Tag Archives: Golden Teacher

Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life

Golden Teacher came tumbling back into our ears in a familiar yet chaotic fashion: they say themselves, “accept no substitute” – it really is quite difficult to think of anyone capable of swapping places with the Glasgow band.

Rocking out of the Green Door Studios, Golden Teacher chuck 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 like the late-lamented Playgroup but this is nonetheless pretty original and wild stuff.

Opener ‘Sauchiehall Withdrawl’ has leading lass Cassie Oji wondering, “I’m always working so hard…and for what?“, against supremely danceable, but spare percussion, an acidic bassline and keyboard stabs: it’s dizzying stuff: exactly like that rather unique stretch of Glasgow on a Saturday night, in fact.

‘Shatter’ takes things deeper with the sort of prowling bassline to suggest doom is just around the next corner in a John Carpenter-directed street scene – a little purple, perhaps, but as well as being hip-waggling stuff, the song, like almost all of the band’s output, is extremely evocative; it’s the dark night brought into your ears via some voodoo goings on.

You can certainly see why Golden Teacher have thrived in Glasgow – they’re almost tailormade for all-conquering chaps about town, Optimo (who they have a sometime association with).

The mix of harsh attitude yet dancefloor mayhem is surely most at home at that clubbing institution.

There are other vocals supplied by Charles Lavenac – as on the excellently whippy ‘Spiritron’ – but there is no doubt, that when it comes to fronting the band, Oji is the star: narky but bewitching on record, really quite extraordinary live: full potential to go all the way.

Golden Teacher were at a point where they have the ability to unleash a real ripsnorter and take the next step – excellent though No Luscious Life is, I’m unsure this is the one, but with their  members already forming new projects I’m sure there will be plenty special to come.

Although noirish and even vicious, the album is quite subtle and brooding: more forceful use of the vocals may be needed to drag in those who are (stupidly) not content with dark and twisted grooves being the overriding attraction.

If you are – and you should be – this is a blinding release: perverse, groovy, contorted and never far away from a shady disco… works for me.

Words:Vosne Malconsorts

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.

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

EPs of 2015 (20-11)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

20 The Vegan Leather - This House20 The Vegan Leather – This House

A work that possesses both the sincerity and conviction necessary to remind any listener than pop can be more than just clean synths and solid marketing. While it in part feels like the gritty precursor to a potential masterpiece, This House is a vibrant and exciting lesson in punchy, hook-laden art pop. (Michael Mavor)

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19 Quiet as a Mouse - Memorybox19 Quiet as a Mouse – Memorybox

Memorybox contains a mix of delicate and lively tracks that create a successful taster of Quiet As A Mouse’s potential conveying their ability to create gentle, intricate tracks. They have an album planned for 2016 and, judging by this release it will be something to look out for.

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18 Youngstrr Joey - Cheerleader18 Youngstrr Joey – Cheerleader [Number4Door]

Cheerleader showcases how well Cal Donelly takes to the solo role; it’s full of head sticking choruses, rumbling lo-fi guitars and up tempo, toe-tappers, before closing on the slow gritty ‘I Give Up’. Cheerleader raw and authentic; it’s like one of those Brain Licker sweeties that were popular in primary school – enjoyable and addictive with a sour kick.

17 Finn LeMarinel - Love Is Waves17 Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves [Electric Honey]

Experimental, beautiful and at times unnervingly personal, Finn LeMarinel’s Love is Waves EP sees the Glasgow singer-songwriter push his creative bounds to excellent effect. Stripped back, evocative vocals meld with myriad instrumental techniques, as LeMarinel frames each track with precisely placed guitar and piano. Simple, yet incongruously intricate, Love is Waves evidences a marked and impressive evolution for the former Trapped in Kansas frontman.

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16 Siobhan Wilson - Say It’s True16 Siobhan Wilson – Say It’s True [Reveal]

Say It’s True consists of seven songs that are each crafted to complete perfection: from the striking acapella opening of the title track to the vocal leaps that bring the record to a close, the EP in its entirety is a remarkable feat of musicianship. Wilson fuses traditional elements of folk with layers of more contemporary sounds to create something unusual and beautiful. (Ellen Renton)

15 Golden Teacher - Sauchiehall Enthrall15 Golden Teacher – Sauchiehall Enthrall

Glasgow six piece Golden Teacher opted to self-release this dubiously named EP and it is yet another solid and at times excellent bit of kit; high quality stuff from a gleefully enthusiastic bunch. Sauchiehall Enthrall is otherworldly and a vivid offering from this unique collective, who incidentally are a formidably high octane live proposition, if clearly mad to a man and woman. Hard funk, groovy, ear-melting drums, ethereal bleeps, banshee yelps and a touch of acid – what’s not to love?

