Tag Archives: CARBS

Albums of 2015 (10-1)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

2 Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry10 Hector Bizerk – The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry

If there is one thing Hector Bizerk are always on hand to offer, it is something new and for the Glasgow hip-hop act it perhaps doesn’t get more boundary-pushing than writing the soundtrack for Crazy Jane, a play about a 19th-century Paris mental asylum. But that is exactly what The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry is – an undeniably ambitious project, but one which the duo pull off magnificently. Throughout experimental sounds and true-to-form storytelling brilliance of Louie’s lyrics, the album manages to touch upon powerful imagery and serious mental health stigmas – this isn’t just a soundtrack for playing in the background of a stage play, it is a genuine work of art as a standalone album, which has a very clear and deep message. (Jay Henderson)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/219953777″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]

10 CARBS - Joyous Material Failure9 CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

Not quite a hip-hop record but far from anything else Joyous Material Failure is the creation of Jonnie Common and Jamie Scott released under the moniker CARBS. Consisting of slouchy beats and loose-tongued rapping the album’s subject matters range from Resident Evil, pizza and ice cream as the duo offer an insight into the millennial era by using witty puns that encourage listeners to chuckle though-out. (Jess Lavin)

9 Miaoux Miaoux - School of Velocity8 Miaoux Miaoux – School of Velocity [Chemikal Underground]

A bit disco, a bit techno, and more than a bit joyous electro-pop, Julian Corrie’s School of Velocity is nothing short of an incredible balancing act between simple, pure song writing and soaring, euphoric production. From hooks formed of towering synth stabs to its solid, but playful, underpinning grooves, School of Velocity perhaps surprises most in its impressive lyrical depth and ingenuity – an oft-maligned aspect of contemporary pop. It’s a progression not a revolution for Miaoux Miaoux, but is nonetheless a collection of ten more or less bulletproof tracks. School of Velocity is clever, but honest, and oh-so-easy to love. (Michael Mavor)

8 Poor Frisco - Sheep’s Clothing7 Poor Frisco – Sheep’s Clothing

Poor Frisco hail from East Kilbride, the very same unassuming west of Scotland town that brought us the great Jesus And Mary Chain and these guys are doing a fantastic job of carrying on the noisy pop gauntlet with Sheep’s Clothing. The melodies and harmonies are overtly pop, yet work so well with the interesting and sometimes angular guitar riffs. Sheep’s Clothing has elevated Poor Frisco into real contenders for most exciting band in the city; every track brings something new to the table while maintaining the rough charm that only Poor Frisco can pull off. (Andy McGonigle)

7 Errors - Lease of Life6 Errors – Lease of Life [Rock Action]

Everything from glittering arpeggios to mythical, almost Celtic nuances, each track of Lease of Life is unique, but they all share an ethereal quality. Yet much of what features is reminiscent of 80s new wave, echoing Soft Cell and Depeche Mode. There’s something very solid and secure about each track on this album, making it a truly accomplished piece of art. (Rachel Cunningham)

6 C Duncan - Architect5 C Duncan – Architect [FatCat]

Representing Scotland in the 2015 Mercury Prize, C Duncan brings a surprisingly original, dreamy and warm vision of the country through the bedroom window. Fittingly, Architect feels physically crafted and while the modern indie and pop influences are evident, it is Duncan’s atavism, channeling Palestrina and the choral origins of written western music, that defines his sound and make Architect the most intriguing and incongruous of Scottish releases. (Liam Gingell)

5 Prehistoric Friends - Prehistoric Friends4 Prehistoric Friends – Prehistoric Friends [Yetts Yeti]

Multi-instrumentalist Liam Chapman and violist Nichola Kerr’s self-titled debut album comes with bold choruses, dynamic instrumentals, heartfelt vocals and an overall atmospheric sound. The album, which was released as a limited number of handcrafted fossil plaster casts with a download code hidden inside, is just as unique as the format it was released on. (Jess Lavin)

4 Ela Orleans - Upper Hell3 Ela Orleans – Upper Hell [HB]

Upper Hell saw Orleans temporarily move away from the “movies for ears” tagline and the result is a collection of strong songs that stand together in a coherent structured LP. Upper Hell bounces around in a more confident manner; it’s still slightly cold, but here it’s more ceramic than icy. The cinematic narrative is defined, but the thread linking the songs results in the feeling of watching a high definition version rather than an old 35mm print; highly emotive and highly deserving of the praise it received.

