Tag Archives: FOREIGNFOX

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.

EPs of 2017 (10-1)

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

10. Foreignfox – I Used To Be A Bellydancer [Scottish Fiction]

Explosive, passionate and honest, I Used To Be A Bellydance added another EP to Foreignfox’s collection, establishing their identity and staying true to the burly Scottish accents and deep-seated, emotive melodies we’ve come to love. Huge, suspense-filled tracks, that are occasionally politically charged, Foreignfox show a concern for humanity and communicates a sense of disconcertion with the current state of things. A mixture of post-punk creativity and Scottish coloured indie-rock, the range of skill offered on this EP are is so potent and so memorable, it’s almost like a trip through a rugged wilderness with your closest friends as Jonny Watt hits you in the gut and grabs your deepest emotions through honest lyrics that convey both vulnerability and sincerity.

9. Hostel Freaks – Squad Goals [City of Glass]

Hostel Freaks, aka David Maitland, produced something with Squad Goals that used a strong formula of repetition and experimentation to set up an intriguing record, which is more than capable of breaking beyond its somewhat obscurity to break any open-minded dance floor.

8. E Bias – The Emmanuel Bias [Kick N Clap]

The Emmanuel Bias, this is not your usual release – how often do you get a supergroup with a Turner prize nominee and a member of Franz Ferdinand chucking out some quirky deep house? E Bias, the project of Luke Fowler, Paul Thomson and the ever versatile Richard Youngs, produced a pretty storming little EP, strong on Chicago vibes whilst not being oppresively old school. Great grooves, simple, stripped back Chicago style drums and bassliness; utterly functional and more beautiful for dispensing with too much ornamentation. Great record with six tracks that look back, but manage to be rather unique and forward-looking at the same time; impressive simplicity beautifully realised.

7. Dama Scout – Dama Scout [Father/Daughter]

Dama Scout’s EP veered from the conventional indie pop formula and delivered unexpected moments round every corner delivering a memorably and joyous record. Exploring a catalogue of theme the band have blossomed in 2017 and their every unravelling breezy sound is one that we can’t wait to hear more of.

6. KAPUTT – Demo 2017 [Fuzzkill]

Demo 2017 is a lively and innovative take on the post-punk, highly energetic cacophony of sounds create a very refreshing and amusing EP, setting KAPUTT but as one of the new bands that everyone should keep their eye on.

5. Frightened Rabbit – Recorded Songs [Atlantic]

Requiring no introduction Frightened Rabbit released Recorded Songs to little fanfare, still this three-track release stands alone as a strong part of the band’s ever impressive back catalogue. Most of the EP’s attention has been centred around ‘How It Gets In’, which the brilliant Julien Baker lends her voice to, but beyond that is another gem that’s well worth getting you hands on.

4. HOME$LICE – Young Creatives

Young Creatives is the sound of a band knowingly stepping up their game, and doing it with ease as HOME$LICE cement themselves as the trailblazers of a lo-fi scene which has been gathering momentum for several years. The band manage retain the edge that separates them from an ever-populated scene, however, they are evidently aware that their knack for a good melody deserves a wider, more commercial appeal.

3. Shredd – Every Time We Meet I Wanna Die [Fuzzkill]

With Every Time We Meet I Wanna Die Shredd offered a sense of levity and enjoyment without sacrificing their integrity. The EP is a party starter fusing garage, punk and pop elements, as gentle, meandering vocals juxtapose more coarse punk vocals perfectly, while fast, complicated bass; fun, entertaining, technically well executed guitar and cymbal laden, powerful drums. The release seems to descend deeper into traditional garage and punk material with each song without letting go of the vocal work and long-form guitar that distinguishes it from faster, punchier gear. It’s a border smashing debut that whets the appetite for future releases perfectly.

2. RAZA – Futuramayana [Save As]

Glasgow duo RAZA refer to themselves as a “heated conversation”, funny that, because the temperature which radiates off these four songs on show within this beautiful little EP Futuramayana is quite something else, these pieces of beats are reeking of subtly spiced garam masala (and more than a couple absolutely-stonking melodies). Dripping in grease proof stains of lovely synthesised unspoken syllables which cathartically delve their teeth into a violated surface of fun and tango, here we have profusely prolifically the wonderful dynamic which makes RAZA tick over quite deliciously.

