Tag Archives: Spinning Coin

Tracks of 2017 (20-11)

20. Golden Teacher – ’Spiritron’

‘Spiritron’ was the standout in an unexpected joyous surprise of a Golden Teacher full-length, No Luscious Life. The track captures the band’s effervescent live sound with an addictive mess of punk energy, otherworldly synths and Detroit funk, dancefloor hitting beats.

19. Shredd – ‘Flight of Stairs’ [Fuzzkill]

‘Flight Of Stairs’ begins with a thundering bass, and little time is wasted before the riffs are brought out backed by powerful, crashing drums. It’s Shredd by name, shred by nature as lead vocalist as guitarist Chris Harvie unleashes a relentless assault on his instrument and his distorted howls carry throughout, with a style reminiscent of Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer. The end product sounds absolutely massive, benefitting massively from the production of Bruce Rintoul, who has encapsulated the intensity of their riotous live performances.

18. Be Charlotte – ‘One Drop’ [AWAL/Kobalt]

The industrious trio Be Charlotte, fronted by hyper-talented vocalist Charlotte Brimner brought some damn good vibes early in the the year with ‘One Drop’, a glorious mashup, encompassing indie pop, slick beat boxing and electro. Delivered in an unmistakably Scottish accent, which, refreshingly, Brimner makes no attempts to minimise, with lyrics “filling me with doubt, that I can’t compete with the rest” are surely redundant given this band’s inevitable future success.

17. Martha Ffion – ‘We Make Do’ [Turnstile]

Running at only two and a half minutes, ‘We Make Do’ is perfect in its form, from the hook laden chorus, to the timely middle-8 and its radio-talk vocal treatment, it sits perfectly ready for you to press play once more.

16. Monoganon – ‘Black Hole’ [Lost Map]

Comparable to the all-encompassing black holes drifting through our solar systems, the five-and-a-half-minute track is an immersive experience, holding its listener in one place while dreamy synths and scattered drum beats unravel over introspective lyrical refrains of: “Crush me, I am nothing.” As ‘Black Hole’ culminates into a haunting piano and vocal ending, there is time for reflection of Monoganon’s interstellar journey through galaxies of wonder, psych-pop and gender contemplation.

15. Spinning Coin – ‘Raining On Hope Street’ [Geographic]

There’s something out of time about ‘Raining On Hope Street’, a sense of being suspended in a fleeting, wistful dream. This paean to the simple joys of friendship, collaboration and time spent just hanging out in the country and city tugs the heartstrings in all the right places, reminding us that solidarity in any form should be cherished especially in today’s volatile, isolating times.

14. FOREIGNFOX – ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ [Scottish Fiction]

Dunfermline five-piece FOREIGNFOX used an intersection of opposing genres to make ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ a captivating culmination of despair, hope and optimism. You can hear Jonny Watt’s pain in the track, released as a double A side split with Mt. Doubt; it’s beyond sadness and feels like there’s a need for respite, a desire to return home. ‘Lights Off, Carry Me Home’ is a climatic force in the face of dismay, building to a brutal honesty finale.

13. AMOR – ‘Paradise’ [Night School]

Inspired by the disco sounds of 70s-era Philadelphia International Records, AMOR bring their avant-garde disco sensibilities to life through epic soundscapes. The debut single from the supergroup featuring Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand fame, Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler and Michael Francis Duch, begins with a Blue Monday-style thumping kick drum, before a light funk instrumental gives way to a full-on funk stomp with Richard Youngs’ Bowie-esque vocal refrain of “calling from paradise/can you get through?” piercing through the heavily-layered synths. Pushing the 15-minute mark this is never going to be considered radio-friendly hit, however, there is enough here to suggest that AMOR will continue to be an ongoing concern amongst the members’ other projects.

12. Babe – ‘Wisteria’ [Kartel]

Sheer twinkling beauty in an addictive pop shell, ‘Wisteria’ was our pick of Babe’s Kiss & Tell album, however it could have been any number of tracks from that release. This slice of buoyant electronic bliss is special in it’s own right and shows Babe at thieir glimmering best.

