Tag Archives: Meursault

Tracks of 2017 (50-41)

50. Stillhound – ‘X, Y & Dread’

‘X, Y & Dread’ is a very stylish song, which is very sparing with its sound, never over-doing anything, with electronic sounds range from punchy and in your face – perhaps even discordant – to subtle, nuanced and quiet. Stillhound have a distinct style, which this release suggests is developing into maturity.

49. The Great Albatross – ‘An Evening’ [LP]

‘An Evening’ saw light of day before The Great Albatross’ superb full length, Asleep In The Kaatskills, and gave us a taster of what to expect through a warm, tender beauty of a track that draws influences from songwriter Wesley Chung’s American indie rock past and his new home of Glasgow, while the addition of backing vocals from Jo Mango are a delight in themself.

48. Meursault – ‘Klopfgeist’ [Song, by Toad]

Much like a few tracks on this list picking picking a track from an album proved difficult, in this case Meursault’s sublime I Will Kill Again. ‘Klopfgeist’ is a hypnotic track that builds from a ghostly opening to a warm piano line and Neil Pennycook’s impressive vocals. It’s a shiver inducing track when heard by itself, but do yourself a favour and listen to it as part of the bigger picture.

47. Reverieme (Louise Connell) – ‘Ten Feet Tall’

As soon as the opening drum fill kicks the track into life, ‘Ten Feet Tall’ sounds as massive as it’s title would suggest. It wouldn’t sound out of place on Ryan Adams’ earlier work, with thunderous guitars crashing over a piercing organ wail as Reverieme’s, aka Louise Connell, gorgeous vocal flutters between tender beauty, and soaring grandiosity.

46. K Anderson – ‘Cluttered’

In a track that focuses on the cloudy section of relationship where you can’t quite tell if it’s something substantial or just a fling K Anderson has taken a step away from his regular material with a track that oozes pop sensibilities , while maintaining his wry witticisms. It’s an undeniably catchy affair with bassy squelch and plucky guitars that digs right in and has you tapping your feet without even knowing it.

45. Best Girl Athlete – ‘Cigarette Dreams’ [Fitlike]

It was difficult to pick a standout from Best Girl Athlete’s self titled second album, but in the end we’ve plumbed for the cinematic 90s acoustic dreamy pur your heart out along stunner  ‘Cigarette Dreams’. Katie Buchan’s soulful voice is hear accompanied by sweeping strings to give as good a taste as any of this fantastic release.

44. Bystandereffect – ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’

Bystandereffect is, if nothing else, unique, and ‘Old Cramps T Shirt’ is a haunting, bizarre, dream-like experimental single. Filled with unusual production techniques and effects, this single is rhythmic, versatile and enjoyable, whetting the appetite for any releases suggesting the “electronic sludge” outfit – as they refer to themselves as – has a lot of ammunition. Not showy or contrived but loose and airy, as creepy vocal work cascades over the unusual electronic elements nicely, generating something seldom heard.

43. Pictish Trail – ‘Strange Sun’ [Lost Map]

‘Strange Sun’ is almost objectively original; in terms of lyrics, atmosphere, theme and the use of instruments, this is a mature and out of the ordinary effort. A dreamy, creeping and sprawling piece, this is a bold single that wanders lovingly through decades of influence; packaging together something simultaneously light and dark, jovial and serious. This is the basis for art and – love it or hate it or something in-between it – should be respected in the music industry.

42. Sun Rose – ‘Smirk’ [Last Night From Glasgow]

Sun Rose emerged out of the ashes of Nevada Base this year with debut single ‘Smirk’, a rejuvenation of 80s synth with a nice Glaswegian twist. The track is so characteristic of 80s electronic synth its like a flashback, a friendly nostalgia that brings on inadvertent toe tapping and head nodding; it’s difficult to stay still when you hear this one play. At first ‘Smirk’ appears deceivingly simple, but in fact offers a much more interesting and complex weave of musicality; a spectacle to behold.