1. The Bellybuttons – Wires [Fuzzkill]

Wires highlights an irreplaceable coolness with slick 90s vibes, ‘Referendum on you (enemies)’ captures a calming and airy dynamic, cleverly put together and creatively charged, effortlessly gliding into ‘Autumn Song’, flowing flawlessly alongside the damp and subtle bassline. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness when listening to this EP with a distinct charm drifting from start to finish. Wires is a slow and easy gem, presenting itself with resonating style, creating a playful head-space and good vibes – a severely obvious intelligence.

Scottish Fiction Christmas Party with FOREIGNFOX, Mt. Doubt, ACRYLIC, wojtek the bear at The Hug and Pint, 22/12/17

Mulled Buckfast and Christmas cookies are the order of the day as things get warm and festive in the sold out Hug and Pint basement for the sold out Scottish Fiction Christmas party, which features pretty much the full roster of the former radio show, podcast, blog come record label and gives a delightful alternative to the big Honeyblood Christmas party happening across town.

Unluckily for us we don’t quite arrive in time to catch the delightful Annie Booth, but from a listen to her recently released album, An Unforgiving Light, we’ve missed something quite special, luckily there’s a couple more chances to catch Booth is action tonight although not performing her solo material.

Local four-piece wojtek the bear are tonight’s secret act and it come as no huge surprise when the cat is let out the bag that their upcoming debut album will be released via Scottish Fiction in 2018, this is the first time we’ve caught them live but we’ve become more than familiar with their melodic indie rock sound over the last twelve months or so.

The band delivers deep, yet sad tracks delivered in a reflective yet uplifting tilt that fills the basement with a warm sentiment.

Vocalist Tam Killean’s songs take a typically Scottish miserablist stance, setting a bar as he quips “if you thought Annie was sad then listen to this one”, before they move into another number that throws atmospheric post rock blankets over indie folk touched floorings, for a tasty ethereal pop edged picnic to be laid on top.

The band then call Annie Booth back on stage and give her another shot at putting her vocals centre stage on a stripped back, as yet unreleased number that hits the saddest spots, before they close on ‘Waves’, which brings back a welcome groove and ends on heart-warming note before we head off too sample the cookies on offer (Lori’s cookies were better, sorry Neil).

ACRYLIC is a name that has been banded about for a few years now, as the Edinburgh five-piece have teased us with a number of high quality atmospheric pop single since they came through the Hit the Road academy and the young lads, who are also set to release their debut album with Scottish Fiction in 2018, are quite probably the smoothest act on the bill.

They kick of with a number that harks back to New Romantics pop, it’s dark brooding yet sun kissed and they have a frontman with an undoubtable stage aura, as he hugs the mic with his soulful, brooding croon.

‘Coast’ takes the tempo up a notch blasting the basement with buoyant 80s sunshine from five guys that probably weren’t even born when that decade ended.

As their set progresses they keep getting better as they engulf us is soaring beauty; this is young band with bags of talent that look destined for a bright future.

Mt. Doubt is a band that have been biding their time, while being ultra productive over the last few years, two EPs in 2017 have seen them progress as a live act and be remarkably consistent in their recorded music.

Leo Bargery’s voice is booming beast that just levitates you to another realm, but it’s the innovative musicality that has progressed under the Scottish Fiction guide that has brought them to a position of one of the most promising acts in Scotland today; they’ve done the ground work, the future has something very positive around the corner.

Tonight they don’t even need to play their standout single ‘Soak’, from 2016’s In Awe of Nothing, to leave the busy basement in a gobsmacked silence.

Choosing a delicate closer that allows the raw strength of Bargery’s vocals and the angelic backing from Annie Booth, who’s back as part of the full band, to shine; it’s not the most pop you’ll hear from these guys but for pure beauty you’ll struggle to find better

As good as the this line-up is FOREIGNFOX were the only headliner, Johnny Watt’s vocals just soar over the crowd with his thick Scottish twang and powerhouse presence, while the band’s hugely uplifting sound drowns in as much misery as it does uplift to chant along anthems.

