Tag Archives: RAZA

EPs of 2017 (10-1)

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

10. Foreignfox – I Used To Be A Bellydancer [Scottish Fiction]

Explosive, passionate and honest, I Used To Be A Bellydance added another EP to Foreignfox’s collection, establishing their identity and staying true to the burly Scottish accents and deep-seated, emotive melodies we’ve come to love. Huge, suspense-filled tracks, that are occasionally politically charged, Foreignfox show a concern for humanity and communicates a sense of disconcertion with the current state of things. A mixture of post-punk creativity and Scottish coloured indie-rock, the range of skill offered on this EP are is so potent and so memorable, it’s almost like a trip through a rugged wilderness with your closest friends as Jonny Watt hits you in the gut and grabs your deepest emotions through honest lyrics that convey both vulnerability and sincerity.

9. Hostel Freaks – Squad Goals [City of Glass]

Hostel Freaks, aka David Maitland, produced something with Squad Goals that used a strong formula of repetition and experimentation to set up an intriguing record, which is more than capable of breaking beyond its somewhat obscurity to break any open-minded dance floor.

8. E Bias – The Emmanuel Bias [Kick N Clap]

The Emmanuel Bias, this is not your usual release – how often do you get a supergroup with a Turner prize nominee and a member of Franz Ferdinand chucking out some quirky deep house? E Bias, the project of Luke Fowler, Paul Thomson and the ever versatile Richard Youngs, produced a pretty storming little EP, strong on Chicago vibes whilst not being oppresively old school. Great grooves, simple, stripped back Chicago style drums and bassliness; utterly functional and more beautiful for dispensing with too much ornamentation. Great record with six tracks that look back, but manage to be rather unique and forward-looking at the same time; impressive simplicity beautifully realised.

7. Dama Scout – Dama Scout [Father/Daughter]

Dama Scout’s EP veered from the conventional indie pop formula and delivered unexpected moments round every corner delivering a memorably and joyous record. Exploring a catalogue of theme the band have blossomed in 2017 and their every unravelling breezy sound is one that we can’t wait to hear more of.

6. KAPUTT – Demo 2017 [Fuzzkill]

Demo 2017 is a lively and innovative take on the post-punk, highly energetic cacophony of sounds create a very refreshing and amusing EP, setting KAPUTT but as one of the new bands that everyone should keep their eye on.

5. Frightened Rabbit – Recorded Songs [Atlantic]

Requiring no introduction Frightened Rabbit released Recorded Songs to little fanfare, still this three-track release stands alone as a strong part of the band’s ever impressive back catalogue. Most of the EP’s attention has been centred around ‘How It Gets In’, which the brilliant Julien Baker lends her voice to, but beyond that is another gem that’s well worth getting you hands on.

4. HOME$LICE – Young Creatives

Young Creatives is the sound of a band knowingly stepping up their game, and doing it with ease as HOME$LICE cement themselves as the trailblazers of a lo-fi scene which has been gathering momentum for several years. The band manage retain the edge that separates them from an ever-populated scene, however, they are evidently aware that their knack for a good melody deserves a wider, more commercial appeal.

3. Shredd – Every Time We Meet I Wanna Die [Fuzzkill]

With Every Time We Meet I Wanna Die Shredd offered a sense of levity and enjoyment without sacrificing their integrity. The EP is a party starter fusing garage, punk and pop elements, as gentle, meandering vocals juxtapose more coarse punk vocals perfectly, while fast, complicated bass; fun, entertaining, technically well executed guitar and cymbal laden, powerful drums. The release seems to descend deeper into traditional garage and punk material with each song without letting go of the vocal work and long-form guitar that distinguishes it from faster, punchier gear. It’s a border smashing debut that whets the appetite for future releases perfectly.

2. RAZA – Futuramayana [Save As]

Glasgow duo RAZA refer to themselves as a “heated conversation”, funny that, because the temperature which radiates off these four songs on show within this beautiful little EP Futuramayana is quite something else, these pieces of beats are reeking of subtly spiced garam masala (and more than a couple absolutely-stonking melodies). Dripping in grease proof stains of lovely synthesised unspoken syllables which cathartically delve their teeth into a violated surface of fun and tango, here we have profusely prolifically the wonderful dynamic which makes RAZA tick over quite deliciously.