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14 Spinning Coin - Spinning Coin14 Spinning Coin – Spinning Coin [FUZZKILL]

Spinning Coin is the coming of age of a group who combined have been in about a million bands, all of which contributed something to Glasgow. Coin might not have a coin among them, but they have the Mac Demarco guitars, running out of battery sound and the posture of pavement; all without copying! (Paul Choi)

13 The Bellybuttons - PLAY!13 The Bellybuttons – PLAY! [FUZZKILL]

Think 90s lo-fi rock but up-cycled. The Bellybuttons deliver a neat set of tracks with all the key ingredients that make it hard not to like. The EP opens the door to a world of skillful pitch bending riffs, before things start to pick up with ‘Hard to Read’, showcasing their ability to bring energy to a track with a little taste of bluegrass thrown in. ‘Solar Envy’ brings you back down to Earth in a soft cloud of husky vocals before playing with your mind in ‘Sad Boys’ with an elongated, suspended and distorted outro leaving you to wonder what the guys will come up with next. (Rachel Cunningham)

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12 Sorren Maclean - Way Back Home12 Sorren Maclean – Way Back Home [Middle of Nowhere]

Way Back Home sees Mull-based songwriter and guitarist Sorren MacLean bring tasteful, strong arrangements, topped by his widescreen, yearning vocal. MacLean is obviously well aware of folk music traditions, but there’s a pop sensibility too that ensures the melodic hooks are strong and memorable and this EP sounds equally good sound tracking a summer’s day as it would a dimly lit folk club.

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11 SACRED PAWS - 6 Songs11 SACRED PAWS – 6 Songs [Rock Action]

It must have been a ridiculously busy year for Rachel Aggs, with this EP and releases from other bands Trash Kit and Shopping coming in quick succession, but never have her releases lacked in quality. Add to Aggs’ jaunty, clean wiry guitar tone the up beat snare drum centric beats of Eilidh Rodgers, the duo’s fresh energy and overlapping vocals that give a sense of the free spirit, and you’ve got Six Songs; a playful polyrhythmic EP that is as refresh as a tropical breeze.

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20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

Golden Teacher – Sauchiehall Enthrall

Glasgow six piece Golden Teacher opted to self-release this dubiously named EP after previously being very much associated with the Optimo behemoth: dubious perhaps because the one thing Sauchiehall Street rarely is is enthralling… though the night time delights of stilletos used as weaponry and as many Irn Bru jelly shots as you can down for a fiver does have a certain horrifyingly hypnotic attraction I guess.

Titles aside though, it is yet another solid and at times excellent bit of kit from the band; make no mistake, this is high quality stuff from a gleefully enthusiastic bunch.

Opener ‘Shatter’ rattles along with just the sort of dancefloor destroying percussion you want; uncompromising and a patois style vocal from prodigiously talented singer Cassie; dub and electronica, but above all else a rump-shaking groove and slightly terrifying bassline.

You really do want to hear this at 2am in a dark sweatpit.

As is the case for all four tracks in fact: the odd alchemy of looseness coupled with brain-crushing compression and claustrophobia is as dancetastic as it is compelling and managing to get what sounds like a Clanger going loco into a song – ‘No Hemos Vivido’ – deserves a gold(en) star all of its own.

All over it’s otherworldly – or netherworldly – and a vivid offering from this unique collective, who incidentally are a formidably high octane live proposition; if clearly mad to a man and woman.

Hard funk, groovy, ear-melting drums, ethereal bleeps, banshee yelps, touch of acid – what’s not to love?

Buy if; you want some seriously lively and quality voodoo music for your mind, body, soul and arse.

Don’t buy if; you have no ears.

The synthesis of a punky attitude with a Saturday night production is not a new one, but it’s hugely successful here; an enjoyable, arty, party romp.

Keep an eye on this mob, there’s real creativity at play here.

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Words: Andrew Morrison

Electric Fields, 29/8/15

The journey down to Electric Fields begins post 9am and a ‘Happy Bus’ from Buchanan Bus Station; how anyone can muster up the energy to be “happy” at this time in the morning is beyond me and the atmosphere on the bus is as you’d expect from bed missing music lovers with not to many getting mad for it from the off.

