Tag Archives: Breakfast MUFF

Tracks of 2017 (10-1)

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.

Albums of 2017 (10-1)

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1 EPs 30-2120-1110-1

10. Bdy_Prts – Fly Invisible Hero [Aggrocat]

We would say that Fly Invisible Hero is a record that’s seldom seem in this day and age, but we’ve place another album slightly further up the list that BDY_PRTS will no doubt have taken influence from, what we can say is it is certainly a joyous shimmering piece of fresh air the accomplished duo. BDY_PRTS have built a reputation for their colourful live show over recent years, with bright beautiful costume designs and choreographed movements, but what this record proves is that beyond this what shines the brightest is the power of their powerful pop inflected tracks and beautifully hooky harmonies.

9. Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life

Golden Teacher came tumbling back into our ears in a familiar yet chaotic fashion, and it’s really is quite difficult to think of anyone capable of swapping places with them now they’re all but done. No Luscious Life chucks out a barely-tamed mix of housey beats, rhythms and quacks married to sometimes sinisterly spat vocals and the deepest of deep dub: it does bring to mind the marriage of punk and dance of bands, but this is nonetheless pretty original stuff and wild stuff. This is a blinding release: perverse, groovy, contorted and never far away from a shady disco.

8. Out Lines – Conflats [Rock Action]

Out Lines who could loosely be termed a Scottish super group, with Twilight Sad’s James Graham, SAY Album of the Year (2015) award winner Kathryn Joseph and producer Marcus MacKay, who were all drawn together on the back of a project from Platform, a multi-arts and community space in Easterhouse.  The product is Conflats an album of bleak and stark music, totally mesmerising with a gritty reality which draws you in. The album has a strong Scottish/Celtic thread running through it, be that from the unique vocals style, traditional folk elements, Marcus’s percussion, the harmonium or the stripped back nature of the music; there is nothing else out there like it.

7. Meursault – I Will Kill Again [Song, by Toad]

Essentially now the solo project of Neil Pennycook, despite an impressive cast list flitting through the revolving doors, Meursault returned this year with a really rather triumphant album. Usually a more interesting live proposition than on record it seems with I Will Kill Again that things have finally been translated more fully onto wax, capturing the intimate yet primal elements that define the band on stage: the introspective yet powerful darkness apparent in the soul of the main man is given free rein. Beautiful melodies and immaculate production with a hefty dose of reality – can’t ask for much more and one hopes this reincarnation carries on with more releases to come: Meursault come of age and are a very exciting proposition at the moment, very exciting indeed.

6. Breakfast Muff – Eurgh! [Amour Foo]

Breakfast Muff is that chaotic clatter in the corner, the clutter of noise you cannot quite ignore no matter how many times you slam the window shut, not that you’d want to! Eurgh! is a bit like that conversation you had in the smoking area of a clubbing nightspot last weekend, desperate to eloquently express views of social anxiety and repressed demeanour with the attention span of a gold fish. Gender, arousal and pervasion of society rocket under the sirens of beautifully crafted lo-fi punk scuzz across the thirteen songs from the Glasgow three piece.

5. Marnie – Strange Words and Weird Wars [Disco Pinata]

On Strange Words and Weird Wars the intoxicating pop-sheen is spread liberally: unapologetic pop, as it should be: there is a dark undercurrent but a pleasing shimmer outs itself. Pop needs records like this: records that can, in record company speak, hit different markets at once: records that sound great coming from crappy car stereos on the school run but also have a rather heftier undercurrent. Impressive stuff from Helen Marnie: breezy electronic music than can be consumed as just that…or on a number of other levels.

4. Pronto Mama – Any Joy [Electric Honey]

With six multi-instrumentalists you could almost start to think that Any Joy is going to be a little chaotic, yet with a sharp tongue the lyrics are bold, and the music is a beautiful concoction of sounds with each track having a story to tell and it’s own unique character. From solemn and sincere tracks to ones that bounce along and make your feet want to move, Pronto Mama don’t follow convention in any way and this is what makes them a genuinely unique band. They have established their own sound and are able to exhibit their extensive musical ability by pushing the boundaries of various genres. There’s so much being offered in Any Joy you need not look any further for a truly fulfilling album.

3. Spinning Coin – Permo [Geographic]

A surreal, pop-glazed jaunt through everyday life, flavoured with Pastels-style vocals and grounded by a knack for jangly hooks and hazy refrains. Blending indie nostalgia with a fresh take on questions both personal and political, this is DIY at its dreamiest.

