Tag Archives: Mogwai

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

Mogwai, RIDE at The Hydro, 16/12/17

Truth be told, when it was first announced that Mogwai were playing the often soulless soup bowl of The Hydro, venue listings were double checked and fears slightly assembled that a sound so delicately crafted spanning three decades could be lost in such a persecuting and dangerous surrounding.

These fears would eventually be laid to rest (and waste).

Support act tonight RIDE have quite the legacy themselves, long standing veterans at the game – tonight they do exactly what is asked of them – setting the scene beautifully with soundscapes which herd wonderfully over a quickly assembling Glasgow crowd.

Scottish poetic folklore legend Aidan Moffat appears dressed as Santa Claus, his amusing and humorously pessimistic dull-set tones not familiar with someone in the fat man costume yet tonight it’s exactly what we need when introducing Mogwai.

There is an unspoken of slightly less than rapturous reaction as the post rock hometown heroes take centre stage and burst into a venomous ‘Hunted by a Freak’, perhaps firstly down to the uncomfortable vulnerability which a venue such as The Hydro places on a band of Mogwai’s stature and credibility – there is something deeply unnerving and untrusting to a fanbase which has become accustom to career defining nights with this band in the likes of Glasgow favourite the Barrowlands; lastly tonight is a set which features six songs from latest album Every County’s Sun.

Every Country’s Sun is absolutely fantastic and on many levels a sonically impressive record that encapsulates everything we have come to expect from a great Mogwai record, yet, tonight does not get into top gear until the classics are rolled out.

‘New Paths To Helicon, Pt. 1’ and ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ are as vital now as they were in the late 90s, spanning a generation of musicians and song writers in its wake – guitarist Stuart Braithwaite chairs a semblance of unadulterated blossoming racquet which somehow still manages to sound as unique and poignant – every bristle of guitar and build up to a thudding break down of drums capturing the anticipation and flooding enthusiasm of a delighted and appreciative crowd.

Ironic that tonight should end on ‘We’re No Here’ from the brutally absorbing Mr. Beast, Mogwai are very much still here and on the evidence of tonight going nowhere fast; that in itself is something we can be very thankful of in 2017.

More Photos

Words: Chris Kelman
Photos: Tim Gray

Mogwai – ‘Party in the Dark’ [Temporary Residence]

Mogwai’s new single employs repetitive but evolving instrumentals to create a sense of continuity and direction.

The airy vocal tracks contribute to the overarching size of the track.

With intelligent lyrics and simple but effective musical elements, the track continues in the rich tradition of high quality, multi-faceted and altogether highly enjoyable Mogwai songs.

This track has more of a sing-along sort of thing going than a lot of their music does.

It is spacey, melodic, fun and full of life.

The use of a simple synth track in the choruses elevates the track subtly, as if to the higher plane of a dream.

If new album – Every Country’s Sun carries forward the momentum of this single then it should make for a brilliant listen indeed.

Words: Paul Aitken

Mogwai – Atomic [Rock Action]

To celebrate 20 years as a band is an achievement, to celebrate 20 years as one of Glasgow’s leading bands, that still delivers quality hits, is iconic.

Mogwai has achieved the latter and has not failed to impress with their latest offering in the ten-track Atomic: A Soundtrack by Mogwai.

Running strong from their dominating 2013 record Rave Tapes the quartet are now focusing on soundtracks and scores with Atomic accompanying a documentary on the impact of the nuclear age.

‘Ether’ is a haunting opening to the album with a slow almost angelic build up to the main body of the track giving off the elusion that you could be going on a visual adventure; aptly falling into the documentary’s category.

Atomic has songs emulating the idea of destruction and despair mixed alongside positive kaleidoscopic undertones to mirror the documentary, of the same name, that is constructed entirely from archived film looking into the disasters caused by nuclear bombs and protests, while walking hand in hand with the positive results from the nuclear age in MRI scans and x-rays.

The album flows effortlessly to this ideology with ‘Bitterness Centrifuge’ offering a darker energy to the majority of tracks on offer.

Picture the scene, the world has just disintegrated in front of your eyes, but among the wreckage there is a slight air of hope; with long, low synth notes and steady drumming ‘Bitterness Centrifuge’ is the defining track on the album.

