Featured Artist – Young Philadelphia

24 06 2012

BEWARE. ABSOLUTELY MASSIVE SOUNDS.

It’s always nice when a band confirm your every notion and thought you had about them. On Wednesday, Young Philadelphia did just that. They blew the roof off Bloc with a mammoth amount of sound, and did this with such little equipment I might add, which seriously impressed me and the boys from Without Aeroplanes I was with. I had listened to Young Philadelphia previously and was impressed by the demos they churned out but that was nothing compared seeing them live. They monstered through track after track and left me pretty much speechless and wanting to hear just a little bit more. As I have previously mentioned Young Philadelphia used very limited amounts of gear, drummer Graham uses 3 cymbals and a snare while Jason runs his guitars through 3 or 4 pedals and to create such noise as they did was amazing. I couldn’t help but compare them to bands like Hella, Bronto Skylift (except with key sigs and structured musical passages) and National Sunday Law but Young Philly manage to avoid heavily borrowing from these bands styles and carve out their own niche pretty succesfully.

As I mentioned, I had listened to Young Philly’s demo’s on their BandCamp previous to seeing them live (Young Philadelphia – Demos) and was very impressed. They kicked of their set with “The Bad Fire”, which yours truly managed to get a video of, and swaying through the rest of their set effortlessly. Every song was greeted with a cacophony of cheering and was an overly positive reaction throughout.

The 4 demos line up as follows – The Bad Fire, Ambitions Are A Joke, Not Even God Knows What You Are Doing! and Semantics. The Bad Fire is what can only be described as RIFF-TATSTIC. It puts me in mind of Death From Above 1979 for some reason, with its heavy hitting and relentless guitar and drum interplay.  It is just one of these non-stop songs that you love to hear. Ambitions Are A Joke kicks in with a droning, overdriven loop and jumps into a section that sounds like an alien making sweet musical love to a synth and a guitar and finishes with a very slugde-y finale (for those who don’t listen to the type of music I do, sludgey is a compliment). Not Even God Knows What You Are Doing puts me in mind of early Bastard Noise, which is an odd comparison, and its ebbs and flows between differing heavy repeated riffs that keep you hooked from the get-go. I have to say I’m pretty gutted I didn’t take a video of this song as it is my personal favourite. Finally we are onto Semantics. This is metal as fuck. This song shows you exactly why Young Philly describe their music as noise rock. It is catchy, simple and effective. It’s like a big, comfy cushion of loudness.

Every week I ask bands who we should be looking and listening out for. Let me tell you. Young Philadelphia ARE the band you need to be listening for. As a two-piece they are amazingly tight and skillful musicians and their music will not disappoint at all. Get listening folks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-7oMvKM_0k&feature=plcp – Check out my video of Young Philadelphia playing “The Bad Fire” live at Bloc last Wednesday.

INTERVIEW WITH JASON COSTELLO – GUITARIST AND NOISE-MAKER OF YOUNG PHILADELPHIA

Young Philadelphia!! Introduce yourself to the waves of fans who want you so much. What’s the background of your band and how did you get things rolling musically?

Hi ATWOS! Young Philadelphia is a 2-piece band from Glasgow, made up of Jason on guitar and Graham on drums. We’re brothers so I suppose we’ve always played music together in some format since we both started mucking about with instruments many moons ago. We had never really played in a ‘proper’ band together before YP though, despite having similarly bonkers taste in music.

Where do you guys draw most of your influences from? While watching your live set I picked up a few bits here and there as to where you may get them from but I don’t want to make any lazy comparisons.

We listen to such a wide variety of stuff it’s hard to nail it down, but we definitely take a lot from bands like Hella and Lightning Bolt. We’re also mega into jazz (which might not come across!) and have been threatening to record a noisy version of Coltrane’s ‘Ole’ for about six months now. Who knows if that will happen. Outside the obvious, we’re also big into things like minimalist stuff, drone, noise and post-rock.

You guys manage to create a massive sound with very little equipment, I noticed your drummer only uses a snare drum and 3 cymbals in his set up. How exactly have you managed to create such a massive amount of noise from so little? Give us a cheeky wee run through both your set-ups (for the tech geeks who read this).

I use: Fender Jazzmaster, Orange TH-30 head, 2X12 Orange cabinet, Behringer BX1200 Ultrabass (which is a placeholder till I sort out a proper loud bass amp). I run my guitar through a BOSS OC-3 Super Octave and take the generated tone through the bass amp. My other effects change depending on what I’m going for that practice/show, but stalwarts are my trusty BOSS DD-3 Digital Delay, an ElectroHarmonix Freeze pedal and a BOSS RC-30 looper. I have been known on occasion to play with a BOSS SYB-5 Bass Synth pedal as well.

Hammy uses a pretty minimalist set-up, yeah. He says: “I change my set-up quite a lot and try to challenge myself to come up with new shit using as little as possible. Right now I’m really into playing with just a bass drum and snare. Cymbal-wise, just now it’s 14″ New Beat hats, a stack of various broken cymbals I’ve amounted over the years and a 24″ Zildjian ride. I usually use a 14″ Tama Starphonic aluminium snare, Iron Cobra pedal and whatever bass drum I can find.”  

Was it always your intention to be a two-piece band from the get-go or was it all just a happy accident?

Not really to be honest! We had been trying to get something moving for ages and then eventually decided to start writing tracks with the intention of adding various people afterwards. After waiting about for ages, we eventually had enough confidence and material to try and play a show as the two of us, and it seems to have worked out. There is definitely a pressure we feel in making instrumental music as a two-piece to do things that are fresh and interesting. We really try and make our stuff feel like songs instead of just a collection of riffs accompanied by drums. I suppose all the time we’ve spent in the practice room has been in honing our sound, which to be honest is still amended on an almost daily basis.

You guys are relatively new to the Glasgow music scene, how have your first batch of gigs gone? Have they been well received and have you gotten any overly positive feedback?

Everyone we’ve met and dealt with have been awesome so far. I don’t think we could possibly answer for the folk who’ve had to put up with our racket while they’re trying to eat a two-for-one pizza, but the people who’ve talked to us have had nice words to say! Bloc gave us our first show, so we won’t forget that, and I try and repay them by consuming copious amounts of Blue Moon in their establishment. The guys at Pivo also have been the epitome of dudeness, and we cannot wait to be involved in some of the crazy shit they have planned in the future! Both these venues have got a lot going for them.

Have you guys got any big plans for the remainder 2012? EP/big gigs/Video/Foxy Boxing ring in your basements? 

We’ll be recording our EP with a super-duper new label next month that I’m not even sure I’m allowed to mention yet, haha! Oh well, we’re very excited about it anyway. We’re gonna call it ‘RESI’ for a variety of reasons, most of which involve Capcom’s survival horror series. While I have a public forum, does anybody else think that Resident Evil is fucking shite now?! The last decent game was Code Veronica. There’s not even zombies in some of the newer ones! Sake man.

– He is completely right about Resi. But I hated Code Veronica X. It sucked too.

Are there any bands you have played with or seen live that, in your opinion, we should be keeping our eyes on?

Rollor are always worth checking out if you’re into uncompromising noise rock, and they’re also top guys into the bargain. I was also really impressed with Suplex the Kid when I saw them at Breadcrumb Trail a bit back. Other than that, there’s so many great bands in Glasgow right now – too many to name. Bandcamp & Soundcloud pages in my favourites right now are Fat Janitor, Citizens and some band called Vasa.

– What a total sook. I should really plug Vasa here but I’m not going to. I am not that big a slut.

 

That’s me. Until next time

John





Review – Sectioned – “Monotonne”

12 06 2012

BEAST ME WITH A BARGEPOLE. THIS IS SOME OF THE MOST INSANE MUSIC I’VE EVER HEARD

Non-metal fans look away now. This may not be to your liking. And that just goes to show how much of a pansy you really are. Say Hi to Sectioned, Edingburgh 4-piece math-metal nutjobs. Seriously. No-one should be able to write music this insane. Those who read/glance at/pay mild attention to this blog will remember Edinburgh post-rock band WE and their charming guitarist Pedram Valiani. Well this is the other side of his music personality. A sort of Jekyll and Hyde situation. WE are a calming post-rock band. Sectioned are the big, scary brute who will lay waste to your face/ears/genitals with their bracing math-metal madness.

Now I will completely admit I only found out about Sectioned through Pedram’s other band WE. And I’m pretty glad I found them. I may offend some who read this but until Sectioned came along I had not heard a single Scottish metal band who I found to be any form of impressive so thanks for changing my slant of things guys. Much appreciated. Sectioned manage to mesh together the intensity of Dillinger with the zany aspects of bands like iwrestledabearonce going from pounding, energetic metal to melodic passages of music which does give you an insight into Valiani’s post-rock background. Their recent EP “Monotonne” is unbelievably solid. Mixing pounding thrash beats with some amazing dissonant guitar squeals, heart stopping vocals, some of the best bass guitar playing I’ve heard in a good long while and some near flawless drums. It all makes for a powderkeg of furious metal. Love it.