2. Sacred Paws – Strike A Match [Rock Action]

Strike A Match captures the magic of the intoxicating musical landscape of Sacred Paws’ live shows, while navigating the melancholy of break ups and millennial mid 20s crises in a uniquely upbeat and comforting way. Moving to incorporate more instruments into their complicated African highlife rhythms and constantly catchy riffs, Sacred Paws bring humour and depth to their already full sound without compromising on Rachel Eggs’ signature guitar sound. Whether your dancing round your living room or trying to suppress a smile on the tube, this really is an album you could fall in love with over and over, and although it was released in winter it remains perfect indie soundtrack to your summer and beyond.

1. Babe – Kiss & Tell [Kartel]

Kiss & Tell, the second full length offering from Babe came too us quite late in the year, but it left quite the impression causing us to pap it slap bang at the top of the list. Whether it’s soft, synth laden R&B goodness, infectious electropop or Gerard Black’s immaculate falsetto Kiss & Tell charms with every bleep and handclap of its existence. Babe have always threatened something brilliant and with Kiss & Tell they’re produced a genre crossing album that’s smart, cohesive, fun and full of addictive charm.

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1

Breakfast Muff – Eurgh! [Amour Foo]

Lyrically punk, a bit derisive, yet never far from a cheekily decisive hook.

Breakfast Muff is that chaotic clatter in the corner, the clutter of noise you cannot quite ignore no matter how many times you slam the window shut.

Eurgh! is a bit like that conversation you had in the smoking area of a clubbing nightspot last weekend, desperate to eloquently express views of social anxiety and repressed demeanour with the attention span of a gold fish.

Gender, arousal and pervasion of society rocket under the sirens of beautifully crafted lo-fi punk scuzz across the thirteen songs from the Glasgow three piece.

‘R U A Feminist?’ blasts with its satirical and curiously driven first person commentary on the loose morals of those in lucid desire of being loved, blanketing selfish desires with a pretence stance on soliciting feministic values in exchange for a one night stand.

No track seeps longer than two and a half minutes as the DIY trio rally best when up against the tide, squeezing out combustible rhythmic battles; “pick up the gun, I’ll shoot you first” bathe Eilidh, Cal and Simone in a bitterly saccharine chorus, illicitly backdropped in a setting of fuzzy detuned guitars and distorted lo-fi haze on ‘Babyboomers’.

Perhaps the greatest unlocked achievement to be found on Eurgh! is the nauseating relaxation which eventually endeavours itself as the record progresses and the high wears off.

What veers out originally as a palatable buffet of blasé yet somewhat uncomfortably warming paraphrases set out to challenge social constructions best showcased on ‘Birthday Party’ with the words; “I want to wear your skin to my birthday party” organically begins to navigate into a perilous and envious setting of hindsight found on the delightfully repulsive ‘Stinky Goodbyes’ and closing track ‘Waving Cat’.

“Things don’t ever get better but they won’t get worse either”.

Breakfast Muff will probably write better records in future, but this is their best yet and that is something we can be quite happy about in 2017.

Words: Chris Kelman

Doune the Rabbit Hole, Day 2, 19/8/17

Day two of Doune I start off early and surprising chirper, after a cup of Yogi chai from the Tchai Ovna tent and a haggis roll sort be right out.

So, well prepared I make the journey down the treacherous path down to the Thunderdome stage in plenty of time to catch an otherworldly set from Chrissy Barnacle.

Barnacle’s songs are built on intricate and delicate finger picking, and her soft voice gently sooths with touches of Joanna Newsom-esque flourishes.

It’s the perfect opening to a busy day, some chilled acoustic tracks with crazy premises interspersed with banter that’s as amusing as it is charming.

Over at Baino there’s a real retro feel to THE NINTH WAVE’s sound and look that hark back to the new wave / new romantics of the mid to late 80s, but this comes with a freshly injected energy that has set the band on an ever increasing trajectory.

The sharp yet dreamy vocal interplay from Haydn Park-Patterson and Elina Lin add a nice cushion to their sound, keep your eyes peeled on these guys they seem right on the cusp of something.

Over on the Main Stage and Babe get an introduction that I will neither be able to replicate nor top; it’s surreal and magical and encapsulates their sound perfectly, a dream filled soundscape that lulls you to somewhere else, somewhere you can’t can quite place.