‘Light Off, Carry Me Home’ was the gem in this year’s I Used To Be A Belly Dancer EP and hits the roof in a live setting and is followed by new track entitled ‘Birthday Flowers’, which draws a hauntingly Scottish tone before hitting their groove in a more familiar fashion, while adding more electronic elements that may eventually be a path that this Dunfermline five-piece take to set them apart from their contemporaries.

On record they’ve always been an intriguing listen but in a live setting it’s Watt’s vocals that drive this band; so raw, so much feeling, so close to home, yet so uplifting that you can belt them back with vigour.

And they couldn’t leave us without a Christmas song, albeit possibly the dourest one you’ve ever hear, as ‘Driving Drunk for Christmas’ gets a deserved airing; as snow machine peppers the crowd you have that festive feeling in your stomach and we get ready for a wee dance as Scottish Fiction’s Neil Wilson gets set up for a wee DJ set with the ever delightful Wesley Shearer.

Words: Iain Dawson

Announcement: Scottish Fiction End of Year Show

2017 has been a really great special for Scottish Fiction as a label and they will close out the year with a belter of bill that brings together every act they’ve released this year plus one still to be announced special guest, and it’s our pleasure to announce the line up:

Annie Booth

An Unforgiving Light was a very special release indeed as Annie Booth shines outside of her role within Mt. Doubt, from which she has clearly learned a lot; expect puncturing melody and raw lyrics, marked by the contrasts of folk roots and alt-rock backing, with urgent instrumentation contrasted with introspective vocals.

Acrylic

Glasgow based quintet Acrylic create an atmosphere of 80’s gloom and welcome it to modernity, there is something electric about the pace them as a live act that comes with a hot tempered pace to it, with fantastic Mogwai-esque grinding build-ups and volcanic releases.

Mt. Doubt

With two EPs and two split singles 2017 has been a real year of growth for Edinburgh Mt. Doubt, producing what is their most collaborative work to date with plenty of meaty alt-rock sounds, inspired and darkly humorous musings and the irrespirable booming vocal from Leo Bargery; Mt. Doubt are a band that will keep you more than cosy and are a joy in live setting.

Foreignfox

Headlining the night are Dunfermline five-piece Foreignfox, whose chaotic yet awe-inspiring, sky soaring lives set have become a welcome staple for us at Rave Child, their alt-folk come post rock sound will have you revelling along, while Jonny Watt’s distinct Scottish emotive vocals will drag from near to tears to explosive sing-alongs; a powerful prospect.

Scottish Fiction

For the label, 2017 kicked off in April with a split 7″ from Foreignfox and Mt. Doubt, which was just the start as quite poignantly as it’s been a year of collaboration and growth for the label and acts involved.

The first of two EP’s from Mt. Doubt and an EP from Foreignfox quickly followed, before another split release this time from Acrylic and Mt. Doubt.

A full-length release from Annie Booth saw the label join forces with another highly active indie label, Last Night From Glasgow, before we an upcoming second EP from Mt. Doubt due in November.
Here’s what Scottish Fiction founder Neil Wilson had to say:
“It’s been a wave of highs for me and I’m really pleased with the music we’ve released.  I’d always envisaged doing split releases, so it was great to be able to team Mt. Doubt up with both Foreignfox and Acrylic for those.  As for Mt. Doubt’s EP’s, I think they represent a real step forward for the band, both in production and song-writing.  Annie’s album is just something special.  She’s such a talent, and it’s been a privilege to be involved in that.  And Foreignfox’s EP was a real delight.  We paired up the new EP, with a remastered version of their debut, and released both on 12″ vinyl, complete with stunning artwork.  It’s a triumph.”

The show takes place at Glasgow’s Hug and Pint on December 22, you can buy your tickets now from this link: https://scottishfiction.bandcamp.com/merch/scottish-fiction-presents-ticket

Foreignfox – I Used To Be A Bellydancer [Scottish Fiction]

Adding another branch to their EP bough, Foreignfox are set to release I Used To Be A Bellydancer through Scottish Fiction Records.