“Monotonne” lines up as follows –

1 – Dog’s Blood

2 – Monotonne

3 – Rot

1) DOG’S BLOOD

This songs just bursts into life before you really get a chance to get settled. Pounding drums and wailing guitars send you head first into a song bursting with so many different dynamics my head spun. Most of all standing out for me was the sly inclusion of a few bars of slapped bass. This song flows seamlessly from the hard hitting to the serene with the inclusion of a calming passage before bursting straight back into the meat and bones of the song. The driving force of Dog’s Blood for me are the ballistic, in some points strained, vocals which add another thick layer to this already over-flowing dynamic song. Top way to start an EP. And it only gets better from here.

2) MONOTONNE

Title track of the EP, Monotonne is almost too difficult for me to describe. Again, this track is an aural assault on the senses. From the start the stand out feature is the vicious almost solo like sections of guitar being interspersed with each other. It’s like that bit it Indiana Jones where the guys face melts off. But it’s happening to your ears. I do not understand how this can be done. It’s plain silly. In a good way. I do need to take a second to talk about the one part of Monotonne that brought me nothing but unbridled joy. After a sort of sludge metal passage the track breaks down into basic guitar abuse. Dissonant passages are thrown about by each guitar creating a pattern of insanity held together by pounding bass and drums. Thankfully Monotonne settles down for about 5 seconds before launching back into its own brand of insanity.

3) ROT

I just imagined me saying this track name in my head. Sounds cool as fuck. And this song is too. That old saying “save your best to last” can easily be applied to this EP. “Rot” is by all intents and purposes ASTOUNDING. Basically this song is infectious. Despite it being in a genre most people disregard for being too “loud” or some shit this song has some killer hooks in it. Not least after the 36 second mark where it breaks into some sort of bizarre funk-metal mish-mash and then repeats about 30 seconds down the line. The bass work on this song is truly amazing. Listen closely and you’ll hear some brilliant fret-work, chords and some slap if I’m not mistaken. Taking nothing away from the guitars here but the bass is a bit of a stand out for me here. Before I paste this YouTube link in for your listening pleasure just a quick word about the vocals. They are unbelievably strong in this track. A slight issue I had in points was they sounded a little strained but not in this track. They are full of body and they really give this song the filling out it needs. They are every bit as crushing as the music itself is. Kudos.

 

It’s good to be back. Before I go I must offer a quick apology. I have really not been giving this blog the attention it deserves and that I promised I would give it. Unfortunately with end of year exams, gigs with Vasa alongside us booking our first EP and potentially booking our first Scottish tour things have been hectic. But ATWOS will continue.

John





First Look – Without Aeroplanes – “You’ll Never Own What You Don’t Start”

22 05 2012

I took this a wee while ago at Bar Bloc. It’s a brand new song from Without Aeroplanes, who recently had a change of personnel, called “You’ll Never Own What You Don’t Start”.

Got to say that if this is the shape of things to come from Without Aeroplanes then I am looking forward to hearing the rest of their new music. Check out the video.





Featured Artist – Vereor

16 05 2012

ANOTHER BAND WILLING TO MESH MANY GENRES TOGETHER. ALWAYS PLEASING.

This band have been on my radar for quite some time and basically due to me being a forgetful bastard I am just getting round to covering them. Perth based quartet Vereor are next up on ATWOS and they have successfully given me a headache. A good one. The kind of headache where a football manager needs to pick 11 players to go out and do a job but he has about 15 crackers to choose from. Something that is more associated with Barcelona than Partick Thistle. I say this because I have no idea where to place Vereor in a genre bracket. Those who read my feature on Thula Borah a few months back noticed how I gushed about the fact that they facilitate so many different genre styles into their music. Vereor do the same. And i LOVE IT. I spent an inordinate amount of time sifting through the tracks that they have put on their band page saying to myself “It’s kinda rock. With post-rock. And kinda poppy in bits. And sort of punk-ish.” Cue the headache. Thanks guys.

Seeing as I only have their BandPage to work off of (which is my sly way of saying HURRY UP AND RECORD AN EP!!!)  I will basically be deconstructing the music that I found on the Vereor page. This is only a good thing however because each track was kinda like a breath of fresh air as the next one was so different from the last.

First I started with “This Bliss” which kick of with quite a Cynic-like vibe and builds into a kind of heavy style of post-rock soundscape. It bursts into a chorus passage worthy of comparisons to September Malevolence. It’s catchy as hell. The one thing that stood out, and would hit me on a few more occasions, is how soulful guitarist and singer Doug Wilkins voice is. You already have very expressive passages of guitar, bass and drum play in This Bliss but Wilkins voice adds another aspect to the track. I can’t really pinpoint who it sounds like but it really adds a deep dimension to the track as a whole which I found to be rather pleasent. Another pleasant aspect for me was the big, fat, Justin Chancellor like bass tone in This Bliss. Really brought the song alive in the later stages. And gave me my much needed fix for a while. The next two tracks, “Ready for the Fall” and “Drop Those Knives” were heavily enjoyable, especially the very prog-orientated latter but the real gem of these four tracks is the final one “Undone”. It’s a strong, strong song and is another pleasent genre change between songs. The previous two encompass a more heavy rock/prog feel to them. This is more pop-rock leaning vibe about them. The thing that really drew me to this song is how much it reminded me of some other tracks that I love without feeling like it was drawing from them. The opening riff put me immediately in mind of The Darien Venture/SMAC thanks to it’s lovely flowing pop-rock vibe. The song flows from verse to chorus effortlessly and to use that awful phrase again, this song id their “single” (I feel dirty all over). Again, i’m going to touch on Wilkins vocals. It’s a main reason why you need to check out Vereor. His vocal patterns really breath new life into the tracks. They would be strong even without them but with them they are bursting with soul. It really makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

So, if you have a brain in your head you should go check out this band. If you’re looking for something to give you some catchy multi-genre spanning music go give Vereor a good listening. It’ll probably prove a sound choice.

INTERVIEW WITH DOUG WILKINS – GUITARIST/SINGER OF VEREOR

Hey guys. Before we get started, introduce us to Vereor. Who are you and what sort of musical loveliness are you sending our way?

Hi John, Vereor is a 5 piece band based in Perth consisting of Taylor, Scott, Nathan, Callum and Doug. Generally when we’re asked that question it gets passed around the band in a never ending circle of rubbish answers, i suppose we like to remain an enigma. We take an experimental appraoch to the creative process and enjoy working with rhythm, time, harmony and texture. I don’t think we’re ever going to sit down and categorise ourselves, all i know is we love delay, feedback and any other strange noise we can conjure.
Now, firstly, what made you guys change from an acoustic band to a more post-rock oriented band? Was it simply by accident or was it a conscious decision on the bands part?

After a few discussions at college about bands we liked and had in common, i decided to ask Callum to start a band however not having the balls to actually ask him i instead casually asked if he’d like to do some acoustic covers as we both had a passion for acoustic music too. It was a natural progression for us to end up how we are now. Nathan later joined the band after looking for a bassist on JoinMyBand.com however we already knew him through college as we were all on a music performance course in Perth. Taylor was then asked a few weeks afterwards and he graciously joined our ranks, Taylor was an obvious choice for us as we had already been friends and been in bands with him for a year having also met at Perth college. last but certainly not least is Scott. Another one of our friends from the college, he was the last to join the band, only a few months ago in fact! He was our number one fan for almost a year until we just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t in the band.

You guys music seems to draw from a few different genre brackets. Where do guys draw influence from? Is it from a mostly post-rock/rock background or do you take influence from?

Since we are mainly a guitar based band we do take heavy influence from bands like Mogwai, Sigur Ros, The National and Radiohead but like these bands we do try our best to incorporate creative techniques from other contrasting styles to purely guitar centred music. We put a lot of thought in to our sets and how the songs flow together so we can achieve an almost production level live set. We do have a few songs that are a little more abrasive and for that our secret weapon is Taylor, coming from a metal background and taking influence from Avenged Sevenfold and Dream theatre he certainly helps the intense songs pack more of a punch. However Taylors a weird one and can be caught listening to Girls Aloud and The Veronicas!
You guys are a relatively new band but what has been your biggest/most well received gig since your formation?

We can’t quite put our finger on that. We’ve not really had any big gigs as such. But the last few months have been incredible! We don’t know if we’re just on fire or if the crowds have been more accepting, either way we’re loving playing live right now.
Have you guys had many chances to play gigs outside of your hometown of Perth? Is there any places outside of Perth you are desperate to play?

Actually we’ve not played much in Perth.We mostly play in Dundee with the odd gig in Perth and Fife, although we did play in Glasgow recently and loved it. Really want more gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Have you guys got any big plans or announcements for the remainder of 2012?

