Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Brain Storm 2 | Session and Angie from Scrap Brain sit down with Curators and Jump: Press A in the Fresh Air studio for interviews, live acoustic sessions, and a chat about Brain Storm 2 this Friday 17 Dec 2010.

Myke Hall

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Event: Brain Storm Strikes Back

After the unmitigated success of the first Brain Storm, we're back on the 17th of December with our buddies at Bainbridge for the sequel, this time at the lovely Wee Red Bar. Once again we're joined by two of our favourite Scottish bands, it's going to be a hell of a night.

Our headliners are Curators, whose powerful, uniquely Scottish brand of anthemic rock has been given the thumbs up by ...Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly and Is This Music? to name but a few. They describe their debut record Is This A Private Fight? as "a record bursting with ten noisy pop songs about conflict, love, belief, anger, disappointment and optimism that are uniquely Scottish but also universal, without ever sounding contrived". If you don't believe the hype, listen to it yourself.

That's what I thought. Curators are going places and this is your chance to say you were there at the start.

"Anthemic stadium rock"
- Vic Galloway, Radio 1

"Crazy power pop/rock, heaps of energy"
- Infectious Records

The gig is put together by Scrap Brain. SB have broken onto the scene with unique swagger and power, injecting an intense sexual energy back into rock 'n' roll. With a tirelessly passionate and energetic live performance that makes other bands look tame by comparison, Scrap Brain are raw, noisy, dirty, sexy, glitzy, cybergrunge played harder and louder than anyone else.

Download their music:

"Scrap Brain have emerged fully-formed onto the local live scene, with armfuls of attitude and tunes that are classic examples of that loud quiet loud thing. Ones to watch out for, definitely."
- Edinburgh Spotlight

"Scrap Brain are one of my favourite bands by far."
- New Found Sound

"Scrap Brain fizz with New York cool, think The Kills and Jon Spencer's bastard love child."
- Little Doses

Also with us are the quirky, brilliant Jump: Press A - despite being a 6-piece, J:PA have established themselves as one of the tightest live bands in Edinburgh. I don't even know how to describe the experience, so I'll let them do it for me: "The lovechild of Shirley Manson and Delores O'Riordan, thrust through a raging multi layered pop-maelstrom of drums, bass, keys, guitars and close harmonies"- that sounds about right. With effortless hooks, a flawless rhythm section, and powerful songwriting, Jump: Press A are a genuinely unique live experience: you NEED to see these guys.

Jump: Press A are also recording the gig for a live CD, which will be available inthe new year.

Download their EP In Case Of Emergency

"A melody-fuelled juggernaut with the accelerator rammed to the floor...tight, talented, they know their way round a tune"
- Edinburgh Spotlight

Tickets are £3 in advance from Great Junction Street Music Studios, or from the bands, and a fiver on the door- and this promises to be worth every penny.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Event: The Remnant Kings go Orchestral

The Remnant Kings are teaming up with a wide variety of musicians to form a make-shift orchestra, including keyboard, tin whistle, violin, percussion, harmonica and trombone.
Despite their drummer, Kit, being away on holiday The Remnant Kings didn’t want to turn down the invitation to perform at the launch night of their management company, Ginger Music Promotions, at Electric Circus in September, and so chose to rework some of their songs into an acoustic set, and invited Garry Hall and Alex Targowski from folk band Gallus, and long-time collaborator Fraser Yuill Scott, formerly of Yuill Scott and The Haight, currently of The Psycho Hearts, to perform with them.
The band were so pleased with the way the songs sounded with the additional instrumentation, that they have decided to take it to the next level, and invite even more musicians to join in on their Sneaky Pete’s headline show on Sun 21st Nov.
The show will include support from Sebastian Dangerfield, who recently supported We Were Promised Jetpacks; and Leith-based gypsy punks Emelle. The night is being promoted by Events, and sponsored by Bainbridge Music and Great Junction Street Music Studios. Tickets are available now for £4 from TicketWeb, from The Remnant Kings, or from Great Junction Street Music Studios.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Waiting Game - Turbo Blanc

Article originally published on Fresh Air, and is therefore their copyrighted material:

