Tag Archives: Grand Pricks

EPs of 2017 (30-21)

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

30. Polarneck/Grand Pricks – Polarpricks [GoldMold]

Grand Pricks’ offer tracks that seem to always be building, replacing toe-tapping with jumping around wanting more, raucous anti-establishment punk which manages to deliver both the simple hook and feel of 80s skater punk, coupled with eloquent, carefully considered lyrics. Polarnecks hit you with thumping drums and catchy hooks, which mask the somewhat melancholy lyrics. Elements of garage surfer rock, but with a darker undertone, yet still full of swagger, coupled with self-deprecating lyrics, something that a lot of people will be able to identify with. It’s impossible to pick a side on the split, as both bands have a clear, defined style but still manage to create one record which is very difficult to put down, mostly because you will be constantly flipping it over trying to decide which side deserves to go first.

29. Forehead – Bedrooms Tapes [GoldMold]

Sean Garrett’s forehead is an extremely complex and nuanced thing, his solo act Forehead is even more so. Garrett has a number of tricks up his sleeve, not least Bedroom Tapes, the debut EP from Forehead. With catchy musical hooks – ranging in temperance – and soft, emotional and well delivered vocals, all wrapped up in quirky, sporadic, experimental production, there’s not much not to love about Forehead.

28. Radiophonic Tuckshop – Running Commentary [Last Night From Glasgow]

Crammed with distorted, powerpop riffs, dreamy harmonies, Beach Boys-inspired jams, delicious wonky pop and an anthemic footstomper of a closer with a grandiosity akin to Sparks in ‘As Hard As I Feel’, Running Commentary is unashamedly powered by a modern take on retro rock and roll which wears its influences on its sleeve.

27. Wendell Borton – Crawl [Fitlike]

Wendell Borton convey their sense of joviality and lightness quickly, kicking things off with the titular track ‘Crawl’. With some subtle, washed out production, some weird vocal harmonies and some unmistakably fun musical elements, this is a very endearing song, which opens a very endearing EP. A massive point to Wendell Borton’s credit is that their choice of musical lines is quite subversive; they would likely be decried as another group of pop-punk plonkers were it not for their habit of taking a lot of musical back roads.

24. The New Fabian Society – Choke

Choke found The New Fabian Society not wasting a second, gone are the days of 10-minute post punk epics, instead we’re hit with a more focused approach, which allows arguably a higher and more varied output from the band, who’ve been going nigh on five years. With influences that lean less on the psychedelic side here the band really take a punk focus and run with it, with drums soundings like they’re from an industrial rock album at times, bass switching from synth like to simply balls to the wall distortion and a layered production that lets the guitars shine through with more clarity than before.

25. American Clay – Sky Hooks [LP]

Sky Hooks shakes the loose skin off your face with its fuzz induced perfection, providing intelligent verses and humble choruses, forcing you to keep this record on constant repeat. American Clay’s debut EP is highly inventive with a distinctive, solid-stated sound; a ridiculously enjoyable record that gives off a playful, yet subtle maturity.

24. Lanark Artefax – Whities 011

Not one we’ve been hugely familiar with but Glaswegian producer Calum MacRae, a.k.a. Lanark Artefax, has been getting mighty praise all over for his alien techno tracks. Whities 011 fizzes with perplexing sonic complexities and crowd pleasing maximalism that fellow Glasgow boys Hudson Mohawke and Rustie have mastered, while also showing an ear from powerful emotive ambient tracks.

23. Laps – Who Me? [MIC]

LAPS returned after a three-year break and withWho Me? let everyone know that this isn’t some mere side project, cemented further by Cassie Ezeji’s other act Golden Tecaher seemingly calling it a day. It’s an EP that oozes an ultra cool vibe as the duo, who also features Organs of Love’s Alicia Matthews, woo us with an anarchic groove centred record that dips its toes into no-wave soul, mimial industirial dark rnb and dubbed-out house, with an entrancing variety of vocal deliveries.

22. Marble Gods – Songs [Marry Me]

Marbles Gods’ Songs was a wee pop gem for 2017, it’s the perfect wee fuzzy C86 channelled indie pop tape that instills bags of upbeat fun with a tongue-in-cheek humour. Here’s hoping that we get more like this in the near future.

21. Wojtek the Bear – Second Nature

Wojtek the Bear returned with Second Nature, an EP that takes the listener on a journey through changing opinions and lifestyle changes in a typically Scottish manner. The EP takes you on a journey from a band looking for answers and end with the acceptance that what will be will be, through reflective driving drums and melodic guitar. It’s rewarding listen that takes a look at some of the darker sides of Scottish culture through a relatable and almost cheery mirror.

