Tag Archives: Indiepop

‘Breakfast’ time with Catholic Action.

Glasgow based four-piece Catholic Action are no strangers to the art of eclectic creation, with March’s L.U.V. single release seeing their stock rise exponentially thanks to their signature brand of stylish indie art rock.

Having supported the likes of FFS, Swim Deep, and more recently, Teenage Fanclub, the band are kicking off an 8 date UK tour (see below) in London tomorrow night in support of their new AA release ‘Rita Ora’/Breakfast – out on 7″ and digital format on September 23 via Luv Luv Luv Records.

And in Chris McCrory (also of Casual Sex), we may have a new pretender to Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand’s throne as the most talented frontman that Scotland has produced in recent years.

 

Tour dates:

Thu September 22 2016 – LONDON Old Blue Last
Fri September 23 2016 – LEEDS Belgrave Music Hall
Sat September 24 2016 – MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
Sun September 25 2016 – GLASGOW King Tuts
Wed September 28 2016 – ABERDEEN Tunnels
Thu September 29 2016 – INVERNESS Mad Hatters
Fri September 30 2016 – DUNDEE Buskers
Sat October 01 2016 – EDINBURGH Mash House

 

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The Coral – a look back at their most recent album

With The Coral announcing a December date in Glasgow, we revisit their most recent record, ‘Distance Inbetween’.

You could probably count on one hand the number of bands who have, after a lengthy break, returned to with an album that allows for a wholesale reaffirmation of their genius-like qualities in the first place. Think maybe of Pixies, The Verve and Blur. The Coral’s self-imposed half decade hiatus left us wondering if they would return at all, never mind return to the form of 2002’s self-titled debut or 2004’s Magic & Medicine.

With the wait finally over, The Coral, in 8th studio album ‘Distance Inbetween’, have rewarded us with a surprisingly dark, visceral and at times hypnotic album that, blending elements of krautrock and psychedelic-pop influences, is evocative and thoroughly appealing.

It seems the band have been happy to cast off their commercial pop gem sensibilities, trading them in for a richer, more rhythmic and minimal sound that nevertheless doesn’t lose sight of the bands’ aptitude for luscious pyschedlic rock, as evidenced by the raucous ‘Chasing The Tale of A Dream’ and kaleidoscopic, backwards-guitar heavy ‘Miss Fortune’.

The presence of former Zutons guitarist Paul Molloy, whether wilfully or not, has helped to ignite a Coral sound that feels as honest, authentic and corporeal as they could perhaps have hoped for, dipped in early Neil Young, Love, and even Pink Floyd influences.

With James Skelly’s signature vocals appearing and disappearing like a distant wind, the band – celebrating 20 years together – place heavy drums, restrained guitars and occasional keyboard surges at the forefront of this rhythmic-centred approach, with the 12 tight-knit songs offering a well-sewn atmospheric and trippy tapestry.

Opener ‘Connector’ is an absorbing, rhythmic voyage that lurks into dark, gothic territory, as Skelly exclaims, “I’m the connector, you’re the receiver/You’re the rejecter, I’m the believer.”

With ‘White Bird’ sonic soundscapes intertwine with their trademark vocal harmonies in an ode to 60’s style psychedelia, before ‘Distance Inbetween’ changes direction with its piano-centred broody love lament.

‘Million Eyes’ sees Molloy’s gravelly guitar lick and Skelly’s warped vocal verge into glam rock, as highlight ‘Holy Revelation’  gives off a distinctly Route 66 car anthem charm, a sound replicated in the equally impressive, Queens of the Stone Age-esque ‘Fear Machine’, as Skelly scowls “But I won’t be your prisoner/Deep inside the fear machine.”

Rarely have made such a marked, yet purposefully positive, deviation in their sound, embodied within what is essentially a concept album of skilfully juxtaposed melodic indie-pop and vintage psychedelic airs. One which still has a capacity to mesmerise that few bands other than The Coral can do.

Frightened Rabbit talk new album ‘Painting Of A Panic Attack’

Scotland’s finest exporters of woolly jumper wearing indie rock, Frightened Rabbit, are back after a two year hiatus to clothe us with their signature brand of charming, heart-warming and spirited anthems that keep us the right mixture of warm and emotionally delicate.

