Tag Archives: MC Almond Milk

Track of 2017 (30-21)

30. Siobhan Wilson – ‘Whatever Helps’ [Song, by Toad]

Immediately, ‘Whatever Helps’ shows off a more darker tone than Siobhan Wilson’s earlier, more twee-sounding material; the delicately soft vocal remain, but it is now layered, and more ominous sounding. An ode to fighting against a lost love, and the depression that comes with it, the lack of a backing band on the track allows Wilson’s gorgeous voice to drift like a lonely stranger passing through the night.

29. MC Almond Milk – ‘1995’ [Save As]

‘1995’ is a nostalgic journey through summers filled with dirty gutties and bowl cuts that will have anyone of a certain age and disposition grabbing a bottle of Devon’s finest tonic wine and heading for a park with Oasis blaring on their Walkman. As the story continues from 1995 to 2015, the narrative goes through the ups and downs of life and growing up; the craft is how the beat and music becomes more frantic during the less pleasant parts of Almond Milk’s formative years and relaxes when he raps about the good times.

28. Annie Booth – ‘Chasm’ [Scottish Fiction/Last Night From Glasgow]

Written about the barriers we put up between ourselves and others to feel better/more comfortable when in fact it makes us more distant than ever ‘Chasm’ is a lyric-driven beauty that builds over a chirpy alt-rock enthused rhythms as Annie Booth’s warm silky voice teases over the top in a conversational yet heartfelt tone. On her EP three years ago Booth displayed a knack for cleverly written songs, but there was a raw element about the release the has been honed in on here, clearly her experiences with in Mt. Doubt have evolved her sound, making her not just one to look out for in the Scottish folk scene but on a much wider scale, both musically and geographically.

27. Young Fathers – ‘Lord’

‘Lord’ offered the first taste of Young Fathers’ third record and what have they given us? Is it a call for redemption? Or a message from another plane? Whatever it is, it’s proof that Young Fathers are still a band like no other, because in the best way possible, it sounds like several different songs at once. One song is a gentle, baby’s own piano, one part a gospel choir of harshly treated vocals, one part bleak electronics evoking a droning cello or a glass wall vibrating. It’s Dante’s Divine Comedy in a song and the sign of an act that still has no shortage of ways to confound, an intriguing scene setter for where the trio might go next.

26. West Princes – ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’ [vodoidARCHIVE]

Lifting you beyond the rain drenched dreariness of Glasgow’s synonymous party street that we can only assume these guys are named after, West Princes brought beautifully warm breeze with ‘Wet Bark Is A Slug’. The first taste of released material from these guys is subtle yet playful number that gives us a taste of band who are likely to have a big 2018.

25. BDY_PRTS – ‘Rooftops’ [Aggrocat]

‘Rooftops’ is an upbeat slice of electronic indie-pop reminiscent of Robyn or La Roux; warm chords power a rising melody line that sounds like Marina & the Diamonds are shaping for a big-lunged chorus as O’Sullivan and Reeve knit their voices together for an impossibly catchy refrain. There’s a touch of Jenny Lewis to the lovelorn chorus “the pieces of my heart are falling from the rooftops” but for song that seems knitted together from a handful of different sections, it’s the lush call and response finale that lingers long in the memory.

24. Mt. Doubt – ‘Tourists’ [Scottish Fiction]

‘Tourists’ is a story about Leo Bargery’s fear of flying with a tone is tongue and cheek, while the melody is a smooth, free-flowing mantra. The composition is sincere but the sentiment more jovial, Bargery’s voice has the capacity for wandering through low tones, luring you into a peaceful hum, before leaping up an octave or two. It’s got a hummable chorus, that plays darkly humorous lyrics off giant guitar chords and some neat female backing vocals, from Annie Booth, as Bargery contemplates whether he might be happier in ‘Southend in Sea’ and deploys the rather smart line “my aversion to aviation, keeps my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds”.

