A Motley Mish-Mash of Melodious Musical Merriment

Since the turn of the year, I’ve been listening to a variety of music – new and old – and in a variety of formats. I’ve never been a fan of streaming, but I’m trying to get into the 21st Century and using these formats where there isn’t an alternative.

I’ve been playing catch up on music I’ve been sent over the last few months as well as listening to Christmas presents and recent recommendations from friends.

Speaking of recommendations – I recently wrote a blog about Jason How, if you haven’t already checked him out. I’d recommend a listen, regardless of what “genre” you normally listen to. It’s a musical treat to the eardrums.

The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker – Andy Blade

Over the last week I also finally got around to ordering Andy Blade’s audiobook version of “The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker: The Andy Blade Chronicles”. Narrated by the man himself, the book is an entertaining romp through his teenage years and the formation of Eater. I’m only a couple of hours in at the moment, but already would highly recommend it to anyone. I say this whether you are a fan of Eater or not, even if you aren’t a fan of punk, you don’t need to be.

Andy Blade - The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker
Andy Blade – The Secret Life of a Teenage Punk Rocker

Andy has a great way of telling a story and has me engrossed and laughing along with him a lot of the time. Whether that be due to an in-depth tale of “stalking” The Runaways at their Bayswater Hotel as a 14 year old, his comparing his feelings about dancing to teenage sexual urges or even simple asides about Tennents Lager cans. It is fascinating to hear a first-hand account from someone who was a fan of and involved in the scene as a band from the outset. I’m listening in the car on the way to and from work and I’m disappointed when I get to my destination! Looking forward to my next car trip…

The Fall, Gerry Cinnamon, The Skids

From a music perspective, as well as working through The Fall complete singles and b-sides (what an amazing body of work!). I’ve also found myself listening a lot to Gerry Cinnamon. His album goes to prove that in this day and age, just because you pick up an acoustic guitar you don’t need to sing insipid love songs about some girl or other being “between my arms”.  (When I hear that song, am I the only one who conjures up a picture of Sheeran standing with arms outstretched in front of him and some lassie standing in front of him “between” his arms?).

I’ve also been enjoying the new Skids album which arrived last Friday after what seemed like aeons since I pledged for it. It has been well worth the wait and with some songs co-written by The Filthy Tongues Martin Metcalfe and produced by Youth the album stands up well with their classics. Having seen them live a couple of days prior in King Tuts, the band proved that they still have what it takes to get a crowd going, even if Jobson still can’t dance (still, that is part of the charm). They were tight, the musicianship was fantastic, some amazing drumming from Mike Baillie, a brilliant night was had by all. And of course they ended the night with the “worst song we ever wrote”, TV Stars.

Buzzbomb Sixty Miles of Open Road

Buzzbomb – 60 Miles of Bad Road

On the album front, another new release that deserves your attention is the third album from Bathgate’s Buzzbomb. Not only do I love this band’s music, but the cover art on the new album by 2000AD artist Patrick Goddard is a joy to behold too. I pre-ordered the vinyl to ensure I get the full effect of the artwork (and also the fact that I love vinyl) but have been listening to the download in the meantime.

The album, “Sixty Miles of Bad Road” is a high-octane thrill ride that doesn’t let up for a second for a breath. I don’t know if anyone recently watched the B-movie style TV series “Blood Drive” (a futuristic schlock horror blood and guts TV series with a murderous race involving cars that are powered by blood – you get the picture). Maybe it’s a combination of the music and the cover art, but I could easily visualise the high-adrenaline psychobilly/punkabilly music of “Buzzbomb” sound-tracking the series.

Buzzbomb band
Buzzbomb

Only one of the tracks disappoints me slightly, their cover of “Born to Lose”. I’m not averse to bands covering classic songs, but something about this version leaves me cold.

High Adrenaline Thrill Ride

However, that aside, the rest of the album delivers blow after blow and hits the target every time with a dead-shot. From the intoxication and chanted chorus of “Blood and Whiskey” via the breakneck reality that is the banding having an “Existential Crisis”. Leaving “Wreckage” (One of my favourites on the album – “Forget yesterday, learn to walk away”) in their wake, all the way through to the 100mph drumming and buzz saw guitar of the “All that I have and all that I believe in refrain” of “Russian Roulette”. I’m exhausted by the end of the album – in an exceptionally satisfying way.

With a number of dates already secured including Michale Graves another support date for the Kings of Psychobilly, The Meteors, 2018 already looks good for Buzzbomb.