With April’s release of their fifth studio album ‘Painting of a Panic Attack’ fast approaching, the band are currently knuckled down in a Glasgow studio in rehearsals ahead of a short three date UK tour and subsequent mammoth 29 date North American jaunt.

Band members Andy Monaghan (guitars/keyboards) and Simon Liddell (guitars) took a bit of time out of their schedule to talk about the new album and their readiness to return to the live scene, alongside how Simon’s addition to the band – graduating from guitar tech and live musician to replace Gordon Skeene – has changed their dynamic.

“I guess it’s a combination of looking forward to playing some shows and anxious to play some shows. I mean the set-up has changed, it’s a bit of a new set up, new sounds, new songs, you never know how its gonna go down, as Andy begins.

While Simon adds, “That’s especially true of playing the new songs as well, for me, cause they are the first ones I’ve had involvement in part of the recording of those ones, as much as its fun playing the other ones.”

With the response so far to the release of new singles ‘Death Dream’ and ‘Get Out’ reaching fever pitch, both Andy and Simon seem in high spirits, as Andy mentions:

“We have put out two very different tracks out so far, so people have been reassured hopefully by the first one (Death Dream) and then saw that things are a bit different with the second one (Get Out).

Whereas Simon, in respect to the hauntingly beautiful ‘Death Dream’, says: It was not meant to be like a proper full on single but more like a ‘can u remember us’ thing. I’m sure some people think it’s a pile of shite but if they hate it they are keeping quiet about it.”

Talk then turns to the new record, produced in both Brooklyn and Upper State New York last year during a swelteringly hot heat wave last summer, that saw the band, in between lying down on floors to escape the heat, remove themselves fully from their distinctly Scottish-tinged overcast, drizzle inspired sound and embrace the flips flops, shorts, and bucket loads of ice-cream.

“The record is the same in that (lead singer) Scott’s narrative shines through but it’s a different band. The creation of the record was very different to any of the other records we’ve made and we were trying a few new things as well. So it sounds a bit different but at the same time it is rooted in Scott’s songs. Without that we wouldn’t be Frightened Rabbit,” says Andy.

As to the new things mentioned, Simon offers more: “There is probably a bit of a dip in the tone, a more electronic approach.  I mean it’s not by any means a dance record, there’s just a few more textures in there that would take it a wee bit further away from the normal.”

The addition of a certain ‘electro’ vibe is partly down to Andy, who lists Glasgow’s very own Optimo as one of his favourite musical influences.

“It’s my scene, I’m all about that. Owl John (Scott’s solo album released in August 2014) brought Scott more in line with that sort of approach. I think he felt a bit more comfortable using some synths on some of the demos he was sending over.  I was like, this sounds mental! This is great! This sounds nothing like the old Frightened Rabbit, but it still is to an extent.”

With Scott moving over to Los Angeles in the aftermath of touring Pedestrian Verse, both the distance from the rest of the band – who remained in Glasgow – and the arrival of Simon, brought with it new obstacles and different challenges to face up with. But both Andy and Simon see that as having an ultimately positive effect on the current (new) direction of the band.

It’s totally a 5 way street now,” says Andy.

“There’s like different approaches to different songs. Cause Scott was over living in the States with some songs he would come up with the main body of it himself, while there was others that me and Andy and Billy and Grant would have worked on in Glasgow and sent to him, and then he would kind of add to it. And then there was stuff we had from the writing sessions in a couple of studios in Wales and a bunch of songs came out of that, when we were all kind of the same room, so it was kinda different approaches that all yielded diferent results,” continues Simon.

And with all members of the band keen to step outside of their comfort zones and change things around a bit instrumentally, it made for a rewarding experience, as Andy details.

“There were points like when we were getting to rehearsals and we were like ‘who is playing what here’, maybe Billy wasn’t playing bass he was playing guitar or Simon was on keys, I was on keys, Scott played all the guitars but then It’s like Scott plays the keys and I’m playing the guitars…and it’s like nobody is playing what they wrote in the studio or like live on stage and it was all just like people throwing in ideas and seeing what worked.”

Simon agrees. “Everyone felt comfortable enough when we were writing the album to say they had an idea and put it down, and not be like “you’re not the bassist so don’t touch my bass”.

