Tag Archives: Marble Gods

The Spook School (album launch), Martha, Marble Gods at Stereo, 27/1/18

“Tonight’s show is sponsored by Linda McCartney sausages. Sausages! Vegetarian! Sausages! Vegetarian!” is announced through the speakers in the unmistakable tones of Spook School drummer, and mouthpiece of the band, Niall McCamley.

It’s a theme that plays out throughout the show, as McCamley’s battle for veggie sausage sponsorship is played out before us, but before we get into that there’s the not so small matter of support.

Marble Gods have stepped in last minute as Shopping couldn’t make it, but such is the sun chasing indie pop of the trio that you can’t really complain too much as it warms you nicely on a cold January evening, not that Stereo’s sold out basement needs any help being warmed up.

Chat about waking up this morning and looking forward to going to this gig before ending up playing is charming, as is amusing anecdotes about Ronan Keating and turning down Springsteen tickets when you were 14; Marble Gods play sweet pop with an addictive groove and a melancholy c86 delivery.

There’s a shout out for Taylor Stewart, who’s filling in on drums tonight, and the ever-charismatic Stewart takes a bow in his shades before another lovely tale leads us into ‘Washing Machine’.

Durham four-piece Martha had no such problems getting here for one of their favourite band’s launch parties and they take the energy up to break neck levels, while keeping us knee deep in indie pop territory.

They deliver punk tinged pop tracks that ooze urgency and hooky addictiveness, while their infectious three way vocals and speedy hooks have the crowd whipped, with a good portion belting back every word.

They even tell us a secret, but we can’t tell cos it’s a secret; from sneery pop punk to super fast pop you can’t keep your eyes or ears off them.

The Spook School are “big on sausages” apparently, and as they arrive on stage sporting vests and sweat bands the typically eccentric four-piece open things up with album opener and recent single ‘Still Alive’, followed by catchy nostalgic number ‘Less Than Perfect’ as they continue to play the new album, Could It Be Different?, start to finish.

Niall’s sausage narrative continues with recorded phone calls and answering machine messages to Linda McCartney, as he pitches potential sponsorship, assumes he’s got it and then panics cos the sausages haven’t arrived and they’ve catered their merch accordingly.

His enthusiasm is addictive and as he plays up the sausage stick preparing people for if they arrive with “you’ll have to get them home quick, they’re frozen”, and it’s only six songs in before his top comes off and tassels come out.

‘I Only Dance When I Want To’ blasts us with possibly the catchiest chorus of the album, before more sausage related banter and the closing few songs of the record before the band enter a greatest hits of sorts.

A run through of ‘Burn Masculinity’, ‘Speak When You’re Spoken To’, ‘Binary’ and ‘I’ll Be Honest’ act as both reminders how good The Spook School are at writing catchy numbers, but the fact that the only noticeable difference in energy from the first portion of the set is the crowd knowing every word, also put into light how strong the set of songs that forms the new album are.

Then just when you think the McCamley’s pushed the sausage thing too far, he starts strutting around the stage as the band burst into a version of Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ and Martha and Marble Gods emerge holding ‘Linda’ and ‘sausage’ banners; it’s a joke forms for too much of a talking point in this review, but one that acts as a mere distraction from the real winner of the night Could It Be Different? Would you want it to be?

https://soundcloud.com/spookschool/i-only-dance-when-i-want-to-1?in=spookschool/sets/the-spook-school-on-audiotree

Words: Iain Dawson

Tracks of 2017 (40-31)

40. Marble Gods – ‘Washing Machine’

“a song about finding your feet and washing your socks”, it couldn’t have been put any better. Marble Gods are a band that exude joy, and ‘Washing Machine’ is the perfect example of that with its delightful lo-fi indie pop jangle, sugar coated C86 vocal displays and whimsical lyrics.

39. L-space – ‘Aloe’

‘Aloe’ is about someone being turned into a giant metal bird, need we say more. It’s also a dark, sinister yet dreamy piece of pop that stood out as the best work of an exciting band to emerge in 2017. L-space released a couple of promising EPs this year but it was this single released towards the end the calendar that caught our attention the most as it built from atmospheric beginnings to a ominous climax and left us wanting more.