Arriving a good portion of time before the gates are officially opened, even after a lengthy toilet stop, you can’t help but feeling an extra hour in bed could have happened and with the promise of showers and the potential of thunder and lightning forecast it’s going to take that first beer to get things into gear.

Once in the queue things start to spark up, as the guys on the gates seem full of optimism and banter and waste no time jumping up the line to check bags in advance, speeding up entry.

Once we’re in a look at the fact that tokens that need to be purchased separately to exchange for drinks brings back horrific memories of queuing all day; but a cheeky six tokens for £20 offer, the beer being Innes & Gunn by the (cold) can and not the usual warm watered down piss you’d find at any other festival offering a similar policy, a lanyard for a sole quid and that the festival isn’t quite large enough, or it’s prepared well enough, to not have any queues of note leaves these initial quibbles at the gate.

The set up of Electric Fields is intriguing with the two main stages titled Carse Valley, a bizarre blow up effort, and The Arc sitting right next to each other in order maximise the amount of bands that can play, while the smaller To Lose La Trek uses the same music friendly set up of the larger ones in system used at a bigger scale in forward thinking international festivals like Primavera Sound.

FOREIGNFOX

I begin my day down at The Arc for Dunfermline’s brilliant FOREIGNFOX, who deliver a set full of storming indie rock with soaring hooks fronted by Jonny Watt’s distinctive Scottish twang that powers above the bold instrumentals.

Watt could be found later wandering around steaming firing a ravechild tote bag over folk’s head and other things, but more on that later; his band touch on the poppier side of post rock and the indulgent side of indie, but the crowd that have arrived on site early are won over confidently down at a side of the field that could have done with a few less tractors running over it, something I’ll learn more first hand later on (yeah I decked it!).

On the other side of the field is The Skinny Tent, and here we find the stage that boasts the best sound of the day, as the tent seems set up to perfection to host an array of loud, danceable and fun acts from Scotland and afar.

My first venture here is for Glasgow krautrock touting psycsters OUTBLINKER, who look a much more conventional band on a large stage than when they were crammed into The Hug and Pint’s tiny basement a few months ago, and it seems they take to the bigger space with ease despite its light and airy feel and green house-like qualities.

OUTBLINKER do generally need time to grow into a set and with only half an hour to play with they have to speed up this process; they do this to perfection building from swirling noise before a monster riff kicks in and they smash the possibilities wide open.

Technically this band is gobsmacking, and they’re driven by tight and emphatic rhythms from a drummer who delivers with real attention grabbing purpose.

They do enter a heavily distorted mid section that seems to build for a bit too long, but OUTBLINKER are still maybe a bit short on material, give then time and this could be one of the best live experiences you’ll get.

Randolphs Leap

Back over at The Arc we get our twee dose of the day (sorry guys), and the sun is out as Randolph’s Leap produce a set of infectious, brass enthused indie pop joy.

It’s endearing, uplifting stuff full of charming rhymes that really shouldn’t work; it’s the ideal sound to take a seat and relax to, shame the floor’s too wet.

Early afternoon and those promised showers seem an age away, and as singer Adam Ross expresses his regret for wearing a jacket someone for the audience shouts “take it off”, to which he obliges as the brass section provide obligatory strip tease music and the quip of the day comes in the form of “look out ladies he’s down to his woolly jumper”.

Pronto Mama

The big clash of the day comes at 2pm as enchanting indie rockers Catholic Action take to The Skinny Tent at the same time as the pop filled fun of Pronto Mama take to the inflatable Carse Valley stage; I go for the later due to the sunshine and an impatience waiting for The Skinny tent to get set up and I’m not let down as I’m met with a live sound that is just as engrossing as their records.

Pronto Mama’s sound is full of soul and comes with an enabling touch of brass and plenty of cheeky funk that sets a grove while withstanding becoming cheesy.

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

Their set is warm and engaging and as Hector Bizerk’s Louie stresses to me “they’re the most underrated band in Scotland,” I’m inclined to agree.

The Van Ts

A late addition to the line up in replacement for the ill KLOE, The Van T’s get the opportunity to thrive in the sunshine and thrive they do; their set is full of pure good times surf enthused garage rock that oozes rock’n’roll energy in a truly infectious manner.