Polarnecks/Grand Pricks – Polarpricks [GoldMold]

Split records seem to have sadly become a thing of the past, but when one does come along, it is a welcome throwback to a time when bands seemed to share a sense of community and it felt as though they actually got on.

With this in mind, the collaboration from two excellent Glasgow trios, Polarnecks and Grand Pricks makes for excellent listening.

We’ll start with Grand Pricks (as this is the side of the vinyl that ended up on top as I flipped it), their first offering ‘En Flique’ opens slowly with guitar and heartfelt lyrics tinged with reverb before being joined by driving bass and drums.

This track seems to always be building and by the time we reach a musical interlude before singer Liam launches back in with the lyrics “you don’t need another follower” the toe-tapping will have been replaced by jumping around wanting more.

On their second track ‘Don’t Vote’, Grand Pricks deliver what they promised at the end track one; this is two-and-a-half-minutes of raucous anti-establishment punk which manages to deliver both the simple hook and feel of 80s skater punk, coupled with eloquent, carefully considered lyrics; “maybe you won’t get what you want in May,” which seem to capture current political attitudes of disdain and apathy.

The first side of this split left me excited for what was coming as I turned it over and Polarnecks do not disappoint.

Their first track ‘Pretty’ charges forward with thumping drums and catchy hooks, which mask the somewhat melancholy lyrics.

This is a very well constructed track that has elements of garage surfer rock, but with a darker undertone.

This is a song full of swaggering music, coupled with self-deprecating lyrics, something that a lot of people will be able to identify with.

Second and final track ‘Dogs’ carries on this frenetic pace as it speeds along like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, full of twists and turns as you wonder what is going to come next as guitarist Lukas kicks his fender up and down the record.

As with both of the Polarnecks contributions to this record, the musicality and passion is very apparent.

The biggest compliment I can pay the two bands on this split is that I found it impossible to pick a side, as both bands have a clear, defined style but still manage to create one record which is very difficult to put down, mostly because you will be constantly flipping it over trying to decide which side deserves to go first.

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Words: Steven Aitken

Jason Riddell, Lefthand, Grand Pricks, Chrissy Barnacle at The Hug and Pint, 12/2/17

The Hug and Pint hosts an eclectic range of artists on Sunday night, kicking off with the incomparable Chrissy Barnacle.

Even later than the last time I saw her live – and this time with a hangover – Barnacle impresses again with her remarkable consistency and profound originality.

The last Barnacle gig I was at was in a living room, the time before that in a small exhibition space.

There is a notable difference in sound quality between these gigs and this, larger, more professionally managed setup, emphasising the fact Barnacle belongs on a big stage.

She plays all of her classics with distinctively less inter-song exposition than usual at the start – perhaps on account of the hangover.

What she does share is still funny and fresh, her voice and guitar still complex and delicate.

Barnacle opens up more towards the end of the set, sharing a story about being referred to as “the darkest bitch in underground DIY”, which I would be inclined to agree with; offering some of the darkest musical themes as well as some of the darkest stand-up comedy I’ve seen.

One song I haven’t heard before – but have been assured that I must have – explores much heavier vocals, showcasing just how far Barnacle’s voice can be pushed; hangover or no.

Barnacle’s songs and on stage conversation is always extremely personal; when this is worked into the set it can be very funny, tense, moving, sexy or thought-provoking – whatever it needs to be.

Grand Pricks is up next to deliver their brand of what everyone – including them – comment is tonally inconsistent with the rest of the night’s acts, but still brilliant.

Grand Pricks have a good stage presence, work well together and is funny, relatable and enjoyable, and deserve and command full attention.

I don’t like to exaggerate or overstate things, so I will just say that ‘Ritual’ blew the lid off the universe and leave it at that.

This is the high point of their set, which tails off slightly towards the end with the exception of ‘Don’t Vote’, which provides a hearty vessel for Ben Mckay’s thunderous bass and allows Liam Allan to showcase his freakish guitar work – on a rubbishy replacement guitar following the snapping of a string during ‘Hotstough’.

Next up is Lefthand – an act comprised of one man, two guitars, five pedals, a little drum machine and an even littler amp.

Kenny Bates is an apparently right-handed guitarist who can engineer complex soundscapes with his sparse apparatus.

The guitar work is dischordant in nice places, transforming rhythms under decent vocals, which are expressive and not too melodic.

Lefthand has a fantastic command over the sound of the guitar, playing some very well observed notes and melodies from a range of styles.

One song ends with the putting down of the guitar and the manipulation of the feedback with the pedals.