On Turbo Blanc's (pictured) debut single 'Waiting Game', the four-piece take the drama of bands like Muse and Queen, a melody line and harmony that are almost baroque in their theatrical nature, with a more modern electric instrumental kick; gliding guitar and powerful pulse-rhythm bass. This track could easily come from the second act of a rock opera. The band are releasing this track ahead of their debut album, due out in 2011. The band’s drummer, Virgil, controls the dynamic, moving from a standard rock beat to a more complex rhythm, and building to a crescendo. Lead singer Nik sings “I blame myself, in the absence of anyone else” in a sorrowful, regretful tone. As the song reaches its peak, influences of Elbow and Manic Street Preachers are revealed, mixing with Turbo Blanc’s clear 70s classic rock heritage. It isn’t quite the Meatloaf-esque rock explosion that represents the pinnacle of this style, but could stand tall beside the more dramatic Snow Patrol tracks without losing its nerve. The single is out now on the Fuzzbox Records label.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Your New Favourite Band - Sneaky Pete's Edinburgh 15 Oct 2010

Deep Red Sky combine an indie-rock sound with some all-the-rage synthesiser parts to create a sort of modern pop fusion. The band stepped in at the last minute to replace Bainbridge darlings Underclass, but unfortunately they proved to be an unworthy surrogate. A young band, they have yet to find their own sound, and their songs are uninspiring imitations of whatever’s on the radio. Their cover of MGMT’s Kids manages only to highlight that they are scene-chasing and not doing a good job of it. The lads were far from awful, though, and they performed their uninteresting music with competence and positivity.

Jump: Press A (photo by FourthEye) have a 4:2 ratio of girls to boys. A more sexist person than I might cite this as the reason that the band have rather stylishly all dressed in various costumes consisting only of the colours red and black, and could cite the same reason for the fact that their set is plagued with technical difficulties. However, as an enlightened essayist, I would like to point out that the tech problems were with the bass and acoustic guitar, the two instruments operated by dudes, and the girls were responsible for electric guitar, electric piano, drums, and lead vocals. Between the six of them, the band create a rather full-sized, grand sound, suited to the medium-paced rock epics they perform: a sound that takes influence from glitzy polished post-grunge femme-fronted bands like Garbage and Republica, as well as components of thinking man’s indie like Radiohead or Elbow. Some highlights of the set are singer Kelagh’s Alanis Moriesette-esque melody on ‘You Are’, L-A’s classical piano sound on ‘Only The Brave Deserve The Fair’, and bright red-haired guitarist Lesley’s feisty guitar work throughout the set.

With Underclass out of the picture, the headline slot was awarded to odd pop, scene- veteran five-piece Cancel The Astronauts. Their witty, verging on silly lyrics and vocals put a smile on your face, and their bouncy Vampire Weekendy indie-pop with synthy kinks makes your foot tap. The dual guitars chime and dither through quiet drums that are sometimes relaxed and other times invoke Futurehead-like angles. Compared to the other two bands on the bill, Cancel The Astronauts certainly come across as the elder statesmen (read: they’re older than the other bands) and they have certainly carved their mark in the Scottish scene. So it’s not surprising to see a well-performed and polished performance. Perhaps they’re a little too quirky for the mainstream, but their dysfunction-pop is loveable and something that critics and music fans can get behind.
Myke Hall

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Static Kingdom - The Steals

Article originally published on Is This Music?, and is therefore their copyrighted material:

The Steals
’ debut album, ‘Static Kingdom’, is the soundtrack to a cartographer’s voyage of discovery into lands unknown. Lead singer Jayn Hanna’s delay-effected vocals float like a gentle breeze over the rolling hills of guitar riffs, glowing with chorus and reverb effects.

Ironically these modern digital sound enhancement technologies make the listener feel like they have been transported to the past. A smattering of snare brushings or bongo tapping provide the percussive backdrop, as the ambient guitar and misty vocals paint the foreground.

While the first three tracks, ‘Hope’, ‘Shelter’ and ‘The Weight’ are summer afternoon light-spirited tunes at various tempos, the album’s flow then takes a turn down a darker stream. ‘Dead Flame Rising’ has an after-dark eeriness and ‘Stay In Silence’ has a strong tribal potency.

At almost nine minutes long, ‘Golden’ loses its way somewhat, without enough of a stable refrain to return to, this prog rock song has lost the listener’s attention half way through. This attention is re-ensnared, though, as ‘Borderlines’ slowly swells to a crescendo. ‘All Coming Back’ represents probably the most commercially viable track on the album, which is still a far stretch from a typical pop song.

All–in-all, ‘Static Kingdom’ is a good representation of the dynamics that The Steals can achieve within their folk-ambient subgenre, but while the album has its high points, it fails to capture the hypnotic quality and sense of both guilt and serenity created by their previous release, the ‘Floodlights’ EP.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Promo: Open Til Midnight

Open Til Midnight is a downloadable pre-recorded webcast featuring a Scotsman and a Californian talking about local music and mainstream movies. It is presented by music journalist, musician and promoter Myke Hall, head writer and webmaster of, and California-born Danielle Mattison, music lover, editor/photographer for and walking IMDB.

