Tag Archives: Siobhan Wilson

Siobhan Wilson with the Demi Quartet at Edinburgh Reid Concert Hall, 28/4/18

Somewhere in heaven an angel is belting out psalms like it’s Friday night karaoke in Govan.

Fortunately this transcendental trade-off means that those of us present at the Reid Concert Hall on Saturday evening are treated to Siobhan Wilson singing with the voice of an angel.

If I were to read an article that opened with those two sentences I would probably find myself involuntarily dry-retching into my jumper sleeve, as I’m sure many of you currently are.

Wilson’s stunningly pure voice however is wholly deserving of such vomit-inducing hyperbole.

The young Elgin-born songwriter’s second album There Are No Saints, released on Edinburgh’s Song, By Toad Recordswas one of the highlights of 2017 and she recreates it for us tonight accompanied by her regular guitarist and the Demi Quartet – of whom there is, somewhat perplexingly, five.

She takes to the stage resplendent – although a little nervy – in rainbow coloured fairy wings and after taking a few tentative lines to find her voice – and her confidence – she bursts into life along with the Demi Quartet and gives a swelling rendition of ‘Whatever Helps’ to open the show.

As she continues, one can’t help but feel that Wilson is holding back slightly.

The daunting size of the Reid Concert Hall has not been matched by the size of the PA system and at times it seems as though the young singer is being constrained by the sound technicians inability – or unwillingness – to crank the volume up.

Five songs into the set after a haunting new track that Wilson neglects to tell us the title of, the Demi Quartet – glowing with admiration though they may be – feel embarrassingly underused.

Fortunately she follows this up with ‘Dear God’ – a beautiful and devastating song that lends itself well to the string accompaniment, although is slightly tainted by the guitarist’s overzealous tambourine playing.

Despite this the song stands out as a high point and Wilson uses the room’s incredible acoustics to her advantage by moving around her microphone to recreate the haunting, ethereal backing vocals present on the studio recording.

Wilson’s cutesy stage persona somewhat shatters the illusion her thoughtful lyrics create, as she makes a remark about not being used to such a “posh” venue, so posh, in fact, that there isn’t even a bar!

Fortunately for the promoters the audience in attendance is possibly the driest group of people who have ever congregated anywhere outside of a church hall – a testament to Wilson’s folky appeal.

‘Disaster and Grace’ sees Wilson move to piano, and proves to be the most sonically successful arrangement of the night as the volume of the piano emboldens her and she allows her voice to soar.

She closes the show – after a second encore – with a cover of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Anarchy In The UK’ (no, really), which she delivers with a knowing smiling after explaining that she was challenged to do so via an online poll.

All in all, a slightly underwhelming gig that is carried largely by Wilson’s incredible vocal capabilities while the Demi Quartet remain regretfully under-utilised (possibly under-rehearsed).

I had high hopes for this show so I won’t pretend not to be disappointed.

I’ll give Wilson the benefit of the doubt since this was a special one-off collaborative performance, and hope that I can catch her usual stage show another time and find it more up to my expectations. 

Words: Thomas Cross

Celtic Connections: Hazy Recollections at ABC, 4/2/18

Presumably this Year’s Celtic Connections is the most successful yet, but a gig on a Sunday afternoon is what it’s all that about.

Hazy Recollections showcases short sets from a number of artists back to back (with no discernible interval) in a chilled out, generally all seated, environment.

From a personal point of view a rare appearance from Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lockpickers and a headlining set from Emme Woods could not be missed.

Opening proceedings Rhona MacFarlane takes to the stage with a three-piece string section, a folk/pop crossover from this talented singer-songwriter, whose intimate and personal songs go down well with what appears to be a pretty diverse audience.

Although the setup sounds just right MacFarlane expresses her hope for “maybe one day with a full orchestra”.

No sooner had MacFarlane et al left the stage when a three piece Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lockpickers take the stage.

Jacob Lovatt is only accompanied by an acoustic guitar and keys, but that is of little consequence as from the opening bars of ‘Dundee’ you realise that the vocals of Lovatt can all but fill the room themselves.