1. The Bellybuttons – Wires [Fuzzkill]

Wires highlights an irreplaceable coolness with slick 90s vibes, ‘Referendum on you (enemies)’ captures a calming and airy dynamic, cleverly put together and creatively charged, effortlessly gliding into ‘Autumn Song’, flowing flawlessly alongside the damp and subtle bassline. There’s an immediate sense of togetherness when listening to this EP with a distinct charm drifting from start to finish. Wires is a slow and easy gem, presenting itself with resonating style, creating a playful head-space and good vibes – a severely obvious intelligence.

RAZA – Futuramayana [Save As]

RAZA – Futuramayana [Save As]Glasgow duo RAZA refer to themselves as a “heated conversation”, funny that, because the temperature which radiates off these four songs on show within this beautiful little EP Futuramayana is quite something else, turn the heating up to 11 boys – these pieces of beats are reeking of subtly spiced garam masala (and more than a couple absolutely-stonking melodies).

Tracks such as drifting drum led ‘Dogons VS Vogons’ encapsulates an orgasmic plausibly pleasing rhythm genre sweethearts Four Tet would be proud of while the neurotically synth organised opener ‘Futuramayana’ is at the heart of that Pacha dance floor you don’t want to ever leave in the sandy beaches of Ibiza.

Dripping in grease proof stains of lovely synthesised unspoken syllables which cathartically delve their teeth into a violated surface of fun and tango, here we have profusely prolifically the wonderful dynamic which makes RAZA tick over quite deliciously.

Third track ‘Green Wave’ is a teasing abomination of crashing nonsense, while closing track ‘Pandahero’ propels you over the flaunting sunrise – forever basking you in loops and loops of haunted memories en route home from a party you will never forget.

RAZA are that party.

Words: Chris Kelman

Doune the Rabbit Hole, Day 2, 19/8/17

Day two of Doune I start off early and surprising chirper, after a cup of Yogi chai from the Tchai Ovna tent and a haggis roll sort be right out.

So, well prepared I make the journey down the treacherous path down to the Thunderdome stage in plenty of time to catch an otherworldly set from Chrissy Barnacle.

Barnacle’s songs are built on intricate and delicate finger picking, and her soft voice gently sooths with touches of Joanna Newsom-esque flourishes.

It’s the perfect opening to a busy day, some chilled acoustic tracks with crazy premises interspersed with banter that’s as amusing as it is charming.

Over at Baino there’s a real retro feel to THE NINTH WAVE’s sound and look that hark back to the new wave / new romantics of the mid to late 80s, but this comes with a freshly injected energy that has set the band on an ever increasing trajectory.

The sharp yet dreamy vocal interplay from Haydn Park-Patterson and Elina Lin add a nice cushion to their sound, keep your eyes peeled on these guys they seem right on the cusp of something.

Over on the Main Stage and Babe get an introduction that I will neither be able to replicate nor top; it’s surreal and magical and encapsulates their sound perfectly, a dream filled soundscape that lulls you to somewhere else, somewhere you can’t can quite place.

Gerard Black’s vocals are high, immaculate and float nicely above the band as they move into more high tempo sections.

The set evolves from reverby bass heavy tracks to tropical foot movers with sky reaching vocals, with an all round quality remaining the only constants; a special festival cover of Rui Da Silva’s ‘Touch Me’ the cherry on top of a superb set.

You can already hear MISC. MEAT as you take the muddy path down into the woods and you’re hit with sounds of punk fury, only to find yourself engulfed in Fragma’s trance banger ‘I Need A Miracle’, which is delivered with a sneered intensity and power, not an ounce of trance though.

The rest of the set is delivered with the same high octane ferociousness, it’s a proper old school punk sound that draws influence most notably from early 80s America, it’s punk how you want it to be delivered, without any clichés but with plenty of attitude.

RAZA is well into their set when I get back up to Baino and it’s frantic stuff, as the duo make an expansive sound that could well be the best 90s video game soundtrack you’ll ever hear.

It’s a high-energy display from the synth/drums duo that twinkles and drives along getting people moving to their retro goodness.

