Tag Archives: ULTRAS

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

Preview: Doune The Rabbit Hole (Sunday)

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:

SUNDAY

After two late night affairs Sunday’s festival rounding up treads familiar waters with a cover act closing the main Jabberwocky Stage, this year it’s Glasgow supergroup Start To End performing Daft Punk’s Discovery live, which by all account should be fun, but their certainly promises to be a lot less carnage as the festival draws to a close, here’s some acts to look out for.

JESSICA PRATT (16.45, Jabberwocky)

A lovely late afternoon slot gives way for the warm dream pop acoustic psychedelia of Jessica Pratt, with distinctive 90s hisses and therapeutic harmonies this will act as the perfect calm after last night’s late night dancing.

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BIG THIEF (21.00, Baino)

On the surface charming, intricate and fragile folk rock with a soothing vocal performance, the Adrianne Lenker led Big Thief explore dark themes of childhood trauma in the most stunning way possible.

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PRONTO MAMA (18.15, Jabberwocky)

With a sharp, bold lyrics are bold, and a concoction of sounds Pronto Mama are a band that are difficult to pin down, but one thing they are as a band is intoxicating. 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 genuinely unique.

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MARTHA FFION (16.00, Baino)

Martha Ffion has a distinctive knack for combining loose, 1960s guitar rock—all bouncing bass and flourishing licks— underneath the winning charm of Ffion’s sugary melodies. Ffion does sultry like no-one else, lingering over lines as if coyly aware she’s dripping musical honey over every word making her a set not to be missed in a day full of chilled out beauties.

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ULTRAS (13.00, Baino)

Solid rhythmic ability and technically Over The Wall’s Gav Prentice’s latest project, ULTRAS now have a full album under their belt. Expect some sincere and grounded tracks, that make up for for what they lack in cool with an infectious attitude and plenty of energy for those that make in up for the early afternoon set.

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HAIRBAND (14.30, The Lodge)

All girl five-piece Hairband are relatively newbies to the scene, well in this band at least, making their debut just in March, but the excitement around what they do and the other bands they share member of has heralded us enough to go catch them for the first time. Expect some fun, weird pop and not to be let down.

ULTRAS – Napoleon [Kiling Moon]

Solid rhythmic ability and technically sound ‘Napoleon’ makes, Over The Wall’s Gav Prentice’s new project, ULTRAS a welcome addition to the Glasgow music scene.

ULTRAS are “a musical act that has come to steal the knives from your kitchen cupboard.” According to the band’s Facebook, “Ultras’ is used by young people across Europe to describe a sense of pride in the area you come from: it represents a celebration of culture and speaks of solidarity”.

So, not only is the band built on a truly affirming ethos, but their music is filled with true sincerity and commitment, it is both mind blowing and infectious.

Napoleon’ starts strong, it sings solidarity and doesn’t hold back; each chord builds on its predecessor, growing in intensity with each strum.

Then, just when you think you’re in store for a classic rock anthem, you’re hit with electro sounds, tip toeing along in tentative syncopation, these are met with Pentice’s raspy vocals that convey a strong sense of pride. The track weaves in and out of these themes.

Rocking you back and forth, meandering in and out of a full showcase of ULTRAS’ capacity for complex composition setting the tone for great things to come.

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Words: Rachel Cunningham

Man of Moon, ULTRAS, Marc Rooney at The Hug and Pint, 31/7/15

Messrs Chris Bainbridge and Mikey Reid are no strangers to a Glasgow crowd, and if the enthusiasm and general mood permeating The Hug and Pint on this particular Friday night is anything to go by, the Glasgow crowd are evidently at least somewhat familiar with the duo more commonly referred to as Man of Moon.

Providing the musical introduction to the evening, Marc Rooney (of Pronto Mama) fulfils his role as warm-up with incredible aplomb.

A tuner may have added to the fluidity of the performance, given the number of different tunings utilised, however, the scathing wit, infectious humour and palpable sincerity in his performance puts the audience both at ease and firmly on his side, in what must be one of the most pleasantly surprising and entertaining opening sets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing in recent memory.

Needless to say I feel I now more fully and profoundly comprehend what it means to “retire a boomerang tycoon”, and am all the better for it.

ULTRAS contribution is delivered rather more aggressively, taking us from Rooney’s whimsical storytelling with an acoustic guitar to utterly unapologetic iPad-infused rock tunes about Winston Churchill, extreme violence and hating the Conservative Party.

With controlled, almost militaristic precision ULTRAS’ set is an energetic affair that leaves the listener imagining a future dystopia, perhaps invoking a faint hint of Muse, albeit with the addition of cheesy matching t-shirts.

Man of Moon, the evening’s main attraction, is a band on the up-and-up-and-up.

Generally speaking it seems to be a mixture of public opinion, past exploits and industry whispering that constructs what is uncreatively albeit accurately referred to as a ‘buzz’ around a particular act, but what is always concrete in this unquantifiable metric is that with it comes the weight of expectation.

It’s encouraging then that while there is most certainly an undeniable buzz about Man of Moon, the expectation that accompanies said buzz doesn’t seem to be an issue.

In a tight 40-minute set filled with songs as hypnotically metronomic as they are fascinatingly unpredictable, Bainbridge and Reid deliver a measured, but accomplished live performance that reeks with confidence and possesses a visceral, brooding intensity that pushes the crowd into a head-bobbing trance only briefly interrupted by emphatic applause.

The intimacy of the setting only serves to amplify this and while there are rough edges in the performance, particularly around moments where the attention of certain audience members is lost during less engaging sections of the set, such issues are of little consequence.

The minimalist setup of ‘one guitar, one drummer’ is in vogue and comparisons will forever be drawn, but what Man of Moon have forged from that template is nothing short of a triumph.

Bainbridge’s voice is used sparingly, but chills and haunts in equal measure as it morphs between a sorrowful wail and a threatening growl; all while mesmerising, understated rhythms sit effortlessly alongside a deep, melodious guitar that immediately brings to mind a lyric borne of one of New Jersey’s favourite sons: “Well I got this guitar and I learned how to make it talk.

And talk it does.

If you ever wanted to see two old souls in youthful disguises turn some metal strings and a drum kit into a religious experience without breaking a sweat, Man of Moon won’t disappoint.

Words: Michael Mavor