23. Savage Mansion – ‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ [Lost Map]

‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ is a fleshy piece of pragmatic laziness, emitting imaginary craft and an unquestionable attitude that textures the track throughout. Launching into a distinctive and highly melodic guitar line, which quickly establishes a prominent radiance; the deadened drums provoke a sense of moody-solace, lifting appropriately. ‘Do You Say Hello to Your Neighbours?’ is a serious slab of attractive songwriting, non-pretentious and thought provoking, excitingly hopeful.

22. Bluebirds – ‘Subcultural Love’

Bluebirds have developed a reputation as being a must-see live act, and ‘Subcultural Love’ certainly shows off an intensity that very few bands are able to capture. ‘Subcultural Love’ is dark and unnerving, drawing the listener into a five minute bind with no respite. Vocalist Daniel Telford’s Nick Cave-esque snarl guides the track murkily, before the track crashes into cacophonous life, as he howls “we need to see some more skin”.

21. Out Lines – ‘Buried Guns’ [Rock Action]

The supergroup of sorts comprised of James Graham of The Twilight Sad, Kathryn Joseph, and Marcus Mackay captured a mesmerisingly gritty, undoubtedly Scottish record in Confrats and lead single ‘Buried Lines’ was the pick of the bunch. The track is a strikingly hypnotic stroll through a mysterious setting, as Graham’s distinctive Scottish vocals intertwine with Joseph’s elegant yet gritty delivery over powerful brooding production.

Albums of 2017 (20-11)

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

20. And Yet It Moves – Free Pass To The Future

With And Yet It Moves you never knew what to expect, from jaw dropping experimental jam-like frenzies to full on aural assaults they are the ever encapsulating live band led by a frontman in Dale Barclay that you just can’t take your eyes off. On record that don’t quite carry that same presence, but is Free Pass To The Future they channel their all encompassing live show as best to can on record, giving touches of every genre you can imagine with a raw energy that explodes him intense bursts of power.

19. MC Almond Milk – Full Day, Cool Times

The postman from sunny Govan returned with the excellent Full Day, Cool Times, that through a number of ups and downs, show a real insight into the mind of this exciting MC. MC Almond Milk mixes wittily crafted lyrics, cheekily Scottish references with at times dreamy at others full on party beats. Lyrically Full Day, Cool Times sees the Glasgow MC take a sardonic look at youth culture, go on a nostalgic journey through his past, as we see him try to make sense of culture and himself. It’s a joyous listen from a very funny yet also very socially aware individual and is well worth delving into.

18. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun [Rock Action]

Whether crashing tides of art-rock drums over scintillating melodies on ‘Brain Sweeties’, or returning to the familiar slow build of a classic Mogwai anthem on ‘Coolverine’, this record solidifies a leanness of sound that sometimes bursts into reflective expanse. The nebulous haze of intense guitars recedes in gentler clefts of quiet chorale (‘1000 Foot Face’), while tracks like ‘Don’t Believe the Fife’ pound through the sublime intensity that Mogwai do best.

17. The Cosmic Dead – Psych Is Dead [Riot Season]

The Cosmic Dead’s sixth slab of music in recent years opens with a meditative trance, a wash of modulating drone pushed alone with a jarring sparse bass groove bringing to mind the brittle dry tones of Slint’s Spiderland. This is on top of waves and gargles of synth mixed with the effected guitars, the tropical watery arpeggios bring the refreshment to the scene created. This pleasance this comes to an end as the temperature rises to that of a burning comet heading straight for the listener’s temples. Links to their live set can be heard in the closer ‘#FW’, where after the howl of what sounds like “fuck Westminster” the headbanger material comes out; the riff gather a playful side as a bit crushed hooks is typed out as the record draws to a close.