Gerard Black’s vocals are high, immaculate and float nicely above the band as they move into more high tempo sections.

The set evolves from reverby bass heavy tracks to tropical foot movers with sky reaching vocals, with an all round quality remaining the only constants; a special festival cover of Rui Da Silva’s ‘Touch Me’ the cherry on top of a superb set.

You can already hear MISC. MEAT as you take the muddy path down into the woods and you’re hit with sounds of punk fury, only to find yourself engulfed in Fragma’s trance banger ‘I Need A Miracle’, which is delivered with a sneered intensity and power, not an ounce of trance though.

The rest of the set is delivered with the same high octane ferociousness, it’s a proper old school punk sound that draws influence most notably from early 80s America, it’s punk how you want it to be delivered, without any clichés but with plenty of attitude.

RAZA is well into their set when I get back up to Baino and it’s frantic stuff, as the duo make an expansive sound that could well be the best 90s video game soundtrack you’ll ever hear.

It’s a high-energy display from the synth/drums duo that twinkles and drives along getting people moving to their retro goodness.

Their debut EP Futuramayana is definitely one of the most fun released this year and we look forward to hearing a lot more from them.

Back at Thunderdome, being careful not to go beyond, Breakfast Muff is dousing us with their usual set full of charming indie pop / punk vibes, and sharp on point and sometimes bizarre subject matter.

Cultural appropriation is a strong talking point of the band’s set, something that a lot of people at the festival are guilty of, and Eilidh McMillan’s message is simple; it’s not ok.

The trio’s instrument swapping, lo-fi pop via screeched punk sound all the while maintains an endearing lovability that’s infectious and poignant.

Back up at the Jabberwocky Stage those expecting Meursault are hit with The Vegan Leather and those expecting The Vegan Leather in an hour at Baino get something different altogether, still a bump up to the festival’s biggest stage can’t be sniffed at and despite them not bringing the expected dreamy, yet miserable, atmospheric brilliance, they do deliver some unashamed cheese dusted electronic indie rock.

The Vegan Leather is essentially the ideal festival band, charisma filled pop tracks that get your feet moving, I’m sure not too many are complaining.

The pathway to Thunderdome seems to be shut off so Snapped Ankles make an interesting alternative, coated in what appears to be moss and rags, they play pounding reverberating rock that is ultimately really fun for the short spell I see them.

Finally down at Thunderdome, Life Model suffer from the entrance being shut off and ultimately play to a rather small crowd, but as the set builds people start to filter in.

Life Model are a band that have evolved a lot over the last couple of years, gone is the super reverberated vocals and the dream pop back drop, now to their credit they’re a band with a really strong sound that’s difficult to pigeonhole, you could as easily shoegaze to star gaze to Chris Smith’s guitar work, and Sophie Evans’ vocals are clearer than before, maintaining a softness without ever being weak.

The banter is a little questionable as Evans tries to get the crowd to guess what she’s going back to uni to study, and despite it being given away straight away that it’s teaching some guy seems willing to keep guessing; still if not for drum troubles the banter wouldn’t need to be there and still the chat, from Evans at least, does hold a bit of a shambolic charm and as the set ends with Smith on top an amp, things are powered a satisfying conclusion.

Back up the hill Spinning Coin are coating, the currently dry but rain soaked festival, with their own sunshine.

Moving from lovingly carved fuzzy indie pop to scratchy garage rock topped with beautiful harmonies and real powered home sections Spinning Coin’s main stage performance reminds us exactly why they at getting so much attention.

Holy Fuck is a powerhouse of droning euphoric electronics, the duo bop around in front of tables of kit, producing sounds that explode with sheer volume.

On paper they aren’t your typical crowd pleaser at a festival like Doune, but they are an experience that those that have come to see them are embracing and many will go home remembering.

Following them over at The Lodge is Kikagaku Moyo, which means sadly we have to miss the brilliant Jenny Hval, still the Japanese four-piece are an experience, producing an all encompassing psych performance that fizzes up and explodes with sheer energy.

Their long hair makes them appear out of their time, while their music feels from a completely different place, brash bursts of guitar led frenzy move to hypnotic expanses that connect you in to another planet for a short while.

Due to Songhoy Blues absence François & the Atlas Mountains have been bumped up to headliner, luckily their sound is so refreshing and gloriously fun that no one notices who hasn’t heard Songhoy Blues before, add some cheeky dance moves from François Marry and co into the mix and you’re onto a winner.