11. The Spook School   ‘Still Alive’ [Alcopop!]

The infectious indie pop delivered by Edinburgh four-piece The Spook School has all the honest charm of previous efforts with a punchy joyfulness that has become synonymous with the group.  On ‘Still Alive’ dreamy vocals soar over traditionally catchy riffs, perfectly sound-tracking the nostalgia and hope of today’s twenty-somethings. 2017 Spook School ooze confidence, displaying the features of a band ready to emerge from the Glasgow winter gloom with self-assured melodic indie that could warm the coldest punks looking for a new contemporary musical home.

Albums of 2017 (10-1)

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

10. Bdy_Prts – Fly Invisible Hero [Aggrocat]

We would say that Fly Invisible Hero is a record that’s seldom seem in this day and age, but we’ve place another album slightly further up the list that BDY_PRTS will no doubt have taken influence from, what we can say is it is certainly a joyous shimmering piece of fresh air the accomplished duo. BDY_PRTS have built a reputation for their colourful live show over recent years, with bright beautiful costume designs and choreographed movements, but what this record proves is that beyond this what shines the brightest is the power of their powerful pop inflected tracks and beautifully hooky harmonies.

9. Golden Teacher – No Luscious Life

Golden Teacher came tumbling back into our ears in a familiar yet chaotic fashion, and it’s really is quite difficult to think of anyone capable of swapping places with them now they’re all but done. No Luscious Life chucks out a barely-tamed mix of housey beats, rhythms and quacks married to sometimes sinisterly spat vocals and the deepest of deep dub: it does bring to mind the marriage of punk and dance of bands, but this is nonetheless pretty original stuff and wild stuff. This is a blinding release: perverse, groovy, contorted and never far away from a shady disco.

8. Out Lines – Conflats [Rock Action]

Out Lines who could loosely be termed a Scottish super group, with Twilight Sad’s James Graham, SAY Album of the Year (2015) award winner Kathryn Joseph and producer Marcus MacKay, who were all drawn together on the back of a project from Platform, a multi-arts and community space in Easterhouse.  The product is Conflats an album of bleak and stark music, totally mesmerising with a gritty reality which draws you in. The album has a strong Scottish/Celtic thread running through it, be that from the unique vocals style, traditional folk elements, Marcus’s percussion, the harmonium or the stripped back nature of the music; there is nothing else out there like it.

7. Meursault – I Will Kill Again [Song, by Toad]

Essentially now the solo project of Neil Pennycook, despite an impressive cast list flitting through the revolving doors, Meursault returned this year with a really rather triumphant album. Usually a more interesting live proposition than on record it seems with I Will Kill Again that things have finally been translated more fully onto wax, capturing the intimate yet primal elements that define the band on stage: the introspective yet powerful darkness apparent in the soul of the main man is given free rein. Beautiful melodies and immaculate production with a hefty dose of reality – can’t ask for much more and one hopes this reincarnation carries on with more releases to come: Meursault come of age and are a very exciting proposition at the moment, very exciting indeed.

6. Breakfast Muff – Eurgh! [Amour Foo]

Breakfast Muff is that chaotic clatter in the corner, the clutter of noise you cannot quite ignore no matter how many times you slam the window shut, not that you’d want to! Eurgh! is a bit like that conversation you had in the smoking area of a clubbing nightspot last weekend, desperate to eloquently express views of social anxiety and repressed demeanour with the attention span of a gold fish. Gender, arousal and pervasion of society rocket under the sirens of beautifully crafted lo-fi punk scuzz across the thirteen songs from the Glasgow three piece.

5. Marnie – Strange Words and Weird Wars [Disco Pinata]

On Strange Words and Weird Wars the intoxicating pop-sheen is spread liberally: unapologetic pop, as it should be: there is a dark undercurrent but a pleasing shimmer outs itself. Pop needs records like this: records that can, in record company speak, hit different markets at once: records that sound great coming from crappy car stereos on the school run but also have a rather heftier undercurrent. Impressive stuff from Helen Marnie: breezy electronic music than can be consumed as just that…or on a number of other levels.

