Tag Archives: Le Thug

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival Fringe presents Le Thug, Arm Watches Fingers, MC Almond Milk at The Glad Cafe, 22/3/17

Save As Collective – Glasgow’s premier alternative electronic label – showcase some tremendous local talent as part of the Fringe of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival at The Glad Cafe.

The place begins to fill up as James Scott aka. MC Almond Milk – one of the head gentlemen of Save As – takes to the stage.

Despite Scott not being assisted as he was previously by Jay Rolex – he manages to combine well-produced and offbeat music with his own brand of technically impressive, clear, funny and well-written lyrics.

A lot of the music is pre-recorded and triggered where necessary, but some is produced live; it is quite rare to see a rapper make music whilst “spitting”, as they say; it is quite impressive.

Between songs, Scott is coy about his previous album – also launched from The Glad Cafe – and seems to wish to distance himself from it; referring to some of his newer songs as “more real”.

This, I would be inclined to agree with; his track “1995” is an intense, gripping and – to the majority of the audience – inherently relevant track.

“Wet Wednesday Part II” is a good example of an MC Almond Milk song underlined by beats that would stand-alone without rapping.

It is clear that this individual has a good command over the sounds he employs; his rap style errs on the side of melody – if you are looking for fast-paced, tempo defying rap, look elsewhere, if you’re looking for intelligent, entertaining, off-beat and poetic hip-hop, look no further.

Arm Watches Fingers stands amongst the crowd like a normie whilst a haunting and frankly bizarre female monolog plays over a broad ambient track.

Casually and methodically he walks up onto the stage in time to pick up and plug in his bass, adding more to the sound already in motion.

He grabs two drumsticks to rattle off of a presumably expensive piece of hardware.

It is when we watch Arm Watches Fingers use his arms to move his fingers towards his bass, drum pad, mad… synthesiser… thing or laptop that we are made abundantly aware that we are in the presence of a talented artist.

AWF’s music is dense, complex and oceanic in depth and scope, the music twists and turns through myriad themes and approaches – all whilst carrying expertly executed electronic production.

Music such as his is seldom consistently outstanding from start to finish; it relies on moments rather than entireties.

AWF perpetually builds towards subtle changes that are seriously affective; he knows his sound inside out.

When headliners Le Thug take the stage the venue fills up and sparse electronic with warped, ambient and heavily reverberated instrumentals, undercut the enchanting vocals which enter the fray to enact the full complement.

The creative use of the musical elements and raw talent go a long way to mask the band’s lack of stage presence or inter-song interaction, with the veil is only slightly lifted when technical issues hold things up.

Le Thug’s music is rich, ambient and pleasant and they are original, distinctive and emotive; the mix is not ideal, but the band can hardly be decried for that.

Despite a few technical issues, the overall impression left is that they are a talented band with a collection of impressive and enjoyable songs.

The band does well to manage the extraneous volume from a reverb heavy set and it never clashes between the elements.

A bizarre video serves as the sets backdrop, including – amongst other things – a flaming Vitruvian Man and footage of an El Classico showdown; like I said, bizarre.

Le Thug deliver a profoundly appreciable set, their work falls into the realm of post-rock shoegaze, it is relaxing, powerful, dynamic and well-balanced with vocal work that is very soft and works well with the surrounding instruments.

The Glad Cafe – as always – serves as an excellent backdrop to this showcase of Save As Collectives finest, keep your eyes peeled for anything coming from any of these acts and from the Save As Collective, they are truly in the business of diverse and unique new music.

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/254472639″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Jonnie Common

Tracks of 2015 (10-1)

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

10 Martha Ffion - No Applause10 Martha Ffion – No Applause [Lost Map]

Offering a sweeter take on 60s rock Martha Ffion has managed to grab a lot of attention this year since we first caught her support Jessica Pratt in April. Blending lo-fi fuzz guitar, sleek vocals and poetic lyricism ‘No Applause’ offers the both raw edge and maturity some acts have spent years trying to perfect. From this single alone it is clear why Ffion’s originality has received so much praise during preceding months. She also filled in for Sugarhill Gang at Wickerman; quite the year. (Jess Lavin)

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207018341″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]

9 Halfrican - Life Is Hard9 Halfrican – Life Is Hard [El Rancho]

Halfrican, the band that were best known for their matching shorts and mixing together fuzz, garage and 60s pop released their first official single ‘Life is Hard’ during the summer. Halfrican’s powerhouse guitar pop really packs a punch and forces the listener to give it their full attention, whereas the track’s surf-rock twang adds further depth to keep you interested. (Jess Lavin)