With the lack of lyrics (there are none) Atomic could become tedious in the wrong setting, but due to the excellent mixing and diversity in tracks from the faster paced ‘U-235’ to the mellow and mesmerising violin chimes of ‘Are You A Dancer’ it is fair to say Mogwai have perfected the balance within this album.

As a whole Atomic works effortlessly well and despite not watching the documentary the beats, synth notes and mystical effects, especially on penultimate song ‘Tzar’, transport the listener into a parallel universe.

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Words: Lorne Gillies

Mogwai, The Vaselines, Forest Swords at Barrowlands, 21/6/15

In the 2004 martial arts drama House of Flying Daggers, there’s a scene in which sword wielding soldiers float athletically from bamboo stem to bamboo stem in a balletic and gravity defying display of grace.

Tonight’s first act, the aptly named Forest Swords captures a similar feeling, combining a sense of space and movement with a clinical sharpness.

Even in the most beautiful of surroundings, darkness can be just around the corner.

As he weaves in delicate flute this comparison becomes yet more acute, with the music synchronising perfectly with a series of slow motion images primarily drawn from the natural world.

Armed with only a sampler, a guitar and his friend James on bass, Forest Swords’ Matthew Barnes has put together a gorgeous and free-flowing live set, even finding time to give a shout out to Glaswegian cult heroes The Yummy Fur and The Delgados.

As mainstays of the masterfully curated ATP festival series, any line up that features Mogwai tends to be well selected, but tonight’s show at the Barrowlands goes a step beyond.

The pair of support acts (we unfortunately don’t arrive in time for the wonderful SACRED PAWS) may sound about as different from one another as it is possible to get, but in their own way each nods to our headliner’s ability to transcend genre, form and time.

If Forest Swords are out on the fringes, transmitting weighty soundscapes for the new millennia, The Vaselines nod to the group’s roots in the Glasgow indie underground of the eighties and nineties.

“We were last here 27 years ago, supporting the Jesus and Mary Chain and people were throwing bottles at us,” declares Eugene Kelly.

Probably not true for half of his band, who look like they were barely conceived two and a half decades ago, never mind treading the Barras’ boards but Kelly and co-frontwoman Frances McKee earn a respectful reception from the sold-out crowd.

In their heyday the closest The Vaselines ever got to stardom was a series of covers by superfan Kurt Cobain; tonight ‘Molly’s Lips’ is a rockabilly romp that shows off The Vaselines charming fusion of girl-group backing vocals and punk energy, bringing out an extra snarl in Kelly and a smile from McKee.

Compared to Future Swords’ futuristic soundscapes they sound positively retro, but for a group who are well into their third decade, they play with a remarkable energy, pushed onwards by Michael McGaughrin’s formidable drumming.

There’s little that remains to be said about the majesty of Mogwai; as they celebrate 20 years as a band, the legendary crescendos of ‘My Father, My King’ and ‘Mogwai Fear Satan’ are as furiously brilliant as ever, while ‘George Square Thatcher Death Party’ and ‘Glasgow Mega-Snake’ attain a white-hot critical mass in front of a hometown crowd.

As the band depart the stage, Stuart Braithwaite thanks the crowd, venue and crew who’ve helped them get this far.

20 years into their LOUD career, Mogwai are still one of Britain’s most dazzling bands.

More Photos

Words: Max Sefton
Photos: Derek Robertson

Album of 2014

Andrew Person & Lovers Turn To Monsters – Everything We Miss17 Andrew Pearson & Lovers Turn To Monsters – Everything We Miss [Common]

A combination of two endearing singer-songwriters, brought together under the umbrella of Common Records in the dismal Glaswegian rain, resulting in an equally endearing collection of tracks. Taking a song each throughout the track listing, the single ‘Juan Antonio’ is a standout track in an octet of tracks that will coax out a tear if you let them. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Fat-Suit – Jugaad17 Fat-Suit – Jugaad [Equinox]

With a 15 strong collective of highly trained musicians, in the later part of 2014 Fat-Suit released an instrumental album of innumerable sounds and styles all expertly welded together. Tight grooves splashed with influences from traditional Scottish music and a heavy emphasis on jazz and experimenting ensures that Jugaad is a big, unique flag planted firmly in a Scottish music scene which is very lucky to have Fat-Suit in its midst. (Greg Murray)

[review]

National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards Volume III17 National Jazz Trio of Scotland – Standards: Volume III [Karoke Kalk]

Bill Wells has made his name by his collaborations and his experimentations, which often take him to pry the envelope of pop music to great result, at first, Standards: Volume III could appear to be a glossy but unwavering pop album, but upon repeated listens this record is a richly endearing effort for fans and casual listeners alike.