4. Pronto Mama – Any Joy [Electric Honey]

With six multi-instrumentalists you could almost start to think that Any Joy is going to be a little chaotic, yet with a sharp tongue the lyrics are bold, and the music is a beautiful concoction of sounds with each track having a story to tell and it’s own unique character. From solemn and sincere tracks to ones that bounce along and make your feet want to move, Pronto Mama don’t follow convention in any way and this is what makes them a genuinely unique band. They have established their own sound and are able to exhibit their extensive musical ability by pushing the boundaries of various genres. There’s so much being offered in Any Joy you need not look any further for a truly fulfilling album.

3. Spinning Coin – Permo [Geographic]

A surreal, pop-glazed jaunt through everyday life, flavoured with Pastels-style vocals and grounded by a knack for jangly hooks and hazy refrains. Blending indie nostalgia with a fresh take on questions both personal and political, this is DIY at its dreamiest.

2. Sacred Paws – Strike A Match [Rock Action]

Strike A Match captures the magic of the intoxicating musical landscape of Sacred Paws’ live shows, while navigating the melancholy of break ups and millennial mid 20s crises in a uniquely upbeat and comforting way. Moving to incorporate more instruments into their complicated African highlife rhythms and constantly catchy riffs, Sacred Paws bring humour and depth to their already full sound without compromising on Rachel Eggs’ signature guitar sound. Whether your dancing round your living room or trying to suppress a smile on the tube, this really is an album you could fall in love with over and over, and although it was released in winter it remains perfect indie soundtrack to your summer and beyond.

1. Babe – Kiss & Tell [Kartel]

Kiss & Tell, the second full length offering from Babe came too us quite late in the year, but it left quite the impression causing us to pap it slap bang at the top of the list. Whether it’s soft, synth laden R&B goodness, infectious electropop or Gerard Black’s immaculate falsetto Kiss & Tell charms with every bleep and handclap of its existence. Babe have always threatened something brilliant and with Kiss & Tell they’re produced a genre crossing album that’s smart, cohesive, fun and full of addictive charm.

Albums 30-21 – 20-11 – 10-1

Tenement Trail 2017

Down early for 2017’s edition of Tenement Trail and Edinburgh’s CHEAP TEETH play to a busy but relatively relaxed Broadcast basement.

At points their music lends itself to the restrained atmosphere with subdued alt rock vibes, at others they move to gruffly sneered indie chant alongs.

There’s glimpses of the band blowing you away with powerful flourishes, however for the most part it’s lackadaisical, stoner tinged rock with a hint of lad generation about it, nice start to what promises to be a busy day.

Tenement Trail is synonymous with mad dashes to get to see as much as possible and with the forewarning that entry will depend on capacity of venues and with fifteen minute walks between some venues you have to time your journeys accordingly.

Early in the day the mad dashes aren’t so much of a problem, but the basements of Broadcast and Sleazy’s do reach capacity a few times before the bigger venues open their doors.

Fauves are next door and keep the chilled vibes to a packed basement theme going, but add a touch more sunshine to proceedings with their warming dream pop back drops, casual presence and off kilter charismatic vocal delivery.

It’s a set full of charming passages and uplifting highs, as the keys force you into a woozy sway, the guitar licks some tropical heat in and the vocals range, from high hooky sections to soulful dream filled beauty, has you engrossed.

In Broadcast Savage Mansion take the stage to Kurt Angle’s theme music, and before the urge to chant “you suck” becomes unmanageable they are off, upping the ante with their churning pop sound.

At points it’s proper hooky power pop as Craig Angus’ drawl journalistic lyrics sets them apart from their peers.

The delivery may be thick and fast, but Savage Mansion deliver the kind of set you can easily imagine crowds bigger than this chanting along to before losing it to super fun chorus hooks.

The first major movement of the day finds us down in Flat 0/1, and the tight squeeze of a venue hosts Tamzene, whose haunting vocals are backed only by gentle piano chords and a touch of backing vocal creating a mesmerising misery that entrances the crowd.

The Highlander, now based in Leeds, has the kind of voice that could pack a real punch and blast an arena, but here she uses it to caress and distil that power and deliver some truly beautiful ballads and lullabies that leaves the room silenced.

Sam Fender has a cheeky lad Geordie presence about him and as he croons “I’m a millennial” over an overly prominent bass drum, you get the impression he could be playing to packed venues bigger than Sleazy’s basement before long, the fact last time he was in Glasgow someone said he looked like Justin Bieber is enlightening, as it’s pretty difficult to make him out in the rammed pub, but gives the impression he has the image to go with tunes.