Staying true to their style of burly Scottish accents and deep-seated, emotive melodies, Foreignfox bring another robust set of tunes to the scene.

‘Perfect Place To Start’ is big; a well-equipped opening track with an intro so filled with suspense it makes you eager to hear what’s coming.

Politically charged, this track shows a concern for humanity and communicates a sense of disconcertion with the current state of things.

Angst, questioning and uncertainty colour the spirit of Jonny Watt’s lyrics while beautifully charged rhythms and melodies drive home so much passion, so much clout.

‘Bonfire’ is no less impressive with a more subtle beginning and what sounds like orchestral sampling to add to the weight of the track.

Watt sings with so much genuine sentiment, so authentically open hearted; the verses are low key while the chorus arrives with a fierce temperament – the journey through this one is diverse and yet distinctly comforting.

Echoing similar nuances of subtlety and sternness, ‘Monsoon’ affirms the band’s position as both crafty and as a group who have an established identity.

A mixture of post-punk creativity and Scottish coloured indie-rock, the range of skill offered in this short track is so potent and so memorable, it’s almost like a trip through a rugged wilderness with your closest friends.

Pain is a common feature throughout this EP and ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ is no different, weaving sweeping guitar patterns with note bending chords and biting drumbeats, this one is solemn yet still hopeful.

The lead guitar melody provides respite from some of the more intense sections, while the energy comes through in the vocals and background rhythms.

The impressive finish to this EP is provided in ‘I Used To Be A Belly Dancer’, here the tone of Watt’s voice is on full display: it hits you in the gut and grabs your deepest emotions through honest lyrics that convey vulnerability and sincerity.

The crescendos are explosive and full of clashy chords that mimic the passion on display.

You can catch the launch of the new EP at PJ Molloys in Dunfermline on July 1 or hear them at King Tut’s Summer Nights on the July 20 in Glasgow.

Words: Rachel Cunningham

FOREIGNFOX – Lights Off, Carry Me Home [Scottish Fiction]

Having been compared to the likes of Fatherson and We Were Promised Jetpacks, Dunfermline five-piece FOREIGNFOX describe themselves as a ‘turbulent juxtaposition of dark, visceral post rock and defiant, uplifting at-folk’.

The intersection of opposing genres is what makes new release Lights Off, Carry Me Home a captivating culmination of despair, hope and optimism.

You can hear Jonny Watt’s pain in ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’, it’s beyond sadness and feels like there’s a need for respite, a desire to return home. The track is a climatic force in the face of dismay, building to a final brutal honesty, before treading lightly into the next track.

‘Bonfire’ is more hopeful and resonates with the band’s commitment to heart, hope and empathy; it’s a sea of emotion, of what music was crafted for: to communicate the human condition and connect through shared experience.

A Capybara remix of ‘Bonfire’ is a suitable outro and simply reiterates the many reasons why this new release proposes a poignant return for the band to the Scottish scene.

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Words: Rachel Cunningham

NIEVES, FOREIGNFOX, Courier’s Club at SWG3, 12/8/16

Thanks to getting hopelessly lost, first on the way to SWG3, and then again in the ladies, a Monty Hall-like puzzle, sadistically designed to confuse drunk gig goers, we are almost too late to catch first support act Courier’s Club tonight.

The track and a bit that we do hear sounds promising, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for future chances to give this band some proper attention.

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Dunfermline based, alt-rock five-piece FOREIGNFOX are next up, and despite technical problems, combined with a slow to fill venue, their 45-minute set is impressive and indicative of exciting things to come.

As a result of the aforementioned tech issues, it’s virtually impossible to deduce the band’s song titles tonight.

This leads to some confusion over stand out ‘I Used to be a Belly Dancer/ Ballet Dancer/ Elephant’, all of which would be excellent options (Note it’s actually Belly Dancer).

Regardless, the track is a marathon; beginning with a stripped back, controlled vocal and poignant lyrics, before developing into a colossal, roaring crescendo.

New single ‘Bonfire’ is the band’s last track this evening and it sounds massive.

Here, reverb mingles with a vocal descant pitched impressively high above the melody line.