Introduced as makers of “doomwop” the stripped back nature of this set demonstrate the storytelling ability of Lovatt’s songwriting underpinned by the emotion he puts in to his performance.

A couple of oldies, a couple of new songs, an announcement of a new album, a more gentle love song without the usual darkness and a couple from the latest album, Goths!!!.

Closing with a powerful rendition of ‘The Gospel According to The Selfish Gene’ and that is it; if we can only hold out now until the new music.

Age-Otori is up next and warns us straight away about their potential for inappropriate comments; scaremongering me thinks!

Age-Otori performs solo with a keyboard and sings of personal experiences with anecdotes and stories in between; mum was obviously in the audience and helps out with the forgotten first lyrics to ‘Honey’.

A mix of fun, but with real emotion in some of the more personal songs such as ‘Pulse’ about the 49 people killed in the Pulse nightclub Orlando, or ‘Jo-Anne’ (about a stripper) whose “not what I’d like to be” and ‘Alaska’ – lets go to Alaska and escape everyone’s stupid ideal.

An emotional performance with Age-Otori attempting to make light of the performance, but cannot hide the personal nature of their songwriting.

Announced as the mystery guest Siobhan Wilson replaces Age-Otori and performs a masterclass touching on her back catalogue.

A beautiful voice with the minimal of guitar accompaniment, as that is all that is required.

Her set includes songs off the new album, There Are No Saints, and some oldies including ‘All Dressed Up’ with some lyrics changed “to make it more evil”.

Wilson finishes with ‘Dear God’ from the new album before making way for Emme Woods.

Emme Woods is one of the hottest properties in Glasgow at the moment and this appearance has the full band line up including Kitty on the keys.

Arguably the strongest of their flexible line ups, but for Barrie-James O’Neill who makes the occasional appearance.

There was a time when Celtic Connections would have been the natural habitat for Woods when her music was more influenced by alt folk, but that is no longer the case.

With the full band set up the afternoon’s rock (and sassiness) levels are stepped up a gear.

2018 is likely to be a big year for Woods with plans for a new EP and the announcement of an appearance at the SXSW.

With the recording of the new EP currently underway we were treated to a new song and the likely title track ‘It’s Ma Party’ as well as old favourites ‘Mother Doesn’t Love You’ and ‘I Was Running’.

A brilliant bluesy rock performance where Woods’ vocals are the focus, our very own Janis Joplin.

Apparently they had missed the soundcheck due to road closures coming from the recording studio, however this is a faultless performance (as usual).

More Photos

Words/Photos: Derek McCutcheon

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 (30-21)

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

30. ULTRAS – ULTRAS [Hello Thor]

The brain child of Over The Wall’s Wav Prentice ULTRAS’ debut record caught our ears through its wide ranging influences, colourful tones and Prentice’s ever enthusiastic impassioned delivery.

29. Sun Rose – The Essential Luxury [Last Night From Glasgow]

The band formerly known as Nevada Base finally got round to putting out an album in 2018 and it’s one that was worth waiting for, it’s an emphatic display electronic pop music that shines with a vital energy that we have now come to expect from LNFG releases.

28. December ‘91 – Starin’ At The Freaks

We’ve come to accept December ’91 as a warm and traditionally folky artist, with a dark and subtle back hand that creeps around a lot of the songs, and some embarrassingly if not upsettingly frank lyrics. Starin’ At The Freaks is much lighter in tone than his previous releases and has a little less crude lyricism, delivering the artist’s best work to date This album seems like a step in a more commercially viable direction for the artist, but this comes without a sacrifice of quality and integrity. There are meaningful twangs of Americana, a well balanced mixture of classical and contemporary elements and a lack of seriousness – with some swearing, morbidity and crassness thrown in for good measure.

