Tag Archives: Be Charlotte

Tracks of 2017 (20-11)

20. Golden Teacher – ’Spiritron’

‘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.

TRNSMT at Glasgow Green, 7/7/17

After a few years of dwindling interest in T in the Park, Geoff Ellis’s new festival, the three-day TRNSMT, is a fresh attempt at proving the demand for top-tier festivals in Scotland.

Amid claims that T in the Park had lost its emphasis on music among a weekend of drinking and partying, TRNSMT is catering to a slightly older audience, kicking off with the likes of London Grammar, Belle and Sebastian, and headliners Radiohead.

With 35,000 in attendance and three stages, and an additional Smirnoff and Mixmag stage hosting DJs, there’s a healthy audience early in the day for even the smallest venue, the Jack Daniels-sponsored Jack Rocks tent.

It means Bang Bang Romeo play to a deservingly cramped tent, Anastasia Walker’s vocals soulfully attempting to blow the roof off.

Herein lies an immediate success for TRNSMT and the bands playing there: its relatively compact nature makes it easy to stumble upon an act that ends up hooking you for their entire set, and Bang Bang Romeo benefit from a combination of this and a captivating display of talent that leaves people outside the tent gathering round to listen even if it’s impossible to squeeze in.

Over on the mainstage, Everything Everything is equally rewarded with a prompt and keen audience, receptive to their rhythmic electronic indie.

Immediately it’s noticeable how loud they are, their beats and Jonathan Higgs’s voice carry comfortably across the wind.

It’s a charming and endearing performance, especially the crescendo of ‘No Reptiles’ as the bizarre “it’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair, old enough to run” line hits harder and harder with each passing repetition.

Back in the Jack Rocks tent, Moonlight Zoo keep the place bustling with their upbeat guitar-driven set.

They have a knack for an infectious melody, and even songs about the end of the world sound encouraging and optimistic.

Over on the King Tut’s stage, Be Charlotte is staking her claim as the most impressive act of the day.

Main stage bands will have bigger and brighter productions, but Charlotte’s authenticity shines through, becoming fully enraptured by her songs as she sways and dances to her music.

The moment a song is done a smirk appears, as if the preceding three minutes of music just had to get out of her and she has no idea what quite came over her.

Her genuine passion for her craft and what she’s creating is infectious, and out of all the acts on secondary stages, she’s the one clearly headed for great things.

Rag’n’Bone Man is a big dude with a bigger voice, and what he occasionally lacks in tunes, he makes up for in conjuring the feeling of a crowd-sized group hug.

He’s indebted to the blues with his powerful vocal delivery, but there’s a communal receptiveness to what he’s preaching, bringing people together in the crowd to dance and welcome his songs of love and emotion like a musical sermon.

The sun breaks during London Grammar’s set, half-way through the a capella intro to ‘Rooting For You’, and it genuinely does feel like a religious experience.

Hannah Reid’s voice will always be the focal point of London Grammar’s music, but in the live setting they employ an appropriately moody light show and beat-heavy remixes that keep their sets from feeling stale.

This works in more intimate venues, but it’s difficult to make the main stage feel cozy, so the light show is lost among the daylight, and Reid is left to do most of the work with her voice.

As long as Reid is on fine form there will always be something to take from a London Grammar experience, but the nature of their music is such that it works better in the dark.

Belle and Sebastian, on the other hand, just want to make people dance.

Stuart Murdoch takes this quite literally as he grabs some people from the front row to dance on stage during ‘The Boy With the Arab Strap’.

Murdoch is a charming host, saying hello to the people in the high flats watching from a distance, explaining how he wrote sixteen verses for ‘Judy and the Dream of Horses’ as he walked through Glasgow Green and kept four of them, and how he heard the Orange Walk got banned from the People’s Palace for starting a ‘fracas’ because the bar sold limeade.

It’s all very playful and light as air, but there’s something heartwarming about Belle and Sebastian playing to their strengths and being rewarded by having thousands of people dancing in the park in their hometown, to which Murdoch would have apologized for getting in the way of the people hanging up their laundry.

Radiohead is neither playful nor light as air, instead opting for an uncompromising and characteristic display of what’s made them so adored since the 90s.