FOREIGNFOX have been carving out quite a name for themselves of late, and based on this performance, it’s easy to see why.

The headliners are looking to do something a bit different with tonight’s choice of venue, accurately describing the gig as ‘an intimate, warehouse show’.

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Prior to their set there’s a bit of a love-in, which sees the NIEVES lads down the front cheering on the support in between chatting to pretty much everyone who walks through the door.

It’s heartening proof that the Glasgow foursome are not only talented, but also top blokes.

Contending with difficult acoustics (the downside to playing a cavernous warehouse) and technical glitches, NIEVES appear unfazed.

Frontman Brendan Dafters and drummer Ross Forsyth waste no time in cheerily ordering the crowd down to the front, and heckling those who are still trying to get away with lurking up the back.

The band kick things off with a brand new track, which I immediately want to listen to on repeat, before launching into their earlier material with previous single release ‘Black Tie’.

Sound continues to be something of a challenge throughout this track, however the inclusion of reworked, unaccompanied vocal sections from Dafters prove an interesting mix-up.

By the time NIEVES move on to ‘The Knot’, taken from their 2015 Matriarch EP, the crowd has fully warmed up, acoustics have improved, and everyone relaxes into a set which sees the band stretch themselves vocally and technically.

Tonight’s show celebrates the launch of new double A-side ‘Roughcast / Dove’.

It’s my first time hearing the tracks live, and most noticeable are the developments and expansion in NIEVES’ trademark style.

Whilst still driven by Herre de Leur’s intricately layered keys and, at times thunderous, percussion from Forsyth, the band have included just a hint of an electronic, atmospheric vibe, which sees Dafters set aside his acoustic guitar in favour of some more high-tech trickery.

‘Broken Oars’, released as a single in March this year, always hits hard and tonight is no exception.

Here, huge bass percussion drives the track, and the venue finally works to NIEVES’ advantage, as booming sound vibrates off the walls of the SWG3 cave.

Combined with Dafters’ most emotional vocal, and an excellent guitar part from Martin Murray, ‘Broken Oars’ is a beautifully painted tale of loss and heartache.

The band announce that the next track will be their “fake last song”, as they weren’t sure if they were going to do an encore or not.

It’s an as yet unnamed, brand new addition to their catalogue, and is a darker, heavier and unrestrained offering, which bodes well for things to come.

NIEVES’ actual last song ‘Empty Book’ has folk singing, swaying and winching left, right and centre.

This is absolute testament to the band, considering that the track is about drug abuse, and is lyrically uncompromisingly grim.

It’s really very difficult to accurately describe a NIEVES gig, as given the brutally dark lyrical content and heart-wrenching technical execution, one would be forgiven for expecting a downbeat and melancholy affair.

The band’s enthusiasm, and evident passion for what they are doing, makes for a far happier event and this is a night of joyful misery pop, if such a thing indeed exists.

More Photos

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Words: Kat McNicol
Photos: Cameron Brisbane

T in the Park, 10/7/16

Day three arrives and there’s no reprieve on the weather, meaning not only is the arena the muddiest I can remember attending, but that we’re a good half hour late on the gates as flooding has caused health and safety concerns.

These precautions seem more than granted, but unfortunately it does mean I only get to catch a small portion of Tongues.’s set, and hold ups do sadly affect the size of crowd the Glasgow four-piece could potentially have pulled

Still, what I do catch of their set is the band’s now familiar huge, bursting synth sound; singles ‘Religion’ and ‘Heartbeat’ sound like they would be equally at home on the bigger stages with thousands dancing along, while the rest of the set touches on Hot Chip tinged twinkling synth ballads that move into sky soaring electronics.

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Following Tongues. on T Break is Glasgow based producer Edwin Organ and he keeps up the electronic vibe, with an array of head nodding organic synth sounding synth tones.

Playing as a trio the set comes as a welcoming hug for you to pick yourself up to for the final day of music, the band combine elements of soul and jazz with the singer’s melodic warbled tones; this is a set you can really get lost in, there’s certainly something special on the horizon.

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Edinburgh ‘tropical pop’ foursome Indigo Velvet continue my streak at T Break and they’ve amassed quite a following; their sunshine kissed indie rock is a real foot stomping fare that more than leaves the large turnout happy.