[review]

The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads17 The Amazing Snakeheads – Amphetamine Ballads [Domino]

Amphetamine Ballads does take some warming to, but after a number of listens and a full appreciation of its delightfully refined latter half, this album is undoubtedly one to be treasured if it appeals to your sense of artistry.

[review]

Withered Hand – New Gods15 Withered Hand – New Gods [Fortuna Pop]

New Gods might at first fool you as sounding like inoffensive dentist-waiting-room shmooth-fm folk-pop; clean but still sensibly naturalistic production, tons of hooks, catchy choruses, acoustic guitars and simple song structures; yet lurking in the lyrics there’s an extremity of emotional tension that swings between stark ugly introspection on one hand and manic optimism on the other.

[review]

Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams15 Andrew Montgomery – Ruled By Dreams

Former Geneva vocalist Andrew Montgomery went solo with Ruled By Dreams, and has successfully created an album that showcases his writing strengths, both musically and lyrically.

[review]

Thin Privilege - Thin Privilege12 Thin Privilege – Thin Privilege [Struggletown]

For me, Thin Privilege is the band of 2014. With their intense live show alienating crowds’ left, right and centre, I had very high hopes for this record and was not disappointed. This noisy, duel bass assault of an album really grasps the energy of what this very short-lived band was. (Iain Gillon)

[review]

Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber12 Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber [Song, by Toad]

Bizarre in all the right places, in all the right ways, Trapped In Amber is perhaps best described as “bizarre pop” as a direct consequence. Pleasingly simple soundscapes provide the backdrop to lyrics that span the board from drama to comedy, with hints of balladry (‘Fractal’), hip-hop (‘Crumbs’) and amazement (‘Binary 101’) all contributing to a record of abundant imagination. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Young Fathers – Dead12 Young Fathers – Dead [Anticon/Big Dada]

2014 was Young Fathers’ year, taking home award after award with critical acclaim following them at every turn. Dead was the centre piece of it all, an intoxicating multicultural record that took elements of hip-hop, electronica and pop and put Scottish music firmly back on the musical map.

Rustie – Green Language11 Rustie – Green Language [Warp]

Rustie deserves every single bit of credit that comes his way, while fellow Glaswegian label mate Hudson Mohawke jets off with the glamorous names, Rustie has stuck to his guns and make a record that feels like natural progression. Green Language has all of Rustie’s punch and some very special moments, still we can’t help feel his best is yet to come and we can’t wait.

Beerjacket – Darling Darkness10 Beerjacket – Darling Darkness

Darling Darkness makes for a relaxing listen, but there’s more to it. There’s a depth and texture that goes beyond your ordinary singer songwriter. To mark 10 years of Beerjacket, Peter Kelly has released a beautiful, cosy, folk masterpiece. (Alisa Wylie)

The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave8 The Twilight Sad – Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave [FatCat]

One of the years later releases but well worth the wait, aside from their debut it could be their best yet. The production values like always are superb and the songs reek of melancholic angst and pain just what you’d expect from Scotland’s gloomiest export. The album deserves all the praise it gets. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Mogwai – Rave Tapes8 Mogwai – Rave Tapes [Rock Action]

A lush set of songs that breathe a warm melancholia; flourishes of ambient and electro sounds underpinned by one of the great guitar arsenals in all of music. (Brendan Sloan)

[review]

Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New7 Stanley Odd – A Thing Brand New [A Modern Way]

The Edinburgh sextet’s third album sees them at their creative best, with their usual concoctions of politics, pop culture and poetry shifted into the next razor sharp gear. Tackling issues of parenthood and imperialism, likely catalysed by recent arrivals and national political awakenings, among other things, A Thing Brand New is thought-provoking and head-nodding perfection. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Fatherson – I Am An Island6 Fatherson – I Am An Island [A Modern Way]