27. State Broadcasters – A Different Past [Olive Grove]

Glasgow’s State Broadcasters third record, A Different Past is a record that tries on everyone’s clothes from Teenage Fanclub’s buttoned down power-pop shirt to King Creosote’s rain-lashed greatcoat to the glossy sheen of Dear Catastrophe Waitress era Belle and Sebastian. There’s the sense that each track is part of a wider project, serving to highlight a different facet of the whole, that despite their disparate styles and influences there’s a sense of a common project here and it lends the record a thoughtful feel despite its more outré stylings. A Different Past comes with a manifesto: “embrace the world we live in today rather than revisiting and revising memories of our youth and trying to convince ourselves it really was all great fun,” with State Broadcasters, at least you’ll know there is always something fresh and new around the corner.

26. Washington Irving – August 1914

Folk rockers Washington Irving returned with another album of emotional highs and lows, this time delving into the bloody battles of WWI as inspiration for a set of songs that seek to catalogue love, misery and dread. Having played with Glasgow’s kings of anthemic melancholy Frightened Rabbit as well as the likes of Titus Andronicus and Wintersleep, the gang know how to match their miserabilism to rollocking tunes and August 1914 is certainly their heaviest and least folk-inflected set to date. Appropriately given the newly beefed up sound, August 1914 may well also be the group’s darkest set of material so far, from shout along first single ‘We Are All Going to Die’ to the stormy ‘Petrograd’, and when the tracks spark to life there’s a fiery intensity that few current Scottish bands can match, most notably on the brilliant and righteously angry ‘Faslane Forever’. To make August 1914, Washington Irving travelled to New York seeking new horizons; we’re lucky to have them back.

25. Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints [Song, by Toad]

Siobhan Wilson’s There Are No Saints starts off with its titular track, a saintly track that sets the scene beautifully and topically for a particularly nuanced, bold, intelligent and endearing album. What it does extremely well is meld contemporary and classical elements with respect, restraint and understanding; delivering one of the best debut albums we’ve heard recently. For such a highly artistic album, it is not alienating or difficult to engage with; there is no sense of snobbery here. There is nothing about this album that occurs in a particularly linear, predictable or boring way, it is exceptionally progressive and evolving.

24. Campfires In Winter – Ischaemia [Olive Grove]

Campfires In Winter debut album took some time in coming, as such it came at a time when the Croy four-piece are familiar faces on the Glasgow indie rock scene. Ischaemia, the follow up to a multitude of singles and EPs over the past few years, is an interesting synthesis of the sounds they have tried on over the last half a decade. Campfires have built a reputation for emotional live performances that blur the line between windswept folk rock and soaring shoegaze, on Ischaemia they brush up against these constraints with a record that pushes their sound in some more experimental directions, in a record that thrives on brains and a dark humoured outlook on the world.

23. Blue Rose Code – The Water of Leith [Navigator]

We were late to the game for Ross Wilson, aka Blue Rose Code’s acclaimed new album, and as a result maybe it wasn’t given a fair roll of the dice. Still, on the short time we had to spin in was an enchanting experience as Wilson sheds his past and looks to the future in true beautiful terms.

22. Fuzzystar – Telegraphing [Satelite Sounds]

Fuzzystar is the moniker of Andy Thomson and friends, an Edinburgh based gang trafficking in buzzy indie pop; Telegraphing is their debut record and it’s a ten track, tune packed blast that delivers reverb stricken off-kilter  indie pop at it’s best. At points the guitar is big and crunchy at others it’s sleek, while Thomson’s weary vocals lead the way, Telegraphing is a layered, fuzz  packed beauty that will have your heart captured in no time.

21. Best Girl Athlete – Best Girl Athlete [Fitlike]

Katie Buchan, aka Best Girl Athlete, followed up 2015’s Carve Every Word with her new self-titled album, which includes an eclectic mix of tracks displaying her strength in producing a strong and diverse range of music displaying real growth both musically, and lyrically. The album is stronger and sounds a great deal more confident as Buchan plays around with an interesting mix of genres and styles. Best Girl Athlete has moved into a more mature and complete space, through her alluring vocals and striking lyrics that shape each track and with this exceptionally well shaped album shows Buchan’s growing strength as an independent artist, promising impressive things to come in the future. 