41. Jonnie Common – ‘Restless’ [Song, by Toad]

Questioning, dissatisfaction with the milieu and poking at working life are all themes of this single from Jonnie Common. A master of word play and poetic prowess, Common meanders through ideas about the world and dreams of what could be; it’s a light-hearted soundtrack formed around some deep ideas. The track starts like a laidback stroll on a Sunday afternoon, the soft drum brushes paint a calmness that juxtaposes the ‘Restless’ sentiment of the tune itself. Arpeggiated chords frame sweet melodies that feature electronic blips, this neat addition makes everything that little bit more playful.

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

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 return with a really rather triumphant album.

Usually a more interesting live proposition than on record – an appearance at the BBC 6 Music festival in Glasgow this year was just spectacular and seductively intense – it seems with I Will Kill Again that things have finally been translated more fully onto wax.

That’s not to say previous outings have been poor, just, this release after a two-year hiatus captures 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.

That being the case, I Will Kill Again ain’t terribly jolly but then there is comfort in a brutally honest soundtrack to the human condition: sonorous keyboards glide around tracks like ‘Klopfgeist’ with a yearning vocal that seems both anguished yet oddly at home in an inky void: perhaps illustrating exactly where he and the band is right now.

Rightly shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year award, it’s impossible not to be both moved and also feel faint disquiet by tracks like ‘Belle Amie’ – a paean to lost love, perhaps, with immaculate and haunting vocals that ooze from a dark dark place; remarkable stuff indeed.

Another excellent release from Edinburgh-based Song, By Toad Records and one that adds to their impressive output with a distinctive and strangely warming voice, even in amongst the grit and grief.

The last thing the world needs now / Is another song about the fucking sea“, says Mr Pennycook on ‘Ode To Gremlin’ – that may very well be true but one gets the feeling these songs needed to be written as much as any kind of artistic intent.

Such sincerity and honesty is a dangerous muse to toy with – it frequently results in rather worthy but artless outpourings – however, Pennycook keeps things taut: catharsis in a measured but bearly controlled way, that is where Meursault are at and, for us, that is quite excellent.

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.

Words: Vosne Malconsorts

BBC Radio 6 Music Festival Fringe Song, By Toad Showcase with Meursault, Jonnie Common, Siobhan Wilson at The Glad Cafe, 23/3/17

Song, By Toad’s showcase at The Glad Cafe features three of the label’s roster performing a Fringe show of the BBC Radio 6 Music Festival.

Opening the night, the sound of Siobhan Wilson’s soft, soulful voice gets things off the ground.

She plays with a unique deftness, her electric guitar’s clear, low tone works with delicate melodies sung in an often oscillating and breathy style, sounding something like a mixture of Françoise Hardy and Anaïs Mitchell.

The set finishes and I’m wishing she’d keep playing, Wilson’s recently started to work more with Song, By Toad and has an album coming out that we’re looking forward to hearing.

The second set of the night finds Jonnie Common in spirited form; he’s a humorous and talented man with an array of intricate samples at his fingertips and feet.

He plays guitar and is joined by a friend arriving in a sweat to accompany him on flugelhorn, at intervals throughout the set, he tunes his guitar while the sound of an orchestra is played through the speakers, and apologises for this, blaming Kurt Cobain for the amount of tuning needed on a Jagstang.

There’s an understated version of the song ‘Shark’ played at the end of the set that includes a sound bite of Lauren Laverne doing the “it’s a secret” line, which goes down quite well.

While there’s a lot of humour, in his lyrics and in the dynamics of the music, Common’s a sharp writer and skilful musician for sure.

Meursault is something else; they begin with feedback screeching through the room before curtailing into the set.

Neil Pennycook’s idiosyncratic reckless abandon is something that makes you feel like you have no idea what will happen next, the climatic end of ‘By Gaslight’ sees Pennycook’s guitar on the floor while he careers up and down the fret board with his foot, singing the repetitive final lines of the song in a mantra-like frenzy before saying something like “sorry, seemed to lose myself a bit” once the music quietens.

The set is mostly made from songs from their 2016 EP Simple Is Good and new album I Will Kill Again, though an amazing rendition of ‘Flittin’ from 2012’s Something for the Weakened makes its way in there.

When they play ‘Simple Is Good’ it’s like a moment of calm in the storm, a few times Pennycook signals to the sound guy to completely cut the sound so as to perform acoustically, as the band make use of the upright piano that sits just off the stage.