Their debut EP Futuramayana is definitely one of the most fun released this year and we look forward to hearing a lot more from them.

Back at Thunderdome, being careful not to go beyond, Breakfast Muff is dousing us with their usual set full of charming indie pop / punk vibes, and sharp on point and sometimes bizarre subject matter.

Cultural appropriation is a strong talking point of the band’s set, something that a lot of people at the festival are guilty of, and Eilidh McMillan’s message is simple; it’s not ok.

The trio’s instrument swapping, lo-fi pop via screeched punk sound all the while maintains an endearing lovability that’s infectious and poignant.

Back up at the Jabberwocky Stage those expecting Meursault are hit with The Vegan Leather and those expecting The Vegan Leather in an hour at Baino get something different altogether, still a bump up to the festival’s biggest stage can’t be sniffed at and despite them not bringing the expected dreamy, yet miserable, atmospheric brilliance, they do deliver some unashamed cheese dusted electronic indie rock.

The Vegan Leather is essentially the ideal festival band, charisma filled pop tracks that get your feet moving, I’m sure not too many are complaining.

The pathway to Thunderdome seems to be shut off so Snapped Ankles make an interesting alternative, coated in what appears to be moss and rags, they play pounding reverberating rock that is ultimately really fun for the short spell I see them.

Finally down at Thunderdome, Life Model suffer from the entrance being shut off and ultimately play to a rather small crowd, but as the set builds people start to filter in.

Life Model are a band that have evolved a lot over the last couple of years, gone is the super reverberated vocals and the dream pop back drop, now to their credit they’re a band with a really strong sound that’s difficult to pigeonhole, you could as easily shoegaze to star gaze to Chris Smith’s guitar work, and Sophie Evans’ vocals are clearer than before, maintaining a softness without ever being weak.

The banter is a little questionable as Evans tries to get the crowd to guess what she’s going back to uni to study, and despite it being given away straight away that it’s teaching some guy seems willing to keep guessing; still if not for drum troubles the banter wouldn’t need to be there and still the chat, from Evans at least, does hold a bit of a shambolic charm and as the set ends with Smith on top an amp, things are powered a satisfying conclusion.

Back up the hill Spinning Coin are coating, the currently dry but rain soaked festival, with their own sunshine.

Moving from lovingly carved fuzzy indie pop to scratchy garage rock topped with beautiful harmonies and real powered home sections Spinning Coin’s main stage performance reminds us exactly why they at getting so much attention.

Holy Fuck is a powerhouse of droning euphoric electronics, the duo bop around in front of tables of kit, producing sounds that explode with sheer volume.

On paper they aren’t your typical crowd pleaser at a festival like Doune, but they are an experience that those that have come to see them are embracing and many will go home remembering.

Following them over at The Lodge is Kikagaku Moyo, which means sadly we have to miss the brilliant Jenny Hval, still the Japanese four-piece are an experience, producing an all encompassing psych performance that fizzes up and explodes with sheer energy.

Their long hair makes them appear out of their time, while their music feels from a completely different place, brash bursts of guitar led frenzy move to hypnotic expanses that connect you in to another planet for a short while.

Due to Songhoy Blues absence François & the Atlas Mountains have been bumped up to headliner, luckily their sound is so refreshing and gloriously fun that no one notices who hasn’t heard Songhoy Blues before, add some cheeky dance moves from François Marry and co into the mix and you’re onto a winner.

In his matching shirt and trouser combo Marry possess all the right attributes for a frontman headlining a festival, creating a focal point that you can’t stop watching, match that with their uplifting breezy indie pop sound and you find yourself dancing along in no time.

Over Baino Liverpool based duo Her’s swagger around the stage like men possessed, blasting through some fun garage rock with addictive vocals and a bouncing beat; I don’t manage to catch much of them but there’s enough here to convince me to come back and see them again.

The Cosmic Dead play their annual Doune the Rabbit Hole set, this year at 20 to 1 in the morning, and seem just as loud as ever despite James T McKay’s claims that they have to turn their amps down, and later that they have to turn their drums down bizarrely.