With that, Simon refers back to the importance Scott’s solo record had on the new Frightened Rabbit material.

“I guess it was like, I mean it was my first time in the studio with the full band but when we did Owl John that was the approach to that was so relaxed, we’d (himself, Andy and Scott) gone into that with nothing so it was a case of having to go into the room and record something, try something.  There were no nerves, so that sort of carried through onto this record.”

He continues, “I think the touring schedule (for Pedestrian Verse) had hit everyone pretty hard so for Scott it was like, I think it was a really positive thing for him u know.  He took all the pressure out of the creative process and it was brilliant.”

Interesting to note is that although ‘Paintings of a Panic Attack’ took the best part of a year and a half to write and record, with the band writing and recording in excess of 30 demos before whittling it down to the 12 that made it on the album, they started thinking about it as soon as they played what was their last show, at Laneways Festival in Australia on the 8th February 2014.

 “The first writing session happened straight away after a festival we played in 2014. We got in a van after the festival and went straight there – to the studio and got started. At that point event Scott didn’t have anything – ‘Lump St’ came from that, ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ was born there and ‘400 Bones’ also, Simon reveals.

Having formed a close bond with The National after touring with them throughout America, it seemed a natural fit that Aaron Dessner would take up production duties, although his methods took some getting used to by the band, as Andy explains.

“He (Aaron) is a very talented guy. It was good. I guess when u put so much energy into something and someone else does the same there is going to be a little bit of friction. We wouldn’t know where he was going with something and he would never reveal his cards and then we would be like ahhh we see, we can see where it’s going. There were moments when we were like hallway through the sessions and we were questioning things, what was going on. But I think it worked out in a positive way.”

On a personal note, the move from guitar tech to fully fledged Frabbit was one Simon speaks volumes about, with a real sense of appreciation as to how things came to be.

“It’s amazing. I mean it was obvious for me as a member as I already playing as a live musician for a few years, the first show being us  playing woodpile on BBC Hogmanay a few years ago with Jackie Bird.  I always felt like part of the group on a personal level. It was always an inclusive thing and it has always been that way so that made it creatively so easy to slot in.”

To which Andy adds, “The internal vibe is different I guess with Simon being around. He is so enthusiastic and on it. It was an easy transition as no one was like ‘who is this guy’. With all the directions the others pull in, Simon pulls us in a different direction.”

With Simon finishing, “I love my reverb”.

And with a hard day’s work in the studio beginning to take its effect on their ability to keep awake, Simon and Andy ended by advising me not to make plans for Tuesday of next week, and to keep my eyes peeled for a show being staged by a band using a name of one of the songs off ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’.

I wonder how long the secret remains a secret.

First Gig special – Franz Ferdinand

Wednesday May 15th 2002. Glasgow. Something big happened in the city that night as the rain, characteristically, lashed down from the heavens. If you are a football fan then, as well as the rain falling, you may recall how so to did a ball from a Roberto Carlos lofted cross, onto the boot of a certain Zinedine Zidane.

In the south side of the city, Hampden Park witnessed one of the most exquisite goals in Champions League history, as the Frenchman’s volleyed strike sealed a 2-1 victory for Real Madrid against Bayern Leverkusen of Germany, and the title of European champions for the ninth time in the Spanish club’s history.

However, just over 4 miles north west of the city, in a small, two bedroom flat above Nice and Sleazy’s, one of Glasgow’s best loved and renowned bar and music venues, something other than 22 men running round a field chasing a ball was happening that was to change the face of British indie-pop music for ever.

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Four young men, none of whom were actually from the city, arrived to perform together for the first time as group at a party arranged by two friends, both students at the famed Glasgow School of Art.

Their name, taken from an assassinated Archduke, was Franz Ferdinand.

The students in question were Celia Hempton, the London based artist famous for her paintings concerning the landscape of genitalia, alongside fellow artist Jo Roberston. They chose the Wednesday night to put on an exhibition to showcase their work, alongside that of fellow female students.

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The exhibition was entitled “Girl Art”, which, by Celia’s own omission, “was a kind of feminist joke in a way”. She continues; “The show was all female and the band all male. To be honest we didn’t think it through all that deeply. But I guess it worked though. It seemed like a fun, irreverent evening.”

My false understanding that it was only females in attendance was quickly shot down by Celia.