Incredible, conceptual debut from a band that looks set to take off in a big way in 2015. Sounds absolutely massive. (Alisa Wylie)

[review]

PAWS – Youth Culture Forever4 PAWS – Youth Culture Forever [FatCat]

Youth Culture Forever might be the perfect follow up to Cokefloat! It takes its predecessors themes and then follows up on them, while also covering some new ground; plus the production is a serious step up and it shows. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Deathcats – All Hail Deathcats4 Deathcats– All Hail Deathcats [Fuzzkill]

I never thought Deathcats would get a full LP release, 2014 truly was a brilliant year for Scottish music. From the get go Deathcats display a penchant for crafting some of the most infuriatingly brilliant melodies in recent memory. Aside from this it’s great to see the band really test their limits and put some of their live show into the record with the great linking sections between songs. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Algernon Doll – Omphalic3 Algernon Doll – Omphalic [Struggletown]

Emo/alt-rock is a genre I that I don’t often indulge in anymore but every so often something pops up which shakes me from that angsty slumber and reminds me that it’s still possible to create original and awesome sounding music in that style. Ewan Grant’s Algernon Doll and their album Omphalic is the perfect example of this, and legendary producer Steve Albini will no doubt help them carry their momentum into next year, with their fourth release in as many years. (Greg Murray)

[review]

King Creosote – From Scotland With Love2 King Creosote – From Scotland With Love [Domino]

A stirring celebration of Scottish pride and resolve; a profoundly evocative album, which handles its subject matter with gentle reverence. This record is nothing less than a masterpiece, and its release saw it receive the critical acclaim that it rightly deserves. The album provided an evocative accompaniment to Virginia Heath’s documentary of the same title, although despite its status as a soundtrack, it is a piece of art in its own right (Brendan Sloan/Ellen Renton)

[review]

Honeyblood – Honeyblood1 Honeyblood – Honeyblood [FatCat]

Glaswegian duo Honeyblood’s self-titled debut unleashes a wave of emotionally aggressive lyrics mixed with sweet melodies and harmonies reminiscent 90s grunge and fitting to their name. The band’s stripped back and minimal setup is compelling, allowing vocalist Stina Tweeddale to showcase her enchanting voice. (Jess Lavin)

[review]

Tracks of 2014

Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’19 Atom Tree – ‘Sinner’ [Hotgem]

The opening track of the Glasgow electronic trio’s latest EP, Clouds, introduced us to vocalist Julie Knox, who’s powerful and emotive voice slides brilliantly into Atom Tree’s deep synthpop, alerting people the trio on a much bigger scale than before, and rightfully so.

Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’19 Call To Mind – ‘Breathe’ [Olive Grove]

Beautiful and euphoric, Call To Mind’s musical masterpiece is the crowning jewel of their debut album, and with accenting piano and sultry vocals, it is everything that Coldplay think they are, but infinitely better. (Kyle McCormick)

The Duke, Detriot – ‘Accerate’19 The Duke, Detroit – ‘Accelerate’ [Deaf By Stereo]

The Duke, Detroit’s sleek and stylish single threw us, spinning and stumbling back in time to the mid-80s, but they managed to bring it back to life without sounding like poor mimics of the past.

[review]

Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x018 Owl John – ‘Los Angeles, Be Kind’ [Atlantic]

Drawing from Scott Hutchison’s emigration to California, the video starts with footage of Scotland, which slowly blends into the bright, optimistic lights of L.A, and probably says more of this achingly melancholy song than a simple review could. (Greg Murray)

Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’16 Hudson Mohawke – ‘Chimes’ [Warp]

HuMo keeps getting bigger and bigger and with a glorious homecoming at East End Social’s Last Big Weekend and this release on Warp it seems his momentum is still building.

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Mogwai-Rave-Tapes-608x60816 Mogwai – ‘Remurdered’ [Rock Action]

2014 saw Glasgow’s post rock behemoths shift away their meatier riffage of recent years and move towards a chilling atmospheric vive, they’re still loud though and the asphyxiating ‘Remurdered’ is one of the best examples of their recent work.