The Thompson twin’s harmonies sparkle in the open air and there’s no denying they look cool as anyone on today’s bill; a more than adequate replacement for KLOE’s soaring pop.

Fat Goth

As The Van T’s finish you can hear the sheer power of Fat Goth from across the field as they take to The Skinny Tent and once I arrive in the tent they capture me instantly with their sneery, distressed and devastatingly loud performance.

It’s impressive stuff from the Dundee trio who produce a frantic display that acts as welcome escape from the sunshine soaked pop vibes outside.

They tear through classic metal sounding riffs with pounding rhythms and an addictive quality that is difficult to match.

Another blinding set from one of the best named bands in Scotland; throw in a bottle of Buckie and some incredible drummer faces and you’ve got one of the most emphatic sets of the day.

United Fruit

Following Fat Goth at The Skinny Tent isn’t an enviable task, but United Fruit are more than equipped to do so and release another ball of fury into the immaculate sounding tent.

United Fruit unleash another powerful set that has become typical of their intense live show; on record Iskandar Stewart’s occasionally touch on whiney, but live they’re strong, sneered chants that drive impressively over a pulverising instrumental assault.

Following them, on the same stage, I get to cover Happy Meals for the second time in just over a week and the duo produce a set that blows away their understated late afternoon appearance at Doune the Rabbit Hole the week before.

Shrouded in smoke they produce an indulgent set of lush organic synths that cruise beautifully into a tent that’s just starting to get its feet moving.

Towards the end of the set Suzi Rodden jumps into the crowd and prances about while partaking in some crazed dancing, all while delivering her endlessly adorable French vocals, while Lewis Cook adds the synths from the stage, creating a tent filling brilliance.

It’s pure indulgent fun from a band that seem to be pulling it all out the bag, except the compulsory toy you get with their namesake of course.

Indeed, the one let down of the festival is you struggle to find anything better than a Happy Meal to eat; the four vans only seem to cater for mediocre fast foods and veggie options which don’t expand much further than toasties, but still this is a festival in its infancy, the good food will come; next year please!

Miaoux Miaoux

Bumping into a few folk I only manage to catch Miaoux Miaoux from afar, still their infectious synth tones and stick in your head vocal hooks seem to spark through the festival site contagiously and start the evening portion of the festival with a dance as the potential for beer weariness rears its ugly head.

The Twilight Sad

Over at The Skinny Tent and it’s the turn of the secret guests, who the festival had revealed to anyone who had guessed from a rather creative image as The Twilight Sad earlier in the week.

In fact it’s just James and Andy producing a stripped back set, which on paper should showcase the raw emotion that comes across in James Graham’s powerful delivery; sadly although captivating in moments, it doesn’t quite hold the same effect without a blasting wall of sound behind it.

Still, for some ultra fans, including FOREIGNFOX’s Jonny Watt who exclaims he would “suck everyone of their dicks”, the set goes down a storm and there’s a humour rarely seen on stage from Graham stating “I wish Erasure were playing, it’d be much better than this miserable shit,” while exchanging chat with the crowd.

Over at Carse Valley Golden Teacher suffer an out of place set in early evening daylight; last week at Doune they set the place alight in the early hours of the morning, but playing a more restrained set at a more restrained hour doesn’t seem to suit them.

Although musically they are solid as ever, with on touch disco tingling beats, plenty of experimental flourishes and quirky dance moves that keep things interesting, it never really lifts beyond that; if this is your first experience of GT live don’t take it by the book, go check them out when they hit their stride best; in a post midnight slot when everyone has their dancing shoes on.

PAWS

Following the festival I had a slight misunderstanding with PAWS regarding a word being taken out of context, still that was quickly ironed out and their set begins over at The Arc with drummer, Josh’s stool breaking and what appears to be some jovial chat about it.

I later learn this to be more dangerous than I’d imaged and in hindsight it seems to take some of the drive out of a band that is usually a formidable live prospect, regardless they deliver the same infectious pop punk glory as ever, but seem to take a while to settle, while the sound being a touch quieter than you’d expect and the rather static audience do them no favours.

PAWS are best enjoyed at full pace and full volume, with that full on urgency that the trio have come to embody and install in their crowds; still, regardless of any grievances the set is still plenty of fun and a great way to spend the remainder of the disappearing daylight.

Hector Bizerk1

Back over at Carse Valley it’s the turn of potentially the most exciting act on the bill; Hector Bizerk start on a somewhat sombre tone, not that that’s a bad thing, still it’s one of those calm before storm things as before long, Louie, hood up and unphased, blasts into an all out lyrical assault.