Our first recordings were very rushed so this time we are taking things slowly and building up a wide repertoire of songs so we have plenty of choice to decide what will be on the next EP. It will probably be 2013 by the time we’re back in the studio, although there are plans in the pipeline for a live demo to showcase some songs that we never got to record last time or won’t make the next EP.

Are there any bands you have played with or seen live that have really caught your attention and you think we should be keeping our eyes on?

This is an easy one! We have had the pleasure of sharing the stage with our mates in White Van Fugitives a good few times now and we enjoy every gig we play with them! Very talented bunch of guys with a very creative way of looking at music. Check them out!

I recently saw a picture of your practice set-up and aside fro your bassist using the same pedal as I do I noticed the sheer amount of pedals you guys use. What’s the deal with you post-rock type guitarists!? Is there some sort of addiction to pedals I don’t know about?

That’s not even the full set-up! Scott our newest member had not long joined and since then he has built quite a collection. For us it is an obsession, I’ve spent hours at home pouring over reviews to assure I get the sound I want from each pedal. Its really rather sad and very expensive but we like to think its worth it in the end. In fact I think I have a similar set-up to one of your guitarists in Vasa.

 

And………………release. Thanks to Doug for taking the time to sort out these questions and generally just be super great at doing musics (I know that doesn’t make sense so shut it). I’m planning one or two things for the next few features so get ready to have some wet pants.

John





Featured Artist – Falloch

6 05 2012

A SPOT OF POST(ish)-METAL GOODNESS WITH SOME CELTIC ROOTS

For the second feature in a row we’re staying in the more rock/metal side of the genre bracket I focus on. This time I am focusing on a band that have been in my sights for a good while, mainly thanks to the guys in Thula Borah informing me of them. Glasgow 4 piece band Falloch bring a Celtic twinge to their pulsing metal sound which really does set them aside from most other metal bands in Glasgow, even Scotland. Heavy guitar and bass tones and powerful drums mixed in with breathy and winding clean vocals give Falloch a sound akin to that of bands like Katatonia but Falloch bring their own little twist to their music to sweeten the deal. Incorporating not only acoustic guitar parts to keep their Celtic link alive the manner in which it is played evokes this sound they are going for even further and certainly gives the listener something different to wrap their ears round.

As previously mentioned it was the talented chaps in Thula Borah that put me onto Falloch and I have to say thanks to them for that. I gave Falloch a look and right off the bat I was interested. Simply from the description of “Celtic/Rock/Metal band” I was kind of wondering what exactly this would sound like and if it would work in all honesty. For me, it did. I really enjoyed listening to Falloch’s release “Where Distant Spirits Remain” as it did something for me that I feel is sorely lacking with most metal bands in Scotland. It broke down a few barriers and tapped into some areas of music that some may not feel belong in metal. However, I feel that Falloch use this to their advantage. The 7 track album is chock full of surprises and memorable moments that produce a rel gem of a listening experience. The tracks blend together very well and interchange between motifs of gentle calming passages of acoustic filled ambient music into bone crushing metal sections that take your breath away. Seriously. Check this album out. NOW!

There’s not enough space in this blog to do a track by track so I’m going to hit upon my personal favourites of WDSR. “Beyond Embers and the Earth” and the amazingly epic “Where We Believe”. Beyond Embers and the Earth kicks into life and, in my case, pins you to your seat. Massive guitar passages and some fierce double bass movements on the drums are accompanied but some clean and smooth vocal patterns. I really love the fact that Falloch choose not to have their music passages filled with screams and roars but instead opt to use clean vocals to add a different dimension to their music. It’s a breath of fresh air. Then comes a wee curveball in the track. Woodwind instrumentation. Where the feck did that come from guys? It’s quite a strange aspect to add into a track that is as heavy as this one but it’s all about braking barriers with Falloch in my opinion. And they’ve done that with this track.

“Where We Believe” (video can be found above) is just sinfully epic in every sense of the term. It contains a simple yet effective hook that rides its way easily through the track and the added elements of guitar bass and the already loved clean vocals make this track a serious epic. For me, the real treat of the track is the last minute and a half of the track where after a blisteringly heavy 6 or 7 minutes of rock/metal it descends into an ambient broken down section with a haunting vocal pattern accompanying the synth track that it laid down. This track was a joy to listen to and really put the cherry on the cake of this release.

INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT MCLEAN – GUITAR/KEYBOARD PLAYER OF FALLOCH

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

 

Hey guys. For those reading this blog who don’t know much about you, introduce yourself to us. How long have you guys been going for and how did you guys initially form as a band?

Falloch was formed by Andy Marshall and myself (Scott McLean). We started writing music for Falloch towards the end of 2009/start of 2010 and then wrote and recorded our debut album throughout that year. Once the album was complete we then searched for a full line up so as we could play live and now have Steve Scott on drums and Ben Brown on bass.

 

Now, the name Falloch has a Gaelic background. Do any of you guys have a Gaelic background yourself at all or was this idea something that was just thought up when deciding on a band name?

Yeah it does have a Gaelic background although the main reason we chose the name was because we particularly like the Falls of Falloch and that area of Scotland in general so we thought that Falloch would work well for the name of our band. Neither of us can speak any Gaelic but we do hope to incorporate some of the language into our lyrics in the future.

 

Since forming, what has been your biggest/most successful gig? Have you guys got any big gigs coming up during the remainder of 2012?

We haven’t really played a huge amount of gigs so far. We’ve played around 12 since we started playing live towards the end of last year. Our biggest gig was probably support Alcest/Les Discrets when the played in Glasgow in February but I would have said our most successful gig was our headline slot at Nice N Sleazy in March, which was great fun. We’re hoping to announce some more shows towards the end of the year but up until then we are mainly concentrating on working on our second album. The only show we have confirmed at the moment is at Dark Bombastic Evening in Romania, where we’re playing with some amazing bands (Alcest, Solstafir, Hexvessel, etc…), so we’re really looking forward to that.

 

Have you found that there is a decent market in Scotland and the UK for your specific brand of alternative rock/metal?

Yeah there does seem to be quite a decent market around the UK for our music. It seems to be becoming more popular at the moment as well. I would say though that in general our music seems to be most popular in mainland Europe and in particular we seem to have quite a lot of fans in Germany.

 

How has your album, Where Distant Spirits Remain, been received since its release? Have you had an overly positive response from the music industry since you launched it?

Our album has been received extremely well, we’re really pleased with how everything has went especially considering we recorded the album ourselves using 3 microphones in my garage so to see it do so well is really nice. Obviously there are things we can improve on in the future which have been pointed out in a few reviews but overall it’s had a great response.

 

Now, Facebook seems to be a stronger and stronger force for fans keeping track of their favourite artists. You guys seem to have garnered a decent amount of likes on your page. Do you feel Facebook is a good medium for keeping in touch with your fanbase and letting them know about upcoming releases/album?

Definitely. It’s probably the easiest way on the internet to connect with so many people and it also allows you to be much more personal with your fans rather than just posting up a general news item on a website every so often. I think as a band it’s important to use a number of the available services on the internet. I definitely think that YouTube is one of the most useful websites on the internet for bands which when used in combination with Facebook it really is a great way of updating your fans and providing them with interesting content.

 

So, what’s the plans for the rest of 2012? Any huge news that you can let us know about?

We will mainly be concentrating on writing and recording our second album but we will hopefuly play a few more shows this year as well but nothing at the moment we can announce.

 

Are there any bands that you guys have played with or seen live, in Scotland or the UK overall, that have really caught your attention?

We’ve played with so many great bands already it really has been great. I would definitely have to mention Junius and Altar Of Plagues as two of the best live bands we’ve been lucky enough to play with. The two local Glasgow bands we had supporting us at our Nice N Sleazy gig were also great, Thula Borah and Suplex The Kid, which I’m sure people will be hearing much more off soon. The only other band I will mention is a band called Lanterns on the Lake, although we didn’t play with them, I was lucky enough to see them twice last year and have to say they are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen, really worth going to see them if you get the chance.

 

Before I go, you guys were due to play with *shels on their upcoming Glasgow show with Thula Borah but pulled out. I realise you must have been quite gutted about that. What was the main reasoning behind not playing the gig?

We had been asked to play that show but I think there ended up being some crossed wires or something as we hadn’t confirmed we were able to play before we were announced. We would have loved to play that show as *shels are great but unfortunately not all of us could get time off work for the gig.

That’s all from me. I’m completely shattered from work and Vasa related stuff. Keep your beadies peeled for the next feature.

John





Featured Artist – Crusades

2 05 2012

FAST AND FURIOUS. AND AMAZING. AND JAW-DROPPING. AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF OTHER ADJECTIVES THAT I CAN’T FIT IN.