In his matching shirt and trouser combo Marry possess all the right attributes for a frontman headlining a festival, creating a focal point that you can’t stop watching, match that with their uplifting breezy indie pop sound and you find yourself dancing along in no time.

Over Baino Liverpool based duo Her’s swagger around the stage like men possessed, blasting through some fun garage rock with addictive vocals and a bouncing beat; I don’t manage to catch much of them but there’s enough here to convince me to come back and see them again.

The Cosmic Dead play their annual Doune the Rabbit Hole set, this year at 20 to 1 in the morning, and seem just as loud as ever despite James T McKay’s claims that they have to turn their amps down, and later that they have to turn their drums down bizarrely.

Still whether it’s all just a bit of a faff or genuine idiocy from the sound complaints, I can’t figure where they would come from we’re essentially in the middle of nowhere and the vibration from the dub stage can be felt much further affeld surely, the band manage to tear the festival a new one with an engulfing set of powerful space rock and flailing hair.

More Photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Allan Lewis / Harrison Reid

Preview: Doune The Rabbit Hole (Saturday)

With Doune the Rabbit Hole coming up next weekend we thought we’d give you a run down of some of the acts to check out, problem was we felt the line up so strong that we couldn’t limit it down to a certain number, here’s a wee day by day effort to keep you occupied:

SATURDAY

With a headline slot from the wonderfully effervescent Songhoy Blues, Doune the Rabbit Hole’s full on early afternoon til early morning promises to be a day of fun, that said there’s plenty of other acts to tickle your fancy dotted about.

JENNY HVAL (21.00, Baino)

Possibly the highest up the bill that we’re featuring, in terms of poster anyway, the critically acclaimed Norwegian artist Jenny Hval could not go without a mention. Unnerving, unsettling but ultimately engrossing she has produced some the darkest yet beautiful records of recent years, witnessing her live can be a near spiritual experience.

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FRANCOIS & THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS (20.00, Jabberwocky)

Rarely do an indie-pop band command this enviable power, but François and the Atlas Mountains certainly do. More than being excellent performers, they’re also the sort of guys you just want to be friends with. They convey an irrepressible bonhomie from the stage, flashing knowing grins at one another during a particularly sweet turn of musical phrase, or swaying in sync to the big refrain as easily as if they’d been at it since they were 10.

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THE COSMIC DEAD (00.40, Baino)

On the first time I attended Doune the Rabbit Hole, when it was actually in Doune nonetheless, pace rock Odysseans The Cosmic Dead played pretty much every day and at all times of the day – drifting off on a wooden floor to them jamming at around 4am sticks with me somewhat. Since then they have pretty much become a fixture of the festival, and must sees on top of that, they bring an enviable power encapsulating audiences in their sheer psych presence.

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BABE (13.45, Jabberwocky)

At times immersive and beautiful at others buoyant and glitchy Babe are a band that’ll bring a smile to the face of anyone. Another returning act from last year, another act that we won’t be missing again.

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MEURSAULT (16.45, Jabberwocky)

Recently re-emerging Meursault is a musical behemoths, returning with an EP at the end of last year and this year’s SAY Award nominated I Will Kill Again, Neil Pennycook has crafted a sound that will leave you astounded, it’s emotion tugging stuff that goes from drearily lows to upliftingly epic highs, all topped with Pennycook’s distinctive holler.

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SPINNING COIN (18.15, Jabberwocky)

Marrying fuzzy squall with jangly sweetness it’s clear as day why Spinning Coin they were snapped up by Domino Records as eagerly as they were. Spinning Coin engulf you in a sound that seems made for any mood; you could swagger along to this at the top of your game, or perk yourself up with this from a downer, or indeed be relaxed in the comfort with this on in the background.

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HER’S (23.00, Baino)

Drum-machine led Liverpool pair Her’s, although undoubtedly indebted to the likes of Mac DeMarco have crafted a sound with leave you gleefully captivated and eager for more. We’ve never had the pleasure of catching them live but there’s not much doubting they’ll bring the sunshine for a small portion of time at least.

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BREAKFAST MUFF (16.00, Thunderdome)

Breakfast MUFF’s punk vigour is contagious; they’re a band with a joyous energy – and raw talent. Pop at its filthiest, they’re fast, aggressive, punchy and are absolutely wild fun with an effortless charm.