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1

Siobhan Wilson – There Are No Saints [Song, By Toad]

Siobhan Wilson’s There Are No Saints starts off with its titular track, a saintly track that sets the scene beautifully and topically for a particularly nuanced, bold, intelligent and endearing album.

What it does extremely well is meld contemporary and classical elements with respect, restraint and understanding; delivering one of the best debut albums we’ve heard recently.

Followed by ‘Whatever Helps’ – a subversive, well produced and acoustically exploratory track, Wilson exquisitely delivers extremely timely lyrics in an interesting and unpredictable way.

‘Dear God’ drops the listener down a step but persists in embracing a non-linear fashion and structure.

Wilson – it seems – was so entranced by French culture that she moved there after high school, where she embraced and developed her musicality, this certainly gives the album – particularly in tracks like ‘Dear God’ a certain… je ne sais qua.

There are no stinkers or fillers on here, some of the tracks are shorter and less memorable, but contribute to the overall experimentality of the work.

A few tracks that deserve a very special shout out include ‘Make You Mine’ – a joyous and sad journey of a song, which is accessible and relatable to a wide range of people without being pretentious or forced, telling a story that spans almost 20 years with beautifully rhythmic vocals and ponderous, endearing music.

It is followed by ‘Dark Matter’, which follows the thematic arc of intelligence and exploration set forth by the album so far – remaining catchy but retaining its depth, breadth and sense of character.

For such a highly artistic album, it is not alienating or difficult to engage with; there is no sense of snobbery here.

There is nothing about this album that occurs in a particularly linear, predictable or boring way, it is exceptionally progressive and evolving.

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Words: Paul Aitken

Siobhan Wilson – ‘Whatever Helps’ [Song, By Toad]

Recently oigned to Song, By Toad upon her return to Scotland from an extended stay in France, Siobhan Wilson releases ‘Whatever Helps’, the first taster of her upcoming debut full-length album There Are No Saints due in July.

Immediately, ‘Whatever Helps’ shows off a more darker tone than her earlier, more twee-sounding material; the delicately soft vocal remain, but it is now layered, and more ominous sounding.

The track is an ode to fighting against a lost love, and the depression that comes with it.

Wilson chimes on the haunting chorus “you’re stuck in the break of a wave, you’re haunted by a line from a song, you’re beaten by the weight of a prayer trying to move on”, which will perhaps more accurately portray the feeling of crushing depression more than any other you will ever hear.

‘Whatever Helps’ never really goes anywhere and the reverb-drenched lone guitar that accompanies her vocal is near enough atonal, however therein lies its beauty.

The lack of a backing band allows Wilson’s gorgeous voice to drift like a lonely stranger passing through the night.

Despite an extended period of not even living in the country, Wilson has been talked about for several years as an exciting talent amongst folk music circles in Scotland.

Now that she’s back, and supported by a label who are reknowned for giving artists their freedom to create, the Elgin-born singer is on the cusp of something special.

If ‘Whatever Helps’ is to set the tone for her record, expect it to be the vital soundtrack to an inevitably bleak summer.

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Words: Graham McCusker

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

EPs of 2015 (20-11)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

20 The Vegan Leather - This House20 The Vegan Leather – This House

A work that possesses both the sincerity and conviction necessary to remind any listener than pop can be more than just clean synths and solid marketing. While it in part feels like the gritty precursor to a potential masterpiece, This House is a vibrant and exciting lesson in punchy, hook-laden art pop. (Michael Mavor)

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19 Quiet as a Mouse - Memorybox19 Quiet as a Mouse – Memorybox

Memorybox contains a mix of delicate and lively tracks that create a successful taster of Quiet As A Mouse’s potential conveying their ability to create gentle, intricate tracks. They have an album planned for 2016 and, judging by this release it will be something to look out for.