It came to my attention while paroozing through this blog that I have not really held up my end of the bargain. I haven’t covered many alt-rock/alt-metal bands. Which, although many seem to think this is a total post-rock love-in, is supposed to also focus on the many bands who are playing offshoot genre styles of rock and metal music. Which is another side of my musical personality. I’m taking one or two liberties by saying this next band is a complete fit for the alt-rock/metal frame but I love them so much since their surprise burst into the Glasgow music scene. Say hello to the Glasgow quartet of musical madmen, Crusades. I stumbled across them after seeing a few people attached to my bands label, Overlook Records, posting about this “amazing” track (Best description goes to Finn LeMarinel of TiK who labelled it a “Dinosaur”) named “Pseudo Andro”. I pretty much knew I had to check it out as the folk at my label are really clued in to what’s going on with bands around Glasgow. Jesus, I’ve never been so taken aback by a track in my life. Crusades basically just start by relentlessly attacking your senses with heavy riffs and continue the assault throughout their tracks without any respite. It’s truly amazing. The furious energy of the tracks that I have heard so far really is something to behold. These fellas own brand of “post-hardcore” music is mixed in with a sort of Dillinger-ish energy, something which you will see if like myself you choose to catch them live”, mixed in with full-on screamed vocals that simply add to the fast paced nature of their music. This is a band on the rise. Try to keep up.

As I mentioned, my love affair with Crusades began the second I put on their first released track “Pseudo Andro”. It simply burst into life with a brutal tapped guitar passage (which is one of the best hooks i’ve heard in a good long while), blasted drum beats, some pretty smooth bass lines and, to my delight, some reverbed out guitar play behind it. This track is basically the equivalent of a music knock-out. It catches you totally unawares and MAKES you sit up and pay attention. So good is it that it’s been receiving some very reputable airplay from the likes of Ally McCrae (twice in one night as well if i’m not mistaken). And so the sharing commenced. The one thing I have taken from Pseudo is how accessible it is to many people. The amount of times I have seen it being shared or plugged across my Facebook feed is unbelievable. Hardcore, in my opinion, isn’t the most accessible of music itself but what Crusades have done is take it and warp it with their various influences and make it something that is so easy to enjoy and get into. I can’t commend them enough for that.

Crusades – Pseudo Andro – Check out Pseudo Andro for yourself. Total beast of a track. And just a taste of things to come.

Me being in a privileged position (I can’t mention why though) I got a sneaky wee listen to the other track Crusades have recorded and I must say, if you think Pseudo Andro is anything to go by you haven’t heard anything yet. Guitarist and vocalist Steven Murray gave me a little insight into the upcoming works by Crusades so I gave them a good solid listening to (sounds dirty but I don’t care). The two tracks “Harlequin” and “Landlocked Abysmal” pick up where Pseudo left off. “Harlequin” picks up just as Pseudo did. I love the fact that Crusades basically harness the aesthetic of grabbing the listener by the bollocks and them leading them, by the bollocks, through their sound. It’s cool as. Harlequin is just what you’re looking for, if what you are looking for is a track to barrage your earholes with beautiful and brutal music.

– See what I mean about the energy these boys put into their music and performance?

“Landlocked Abysmal” is a more chilled out, lounge music type track. GOTCHA!! It’s not. When listening to this track something struck me. These guys in Crusades really know how to write a hook that sticks with you. It’s one thing to write a hook into your music but one that sticks with the listener is something else. If these guys keep this up their upcoming EP release is going to be a monster. OH, just quickly. Landlocked Abysmal has one of the craziest and amazing drum sections in it. I can’t get enough of it.

Just quickly before I go on to the interview. Crusades maiden release, which is to be entitled “Golden Throats”, looks set to rip off a few faces and make lots of children cry. You can check out the bands teaser trailer here (it contains a segment of the track “Harlequin” also) :-

INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN MURRAY – GUITARIST/VOCALIST/CRUSHER OF PUNY HUMANS AT CRUSADES

INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Hey guys. Before I get to grilling you with several questions introduce us all to Crusades. Who makes up your band, how long have you been going for and give me some background on the band.

Crusades consists of Steven and Mark on guitar and vocals, Paul on bass and Matt on drums. We met through a GumTree ad Mark put up. It was just by luck really. After being disillusioned from previous projects and searching in vain for the right band it was just luck that me and Matt looked on Facebook and found Mark and Paul. We all came from heavier rooted music. With me playing in No Kilter, Mark and Paul in First Step to Failure and Pay the Price and Matt in Insurgent and Jackie Onassis, although this band is were we really found are feet!

I have quite a difficult time categorising your band. What genre would you say you guys would fall into? Was it always your vision to start writing such fast paced and heavy hitting music?

I would say we are firmly in the post hardcore camp with tangents of math rock and hardcore. We just want to right heavy music with big ballsy riffs and hooks that you can’t get out of your head. The fact is we all like intense bands and that’s pretty much what we what to replicate but obviously with our unmistakable twist. We all started out to write music that’s makes people want to move and I feel we have finally found the band for that.

Were you surprised by the response “Psuedo Andro” got after you put it up on SoundCloud and your Facebook player? It seems to have received some high praise and plays from folk such as Ally McCrea. Are you happy with how the track has done?

Definitely. Frankly we’re amazed by how well it had done. I mean we have only been a live band for a month and the response is utterly flattering! We know it’s a good song because we spent so long writing it and would never release a song were not happy with but with the backing of Ally McCrae and Jim Gellatly as well as regional pod casts and certain Glaswegian dignitaries it was very much confirmed. So yes were very happy and we can’t wait to show everyone more!

When can we expect your EP “Golden Throats” to be released? The teaser on YouTube has got me very impatient for it’s release. Sounds excellent so far.

We’re going to record a final track in July and the EP should be ready for release in August to coincide with our Scottish and full UK tour.

What has been your biggest/best/most well received gig since you have been together as a band?

Our most well received show so far has probably been our first show in Bloc. We have so far only played 4 shows so it’s difficult to judge. We’re still building a reputation and our set list but we have so much coming up that everyone will have the chance to judge for themselves.

I noticed that you boys are going to be playing at Liverpool SoundCity soon. How did the opportunity to play this come about? Also, what’s the plans for the upcoming English dates later on in summer? Is this all finalised or is there still some organising to be done?

We received an e-mail from “Now Friends” in England who heard Pseudo Andro and wanted to see us live. They sorted us a show which just happened to be in the Sound City fest.
As far as tour goes we have a Scottish tour that’s been confirmed between August 1st- August 5th and an English tour between August 31st- September 9th. All dates can be found on our Facebook.

Any other plans your not telling us about for 2012?

For the rest of 2012 we will be releasing our EP with a very reputable Glasgow indie and just writing more tunes, playing as many shows as possible and utilising our DIY ethic as much as possible to get out name out there.

Are there any up and coming bands that you have played with/seen live that you believe we should be keeping our eyes upon? Are there any bands you are looking forward to sharing a stage with?

Well Glasgow is full of amazing bands at the moment. We’re very much looking forward to the Overlook show in June, we will be playing with Saló, Vasa, The Darien Venture, Trapped in Kansas and Bellow Below. Also were loving Fat Janitor and an awesome band called Bear Arms Glasgow’s music scene is thriving at the moment!!

Finally. This one’s for you Steven. You vs. Greg Puciato. Who would win that fight?

As much as I adore Dillinger I personally don’t think he could keep up with my deadlifts…..bring it on fool!

Go catch Crusades as soon as possible. These guys will blow you away. Their energy on stage is amazing and there presence is even more so. Steven Murray is the only person I have seen so far that said “Move closer” to the fans and they all did. Probably because he could have killed us all with one punch. Oh. And if you still don’t believe me about the energy these guys possess on stage. Have a swatch at this.

This is Crusades other guitarist Mark during their first show in Bloc. He got so into it he burst his hand. How pretty.

Get all your Crusades needs here – Crusades – FB Page

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I’m spent. I’ll see you next time.

John





You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? – Overhead, The Albatross

25 04 2012

WE’RE BACK TO IRELAND FOR SOME INSTRUMENTAL TRICKERY

I’m well aware that I recently did one of these features on So Many Animal Calls but I felt guilty for neglecting YNFRHA? so I’m back. And I couldn’t have picked a better band to cover for this. Before I begin I must send out a big thank you to Mr. McCormick from Kasper Rosa for putting me on to this band as I have pretty much enjoyed eery second of listening to them. Overhead, The Albatross, an Irish sextet (no sniggering please) have produced some of the most intricate, challenging and sheerly amazing music I have heard in quite some time. The first track I listened to, “Pigonometry” off their EP Mr. Dog, absolutely blew me away. So much so that I went running to every single on of my band mates and a few of my university friends urging, and potentially threatening, them to listen to the band. Immediately. Overhead, The Albatross have really compounded the fact, alongside Kasper Rosa, that Ireland, both Republic and Northern, is producing some top quality bands. Bands that are really worth keeping your eyes on.