This is a band at the top of their game, as Louie takes the crowd under his command and the band plough forward with precision and impressive zeal.

There’s another airing of their ‘Song 2’ cover, which Louie adds a touch of freestyle brilliance to before tracks like ‘Rust Cohle’ and ‘Columbus’ blow everything out the water; extraordinary stuff that only seems to be getting better.

Hearing The Xcerts from afar is more than enough, but thankfully Jonnie Common is taking the stage just over at the smaller To Lose La Trek, a stage I have wandered over to a couple of times, but have not had the chance to see a full set at due to distractions elsewhere.

Common is a far fly away from the painful sound at the main stage, and delivers a brilliantly cheeky performance in his own addictive sort of way.

His set is full of dry humour, clever synths and plenty of ‘give a fuck’ attitude and the healthy crowd seem to give his set that extra kick.

Common’s CARBS bandmate Jamie, aka MC ALMOND MILK, joins him for a few songs later on, showcasing some of his solo material in Common produced ‘How2B Cool in 2014’ as well as CARBS standout ‘Stick A Flake In Me (I’m Done)’, and it’s more addictive stuff, in a very geeky Scottish sort of way; this could be the most fun set of the day.

The Phantom Band

Back over at Carse Valley and The Phantom Band produce a barnstorming performance full of shiver inducing builds and Rick Anthony’s deep, velvety delivery; I’ve jokingly labelled these guys The Phantom Bland before now, but on this showing that label can go in the bin, The Phantom Grand it is then!

King Creosote

The beers have kicked and the long day is taking effect by the time headliner King Creosote takes to The Arc stage, but the singer seems to be in joyous spirits delivering a set choked with a warming beauty that emulates most of his back catalogue and more specifically last year’s standalone From Scotland With Love LP.

There’s no doubting he’s the stand out name on a bill crammed with emerging Scottish talent, the line up is nearly all Scottish barring a few exceptions in The Skinny Tent, but maybe seeing him in the sobering daylight might have been a more uplifting experience, but for those with more stamina, or maybe more time in their bed, than myself this should feel like the perfect end to one of Scotland’s most exciting upcoming festivals.

More Photos

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

Doune The Rabbit Hole, 21/8/15

Work commitments cause us to miss the start of this year at Doune, with things kicking off at around 4pm on the Friday and us unable to get up and set up until around three hours later; this means unfortunately we miss the ever entertaining Stanley Odd, who no doubt set proceedings off with a bang.

Still, after my first experience in a few years of having to set up a tent goes much smoother than expected, I manage to hit the arena in time to catch what on record was one of the best acts of last year, Happy Meals at the Whistleblower stage, the festival’s smallest of four.

The stage is quaint, but ever so restricted in set up, as one of the supports for the tent-come-stage comes across the very centre of the stage itself; still it’s charming with little whistles hanging from the canvas front and Happy Meals give off a good impression, despite not being as lively as they can be.

There’s loads of pounding beats and the addictive vocals of Suzanne Rodden are always a delight, while Lewis Cook’s vintage synth tones soar in the early evening chilled vibes; you can’t help thinking this set could have done with being a touch later in the evening, but still it’s a pleasant start from one of the most exciting acts in Scotland right now.

We wander over to the festival’s main stage, Jackerwocky, in time to see Fatherson, keen to see how their music will go down at a festival like Doune, as they’ve become accustomed to playing in front of a loyal fanbase of younger fans rather than the family demographic this festival attracts, however the band’s presence soon encourages a large audience to form as they play a number of melodic and heartfelt hits from their most recent album, I Am an Island, which the crowd seem to be thoroughly enjoying; well except one kid who walks past us with his fingers in his ears in apparent pain.

Entering the Baino Tent for the first time there is an overwhelming scent of weed, still that’s to be expected from a festival like Doune – there’s a very laid back vibe that surrounds the whole place and an eclectic mixture of people as there’s as much to enjoy for the kids as there is for there parents; the music on offer is diverse enough that anyone will find something to enjoy, however it must be said the line up in the generally loud Baino Tent is generally catered towards the more grown up end of the festival.

Indeed, The Ex are veterans at making a noise and the Dutch impro punks deliver a set laden with groves and post punk attitude that sets things off for a night of raucous activity in potentially the festival’s loudest corner.