Tunay Akdeniz

Another album that was sent to me via my blog, was a re-release of old tracks from “Godfather of Turkish Punk” Tünay Akendiz. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know of his existence before the link dropped into my inbox with a bit of background. However, from what I can glean from the press release and a couple of quick internet searches he appears to have been somewhat of a maverick in Turkey.

Tunay Akdeniz The Godfather of Turkish Punk
Tunay Akdeniz The Godfather of Turkish Punk

“Tünay Akdeniz”

Ironhand Records is proud to present one of the greatest legends of Turkish rock music:

Tünay Akdeniz was quite a figure in 70’s music scene in Turkey with mocking lyrics, punk-rock image and bad boy attitude. He had once used giblets for accessory in a photo session, had sued state television for not airing his music, used the title “punk-rock” first time in Turkey and had earned the title “big rocker” as he made cassette copies of hard ’n’ heavy albums for younger generation who lack resources to find originals with mail order for years.”

 What you get on this album is 14 tracks in all, 8 different tracks (6 of the tracks are instrumental versions of tracks on the album)

Bear in mind that this was in the 1970s, when in the UK we were struggling with strikes, 3 days weeks, unemployment, the winter of discontent and a heatwave in ’76. In Turkey, the decade was book-ended by military coups in ’71 and ’80 and much political violence from 76-79 resulting in over 5000 deaths. If you bear this in mind as a backdrop to the times, the activities listed that he undertook in 1970’s Turkey would have seemed fairly radical and extreme, even if they don’t seem so now in modern day UK.

Attitude

Tunay Akdeniz
Tunay Akdeniz

The music is of its time, not an overtly “punk” sound as you would necessarily classify it, but you need to remember a lot of these songs pre-date punk as we would know it. If you believe that punk is an attitude more than a style of music and way of dressing as many of the punk police would have you believe, then yes, Tünay could very much be described as punk.

I can’t really vouch for the lyrics to songs as I don’t speak the language, but there are some good wee tunes in here. “Nicin Seni Seviyorum” (which if google translate serves me right translates as “Why I Love You”) musically has a “Roadrunner” feel to it while some of the other tracks have more of an early 70’s sparse rock sound incorporating disco/funk guitar effects (“Dişi Denen Canlı” / “The Creature Called Female”) or an almost Johnny Cash/country guitar (“Mesela Mesele” / “For Example The Matter Is…”). The aforementioned “Babam Yazdı Ben Besteledim İşte Aşkın Tarifi” (“Daddy Wrote the Lyrics, I Composed the Music, That’s the Recipe of Love”) has perhaps my favourite translated song title on the album.

Certainly not an unpleasant listen and has also given an insight into alternative/protest music scene in another culture during the 70s.

The Apparents

Moving to the here and now, and punk as it is today, The Apparents have a new EP, “The Face May Change” out on various download and streaming sites.

These Scottish protest-punks have presented 5 tracks of in your face punk rock with some accomplished guitar playing. The majority of the tracks have an angry edge to them – whether that be  directed to the government (Tory Boy), a rant about the proliferation of reality TV (Reali-TV), Indyref related (This is Scotland) or religion (Fuck Religion – which brings to mind the Fire Exit classic – Religion is the Cause of all War).

Open in Spotify

However, for me both musically and lyrically, the stand out track on the EP has to be the one with a more positive vibe, “Nothing is Set in Stone”. With pulsing guitar and messages about making the most of life, “Don’t take life for granted – it can all be taken away” I’d like to hear more of this side of The Apparents in the future.

The Dunts

Another band that have been on the go since 2016 but I’ve not had the pleasure of seeing yet are The Dunts.

Describing themselves as Council Punk, I’ve been enjoying the 4 tracks on their “Not Working is Class EP” on Spotify. All tracks are high voltage with clever and often amusing lyrics (“Hampden Cabs”) with a similar style to Slaves, Idles & Eagulls.

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Voicex

I’m also enjoying the song available on Spotify by Voicex –“Never”. A tasty collaboration between members of various bands from the alternative scene in Scotland – Scars, Boots for Dancing and Heavy Drapes, with words provided by performance poet Suky.

The song is a jubilant post-punk romp with shades of the Velvet Underground. Suky delivers a passionate performance and the song has been on repeat in my ears a good few times over the last few weeks.

I look forward to hearing more from Voicex in 2018

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WHITE

I’m late to the game AGAIN, but I’ve been listening to WHITE recently too. They have been going at least a couple of years, but I’ve been enjoying listening to their album “One Night Stand Forever”. It is more poppy than a lot of stuff I listen too, but I can hear enough in their sound that appeals and makes it interesting. Occasionally there is a bit of a Billy McKenzie twang to it, especially on tracks like “Future Pleasures”. Elements of the guitar hark back to early 80’s angular post-punk bands like Josef K, Fire Engines and the like, with a bit of Sparks and Hot Chip thrown in for good measure.