The 20th anniversary celebrations of OK Computer continue as ‘Let Down’ and ‘Lucky’ open a career-spanning two-and-a-half-hour set, becoming ever more visually assaulting as the sun sets, especially during the glitchy ‘Idioteque’ and pulsing blues and reds of ‘Paranoid Android’.

Despite their cemented success, they are not the perfect festival band since anything remotely resembling a hit is recorded twenty or so years ago, making some attendees impatient for hits that never come (no ‘Creep’ tonight).

A Moon Shaped Pool songs like ‘Ful Stop’ come to life in the live environment, and history has been kind to The King of Limbs as the complexity of ‘Bloom’ and conventional funkiness of ‘Lotus Flower’ fit in well.

It’s a relief for many when ‘No Surprises’ and ‘Karma Police’ show up, two hours in, as it’s finally a chance to sing along, and the former’s “bring down the government, they don’t, they don’t speak for us” receives a rousing cheer.

Radiohead inspire impressive levels of devotion, and with this being their first Scottish show in ten years, it’s a rewarding and lengthy set, and even though they are confirmed festival headliners, they are still nowhere near as accessible as Kasabian and Biffy Clyro are on the second and third nights, showing the risks TRNSMT is willing to take to revive the music festival experience in Scotland.

Confirmed to return next year, TRNSMT appears to be a success, with all signs point to the opening day as having run smoothly with no arrests, and a focus on music that appeals to a wider demographic than what T in the Park was aiming for in its later years.

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Words: Scott Wilson
Photos: Cameron Brisbane / Ryan Buchanan / Ryan Johnston

Be Charlotte – ‘One Drop’ [AWAL / Kobalt]

Touted by absolutely everybody and their granny as ‘ones to watch’ in 2017, it would be hard not to, as Be Charlotte is set to play a full festival circuit this year, including another coveted and well deserved spot at SXSW 2017.

The industrious trio, fronted by hyper-talented vocalist Charlotte Brimner have brought some damn good summer vibes a little early with new track ‘One Drop’.

At the band’s genre traversing best, ‘One Drop’ is a glorious mashup, encompassing indie pop, slick beat boxing and electro; all driven by pervasive drums and bass, courtesy of Brimner’s band mates David Calder and James Smith respectively.

Delivered in an unmistakably Scottish accent, which, refreshingly, Brimner makes no attempts to minimise, lyrics “filling me with doubt, that I can’t compete with the rest” are surely redundant given this band’s inevitable future success.

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Words: Kat McNicol

Frightened Rabbit, PAWS, Be Charlotte at The Barrowlands, 18/12/16

Wow, just wow; if you want to see Frightened Rabbit then this is how you should see them.

A sweat lashed love between crowd and band in a packed iconic venue groaning and pulsating with the raw emotion delivered by the lyrics and music of one of Scotland’s finest bands at the absolute pinnacle of their powers.

Punters spew out into the gloom of the Glasgow night excited and drained in equal measure from Frightened Rabbit’s self proclaimed “office Christmas night out,” having experienced a gig that they won’t forget for some time.

Before the arrival of tonight’s heroes a healthy crowd have the pleasure of Be Charlotte and then PAWS.

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Dundee three piece Be Charlotte is an intriguing young band with a unique sound that uses clever pedal loops and no guitar.

Pushing out a splendid blend of electro pop and Scottish hip hop it is clear by the size of the early crowd that many had turned up purposely to take them in.

It’s wonderfully hard to pigeon-hole their sound or compare them to other band, diminutive singer Charlotte Brimner spat sings and rapped out nine tracks to an appreciative audience with ‘Drawing Windows’ and, upcoming single, ‘One Drop’ being the standout songs.

The former, a melodic piano driven extravaganza with a full sound and thumping bassline complementing Brimner’s impressive vocal range and the later an out and out electro sound with a layered pedal loop and a partially rapped vocal.

Fantastically different and eminently enjoyable there is no doubt that this band will soon be filling venues like the Barras under their own steam.

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A thrashing frantic 45-minutes of Atlantic punk follows with PAWS taking the stage and ramping up both the volume and pace, which barely drops during their set.