Still whether it’s all just a bit of a faff or genuine idiocy from the sound complaints, I can’t figure where they would come from we’re essentially in the middle of nowhere and the vibration from the dub stage can be felt much further affeld surely, the band manage to tear the festival a new one with an engulfing set of powerful space rock and flailing hair.

More Photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Allan Lewis / Harrison Reid

Preview: Doune The Rabbit Hole (Saturday)

With Doune the Rabbit Hole coming up next weekend we thought we’d give you a run down of some of the acts to check out, problem was we felt the line up so strong that we couldn’t limit it down to a certain number, here’s a wee day by day effort to keep you occupied:

SATURDAY

With a headline slot from the wonderfully effervescent Songhoy Blues, Doune the Rabbit Hole’s full on early afternoon til early morning promises to be a day of fun, that said there’s plenty of other acts to tickle your fancy dotted about.

JENNY HVAL (21.00, Baino)

Possibly the highest up the bill that we’re featuring, in terms of poster anyway, the critically acclaimed Norwegian artist Jenny Hval could not go without a mention. Unnerving, unsettling but ultimately engrossing she has produced some the darkest yet beautiful records of recent years, witnessing her live can be a near spiritual experience.

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FRANCOIS & THE ATLAS MOUNTAINS (20.00, Jabberwocky)

Rarely do an indie-pop band command this enviable power, but François and the Atlas Mountains certainly do. More than being excellent performers, they’re also the sort of guys you just want to be friends with. They convey an irrepressible bonhomie from the stage, flashing knowing grins at one another during a particularly sweet turn of musical phrase, or swaying in sync to the big refrain as easily as if they’d been at it since they were 10.

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THE COSMIC DEAD (00.40, Baino)

On the first time I attended Doune the Rabbit Hole, when it was actually in Doune nonetheless, pace rock Odysseans The Cosmic Dead played pretty much every day and at all times of the day – drifting off on a wooden floor to them jamming at around 4am sticks with me somewhat. Since then they have pretty much become a fixture of the festival, and must sees on top of that, they bring an enviable power encapsulating audiences in their sheer psych presence.

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BABE (13.45, Jabberwocky)

At times immersive and beautiful at others buoyant and glitchy Babe are a band that’ll bring a smile to the face of anyone. Another returning act from last year, another act that we won’t be missing again.

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MEURSAULT (16.45, Jabberwocky)

Recently re-emerging Meursault is a musical behemoths, returning with an EP at the end of last year and this year’s SAY Award nominated I Will Kill Again, Neil Pennycook has crafted a sound that will leave you astounded, it’s emotion tugging stuff that goes from drearily lows to upliftingly epic highs, all topped with Pennycook’s distinctive holler.

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SPINNING COIN (18.15, Jabberwocky)

Marrying fuzzy squall with jangly sweetness it’s clear as day why Spinning Coin they were snapped up by Domino Records as eagerly as they were. Spinning Coin engulf you in a sound that seems made for any mood; you could swagger along to this at the top of your game, or perk yourself up with this from a downer, or indeed be relaxed in the comfort with this on in the background.

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HER’S (23.00, Baino)

Drum-machine led Liverpool pair Her’s, although undoubtedly indebted to the likes of Mac DeMarco have crafted a sound with leave you gleefully captivated and eager for more. We’ve never had the pleasure of catching them live but there’s not much doubting they’ll bring the sunshine for a small portion of time at least.

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BREAKFAST MUFF (16.00, Thunderdome)

Breakfast MUFF’s punk vigour is contagious; they’re a band with a joyous energy – and raw talent. Pop at its filthiest, they’re fast, aggressive, punchy and are absolutely wild fun with an effortless charm.

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HAPPY MEAL (ASHRAM SET) (16.00, Baino & 23.00, 0///Dome)

Happy Meals’ second set for the weekend is their Ashram Set, which we can assume comes from their recent LP Full Ashram Devotional Ceremony expect a fresh atmosphere, an openness to texture, depth and modulating mood. An potentially chilled affair that will lull you beautifully before Lewis’ other band The Cosmic Dead blow you away later on.