After the aforementioned peer threatening I went on an Overhead, The Albatross binge. Straight to BandCamp to download their three available releases, Lads With Sticks, Mr. Dog and the single Think, Thank, Thunk, and then proceeded to neglect everything else in the world to listen to this band. What a choice. If I were to describe it with a noise it’d be something like the noise Gary Neville made last night when Torres equalised against Barca. That’s just how much I enjoyed it. Usually when I listen to a band with a large contingent of members I tend to feel that things tend to sound cluttered and messy in points. This is NOT the case with O,TA. They manage to actually achieve quite a minimalist feel in parts of their songs, “Jonah” is a great example of this, sweeping through serene passages of music and just when you think they are about to burst into a wall of noise they sweep you into yet another soothing passage of bracing post-rock joy. I actually really enjoy that Overhead do not feel they need to burst into a barrage of noise to create an enjoyable track for the listener. That really conveys to me that this band are completely confident in the music they are producing. Furthermore, I do really enjoy the sort of Sigúr Rós/Godspeed aesthetic that this band have going for them. Many songs on their releases, such as “Flubirds” and “Think, Thank, Thunk”, also utilise the usage of strings on top of keyboard/piano sections in their recording while still retaining the urgency needed so the track do not become bland.

There is another side to Overhead though. They may put out some very calming and pleasent music but they are also capable of churning out some seriously jaw-dropping and infectious tracks. While listening to the second track on “Lads With Sticks” my attention was really caught. “Forgive Me Not”. What. A. Track. It is pretty much the exact polar opposite from “Jonah”, the track which preceeds it, but haing this dynamic shift really works for the band. It shows you what they are capable of. It kind of stunned me when listening to this for the first time. There so much guitar, bass and drum work going on at the same time. I have no idea how these guys keep up with each other. I have a lot of respect for this band as they had the guts to change up the feel of the album between tracks, from flowing almost ethereal sounds to bursting into high paced, fast tempo tracks. It gives “Lads With Sticks” a great change of pace and will certainly keep most listeners attention at its highest peak for the entire course of the EP.

Finally. A quick word about what is, in my opinion, Overhead, The Albatross’ stand-out track. Overall. “Pigonometry”. I pretty much spent my entire Monday and Tuesday listening to this track. Simply put. It is sheer brilliance. Kicking in with a quietly genius piece of delayed guitar tapping accompanied by more guitar swells, a simple yet effective bassline  and a cracking drum pattern, Pigonometry actually achieves quite a dark feel to begin with but more to the point, it is horribly infectious. The fact that there is so much going on in this track allows it to keep you listening without losing interest. Subtle additions of extra guitar parts and string wails usher you in to the latter half of the song where things really start to beef themselves up. After all the swells and tapping have subsided the last minute of the song is a joy to listen to. O,TA actually take Pigonometry in a whole new direction. Changing the tempo and introducing a new tapping riff that is so obscenely brilliant it almost comes through like an 8-bit track. Safe to say that the last minute of Pigonometry is sheer musical bliss. The whole track is amazing but the last section is pretty much the cheery on the cake overall. If this track doesn’t leave you feeling generally amazed then there may be something wrong with you. Infact. Go do yourself a favour and download Mr. Dog. It’s a cracker of a release.

– Here it is. Pigonometry. Brace yourself for something wonderful.

Just a quick word before the interview. Go check out Overhead, The Albatross. They are producing some seriously amazing pieces of music and hopefully will be nice enough to grace us with some more in the near future. But more importantly, keep one eye fix on any music you hear coming out of The Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. Chances are it will be something overly enjoyable. I’ve not been disappointed by anything i’ve heard yet. And I doubt I will be anytime soon. Scotland – it’s time to get the finger out.

 

INTERVIEW WITH JOE PANAMA – BASSIST FOR OVERHEAD, THE ALBATROSS

Right guys. Straight off the bat, introduce yourselves and Overhead, The Albatross. How long have you guys been a band for and exactly how did you decide to start up your band in the first place?

Hello, I’m Joe and I play bass in Overhead, The Albatross. There are six of us in the band and I think the thing that really binds us together is our inability to write decent biographies about ourselves. I think you’ll find a lack of coercion a recurring theme throughout our lives.

Stevie and Dave were hanging around one day and I guess one of them said ‘Hey, let’s start a band’. I got a phonecall from one of them and the rest of the lads must have gotten one too because about a week later, 83.33% of us congregated in Dave’s studio. We had no idea what sort of music we would end up writing. I suppose that was the appeal in the beginning. We wrote ‘Jonah’ in our first sitting. It was a lot of fun.

 
Was it always your idea to create this challenging brand of instrumental music? Where do you guys draw your influences from musically? Is it mostly from bands of a similar style or do you have strong influences from other genres?

I don’t think any of us had any idea how we would take shape musically. I think we were all pretty keen on the notion that we wouldn’t have a singer in the usual sense. If you listen carefully enough, there is a vocal line in one of our songs from Mr. Dog, though none of us sang on it.

It’s quite hard to put a finger on where our influences come from. Though we all have overlapping tastes in music to some degree, we aren’t trying to emulate those artists, nor do we listen to a lot of music that sounds similar to whatever it is we’re doing.

 
What has been your biggest an most successful gig since your formation as a band? Do you have any big gig announcements for upcoming gigs in your future?

I think the most successful gigs that we’ve played were those those we ran ourselves, two in the Workman’s Club in Dublin and one in The Ormond Wine Bar. The two in the Workman’s were particularly special to us. We were overwhelmed by the amount of  people who turned out, it was astounding. We’re not a very big band, so when we fill a room it sort of makes us a bit giddy.

We have two pretty cool gigs in the pipeline but neither have been announced so I don’t think I’m allowed to mention them yet.

 
Now. There seems to be a lot of amazing musical works coming out of Ireland as a whole. Alongside yourselves there are such bands as Kasper Rosa and Friend? Are you guys encouraged by the sheer amount of brilliant bands showcasing both these countries talents? Is there a big scene for your brand of music?

Definitely, bands like Kasper Rosa and Friend? are a joy to know and play with. I was listening to the Friend? E.P. last week. I had forgotten how good those songs are. They haven’t played in ages, hopefully they’ll play again some day.

There is a surprisingly big scene for whatever sort of music this is, I want to call it ‘Fancy Rock’ from now on, but some bands get a bee in their bonnet if you mention rock music. We all get a pretty big kick from seeing local bands doing well, or playing a blinder of a set. The more, the merrier.

 
How have all your released works been received since they have been put into the public’s access? Have you had any praise from high places for the releases of Mr. Dog and Lads with Sticks?

We were bowled over by the response that the first two E.P’s got. It’s incredible to have people from all over the world email you about your music. That doesn’t get old for me at all. I’d hate to think that I was only ever making music to see what other people thought of it but it sure is nice to have somebody in Argentina know who you are and appreciate what you’re doing. I don’t think we’ve had any praise from anywhere too big. We got played on BBC: Across The Line the other week, that was pretty cool.

To this day, We’re still hoping that Liam Neeson gets to hear the song we named after him. If anybody has the wherewithal to do that, please help us out.

 
I noticed that you released a joint EP with Friend in 2011. What was the thought process behind this? How did the release of this EP go down?

We didn’t actually release a split EP, we both released our records at the same gig though, Mr. Dog and the Friend? EP I was on about earlier. That was some gig. I love the idea of split releases. If we dig a band enough to release some music with them then hopefully the person buying that record will hear what we’re hearing and have a new bands to listen to, and vice versa.

 
So. Do you guys have any massive, earth-shattering plans for the remainder of 2012?

We do, but we’re keeping Mum about them for the time being. Needless to say, you’ll need to stock up on David Icke’s scripture and prophylactics. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s going to get messy.

 
Are there any bands that you guys have played with or seen live that we should be keeping our eyes and ears on?

I started writing something there and it got really horribly long winded. You should make every effort to check out:

Croupier, Enemies, Red Enemy, Back & To The Left, Hero In Error, Alarmist, Halves.

 

Quick thanks go out to Joe from Overhead, The Albatross fro taking time to answer my inane brand of questioning. Thanks man! Also, thank to the entire band for writing Pigonometry and giving me a new favourite track.

You can check out Overhead, The Albatross at :-

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Overhead-The-Albatross/279172111192 – Facebook

http://overheadthealbatross.bandcamp.com/ – BandCamp

http://overheadthealbatross.bigcartel.com/ – BigCartel (go buy some stuff and be nice)

I’ll be back on Sunday with my next feature on…………….Nah. Not telling you. Come back Sunday to find out.

John





Catch Up – Without Aeroplanes and Thula Borah

22 04 2012

SOME REALLY BIG THINGS ARE HAPPENING WITH THESE BANDS. AND AS WELL THEY SHOULD

Uni work is a total bastard. It’s been keeping me from this blog and I’m really not ok with that. However, I am here to do a quick catch up with some BIG news involving two of my favourite Glasgow bands just now, Thula Borah and Without Aeroplanes.