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18 Youngstrr Joey - Cheerleader18 Youngstrr Joey – Cheerleader [Number4Door]

Cheerleader showcases how well Cal Donelly takes to the solo role; it’s full of head sticking choruses, rumbling lo-fi guitars and up tempo, toe-tappers, before closing on the slow gritty ‘I Give Up’. Cheerleader raw and authentic; it’s like one of those Brain Licker sweeties that were popular in primary school – enjoyable and addictive with a sour kick.

17 Finn LeMarinel - Love Is Waves17 Finn LeMarinel – Love Is Waves [Electric Honey]

Experimental, beautiful and at times unnervingly personal, Finn LeMarinel’s Love is Waves EP sees the Glasgow singer-songwriter push his creative bounds to excellent effect. Stripped back, evocative vocals meld with myriad instrumental techniques, as LeMarinel frames each track with precisely placed guitar and piano. Simple, yet incongruously intricate, Love is Waves evidences a marked and impressive evolution for the former Trapped in Kansas frontman.

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16 Siobhan Wilson - Say It’s True16 Siobhan Wilson – Say It’s True [Reveal]

Say It’s True consists of seven songs that are each crafted to complete perfection: from the striking acapella opening of the title track to the vocal leaps that bring the record to a close, the EP in its entirety is a remarkable feat of musicianship. Wilson fuses traditional elements of folk with layers of more contemporary sounds to create something unusual and beautiful. (Ellen Renton)

15 Golden Teacher - Sauchiehall Enthrall15 Golden Teacher – Sauchiehall Enthrall

Glasgow six piece Golden Teacher opted to self-release this dubiously named EP and it is yet another solid and at times excellent bit of kit; high quality stuff from a gleefully enthusiastic bunch. Sauchiehall Enthrall is otherworldly and a vivid offering from this unique collective, who incidentally are a formidably high octane live proposition, if clearly mad to a man and woman. Hard funk, groovy, ear-melting drums, ethereal bleeps, banshee yelps and a touch of acid – what’s not to love?

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14 Spinning Coin - Spinning Coin14 Spinning Coin – Spinning Coin [FUZZKILL]

Spinning Coin is the coming of age of a group who combined have been in about a million bands, all of which contributed something to Glasgow. Coin might not have a coin among them, but they have the Mac Demarco guitars, running out of battery sound and the posture of pavement; all without copying! (Paul Choi)

13 The Bellybuttons - PLAY!13 The Bellybuttons – PLAY! [FUZZKILL]

Think 90s lo-fi rock but up-cycled. The Bellybuttons deliver a neat set of tracks with all the key ingredients that make it hard not to like. The EP opens the door to a world of skillful pitch bending riffs, before things start to pick up with ‘Hard to Read’, showcasing their ability to bring energy to a track with a little taste of bluegrass thrown in. ‘Solar Envy’ brings you back down to Earth in a soft cloud of husky vocals before playing with your mind in ‘Sad Boys’ with an elongated, suspended and distorted outro leaving you to wonder what the guys will come up with next. (Rachel Cunningham)

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12 Sorren Maclean - Way Back Home12 Sorren Maclean – Way Back Home [Middle of Nowhere]

Way Back Home sees Mull-based songwriter and guitarist Sorren MacLean bring tasteful, strong arrangements, topped by his widescreen, yearning vocal. MacLean is obviously well aware of folk music traditions, but there’s a pop sensibility too that ensures the melodic hooks are strong and memorable and this EP sounds equally good sound tracking a summer’s day as it would a dimly lit folk club.

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11 SACRED PAWS - 6 Songs11 SACRED PAWS – 6 Songs [Rock Action]

It must have been a ridiculously busy year for Rachel Aggs, with this EP and releases from other bands Trash Kit and Shopping coming in quick succession, but never have her releases lacked in quality. Add to Aggs’ jaunty, clean wiry guitar tone the up beat snare drum centric beats of Eilidh Rodgers, the duo’s fresh energy and overlapping vocals that give a sense of the free spirit, and you’ve got Six Songs; a playful polyrhythmic EP that is as refresh as a tropical breeze.