His vocal range is displayed emphatically here, even touching on his lookalike’s pop chops at points, while he can do edgy indie rock blasts and huge festival sing-alongs too; musically there’s an overriding glitchy electronic vibe that carries Fender’s sound further than your average rock band, while they are perfectly capable of going full on rock band or stripping it back too.

Three spaces of The Garage are used today, and each one of their spaces, while ideal for viewing the stage, sound a bit sparse and baron, while their policy of pat downs at 5pm at a communal fun festival is a bit intrusive.

Regardless this doesn’t deter Van Ives, who we forgo the temptations of Stevie Parker for as more the festival starts to spread out a bit; the duo fronted by former Bella and the Bear man Stuart Ramage, who were formed out of playing around with old video tapes, utilise clever samples, keys ranging from gentle to twinkling with a heavy hit of bass, all topped by passionate soulful vocal delivery and subtle guitars.

Ranging from grand, orchestral sounds to glitchy experimental organic beauty, with the occasional soaring section of pure pounding glory, the band do plenty to keep us excited.

As they close on ‘Pyramid’ with just a soft rhythm behind Ramage’s vocal it’s enough to have you shivering, before a soaring scape comes in the bass shudders the room and you’re left with a sense of something special just round the corner.

Wuh Oh is a different vibe completely as the whole set, minus a minor sound mix up, has a fluidity the emits through the man onstage; shimmering funk pop samples move freely into seemingly improvised key movements before the samples kick back in.

This is the kind of music that could so easily be played straight through a laptop, after the painstaking crafting process that is, however its credit to Pete Ferguson that he’s introduced his own live elements and all the while remaining an endless focal point of hyperactive sleaze filled dance moves.

The music hits apocalyptic heights, introducing elements of hip hop and a shuddering bass, all the while keeping a haunting refrain and of course never losing that level of liquid flow that emanates through the whole set.

After a break that unfortunately means missing Tongues and Emme Woods, we find ourselves back on it for the end of Anteros’ energetic pop rock set in a busy ABC2.

From the short burst we get a hit of high octane pop fun and a singer that possess an old school punk presence, strutting about the stage sneering and purring out tracks that emit as much attitude as they do pop chops.

ST.MARTiiNS start off on a quiet haunting number before upping the pace with warm soaring guitar lines; the vocal delivery exudes a dark pop glory, hooky yet shrouded in a sultry gothic shadow that lingers throughout their sound.

Still despite this dark element, their sound is full of bouncy rhythms and shimmery licks that are a lot of fun creating an almost oxymoronic feeling to their sound, it’s like being out in the sunshine but without the daylight and they’re all the more intriguing for it.

As they grow into their set they engulf the basement, and while we may try to categorise their sound they’re just bloody good.

As I arrive upstairs in The Garage’s Attic Bar, minus any pat downs this time, I find a whispering, shuddering wonky sound hit me as Edwin Organ’s soulful delivery comes backed by a cacophony of electronic touches and emerges basked in quality.

This is the kind of act that you can never predict and as he runs off stage to find his Mac charger mid set he hits us with surprising bravado before slipping back into a luscious maximal beauty of another track, the set continues with some trippy lounge feels, more dance floor teasing flurries and that smooth vocal; this deserves more than just the smattering of people gathered in this small room.

To my surprise/disappointment I get into The Priory’s tiny space for Calva Louise (disappointment as this place should be overflowing), but even with the small amount of people gathered in front me catching a glimpse of the band proves a task.

Sadly the volume levels in the basement aren’t up to full so the band’s hooky gothic garage pop isn’t as powerful sounding as it should, this is in no way down to the band who play through bouncing pop tracks and haunting fast screeching numbers with much more confidence than most bands would with only one track in the public domain.

With an addictive singer who delivers on chirpy pop to gritty garage delivery just as well, and a sound that just transmits energy into their audience, Calva Louise is a band that will make packed out basement shows their irresistible staple.