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HAPPY MEAL (ASHRAM SET) (16.00, Baino & 23.00, 0///Dome)

Happy Meals’ second set for the weekend is their Ashram Set, which we can assume comes from their recent LP Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony expect a fresh atmosphere, an openness to texture, depth and modulating mood. An potentially chilled affair that will lull you beautifully before Lewis’ other band The Cosmic Dead blow you away later on.

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LIFE MODEL (18.00, Thunderdome)

Chris Smith’s pedal loops and gradual swells give Life Model’s tunes a gorgeous phosphorescence that, alongside Sophie Evans’ vocals, evokes the best work of post-rock luminaries Slowdive. They make shimmering noise pop with a touch of nineties shoegazers and see to get better every time we see them, let’s hope that continues.

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RAZA (14.30, Baino)

With a gloriously addictive set of jazzy bleeps, soaring electro scapes and some 90s computer game vibes RAZA promise to be one of the more colourful acts of the festival. Masterminded by stalwart of the Glasgow scene, both on stage and behind the desk, Gav Thomson, RAZA will have everyone dancing and inventing their own terms for what they hear in no time.

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HEIR OF THE CURSED (19.15, Thunderdome)

Kenya born now Scotland resident Beldina Odenyo Onassis aka Heir of the Cursed possess some of the most beguiling songs you will experience yet also holds a voice that packs as much power as it does soul, we’ve only yet caught her in a stripped back scenario but we expect her to really pack a punch at the festival.

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BROTHER MICHELLE (21.45, Thunderdome)

A solo project from one of the guys from LYLO, Brother Michelle has established itself as one to watch in itself with a live shows that full of impressive dance moves and jam-packed full of energy. Musically expect some dark R&B tinged pop but with plenty of beats to keep you going enough to dance along or simply let it drift you away.

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MISC. MEAT (14.00, Thunderdome)

It’s been a while since we saw this noisy punk trio, which is a surprise considering the sheer amount they seem to play. Still, we’ll make the effort to get to see them tear up the festival with their high energy set.

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CHRISSY BARNACLE (12.00, Thunderdome)

Chrissy Barnacle is a real joy whether telling humour dripping stories or delivering honest nylon-stringed folk, that covers your day to day musing to the complete ridiculous; a real charming set to be expected.

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Breakfast MUFF – ‘Babyboomers/R U A Feminist’ [Armour Foo]

It is a pet peeve of mine when music implores you to act in a certain way when musicians force ideologies down your throat – such as when Linkin Park started crying about people pouring olive oil down the sink or when Dead Prez started promoting imploring people to eat their vegetables.

I am happy to report that I did not find this issue with this single from Breakfast MUFF – despite being concerned that this might happen; and with a track name like ‘R U A Feminist’ I think that concern is forgivable.

The trio 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.

Eilidh and Simone feature more heavily on the vocals than does Cal here, but I expect more voCal’s (see what I did there?) on the upcoming album, Eurgh! since Breakfast MUFF do more on-stage role switching than indecisive Kama-Sutra instructors.

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Words: Paul Aitken

Otoboke Beaver, Say Sue Me, Breakfast MUFF at CCA, 3/5/17

Allegedly this is the only time tonight’s headliners get to tour, it being Golden Week, Japan’s longest national holiday, but Otoboke Beaver are the band that will set aside these rules, these guys are destined to play much further than Japan and not just on the holiday’s from their day jobs.

Glasgow’s Breakfast MUFF open proceedings tonight and they’re a suitably fitting opening act blending elements of DIY pop and punk much like tonight’s headline act, albeit in a much more lo-fi sense.

This endearing trio’s constant instrument swapping and three way vocals are engaging as ever, however there’s something a bit awry about tonight’s set, the crowd seem too static early on and as the result the band seem drained of their usual addictive energy.

Still, even if the venue’s tall ceilings don’t particularly suit their lo-fi aesthetic, all the usual charms are there and as Eilidh Mcmillan takes lead vocal duties on final track, and one half of recent single, ‘R U A Feminist’ all faith is restored and the crowd are left wondering why they didn’t get into it from the start.

Korean darlings Say Sue Me are up next and bring a much more mellow sound to proceedings as they meld 60s surf sounds with the summery end of the C86 era vibes to produce a truly enchanting performance.