Both of these bands have been producing some amazing work recently, Thula Borah released their second EP “Live Secretly” a few months ago (https://atidalwaveofsound.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/thula-borah-live-secretly-review/) and Without Aeroplanes released their amazing debut EP “Tell Me Tales Of Canada” which was exclusively reviewed here on A Tidal Wave Of Sound (https://atidalwaveofsound.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/first-listen-without-aeroplanes-tell-me-tales-of-canada/). Back when reviewing these bands I have always maintained that I am adamant these bands will have big things coming their way. Boy was I right!

These two bands have gone and snared some absolutely dynamite support slots in upcoming months that I am just amazed at. Thula Borah will be supporting the supremely amazing *shels at The Classic Grand in Glasgow on Saturday the 23rd of June (tickets are available through the Ticket Scotland website – GET ONE!!!!) and Without Aeroplanes have only gone and got themselves a support slot with Maybeshewill in Aberdeen on the 29th of July at Tunnels. Honestly, I could not be happier for these bands getting such amazing support slots which ill definately allow them to share their fantastic music with a bigger audience. It’s no more than these guys deserve. I myself already have my ticket for the *shels gig to show some support for Thula (and to *shels obviously) and I will try my hardest to follow WOA to Aberdeen to watch them do their thang with Maybeshewill. If it is within your grasp to do the same I strongly suggest you do the same. Who knows. I may even organise a ATWOS minibus for a wee road trip.

I got talking to Lloyd from Thula Borah and Chris from Without Aeroplanes about their upcoming gigs.

INTERVIEW WITH LLOYD JAMES FAY, GUITARIST/VOCALIST OF THULA BORAH

So. Just how excited are you guys to be supporting *shels?


We are very excited and delighted to be playing. We are grateful for the opportunity to play with *shels and are really looking forward to the gig. Analogue of the Sun are playing too which is awesome and so it should be a good night.

How did the opportunity to get the support slot come about?


It really just fell in our lap. Initially we were involved in trying to set up and promote the show via the Whole-Heart Collective and were just trying to help organise it and cheerlead from the sides but after that fell through we were contacted by the promoter who picked it up. I think we did the right thing by checking with the Whole-Heart guys and the promoter that we were not stepping on any toes by taking it on but were assured we were not. I’m pretty sure the promoter had heard of us through our recent support slot with Falloch, so we owe them some gratitude, because I’m satisfied he chose us on the basis of our music, unaware we had been involved in trying organise the gig in the first place. Bet you weren’t expecting such a convoluted answer.

Is this going to rank up there with your biggest gig so far?


Oh, yes without doubt. It will definitely be our biggest gig yet. We haven’t played with a band of *shels stature before, possibly never thought we would. Already we have seen posters for the gig and have been handed flyers for it and have pinched ourselves when we see our name on them. That’s just much more of a big deal compared to our usual gigs around Glasgow.

Are you hoping to gain a whole new set of fans from this gig?


Absolutely. You always hope for the bonus of catching a few ears and making some new fans at any gig you play and this is definitely an opportunity to play to a good number of people who won’t have heard of us. So fingers crossed we can make some new fans and spread the word so-to-speak.

 

INTERVIEW WITH CHRIS MONAN, GUITARIST OF WITHOUT AEROPLANES

You’re supporting Maybeshewill. For this. I am so jealous. Just how excited are you at this amazing support slot?

We’re over the moon to have managed to get such an amazing support slot. We’ve literally been counting down the days since it was announced earlier in the year. We’ve just recently had a pretty dramatic line up change and we’re busy writing new material so by then we’ll have a couple of new tracks to play that are like nothing you’ve heard from us before. There’s a lot of exciting things happening in the Without Aeroplanes camp at the moment but nothing more so than this gig.

How did you manage to get the gig? Did MSW contact you directly or was it through someone?

We managed to get the gig through our former drummer Andy who is good friends with Ross at AGP, Aberdeen. We had been looking to get a gig up that way for a while and progress was looking pretty slow so when we got the news that Ross wanted us to come up and play with a band as amazing as Maybeshewill we jumped at the chance. We literally couldn’t be more grateful.

This has surely got to be your biggest gig to date. Do you think there will be extra nerves supporting a band this notable?

Yeah this is most definitely going to be our biggest gig to date, by a comfortable mile! I can see there being a lot of nerves on the date. We’re usually pretty comfortable and don’t really tend to get very nervous before or during gigs so it’ll be good to break out of that comfort zone. It will also be our first gig in Aberdeen so there’s that added factor of not playing to our home crowd but I’d say we’re more excited about that than nervous, hopefully it should give us the chance to pick up some new fans and expand our horizons.

How do you feel supporting a band who have made great waves in the post-rock scene?

It’s a huge honour to have the opportunity to play with MSW, particularly because they’ve made a name for themselves in a 100% DIY fashion. We have a huge amount of respect for them as a band and we’re all massive fans of their music so to be able to watch them for free is a nice bonus! It’s probably just as well Andy’s no longer with us because last time we saw them at Stereo he told them that their album should have been called “Songs to Pump to.” He’ll be missed…

Are you hoping you can bring some of your Glasgow fans up to Aberdeen to give you some extra support?

It’s actually Murray’s birthday on that day! There will be a rendition of “happy birthday” at the gig so it would be a shame for anyone to miss it. We should hopefully have a few people coming up with us, there has been a surprising number of people who have expressed interest in coming up from around here. More so we’ve been pretty taken aback by the amount of people from Aberdeen who have said they’ll be coming along to see us. The increase in support for Without Aeroplanes in the last few months has been phenomenal, we’ve had radio play locally and as far away as Texas and the gig offers keep pouring in so I just wanted to take this opportunity to say cheers to everyone has helped us get this far. Thanks for sticking with us and expect big things from us in the future!

 

I honestly could not be prouder or my friends in Thula Borah and Without Aeroplanes. Well Done guys! You completely deserve these gigs and I hope you do brilliant!

Back on wednesday with another feature. Until then.

John.





You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? – So Many Animal Calls

11 04 2012

ANY ONE FOR SOME POP-ROCK LOVELINESS??

OK. It’s been a good while since I’ve done this feature even though I promised to have it done every fortnight. I kinda dropped the ball on that one. STOP JUDGING ME!!!

This time we’re staying in Glasgow but taking a wee jaunt into the realms of pop-rock, or Failpop as guitarist Sean McKenna likes to describe it, and fixing our beady eyes firmly on Glasgow quartet So Many Animal Calls. I have been aware of So Many Animal Calls for a while, mainly because of the fact they are tied to the same label (Overlook Records) as my band Vasa. I quickly took it upon myself to listen to SMAC as they pretty much everything else that is Overlook related has blown me away recently so I was almost certain that it was almost definately going to be a completely enjoyable listening experience. I’m not a huge fan of pop-rock music but SMAC’s sound is extremely accessible to someone like me who has a bizarre taste in music. Intricate yet not overly demanding guitar play, some beautiful bass lines, majestic vocal passages and powerful drum lines (the drummer has a glorious hairdo by the way) all give So Many Animal Calls a different direction to other pop-rock bands. When most of them are churning out samey and boring passages of bland music SMAC are battering out some pretty challenging music. Keep it going boys.

Despite having only been on the go since June of 2010, So Many Animal Calls have 3 releases against their name, “Your House Is A Hospice”, “Eulogy” and the “Traps” single which was recently released in February of this year. So Many Animal Calls have been turning heads with their own style of aggressive pop-rock which has seen them gain praise and accolades from fans and press alike. This is another band present on the Overlook roster that looks set for big things in the near future.

Since Senor McKenna introduced himself to me and Vasa guitarist Scott at our recent Stereo I have been pretty much immersed in So Many Animal Calls work, downloading the “Eulogy” and “Traps” releases from their BandCamp (http://somanyanimalcalls.bandcamp.com/ – Get on it!) and have found myself to be thoroughly enjoying them. As previously mentioned I am not a huge pop-rock person, which is obvious seeing as this is a post-rock/instrumental blog mainly, but there were several things about the track on “Eulogy” and “Traps” that drew me in. “Eulogy” is a cracker of a release in all honesty. Sweeping from the frenetic tones of “Broken Antlers” to the soothing yet powerful “Oh Dear”. Stand out on this release for me is “In Winter, We Should Have Headed For Shelter”. It kicks off with an almost Rolo Tomassi like sound but then blisters into a beast of a pop-rock song that (and this is where me being a bass slut kicks in) is really driven by the bass in several parts. Amazingly intertwining guitar parts give this song a sound that I find not that dis-similar to bands like My Vitriol. Sean’s vocal passages actually work very well with this track as well. His clear, high-end vocal styles really give this track body and add a different dimension to the track as a whole.