The Open Til Midnight webcast began as a forum for Myke and Danielle’s obsessive natters about movies, and a showcase of local music tracks. The show has since expanded to include downloadable alternative DVD commentaries and festival reviews, recorded on location. All episodes of the show are currently available to download or stream at

Now Open Til Midnight can now also be heard live on Fresh Air, Edinburgh’s student radio station. In addition to the usual movie reviews and discussion, the live show will also play host to local bands live in the studio for interviews and acoustic sets, and the latest movie news.

Open Til Midnight is broadcast on Fresh Air’s streaming media service (, every Tuesday from 17:00 to 18:00, and will also be available for streaming and download from one week after the live broadcast.

You can also keep up with Open Til Midnight on Facebook or Twitter.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Stampede Finale - The Fire and I: Track-by-Track

Gordon and Hooligan of The Fire and I take us through their debut album, Stampede Finale, track by track, and talk about each of the tunes.

Some strong language.
Track list:
  1. Revenge to the Bloody Angel
  2. The Beginning
  3. Left and Right
  4. Control + Interlude #1
  5. Mr. K
  6. Just Face It
  7. Take It All + Interlude #2 (Siento el fuego)
  8. F*** the Cliché
  9. Bullwings
  10. Pick It Up
  11. Dark in the Shade + 'Why is the album called Stampede Finale?'
Myke Hall

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Are You Home Yet? - Hold The Suspect

Hold The Suspect’s debut E.P ‘Are You Home Yet?’ has this in common with the Y2K bug fiasco – it starts with a lot of excitement and danger, but has a disappointingly unimpressive conclusion.

The four-song release begins with title track Are You Home Yet?, an upbeat rock-out with pinches of classic rock guitar licks stirred in with some red-walled overdrive and Biffy Clyro-inspired epicness. The deliciously produced bass sound has both the snapping tanginess and the warm smarminess needed for the different dynamics of the song.

Dive Into the Sun swings pendulum-like from a metal punch chorus to a soft yet angular verse, creating a parallel with the caged frustration expressed by the lyrics. It’s a balance understood by bands like Incubus and Deftones, and it is captured fairly well by the Livi’ boys.

The E.P falls down, however, on Glass Half Full, where the band stretch for a sadness and emotional depth that is simply not believable in the tone of the music they play, or the singer’s voice, even with the help of a female backing vocalist. The use of glitch beeps two thirds into the song, while an interesting moment, does not save this “obligatory slow song” from sounding forced.

Similarly, E.P. closer Society brings us a melody that verges on ridiculously cheesy, like a sketch show making fun of an advert. The 80s hair-band tune doesn’t match the Iron Maiden-meets-Foo Fighters guitar parts at all, and the lyrics don’t seem to say anything. The chant-along section in the middle is kind of cool, but this song definitely misses the mark.

Hold The Suspect are clearly a band with a great deal of talent at their respective instruments, and this E.P shows that they are able to record and produce studio-quality songs. What they are lacking is boundaries – knowing when a song goes from emotional to cheesy – knowing when a lick goes from impressive to showing off. Still, the brief uses of electro beats and football chant vocals show the band have more in store. With any luck, the follow-up E.P will be an all-round enjoyable piece of music.
Myke Hall

Monday, 11 October 2010

The Nature Boys E.P Launch - The Bongo Club Edinburgh 4 Sept 2010

The heat in The Bongo Club plus the camouflage netting on the ceiling make the venue seem like a tropical jungle, which means when The Nature Boys (pictured) take to the stage dressed like The Lost Boys from Peter Pan, it seems apt.

Drums are provided by local super-producer Andy Howden, who keeps it heavy on the toms, adding to the jungle motif, and drawing on Adam and the Ants-style glam rock. Guitar is at times sparse, opening up the songs to the deep-rooted low-end created by booming drums and pulse rhythm bass, reminiscent of Isa and the Filthy Tongues.

There’s definitely some Sex Pistols-era punk happening in The Nature Boys sound too, and lead singer and true performer Cammy Shiels feeds the crowd his energy as they feed him their applause, in a self-perpetuating musical eco-system. Shiels’ antics include taking a lap around the crowd at the beginning of the set, getting his hairy chest out, and diving into the crowd to sing in the middle of the room during distorted guitar rock-out ‘One Way Out’, where he got The OK Social Club singer Raff to join him on vocals for the chorus (“He always does that!” comments Raff later, both irritated and flattered).