3 Best Girl Athlete - Carve Every Word2 Best Girl Athlete – Carve Every Word [Fit Like]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, saw her debut album, Carve Every Word, never leave the teenager short of praise. The album itself perfectly shows that, although she is young, Buchan can write powerful and intriguing tracks, which showcase emotional depth both lyrically and musically. Carve Every Word is a beautifully crafted album that can be listened to repeatedly and guarantees success will continue on from 2015.

1 Hudson Mohawke - Lantern1 Hudson Mohawke – Lantern [Warp]

For a record that seems stylistically and tonally to be all about confounding expectations, Lantern fulfills those aspirations and just keeps pushing. With evident influences from Mohawke’s immensely heterogeneous background in the very disparate worlds of EDM and rap production, Lantern is an expertly formed demonstration of invigorating, no holds barred electro-pop… and yet can’t be summarised by that alone. The record as a whole possesses an edge of experimentation and is certainly no stranger to risk in its construction, but still manages to remain astonishingly enjoyable from commencement to conclusion. (Michael Mavor)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

Tracks of 2015 (20-11)

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

20 Tuff Love - Duke20 Tuff Love – Duke [Lost Map]

Eerie harmonic vocals combine with jangling rhythmic guitar to produce elusive lo-fi sounds in ‘Duke’, arguably the pick of the tracks featured on two wondrous EPs fro Tuff Love in 2015. The lyrics are meshed in amongst distorted melodies, the chorus is catchy, but not so infectious that you won’t want to set your player to repeat. What’s most impressive with Tuff Love is their ability to craft expert musicality and sophistication while sounding like a comforting dream-cloud and ‘Duke’ is prime example of this. (Rachel Cunningham)

19 SACRED PAWS - Vince19 SACRED PAWS – Vince [Rock Action]

SACRED PAWS deliver short, sharp blows in the offbeat ‘Vince’, which feels a little raw, but this only adds to the band’s charm and personality. The girls mix cross-rhythms and shimmering guitar to create an energetic melody, which they impressively manage to not only keep up with, but also delicately arrange, multi-layered vocals that end in superb harmonies. The track’s post-punk, poly-rhythmic approach to percussion really packs a punch! (Jess Lavin)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/189636522″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

18 Reverieme - Plankton18 Reverieme – Plankton [9th Story]

The dreamy passages of Louise Connell aka Reverieme’s Or Else The Light EP was a hauntingly wonderful depiction of love and loss and the strummed ukulele of ‘Plankton’ shone out at the release’s standout. You can’t help but be arrested by the expression in Connell’s voice, a heart wrenching juxtaposition of defeat and hope. Her declaration that the song’s afflatus is “…so much like a planktonic woman” is a devastating indictment aimed to show how passivity can be as damaging as jealousy and similar emotions within any relationship.

17 Adam Stafford - Atheist Money17 Adam Stafford – Atheist Money [Song, by Toad]

It may have came out early in 2015, but as with the majority of Adam Stafford’s releases ‘Atheist Money’ stayed in the memory well up to the end of the year and will continue this with its feature on 2016 full length Taser Revelations. Stafford is always one for the finer details and this is no different, ‘Atheist Money’ is full of the all the wonder and beauty you’d expect as churning loops build up to spectacular heights and soar back down; powerful, powerful stuff.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/199655678″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

16 Youngstrr Joey - Michael16 Youngstrr Joey – Michael [Number4Door]

The opener and stand out track on Cal Donelly aka Youngstrr Joey’s Cheerleader, release earlier in the year, ‘Michael’ possesses rumbling lo-fi guitars and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. It’s not entirely clear who exactly Donelly’s Michael is, but that’s the beauty of it – everyone has their own version of Michael who they want to show them “how to be cool”.

15 Hudson Mohawke - Ryderz15 Hudson Mohawke – Ryderz [Warp]

It’s no surprise that HudMo’s ended up with two tracks in this list, Lantern was positively hoatching with potential bangers and ‘Ryderz’ could easily be the pick of the bunch, as Birchard builds on a D.J. Rogers soul cut and lets it be, well for a minute or so, before he demonstrates just why he’s one of the best maximalist producers out there right now, bringing out every tool in his electronic box to produce a piece of wonder that drops perfectly out of nowhere and has you screaming “watch out for the ryderz” at the top of your lungs.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/200522375″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

14 CARBS - Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)14 CARBS – Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done) [Save As]

Never would I have thought “Mr. Whippy” and “Margaret Thatcher” be paired in a sentence. This is just one of the many elegantly constructed lines in ‘Stick a Flake in Me (I’m Done)’ that has been cased in a re-worked version of an old ice cream van theme tune. The child-like perspective pairs well with the Gameboy-style melody, which is magically presented in a series of syncopated beats and pleasing harmonies. CARBS’ single is a playful gem that will take the edge of any bad day and give you a wee education in ice cream to boot. (Rachel Cunningham)