“It wasn’t only females, it was a mix. Although that would have been good, if we only allowed women in. Like it were a strip bar or some sort”, she says, laughing.

Jo’s bedroom was used as the exhibition space, while Celia’s bedroom used as the designated ‘performance’ space, from which Franz Ferdinand played.

“Bob (Hardy) was in our year doing the painting BA at GSA, while Manuela, Nick’s (McCarthy) girlfriend was in the year below us,” she recalls. “And we knew Paul (Thomson) from the previous band he was in, Pro Forma. And Alex (Kapranos), we would all hang out.”

Paul himself remembers the night with clarity.

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“It was the Champions League final and people showed up late. Some friends of ours had organized an art showing in a flat, with the art in one bedroom and we played in the next. We only did 4 songs but because folk turned up late we played the same set twice. They all ended up on the first record. Michael, Auf Asche, Jacqueline and Tell Her Tonight.”

Before adding, “I was working in Directory Enquiries at the time so I came straight from work.”

To note, that record, 2004’s self-titled debut, sold a staggering 3.6million copies worldwide, including 1.27 million in the UK alone.

While around 50,000 people were in attendance at Hampden to witness Zidane’s moment of magic, around 50 lucky punters found themselves at the flat exhibition, with around 35 squeezing into the bedroom to see Franz take to the stage…carpet.

“We took all the furniture out and they played with their backs to the windows, which we had blacked out for the gig”, says Celia. “The vibe was very much – if you don’t have a venue for an exhibition – you find one, make one, and if you don’t have a venue for a concert, you find one, make one.”

The million dollar question was, how did the band perform?

“They were so good!”gushes Celia. “I kind of fell in love with them. It was great. All their gigs from that moment on were amazing, she finishes with a smile.

From that night forward, the band continued to put gigs on “for their pals”, without any hint or realization that they would achieve anywhere the success of which they have received since. For the band the focus was more on the day to day, as Paul confirms.

“We just knew it was a good band. I’d been doing it for years in bands like Pro Forma and The Yummy Fur. Usually what happens is you get someone to put your record out and go and tour for a week to promote it and try and get out of signing on (the dole) for that week. Go on tour and kip on floors and get drunk, and that’s your holiday basically.”

Certainly Celia could see the momentum that the band were gaining within the city, as the band went one better than play bedrooms, to play in abandoned prisons.

“The band were really instrumental in the energy that developed in both the music and art scene at that time in Glasgow, it was intertwined. There was a disused prison that we used for other art exhibitions and Franz would play with other bands and a place called ‘The Chateau’ which was a big building that the band got access to, for the same purpose.”

“I think there was something that took off in the scene that i was aware of, both in art and music in the early 2000’s in Glasgow, an energy and chemistry that happened because of various people’s drive and imagination… The band members were definitely part of that, instrumental in that i would say. Also the city itself, and the fact that it was possible to use these derelict spaces.”

With Paul adding; “I guess when people outside our social circle started coming to gigs then you’re sort of thinking that we might be onto something. With people who we don’t know hearing about us through not much effort on our part. We were just kinda doing it for our social group really because it’s what you do in Glasgow. Play shows and your friends come down.”

Paul goes on to credit Alex (Kapranos) with being the one who really motivated him and the rest of the band with the belief that something could happen.

“Alex taught IT to refugees and elderly people – teaching them how to work a computer. When we started out he had a proper job and a flat and a mortgage and all that. He had kind of given up on music because he didn’t think it was ever going to happen and then he really sort of pushed us when this came together. Whereas my life was, I was kind of living one day to the next, I was homeless and sleeping on Alex’s floor in the hall.”

“He was like, this was my last chance at this. Whereas I was so caught up in the now I didn’t have a long term plan. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his determination and drive.”

And thanks, in no small part to Alex, Celia and Jo, and the rest of those in attendance that night, we are able to look back on a night some 14 years ago that, without doubt, ranks up there with one of the most important in the recent memory of the Glasgow music psyche.

Stag and Dagger review

This year’s Stag and Dagger bash offered music lovers in Glasgow the possibility of seeing some of the best live music from home and abroad, without the need for the wellies or the thought of returning to a half-submerged tent, and didn’t disappoint.