16. The Great Albatross – Asleep In The Kaatskills [LP]

Recorded over four years in various bedrooms in Scotland and California Asleep in the Kaatskills by The Great Albatross is a tremendously coherent and enjoyable album, worth more than the sum of its parts, failing at no point to impress, falling at no point into a pigeonhole and feeling at all times extremely professional. Despite embracing a number of popular sounds and dimensions, the album has a lot of originality, it is experimental without sacrificing its cohesiveness or purpose. Neither too light nor too dark, not too happy or sad, neither too serious nor too jovial, too simple or too complex, the catchy parts aren’t too sickly and the record has popular appeal without sacrificing an ounce of integrity; it is highly emotional but not sappy; combined, the balance of these aspects makes an exceptional debut, incorporating a wide variety of instruments in sensational harmony.

15. Catholic Action – In Memory Of [Modern Sky]

Catholic Action built a stellar reputation over a few years and their debut LP demonstrates their knack for killer choruses, it’s a remarkably well put together collection, with crisp, bright production and a multitude of hooks ringing out like church bells. At their best Catholic Action channel both the humour and the classic power pop songwriting of bands like Cheap Trick or The Cars and it’s when Catholic Action compress themselves into these compact forms that the best moments on In Memory Of arise. It might not be the most coherent album you’ll hear but it full of such joy enthused tracks that it has to be considered one of Scotland’s best in 2017.

14. Annie Booth – An Unforgiving Light [Scottish Fiction/Last Night From Glasgow]

Edinburgh based artist Annie Booth has received critical acclaim and continued to impress in her new release An Unforgiving Light. Booth is on point with not only her song writing, but her capacity to communicate many deep sentiments through her work. An Unforgiving Light will at points send shivers down your spine with beautifully concocted mellow numbers, but Booth shows mastery in her capacity for crossing many plains of musical forms using punchy lyrics, calypso like guitar at points to keep the piece both catchy and addictively pleasing to the ear, all the while Booth’s voice is showcased in her ability to move seamlessly across octaves while maintaining accuracy in pitch and harmony. An Unforgiving Light is the perfect combination of musicianship, meaningful lyrics and originality while still being comforting.

13. Sister John – Returned From Sea [Last Night From Glasgow]

Sister John has spend the last year meticulously constructing a grown up record that touches on pastoral folk to put together a beautiful record with conscientious craftsmanship. Even when the arrangements are sparse, light and airy, they are impeccably constructed; layered up and mixed together. The promotional material for the record makes the bold claim that this is a record that would sit comfortably alongside such classics as Neil Young’s Harvest, The Band’s Music From Big Pink, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours or Leonard Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate; the highest compliment you can pay Returned From Sea is that after a few listens this comparison no longer seems so far-fetched.

12. Monoganon – Killmens [Lost Map]

Killmens was another record that maybe hasn’t quite had the chance to settle in before putting this list together, such was the proportions of John B McKenna’s double record opeth that it was huge listen that just gets better on further listens. Monoganon has always been an exciting artist, but with Killmens it appears McKenna has hit real odyssey territory as he breaks down and blows apart basic masculinity and leaves us with an expansive psych pop gem that we won’t stop playing for some time to come.

11. Banana Oil – Banana Oil [Winning Sperm Party]

Banana Oil were an expected yet absolutely intoxicating surprise for 2018, the trio of Joe Howe (Ben Butler & Mousepad), Niall Morris (Sham Gate, LYLO) and Laurie Pitt (Golden Teacher, The Modern Institute) brought about a jazz fuelled post punk explosion, full of entrancing grooves and a raw unpolished edge.

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1

A Christmas Carousal with Malcolm Middleton, MC Almond Milk, Jo Mango at Platform, 15/12/17

Platform’s Annual Christmas Carousal presents an evening of incredible Scottish musicians whose songs confront feelings of comfort and joy in a year that seemed bleak and hopeless.

Each songwriter explored the expectation of being happy in the harshness of winter, and questioned the conflict of feelings that seem to appear during the festive period.

Jo Mango kicks off the festivities; inspired by Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Pale Fire, Mango’s second song describes a scene of looking out at bright snow from the darkness of a living room setting.