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Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’13 Vasa – ‘Not A Cop’

Intricate and captivating, Vasa’s stand-alone single has an unrelenting urgency at its core, but with layers of percussion and masterful guitars cleverly bolted on, ‘Not A Cop’ shines a light on a promising future. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’13 The Twilight Sad – ‘Last January’ [FatCat]

Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants To Leave was heralded as a return to form for one of Scotland’s most powerful yet emotionally draining live acts and ‘Last January’ was the pick of bunch.

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Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’13 Jonnie Common – ‘Shark’ [Song, By Toad]

Burning slowly, ‘Shark’ sees Jonnie Common’s songwriting at a conversational high, built on a foundation of electronics and ingenuity, the canned laughter at the end knows how good it is. (Kyle McCormick)

PAWS – ‘Owl Talons Clenching My Heart’12 PAWS – ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ [FatCat]

A prime example of PAWS expanded song writing, the cello-laced ‘Owls Talons Clenching My Heart’ pulses solidly along on to Phillip Taylor’s stories of heartache. (Greg Murray)

King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’10 King Creosote – ‘Something To Believe In’ [Domino]

The pinnacle of the From Scotland with Love record (no mean feat), ‘Something To Believe In’ combines true and traditional folk with honest lyrics and a painful poignancy. (Ellen Renton)

Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’10 Skinny Dipper – ‘Hospital Bed’ [Olive Grove]

Haunting and heart breaking, ‘Hospital Bed’ might just be one of the most beautiful vocals of the year, never mind just in Scotland. (Ellen Renton)

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TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’9 TeenCanteen – ‘You’re Still Mine’ [S.W.A.L.K]

Sickly sweet vocals and throbbing synths add playful finger-clicking and loving harmonies to make TeenCanteen’s single a loveable release and introduction to the gifted quartet. (Kyle McCormick)

[review]

Owl John__Frightened_Rabbit_Side__Project-750x08 Owl John – ‘Hate Music’ [Atlantic]

‘Hate Music’ is a cathartic, slide-guitar-and-overdrive pedaled song, which Scott Hutchison claims Frightened Rabbit wouldn’t get away with, about the strains and the bitter tastes left by his revered band and the industry they operated in consistently for ten years. (Greg Murray)

John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’7 John Knox Sex Club – ‘Minotaur’ [Instinctive Racoon]

Primal and raucous, John Knox Sex Club captures everything they are infamous for in this track, with measured execution descending into enjoyable chaos. (Kyle McCormick)

Tijuana Bibles-500x3726 Tijuana Bibles – ‘Crucifixion’ [Dead Beet]

Tijuana Bibles continue to prove that few bands can write snarling rock classics as well as them. ‘Crucifixion’ has a southern rock swagger that you can’t help bob your head along to, the chorus hook is sublime and the guitar solo is a piece of melodic genius. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’5 Tuff Love – ‘Sweet Discontent’ [Lost Map]

This track was almost everyone’s first introduction to Tuff Love and we immediately fell for the vocal harmonies and that breakneck drumming. It’s no wonder this track garnered them a lot of attention it sounds like effortless genius in the form of a song. (Phil Allen)

Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’4 Deathcats – ‘Saturday Night Golden Retriever’ [Fuzzkill]

Sure the bassline sounds like Black Flag but what an intro. Taken from the bands only debut, and looking likely to be only, length album this cut is perhaps one of their most exciting punk throw downs, however it’s given Deathcats patented surf rock treatment with plenty of great backing vocals. (Phil Allen)

Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’3 Stanley Odd – ‘Son, I Voted Yes’ [A Modern Way]

Stanley Odd’s endearing referendum anthem is made bittersweet given the eventual outcome, but its message of hope and positivity still rings true in a country forging towards a better future. (Kyle McCormick)

unknown2 APACHE DARLING – ‘More Than Me’

The comparisons to CHVRCHES must get tiresome, but one thing that APACHE DARLING does share with the band is their potential for success. ‘More Than Me’ is cool, catchy and clever, and undoubtedly one of Glasgow’s best exports of 2014. (Ellen Renton)

[review]

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Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’1 Honeyblood – ‘Killer Bangs’ [FatCat]

Sweet melodies and some of the crunchiest guitars recorded are staples of ‘Killer Bangs’. It’s hard to believe a two-piece can sound this massive even if it is a studio recording. (Phil Allen)

[review]

Mogwai – Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. [Rock Action]

‘Teenage Exorcists’, lead track from Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1. is a big change for Mogwai, the heavy inclusion of a defined main vocal line, sounding like early Idlewild in the vox department, filled with a static buzzing mass of guitar and the gentler timbres of keys that provided Rave Tapes a contemporary humanity.