 With over 45 bands taking part in the annual all-dayer across 9 venues, the only tricky part was deciding where to go and when.

 London trio Kenneths served up an early treat, playing their turbo-charged brand of punk rock to a packed out Nice and Sleazy’s, with dedications to Travelodge and Glasgow banter aplenty.

 Next up, fresh-faced Glasgow band West Princes offered an antidote to the unwelcomed queue in the rain outside the Art School, as their hip, nonchalant, jazzy groove felt a perfect fit inside the Vic Bar, before the hotly anticipated Haelos blew everyone away with a remarkable performance upstairs in the Assembly Hall.

 With a trip-hop sound that recalls Massive Attack and Portishead, Haelos certainly lived up to the hype, with Lotti Bernadout’s spellbinding vocals on the terrific ‘Dust’ a festival highlight. Bigger stages await for sure.

 Following on from the Haelos high, We Are Scientists showed that, 11 years after the release of their debut ‘With Love and Squalor’ LP, they showed no signs of losing their trademark energy. Showcasing songs off new album ‘Helter Selzter’, the California based indie-rockers powered through a blistering set, with the capacity crowd in the ABC greeting old favourites ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Nobody Move, Nobody Get Hurt’ with rampant enthusiasm.

 From palm trees and sunny beaches to roundabouts, as downstairs in the ABC 2 East Kilbride five-piece The Lapelles put on a performance to continue the track record of the Glasgow suburb producing first-class music, in this case in the form of sweaty, indie-pop gems that had everyone dancing about.

 With Crash Club and The Duke Spirit following them up on the same stage, two reasons as good as any were found to stave off a Sauchiehall St wander and enjoy what was on offer, and neither disappointed.

 Latterly, with The Duke Spirit, singer Liela Moss was on form as the intimate surroundings played host to a mesmerising slice of alternative, garage-rock in support of new record ‘KIN’.

 Meanwhile, having built up a reputation in Glasgow as the crown princes of revelry, Crash Club made their preach to an already converted public with a high octane set that shimmered with raw energy, featuring impressive guest vocals by Ian Mackinnon of Medicine Men and Tony Costello of Tijuana Bibles.

 In the absence of a quiet night in a dark room to regain composure post Crash Club, Band of Skulls stadium-sized rock provided the perfect end to the day, as the Southampton trio a polished, raucous set that had the ABC 1 crowd in raptures, with Russell Marsden’s virtuoso guitar playing packing a pretty punch.

 

The Franz get nostalgic.

Off the back of the positive critical and commercial success of their FFS collaboration with Sparks, Franz Ferdinand’s drumming machine Paul Thomson is enjoying the home comforts again after an extensive UK, European and North American tour, speaking over coffee about first gigs, swinging with (or without) Sparks and what it is to be an ‘unsigned’ band.

With those in music circles comparing Glasgow newbies White’s Future Pleasures as the best debut single since Franz’s own Take me Out, this gave room for Paul to cast his mind back to a small bedroom in the city’s Sauchiehall St, the scene of the band’s first gig.

“It was the Champions League final and people showed up late. Some friends of ours had organized an art showing in a flat, with the art in one bedroom and we played in the next. We only did 4 songs but because folk turned up late we played the same set twice. They all ended up on the first record. Michael, Auf Asche, Jacqueline and Tell Her Tonight. I was working in Directory Enquiries at the time so I came straight from work.”

As a then seasoned member of the Glasgow music scene, it wasn’t as if the forming of Franz felt like it was instantly going to reach the heights they eventually have.

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“We just new it was a good band. I’d been doing it for years in bands like Pro Forma and The Yummy Fur. Usually what happens is you get someone to put your record out and go and tour for a week to promote it and try and get out of signing on (the dole) for that week. Go on tour and kip on floors and get drunk, and that’s your holiday basically.”

Although it wasn’t long after the bedroom gig that things seemed to step up a gear from just playing gigs to the Art school community that they hung around with.

“I guess when people outside our social circle started coming to gigs then you’re sort of thinking that we might be onto something. With people who we don’t know hearing about us through not much effort on our part. We were just kinda doing it for our social group really because it’s what you do in Glasgow. Play shows and your friends come down.”

Paul credits Alex (Kapranos) with being the one who really motivated him and the rest of the band with the belief that something could happen.