13 BDY_PRTS - Cold Shoulder13 BDY_PRTS – Cold Shoulder

‘Cold Shoulder’ presents a sleek, fresh and futuristic pop sound; essentially the antithesis of most things Scottish. Regardless, Jill and Jenny sing with their accents proudly on show like weird, Caledonian android sisters (despite one of them having a noticeable, yet beautiful American twang). It begins with minimal percussive drum machine elements bouncing around under crunchy power chords before sprawling into a distant and expansive chorus section that conjures the imagine of Neo-Glasgow invented in the mind of a manga artist. While the vocal harmonies are notably affecting and effective, the single’s standout feature is its marriage of raw analog guitars with clean and clinical digital production; this painterly sound choice creates interesting dynamics above the simple song form. BDY_PRTS have a sound unlike any other band this year and ‘Cold Shoulder’ exemplifies this achievement. (Liam Gingell)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/196883477″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

12 Man of Moon - The Road12 Man of Moon – The Road [Melodic]

At the tail end of 2014 we caught Man of Moon for the first time, playing to a smattering of people as the opening act for Merchandise at Stereo, even then their intelligent slow burning grooves and guarded yet gritty vocals were impressive. This year they seem to have come on leaps and bounds and debut single ‘The Road’ is the jewel in the band’s year, the building instrumentals crash into huge noise, in as catchy and addictive a way as possible and has us eagerly waiting for more in 2016.

11 Dune Witch Trails - Goldenrod Cigar11 Dune Witch Trails – Goldenrod Cigar

‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is completely symbolic of what Dune Witch Trails do so well. The loose off kilter guitars lay the foundation for the equally as slack vocal delivery. Clocking in at just over two minutes, it captivates you in its organised mayhem and simplicity. Dune Witch Trails are one of the most exciting guitar bands out at the moment and ‘Goldenrod Cigar’ is the perfect introduction.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212051043″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

30-21  –  20-11  –  10-1  –  EPs & albums

Strange Behaviours at Tolbooth, Stirling, 21/11/15

Prior to tonight I’d never been to a show in Stirling, my current location being the main reason, still despite a host a of strong line ups in Glasgow this year’s Saturday line-up for Strange Behaviours has me intrigued, with names acts like OUTBLINKER, Happy Meals and CARBS all impressing recently.

The initial line-up did also include United Fruit, however the impressive live performers sadly had to pull out due to personal reasons.

On seeing the running times the first note is the clash between two of the nights star turns, Happy Meals and CARBS, something I touch on in passing with Jamie from the latter act, who expresses that he wouldn’t blame everyone for going to see Happy Meals.

The early portion of the evening gives me the opportunity to catch some acts I’d never seem or even never encountered before; opening up the night in the venues main space, the Auditorium Stage, are from what I can assume, local youngsters Soft Drinks Club, and the wonderfully named and ridiculously young looking four-piece pack a punch, if not quite having reaching the chops some of their influences might have.

Still, they seem to have gathered a reasonably home support and do themselves justice, with their drummer (the youngest looking of the lot of them) pulling off some impressive stick duties.

Over in the festival’s smallest stage, the Gallery Stage, Kieran Hughes has things stripped back as he lulls the audience into affection with some forlorn acoustic tracks, before we pop upstairs for local grunge/punk stalwarts Crashing Jets to give us a lesson in energetic delivery.

Their set is the most impressive of the night so far as the act, whose age seems a good deal older than your any other band on the bill tonight, deliver a set that oozes post punk enthusiasm with plenty of nods to that 80s and early 90s sound.

A wee chat with the man behind Edinburgh’s Super Inuit about Glasgow favourites Fuzzkill Records, swings things his way over The Winter Tradition’s reputation and he delivers a whimsical set of chilled out, droney electronics from behind his laptop.

From his comments this set leans heavily on his more accessible material, but regardless I see enough to have him noted as one to check out in future, but this being a festival I feel compelled to see as many acts as possible and pop along from the some of The Winter Tradition.

The well-respected Edinburgh four-piece certainly make an impression when you look at the merch desk, still their set doesn’t quite cut it here, on record they’ve channelled the likes of The Twilight Sad with their very Scottish, dramatic indie rock, but tonight it doesn’t quite live up to the expectations they’d set on record; maybe another day.

There’s time for a short burst of ULTRADEMON at the Attic Stage, before we have to dash to try and catch precious moments of Happy Meals before CARBS start, but the French trio don’t really get enough time to make an impression past noisy intensity, but that’s really only down to set timings.