Open in Spotify

There are a few bands that I would love to have seen in the New Year series of gigs in King Tuts in January, but have had to make do with listening to their output available online at the moment. These bands are The Ninth Wave, Motion Poets and Sway.

The Ninth Wave

The Ninth Wave are an interesting proposition. They have an EP available just now, “Reformation”, which I have been listening to on repeat. Their wide open sonance bringing to mind vast landscapes, with rich atmospheric electronic keyboards adding to the sophisticated layers. Vocals in places not unlike Propaganda and the delicacy of Shellyann Orphan and complemented by the huge dark powerful sound of noughties bands like White Lies, whilst also encapsulating 80’s goth rock god, Robert Smith.

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The Motion Poets

Hopefully 2018 will see Edinburgh based band The Motion Poets follow up their first single from 2017, the extremely catchy “One Too Many” with more of the same jangly indie-rock guitars and drums bounding along and hooking you in along the way,

Open in Spotify

Sway

I’ve mentioned Sway in a previous post with their latest single “To Be a Man” and I’m still listening to this along with “Planet Earth”/”Give You it All”, all available to stream on Spotify. Their songs, at least the sound and passion of “Give You it All”, takes me back to Whipping Boy & Power of Dreams gigs in King Tuts in the ‘90s.

Open in Spotify

I’m hoping to catch all of these bands during 2018 at some point. I listen to a lot of music by bands of a certain era and even many of the current or newer bands I listen to are made up of “older” musicians. It is good to hear some new music out there that I enjoy, made by the younger generation who aren’t stuck in the bedrooms communicating virtually only. I include the aforementioned Dunts in that list too.

Always open to new music – any recommendations?

Jason How – Four albums of Psychedelic & Pure Power Pop Genius

Jason How

I’ve only recently been introduced to the music of Jason How (cheers Joe Whyte). I’m so glad I am no longer a stranger to his music. Jason is a prolific songwriter, releasing an album per year over the last 4 years.

It would be difficult to pin Jason down to a specific music genre or style as there is a great variety of influences across the albums. His influences are apparent in the music, US West Coast psychedelia standing out, but also with the influence of 70’s punk/power pop and 80s indie.

Certain elements come together and bring to mind different bands and/or singers. Sometimes the combined elements together sound like Buzzcocks, others reminiscent of purveyors of perfect Punk/Power Pop, Duncan Reid and the Big Heads. It all depends on what album and what track you are listening to.

One thing is for certain. They all have big tunes, are hook laden, lyrically clever and sometimes eccentric and cover a wide array of subjects.

Suffice to say the fruits of Jason’s labours are eminently listenable.

Who is Jason How?

For anyone else to whom this might be an introduction to Jason and his music, I asked him to give me a bit of background on who he is:

Well my father started Rotosound Music Strings in the 1960’s and I have been Chairman since 1996.  

As you say I have been around music all my life and never really been that good a guitarist  so I thought I would try writing songs which I really enjoy and seems to come fairly easily to me.

I play guitar, bass, keys and vocals.

My real trade is in engineering I have designed and built most of the new string winding machines at Rotosound over the last 20 years. Following on from when my father died in 1994. 

Passionate about keeping the manufacturing in the UK!

….all about the strings!

www.rotosound.com

 When did you first start playing music? With the Rotosound connections you obviously have been brought up close to music:

 Started listening to music from an early age, my dad used to bring home all the albums by the bands Rotosound were dealing with in the 70’ s. From bands like ELO, Queen, The Jam, Wreckless Eric etc. Quite an eclectic mix.  

That eclectic mix is something that has obviously influenced Jason’s own music. Jason has his own distinctive sound but you can also hear a variety of influences within the albums.

What instrument did you start playing? What was the first song/tune you played?

 Started playing the guitar when I was 15. I remember that ‘A Legal Matter’ by The Who was the first guitar riff I learnt LOL! I remember picking out the guitar riff on “A Legal Matter by the Who as my brother had just lent me “Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy”, the early Who compilation.

I had an old Aria acoustic guitar, started writing tunes on my dad’s old Wurlitzer organ, just sort of instrumental things. Then started writing tunes on the guitar and finally adding lyrics.