Dark and manic frontman Philip Taylor demands attention and the crowd lap up both his performance and his banter as he engages willingly with his home city audience, however no matter how enthusiastic the reception there is no doubting this is Frightened Rabbit’s crowd and the now packed room are delighted when Scott Hutchinson joins PAWS on stage to sing ‘Erruer Humaine’ from their 2014 album Youth Culture Forever.

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Leaving a respectable gap to build anticipation to a palpable level Frightened Rabbit take the stage and fire straight into ‘Get Out’ from last release Painting of a Panic Attack.

A brilliant track to start the show and the devoted audience participate by singing, jostling and dancing to set the tone for the rest of the set.

Frontman Scott Hutchinson looks to be adulation thrown back towards the stage and engaged in affectionate banter with the crowd: “This is the last night of three at Glasgow so you either really love us or you left it late to buy tickets. What kind of crowd are you?” – “Ask yer maw!” This is a Glasgow crowd!

And it was one that was not to be disappointed as Frightened Rabbit explore all five studio albums in what is truly a show for the fans.

Rarely letting the pace drop the band are in excellent form with the excellent ‘Holy’, sombre ‘Wish I was Sober’ and ‘Living in Colour’ soon belted out amongst others leaving the audience in a strangle hold of ecstasy.

What follows is a 15 song set dripping with Frabbit classics with among the highlights ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’ and an absolutely spell binding version of ‘Things’ that is brought to an utterly show stopping crescendo of light and sound in a moment that could only be classed as close to a rock and roll moment as a Scottish indie folk band can get.

The Twilight Sad singer, James Graham then joins the band on stage to provide the vocal for a track before the band brings things down a notch for ‘Floating in the Forth’ and the wonderfully folky ‘Old Old Fashioned’.

The curtain is brought down with a rocking ‘Lump Street’, but the crowd want more and much stomping and cheering brings Hutchinson back on stage for an acoustic sing along of ‘Scottish Wind’, ’Snake ’and ‘My Backwards Walk’, before being joined by the full line up for ‘Woodpile’.

Crowd pleaser, ‘The Loneliness and the Scream’ is then performed by both Frabbit and PAWS to bring the show to a close.

The crowd want more though and refuse to budge hollering the chorus to previous song over and over until Hutchinson and co return for one last track.

A memorable sing along of ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ ensues before the lights come up and the grateful band leave stage and a happy crowd wandered out.

Get to see this bunch if you can, this was the musical highlight of 2016.

More Photos

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Words: Peter Dorrington
Photos: Paul Storr

Strange Behaviours at Tolbooth, 25-26/11/16

Tolbooth’s Strange Behaviours has two-day festival returns to Stirling for a third triumphant year.

With 18 acts to choose from, the event is a musical smorgasbord with a genre to please even the pickiest of music fans.

Living up to the events name, this year’s chosen aesthetics are just that – strange; broken and decorated mannequins are placed around the venue – some splashed with paint and one covered entirely in multi-coloured feathers.

A projector had also been set up in the Attic Stage showing scenes from Charlie Brown as well as footage of cakes being iced on a loop and other random background imagery.

Stock Manager kick off proceedings in the Attic Stage – having the most daunting slot on the bill being responsible for setting the tone for the rest of the night.

And they didn’t disappoint, they’re just a proper good rock band – complete with the behaviour (no pun intended) to match the sound.

Whether it be rocking out on the floor, knee slides as they jam together or knocking over parts of their set (sometimes accidently –but we’ll pretend it’s all part of their plan), the rock band persona oozes out of them.

Their music is complete with heavy riffs drops that are worthy of a good head-bang.

A new element has been added to the acts playing in the venue’s Gallery Stage this year – a versus battle but not like you know it.
First to put it to the test on Friday night is Chrissy Barnacle and December ’91.

Barnacle provides us with brutally honest tales of her own love life, filling the gaps between songs with quirky anecdotes and the history behind her tracks.

The personality that poured from her makes her entirely relatable – with a very 21st century view of love and relationships it is almost empowering to hear someone talk so openly about it and put it so eloquently to beautiful acoustic music.

Plus, anyone who can use a Tina Turner reference – “what’s love got to do with it?” – so effortlessly in her set is a hero in my eyes.