Still you can’t please everyone and back at the Auditorium Stage Happy Meals are running behind as the duo seem slightly disgruntled as they struggle to get the sound they want prior to taking the stage, the lack of people in the room for a set that should have started 10 minutes ago may be a slight worry to.

With things not quite running on time I leave for CARBS at the Gallery Stage, with the hope the late start might mean a late finish here.

It doesn’t, but getting to see all of CARBS’ set is a delight, the duo have release what is one of the most entertaining and addictive releases of the year, in Joyous Material Failure, and that engrossing edge just boils over in their live show as the duo’s, Jonnie and Jamie, connection and hilarious banter makes it hard not to be entertained.

From the infectious bleeps and hilarity of ‘James Special’ to the Resident Evil 2 chat prior to ‘Infinite Ammo’ the two just feed off each other grabbing the attention of many uninitiated crowd members.

The note that Jamie first played the Tolboth back in 2002 gives some impression on how long the two have been on the scene; Jonnie Common’s prolific productions have been of consistently addictive standard, while Jamie’s forays from the quirky ambient pop with the wonderful Conquering Animal Sound to his hip-hop alter-ego MC ALMOND MILK, who makes an appearance tonight on the retitled ‘How2B Cool in 2015’, have always been of high quality.

As CARBS the duo seems to have found the perfect outlet for letting out the humorous side to themselves, and let out it should be, at points the set could be seen as stand-up, and it’s fun to see the lines I’ve come to recognise get laughs from a new crowd.

The music is pretty spot on too, it’s got Common’s stamp all over it, but it’s just the right turn to their geeky Scottish jokings that it rightfully has people talking about them after their set.

By this point my energy is a bit zapped to take in what is a dauntingly loud sound coming from the attic in the form of Glasgow trio Civil Elegies.

Their output on record has been pretty impressive and the list of acts they have emerged from reads very impressively, still this is a bit much for now.

This is much the same for OUTBLINKER, I’ve seem them twice before and they’re an engulfing live prospect, but what they aren’t is one you can wander into unprepared.

After an all out fun set from CARBS, OUTBLINKER’s krautrock leaning powerhouse of a sound is one that quickly tires you out.

Their set builds euphoria out of utter chaos and with a few monster riffs and some blinding drum work on show they will have sure won a few more fans tonight; I’m just struggling to find my own groove by this point, but that’s no bad light on the band, go see them, definitely go see them.

For my first show in Stirling Strange Behaviours certainly gives a good impression; the venue is nicely set up and having sold out the previous night, no doubt due to Admiral Fallow’s high profile slot on the bill, the festival seems to be a positive alternative addition to, from what a glance at the venue’s programme, seems a very traditional heavy focus.

I’m told Stirling thrives on this traditional sound, understandable with the reasonable level of tourism in the town, but for a place that’s reasonably accessible from Scotland’s two biggest cities there’s no reason why events like this shouldn’t thrive.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/205456244″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Iain Dawson

CARBS – Joyous Material Failure [Save As]

“Scottish rap”, is not an expression that rolls off the tongue usually for this reviewer, so when one comes across this musical unicorn it is very difficult to try and express opinions; almost like trying to judge a colour by its smell.

Jonnie and James, referred to as CARBS, deliver a seven songs EP that conveys the disappointment of an ordinary routine modern life.

Every track is built up around a mechanical disturbance that gives the band a beat to lay their lyrics on.

All those introductions (from ‘James Special’, ‘Infinite Ammo’ to ‘Fat Back To The Future’) evoke a virtual connotation to some dark gaming world where our society has entrenched itself, where all real social link has disappeared over the weight of all this technology that surrounds it.

Every song feels like player 1 has hit the console so hard out of frustration that it has frozen and the screen is redundantly emitting a crazy sonic code over and over.

Did I misspend my youth? Part of me actually feels like I’ve been in the rooms of Resident Evil 2, one step at the time I climb over the corpses…

The quote, taken from ‘Infinite Ammo’, sets the melancholic mood that emanates from the whole album, the lingering flow of lyrics anchored with a deep Scottish accent genuinely derails any optimism that could be attached to the band’s message (and for anyone who remembers how freakishly impossible it was to fall asleep after playing any Resident Evil game when you were a teenager, this quote is for you!).

‘Pizza Time O’Clock’ for example is an odd one that transports the listener a few decades ago where things used to be naiver, “I’m still fifteen, Gillian Anderson will you marry me?”

Most songs hint at a time were things were simpler contrasting over the fact that today is only here to chase this grasp of reality that has disappeared and cannot be uncovered.