Mango quotes the novel’s opening lines, exploring the connection between future and past, and darkness with light: “I was the shadow of the waxwing slain / by the false azure in the windowpane”

Continuing with the wintery theme, Mango describes her next song as “a Christmas song for a foetus,” explaining a conversation she had with a colleague who became tearful that his unborn baby was yet to experience the beauty of the world.

Mango triggers a waltz beat on an omnichord, and uses the touch plate to produce a gorgeous swell of notes.

The refrain of “I can’t wait until you see” allows for contemplation; that Christmas is perhaps a time for reflection and appreciating the world around us.

Continuing with the festive-theme, Mango delivers an incredible and captivating version of Sufjan Stevens’ ‘Only at Christmas Time’, which is accompanied by the ringing of desk bells.

Next we hear ‘Evermore’, a song that describes the therapeutic sound of ice flowing on a river, as well as the devastation of a house fire.

The song begins: “December, in the year the kitchen burned / floorboards creaked like ice-bergs”

Although the contrast of ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ demonstrates feelings of conflict, the song takes these contradictory terms and encourages their co-existence.

Reaching the end of the set, Mango sings a mash up of the traditional Christmas carol ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ with Brian Wilson’s ‘Love and Mercy’.

Loosely aimed towards Donald Trump, the song presents a resistance and alternative to hate, and finds light in darkness.

Comfort and Joy, and Love and Mercy: the final sentiment of the incredibly talented Jo Mango in what has been a whirlwind of a year.

Next to the stage is MC Almond Milk and with the usual live drummer contractually obliged to play at a pantomime this year, James Scott takes to the stage himself.

Even without “Little Drummer Roy” as Scott refers to him, the set is bursting with bright electronic beats combined with a confident delivery of realist Scottish lyricism.

Opening with ‘Yuptae Dollface’ the MC professes his “disregard of what the mood of the nation is”, relating to the bleakness of 2017, as suggested by Mango.

Performed with an acoustic guitar complimented by a drum machine and haunting synth sounds, the song demonstrates a disdain for the modern world, with references to social media and youth culture.

A stand out track of the set is ‘1995’, which tells a nostalgic tale of growing up in Scotland.

The song is self-reflective, and contains a multitude of relatable cultural references from shopping in Argos, to the first time hearing Kurt Cobain.

As the timeline progresses, the music gets more chaotic, mirroring the tumultuous journey of those formative 10 years.

Not wanting to disappoint the crowd, Almond Milk finishes on his festive song ‘Black Friday’; fist pumping, and sampling the BBC’s Grandstand theme tune, the crowd cheer as Scott raps: “down to the bookies for a white Christmas bet / this is gonna be the best Christmas yet”.

The song seems to mock the elaborate consumerism over the Christmas period, and ties in with the over-arching themes throughout the set in which the MC satirises and holds disdain for modern culture.

With contempt and disdain firmly in the air, it seems like the right time for headliner Malcolm Middleton to take to the stage.

“Is everyone ready for Christmas… or are you all here ‘cos it’s shite and you know it?”

Like Jo Mango and MC Almond Milk, the juxtapositions and mixed feelings of Christmas become apparent even before Middleton plays his first song.

In ‘Devastation’ we hear contrasting terms: “I’m sorry for the silence, I’m sorry for the noise”.

He proceeds, “You know I’ll make it up to you with a million steak McCoys.”

Similar to MC Almond Milk’s pizza crunch anecdote, Middleton portrays themes of love and redemption in this poetic reference to an exquisite Scottish delicacy.

The third song of the evening ‘Like John Lennon Said’ is a poignant moment of the night, where Middleton repeats “above us only sky”.

This could revert back to Jo Mango’s ‘Christmas foetus song’ where we are reminded that the value of life is sometimes measured in the grandiosity of our surroundings.