The Edinburgh-based quartet are launching their ‘Pretty’ EP tonight. The CD, for sale in the lobby, includes a sub-metropolitan take on mythology in ‘Valhalla’, the raw art-punk of ‘You’re So Pretty’, the Art Brut-style sing-speak and one chord progression repetition of ‘Upside down Sinner’, and the football match sing-along ‘Age is a Number’.

The band end their set with fan favourite ‘Girl of the Night’, where they invite all the animals of the jungle on stage with them, to “start a f***ing riot” and turn the chorus into a cacophonic mass sing-along.

Monday, 4 October 2010

News: New Releases Oct 2010

It’s officially autumn, folks. Festival season is dead, but there’s still a worrying amount of great music coming out. Let’s see what’s in the mailbox...

Come On Gang’s catchy new single ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ combines folky vocals with power rock guitar licks, and is available for free download from their site.

Livingston emo kids Hold The Suspect have an E.P out called ‘Are You Home Yet?’ featuring punk, power-pop and progressive influences. The E.P is available on CD from the band.

Newly signed glitch-folk collective FOUND are giving away free music every Friday until their album comes out in March 2011 on the Chemikal Underground label. Visit their site every Friday to see what treat you’re getting this week. They’re calling it #FoundFreeFri.

Indie scenesters The Nature Boys’ EP ‘Pretty’ is available on CD from the band. The music on the EP is reminiscent of such diverse influences as Isa and the Filthy Tongues, Art Brut and Adam and the Ants.

Edinburgh rap-rock scene-pioneers Stanley Odd have released a remix of their single ‘Think of A Number’ produced by Circular Records label-mate Mangomad, who in turn will be releasing a single ‘A New Parable’ on 1st Nov 2010, featuring Stanley Odd lead vocalist Solareye.

Grunge trio Scrap Brain are giving away a four-track demo for free via Bandcamp, Tweet For A Track or Direct Download. The demo includes three live favourites and an acoustic version of a fourth track.

If you know of any other new releases in Edinburgh or throughout Scotland, add a comment below.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Event: Brain Storm at Sneaky Pete's

Brain Storm is the sound of lightning, the smell of thunder, and the vision of rain-drenched sexual ecstacy.

But more importantly, Brain Storm is a gig on Saturday 9th October 2010 at Sneaky Pete's, with three female fronted rock bands.

Headliners are electro-rock walk-the-walk Glaswegian duo Any Color Black. With music being played on BBC3 drama Lip Service and MTV, and slots supporting LadyHawke and on the Academy Live Tour, the guitar-weilding techie two-piece are coming up faster than their electronic backing tracks.

With a mission to put the "sex" back in "musical expresexion", glitz-grunge trio Scrap brain's explosive live performance and carnage-inducing rock sound has earned them a support slot with Little Doses and crowned them the winners of the Friday Night Live @ Frankenstein's competition.

Storm in a D Cup love to dress hot and rock hard. The four-piece are 75% female (the drummer is a dude, but he does have long hair!) and 100% passionate. Coming from different musical styles, their music is a culmination of classic rock, cock rock, goth and glam.

The night is presented by Events and sponsored by the good people at Bainbridge Music and Great Junction Street Music Studios.

Tickets are available on TicketWeb, from Great Junction Street Music Studios, or from the bands for £2 in advance. £2!! That's all. Buy soon as the price will double on the door at 19.00 Sat 9 Oct. See ya there!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

That Howden Sound - The OK Social Club

Article originally published on Is This Music?, and is therefore their copyrighted material:

Now into their third EP, you’d think it would feel like business as usual for Edinburgh four-piece The OK Social Club. Named after their producer, Andy Howden, 'That Howden Sound' collates three different songs of jagged indie-punk.

The fraction of a second of feedback at the start of opener Getting Away With It is like being allowed a tiny breath before having your head thrust underwater at the deep end. The song is a Libertines-inspired track for people with a short attention span. The fast-paced guitars start and stop and the drums rush, with none of the sections lasting more than ten seconds before a change. The breaks in the song feel like moments where the runaway train has caught air, before it hits the ground again with a crash.

The hook of Little Broken Bones is a call and response between guitar licks and vocal punches over snare-rolls, with a very Strokes-y chorus melody. The bass rattles and oozes through its punky riff. The lyrics sing of a rose tinted look at school day antics. The joy in this song, though, is in the razor-edged, distortion-drenched “rock out” outro.