38. Dama Scout – ‘Suzie Wong’ [Father/Daughter]

‘Suzie Wong’ was just one example of the creative and unpredictable charm of Dama Scout in 2017, and the track centred around a recording of a child’s guitar the band found while on holiday in Portugal is a delightful effort. Another modern pop number that takes in warm and classic indie influences while maintaining a truly fascinating sound, while sugar-coated, dreamlike vocals and and buzzing off-kilter melodies make it one that we’ll keep coming back to.

37. Walt Disco – ‘Jackets’

Walt Disco emerged this year with a shimmering, flamboyant talent and their debut single ‘Jackets’ gave us a taster of what to expect in the near future. The young five-piece here have meshed a charismatic lead falsetto with dynamic guitars and synths to great a sound no doubt indebted to a time before these guys were born, while feeling refreshingly current and exciting.

36. The Vegan Leather – ‘Shake It’

Instantaneously the massive, dirty electronics kick ‘Shake It’ into life, with the boy/girl trade-off between vocalists Marie Collins and Gianluca Bernacchi. Around two and a half minutes in, ‘Shake It’ essentially stops before becoming a different beast altogether. An instrumental seemingly custom-made for big dancefloors reverberates before the chanting finale of “SHAKE! SHAKE IT! SHAKE IT OUT!” Despite still being in their relative infancy, The Vegan Leather already now have an absolute banger, which sets them in good stead for fulfilling their definite potential.

35. And Yet It Moves – ‘Second Earth Song’

Free Pass To The Future was such an intense and genre spanning album that selecting a song wasn’t easy, we’ve gone for ‘Second Earth Song’ though, It’s a bit discordant but you can see the lineage to Glasgow bands of the early ’80s though naturally some of the vocals are then fed through a vocoder and things get rather raucous. It may be nuts, it may be yelling, “Fuck you”, all over the place but it has a joyousness about it, a celebration of itself.

34. Sister John – ‘Sweetest Moment’ [Last Night From Glasgow]

Meeting through the Parsonage Choir, Glasgow’s Sister John make beautiful lo-fi pop with a touch of Americana to their lush, warm harmonies. It’s startling just how assured the songwriting feels right off the bat on ‘Sweetest Moment’, from the conversational opening bars to the beautifully simple refrain “I’ll take it, break it and just before it cracks, it’s the sweetest moment,” it’s one of the most charming and effortlessly melodic tracks of the year. Keening fiddle adds a touch of Gillian Welch, while the gentle backing vocals lend a Laurel Canyon lushness to a track that floats past like a hazy evening breeze.

33. CHUMP – ‘At Least We Got A Song Out Of It’ [Gerry Loves]

‘At Least We Got a Song Out of It’ is rhythmically hypnotic and oozes professionalism and poise as well as laid-back resignation; it’s vocally endearing and musically explorative, well engineered and beautifully recorded. The wash of the cymbals is well placed and overlays the other instruments with a sense of distance. CHUMP do a good job of embracing and balancing the sound of its global and local acoustic elements.

32. December ’91 – ‘Starin’ At The Freaks’ [GoldMold]

We’ve been used to dark, misery drenched sometimes beautiful, sometimes frantic lo-fi punk come alt-rock from Stirling resident Craig Ferrie, aka December ’91. With ‘Starin’ At The Freaks’ is noticeably less lo-fi, with a lively optimistic sounding constantly driving backdrop that comes with an addictive vocal line that recalls the likes of Kurt Vile’s drawl delivery. A bright bit of alternative pop that brings in all the sunshine of the boat journey captured in the track’s video and brings a welcome upbeat addition to the ever growing December ’91 catalogue.

31. Emme Woods – ‘I’ve Been Running’ [Last Night From Glasgow]

Emme Woods is an act that has been rather underlooked by us over the past year, so much so that this single completely bypassed us when it came out, ‘I’ve Been Running’ is a dark contemplative track that perfectly shows Woods’ unique and impressive vocal stylings along with her unquestionable songwriting ability.

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.

Freakender, Day 1, 15/9/17

Now in its second year garage, psych and rock festival Freakender has excitement blossoming around it as the trio behind Eyes Wide Open, El Rancho and Fuzzkill put together a killer weekend that is crammed full of talent that’s also lovingly curated into three unique days.

Day one has an overall an experimental vibe to it, featuring five local based acts whose sounds range from jazz touch dream pop to acid touched electronics to straight up gorgeous indie pop.