8 Le Thug - Basketball Land8 Le Thug – Basketball Land [Song, by Toad]

The elusive Le Thug re-emerged at the start of the year with their first formal release on Song, By Toad Records, though each of the 6 tracks on the EP is just as mesmerising as the one before, ‘Basketball Land’ is a clear standout as it really showcases Clio’s enchanting vocals, which match beautifully with the mix of pulsing drones and electronic flourishes. The track has a real dreamlike quality and is both extremely gripping and powerful without being forceful – never begging for your attention, but capable of engrossing you in its sound. (Jess Lavin)

7 The Van T’s - Growler7 The Van T’s – Growler [Bloc+]

In the summer of 2013 I caught an acoustic folk duo by the name of The Van T’s at the ABC – little did I know that by the end of 2015, they’d be amongst my favourite current Scottish bands. Nor did I realise the acoustic folk patter would be patched in favour of an incredible, raucous rock reminiscent of the likes of the Pixies and the Raveonettes. ‘Growler’ is perhaps the seminal moment of what has been a fantastic year for the Van Thompson twins – a ferocious track that perfectly purveys The Van T’s sound though its outstanding riffs and atmospheric lyrics. It’s an unstoppable force of a song that rightly deserves a place in any end-of-year list and reinforces the inarguable fact that the duo will be well worth watching in 2016 and beyond. (Jay Henderson)

6 Miaoux Miaoux - Luxury Discovery6 Miaoux Miaoux – Luxury Discovery [Chemikal Underground]

An unapologetically-catchy, impossible-not-to-dance-to electro-pop track that exists as the crowning glory of an album that will likely be reflected upon as one of Scotland’s finest of 2015. Put simply: you’d have to try really hard to not love it, and even harder to forcibly extract it from your brain. (Michael Maver)

5 WOMPS - Live A Little Less5 WOMPS – Live A Little Less [Damnably]

We have been covering the output of Ewan Grant for a long time at Rave Child, and the truly pleasant chap seems to finally be getting his deserved credit. Rising from the ashes of noisy and productive rockers, Algernon Doll, WOMPS have had an excellent first year playing shows across the globe and recording their debut single ‘Live A Little Less’ with garage production legend Steve Albini. The single has gone on to receive a vast amount of praise and it’s clear why as it perfectly mixes fuzzy, turbulent garage with meaningful lyrics and melodic harmonies. The duo seems to have found their road and is now hitting it at full pelt; expect big things from them in 2016. (Jess Lavin)

4 Kathryn Joseph - The Bird4 Kathryn Joseph – The Bird [Hits The Fan]

‘The Bird’ is a perfect example of how strong indie-folk can be – and not just in Scotland.  Kathryn Joseph is without doubt one of the diamonds among the plethora of unconvincing, pseudo-emotional acoustic-y acts that have been badly waltzing around the internet hay barn since Justin Vernon brilliantly set the pace with Bon Iver in 2008, and she does so in a way that gently reminds us all that art needn’t (or maybe shouldn’t) be a forced experience. Mixing metaphors aside, ‘The Bird’ blends familiar and melancholic piano tones with uniquely compelling rasped vocals to hugely emotional effect, and is a must listen. It helped her win a SAY award, too. (Greg Murray)

3 TeenCanteen - Sister3 TeenCanteen – Sister

TeenCanteen’s ‘Sister’ is captivating, it showcases the band’s ability to come out with a fighting spirit through an intense and driven sound. In 2015, the band also raised £3456.72 for Scottish Woman’s Aid at their ‘Girl Affect’ event, therefore it is easy to see that last year has been a successful year for the girls. They have much to be proud of from it, and ‘Sister’ can definitely be considered a highlight.

2 Best Girl Athlete - Seven Seconds2 Best Girl Athlete – Seven Seconds [Fit Like]

2015 was a pivotal year for the precociously talented Best Girl Athlete with a string of both local and far-flung gigs including a tour of North America, and the release of her album, Carve Every Word, which received an overwhelmingly positive critical response. ‘Seven Seconds’ is a highlight of the record, with its charming combination of upbeat pop, lyrics written with a twist of melancholy, and a lifted final section that catches the listener off guard. (Ellen Renton)

1 Hector Bizerk - Rust Cohle1 Hector Bizerk – Rust Cohle

In a year where Hector Bizerk were prolific as ever it was this number that shaded their almost as wonderful ‘They Made a Porno On A Mobile Phone & Everybody Laughed’ featuring Pronto Mama’s Marc Rooney. While the fanbase and the seaming mutual adoration between the two groups drove that track pretty far, it was the sheer sneery, hook of a sing-along of ‘Rust Cohle’ that made it the true standout in another successful year from Scotland’s best hip-hop act. The track named after Matthew McConaughey’s character in last year’s, equally as gripping, season of HBO drama True Detective, is darker than a lot of Hector’s previous material as an Americana guitar riff gives way to sharp synths, while Louie’s couplets are as well thought out as ever. Absolute beast of a track live too!