Bates makes some particularly high feedback, loops it, distorts it and brings it back in before letting it die and bringing it back into a new song in a new way, donning a new guitar; it’s soft, subtle and silences the room.

It could be argued that Lefthand would benefit from a full compliment, but for now, I like what I see.

Headlining is Jason Riddell, the last time I saw Riddell he was performing with Callum Grindle (Polarnecks, Pillow Talk), this time he is with a full band.

The full set-up produces some very intricate, harmonious and diverse sounds that underpin Riddell’s strong vocals well.

These vocals wind well through various territories, ensuring and maintaining a haunting and emotional live set.

Through most of the set, Riddell helms the acoustic guitar, occasionally swapping with Grindle on the piano.

When Grindle is on guitar he lends lower vocals to the harmony, complementing Riddell’s higher register excellently.

Every element of the band works well; good guitar, good bass, good drums, good piano, good vocals; good.

Another diverse and sincerely worthwhile concert showcasing some up and coming Glaswegian talent, the basement of The Hug and Pint is packed with engaged and interested music lovers  – this is fast becoming my favourite underground (quite literally) venue.

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Words: PGAitken
Photos: Gary Taylor

GoldMold presents The Sinking Feeling, Polarnecks, FRAUEN, Grand Pricks at Bloc, 12/1/17

Every month, Glasgow based label and steadily growing titan of Scottish music GoldMold put on a gig at Bloc, these gigs are as free and they are good – extremely.

I love Bloc and it is a perfect venue for these gigs, but with groups being turned away at the door because it is so busy, a gig with as stellar and intense a line up as this may require a bigger dance hall.

The dance-floor is packed from the very first band, Grand Pricks – an elusive band that is better every time I see them.

Grand Pricks are good fun, their on-stage chemistry is enjoyable and they are no strangers to going bananas.

Their set tightens progressively as the show progresses – following a rocky start as described by drummer, Chris Smith.

By the end – in the full throes of their new songs – the music is fast, punctual and powerful; with each song’s difficult vocals being delivered with flawless consistency by vocalist Liam Allan.

Bassist Ben Mckay polishes off their set by fronting a weird and wonderful track, indicative of a whole other ballgame the band can play.

Second up is FRAUEN, whose first album is en route, and they capitalise well on the energy, FRAUEN take things from jolly frivolity to hard despair.

They are by no means an overly heavy or emotional band, but their punk-rock vibe is delivered with such nightmarish intensity, but at times the emotionally laden undercurrents of the music shine through.

Another band whose set grows ever tighter and more enjoyable as goes on, but they are done before you know it.

Polarnecks are a grungier outfit that are in studio with Grand Pricks at the moment recording a split EP on GoldMold with Lewis Glass.

Polarnecks present arguably the softest vocals despite some well placed screaming from frontman Lukas Clasen.

They have a distinctly more gazey approach with slightly sparser music; combined these qualities work well for them and gives them a distinctive sound.

The older tracks have a distinct hook, their new tracks, from the upcoming split, are somewhat more dynamic and less formulaic, perhaps indicative of a new direction or tone.

I doubt that by the end of their set there are many patrons whose appetites for this new EP are not whetted.

Last, The Sinking Feeling – the hardest-core of the night’s acts – and despite some initial clashing amongst the vocals, the full dance-floor is subjected to a very strong performance from some extremely passionate, well-attuned and technically gifted musicians.

The Sinking Feeling seems to involve three similarly minded individuals, the connection between whom comes across in their work.

After the set co-frontman Kenni Campbell reveals that he isn’t especially pleased with how the set went, since his hands were all but mush after playing with FRAUEN.

Any impediments caused by this mangling of hands is not apparent to me.

Two things that each of this gigs acts have in common is that they all finish stronger than they start, and they all make three musicians sound like five.

Each band has one guitar, one bass guitar and one set of drums and – between them – they push the dynamics of these instruments nice and far.

The night itself is better than each of the individual bands sets; excitement, community and friendliness prevail.

The greatest thing about it is that each of the acts is as excited to see the other bands as they are to play, and they are right to be so.

As Innes Nolan – drummer for Polarnecks and GoldMold mainstay Lovely Ladies – puts it, “rock and roll won”.

There is a palpable sense of community at these gigs; it is easy to make good friends here; you should come next time.

Feebruary 15th will see a joint birthday bash for the head honcho’s of GoldMold and the distinctly weirder and more electronic Crater Cove, headed by Lovely Ladies guitarist Cameron Orr.

Although the line up hasn’t been announced yet, I’m certain you could do considerably worse for free on a Thursday night; I will Hopefully see you there!

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Words: Paul Aitken