RMT (Radio Days) is mostly an acoustic song, with a “la la la” chorus and sweet harmonies, but near the end it bursts into a red-walling distortion session.

In only eight and a half minutes the EP is over, leaving the listener definitely wanting more. But with three differently presented songs held together by straightforward songwriting, The OK Social Club have avoided any unnecessary sections or redundant repetition. They have simply cut out every ounce of fat from the tracks, presumably to help them slip into their skinny jeans.
Myke Hall

Friday, 17 September 2010

Ghosts of Progress interview / Resound Scotland

Occasional writer Stewart McLachlan is launching a new music blog, Resound Scotland, boasting coverage of "real, honest artists playing all over Scotland, with an emphasis on unsigned and underground acts". To commemorate the blog's launch, Stewart's interview with Montrose garage-rock duo Ghosts of Progress will be split across the two websites. The first part is shown here, for the second part, you'll have to visit Resound Scotland.

I'm sitting with Ghosts Of Progress in the basement of Elvis Shakespeare on Leith Walk. It's a bookstore. They're about to play a gig in it. But for these guys it's just another gig- the Montrose-based duo have been relentlessly touring up and down Scotland for some time now, racking up an impressive touring schedule. Real rock n' roll bands work hard, and these guys are a real fucking rock n' roll band. Their brutal, blues-tinged sound is instantly recognizable- and don't start with that White Stripes shit. This music is real blues- it's gritty, loud, out of control and hard as nails, songs about whores and whiskey with none of your sugar-coated lyrical pish. But don't just take my word for it- see them live for yourself and you'll be a believer. Singer Lew Palgrave juggles his razor-sharp vocals with slide guitar and drumming (the guy plays a drum kit with his feet; it's as badass as it sounds), whilst Callum Christie adds guitar noise and some impressive riffing. They're a force to be reckoned with, and having recently signed to Belfast-based, respectably bullshit-free garage rock label Motor Sounds, the hard work's paid off and the future's looking pretty sweet.

First of all, congratulations on signing to Motor Sound. How did that even happen?

Lew: We played at a couple single launches they did last year with a band called The Bonnevilles (Ed note: cool band, worth checking out) who're signed to Motor Sound. They've just been in touch ever since, said when we're ready to put stuff out to give them a shout. So that's cool, costs a hell of a lot to properly release stuff, know what I mean? As opposed to just putting it out yourself. They specialize in the kind of music that works with us too, y'know.

Yeah, it's definitely the right label for yous.

Callum: It helps to get us to places we wouldn't have been able to get to ourselves, media-wise and that.

Lew: Aye, it's a good helping hand along the way. We're no gonna give up our day jobs or fuck all (laughs) but it helps to have that on your side, y'know?

Had you just done as much as you could by yourselves or were you waiting for a label that could handle your sound?

Lew: Not really, we're not the kind of band....I mean you get a lot of bands that are determined to make it, but I think we've always been determined *not* to make it in many ways... It's never really been about that, know what I mean? A lot of record labels just want the rights to everything; we were never really keen to do that. The agreement we had [with Motor Sound] had it right: any time in the agreement they could say "fuck off" to us, and we could say "fuck off" to them as well, which is fine. It's not something we went looking for, so to speak- but you know what it's like in a two-piece, you get paid two ways but your petrol costs and that split two ways as well...

Callum: And what we're doing is so different, we've been through a lot of crap to get here. Playing with the wrong bands, the wrong nights, the wrong venues, just trying to get a foot in the door...

Tell us a bit about your background, how G.O.P came together?

Lew: Uh, we were in a four-piece band years ago, but drummers and bassists don't fucking...they're either shite or unreliable, know what I mean? (laughs) It's hard to get a drummer that's reliable, they're a different kinda people from guitarists and whatnot. And nowadays with bassists as well, you get a lot of them that don't really play the bass, they just plug along on the top string...

....just doing what the guitarist does, aye...

Lew: ...aye, just...shite.

Callum: We're from a small town so, there weren't many options kicking about eh. We went from a four-piece to a three-piece until person number three just took off. It hadn't been going too well until that point, then Lew decided to put the two drums together and it just became fun from there onward.

continued on Resound Scotland...

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Talk To Our Management...

It seems lately that bands all over the shop are hooking up with aspiring industry professionals to be their managers. It’s beneficial for the unsigned band to get someone with experience and contacts involved who can help them push their career forward, and take some of the nasty admin off their hands. It’s beneficial for the new managers to get closer to the new music, and add band management to the list of skills on their CVs. has taken a look at some of the recent announcements, and discussed the bands with their new managers.