Once Barnacle had finished playing a few tracks, the audience had to shuffle through to the adjoining room – where Craig Ferrie aka December ’91 is set up with his guitar. Admitting that he’s not as good with the chat in between songs, he simply lets his music do the talking.

His songs run through a similar theme to Barnacle’s, with love and relationships being the key topic to both acts’ music.

Be Charlotte is up next on the Auditorium Stage – making the wee town of Stirling the last stop on her recent tour around South Asia.

A vision of the 90s in her sheer fluorescent top, oversized glasses and topknot bun, she showcases brand new unnamed material as well as live set staples such as ‘Machines That Breathe’.

Her flawless vocals flow effortlessly from rapping to singing without any backing music – stunning her audience into silence.

Don’t be fooled by her petite appearance, her vocals can encapsulate an entire room and she’s not afraid to call you out for talking through her performance either!

The band I have been looking forward to seeing on the Friday night are The Pale Kids and their set is filled with banter, with frontman Josh declaring “that’s close enough” whilst tuning his guitar for their performance.

Their angsty lyrics and heavy distorted guitars engulf the intimate room; The Pale Kids are definitely a band made for a big stage, it’s impossible not to want mosh along to their music – you should come out of their gig with a headache.

A good headache, like getting brain freeze from eating ice cream.

Closing Friday night’s event is critically renowned guitarist (and occasional singer) RM Hubbert.

The Auditorium Stage becomes a calm haven with Hubby up on the stage sat on a chair with just his guitar and the audience mirror his set up by taking a seat on the floor to enjoy his performance as he captures their imagination with his heartfelt and soulful lyricism.

Never afraid to touch on dark taboo topics like suicide, the sometimes melancholic music contrasts with his personality as he chats openly and honestly with his audience between tracks therefore stopping his performance from getting too heavy – it is a Friday night after all.

Eugene Twist kicks off Saturday night on the Auditorium Stage, bringing his jazzy alt-rock to Stirling.

Twist is regularly compared to the likes of Bob Dylan for his vocal talent (I must admit, his appearance is slightly Dylan-esque as well), however he’s definitely a musician in his own right as he packs his songs with sophisticated lyrics and smooth melodies.

He treats his audience to a special stripped down version of ‘Halloween Drama Queen’ as well as new material to be featured on his upcoming album due in January.

Saturday night sees another versus set take place in the Gallery Stage, this time round it is C R P N T R and The Narcissist Cookbook.

At first look, you’d maybe be confused as to why these two acts had been paired together, but after a few tracks, it’s clear to see that they share a common theme.

As well as both being Stirling locals, their music shows them both to be lyrical wordsmiths.

If you squint a little and ignore the Scottish accent, you could mistake The Narcissist Cookbook for Ed Sheeran; either way, he’s definitely got the same level of talent.

At times, he resembled a one-man-band alternating between guitar and tambourine, whilst using the loop pedal to create a vocal backing track.

Although I can’t empathise with his feelings of distain towards coffee (portrayed through track ‘Sugar In My Coffee’), I have to admit I did find myself singing along to it days after the gig; he just makes damn good catchy music.

Moving through to the next room to watch C R P N T R’s (aka. Owen Sutcliffe) counter-performance, we are greeted by Sutcliffe and his companion donning a walrus mask.

An entirely bizarre set up, but Sutcliffe choses not to be restricted by his stage set up and brings his performance into the crowd as he energetically stomps around the room whilst professing about conundrums surrounding Tesco chicken Caesar wraps.

Sutcliffe creates an entirely immersive performance showing he won’t be kept back by boundaries – both literally and creatively.

Alt-folk musician and visual artist Sarah J. Stanley – playing under alias HQFU – brings the party vibes to the Attic Stage on Saturday night, bringing an end to the acts playing in the intimate stage at the top of the Tolbooth.

Stanley fuses her alt-folk roots with electro pop to create hazy, grungy dance music that’s perfect for a Saturday slot, a home-grown Alice Glass meets Jamie XX – Stanley is definitely one to look up if you like your electronic synth-heavy music.

The Tolbooth never fails to highlight the best Scotland has to offer and they do it best with their Strange Behaviours festival.