“Alex taught IT to refugees and elderly people – teaching them how to work a computer. When we started out he had a proper job and a flat and a mortgage and all that. He had kind of given up on music because he didn’t think it was ever going to happen and then he really sort of pushed us when this came together. Whereas my life was, I was kind of living one day to the next, I was homeless and sleeping on Alex’s floor in the hall.”

“He was like, this was my last chance at this. Whereas I was so caught up in the now I didn’t have a long term plan. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his determination and drive.”

The very fact as well that they were playing together and “being kind of fairly honest about it all”, rather than actively pursue a record deal, also seemed not to hinder the band in ways it might have others, hell bent on success.

“We never saw ourselves as an ‘unsigned’ band, because of the bands we had been in previously we did it all ourselves. I thought that’s what it was going to be like for us. We would pull all the money from gigs and pay for recording our single and put it out ourselves, like 500 7 inches. That was the plan anyway. I guess because of that background that’s why we went with Domino, because it was an indie label.”

Paul recalls how, with the band generating the attention of the major labels, Domino Records came in to snap them up, although not without the odd hiccup on their part.

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“Serge their manager met up with me and said that we were on the same level as Pulp and The Stone Roses and I was like ‘Fuck off, London wanker’. He came up and saw us rehearse and it was quite nerve racking, just playing all the songs you’ve got to one person who has travelled all the way from London.

I remember he said, ‘Yeh we will go out for a drink afterwards, Alan Mcgee is DJing at a club night in The 13th Note and I’ve got us in.’

At this point we were like, me and Alex have worked there for like six years.”

And even with the deal in place, it still took a while it to sink it that they could be on the cusp of something big.

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“I remember us taking pictures of ourselves holding our guitars on our way to practice, standing next to the posters Domino carpet bombed Glasgow with.”

As for other (Glasgow) bands who are following in their footsteps, Paul had some choice words to say how he feels the music scene has changed since Franz started to make their mark.

“No bands are getting signed now. There’s nothing worse than seeing ‘THE BEST UNSIGNED BAND IN BRITAIN’ labelled on a band. I mean, if they are that good why are they still unsigned?”

“They are as well doing their own thing, you don’t have to get signed anymore, there’s nothing in it for the artist, your better just doing it your way. In Glasgow people can get by, working part time and then spending the rest of it making music or art. The weather kind of helps as well, there’s no point in being outside. It’s always been like that.”

With the band now having played just about every venue in Glasgow, from abandoned jails and warehouse spaces to the SECC, there’s one venue not on the list that may surprise a few people, in the form of a certain King Tuts Wah Wah Hut.

“We were a total reaction against King Tuts from the start. Because they had a sort of pay to play policy it was all geared towards unsigned talent. We weren’t trying to get signed, we were just doing our own thing. We just did it ourselves cause it was more fun that way. Tuts to us was the establishment.”

It sums them up that they asked our management about doing a show for their 20th anniversary recently, when they started asking all the bands that ever played Tuts and we thought, wait a minute, we never even played there. To me that sort of highlights the entitled arrogance of the place.”

That aside, Paul turned his attention back to the here and now, and the band’s recent partnership with Sparks. Probing him on a previous assertion that Franz were like an “open, modern marriage”, I wondered if the move from a 4-some to a 6-some reflected a desire to spice up proceedings, with a casual reference to bit of marital swinging.

“No offence to Sparks, but if I was going to swing it wouldn’t be with two elderly gentlemen from Los Angeles.”

He went on to suggest that their work together has come to an end, even he regards the album as an accomplishment for the band.

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“It was just different having to accommodate two totally different people from different backgrounds. So for us it was time to draw a line in the sand after the last tour date. Have you heard our Christmas single? I don’t think anyone has.”

So what’s next for Franz Ferdinand then?

Again, off the back of a remarkably successful 2015, and with 4 studio albums and over 3 million albums sold to date, the band aren’t for calling it a day anytime soon.

“I guess we are just going to write and demo as much as we can. We still think of ourselves as contemporary even if no one else does.”

Tijuana Bibles preach their indie-rock sermon to the converted.

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From the streets of Coatbridge to the dusty, tumble weed strewn backwaters of Louisiana, Tijuana Bibles seem to have swapped the town’s famous Time Capsule for darker, True Detective-esque climes, such is their gritty, swaggering sound.