Now. Onto “Traps”. A dirty, sneaky bastard of a song. It’s been keeping me from doing my uni work for days. It’s been blaring from my car radio for days. Catchy as hell to the point where I reckon I’ll be committed to a loony bin, incessantly humming the tune. To quote a saying that one of my university lecturers uses (that I honestly HATE!) “Traps” is So Many Animal Calls’ “single” (honestly, what does that even mean!?!). It’s their song. It basically encapsulates everything that is good about this band. Everything just works together on a musical scale. The minimal style of guitar playing in the verse that explodes into the chorus, the vocals that maintain the calming effect on the whole song even when the band are beasting into a full blown musical noisefest, the bruising bass lines (in Ross Coll you are looking at a very gifted bassist by the way) and Martin leathering out some amazing drum beats. It’s all truly amazing. I’m gay for this song. I know how that sounds and I honestly do not care. This is songwriting at its finest and I think So Many Animal Calls can be truly proud of this track and if they continue to produce work of this high quality then it’s only a matter of time until someone notices their talent and snatches them up. It has to happen. It’s going to happen.

– Check the music video for “Traps” and you will fully understand why I am raving about it. Handsome buggers running about in the snow. Some song.

Before I launch into the interview I’ll quickly mention that So Many Animal Calls have some beastly gigs coming up that you should really go check out. Number one on my list is their gig in the Cathouse in Glasgow with Carnivores and Crusades (who I’ll be covering soon). That line-up will prove to be immense. If you have any sense whatsoever and want to see three truly amazing bands then get your arse in gear and get a ticket bought for this gig. I’ll be there. Front and center. Making “the eyes” at every single one of the bands. Furthermore, SMAC will be one of SEVEN bands playing at the Overlook 1st Birthday Bash on June 2nd at The Captains Rest in Glasgow. This is going to be the highlight of my year I think. Getting to play it and getting to watch all the amazing Overlook bands as well. Tickets are going fast so if you want to be there get on it quick. ONTO THE INTERVIEW!!!!

INTERVIEW WITH SEAN MCKENNA, LEAD SINGER/GUITARIST/OVERLAD OF SO MANY ANIMAL CALLS

 

So. I’ve heard you guys are some kind of band. Is that right? Let us into the world of So Many Animal Calls. Who are you and what do you want from us? In all seriousness, tell us about SMAC, how you got started and so on.

 We’re not so much a band as a travelling support group. Phrases like “I’ll help you through this, brosef” are an every day occurrence. In all seriousness, we’re a 4 piece aggressive pop band from Glasgow. We sometimes call ourselves failpop because all the nice pop songs I envisioned for the band were butchered/bettered as soon as we took them into a practice room. The band began when me and Ross (Stewart) began writing together following the end of another band I played in. Martin offered to fill in on drums until we found someone permanent but we had one rehearsal and it gelled really well. Around a week later we booked our first show, a week or so after that we set up a studio in my parents house when they were on holiday and recorded our first EP, Your House Is A Hospice. We released it for free to a surprisingly positive response and went onto recruit Ross Coll on bass a few months later (no-one in the 3 piece line-up fulfilled the “cheeky flirtatious sex kitten” role that every band should have. Plus he filled out our live sound). We recorded another EP, Eulogy, in 2011 and off the back of that played a lot more shows, including a tour with Make Sparks and a Tuts show with Carnivores.

Where do you guys draw most of your musical influences from? If you say anything like U2 I will be straight round to SMAC HQ with a hammer. No pressure.

 The Edge is ma da’. He’ll kill you with all his effects. And his beanie hat – that’s actually an effects unit as well but shh. I jest. I guess since we listen to so many local bands that a lot of influence comes from them – Trapped In Kansas, Lovers Turn to Monsters, Makethisrelate (R.I.P) are all favourites of mine. Personally I’ve been listening to a lot of Get Up Kids, Death Cab For Cutie, Dance Gavin Dance and Last Days of April recently so that might shine through at some point – I hope. I’d say generally Q and Not U, Brand New, The Xcerts, The Antlers and Dear and the Headlights are the ones that have influenced us a lot thus far.

 What, so far, has been your biggest/most memorable gig since SMAC has been formed? I have also noticed you will be embarking on a summer tour with Carnivores. Just how ridiculously excited are you aboutthis?

 The EP launch for Eulogy at 13th Note was really special for me – 120 people in a 110 capacity venue was a great thing. When I seen this I was so nervous I set up my pedals wrong leading to some pretty…special guitar sounds that night but it still went well. It was one of few shows we’ve played where I was drowned out by other people singing along – that really confused me. But in the best possible way! The single launch for Traps was pretty amazing too – again it was a case of just being taken aback by how many people had came along. We’re lucky to have such great friends/fans who listen to us play the same set over and over again. The tour with Carnivores will be insane – it’s the first time we’ve done a proper tour (i.e. more than 3 consecutive dates, in a van). Ross Coll said he’s bringing “10 bitches and a mountain of cocaine” but I don’t know if he’ll have a separate van for them. We’ve played 2 shows with the guys from Carnivores and both have been incredibly busy – we’re a good combination apparently! Their live show is ridiculously good, it will be a pleasure getting to see them for 5 nights in a row. They’re also great guys as well which is an added bonus!

 Since your latest single “Traps” was released how has it been received? Have you guys had a lot of positive press and feedback about it?

 Everything we’ve read or heard has been positive bar one angry Hearts fan on Twitter who doesn’t like it. But he only likes the Beatles and no-one else and I don’t think anyone is expecting us to be as good as them. But all other outlets seem to be liking it! Huw Stephens and Jen Long of Radio 1 were kind enough to give it a play which really took us aback. I sometimes think it’s a massive elaborate joke someone is playing on us…but maybe it’s not and people actually enjoy listening to us, which is a lovely thing.

 Now. You’re the second Overlook band that I have had the pleasure of covering. How did the opportunity to sign up to the Overlook family come about?

 Mr Ward (OverLord) emailed us about setting up a meeting back in January and we jumped at the chance given we’re all Trapped In Kansas fanboys. We were due to release the single, Traps, in a few weeks time and they said they’d be happy to help with promoting it so we agreed to release it through them. They’re just genuinely nice guys and, being in a band themselves, you know they’re releasing music for the right reasons! It’s a great family to be a part of. Anyone reading should make sure they attend the Overlook Records 1st Birthday Festival at the Captains Rest – there’s not one band on the bill that isn’t awesome. Except SMAC. But we’re on in the middle so you can go upstairs and get a pizza. Captains Rest Pizza is the business. And their handcut chips. I think I’m digressing a little here. NEXT QUESTION.

 What’s the plans for the remainder of 2012? Can we expect any more new releases/videos/lewd calenders?

We’re in the process of writing an EP just now. We’ve got one song which we’ve been ending our set with “She Was Speaking From The Bottom of The Sea” which I think could become a single. I’m really proud of that song, I can’t wait for people to hear a recorded version. But we’re taking our time writing the EP. If I don’t have faith in a song, no-one in the band will and no-one listening will. I want to make sure people are hearing our best work, so that’s all we’ll be recording. In terms of calendars, I’ve actually started collecting photos for a 2013 calendar entitled “Ross Coll – Defecation Diaries” which will consist of pictures of him on the toilet. So far I have one photo taken at our show in Dunfermline last week.

 What was the filming process like for the “Traps” video? Was it quite strange for you guys filming a music video or did you enjoy the experience? Where was the video shot?

 It was our first experience filming a video so I had no idea what to expect. For all the complaining I done about nearly getting hypothermia, it was actually a great day. It was bitingly cold though and the diesel generator decided to play up around 6pm when the sun was going down and we were filming band shots. Thankfully, Emily (Wyle) made it really easy for us – she didn’t seem to mind our complete inexperience in acting/being in front of a camera/running/being functioning humans. We really have her and Craig Monaghan to thank for the video – they made everything run smoothly and look perfect.

 Are there any bands in Scotland that you have either seen/played with who you think we should be keeping an eye on?

 I think the Overlook bands might be a force to be reckoned with soon – everything I’ve heard from them has been scarily good. Carnivores and Make Sparks are two that are definitely heading places and it will be cool to tell people “I played with them before!” when they, inevitably, end up being huge. Campfires in Winter are a band I’ve known for years and they’re new stuff is really exciting, I’d keep an eye on them too! Loch Awe were a folk band and now they’re a rock band – they’re excellent at both. I’d highly recommend you listen to them. NOW.

Just exactly how does your drummer Martin maintain such a glorious barnet? It defies all logic….

 I believe it’s related to planetary patterns. He won’t tell us any more but the last time there was a solar eclipse he was temporarily bald and he meticulously checks his horoscope to ensure that Mercury doesn’t align with Saturn. He says when that happens the volume becomes uncontrollable and the last time it happened it killed his younger sibling. It’s either that or the application of mousse after showering. I think the latter seems slightly more likely.