If you don’t leave after the two nights with a list of some new favourite artists then you haven’t taken full advantage of the great acts on offer to you.

After three successful years, Strange Behaviours doesn’t show any signs of slowing.

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Words: Laura Imrie

One’s to Watch: Strange Behaviours 2016

After the roaring success of the previous two years, Tolbooth’s Strange Behaviours festival makes a welcome return to Stirling for a third year.

This mini-festival celebrating the best Scotish music has to offer, spans two nights and three different stages with an array of genres to suit anybody’s taste.

Here’s a little preview of what this festival has to offer and who you should be fitting into your schedule for the two nights!

Be Charlotte

Dundonian Be Charlotte is known for her innovatio; an award-winning lady of many talents, not only does she have the flawless vocals to compliment her electronic indie pop sound but she defies stereotypes by rapping and beatboxing too.

The Pale Kids

A four-piece from North Ayrshire – their sound is easily compared to such indie legends of the 2000s such as The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys. The Pale Kids make this genre their own with their Scottish wailing alongside distorted rocking guitars and coupled with angsty honest lyrics.

RM Hubbert

Topping the bill for Friday night, RM Hubbert has been a part of the Glaswegian music scene since the 90s, playing under various guises but now rides solo and manages to create chills with just his guitar for company. Although mostly instrumental, when Hubby does use his voice it’s utterly enchanting.

HQFU

Playing under the alias HQFU, Sarah J Stanley’s set will be a sensation for eyes and ears as her electronic-trance music is often paired with psychedelic lighting and visuals. Both her musical style and appearance creates the sense of a Scottish Alice Glass.
You won’t need to hit the local clubs on Saturday night to get into the party vibe.

The Cosmic Dead

Describing themselves as a “psychonautal cosmodelic buckfaustian quartet” definitely reflects the music of The Cosmic Dead as, like their apt description, none of it seems to make sense but somehow it works. They push the boundaries of music with their trippy space rock sound and epic saga-length tracks. Most musicians give you an insight into their mind but with this band, you’ll be taken to a completely different planet.

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With a line-up like this (along with many, many more acts), the event’s promise of having “music you know you like and music you never knew you loved” will certainly be met.

Words: Laura Imrie

Tenement Trail, 8/10/16

My Tenement Trail starts in the Sleazy’s basement, following a visit to Love Music for a caringly delivered in-store from Edinburgh’s booming charmer Mt. Doubt, who airs a few new tracks which sound as cosy as any of his previous material despite singer Leo Bargery forgetting the words of one of said songs.

Still, his disgusted glances at every would be record shopper who opens the door, only to change their mind at the notion of actual live music, and not venture in make this set a memorable one.

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We arrive at Sleazy’s just as Glasgow four-piece American Clay are getting started and the band fronted by Pronto Mama drummer Martin Johnston, sound more refined than they have done in previous promising airings.

Their set emits a clear 90s US alternative indie rock vibe that protrudes from a wall of never giving fuzz; American Clay seem to be making steps with every performance and as their jarring, grunge tinged guitars and snarled nasal vocals erupt into huge pounding intersections they more than have the busy basement warmed to them.

A quick dash next door and Sweaty Palms are on in Broadcast again, you’d think seeing these guys in the same venue would get old but such is the attitude of their set that it’s hard to not get engulfed once more.

They deliver their usual goth-tinged garage sound with Robbie Houston’s familiar cathartic sneer and while their 5pm set doesn’t quite reach the levels of anarchy their 2am Stag and Dagger slot did it’s safe to say they’ve done themselves no harm.

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Over at The Art School and we luckily arrive early to find Louie and the Lochbacks in an earlier than originally scheduled slot, and the gorgeous three way harmonies from Be Charlotte’s Charlotte Brimner and Pronto Mama’s Marc Rooney and Ciaran McEneny topped off with Hector Bizerk’s Louie’s heavy hitting poetry is a captivating experience.

Louie, on the verge of tying off his hugely important Hector Bizerk project, needed an outlet to air his rhymes to a larger audience and takes full advantage of the talented acts at his managerial disposal to create a set that is as much full of head nodding musings to full on hilarity all culminating in a particularly amusing track dedicated to every band playing this festival that sees Louie spouting off everything in the music world he doesn’t want to be.