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LIFE MODEL (18.00, Thunderdome)

Chris Smith’s pedal loops and gradual swells give Life Model’s tunes a gorgeous phosphorescence that, alongside Sophie Evans’ vocals, evokes the best work of post-rock luminaries Slowdive. They make shimmering noise pop with a touch of nineties shoegazers and see to get better every time we see them, let’s hope that continues.

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RAZA (14.30, Baino)

With a gloriously addictive set of jazzy bleeps, soaring electro scapes and some 90s computer game vibes RAZA promise to be one of the more colourful acts of the festival. Masterminded by stalwart of the Glasgow scene, both on stage and behind the desk, Gav Thomson, RAZA will have everyone dancing and inventing their own terms for what they hear in no time.

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HEIR OF THE CURSED (19.15, Thunderdome)

Kenya born now Scotland resident Beldina Odenyo Onassis aka Heir of the Cursed possess some of the most beguiling songs you will experience yet also holds a voice that packs as much power as it does soul, we’ve only yet caught her in a stripped back scenario but we expect her to really pack a punch at the festival.

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BROTHER MICHELLE (21.45, Thunderdome)

A solo project from one of the guys from LYLO, Brother Michelle has established itself as one to watch in itself with a live shows that full of impressive dance moves and jam-packed full of energy. Musically expect some dark R&B tinged pop but with plenty of beats to keep you going enough to dance along or simply let it drift you away.

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MISC. MEAT (14.00, Thunderdome)

It’s been a while since we saw this noisy punk trio, which is a surprise considering the sheer amount they seem to play. Still, we’ll make the effort to get to see them tear up the festival with their high energy set.

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CHRISSY BARNACLE (12.00, Thunderdome)

Chrissy Barnacle is a real joy whether telling humour dripping stories or delivering honest nylon-stringed folk, that covers your day to day musing to the complete ridiculous; a real charming set to be expected.

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Scottish Indie Sampler Vol II. [GoldMold]

What is indie music? It’s a good question especially as for most of the mid-2000s it seemed mostly synonymous with four skinny white boys with electric guitars, releasing records on nominally “independent” labels that were in practice the arms length brainchildren of some of the world’s most powerful label groups,

This compilation, volume II in what we should all hope is a continuing series, blows this question right open.

It’s far less about one particular, sound, vibe or even instrument. Instead the doors are opened for six of Scotland’s best independent labels to showcase a handful of their most exciting talents.

First up is Gold Mold, whose vibe is probably closest to the plaid and power chords sound that dominated British indie music for much of the nineties. Their star turn comes from Lovely Ladies and their single ‘Pink Teeth’, which has all the wonky charm you could hope for.

Aberdeen’s FitLike Records are significantly weirder with Tryptamines channelling the nerdy Beach Boys aesthetic of Teleman or Scotland’s own Django Django while ‘Above the Vaults’ by Kitchen Cynics suggests the lasting influence of Arab Strap in that corner of Scotland.

Make-That-A-Take are the most rough and ready of the labels on shows, flitting between the blink-182 sneer of Lachance’s ‘Shoebox’ and the proggier post hardcore of Clearer the Sky.

The final act, PMX, might be the most accomplished track on the record, with clear, punchy production and catchy riffs, like a more aggressive Twin Atlantic.

On side B Glasgow’s Save As Collective bring some slick synth pop with Bronze Wave’s ‘Waaaave’ and the equally upbeat RAZA, while Heavy Manners sound like the Purity Ring on a late night comedown.

The trio of tracks from Handpicked Cassette Tapes are some of the record’s finest, displaying an expert curator’s eye for soulful sounds in particular the startlingly assured woozy jazz vibes of Mantra’s ‘Black Lies’, which channels Portishead or Tricky’s work with Martina Topley-Bird.

Finally DTHCMP end the record with their best downtempo electronica; none of their tracks are designed to grab you by the scruff of the neck, with the style closer to gently meandering hip hop instrumentals, but the standout is probably ‘Temptations’ by Lude, which has a touch of J Dilla in its misty eyed evocation of classic hip-hop vinyl’s.

There’s probably not quite enough of any one act to turn you into a super fan and nor does it come close to offering a definitive statement on what indie culture is in late 2016, but for an insight into the sights and sounds of the Scottish Underground, you could do much worse than take a dab.

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Words: Max Sefton