Manager: Lloyd Meredith
Known for: Peenko, Scottish new music blog

“The initial plan had always been to try and put a record out with them, but as they had already been snapped up a new label called 'stand & wave', that idea was put to bed. It was actually just after seeing RM Hubbert play for the first time that I suggested to Boab [of CiW] that I could manage the band.”

“If I could use any of knowledge or contacts to help them out then I wanted to help them in any way that I could. I guess that I am taking a slight risk on my reputation by doing so, but I have that much conviction and belief in the guys that I am more than willing to take that risk.”

Band: Hold The Suspect
Manager: David Easdale
Known for: Gap Radio, Internet radio station

“After years of experience working with young bands throughout Scotland, I was approached by a band I had worked with on many occasions - Hold The Suspect - A young but talented quatro of electro prog rock to be their manager.”

“A lot of people say 'You don't need to like the band, to manage them' but this is far from the case. The satisfaction you get from helping a band make it in life is indescribable.”

Band: Underclass
Manager: Bainbridge Music (Chris and Angus)
Known for: Great Junction Street Music Studios and Bainbridge Presents...

“They can dovetail with a number of current "scenes" without ever being pigeonholed which, from a business perspective, is an extremely useful marketing tool.”
“When we started, if we had sat down and asked, "what can we offer a band", the answer would be very little, other than top quality rehearsal space of course! Now, we have 2 years experience working at the coalface of the local music scene and can use the insight, knowledge and contacts to develop the band and take them on to the next level and beyond.”

Band: Juan Pablo
Manager: El Parks
Known for: Is This Music? writer, gig promoter

“When it became apparent that I was acquiring a number of their gigs for them, I approached them with the idea of making me their personal/general manger and since then we have worked together on a number of gigs and projects.”
“I see Juan Pablo as my little brothers and I want every success for them, and being their manager I try to do all I can to make that happen.”

Band: The Remnant Kings
Manager: Gary Tait
Known For: Leith Festival, Ginger Music Promotions

“I feel as though the band know where they want to go, which means that we get a collective idea as to what to do next for the band. I am also looking forward to recording the EP and being able to get our music out there with some great recordings.”

“I have known the band for over two years now, and due to that had a good understanding of their talents before I was asked to manage them... Their songs are very smart, the choruses on all of the songs stick in your head after you have listened to them, which is a great thing for picking up new fans.”

Thursday, 2 September 2010

In My Defence - Vertis

Vertis emerged in late 2008 and have been rising steadily since then, with an appearance on Scottish new music compilation A Sort of Homecoming along with Dirty Modern Hero and Jakil last year, as well as an Edge festival performance. The Edinburgh/Fife-based trio list Biffy Clyro, Foo Fighters and Nirvana as influences, and that's pretty much the angle to come from when approaching their new EP In My Defence.

Opener See Through This sounds like Foos classic Everlong if it was played by Biffy, and sets the scene for the rest of the EP. Vocalist Alan Gilliland-Patterson's voice sounds distinctly like Simon Neil, with a tinge of Kurt Cobain; the same can be said of his band's music: grunge-infuenced progressions squeezed into off-kilter time signatures. The overall result sounds distinctly 90's, but has enough Scottish-accented quirks to project a contemporary feel. Without You takes these influences further, bringing to mind Puzzle-era Biffy, particularly Folding Stars. The setting is arguably more accessible than Biffy, however, with Vertis choosing a more steady rock ballad format for the tune, leaving hyperactive rhythms by the road and bringing in some Jimmy Page style, unashamedly rock n' roll guitar soloing. On the other hand, the next track, Injection, follows an aggressive introduction with a hushed verse, the classic grunge dynamic prevailing as the volume claws its way back for the chorus. The title track, In My Defence, displays traces of powerpop and Twin Atlantic-esque hooks, and you get the impression Vertis have some stadium-sized ambition behind them. Unlike the big-sounding tunes, the production is stripped-back and straightforward, sounding more like a live recording, and the EP overall hints at a passionate live band becoming comfortable with their sound.

Stewart McLachlan

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Event: The Remnant Kings E.P Whip Round

The Remnant Kings E.P Whip Round will take place on Friday 10th Sept 2010, in the Wee Red Bar. All profits from the night will go towards the cost of recording and releasing of the band's debut E.P.As well as a live set from The Remnant Kings, support is provided by Tam’s Railways and Black Riot Valves. And the backline is provided by Bainbridge Music and Great Junction Street Music Studios. Wee Red Bar also has terrific drink deals.