The Big Moon take the honour of being the biggest acts I see today, well in the biggest space anyway, and play to a sizeable crowd in The Garage’s main venue, and grasp people in with an attitude drenched pop rock sound that, woos with a charming presence and holds on with some finely crafted, bombastic tracks.

I only catch the last few numbers, but as the singer prowls the front of the crowd on ‘Bonfire’ you can see why they have gathered such a crowd – delightful sun touched stuff.

Arriving in Broadcast for The Great Albatross you’re hit by how sparse the basement is, but as the set progresses a few more filter in.

Unfortunately you can’t talk about this set without mentioning the outright disrespect for both band and audience from those gathered on the side bench, who shout over the band and drunkenly chant football songs when asked to quieten down, the band try their best to ignore this but it leaves a lingering awkwardness that’s hard to ignore.

That aside when the band are in full stride they produce tracks of unabashed beauty that are drowned in the sadness their recorded work possess in abundance, their live sound feels just as special, as once those causing the noise are dispensed the tracks soar through the basement like a cosy alt rock cushion, melting you down and charming you back to life.

Next door there’s a bigger crowd, but it’s saddening to see Sleazy’s not packed to the brim for Spinning Coin, who ounce for ounce are one of the best bands on the bill.

They’re one of those bands the just exude warm fussy vibes, it’s all lo-if pop sunshine, whether sneered and fast or slow jangly and sun kissed its all just coated in an addictive drizzle that keeps you swaying and hooked in for more.

They’re such a joy that whoever takes the lead vocal duties, whether it be Sean Armstrong’s dulcet indie pop tones, Jack Mellin’s gravely garagey pop delivery or Cal Donnely’s shouty attitude drenched vocals, it’s all got the same pull.

The band go past their allotted time slot, but after a chant of “one more tune” and them closing the venue for the night they get the go ahead for one more and recent single ‘Raining on Hope Street’ makes for a more than welcome encore.

Following that we’re left with a small gap as the venues start closing their doors meaning getting into the final few places becomes more and more difficult, but the time we get to Tut’s there’s already one-in-one-out for Catholic Action’s set, which is still more than 10-minutes off starting.

Still, it’s no surprise as this is a band that have been slowly garnering attention and acclaim for a while now, and with their debut album just a around the corner what better way to introduce it than a closing slot at Tenement Trail.

The four-piece take the stage to Billy Joel’s ‘Piano Man’ and from then on it seems like single after single as the band roll through glammed up indie rock tracks that prove bigger earworms that we expected from a few recorded listens.

We have said in the past that Catholic Action are “the only guitar band in Glasgow who are doing anything at the moment” and more recently suggested they may be the saviours of the British guitar group, and while the former was 18-months ago, and bit of a knowing extreme, with the later they may well still be – they have all the pop chops to be huge, while lack all the dross laddish vibes that have dominated the mainstream guitar band for too long.

Catholic Action produce fun, well crafted tracks that have everything right, with a bit of luck for them and some for ourselves this will just be the end the beginning and the start of something big.

More Photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

Ten acts to check out at Tenement Trail 2017

Tenement Trail is back for another year and as they spread a ridiculous amount of bands over 10 venues and over nine hours we made some hard choices for who we think you should go see:

Catholic Action
King Tut’s, 11.15-11.45

This one promises to be a packed one so get yourself along early, not only cos Catholic Action are the last band at the whole festival and have a whole time slot to themselves, but also cos they’re one of the hottest property’s in the UK just now. The Glasgow four-piece are less than a month away from releasing their debut album and from the exuberant, glam tinged guitar pop the have unleashed to date the full could be the thing that ushers them to the huge audiences that have been edging to for a while.

Shredd
Flat 0/1, 9.45-10.15

With a live set that goes from Ty Seagall channeling garage pop to full on heavy riffage Shredd have carved out a reputation for themselves as one of the best live acts in Scotland just now. Expect to see the band being surfed over your head at some point; expect to have the time of your life.

Spinning Coin
Nice N Sleazy, 9.30-10

Spinning Coin’s DIY pop aesthetic has you falling in love with it from the instant you hear it. From luscious melodies to hazy garage, the somewhat Glasgow indie supergroup adds to the right amount of nostalgia and nods to their home town to have you flustered and the lovingly crafted songwriting does the rest.