During an elongated introduction Max Syed-Tollan, performing as Horse Whisperer, explains he will play his greatest work to date, ‘Quintessential Horse Whisperer Part 1 Redux’, which is part of a hundred part piece he has been working on for a number of years and after some awkward hilarity as he dons a ceremonial robe to start things off for Freakender 2017.

A rattling beat starts the piece off, as the eclectic character drops bizarre kraut touching yet jarring keys creating an unnerving yet entrancing atmosphere, while strained vocals change to something more akin to a 60s psych folk group who got a hold of more kit and went wild with it.

In fact there’s such a genre defying array of sounds on offer, from touches of jazz to tripping psych, even a bit of ska, it’s hard to fathom what might come next; nevertheless it’s enchanting stuff that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who’ve arrived early he gets Freakender off to a great start.

Marble Gods are a delight, whether donning retro football tops or not, they’re also the most conventional act of the night, delivering straight up charming, sugar dripping indie pop that woos the crowd happily into nodding along.

It’s indie as it should be, fun well-written songs that are over before you know it and always leave you wanting more and as one song ends the trio duly deliver with another fast fun number to charm your socks off.

Throw in a ton of awkward chat and you’ve got the full-on genuine indie pop experience, cos it’s not really indie pop unless it’s performed by damn lovely awkward kids.

One of the trio responsible for the weekend, Ian Crawford makes his first of a couple of trips to the stage over the course of the weekend as Banana Oil demand an introduction, he announces them as “the hardest working band in the Southside of Glasgow” and the “hardest working waiters in Stereo” among other things, but the trio more than live up to the build up.

Decked in shirts, shorts, slicked back hair and pulled up socks the trio, consisting of Joe Howe (Ben Butler & Mousepad/Gay against You) on tenor saxophone, Niall Morris (Shame Gate/LYLO) on bass and Laurie Pitt (Golden Teacher/Modern Institute), blast off into a set of heady, funk and jazz enthused sounds that flows freely without losing any of their powerful energy through smooth and jarring sax sections.

The trio is well renowned for their other acts, but this free-flowing, part improvised performance takes all the nuances of jazz, adding a spark of energy to create something that gets your moving, and despite all its complexities somehow this feels super accessible.

Going from French spoken word introduction to pulsating beats Pleasure Pool get you going from the off, channelling somewhere between a crazy 90s acid house vibe and LCD Soundsystem at their most disco slick.

They’re set seems to be constantly building with a foot moving rhythms, as chanted vocals play over guitar, drums and an array of electronics that create a party vibe, while the lyric “I’m singing to a room of corpses” hits in at a quiet moment, perhaps intentionally, to put the tick in your head you’re not moving enough.

Their set evolves through dreamy yet energetic sparkling passages to churning dance floor fury, the crowd isn’t quite the flailing arms and legs you’d want, but this is day one, there’s a long way to go and judging by the Saturday line up a lot more chaos.

Closing day one is a band that if you’ve followed the site need no introduction, LYLO have such an effortlessly cool sound that incorporates sun touched keys with a dreamily crooned vocal that hooks you in, add to that a tight groove-laden rhythm section and ounces of smooth sax and you’ve got a sound that’s as refreshing as it is brilliant.

Persuasive tropical jazzy tones wash over the crowd getting feet moving, albeit not quite as much as they are on stage as vocalist/guitarist Mitch’s Stop Making Sense channelling dance moves more than sums up the power their sound holds, sadly you need some choice positioning in a rammed Old Hairdressers to see this, but the sound is so invigorating that it’s not completely necessary.

Night one proves a success, just one sleep to nine hours of garage pop madness for day two.

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Neelam Khan Vela

Fazerdaze, The RPMs, Marble Gods, Joyce Delaney at The Hug and Pint, 1/5/17

The appeal of a band fresh from New Zealand and ready to start a headline tour is strong tonight and even though it’s a bank holiday the crowd bustle in from the start to enjoy a packed night of support acts.

First up is Joyce Delaney, a three-piece fronted by Chrissy Barnacle on guitar and Nyla on bass; the pair share vocals throughout and sprinkle the space between songs with a charming double-act of joking, sarcasm and confessional storytelling.

Their onstage ease is more than justified by the lively scuffle of what they describe as ‘bubblegum punk’, enriched with screeches, jagged riffs and a kind of scrappy garage sound that’s sweetened by the pair’s vocals, veering easily between siren shrill and butter-wouldn’t-melt.