Not only that, but fans will be given the chance to vote for which songs they want to see recorded, and anyone who buys a ticket for this fundraiser show will get free entry to the E.P launch event, when the E.P is recorded.

The show starts at 19.00, and tickets on the door will be £5.

You can get advance tickets for £4 by contacting over email or Myspace, by contacting The Remnant Kings over Myspace, Facebook, or email, or in person at Great Junction Street Music Studios.

Myke Hall

Stanley Odd Interview chats to the lads of Stanley Odd on the streets of Edinburgh surrounded by festival buzz about their debut album, Oddio, Scottish hip-hop, and the Edinburgh Festival.

Myke Hall

Monday, 23 August 2010

Best of the Mine - Liquid Room Edinburgh 1 Aug 2010

Live music club ‘The Mine’ at Wee Red Bar is now one year old, making the oldest of several live music club brothers and sisters such as ‘This Is Not A Toga Party’ at Maggie’s Chamber, and ‘CD Quality’ at Henry's Cellar Bar, and proud parents Angus Ross and Chris Elsheikhi of Bainbridge Music are about to give birth to twins ‘Amplified’ at Electric Circus and ‘Your New Favourite Band’ at Sneaky Pete’s. To celebrate The Mine’s first birthday, the Liquid Room is filled, for the first time since it burned to the ground in 2008, with live music fans ready to rock out to a showcase of Edinburgh bands that have graced the Wee Red Bar stage for ‘The Mine’ over the last twelve months.

The honour of first band to play on the newly refitted Liquid Room stage is awarded to Tam’s Railways (pictured). As the cheeky Leith-based scamps batter through a set of upbeat rock, their sense of humour is evident in both their lyrics and mannerisms. Lanky bassist Gordo shows off some well thought-out counter melodies on the bass, which plug the hole left by their recently departed lead guitarist. Drummer Innes adds shade and intensity to the playful guitar parts, and lead singer Leigh’s broad Scots accent keeps the songs sounding urban and modern.

The trio of A Fight You Can’t Win like to thrash away on their guitars like they are scratching chicken pox. Both guitar and bass boom with mushy lumps of low-end, and the songs mix heavy metal with alternative rock and then speed it up a little, with some chromatic chord progressions that allow a film of grunge to float to the surface. Some sound issues prevent this from being quite the triumphant performance it ought to be, but the issues are smoothed out by the next band.

Hagana’s dirty rock, earthy riffs and decidedly grunge vocals have never sounded clearer than they do on The Liquid Room stage. What the regular band lack in performance skills is made up for (and then some) by the antics of Big Hand’s trumpet player, Phil, who regularly joins the band for some of their tunes, playing trumpet or stylophone. Indeed the one ska song in Hagana’s set, ‘Baltic Connections’, seems like it was written just for Phil’s trumpet riff. Another highlight of the set is ‘Shelly’; as the lightest and most compassionate song in their set, the country/indie romp shows the band have the potential to write all kinds of different music when they try.

Underclass’s set kicks off with the sound of a giant crystal statue in a forgotten desert that is suddenly split down the middle by a dual octave guitar riff. The psychedelica-meets-muscle rock five-piece produce a tight, polished sound with big sounding riffs on the axe and splashy hi-hat beats on the drums. The keyboard slides between some sparky analogue synth sounds and hot pub-rock piano. The vocals glow with Audioslave-esque strength and desire, and the lead singer performs the songs with the appropriate level of machismo. Although it’s not very macho to run off and hide behind the amps while the rest of the band set out on their eight minute prog-rock voyage near the end of the set.

Next up, the first of two headline acts, special guest stars Marner Brown, have travelled up from London. In their neckerchiefs, scarves, loose vests, tight jeans, pointed boots, long shaggy hair and bristly chins, the quintet are ever-so-stylish. Their influences come from moody indie-punk on both sides of the ocean, be it Americans Black Rebel Motorcycle Club or The Strokes, or Brits like The Libertines and The Enemy. Growling vocals or buzzing distortion on the bass or guitar give the music its edge, and their practised stage persona gives their show its punch.

In a rather similar chic, The 10:04s fill the second headline slot to the delight of a large gathering of indie scenesters. They are the best band whose name references ‘Back to the Future’ since McFly... OK, maybe that’s not a fair comparison. Like McFly, though, their riffs are catchy, and the two guitarists pass back and forth lead singer duties. Unlike McFly, however, the band pull a buoyant but edgy indie-punk sound and a leather jacket-wearing sense of style from the likes of The Strokes or The Cribs. Well-executed drums keep the band in good time even through their running-pace pulse rhythm power chord-filled tunes. This is music by indie kids for indie kids, and the crowd eat it up, especially set closer ‘About Tonight’, which has everyone dancing and joining in – and a small stage invasion!