My mate Jim Bishop and myself wrote a tune called ‘Lost my words in the mountains’ when we were about 16, then we formed a band called Wicked Cooker (terrible name) and wrote a lot of weird stuff with song titles like ‘Stop eating your chocolate biscuits’ and ‘Soapsuds in my binoculars’

Bootlegs are available for your further listening pleasure……

 That would be an interesting listen I’m sure.

The Music of Jason How

Where do you get your musical inspiration to write from?

I love the late 60’s psychedelic scene from the West coast in the US, bands like The 13th Floor Elevators, Chocolate Watch Band and The Strawberry Alarm Clock. The Doors obviously.

 Also the 70’s punk scene I love and a lot of underground Indie from the 80’s especially a lot of the Glasgow bands like The Close Lobsters, The Vaselines (etc) and others like The Church, House of Love and Robyn Hitchcock!

 Lucky enough with my job to know some of these guys like The Stranglers, Wreckless Eric, Bruce Foxton etc….

As I said earlier, musically I can hear that range of styles/influences across the albums & just from the initial listen to “The Eve of Oban” I can see some obvious targets in your lyrics – corporate suits, political /government themes. What else inspires the themes of your lyrics?

Of late the political is as you say an easy target so I really write exactly what I think.

 I do try and add in some English whimsy and create some kind of mood with the music and lyrics. Eve of Oban was a stripped down lo-fi affair that could have been done in mono for a bit of fun!

I think running the business gets you thinking with regards to politics etc…. you try and see it from both sides but is quite difficult sometimes!

You’ve released 4 albums to date. The Tall English Sun (2014), Speedboat on a Magic Sea (2015) & The Eve of Oban (2016) and the latest Viscount Spoon Plays Sounds from the Cheeky Warm (2017). What is next on the horizon for you?

Had a bit of a hiatus this year (2017) as I feel like I have gone all out over the last 5 years so have just tried to empty my head and get back into it in 2018.

 Still trying to work out the next vibe for the next album. I have a lot of older songs knocking around but I hate going back to them. Would rather write new material if possible…….

I believe you pretty much play all the instruments on the albums – any thoughts of getting a band together and taking the songs out on the road?

Would love to do that at some stage I think it would only happen if the right group of people came together naturally. They would have to be into the music etc…

Doing the music alone is a double edged sword, you can do as you please but then there’s nobody to bounce ideas off and keep the quality control at the highest level.

 There you go, if the right group of people are out there…

Who are you listening to personally at the moment? Any recommendations?

Sad to say I’m still listening to all my old favourites although I am having a bit of a completist moment with Van Morrison right now…. “Astral Weeks” such a classic!

Also most of my fave artists are on the website! (Read about Jason’s favourite artists on his website http://www.jasonhow.com/)

Not sad at all, I often listen to my “old favourites”. Don’t get me on completist. I’m no-where near as bad now but back in the 80’s when the record companies released a 7”, 12”, 2 CD singles and maybe even a cassette single, all with different b-sides, mugs like me had to buy them all.

Thanks to Jason for taking the time out of a busy schedule to answer the questions.

Reviews

As I alluded to earlier, Jason’s albums are a joy to listen to and bring a smile to my face when listening in the car on some miserable drives to and from work.

The Tall English Sun

The sunny psychedelic influences of 60’s West Coast US bands is most apparent on debut “The Tall English Sun” (also featuring Keith More and Martin Johnson) with beautiful harmonies, tambourines and song titles like “Summer in Eden”,  “April Rained Forever” & Viaducts of Your Dreams” reflecting this too.

The whimsy Jason mentioned earlier is also apparent and there is a certain eccentricity to many of the songs and lyrics across all the albums adding to the appeal.

“Speedboat on a Magic Sea” continues in a similar vein where “The Tall English Sun” left off, complementing its harmonious psychedelic influences with three minute melodic power pop/punk – such as “Sunset in Deutsche Town” with the political comment starting to come to the fore in some tracks.

Speedboat on a Magic Sea

Songs like “Run like Falling Stars” are stand-outs with a rich acoustic intro building into a beautiful song with warm fuzzy melodious guitars and elongated outro.

Many of Jason’s songs across his output hark back to days gone by. “Looking Glass of Time” is, unsurprisingly based on the title, one of those, referencing 1969 and lunar moon landings, and spending days riding bikes and climbing trees.

Can Jason predict the future? “If I Could be President” could have been written by Trump, but with a great deal more intelligence and flair. With lyrics like “everybody’s gonna know who I am, everybody’s gonna hate what I am”, “I’d change the rules of the game” and “I’d gas all the scum, you’d be on the run” and a post punk feel, like a cross between Teardrop Explodes and Wire with its keyboards and angular sound.