A quick dash upstairs and we’re in pure sugar coated indie pop bliss sing-along land as TeenCanteen pour pure honey directly out of the speakers and have the crowd giddy and addicted in no time.

There’s a real hook to these girl’s songs that have them stuck in your head within a few listens and with their debut album only recently on the shelves it’s lovely to see them on one of the festival’s biggest stages.

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Following TeenCanteen is another act we never tire of and Be Charlotte is on top form, with a new hairstyle, new dancing, new songs, but the same brilliant performance.

We’ve seen Be Charlotte countless times in the past year and it’s testament to just how talented this girl is that we never tire of it; she’s now off on a full tour of Asia, expect this is explode in a very short space of time now.

A trip down to The Priory’s dingy basement and we’re hypnotised by The Bellybuttons set that simply sweats the best of American indie rock; croaked lyrics, entrancing rhythms and tunes that leave a warm feeling inside that only the likes of Pavement could match.

It’s a shame this basement isn’t crammed, but those who are here more than make up for it as we witness the most buoyant crowd yet.

Counterfeit crisps, ghosts… you can’t really make out what the majority of Breakfast Muff’s songs are about, but the beauty is you don’t really care; they’re fast, aggressive, punchy and super fun and despite the relatively small audience (perhaps The Rebel’s gig down at The Old Hairdressers is starting to take its toll) they still manage to smash to out the park and whip up those who have made the right choice, in terms of the festival at least, into a frenzy with their off-kilter punk energy.

They close on an as yet released track, which is fast becoming a live favourite, that sees Eilidh Mcmillan screaming “you’re not a fucking feminist” with a feeling of pure fury aimed at a particularly horrible ex.

Back over at The Art School and Pronto Mama pull off another set of unabashed brass tinged joy, with immaculately crafted songs delivered in an addictive Glasgow tilt that leaves you craning for more.

It’s great to see these guys on a big stage following a year that saw them successfully pull of their monthly showcase Beatnik Retreat at Mono that culminated with a headline slot at Oran Mor, hopefully there’s new material in the pipeline and if it’s as good as what they’ve got they’ll be gracing this big a stage on a more permanent basis very soon.

It is completely disgusting that this is the very first time I have seen The Spook School in a live setting, they’re one of the most infectious, endearing and interesting bands from Scotland just now and tonight they tear through set of punk touched indie pop tracks that engulf you in as much lovability as they do aggression.

These guys have always been known for having their finger on the pulse on social matters, but live it’s not the lyrical content that shines through, it’s their sheer passion and fun mentality, with added ridiculous banter, and quality songs to boot that makes their set irresistible start to finish.

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Words: Iain Dawson

Top picks for Tenement Trail

This Saturday sees the return of Tenement TV’s all day multi venue festival Tenement Trail so we had a wee peek at the line up to give you our picks of the line up:

Sweaty Palms at Broadcast (5.00)

“Refusing to bow down to the crowd-pleasing generics of what it takes to “make it” the four-piece let their music do the speaking merging a loud, dirty reverb drenched garage sound with anxiety-ridden psych goth flourishes, a touch of joviality and Robbie Houston’s snarled, personal lyrics to create an unnervingly powerful experience.”

THE NINTH WAVE at Broadcast (6.00)

“The band’s melodic guitars and synths refreshingly come off a lot more raucous live than they do on record, as clattering, yet groove infected instrumentals are given a pop edge by Hadyn Park’s distinctive pop rock vocals, which give in to some dream pop tinged harmonies courtesy of Elina Lin.”

TeenCanteen at The Art School (6.30)

“Covered in glitter and dressed like they’ve just come from a fairy themed-fancy dress party, It’s hard to watch these girls without a smile on your face; yes, Carla Easton’s distinctive vocals could be considered somewhat of an acquired taste, but accompanied by three part harmonies they’re addictive and powerful”

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Be Charlotte at The Art School (7.30)

Charlotte is an artist it’s difficult not to pay attention to, her performance and set is so engaging and diverse that it’s hard not to be impressed as she switches from gob smacking vocals to cutting edge spoken word to triple percussion assaults that simply silence the crowd and create an awe filled atmosphere.