Their newest release, Ghost/Dance/Movement EP, is a remarkably polished effort that wouldn’t sound out of place squeezed amongst the bastard son of an Arctic Monkeys or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club whisky-fuelled consummation.

Opener Apogee grinds its boots into the dirt and hurtles along at an incessant pace, banked by heavy guitars and Tony Costello’s soaring vocals (“Bite down on the pill when she pulls the trigger/Sweet as a kiss to cure my killer”) echoing the punches thrown by Queens of the Stone Age at their most heavyweight.

Ghost Dance showcases the band at its most potent, snarling, and memorable, keeping with the pace from the previous track. Costello continues to impress both lyrically and vocally, as if preaching to a petrol-hungry mass of converts (“I feed from the fire of the sun/Love is the only weapon”).

Follow up Six to Midnight eschews heavy riffs and Shamen references, with gun-slinging, fist fights and red wine all thrown in for good measure, reflecting as it does the band’s drive and ambition in spades.

Closer Sun Chaser offers a perfect end to proceedings, a layered, Eastern sounding gallop which hints at desert horizons and immortality, backed up by some impressive cloud-high choruses to satisfy any pair of ears.

A stunning piece of work from a band who fully merit their status as one of Scotland’s hottest acts and who will, hopefully, continue to deliver, just as they did at their sell out show at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, which nearly shook the old church to its foundations.

The band had the 500 in attendance in the palms of their hands as they rattled through songs off the new EP with a panache and arrogance that puts them on a par with early Oasis. Frontman Tony Costello seemed born for the starring role as he confidently led the crowd into a sweat-filled frenzy, backed by thundering drums and snarly guitars.

A European jaunt followed that saw the Bibles play in venues across Poland, Germany and Estonia, winning over an army of new fans in the process.

Happily back in their native town, upcoming shows supporting The Enemy at mythical venue The Garage, alongsdie solo shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Kilmarnock, should see the band head into 2016 on the verge of greatness.

The Wellgreen set for Spanish adventure.

Glasgow’s The Wellgreen are ready to take things up a gear as they set sail for the Spanish Main in two weeks time.

After lighting the touch paper with debut release, Wellgreens, in 2010, the band followed that up with Grin and Bear It, both of which were self-produced under The Barne Society label.

Considerable local acclaim was quick to come their way from fans and fellow musicians alike, none more so that from Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian.

The band, centred around multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Marco Rea and Stuart Kidd, actually ended up making music together after Stuart asked Marco to work with him on a song for a Christmas compliation album.

Developing a 60’s psychodelic piano-based sound that feels like a cross between The Left Banke, The Kinks and The Beach Boys, with a nod to The Beatles Revolver period to boot, the band’s commitment to old school recordings allow them to cement that classic, other-worldy feel, backed up by retro casio tones.

A gig at last year’s Indie Pop festival brought them to the attention of Valencian record label Pretty Oliva, and after captivating their Spanish onlookers, the result has led to a collaboration that seems like a match made in heaven, in the form of the ‘Summer Rain‘ LP.

The 12 track LP features remastered songs selected from their self titled debut, alongside tracks off second album, ‘Grin and Bear It‘, alongside 3 new songs thrown in. With that flying off the press over in sunny Spain, the label has seen fit to take the band on tour across the length and breadth of the country, which will see them play four concerts in the cities of Madrid, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia.

The dates in Spain will see the band go on their first tour as a bona-fide 4 piece, with Daniel McGeever y Jim McGoldrick helping to reinforce and layer their sound.

The band’s manager, Balir McLaughlin, is excited about what’s in store for The Wellgreen;

“There’s a wee circle of decenlty placed music heads over there that absolutely adore the band. So hopefully we can make the most of our time out here. These guys have been amazing during this whole release & tour.”

Here’s hoping the boys do Glasgow proud and return home having earned a new legion of Spanish speaking fans.

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The Twilight Sad and a bright future ahead.

The Twilight Sad are 4 dates into a slot supporting Editors on their European tour, and basking in the fresh critical acclaim coming their way in light of the release of ‘Oran Mor Session’ – a compilation of stripped back renditions of songs that mostly made up last year’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

James Graham emits a relative calm amongst the storm, as the frontman and I sat down for a chat within the not so glamorous surroundings of Glasgow’s Laureston Bar, to talk about New York posters, Glasgow crowds, and social networking.