The sheen glistening on ‘History Days’ is an apt and tactile wash that acts as recorded representation of the tinnitus that is often gifted to all who attend their gigs.

A subtle keyboard arpeggio leads the track out, while highlighting the John Carpenter influences that the band spoke of during the initial run of press earlier in the year.

The initial impression makes one believe that this could be a sea change for the band, however the formatting of this EP is similar to those released previously.

One cannot criticise the band for releasing material that is fresh to their fans during the final quarter of the touring cycle, fans of Mogwai, and more particularly Rave Tapes and Hardcore will Never Die, will be happy.

This brings us to the second half, the remixed half, not to be dismissed as easy filler, for a band such as this, they act as invitations to open a dialogue to like minded musicians who share traits that the listener may benefit from investigating for themselves.

First up, Blanck Mass one half of Fuck Buttons and a name on the Rock Action roster, second, Pye Corner Audio, fitting considering the range of influences such as Tangerine Dream, which this reviewer caught Mogwai member Stuart Braithwaite loading up on in Oxfam Music.

And the final remix is by German electronic composer Nils Frahm, whose reduction of ‘The Lord is out of Control’ makes the track sound like Craig Armstrong.

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The East End Social presents The Last Big Weekend at Richmond Park, 30/8/14

Putting on a festival where 60% of the music is largely instrumental takes a great deal of ingenuity, daring and perhaps even a little bit of insanity, a festival of this stature was never going to be easy to pull off, nor would it be a hit with the mainstream populace of the city of Glasgow.

However the people over at Chemikal Underground, had exactly what was required; good taste, willpower and a healthy respect for fostering local brands (in both brewing and live music) and a sense of community spirit.

The East End Social have been largely responsible for taking over cafes, church halls and local boozers, largely in the Dennistoun area, in order to host a string of art installations and live musical performances.

All have been greatly received, and The Last Big Weekend was to be the pinnacle of EES’s efforts, however overcrowding at the bar and grumblings about there being not enough food, hampers the day.

The venue itself, Richmond Park isn’t the easiest to find, especially if you are Sat Nav reliant, this reviewer was taken away to a housing estate on the opposite end where, after a short encounter with a local ‘hard guy’ type, who happened to be out walking his Pomeranian, kindly directed me to follow a dirt path through some shrubbery and over a wee bridge, I finally managed to come out near the small box office and official entrance.

Once inside I am greeted with a fantastic mixture of people, there are the old East End boys out and about, proudly pea-cocking around the arena sporting The Wedding Present t-shirts that hadn’t been taken out of the drawer since 1991, there are fresh faced fan boys here to catch their local heroes – Mogwai and The Twilight Sad, there is an influx of trendy beards clad with drainpipe jeans and brogues and lastly, there is a bunch of shoe gazing kids wearing parkers – all of which are here for a good time.

The jovial atmosphere is palpable from the start, with most people sitting outside on the green grass absorbing what I’m almost sure would be the last of the summer sun that Glasgow is likely to see this year.

Young Fathers are the first band ravechild was able to catch playing live and they play a high energy set consisting of songs largely from album Dead, which was released earlier this year, the band hop around energetically and take it in turns to jump on to the bass speakers on front of the stage as if to get closer to their audience.

It’s hard to pigeonhole a band like Young Fathers, instantly electronic laced, soul tinged, hip-hop strewn pop comes into mind but the band seem so much more, being a fan of 2013’s Tape Two, after today I can say I’m honestly ashamed that I had never seen them play live before.

The vibrant bounce of ‘Get Up’ has the crowd swaying their arms in the air while, the more lo-fi  gentle thrum of ‘I Heard’ offers an insight into a more sombre side of the band.