The label mates of tonight’s headliners produce endlessly lovable harmonies and will surely have won over the hearts of many in the audience tonight.

Then it’s Otoboke Beaver’s turn, and with a deft “shhh” to the audience frontwoman Accorinrin let’s loose a high pitched scream and they’re off it a haze of flailing limbs, crazy guitar poses and highly addictive, break neck tracks, all delivered in their native Kyoto slang and dressed up like 60s party girls.

There’s something very special about this four-piece, when they play they carry an energy that you can’t help but get carried away on, not to mention the high level of musicianship on display, and with acts like the legendary Shonen Knife suggesting they could be the act to carry the flag for Japanese music worldwide you can’t help but stand up and pay attention.

And their seniors at Kyoto University’s music club might just be right; Otoboke Beaver’s garage punk sound is loud and fast, and although the lyrics are in a different language you can’t help but feel you’re on the same page as these girls.

Each member looks the part as they catapult about the stage and later on into the crowd.

It’s a performance that it’s difficult to draw any comparisons too, the band claim take their influences from 70s/80s Japanese alternative acts, although without the familiarity it’s hard to confirm, what we can confirm is Otoboke Beaver are a gobsmacking live proposition and you should see them as soon as you possibly can.

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Words: Iain Dawson

FUZZKILL presents Shredd (single launch), Fruit Tones (EP launch), Breakfast MUFF, Savage Mansion at The Old Hairdressers, 8/4/17

Savage Mansion break into a dreamy and familiar seeming song, reeking of various decades past but brought up to speed with their lively, contemporary approach; consistent but ever-changing, familiar but novel.

This dichotomy between new and old is mirrored by nothing better than the facial hair from left to right.

Mutton chopped funky man Jamie Dubber wanders up and down the bass ponderingly, bouncing each track gleefully along the instrument.

On the other side of the stage, guitarist Andrew Macpherson sports a more contemporary fashion, in musical style and facial hair.

In the middle stands frontman and project foreman Craig Angus, playing simple but highly endearing guitar hooks earlier on in the set.

Both guitarists take their opportunity to show us some serious skills, while Taylor Stewart adds vocals to a number of choruses as well as to periods of general voco-musical madness spattered throughout the set, while managing to drain respectable amounts of beer from his glass in between songs.

It will be exciting to see how Savage Mansion develop over the next few years, their stylistic range is great and the vocals are very adaptable, varying in greater degrees between songs rather than within them – which is in no way a criticism, it keeps the set lively, unpredictable and engaging.

Breakfast MUFF take to the stage next to open with a song ostensibly about hating a subjects guts; it’s fun, energetic and dynamic, not unlike the band.

Simone and Eilidh are on the vocals for this number, synchronising and harmonising well whether their approach is punky and abrasive or melodic and soft.

Breakfast MUFF’s constituent members swap instruments and vocal roles readily, at least four times throughout the set.

This lends the band an integral dynamic; imbuing each member with a sense of each instrument and what is going on throughout the set at all times.

All are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists who seem to know every part of each song – not just their own, which comes across in their synchrony.

The last time I saw Breakfast MUFF – just across the alley in support of The Hotelier – I commented that I found some of their songs a little twee.

I wouldn’t level that criticism this time; their songs have simple hooks but are never boring, they are fast, fun, popping, well-conceived, dynamic, evolving and technically impressive.

Next up to is Manchester’s Fruit Tones, who’re are a lot more methodical and archaic in their sound than the previous bands, this is not to say that they don’t have their own distinct sound; they do, and it is lasting, timely and worth hearing.

Breakfast MUFF’s Simone plays drums for them, as if she hadn’t done enough.

They play a new song, complete with blinding guitar hooks, proudly audible basslines and Simone’s tight, cymbal laden drum work.

The vocals have an immortal edge which echoes of ages past whilst being extremely relevant.

The set is rounded out with some furious guitar work, setting the stage well for the act we’ve all been waiting for.

Shredd bring every inch of the energy and style that they commit to record to their live performance and then some.

The reverberated vocals permeate through the melodic and fuzzy garage superbly.

A mosh-pit starts almost as suddenly as the set.

Their energy is unavoidable, although why you might wish to avoid it is unknown.

The crowd is electrified, they came here to see Shredd and they do not disappoint.

Shredd are not over-reliant on any one element, but use them all to create an intoxicating compound of pure gold.

Their live performance is replete with pulsing waves of psychedelia and wild garage jams that combine to bring about tonight’s highlight.