Back to the main stage it’s the turn of the ever unpredictable and unconventional Deerhoof, and from the moment they take the stage they work hard to ensure the crowd is having a good time; they don’t need to work hard though as Satomi Matsuzaki’s cute bubbly personality, alongside guitarist’s John Dieterich’s and Ed Rodriguez energetic stage presence, leaves you grinning from ear to ear.

Deerhoof’s style is both minimalistic and loud with a number of intense noise rock sections held together by the extremely talented Greg Saunier who’s ability to control the band surreal nature helps gives their song’s direction, while also acting as a go between dry comic figure as the band set up between songs, quipping things like “the drummer of Deerhoof would like to register a complaint that we’ve been here all day and have not been offered a pair of rabbit ears,” after noticing a number of them in the crowd.

They close their set with the infectious ‘Panda Panda Panda’, which Matsuzaki turns into a sing-a-long with the repetitive vocal line “panda panda panda” and ending with words like “China!” and “bamboo!”.

Even through the song’s lyrics seem simple enough its loping irregular beat is harder to master, however the crowd give their best shot as Matsuzaki continues to bounce joyously round the stage.

I can’t believe we’ve got this far in the review and not mentioned the one thing that seems to set Doune the Rabbit Hole apart from most festivals; the dogs!

Everywhere you look at this festival there are dogs running around enjoying themselves just as much as the people, indeed the lovely weather we’ve been having helps, but over the course of the weekend the amount of joy brought by simply clapping a dog bring becomes as good a hangover cure as the first time of the day; hair of the dog indeed.

A place it’s probably best not to bring you dogs however is the enticing boom of the Baino Tent and potentially the loudest act of the whole bill are on next in The Cosmic Dead; the somewhat Rabbit Hole regulars come not shrouded in as much smoke as they generally do, but the general wall of hair is still there as in the formidable sound the builds and builds through captivating, yet ear bursting psychedelic power, all backed by hypnotic rhythms that reverberate throughout the tent creating an all out spacy cacophony.

They may not be for the faint hearted, but this is high octane stuff, and it looks like the kid playing air guitar next to me agrees; and as guitarist James McKay jeers “give it to me baby” before asking their pals down the front before sneering “and then he gave me it,” you’re more than convinced that this is a band that have taken this festival to heart and will surely be regulars for years to come.

Then it’s Golden Teacher time; things might be getting a little hazy by now, but this is the hour when these guys thrive, the early morning set dawns with a few minutes of experimental beats and expressive dancing before full on exploding into what could easily be the most fun set of the weekend.

GT are masters of stirring a club slot crowd into a full on sea of dancing bodies and the hefty disco beats just keep giving, as the set delivers the crowd that adrenalin injection needed to keep their feet moving after a long day, and from the amount of buzzing, sweaty bodies piling out of the tent at 2am it would appear they’ve done their excelled themselves.

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Words: Iain Dawson/Jess Lavin
Photos: Michael Gallacher

Golden Teacher – Party People [Optimo Music]

Golden Teacher’s third EP for Optimo Music offers up some incredibly diverse dancefloor gems.

On title track ‘Party People’ driving, afrobeat rhythms meet swaggering, howling vocals and space-age synth flares; the perfect intro to a 12” of eclectic, genre-hopping dance music.

This is the first time the two Golden Teachervocalists have been introduced and the result on ‘Party People’ sounds as if it was recorded at a house party – in a good way.

The bass-line driven ‘Love’ plays on some techno and house influences and uses delicately placed synth and percussion sections to create a real standout second track on the EP.

Low, muttered vocals throughout the track just ooze cool and echo around constantly evolving bass effects and the snare laden, urgent percussive style that dominates throughout Party People.

The combination of recorded live percussion and purely electronic elements makes for great listening and Golden Teacher prove a huge capacity for working outwith immediate trends in popular dance, with jazzier synth lines framing an intense afrobeat work-out on captivating third track, ‘Silver Chalice.’

It’s hard to fault a single moment of the rhythmic, primal dance material found on Party People.

It’s also hard to fully enjoy on record – it’s no secret that both artist and label have the primary intention of getting you, the listener, dancing like a lunatic and with dates lined up at the Psychedelic Forest Disco at Kelburn Castle as well as a promising Barrowlands Revue line-up which is sure to be a summer sun-soaked treat, Golden Teacher will have plenty of opportunity to do just that.

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Words: Tom Deering