In the concluding track the narration evolves from having residual teenage feelings all over his flesh to being “scared of affection I’m not scared of things, I’m scared of things not happening” hence again exposing this latent inevitability that we all disconnect too easily from one another.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/218575169″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Jeremy Veyret

Save As Collective presents CARBS (album launch), Phoene, Sham Gate at The Glad Cafe, 12/9/15

I’m feeling a touch fragile tonight, but I’ve had a kind of boyish joy over the incredibly listenable debut album from Glasgow duo CARBS this last week, and this seems to override the hangover enough for me to make the journey south to The Glad Cafe, for, would you believe it, the first time ever.

Passing Jamie from the band and Niall, performing as Sham Gate in the opening slot, on the way it I’m acutely aware how this could still be difficult, but I’m told things are kicking off soon and a sly pint of Ceaser eases me into proceedings.

Before Sham Gate gets things underway he takes the opportunity to introduce nearly everyone in the room, from Julian (Miaoux Miaoux) who’s DJing for the night, to Gavin on sound, even to the guy doing the bar whose name escapes me, before letting his indulgent mixes do the work.

The set starts off on a settling tone with delayed, nonchalantly delivered vocals and is only interrupted by some deadpan stage chat about “feeling like a dj” before getting back into things with the “fun’s done now, time to lecture”.

At times the vocals and the lyrics border on the ridiculous, but the enchanting energetic synth tones and tongue in cheek charm override that and go some way to shaking by hangover.

Practically hugging the mic at points, hanging it over his shoulders at others while pacing the front of the stage, Sham Gate cuts an awkward yet engrossing figure before he lets out some ear crunching screaming to unsettle everything before going back to his organic bleeps.

At points it hits danceable pop extremes, but there enough edge, harsh bleeps and sharp screeches to make his performance more than standout.

Phoene Somsavath, performing under just Phoene, isn’t quite as extroverted on stage as Niall, but her music is striking, as luxurious beats builds over an ambient soundscape that’s always teetering on the edge of oblivion.

It’s inspiring stuff as jarring textural bleeps grow over a rich whirring space that both settles and unsettles in equal measure.

Then the sound just keeps lifting until everyone in the room has least a bobbing head or tapping foot, giving in to the incredible indulgence of her sound.

Taking the mic for a short while and chatting about how she’s “not allowed the mic” and joking about how’s she’s considered giving it all up she cuts a likeable, if awkward, figure before closing on a track by the immensely talented Arms Watches Fingers.

CARBS arrive on stage brandishing pizza boxes, which to the delight of the crowd are full and handed to an audience that lunges forward like the walking dead to get their hands on a slice.

The album CARBS are launching tonight, Joyous Material Failure, is released in little pizza boxes; it turns out Jamie had been telling everyone there would be pizza at the show, referring to the CDs, and band mate Jonnie Common had suggested they had better bring actual pizza incase there had a riot on their hands.

While pizza is a nice way to start a set, slides of more exotic and less exotic pizzas an interesting backdrop mid set and the band’s promo shots with pizza in mouth and the cute pizza boxes the album comes in are intriguing, tonight’s set isn’t solely about pizza, there’s some ice cream and video games thrown in too, even some movies stuff, it’s the perfect night in, indeed “The Skinny magazine are already calling it “an awkward bedroom listen” Jamie reminds is mid set.

The cheeky ‘James Special’ gets things off on a musical note and comes with plenty of humourous bravado and foot tapping bleeps before Common shows his gratitude for the large audience apologising for those who didn’t get a slice of pizza – “if you didn’t get a slice of pizza then I’m sorry, but you never should have been here in the first place”.

The hilarity continues throughout the set, both in their onstage chat and the, never failing to draw a giggle, lyrics; ‘Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)’ gives an “accurate” history of ice cream, complete with Common’s, famous people singing into ice cream cones video and infectious synths.

You could go on about the set and the album’s comedy value for ages, but ultimately this is a lush and addictive set from two talented musicians, proved by their various other ventures; tonight though they play up the comedy value as Common sips from a cooking oil bottle, full of presumably beer.

During ‘Life Drawing’ Common quips that he was unsure of the lyric “I’m not a racist, I want a black friend, I don’t have any black friends,” but they don’t have enough material to drop it from the set, but you feel it’s all just a set up for the punch line “my dad’s a racist”, before they blast back into the verse.

Even the album’s hilarious studio outtake track, ‘Water World’, gets an airing in screenplay format, and as the set closes the same way the album does, with the settling clicks of ‘Salty’ that give way sky piercing sirens and the ever present, ever entertaining lyrics, there’s not one person here that doesn’t leave with a smile on their face.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/218575169″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Iain Dawson