 Eve of Oban

Album three, “The Eve of Oban” has a melodic late 70’s punk feel a la Buzzcocks on tracks like album opener “Tricked by the Blink of an Eye” (a brilliant opening to the album with its catchy refrain) and “Decoy”.

The political and corporate lyrical influences add an edge to some songs – “F**k the Government”, “Can You Feel the Benefit” and “C**ts in Suits”- while still maintaining the stirring feel of the music and injecting a bit of humour to lighten the mood.

As I indicated, one of the key proponents of power pop/pop punk in recent years has been “Duncan Reid and the Big Heads” mastering their sound over 3 albums to date. Jason’s intonation from time to time is similar to that of Duncan and this adds to the comparison. The exuberant sound of both bands is a pleasure to listen to.

Viscount Spoon Plays the Sounds of the Cheeky Warm

“Viscount Spoon Plays Sounds from the Cheeky Warm” is his latest album and sees a return to the more psychedelic and eccentric element of his repertoire, maintaining the power pop/pop punk leanings. Jason is in reflective mood on this album with the subjects for many of the songs harking back to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

“Records from the Past” makes me want to do exactly what he says in the song “I just want to spend my Sunday afternoons, listening to records from the past”. It sounds like a perfect Sunday. Throughout the song there are references to a variety of the bands Jason has liked over the years from 60’s (Velvet Underground), to the 80s (The Smiths via House of Love). While slow burner “Badge Boy” builds into a melodic 60’s treat to the eardrums.

On “I Used to Think I was Mr Benn” Jason evokes memories of childhood and the aforementioned cartoon character. Anyone who reflects back now on Mr Benn will recognise the certain psychedelic element to the cartoon. Straight-laced Mr Benn in suit and bowler hat visiting a shop where “as if by magic the shopkeeper appeared” and provided him with an outfit and a magic door taking him on a variety of adventures related to said costume. Remarkable cartoon and striking song.

Linking back to 1985 again as he did on “Records from the Past”, Jason is in contemplative mood again on, funnily enough, the brooding melancholic acoustic number that is “Back in 1985” when “all of the colours were alive”. The iconic “girl with the elegant curls” gets her own tribute on “Oh! Diana Dors” summarising her sometimes tragic rollercoaster life in four minutes of brilliance.

Final track on the album is a strangely (based on its subject matter) uplifting song “3 Day Week” about the winter of discontent. The song has a jangly guitar intro which wouldn’t have sounded out of place in the indie discos I used to attend back in the 80’s.

All told, four albums of pure pop genius. I look forward to album number 5 Mr How.

Explore for Yourself

…. All about my music! http://www.jasonhow.com/

New post Brexit demo here….

https://soundcloud.com/jason-how/voice-of-democracy15

Albums available on iTunes.

https://itun.es/gb/Pmb1W

“Viscount Spoon…” is available on CD and also up on Reverbnation.

https://www.reverbnation.com/jasonhow/album/171575-viscount-spoon-plays-sounds-from

 

The Red Eyes – Man and Boy – Alan Bishop

Alan Bishop – The Red Eyes

2017 was a big year for The Red Eyes. They released their 4th album – the masterpiece that is “Man and Boy” and marked their 20th anniversary with a tremendous gig in Audio playing 2 sets – one with original 90’s line up and their headline “Man and Boy” set. The Red Eyes were joined on the night backed up by Fudgie McFadden’s “Strung Out Nights” and Heavy Drapes, who are due to release their debut album in 2018.

Man and Boy launch gig
Man and Boy launch gig

I caught up with Alan Bishop to find out a bit more about his thoughts and experiences of the last 20 years.

20 Years going strong

You celebrated 20 years as a band last year, what have been your highs and lows over that period?

Hi Neil, The first thing is I’m amazed the band is still going after 20 years.

Highs include recording all 4 albums and 2 EP’s. I enjoy the whole recording process and hopefully we’ll do more in the future.

All the great support slots we’ve had with loads of my favourite bands….SLF (9 times – 4 times at Barrowland), Theatre of Hate & Spear of Destiny, UK Subs, 999, Undertones, The Alarm, Goldblade, Sham 69 and loads more.

Playing the Wasted, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy and Rebellion Festivals plus loads of great all-dayers!

Lows include losing band members and struggling to replace them. The last couple of years have been particularly frustrating as hardly played any full band gigs.

Playing at poorly attended gigs particularly if you’ve travelled hundreds of miles can be a bit soul-destroying at times even tho’ the odd gig like these can turn out great.