The lights go up, revealing that the Liquid Room has inexplicably been painted purple. Nonetheless, I think it’s fair to say that this venue is back with a vengeance.
Myke Hall

Monday, 19 July 2010

There Will Be Fireworks - There Will Be Fireworks

There’s definitely a theme here: 'Columbian Fireworks', 'I Like The Lights', 'Guising', 'We Sleep Through The Bombs', 'Headlights', 'We Were A Roman Candle', There Will Be Fireworks.

The debut self-titled album by There Will Be Fireworks is undoubtedly themed. The four Glaswegian musicians make use of broad Scottish accents, which go from hushed harmonies to desperate screams as the dynamics of the songs rise into the air and then fall back down in an explosion of sound and colour (see what I did there?). The delicacy and understated-ness of certain sections of this album are hard to ignore, with some very moving piano or acoustic guitar, streaking into overdriven or delayed guitars, Arcade Fire-y crashing drums, and insistent bass.

The flow of the album is also carefully crafted. The songs contentedly and calmly collide into each other, as if written purely for album release, giving the impression of an epic rock opera. Beginning with the spoken word poetry of Colombian Fireworks, softer slowburners So The Story Goes and Guising, mid-tempo melody Midfield Maestro to the epic yell-along Off With Their Heads, an unforgettable tune that is the highlight of the album, and onwards through an anthology of other songs, no two sound quite the same.

The bass guitar playing can be best admired on Waltz-timed A Kind Of Furnace, where it dances (waltzes even) underneath flute flutters and oboe sounds and drums played with beaters rather than sticks, while at other points it happily undercarries the excited strobe light guitar.

Unfortunately, the second half of the album does not maintain the rocket-high quality of the first half, with the whiney lead guitar riffs and strained vocals beginning to annoy the ear. But this is still an excellent example of how an album should be written. Recurring themes in both lyrics and music, variety of instrumentation and arrangement, but all tied together with similar production. Each song easily snaps onto the last and the next to create a complete piece, as well as a collection of individual tracks.

Also, try not to be holding any hot drinks when you listen to We Were A Roman Candle; you might get a fright when the loud part kicks in.
Myke Hall

Monday, 5 July 2010

Sleepless Nights EP - Homework

Why anyone would name their band after the worst part of going to school, I don’t know. I’m getting ‘Nam style flashbacks just thinking about it. Thankfully I have the band’s charmingly agreeable tunes to chill me out.

Homework’s well-structured five-track debut EP opens with the title track, Sleepless Nights, a song whose jaunty guitar-indie sound propels steadily onwards like a canal boat made of Stratocasters. One of the defining features of Homework’s music is the unashamedly Scottish accented vocals – a rising trend in Scottish music, which is sadly still under-utilised in favour of a damp trans-Atlantic manner. You’ll get none of that nonsense from these Edinburgh boys.

All I See opens with a sleek and sexy production of atmospheric synth, reverb-heavy guitar and strong bass that would make Garbage or The Cardigans proud, and proceeds to trot on with a steady pace as the catchy chorus comes along: “LIFE-style, NO style, MEAN while, MORE MORE money”. Possibly the catchiest song on the EP, All I See shows that Homework’s music has some humour to it too.

Aside from its swooshing progressive middle-eight breakdown, third track Forget About Everything continues with the synth beeps and swirls, the 90s guitar effects, the mid-tempo canter, and the bass, as thick and meaty as a salami, of the previous tunes. However, the closing tracks take on a more epic quality. With vocals and lyrics leaning more towards the ballad side of rock, and a structure that builds up to a peak in the third act, 'Havana' and 'We Should Not Regress' grasp the listener, hooked by the catchy first songs, and lift us out of the water with urgent drums and ringing guitar.

As Havana elevates, the quirky guitar riffs become clangy chords, the drums become more urgent and excited, the bass becomes funky and reminiscent of Flea in recent Red Hot Chili Peppers works, and the vocals become more intense, as it closes in on its climax.

The climax of We Should Not Regress, however, is more like a clapping-your-hands-above-your-head, save-the-world power ballad. The tune begins by playing analogue beeps, like a confused payphone, against a piano part, and then climbs steadily to its crescendo, and ends on an echoey voice sample.

The Sleepless Nights EP sits comfortably between the worlds of art-pop indie-rock and that epic sound that Scotland loves, without ever resigning to either side, and without ever suffering for it.
Myke Hall