In keeping with the festive spirit, in true Middleton style, he sings ‘Burst Noel’, a Christmas song where he finds himself helpless on the bathroom floor.

Though the subject matter may seem depressing, it would be foolish to view his songs in that way.

Middleton’s lyrics are from a realist, romantic, and perhaps unfulfilled idealist perspective in which honesty and humour play a vital role.

Continuing with the Christmas theme, the band kick in with ‘We’re All Going to Die’ that had a strong backing in 2007 to become Christmas number 1.

The melody is cheerful with a fast, persisting drumbeat, and a catchy refrain, which contrasts with the subject matter.

Middleton finds joy in sadness, you’ve got to laugh into the dark”, summing up the Christmas spirit of 2017; in darkness, there will always be a bit of light.

Words: Marie Collins

MC Almond Milk – Full Day, Cool Times [Save As]

Historically, the words ‘Scottish’ and ‘rap’ have not gone hand in hand.

This has been gradually changing over the last five years or so, and MC Almond Milk certainly looks like he will be a big part of that.

The postman from sunny Govan is back with a new full-length album, Full Day, Cool Times.

The album begins with a relaxed tone on track one ‘Wet Wednesday Pt.1’, where Almond Milk mixes carefully crafted lyrics with a dreamy beat and bassline.

This track is the first taste of Almond Milk’s skill as a lyricist, while still staying true to his Scottish roots, jumping from a reference to the Beastie Boys in a “post snack lucid rap nap” to the most romantic line of Scottish poetry since Burns – “we are two halves of the same- a full pizza crunch”.

The title of track two ‘Yuptae Dollface’ would suggest a swaggering tune full of bravado and witty chat up lines that will have all the girls running for the dance floor, however what we find is a sardonic look at social media and ‘youth culture’- “I bought a selfie stick to beat this selfie generation with”.

This song shows a real disdain for the world and bitterness in Almond Milk’s lyrics, which are in stark contrast to the looping acoustic guitar and relaxed delivery.

‘1995’ is a nostalgic journey through summers filled with dirty gutties and bowl cuts that will have anyone of a certain age and disposition grabbing a bottle of Devon’s finest tonic wine and heading for a park with Oasis blaring on their Walkman.

As the story continues from 1995 to 2015, the narrative goes through the ups and downs of life and growing up; the craft is how the beat and music becomes more frantic during the less pleasant parts of Almond Milk’s formative years and relaxes when he raps about the good times, referenced in the repetition of the line “take that slowing down and speed it back up”.

‘Was Swept Away, Think that Always Happens’ couples a downbeat backing track with layers of news reader style backing vocals that give a feel of a haunting, existential Public Service Announcement.

This seems to set the tone for this section of the album, as things take a slightly introspective twist on this and the following track ‘A Change is as Good as a Holiday’.

These two tracks both see a lull in the tempo and flow of the album but this is a welcome break.

The break is over as ‘Black Coffee’ launches in with upbeat keyboards and Almond Milk in full flow, ably assisted by Julian Corrie on vocals, this track has more of a party to feel it with a bouncy bassline and 80’s keyboards.

While there is a party feel, there is still the juxtaposition of Almond Milk’s less than party lyrics that works well.

It’s almost as if having a black coffee woke Almond Milk up from his slumber as the following track ‘Me IRL’ continues the upbeat tempo.

The chorus of this track “if I stop making sense then I’ll die” seems to sum up the whole narrative of the album as Almond Milk tries to make sense of culture and himself.

This is continued in the final track ‘Pics Or It Didn’t Happen’.

The lyrics seem to show more of Almond Milk’s disdain for modern culture: “I used to believe I’d get a fix from rapping, pics or it didn’t happen,” coupled with repeating the mantra of “I used to believe” show a longing for a simpler time.

Full day, Cool Times is an excellent album with a number of ups and downs, showing a real insight into the mind of this exciting MC.

Words: Steven Aitken

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.

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Words: Paul Aitken
Photos: Jonnie Common