Tell me about the current Red Eyes line-up.

The Red Eyes 2018 line-up is myself Alan (Vocals / Guitar)…Alex (Lead Guitar / B. Vox)…Brad (Bass)….Jan (Drums).

Changes

What changes have you seen over the last 20 years, both from the way music is consumed, but also in the live music circuit (specifically in Scotland/West of Scotland).

What do you make of these changes – positive and negative?

Obviously the whole download culture. I’m just old skool and prefer to have a product in my hand….i.e. vinyl or CD.

The internet is great for advertising gigs now…how the hell we knew what gigs were on pre-internet I’ll never know lol…must have been the music papers only. I actually feel there is more places to play in Glasgow now than before. In the 90’s we struggled to get gigs in Glasgow. We used to book The Halt Bar a lot and put our own gigs on in there (the UK Subs turned up at one of our gigs…was my 31st birthday and played a set in The Halt….great night….Charlie Harper bought me a chocolate cake with candles).

Still no money for bands playing original material so nothing changed there.

I’m in exactly the same place regarding physical product, give my some lovely vinyl anyday or at least a CD. And UK Subs turning up at a gig and playing a set, brilliant. Another highlight I’m sure.

Red Eye Studios

You run/own Red Eye Studios in Clydebank, you must have some idea of the local music scene from the use of the studios. What can you tell us about up and coming acts? Tell us more about the studios and how any budding bands/singers can get in touch to book?

Yeah I’ve now ran and owned Red Eye Studios in Clydebank for nearly 7 years. We have 3 great rehearsal rooms and recording facilities.

The last Red Eyes EP and the album “Man & Boy” were recorded at Red Eye (I get a discount lol).

Studio is open 7 days a week ’til midnight every day. Takes up a lot of my time as I usually work 6 days with only the one day off!!!

There’s been a bit of a change in the bands coming into the studio over the last few years. Less original bands and more Cover / Tribute bands. Not complaining about that, just an observation. Hopefully a few younger bands will start coming in again.

In the past we had a few bands that went on to play T in the Park (Blindfolds & Waiting For Go) but unfortunately they have both split. The rock band Mason Hill are doing really well at the moment and Joe Bone & The Dark Vibes (have always liked what Joe does since first seeing him in We Are Jawbone then The Coffins and now The Dark Vibes). The Ronains are doing great as well.

For anyone looking for rehearsals or recording call us on 0141 951 1554 or message our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/redeyestudios.clydebank/ Thanks for the opportunity for a wee plug Neil.

From the Outside in cover
From the Outside in cover

You’ve released four albums to date, personally I think you have grown with each album. I didn’t think you could surpass “From the Outside In” with tracks like “This is My Life”, but Man and Boy is a masterpiece both musically and lyrically.

Thanks for that. I think every album has been an improvement on the last one. Not just the production but the songwriting and playing as well. I spend more time on lyrics these days and really pleased with Man & Boy. All the reviews have been great so far.

Hateful

I know you are good friends with fellow punks Hateful, with Alex King playing with The Red Eyes on and off. Hateful released a phenomenal album last year too in “Noize from the Streets”, how do you see the future of punk in Scotland?

Hateful - Noize From The Streets
Hateful – Noize From The Streets

In my opinion Hateful are one of the best UK punk bands. How they’re not Rebellion regulars is a mystery. Their albums and live performances are always great. Kev Mac from Hateful played drums on Man & Boy and Alex King has been in The Red Eyes on and off for 10 years (on at the moment).

Like most people I’m enjoying Heavy Drapes and looking forward to their album as the EP is superb. They were our special guests at our 20th Anniversary / Album Launch.

Reaction, The Zips and Fire Exit always great! My mate Alan Kyle’s band Blacklist are one to watch as they’re barely a year old but have an EP already (Alan was the original guitarist in The Red Eyes).

New bands forming all the time so things seem quite healthy. I don’t get to many gigs now due to working at the studio.

Man and Boy

I know most bands will say their current album is their best/favourite, is this the same for you? What are your favourite tracks from Man and Boy and tell me a bit about the story behind the songs?

Yeah I do think Man & Boy is the best thing we’ve done but I still like the other albums. I’d like to get the first 2 albums mastered properly which would make a huge difference to how they sound. That’s the only disappointing thing about the early albums…the sound!

I like all the songs but probably the title track “Man & Boy”, “Nowhere Boy” and “The Man Who Thinks He’s God” are my favourites.