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20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & albums

Siobhan Wilson – Say It’s True [Reveal]

Say It’s True is a hauntingly beautiful account of a folk record, combining delicate vocals with complacent melodies and intimate lyrics.

The first track from Siobhan Wilson’s new EP is title-track ‘Say It’s True’, which introduces Wilson’s unforgettable and enduring breathy vocal style along with a simplistic melody made up of elegant guitar tones, soft percussion and a small stringed section at the end.

‘Terrible Woman’ has more of a melancholic sound, as the flamenco-style guitar brings in Wilson’s vocals and continues to tell the story of lost love, highlighting her lyrics, “I don’t want to be kept, don’t want to belong to anyone, does that make me a terrible woman?”

‘Desperate Thing’ begins with wistful piano and vocals longing for past love, it is a testimony to love’s nostalgic embrace and Wilson captures this perfectly by introducing an airy middle section of violin, brass and sparkly piano notes.

‘White Gown’ has an upbeat catchy country folk guitar riff, and combined with the falling vocal harmonies this track is put together in a balanced manner with touching and personal lyrics.

‘The Great Eye’ begins again with slow pensive piano, which leads up to eerily fascinating vocal harmonies, jazz chord progressions and reflective lyrics (“when will there be peace again in my mind?”).

‘You Make Everything Better’ continues Wilson’s jazz influences with the guitar’s melodic progression and heart-warming lyrics, spins the melancholic feel of the EP to a contented one.

Last track ‘Believe in Everything’ is a relaxing and well-rounded end to the EP as it keeps up the same easy-going melodies and has some of the best harmonies and vocal outbursts within the EP.

Say It’s True demonstrates Wilson’s remarkable skill as a musician and lyricist and is guaranteed to make the hairs on anybody’s neck stand up.

Words: Louis Jenkins

Idlewild, Siobhan Wilson at O2 ABC Glasgow, 8/3/15

This is the second evening of Idlewild’s two ABC shows, marking somewhat of a comeback, supporting the release of their first album in six years, Everything Ever Written

Support for this evening is provided by Siobhan Wilson who opens with ‘Dear God’, a beautifully melancholy open letter to whatever omnipresent being may be up there.

Having last seen Wilson at the Cambridge Folk Festival of all places, the ABC is a completely different setting to the gazebo in which she played on a warm July day last year, although her voice and guitar (only accompanied by one other musician on keyboard, tambourine and guitar) travels well throughout the venue, albeit the audience grow increasingly louder with their chat throughout the set.

Wilson shows her stunningly high vocal range on ‘Say It’s True’, before closing with the slightly more upbeat ‘All Dressed Up’.

The young Scottish singer/songwriter Wilson proves herself as a very competent and deserving support act, to one of the country’s finest musical exports.

Idlewild come on stage playing ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’, from Everything Ever Written, before guitarist Rod Jones fires into the big riff of new album’s opener ‘Collect Yourself’.

Although both of these new songs receive a good reaction from the sold-out crowd, it is not until the familiar riff of ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’ (played on a violin, strangely, but to good effect) rings out that the crowd start to move around; before popular songs ‘I Understand It’ and ‘Little Discourage’ complete a trio of crowd pleasers.

New song ‘Come On Ghost’ is very good, with guest saxophonist Sam Irvine playing the solo, as lead singer Roddy Woomble walks offstage (as he does during many of the instrumental parts in the set) to allow the rest of the band to take the spotlight.

They then go from brand new Idlewild to some very early material, playing ‘A Film For The Future’ and ‘Captain’, which go down a treat.

With fan favourites such as ‘American English’ and an excellent version of ‘El Capitan’, new album closer ‘Utopia’ seems like a little bit of an anti climatic way to complete the set.

This is duly rectified in the encore, as ‘Too Long Awake’ is followed by the huge guitar riff of ‘A Modern Way Of Letting Go’, before the huge wall of sound accompanied by the poetry of Edwin Morgan at the end of ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’ close what is a very good return to Glasgow.

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Words: Neil Hayton