It is only, after the last Young Fathers song that I realise my companion had not returned from his venture to the bar in order to retrieve libations, I venture out to find him ‘almost’ at the front of the queue.

West Bar brewery where in charge of proceedings here and I wasn’t disappointed with the range of drinks on offer – excellent craft beer, malt whiskey, the most crisp apple cider I have had the pleasure to enjoy, alas, it was the rate at which the bar staff where being able to dispense drinks, a secondary tent really was called for.

After retrieving our first round we decided that we ought to queue up again for secondary drinks and by the time we had waited in the line we missed the start of The Twilight Sad‘s set, which is an absolute shame because by the time we get into the big top tent, they are absolutely ‘smashing it out the park’.

Again, being a fan ever since 2007’s Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, it really is criminal that this was the first time I’ve been able to catch this band live, exactly why Glasgow needs a festival, that celebrates great local acts and serves them up, fresh to you, packed away neatly and tidy – lunch box style.

James Graham’s gutteral wail and convalescent, Iain Curtis style dancing during ‘And She Would Darken The Memory’ serves to encapsulate exactly what the bad are great at; Scottish accented vocals, fussy reverberating guitars and mesmerising synths, a dark and beautiful song somehow made hopeful in its live embodiment.

Another stark, yet stand out track is 2012’s ‘Nil’, however it is the final song, ‘3 Seconds of Dead Air’, to which lead singer Graham states: “this is a song we never play”, that seems to be the most dreamlike and romantic of them all, a rousing live performance that seems to be enjoyed by both hipster and shoegazer alike.

The Wedding Present come onstage to rapturous applause, and by now the tent is filled with a lot more men wearing black; David Gedge (also wearing head to toe black), who the late John Peel would site as having written some of the best love songs ever, took no time at all striking up a jovial rapport with crowd, making in-between song quips and jokes.

The band race through a set of indie, punk-rock songs reminiscent of Gang of Four and The Jesus and Mary Chain, with stand out tracks being ‘Brassneck’ and ‘My Favourite Dress’, the band even dof their caps to their live predecessors, The Twilight Sad, by playing a cover of ‘Suck’.

James Holden comes on stage to a flurry of strobe lighting and fog machines, although the tent seems to be half full at this point – as everyone else was waiting in line for a pint, he also becomes the harbinger of the lyric free portion of the festival.

Playing a live set, for anyone more akin to playing in clubs behind a series of turntables, would be daunting, but for James Holden all he seems to need is what appears to be a telephone operating system  (you know the one in old movies that looks like a big board of wires that get connected every time a call is placed), he is also accompanied by live drums and a gentleman on saxophone, who seems to enjoy sitting down among all the equipment every time his services are not needed.

There is a problem earlier with the live visual projections, but this seems to be remedied by the time Bristol based Fuck Buttons waltz on stage, drenched in green light, hammering away on a range of keyboards, synths, effects pedals and other indistinguishable electronics, the duo release a volley of scuzzy noise during ‘Brainfreeze’.

It isn’t until ‘Sweet Love For Planet Earth’ that the set seem to down its tempo, to a more tranquil, xylophone filled lullaby, an excellent prelude to headliners; Mogwai.

Having recently re-released (in deluxe edition albeit) seminal album; Come On Die Young, the Glaswegian, post-rock masters seemed to play tracks mainly from this and also Rave Tapes, there is a nod to the more melancholy soundtrack they released as part of, creepy French TV drama Les Revenants in the echoing disembodiment of ‘Hungry Face’

‘Heard About You Last Night’ continues in the sombre line of beauty, until ‘Remurdered’ brings with it a more dance enabling crescendo, at which point most of the crowd start to move around in a more lively fashion, there is even an all instrumental (obviously) version of Nina Simone’s ‘Feeling Good’, given the odd Mogwai makeover in parts.

All in all, the EES has been successful in providing Glasgow with an eclectic line up of home grown talent and utterly perfect mind bending progressive rock, a few teething problems are bound to seep through considering the size of the project, here’s looking to a fresh deluge of great live music in the East End of Glasgow – ‘for the times, they are a changing’.

Words/photos: Angela Canavan