The title track is about my Dad who unfortunately passed away when I was 18 (he was only 43) so just about how much he has missed out on things particularly in my life. “Nowhere Boy” is really about coming to terms with reaching 50…dunno why…mid life crisis probably lol.

The song “No More Tears For Daddy” at the end of the album probably throws a few people and I think it was a brave move to put it on the album. I’m glad we did as everything has been positive about that particular song. I’ve played it for years in my solo acoustic set and wasn’t sure if it would “fit” on a Red Eyes album. Alex King did a great job with the string arrangement. The song was about British troops who’d died in Afghanistan being paraded in their coffins in the village of Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire so family members and the public could pay their respects. You would see young children there who’d just lost their Fathers and it seems such a waste of life, as all war is. They’ve now stopped the parades, think the last one was 2011.

The Red Eyes in 2018

What is next for The Red Eyes? I know you already have some gigs lined up for 2018 – a Glasgow pre-Damned show in Audio and also a great line up towards the end of the year in Manchester including UK Subs and Loaded 44.

Next Gigs….

Sunday 28th January – Damned pre-show in Audio, Glasgow in the afternoon – Free Entry!

Saturday 24th February – Shugfest 2 at Audio, Glasgow.

Friday 13th April – McChuills – gig for my 50th with support tbc.

Got a gig at the Dreadnought in Bathgate – 2 dayer 28th / 29th September – day we play tbc.

Sunday 2nd December – Star & Garter with UK Subs, Loaded 44 & Benefit State

Man and Boy review
The Red Eyes Man and Boy album cover
Man and Boy cover

The Red Eyes masterpiece. An album packed full of massive tunes and thought-provoking lyrics. Alan Bishop is one of Scotland’s strongest songwriters and the album demonstrates all that is good about the punk/alternative music scene in Scotland.

Previous album “From the Outside In” was in itself an incredible work including what was my favourite Red Eyes tune to date, “This is My Life”, with Man and Boy, Alan and co. have surpassed themselves.

The Red Eyes have a classic late 70’s punk guitar sound that is distinctly theirs and has been honed over their 4 albums. This album a splendid assortment of songs relating to relationships and all aspects of the human condition. Including the family dynamics of the aforementioned “Man and Boy” and “No More Tears for Daddy” two of the strongest tracks which bookend the album. Both songs have a similar, but different, theme and are also musically very different.

“Man and Boy” is one of the most personal songs on the album (see Alan’s interview), along with “Nowhere Boy”, with a chorus that is both emotive and musically stirring.

“Face the Truth” touches on father/son relations again, this time mentioning the passing down of behaviours from father to son. The song tackles the age-old problem about religious bigotry, especially linked to football in the West of Scotland, and asks why this is still a problem in the 21st Century as no-one seems to want to tackle it head on.

The album mixes songs with the full on harmonious guitar, bass and drums assault of the eardrums you may associate with late 70’s punk including shades of SLF and the Buzzcocks, with more melancholic numbers bringing acoustic guitars in the mix. “You Fade Away” starts with a delicate acoustic intro which is maintained throughout the song which then builds up layers around the melody creating a strongly touching song. Similarly more human relations are tackled in “Friday Girl” with a melancholic acoustic intro that soon bursts to life

https://theredeyes.bandcamp.com/track/the-man-who-thinks-hes-god

Like many Red Eyes songs of old, there are a heap of songs with great arrangements, lyrics and refrains. “The Man Who Thinks He’s God” is no different and has you singing along to the chorus and the outro nod to Joy Division. Similarly the 2 minute fast paced, in your face “Regrets” starts by paraphrasing “My Way” but changes the age-old line to too MANY to mention and with the chant of all those wasted days, wasted years, wasted nights and wasted tears it is a full pelt statement of remorse for the all that squandered time.

https://theredeyes.bandcamp.com/track/no-more-tears-for-daddy

Tear-jerking album closer “No More Tears for Daddy” complete with keyboard and strings is different from the rest of the album but no less potent for that. In fact, the song is potentially more potent because of the lack of guitars and possibly the most compelling song on the album. Alan’s voice is commanding and filled with anguish. When the song ends with sombre voices singing the refrain which segues into the Last Post, the full weight of the song is cemented.

An outstanding collection of songs covering all of the vagaries of life.

The Red Eyes – Man and Boy is available now from bandcamp as are previous albums and the “You Sold Yourself E.P.”

The band is also on Facebook

Red or Dead – Trotsky Waltz – New Album

Red or Dead

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Red or Dead are:

Rob Murray – Guitar, Mandolin and Vocals.
Emma Sunerton-Burl – Cajon mandolin and Backing Vocals.
Gala Elvira – Vocals.
Dave Sunerton-Burl – Bass, Guitars, Backing Vocals.