The Great Albatross
Broadcast, 9-9.30

Wesley Chung’s subtle and beautiful acoustic tracks have been brought to real life as a full five-piece band now puts together The Great Albatross. His recorded material is a transfixing road trip of coherent splendor, however live there’s something vital about the tracks that give them a true glory.

Calva Louise
The Priory, 8.15-8.45

Based in London, but hailing from France, Venezuela and New Zealand, Calva Louise is a band with a high octane, punk attitude of a live show. They may only have a limited amount of music available online, however their surfy shredding, garage rock riffs and squealing guitars make them a live prospect not to be missed.

Edwin Organ
The Garage Attic Bar, 7.45-8.15

Variation is key to Edwin Organ’s sound, still everything he touches comes out golden, his slick, but not unbearably polished production gives his head nodding organic left-field electronica a real desirable sheen. At points it’s super catchy at others a welcoming hug that fuses soul and jazz elements with obvious dance knowledge.

ST. MARTiiNS
Nice N Sleazy, 7.30-8

I’ve not had the opportunity to see ST. MARTiiNS in a live setting as of yet, but their luscious dreamy pop sound has me more than looking to change this this weekend. From our previous reports you could see a set of tropical sunshine or sultry wonder, but either way this duo are definitely ones to keep your eyes peeled for.

Emme Woods
The Garage, 6.30-7

Emme Woods is a talented and witty songwriter with an addictively gruff vocal that transforms her live show from a punk show to a pink swilling blues-rock powerhouse. She also has her wee dog on stage with at all times, you had us at Bubbles!

Wuh Oh
Nice N Sleazy, 5.30-6

While Pete Ferguson aka Wuh Oh’s recorded material is a headily eclectic array of catchy samples, glitchy synths and a peculiar yet entrancing set of time signatures, his live performance takes up a notch both musically and in his bewitching presence; it’s playful, infectious and will get you dancing well worth catching.

Stevie Parker
Broadcast, 5-5.30

Reports would suggest that Stevie Parker’s live show is an immersive, mesmeric experience and that’s what we fully expect from her recorded material, a delicately crafted emotional repertoire powered by Parker’s rich haunted tones that soar with enviable ethereal qualities.

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.

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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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Spinning Coin – ‘Raining On Hope Street’ [Geographic]

There’s something out of time about Spinning Coin’s latest single, ‘Raining On Hope Street’, a sense of being suspended in a fleeting, wistful dream.

While DIY movements are usually associated with punk, Glasgow has a rich history of indie making its political statement through nuanced narratives of everyday life told through song; less about tearing up the establishment than cut and pasting an array of influences and discourses to provide alternative mediums through which to see the world.

On ‘Raining On Hope Street’, you can hear the influence of The Pastels’ knack for a luscious melody and soft lilting vocal; the emotional twang, nostalgic guitar riff and subtle wit of a Teenage Fanclub classic.

The track opens with jangles of sweet guitar which sound a bit like rain, the kind of rain (especially as a Glaswegian) you always find yourself walking home in, feeling a little despondent but enjoying the sense of the atmosphere echoing your melancholy.

It’s a song that doesn’t build to a particular climax, retaining its languid, day-dreamy insouciance, closing sweetly on the lines “if I had a love heart / I’d give it to you / be mine”.

As the clean drawl of chords comes to an end, you can just imagine standing sometime in the mid-nineties, being handed a sweet from a packet of Love Hearts by a boy in a woolly hat with a guitar on his back.

But nostalgia is always bittersweet.

There’s that evocative sense of longing for the innocence of lost (smartphone-free) afternoons, friendships and passions that remain pure as the loves formed first in the teenage dreams of endless summer; the song’s video crystallises this sense with Super-8 style footage of the band messing around in flats and Glasgow parks, with autumn leaves and gilded, sunset light among wilted flowers signalling the inevitable mists of a coming winter.

This paean to the simple joys of friendship, collaboration and time spent just hanging out in the country and city tugs the heartstrings in all the right places, reminding us that solidarity in any form should be cherished especially in today’s volatile, isolating times.

The single’s companion release, ‘Tin’, is a more raucous, pastel-hazed garage number, complete with sparky riffs and lively drums.