With references to Bojack Horseman, drunk texting and Facebook stalking, Joyce Delaney make the kind of DIY noise rock that soundtracks the guzzling of corner-shop wine as you cry over your ex on Valentines, and in fact they even have a song, ‘Vday’, ready to go on this topic, featuring the vitriolic refrain “fuck your Valentines”.

If Joyce Delaney are a band for drowning your sorrows in millennial irony to, then next act Marble Gods are here to provide you with a bit of cheery, thrashing indie, with lyrics designed to help with problems both practical and existential in life, from regretting one’s childhood dislike of Bruce Springsteen to dealing with broken household goods.

The standout track is definitely ‘Washing Machine’, which is praised onstage by The RPMs later on; it’s one of the band’s tighter songs and draws the crowd with energetic rhythms and the high, sweet dream-pop drawls of singer Eimear Coyle, whose glow-in-the-dark tropical fish t-shirt looks a treat under the swirling disco lights of The Hug and Pint.

Marble Gods work best when they up the tempo to a good bounce, and opening track ‘Blonde Ambition’ indicates that this is indie pop with a sense of humour as well as a musical tightness that’s less apparent in Joyce Delaney’s sound.

Next up is Brighton four-piece The RPMs, who take to the stage in the obligatory rock’n’roll uniform of black denim and monochrome stripes and fire into a lively set of melodic indie rock.

While it’s important to praise such a young band for being so well rehearsed, the delivery pulled off more or less without a single hitch, there’s something incongruous about their precocious rockstar gloss and swagger.

Maybe it’s because they play after two very much self-aware bands, with lyrics drenched in irony and self-deprecating humour; or maybe it’s because The RPMs seem keen to address the audience with the rallying cries typically reserved for stadium gigs, which ultimately fall flat on the cosy atmosphere of this basement venue.

The ambition, musically, definitely leans towards The Who and Arctic Monkeys, sometimes recalling the husky indie pop of The View, but unfortunately The RPMs lack what the latter two bands have in bucketloads: witty lyrics that engage with pressing social issues at the level of everyday stories, delivered with a poet’s caustic precision.

It’s not that The RPMs don’t try to have a critical voice, with songs like ‘Oh My God’ and ‘I Wanna Work in Abercrombie & Fitch’ touching on political corruption, disillusioned urban youth and the somewhat fascist employment policies of popular clothing stores.

It’s just that there’s something not quite convincing about their conscious pose as rock’n’roll upstarts and millennial rebels, especially when their between-song banter involves a shoutout to the food selections at Tebay Services (endearing, certainly; punk, perhaps not).

Nevertheless, the band deserve credit for the tunes, which improve throughout as the riffs get sharper and poppier and harmonies smooth out some nice vocal textures, while an extravagant guitar solo on the closing track demonstrates their commitment to putting the energy back into a genre that often falls into apathetic or slacker territory.

After The RPMs’ youthful enthusiasm, Fazerdaze take us to the next spiritual level with their atmospheric brand of sensuous, bedroom dream-pop, lead by the effortlessly cool Amelia Murray, who arrives onstage with a beautiful racing-red Fender.

The band deliver a set that is warm, sultry and soothing at the same time as retaining a haunting quality, layered with rich emotional tones that catch a sense of nostalgia and yearning while tapping the energy of the present.

Murray’s voice rises to sweetly elegant, echoing lilts that beautifully fit the lo-fi vibe of her songs, while onstage the band have a certain chemistry of soft tight drums, intricate bass and atmospheric flourishes of electronica.

The subtle touch of reverb and shoegaze vibes leaves the impression of the music as lightly hazed by a retro glow, like neon blurred in the rain.

They smile through the whole set and while Murray’s luminous, sugary vocals have the crowd utterly mesmerised, there’s no pretension whatsoever to the band, whose sincerity and politeness is refreshing and leaves the impression that Fazerdaze simply enjoy what they do, seeming genuinely appreciative of their audience.

Standout songs include the melancholic, immersive tones of ‘Reel’, ‘Jennifer’ and ‘Little Uneasy’ as well as the more upbeat ‘Lucky Girl’, whose washed-out vocals and bright, clean guitars recall the dreamy indie of Wild Nothing and Craft Spells.

This is their first UK headline show, and with the winning combination of seamless delivery and that inexplicable magnetism that draws you into Murray’s intimate lyrical universe, Fazerdaze are set to win the hearts of many more local venues.

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Words: Maria Sledmere