The band met protesting outside a UKIP conference mid 2015. They ended up playing an anti-UKIP song Rob had written and made the first item on the BBC 6 O’Clock News that night.

Since then they have had some high profile support slots. Including Hugh Cornwell, Mike Peters, Ferocious Dog and the Christians (Twice).

Musically their heroes and inspirations are The Clash, The Stranglers, X Ray Spex, The Pistols, Iggy and so on.

The new album is a passionate comment on society from a socialist viewpoint.

Rob: “I personally feel that this is the right time to stand up and speak on things we believe in”

Being a lover of songs and lyrics that mean something, having to listen to mainstream radio every day at work, I couldn’t agree more with Robs other point:

“Mainstream music is full of young boys with acoustic guitar singing twee songs about some girl leaving them or some such shite”

Rob goes on:

“Music needs to be raw and angry again and there is definitely a ground swell in live music at a grass roots level.”

Again, having seen the top selling albums and tracks of 2017 , and a follower of the live music scene in Glasgow, I also concur with that sentiment.

What’s next for Red or Dead?

“We hope to build on some great live shows with a few festival appearances and a couple of great supports and we will be playing some live shows to promote the CD from late January.

Trotsky Waltz

Unsurprisingly, given the name of the band, the album and how they came together, the album is a socialist commentary on today’s society.

The songs are robust and thought-provoking acoustic folk-punk. With lead vocals shared by Rob and Gala with sweet female backing vocals and harmonies. Take the sentiments and ideals of Billy Bragg, the passion of Joe Strummer and a sound somewhere between the Levellers, Roughneck Riot and The Tansads and you have Red or Dead.

Rob and Gala both have strong voices with the female lead vocals on “No-one is Innocent” kicking in with a fair impression Poly-Styrene. A powerful driving track reminding us that we are all part of the problem. “No-one is innocent, no-one is pure, we all poison the land while we look for the cure”

The call to action for today’s youth that is “Take a Stand” is aurally reminiscent of The Levellers “Another Man’s Cause”

Strummer and Burnel

With the poignant and memorable “Strummer and Burnel”, the band make reference to their late 70’s punk heroes. Hankering back to the days when “the world was going to change, we were going to blow them all away” and lamenting the fact that no-one protests or makes a stand as they did before. While the demise of British industry is lamented in “Steeltown”. With both Tory and Labour governments lambasted for the downfall.

The energetic “A New Day” is a massive two fingered salute to those in charge of the country. A prayer for a new day coming to ring in the change. Ending with the words I’m sure many would like to say…

On the other side of the Atlantic, the Trump administration is a gift that keeps on giving for bands writing politically influenced music. Red or Dead are no different in this respect with a song cataloguing everything that is wrong with the most powerful country/man in the world with “In America”

Overall, the album is an eminently gratifying listen. Importantly it has something to say. It is an outstanding antidote to the vacuous acts that make up the majority of mainstream radio playlists and the “charts” these days. Oh dear, I sound like my Dad.

Anyway, want to find out more and get hold of the album?

Red or Dead are on Facebook, and have a website.

Their album is available to purchase from bandcamp.

Razur Cuts

Razur Cuts

 

Razur Cuts IV
Razur Cuts IV

Compiled and produced by Derek S, Razur Cuts is for fans of stories, poetry and music and caters for those who yearn for the days of self-published fanzines. Get your hands on Razur Cuts IV before it sells out.

With its glossy cover it is a bit more high-tech than the old photocopied fanzines of old but the principle is still there. And it’s something tangible for those who still prefer a physical magazine or book.

The magazine features contributions from a variety of people, both new or more established, showcasing their short stories, poetry, interviews and articles.

Musically, past issues have included features on bands such as The Media Whores, Shatterhand and the Bucky Rage amongst others.

Razur Cuts IV

The latest issue (Razur Cuts IV) features the usual diverse mix of contributions from a variety of writers and musically an interview with Scottish music legend Martin Metcalfe (of Goodbye Mr McKenzie, Angelfish, The Filthy Tongues (with and without Isa) and The Fornicators).

The issue of poor mental health is also tackled in an interesting article by Danny Coyle.

To get your hands on a copy, get it through PayPal to deeko1963@googlemail.com – a bargain at £4.

If you are interested in having one of your poems, stories or features printed in a future publication contact razurcuts@gmail.com.

Find Razur Cuts on social media on Facebook and Twitter as @razurcutsmag.