The Bellybuttons at The Priory (8.15)

“A well-organised, masterful group of musicians delivering poignant lyrics in flawless fashion as they flaunt their raw prowess and leap-board from their own musical influences to create something pretty magical.”

Breakfast Muff at Broadcast (9.00)

“Their one line description on Facebook sums them up brilliantly: “like Hole but funnier” and their set all seems a riotous disarray, but it’s infectious and charming; Breakfast Muff are fun, funny, engaging and effortlessly likeable, go see them.”

Pronto Mama at The Art School (9.30)

“Pronto Mama impressively walk a slippery path with a sound that could so easily fall into the pitfalls of becoming like so many bland Scottish folk acts or go the other way turn into unabashed naff ska, instead they come out with something truly infectious and original”

The Vegan Leather at The Priory (10.15)

“Possessing both the sincerity and conviction necessary to remind any listener than pop can be more than just clean synths and solid marketing. The Vegan Leather are a vibrant and exciting lesson in punchy, hook-laden art pop.”

The Spook School at Broadcast (11.00)

“Covering topics such as sexuality, love, gender issues and standing up for yourself mixed together into a cocktail of indie hits with catchy melodies and lyrics that make you open your mind, The Spook School are the perfect band to channel your kempt up angst and rebellion.”

The Van T’s at Flat 0/1 (12.00)

“The band, we have been championing since very early on, have continuously shown just why they’re getting all the attention, with a full on rock show filled with surfy goodness and the ever impressive harmonies of the Van Thompson twins.”

Be Charlotte – ‘Machines That Breathe’ [Kobalt Label Services/Last Night From Glasgow]

Be Charlotte is a young and idiosyncratic songwriter from Dundee, with a fondness for oversize glasses and retro Adidas jackets.

Her new single ‘Machines That Breathe’ unfolds as a series of breathless questions over gigantic drums – “how can you play guitar with a broken arm?” ,“how can you live your life on repeat?” – before taking a strange detour into wonky folktronica and a floor shaking chorus.

Despite her young age, Charlotte has recorded and performed for BBC Introducing as well as playing the corresponding stage at T in the Park, flitting between singing, rapping and bashing drums, over musical backdrops that burst from minimal electronic beats into stadium sized pop.

The song itself might suggest that we’re all just machines that breathe but Charlotte is anything but robotic, undermining any suspicions that her quirkiness might be a tad studied by displaying a knack for thought provoking images that compare and contrast with an irrepressible chorus.

Produced by Be Charlotte and Marcus Mackay (Frightened Rabbit, Snow Patrol), watch out for plenty more from Charlotte very soon.

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Words: Max Sefton

Electric Fields 2016, Day Two, 27/7/16

Day two starts on a fragile note as midday proves a touch too early to drag myself down for Bella and the Bella, so my day starts lulled next to the sound desk at the Main Stage sipping orange juice from the carton in the sunshine, with the somewhat depleted Palms boys, who still seem more in shape than I am, as The Van T’s deliver another fun filled set crammed with 60s surf vibes and glittery girl gang attitude.

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We’ve covered The Van T’s so much in the last year that it’s difficult to come up with new words to describe their set, regardless they never cease to be enjoyable and today’s set takes on a very special significance when you consider the four-piece nearly didn’t play.

As mentioned in day one’s coverage the passing of The Lapelles frontman, Gary Watson, has hit the Scottish music scene pretty hard and for The Van T’s it not only meant the loss of an individual with tremendous potential and talent, but also the loss of a very a close friend, and it’s fitting that the band request that the festival crowd “go fucking mental” today as that is what their friend would have wanted before closing on a cover of The Lapelles’ ‘Seventeen’.

Over at the Stewart Cruickshank Stage there’s another act that we have seen so many times in the past year but never tire of, truth is we love what Be Charlotte is doing, and have been championing her potential to go very far since first seeing her over a year ago.

It seems ever time they play the live set steps up a level, the music, accompanied by Charlotte Brimner’s voice, has always had the ability to silence a crowd with acapella beauty, get them moving with chart heading hits or engulf them with experimental brilliance, but Brimner’s presence and all round stage confidence just seems to grow.

