in Dennistoun last year.

Stefanie: Once we had some material, we knew we wanted to use a band live so started working with Charlotte Printer (bass) and Ewan Laing (drums). They are an important part of our live sound.

What can we expect from the upcoming single?

Andrew: Our single is called ‘More Than Me’ gives people a really good idea of what our sound is. We are very melody driven and like to have catchy hooks and riffs that people will remember. We recorded the songs at Gorbals Sound in Glasgow. We both would live in a studio if we could! 

Stefanie: Our b-side is called ‘Ghost’ and is a lot darker with a more retro ’80s sound. We thought it would be a good contrast for our first single. It’s also one of my favourites to sing live and was also recorded and written at the same time as ‘More Than Me’.

You’re already being compared to CHVRCHES, being an electronic, female fronted outfit, what do you make of these comparisons?

Andrew: It’s an easy comparison to make because we use lots of keyboards and come from the same city. We love CHVRCHES and it’s really cool to be compared to a band we really like, but we are keen to show that we have our own identity and are not “just another…”

Stefanie: I think comparisons will always be made with any new band. We’ve also recently been compared to Eurythmics which is a massive compliment for us. We are both are big fans. They have had so many great songs that still sound so current. It’s something to aim for. 

You have a residency at Broadcast prior to any official releases, how did that come about?

Stefanie: Although the single isn’t out yet, we’ve been sharing it with some promoters. The guys at PCL who book Broadcast really liked the song and we were lucky to be offered these shows to coincide with the release. We like Broadcast a lot as a venue, so are excited to be playing there. We have four dates coming up which are:

Wednesday July 30th
Wednesday August 6th
Wednesday August 13th
Saturday August 23rd

What can we expect from these shows?

Stefanie: You can expect a lot of synths and sequins. We can’t wait to start playing gigs.

Andrew: We write songs with the live performance in our heads, so playing them in front of an audience is the best part.

After these shows and the pending single release, what can we expect from APACHE DARLING?

Stefanie: We’re aiming to have another single out later this year and will be continuing to write as much as possible. The best thing to do is follow us on all the social places from our website: www.apachedarling.com

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APACHE DARLING – ‘More Than Me’

APACHE DARLING are a new Glasgow electronic/synthpop act preparing to release their debut EP, More Than Me, here they give us a taste what’s to come with the release of the title track.

Perhaps listeners could be quick to jump to quick and easy comparison to newly acclaimed Glasgow electronic act CHVRCHES but this would be a fairly lazy comparison, aside from being a Scottish, female led electronic act the two groups have very few similarities.

Instead, APACHE DARLING bring to mind the sound of acts like fellow Glasgow band Prides, with their pounding bass drums and danceable rhythmic patterns, as well as North Carolina new wave electronic act Future Islands, with their catchy synth lines and soulful style.

‘More Than Me’ is a taster of what is hopefully great things to come from this very interesting group, with its catchy and intricate synth line, soulful vocals, powerful chorus and complex, well devised structure.

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Words: Iain Gillon