At one point Pennycook is lying across piano and accordion player Reuben Taylor, bending over backwards and singing his heart out, later on, he’s handed his guitar to a crowd member and gone over to sing into the inside of the piano.

The whole set is fuelled with uninhibited and compelling music and just before the band start their encore, the bass player quips that the show could do with some more passion, which draws a laugh from the crowd.

They play us out with Neil Young and Crazy Horse-esque looseness and I’m still buzzing on the bus home.

Words: Jason Riddell
Photos: Kendall Wilson

Meursault, Three Blind Wolves at Oran Mor, 19/6/14

In its small life, Oran Mor has become more than just a multi-purpose arts and entertainment venue in the heart of the West End, it has become an institution.

Sitting at the top of Byres Road, it is a beacon and facilitator for creativity and Glasgow’s enticing culture.

As its 10th birthday has rolled around, what better way to celebrate this than with a series of  live music, theatre and comedy events to toast this milestone.

Nestled among the the bill, which includes Scottish veteran Edie Reader, is a live performance from Edinburgh’s Meursault and Three Blind Wolves.

Three Blind Wolves are first on the bill and are still riding high after their well-received 2013 debut album Sing Hallelujah for the Old Machine.

The popularity that the boys have amassed is startlingly evident as fans belt out word for word the electrifying anthems.

Delivering a deliciously energetic set, beginning with their older tracks, ‘Hotel’ and ‘Black Bowl Parade’, the band are set to make sure the crowd are more than satisfied.

The deep harmonies offered by the rest of the band to complement Ross Clark’s lead vocals almost give off a vibe of an indie-rock version of a barbershop quartet.

A particularly rousing version of ‘Honey Fire’ leaves the crowd in awe of this bands eclectic mix of genres, which blend together to create the kind of sound that is particularly special.

Offering medleys and off mic moments a plenty, the band are loud and not afraid to make an impression.

After Three Blind Wolves rousing performance, the mood is somewhat mellowed out as critically acclaimed indie-rockers Meursault take the stage.

Despite being described as a mixture of ‘folktronica, alternative rock and indie folk’, Meursault can’t really be categorised in to any superficial naming device.

Neil Pennycook, the bands lyrically and vocally gifted lead is almost like the creative director of the whole deal.

The emotion that pours out of him during the bands entire performance is other-worldly and gives their entire live performance an almost whimsical feeling to it.

One almost wonders how he tolerates the emotional turmoil that he seemingly goes through in each live performance.

It seems exhausting and by the end you feel almost emotionally exhausted from just watching him.

With their most recent album 2012’s Something For The Weakened being shortlisted for last years Scottish Album of The Year award, it is evident that with maturation the band have found their own niche and with it the spirt of self-assurance has been bestowed on them.

A highlight of the performance is a cover of ‘Lioness’ from Jason Mollina’s project Songs: Ohia.

The similarities in Meursault with this particular work is evident and the cover is flawlessly pulled off.

A joke about a comment on the dubious ‘songmeaning.com’ website about whether the song could be literally asking if the writer actually has sexual fantasies about lionesses is made to introduce and end the cover.

Anecdotes of this kind are aplenty and enable Pennycook to switch between two onstage personas: serious and laid-back.

The dizzying change from heavy to light is much needed respite.

Other stand outs included ‘Dearly Distracted’ with its expertly executed monumental guitar solo and sultry tones which emanate throughout the venue.

‘Flitten’ provides a more lively tempo and enables the band to have the crowd in its hands with the songs rapturous appeal.

As the night draws to an end, we are left with a taster of a new song, which includes the lyrics: “and i look round this park and realise that this is a good life and to enjoy it”, perhaps a nod to a more optimistic new outlook that could possibly be introduced in their work to come.

The crowd react ecstatically as the band leave the stage and as the applause fails to cease, the band come back on to what they say is “their second ever encore in Glasgow”.

Finishing with the sharp, piano filled ‘Settling’, the band end on the kind of energy that leaves you hollow and completely emotionally demolished, yet almost begging for more.

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Words: Katharine Gemmell

Live review: Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival, 26-29/8/13

DTRH2013-012 Continue reading Live review: Doune the Rabbit Hole Festival, 26-29/8/13