The band possess a real confident swagger and a more than unique look, two of them have the hair of lions for god sake, and this along with some solid, fun filled tunes sets them apart comfortably from a lot of their contemporaries.

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The fourth band I catch are at T Break again, and it’s at this stage that I should note there are a number of acts I would have liked to have caught at other stages; FIDLAR, John Grant, Maximo Park etc., however conditions under feet have quadrupled the time it takes to get from A to B so I’m back at the festival’s local act showcasing tent for one of Scotland’s most hyped up and comers, The Lapelles.

The East Kilbride five-piece are baby-faced to say the least, but woah does their live set pack a punch, these are indie rock anthems that really could hit the stratosphere.

On the road these guys are on they appear to have been earmarked to make it to the top, and judging by the crowd reaction they could be well on their way; they’re young, enthusiastic and have enough potential to see it through too, all the best to them.

A quick jaunt over to BBC Introducing and WOMPS are midway through single ‘Live A Little Less’ and are pounding out their lo-fi grunge tinged sound with a knowing presence.

Ewan Grant’s engaging songwriting sits at the centre of their sound, and while his material as Algernon Doll is still missed, WOMPS more than pack enough energy and craft into their set to keep your eyes peeled for; dingy the hair though… and maybe the shout outs to Bathgate too (it appears all drummer Owen Wicksted’s school pals have made it along).

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Dunfermline’s FOREIGNFOX keep everyone partying back at T Break as the five-piece is perfecting the soaring, post rock indie anthem a la Jetpacks, and seem to be pretty much hitting the nail on the head.

Jonny Watt’s heavily Scottish tones are emphatic and the band’s soundscape filled sound is engulfing; it’s easy to see them emulating their heroes pretty soon.

ISLE, grown out of the ashes of Monogram, are an alt pop duo with a real punch of a sound; a pounding array of effects, welcoming twinkled samples and a whole cacophony of other things going on are all placed into a remarkably catchy composition that settles into simple but effective sections before letting go once more.

Musically it’s a real master class from the Borders duo, with this kind of sound it’s easy to go over the top, but what ISLE do produce is slick and hugely entertaining.

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Declan Welsh has drawn a solid crowd at T Break and the young man seems to be revelling in it.

His spoken word/poetry sections are enchanting and the songs come with plenty of attitude as Welsh delivers with a real conviction; the sound and overall message in his music is emphatic and well worth believing in, this boy deserves to have more folk listening to him and he will have very soon.

Waiting it out at T Break for the last band of the night we see a big criticism of the stage; the band that plays last very rarely plays to anyone at all due to clashes with the festival headliners.

This is true for Sweaty Palms as the Glasgow five-piece fight for prominence with Jeff Mills, LCD Soundsystem and the Chilli Peppers; perhaps you would have thought T in the Park would take a lesson from the BBC Introducing showcase stage, which finishes much earlier in the night.

Still there’s no humour lost in the situation from the Palms with singer Robbie Houston snidely thanking DF Concerts for putting them on, who seem in no way deluded that this set is a big deal for the band in any way at all.

Their set is the same all encompassing dark, sneery post punk frenzy that you get from these guys every day of the week, but this could well be one of the smallest audiences they’ve played to this year.

Sweaty Palms may be the best act on the T Break list, but you can’t blame the punters for catching the some of the biggest names in music just ten minutes away.

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Following this I head over to catch all but the first few songs of LCD Soundsystem’s set and despite nearly everyone I’ve spoken to today saying they’re going to end their night here, we find a crowd smaller that you could fit in the Barrowlands for what is for me the only big big draw of this year’s line up.

Whether the band care is questionable, but what they do deliver is a set full of forward thinking, encapsulating disco tinged anthems that get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up and you belting the lyrics back out to your pals.

By the time the set ends on one of the most defining songs of recent times, ‘All My Friends’, you’ve forgotten how quiet the sound is or how few people are actually here, you’re stuck in the moment celebrating that the band’s short-lived hiatus has ended.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Cameron Brisbane

FOREIGNFOX – ‘Monsoon’ [Vadana]

Quite simply this is how Scottish rock should sound.