 What has been your most rewarding moment so far been since all your time in So Many Animal Calls?

 I don’t think I could pinpoint one moment – everything about it still amazes me. The radio 1 airplay, selling out shows, going to the opposite end of the country and having people come to see you and buy your t shirts because they seen your video and liked it…I really don’t know. I genuinely appreciate every little thing that happens to us. To the point that I said “Thank you” 3 times to the bar man on Friday in Dunfermline when he gave me a free bottle of water. I’m genuinely appreciative that people listen to us at all.

HOORAY!! That’s You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? back into hibernation for another fortnight. It’s been fun. I find it hilarious that I can write upwards of 2700 words on a band I love but I struggle to write a 2000 word essay for uni. Priorities eh?

You can get you fix of So Many Animal Calls on –

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/somanyanimalcalls

BandCamp – http://somanyanimalcalls.bandcamp.com/

BigCartel – http://somanyanimalcalls.bigcartel.com/ (buy some stuff off them!!)

Thanks go out to Sean McKenna for getting back to me with the most detailed answers ever and being an all round LAD!!. Thanks man!!

Catch you next time,

John





Say Your Goodbyes To – MakethisRelate

5 04 2012

A QUICK WORD ON THE GLASGOW ALT-ROCK DECISION TO CALL IT A DAY

In all honesty this is a feature I am hoping not to have to do on a regular basis, saying a fond farewell to a band who have been going for the best part of 3 and a half years and who I have recently come to enjoy quite a bit. I have no bother admitting that I am very late to the MakethisRelate game but that still doesn’t take away the fact that I am very sad to see these guys decide to wind up their band as having played with them at their last two gigs I got an insight into how much they enjoyed playing their music and how much of a devoted fanbase they have. I can also have the pleasure of saying that these three guys are some of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and playing with since the formation of my band and I can only wish them the best for the future with whatever avenues they choose to pursue.

As I only arrived late to the MakethisRelate scene I am not going to pretend to know each and every little detail about the band I am simply going to write a short passage on why I came to enjoy their music and what I took from their live performances I saw. The last two gigs, which we were lucky enough to play their last two gigs in Stereo and Bakers, showed me just how much the guys in MakethisRelate cared about their music, the thought that was put in to their songs and lyrics and, most importantly, how much the truly enjoyed playing to their fans. That is another aspect that really took me aback about MakethisRelate. The have a voracious fanbase. MTR have managed, through what I am sure is plenty of hard word, garnered a rather devoted fanbase as a glut of fans showed up to see their last Glasgow performance, cheering wildly after each song and joining in with the lyrics of most songs, much to the delight, and occasional laughter, of the band. I always find I am quite impressed when a band in Glasgow tend to draw a big crowd of their own fans as it seems it is getting increasingly harder to nail down genuine fans and have them come back again and again to your gigs, a feat which MakethisRelate have definately achieved. The bands final gig in Bakers Nightclub in Kilmarnock went down extremely well. Despite guitarist Kevin managing to break the strings on not one, but two guitars, MakethisRelate soldiered through their set and was recieved with rapturous applause from the strong audience inside Bakers. It was quite a site to behold a band playing their last gig ever but in spite of that the guys remained in very good spirits, A quality which is to be admired.

Even though MakethisRelate are calling it a day I would strongly advise you to get your mitts on a copy of their albums, “One More Second Chance”, “Pick Your Side” – EP and the single “Sugar Glass”. Do the right thing and show these guys some support even if they are no more.

With a career spanning almost 4 years, having played gigs at T In The Park and Sonisphere and having garnered a loyal support over their time as a band, MakethisRelate can hold their heads high and know that they have made an impact on the Scottish music scene and an impact onto their listeners and for that they deserve some high praise.

INTERVIEW WITH KEVIN WALLS – MAKETHISRELATE GUITARIST/SINGER

Hey guys. Firstly, for what may be the last time you ever do this as a band, give us a wee introduction to MakethisRelate and tell us what your band is all about. World domination for example.

MakethisRelate is a three piece alternative rock band based in Glasgow. We formed towards the end of 2008, after jamming a couple of Biffy Clyro songs, and from there we went on to achieve way more than we could have ever imagined. Our main goals as a band were to write songs that we felt passionate about and to have a great time playing music together which I think we managed to achieve over the years.

 

Now, you guys have been going for a good few years now. What is the main reasoning behind you all stopping making music as MakethisRelate? Is there any chance we might see some reformation or reincarnation of the band further down the line?

We’ve been playing in this band since we were about 18 or 19 years old and it’s been a major part of our lives for the past 3 and a half years, so I think a change of scenery and the challenge of trying out new things with other musicians is quite an exciting prospect at the moment. Personally, I think there is a chance we’ll start making music again in the future. It might be a year from now, or it might be longer, but at the moment I think we just need a bit of time to go out in the world and gather other experiences. If we do get back together somewhere down the line, I think this break will only benefit us.

 

What has been your single greatest, press stopping, pant wettingly amazing moment as a band? Also, what is, in your eyes, the biggest and best gig you have played since the bands inception?

Playing at T in the Park was definitely an amazing moment. It was so surreal but it was an incredible experience. We played really well, we had an amazing and we got a better turn out than we ever could have imagined, so it was definitely a highlight of the band’s career. That was probably the biggest gig we’ve ever played but apart from that I think playing to a sold out crowd in King Tut’s was one of the best gigs we ever played. The audience were really up for it that night and, even though we had some technical difficulties, it was one of the most memorable shows we ever played together.

 

From what I saw at Stereo last night it seems like you have gathered a rather loyal fanbase. Did this make writing and performing your music all the more satisfying as you knew you had a solid fanbase who would eagerly anticipate the release of your work?

Definitely, it was really overwhelming and exciting to know there were people out there who were looking forward to listening to our next release, who would download it the second it went on iTunes and would know all the words at the next gig. It also creates a bit of pressure when it comes to writing cause you’re always trying to top the previous release and that can get a bit stressful at time. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives though.

 

What are your individual plans after MakethisRelate takes this “indefinite break”? Are you leaving to start other bands or is this a complete break from the music scene altogether?

We all love music, so I highly doubt we’ll take a break from the scene all together. I know Danny already has a few plans and I’m working away on new music for my university project. I’m not sure what Aidan is planning on at the moment but if you keep an eye on our Facebook or Twitter pages, you can keep updated with our other projects.

 

Being together since 2008 you must have seen some great bands from in and around Scotland and further afield. Who were the bands that stand out most in your minds having either played with or seen playing? Are there any up and coming bands we should be on the lookout for in your eyes?

There’s loads of great bands out there. Aspen Tide is one of our favourite Scottish bands, as are So Many Animal Calls. Page 44, from Birmingham are brilliant, we were lucky enough to spend most of 2011 touring with those guys so they’re definitely worth a listen. We played with Ten Second Epic, from Canada, in 2010 and we stayed in touch with those guys. They’re albums are up on Spotify, so I’d encourage everyone to have a listen.

 

How has all your released work been received since you released? Did you manage to get any plays from far afield countries or any amazing praise from high places?

I think the majority of releases were received well by critics, we got a lot of constructive feedback towards the beginning and we really built upon that as we matured as a band. We got an amazing 4K review in Kerrang! from our set at Sonisphere which we were really chuffed about. Funnily enough the reviews we got in Kerrang! picked up on the fact that we weren’t trying to be Twin Atlantic 2.0 (which a lot of music blogs seemed to believe) and that we were actually influenced by the likes of Jimmy Eat World, Funeral for a Friend and Fightstar. I think they managed to look past the accent and they got where we were coming from which was refreshing for us.

 

Is there anyone in particular who really helped MakethisRelate leave their mark on the Scottish Music Scene? Also, are you happy with the memory that MakethisRelate will leave behind, as I did notice your fans seem to have a strong affection for the band?

Everyone that came along to gigs, bought our music or a piece of merch really helped our band. We were entirely self funded and we worked really hard to achieve the things we did and without those people, we would never have achieved those things. So we owe everything to the fans who supported our band over the past three and a half years. Thank you! Yeah, we’re all really proud of what we accomplished and we feel we left quite a mark on the music scene in Glasgow. It’s been quite an experience.

 

Well. I have to say. Even though I am late to the MakethisRelate game (very late it seems) is there anything you want to say to your fans before you guys sign off?

Thank you for an amazing few years. We cannot stress enough how grateful we are for the opportunities we’ve had because of every single one of you. So, thank you. We’ll see you in the future.

As I said, this is not a feature I hope to embark on on a regular basis but I feel this had to be done for various reason which have been touched upon previously. Best wishes to all the guys in MakethisRelate and big thanks to Kevin for getting the interiew done despite being very busy with his own uni work (told you they were nice guys).

Next up – hopefully the third You’re Not From Round Here, Are Ya? segment. But I’m not saying who the band is. That’s the surprise.

Peace,

John