Upcoming single ‘Machines That Breathe’ encapsulates the pop tilting side of Be Charlotte’s sound perfectly; it’s a bouncing bassy joy, with a hooky vocal, showcasing Brimner’s pop chops and unique, addictive vocal.

Next up are THE NINTH WAVE, who seem to have added an extra shimmer to their sound and in the reasonably busy tent there’s a glossy swagger to them.

Haydn Park-Patterson’s vocals sound more up front complimenting their bouncing electronic indie rock sound; each track seems to pack a punch above what they’ve managed before and another tribute is paid to Gary Watson in the form of a “Gary fucking Watson” chant.

C Duncan has the fortune of the sun baked Main Stage and their sound is perfect for a seat on the grass as calm soothing, hypnotic harmonies drift over the field and set a real harmonious vibe across the site before the more riotous bands take the stage later on.

The lush sounds of Christopher Duncan’s debut album Architect has drawn praise from all corners, including a Mercury Award nomination, and this may well be the perfect setting to witness it in.

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Up next is Glasgow folk rock behemoths Admiral Fallow and it’s pretty much the same chilled sunshine perfection, their deep, folk tinged rock is maybe not as settling as C Duncan, but the vocal dynamic of frontman Louis Abbott and Sarah Hayes is delightful and at times soaring.

The set is interesting, intricate and expansive, calling on the impressive talents of all six musicians on stage, as Abbott adds his strong lyrical content to a tone that’s just right side of catchy for a sun kissed afternoon set.

There’s the tendency for Admiral Fallow to be written off as your typical miserable indie rock band, but they shouldn’t be and they prove this here with tracks that easily get people moving and demonstrating why they are as popular and acclaimed as they are.

Much like Elara Caluna yesterday this is my first time catching West Princes in a live setting, and once again I have no idea why.

Their set is a beautiful sunshine filled ride, it’s jaunty indie pop, with impressive vocal interchanges just one of plenty extras that set them apart. The sound in the Tim Peaks tent suffers a bit towards the lower end, but the band still manage to get your feet tapping with funk filled licks and smooth guitar lines that expand to something with real groove.

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Up next is one of the highlights of last weekend’s Doune the Rabbit Hole, TeenCanteen, and their shimmering indie pop sound is yet again a delight in the Tim Peaks Tent as every track drips with sweetness and pure infectious sensibilities.

It’s hard to watch these girls without a smile on your face; yes, Carla Easton’s distinctive vocals could be considered somewhat of an acquired taste, but accompanied by three part harmonies they’re addictive and powerful, and as the glittered up girls debut tracks from their upcoming album, Say It With A Kiss, you’re left with an inkling of something special to come.

Back at the Stewart Cruickshank Stage Fat White Family get the evening going in proper fashion with a powerful punk set that gives all the impressions of not being slick without ever sounding it.

It takes a couple of songs before Lias Kaci Saoudi has gone topless and his sneer, ranging from pure evil to proper fuck you snarl, fag in hand and all, is encapsulating.

The crowd is at the rowdiest I’ve seen all weekend as flailing arms and pits break loose fuelled from the powerful performance onstage.

Following up that riot is The Go! Team, who’re a completely different prospect bringing a vibe of disco scratching indie rock crossed with Rocky theme song to get people moving in a new way.

Ninja’s lead vocals seem to get a bit lost, but it’s the euphoria inducing samples that make this band’s sound special; at points they go full on folk tinged indie pop, but there’s something very fun about their The Go! Team presence that makes them the perfect act for this time in the festival.

After popping away for a glimpse of Primal Scream then a wee dance to Eclair Fifi I end my weekend with easily the most fun band on the bill; Songhoy Blues.

You have to fight yourself not to dance to these guys and the enthusiasm from on stage just transmits to the crowd with minimal effort.

It’s a joy to see a band having this much fun, the bluesy pop sound of the Mali based four-piece oozes tradition, but also positive vibes and the inhibition to dance; the perfect end to the festival.

Then just as the bell rings on the last act of the evening and everyone is heading back to their tents the heavens open, it’s as if the festival made a deal somewhere, but whatever happened we’re not complaining as it’s been great,

Electric Fields is fast becoming one of the highlights of the summer.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Warrick Beyers / Martin Bone