As the pints arrived, James gave us the lowdown on the Editors tour and winning over new fans.

“It’s going really good so far, we are going to try and win new fans and make an impression on people as opposed to playing to people who know who we are.

There’s a confidence in showing these people what it means to you but at the same time there is the scary element of, thinking ‘this crowd could hate us’.

As we have been playing people have been cheering louder, so I guess it feels like we are winning them over with every song.”

The impending gig that night, however, up the road at Glasgow’s 02 Academy, may have required a different mind-set.

“I think because our other Glasgow gig is sold out, which is mental, some people are coming to see us here just to see us. Glasgow is different in that at the gigs you see the same faces you’ve seen since day 1 and the support is always amazing… I’m basically a big back of f@£$ing nerves.”

Not that he was showing any signs of it. The excitement was evident. The recent filtration of the mammoth 25 date support slot for The Cure in America – with a three night stint at both the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden – still had the band swimming in awe and anticipation, an opportunity James described as ‘mad’, coming off the back of frontman Robert Smith’s cover of ‘Girl in the Corner’.

“I must have listened to his version around 500-1000 times, and I remember when we heard it for the first time in a van in San Francisco. We just sat there in silence and said ‘What the f£$k just happened there’. I had to stop listening to it because I was getting obsessed by it.

As for the tour, I saw a poster in NY someone tweeted us that had our name on it…I don’t think doing Madison Square Garden will sink in until we stand on the stage and start sound-checking.”

The offer to play alongside a band they consider as being one of their favourites says a lot, to James, about the kind of band The Twilight Sad they see themselves are…

“We seem to be more of a band’s band where people in other bands like us. As far as the other sh@£e is concerned we are not on their radar completely and I’m quite happy for it to stay that way.

It shows me that we are doing things in the right way as bands should do and not just be there on hype.”

To him the success hasn’t allowed them to deviate from the ideas and philosophy from which they began writing and recording songs…

“I hope we can become a band that can go and play places and has a room full of people who want to see our music. At the same time, we won’t change even if people’s perception of us change. I don’t care about anything else apart from writing music and playing gigs.

It’s the reason why we started the band in the first place, to make music that we thought kind of mattered, and that’s why we do it.”

Through the European jaunt with Editors, alongside a handful of concerts on the continent, the Barrowlands end of year gig looms as large and bright as the venue’s famous exterior…

“It feels like we have joined a club we have always wanted to be a part of, like a badge of honour or seal of approval from where we live. The gig feels like it will be the end of a chapter for us, so we can give the record (2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here…) the send-off it deserves. We’ve got to make sure that it is the best gig we have ever played”.

With that in mind, James feels that the city itself has had, and continues to have, a definite influence on the band.

“We say we are from Glasgow and we are proud of that. That’s where our favourite music came from. Plus the fact that all those folk we listened to have taken us under their wing. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as some of our favourite bands is just as big an honour as anything.

We have always been a band that shies away from any kind of scene or group, but I’m very happy to be part of the ‘Glasgow Gang’ along with them. I’d be quite happy to be the tea boy for that group.”

Another interesting point to note, is The Twilight Sad’s use of social networks to further spread the word and maintain that very ‘real’ contact with fans and doubters alike, a role that James taken on personally.

“The first thing I do before I go to bed or when I get up is see what people have been writing or tweeting about us and I do try my best to respond to it. If someone shows an appreciation for us I like to respond and say thank you.

On the same note, if someone is being a fanny I will tell them they are a fanny, you have to take it both ways”, he says.

As for any further musical developments to look forward to come 2016, fans will be happy to know that they seem intent to keep the Sad momentum going.

“Andy and I started writing some stuff over the summer. There’s a few concrete tunes in there, in as much as I can see the (new) album opener and another two at least. All going to plan we will have the album recorded before we go away with The Cure.”

With so much on their plate for 2016, and with the enthusiasm for making records and playing live shows as strong as ever, it sure seems like it is gearing up to be the year of the Sad.

Especially if their blistering performance at the 02 Academy was to go by, it seemed that they were in full ‘Barrowlands’ mode a full two months early.