Tackling the millennial sense of political alienation on a personal level, the lyrics comprise an urgent cry of the frustrated and naïve: “I need someone to remind me / how to participate / away from this hell / oh well”.

It’s a quick and casual track that undoubtedly pulls its pace live, reminding us that despite all their contemplative nostalgia, their dwelling in dreams of the past, Spinning Coin are very much a band inhabiting the present, turning apathy into energy with sharp riffs and frustrated, punkier vocals.

No doubt they’ve got good things coming in the future, and god knows, whatever’s happening in the world, let’s hope there’ll always be pop as good as this.

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Words: Maria Sledmere

François and the Atlas Mountains, Spinning Coin at Mono, 30/3/17

François and the Atlas Mountains open with a clutch of songs from brilliant new record Solide Mirage, including ‘Tendre Est l’Âme’ and the gorgeous calypso lilt ‘Apocalypse à Ipsos’, each of which turns on a variation of a single groove; peaking and dipping like a gentle wave.

The highlife-inflected ‘Grand Dérèglement’ is an early standout; a joyous, blue-sky riff taking flight over a brooding synth-pop groove.

I quickly find myself entranced, caught in a rhythmic spin-cycle I’ve no hope of disentangling myself from.

The high-tempo ‘Âpres Après’ sets pulses racing, as an insistent synth arpeggio wraps itself around a busy backbeat to the point of bursting before being sweetly interrupted by François Marry’s fey, pleasantly reedy vocal.

Reflecting on acts who have similarly captured me through the art of repetition, I find them to be generally cut of more extreme cloth (see Earth, Swans, Sunn O))) et al): 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.

Gerard Black – a longtime fixture of the Glasgow music scene and better known for his work with Babe – joins the fivesome on an already cosy stage to add vocals and keys, and is instantly all smiles and jokes, like everyone’s favourite cousin unexpectedly dropping in to an already great party.

François and the Atlas Mountains impress me no end tonight: having never caught them live before, I’m taken aback by how genuinely uplifting their breezy indie-pop becomes when performed without inhibition for an eager, optimistic crowd.

It’s an immersive, social, and wholly positive experience: what glossy O2 adverts try to trick you into believing every soulless stadium rock show is like, well, a François and the Atlas Mountains show is really like.

A well-deserved shout-out goes to Glasgow’s own Spinning Coin, indie four-piece signed to Stephen Pastel’s Geographic imprint, who shine in support.

Marrying fuzzy squall with jangly sweetness as aptly as their label boss did in the ‘80s and ‘90s, it’s clear as day why they were snapped up as eagerly as they were – recent single ‘Raining On Hope Street’ is a real highlight.

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Words: Graham Neil Gillespie

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

Shopping, Spinning Coin, Seconds at The Old Hairdressers, 15/12/15

Fresh from a six-week tour of the USA, Shopping end 2015 on a roll.

They have had a tremendous 12 months, following on the success of their debut record, Consumer Complaints, with this year’s equally excellent Why Choose?.

I’ve seen Shopping a couple times over that period, closing London’s legendary Buffalo Bar at the end of last year for one, and then last time supporting ESG with Golden Teacher at The Oval Space, and they always give a spritely, energetic performance with their comfort and confidence rising with each show.

Headlining tonight, the band look like the toll of a huge US tour and taken them, however, they still give it everything to a full-to-the-brim Old Hairdressers, in a city close to the band’s heart due to singer Rachel Aggs Glasgow based project Sacred Paws.

shopping_hairdressers_151215_3

Both supports Seconds and Spinning Coin equally give excellent accounts of themselves, the former giving a deep, funk inflicted dance-punk set akin to tonight’s headliners, while the latter give the loud slacker alt-rock vibe a more than a good name.

The night belongs to Shopping, who treating the audience to highlights from both albums, particularly getting the crowd moving on singles ‘In Other Words’ and ‘Straight Lines’.

Otherwise, particular highlights include the soulful ‘For Your Money’ before ending the set with an “enforced encore” of ‘Moyet’s Voice’.

On the basis of tonight, one is excited to see what is next from the London post-punk trio.

More Photos

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Words: Adam Turner-Heffer
Photos: Ann-Christin Heinrich