Raucous, raw and angry juxtaposed with subtly dark lyrics driven by furious guitar and finished off with an angst ridden vocal, this is a sound that sits you bolt upright wondering where the fuck did that come from.

FOREIGNFOX hail from Dunfermline and ‘Monsoon’ is their first release since debut EP (bar a wee Christmas single), We Float Like Sinking Ships, launched them upon us.

‘Monsoon’ is introduced with a heavy guitar hook with Johnny Watt’s sublimely Scottish vocal kicking in to tease along towards the chorus introduced with the brilliant lyric “cause if she knows what I’ve done she’ll never look at me the same, scratch that she’ll never look at me again”.

The chorus is a crackling, sweeping guitar laden drama with Watt lifting his voice to shout and spit his story of love, life and death, asking: “tell me what to die for, make a man out of me”.

This review was my introduction to this band and already their modest back catalogue has been downloaded and devoured.

Buy their stuff and get it in your ears you will thank yourself for it!

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Words: Peter Dorrington

XpoNorth Showcases, Inverness, 8/6/16

Lot’s of things have been said posted about XpoNorth, displaying different sides of the conference, from huge praise to scathing criticism; I have my own opinions on what is right and wrong about the music conference, but this is not the time for that, this is an opportunity to talk about all the wonderful acts witnessed during the showcase events in the evening.

My evening starts at the Ironworks for the opening party and fashion show and after a few beverages I’m in good spirits to catch the music on offer and head over to Hootenanny’s to see Posable Action Figures in action.

The groove laden Edinburgh duo don’t let down with a perfectly danceable set that keeps you nodding along as Gareth Goodlad’s vocals engage on pop-tinged rock edge without becoming too cheesy or glossy; these guys are well worth checking out.

Over at Deeno’s we witness the familiar sounds of WOMPS, to my surprise the sports bar turned venue is up there with the best sounding of the weekend as the band deliver their usual set of high octane, grunge tinged gems.

Their debut album, Our Fertile Forever, may not quite be my personal favourite of Ewan Grant’s back catalogue, but this trio more than pack a punch live as their experience as live act shines through above other acts at these showcases; it’s Ewan worst hair cut yet though.

Following WOMPS are Stornoway rockers The Broken Ravens, and sadly the five-piece play to a somewhat dispersing crowd.

In all honesty these guys are a few feet wide of what I’d usually go for, but their set tonight hits all the right buttons; there’s a refreshing lack of pretense to their rollicking classic metal sound, and further to that it’s fun and pretty good too.

The Broken Ravens are a solid band that doesn’t seem to take themselves too serious, they won’t be best band you’ll see this weekend, either creatively or technically, but they might just be the most entertaining.

Over at the Market Bar I meet a packed attic and my knee immediately smashes off a bench, leaving me hopping in excruciating pain while FOREIGNFOX’s Jonny Watt is right there in my face as the band deliver a rousing set in the tight, but probably best venue of the showcase.

These guys are always a solid proposition live and deliver an emotional roller coast of a set of heartfelt lyrics sung in Watt’s addictive Scottish tones, all set to indie-tinged post rock soundscapes that cry Jetpacks at their most fluent.

A wee dash over for my first visit to Blackfriars allows me to catch the end of Declan Welsh’s set for some well thought out tracks with plenty of indie rock oomph and flowing banter; tonight is probably not the best introduction to Welsh’s set, but It does more than enough to keep me enticed to hear more.

Back over at Deeno’s is possibly the surprise of the night as Elle Exxe’s set is stripped back to just her and her drummer; gone is the big hair and diva misnomer leaving an undeniable punk attitude that feels much more genuine, yet maintains all the irresistible pop undertones; this is second time we’ve caught Exxe at showcase shows this year, hopefully a homecoming tour will be on the cards soon.

The last set of the night may possibly be the best, or maybe the drink is starting to kick in, as upstairs at Madhatters Catholic Action deliver exactly what is expected of them, a highly infectious set of glam enthused indie rock hits that’re just what you need from a post midnight set, these guys are going places and rightfully so.

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Words: Iain Dawson