A new song entitled ‘What’s This I See?’ typifies the bands exuberance, unmistakable style and sheer unadulterated talent – there’s even a drop of crowd surfing.

The vocal harmonies are quite unique for this style of music, whilst the drummer is a frantic wildcard.

When there are no vocals, the three face each other and go hell for leather, putting the work in.

The drums are great, the bass is great, the guitar is great and the vocals are great; Shredd are great, is what I am getting at I guess.

The crowd gets a little too lively for its own good, with people being burst all over the place and falling onto the stage, with some attempts at crowd surfing going less than well.

The Old Hairdressers isn’t big enough for this crowd and Shredd, great though it is.

They play ‘Hideout’, a song which, when I reviewed their EP, I challenged anyone to stay still during and I am happy to report that nobody was able to, what an example of a great song.

They play ‘Cobra’ last, their new single, which the night is centred around is another example of a great song, their bassist Mark Macdonald is raised aloft to surf the crowd whilst walloping out with the songs challenging lines.

Forgive me for all my superlative adjectives, Shredd are just brilliant live – go and see them at your earliest convenience and whilst tickets are still cheap.

More Photos

Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Allan Lewis

The Hotelier, Crying, Breakfast MUFF at Stereo, 21/1/17

Breakfast MUFF get me excited quickly though with their range of catchy songs, they garner popularity and enthusiasm without sacrificing lyrical or musical integrity.

Each of the three members has a microphone and whilst in the process of admiring the drummer’s classy and elegant voice and style on the kit, she emerges from behind the drums and switches with the bassist.

Curious though this is, and although the next song – now fronted by Simone – is equally enjoyable, they swap again.

Three times over the course of three songs do they swap, each member fronting tracks, supporting and taking the mantle of a different instrument.

It is clear how much fun they have together, how dynamic they can be and how much room there is for innovation in a set-up with three talented and operationally interchangeable artists.

Catching up with Eilidh, I’m told that Simone was originally to be the drummer only, but Eilidh and Cal grew jealous – leading to the hot seat action seen on stage.

This ostensibly results in a very dynamic writing process which shines through in the music which – although a little twee at times – is vastly enjoyable.

Next up is Crying, bringing an organic and wildly entertaining brand of dreamy and teeny bubble-gum rock to the stage.

The fullness of their sound draws attention away from the absence of a bassist or individual behind the somewhat prolific synth track.

Once you realise that the singer, drummer and guitarist – very talented though they are – are playing with a backing track, the shine is off the apple somewhat.

This band seems capable and diverse with some particularly incendiary guitar work; the drums are also of a very considered volume, subtly underpinning the rest of the music with technical flair.

They confer an air of subtle glam revival and they do so well; it is just a shame that they have to press play on the backing CD before starting.

The Hotelier play a great set, displaying their understanding of their music through well considered and pitch perfect vocal and musical harmonies.

It takes them a few songs to hit their stride and unfortunately it seems as if the band are more comfortable playing their new, more melodious music than their old, rawer, more emotionally veracious numbers.

On account of this, we hear some of the biggest crowd-pleasers from their breakout album near the start of the set – in the order they appear on record.

This very much feels like they are getting them out of the way for their new stuff.

After playing some new tracks and appearing more comfortable, their return to older tracks is accompanied by the melodiousness inherent in their new ones.

After playing songs from across their catalogue, a palpable sense of direction and a visible direction of progression becomes apparent.

Their tracks from Goodness – the latest release – tend to involve both guitarists and the lead singer and bassist, Christian Holden, singing in harmony.

This new dynamic works very well with the increasingly complex music of the release; it is clear from talking to Holden that this development is intentional.

He told me that The Hotelier has had increased harmony in mind since its inception, and that – following the desperate and dark nature of their last album – Goodness was a response to, and concerted move towards, this end.

He is not sure what to expect next from the band but is excited to watch it develop.

The last time the band were in town the promoters didn’t expect a turnout, so they were booked to play a free show in Bloc; when two hundred and fifty people descended on the small pub, chaos ensued; sounds like a warm Glasgow welcome.

Overall, this is a busy, diverse, multi-faceted and enjoyable gig with a good crowd; featuring three bands that differ in style, but perfectly complement each other.

Along with Holden, I am excited to see how The Hotelier develops and I can’t wait to catch them again.

More Photos

Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Aimee Boyle

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