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

King Tut’s Summer Nights with AmatrArt, Apache Darling, Le Thug, Miracle Strip, 21/7/15

As King Tut’s Summer Nights gathers pace, four acts gather on the famous stage preparing to make a bid for stardom.

For the standout act of the evening, Apache Darling, it seems like nothing less than being the biggest pop act in the world will be enough, but our first act seem happy with more modest goals.

Stripped back to rudimentary beats and a few additional guitar and keyboard parts (and an impressive moustache) Miracle Strip are an indie-electro duo with a touch of Sparks’ aloof elocution.

Lyrically they’re a little adrift and choosing to release your EP on cassette deserves to be a black mark on anyone’s record (note: the editor disagrees; we love tapes, keep them coming), but their final extended electro workout gets a few feet shuffling.

The variety of styles on show is both a strength and weakness of the Summer Nights series, but Le Thug seem equally happy letting their music wash over the audience.

Their cool female vocals evoke Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins; melodies drifting like icebergs over a shoegaze background.

With a clear debt to eighties power balladeers like Bonnie Tyler and their own hashtag (#thenewpop), Apache Darling should be almost unbearable

Instead they’re the band who gives the night an overdue kick up the arse, effortlessly mastering electro and power pop with huge charm

They’re not quite ready for a smash debut yet; some of their melodies are little fussy, but it’s rare to find a band who so brilliantly channel all that is great about pop music and make it look so effortless.

Tracks like ‘Go’ and ‘More than Me’ are the sound of magpie-like 21st century approach to pop history that practically fizzes with life.

They’re masters of pacing too, following a show-stopping ballad with an irrepressible power pop cover of Katy Perry’s ‘Hot and Cold’.

Keep your eye on Apache Darling, because the sky could be the limit.

Finally our headliners take to the stage; remarkably youthful and dressed they like just stumbled out of a Topman ad, AmatrArt sound exactly how you expect five skinny white guys to sound post-Foals/Alt J.

The quintet is impressively tight, adding muscular layers to their singer’s unfortunately indecipherable vocals.

The portentously named ‘Delirium Tremens’ aims for the gravitas of Radiohead or Bloc Party, culminating in a final spasm that recalls the guitar heavy call to arms of Foals’ Total Life Forever.

Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Elina Lin

Le Thug – Place Is [Song, by Toad]

Perfectly timed with the release of Adam Curtis’ Bitter Lake, is Le Thug’s Place is EP.

The range of textures is similar to the variety used in those films, beeps of electronics, buzz saws of effected electric guitars and the soothing melodies that delivered softly could easily be mistaken for a 1960s French ballad to a sleepy ear.

The Curtis similarity, as these parts work add to a greater whole, simple elements making complex pieces that hit the listener on multiple emotional levels.

Taken in isolation any snippet provides a microcosm of sound that happily entertains in itself.

The EPs leading track ‘Basketball Land’ plays with the expectation of the listener suggested by the previous two tracks, in contrast it starts off with a harsh industrial kick drum pattern.

The saw tooth synths and guitars blend in front of a hint of arpeggios and machined hi hats.

Like an archive of sounds, the EP conveys the feeling of visiting a location from a personal past and finding space, structure and dimensions all condensed.

One might think that the place has changed over time but in fact it is all a matter of perspective.

This is the strongest compliment I can give this release and based on the ease of writing this review it must be an indication, if anything, that the group are the strongest act on the roster of Edinburgh based label, Songs by Toad, lead by Howard Hughes like eccentric Matthew Toad.

The only criticism would be the that a track list as top heavy would not be a smart way to structure a full album (FUTURE TAKE NOTE*), as the mood on the second half would have had more of the emotive tug side A has if the pacing felt less plodding.

However, not too short, but not out staying it’s welcome, the EP is deserving of a physical release and well worth the money.

Even if not buy it for some, fans of shoegaze and post rock would welcome it

I have avoided comparisons and genre study writing, as it would be a disservice to the group and the piece of work they have assembled.