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.

thegingerquiff – 2017 – Looking Back

Looking back on 2017

It is that time of year when everyone reflects on their “best of” lists for the past year. Why should I be any different? I may as well join in.

I’m not going to write lists as such, or limit myself to a top 5/10 or whatever. I’ll just go with the flow and shout out some of my personal favourites of the year…

I only started thegingerquiff blog in August and have enjoyed many albums, singles and gigs since then that have featured on my blog, but there were plenty from earlier in the year though too.

So, here goes in no particular order (apart from no. 1)

Dead Hope
Dead Hope – Songs from the Second Floor
Album of the year – Dead Hope – Songs from the Second Floor

Debut album of the year for me and one of my most listened to of the year was by the magnificent Dead Hope. Their album “Songs from the Second Floor” is packed full of nihilistic post-punk scorchers delivered with passion and fervour. I reviewed the album and launch night gig earlier in the year. They were also the last gig of 2017 I attended, at Nice ‘n’ Sleazy in Glasgow on the 29th December. In fact that gig consolidated for me that their album wasn’t just debut album of the year but for me it is my ALBUM OF THE YEAR. The gig was a joyous occasion where a packed Sleazys greeted every song with enthusiasm. Despite my description of the band as nihilistic post-punk, the music is uplifting and gives great joy. The solid rhythm section on Andy and Keith on bass and drums respectively are complemented by the array of magnificent noise created by Scott on guitar with his selection of effects pedals.

And the Rest

Talking of album launch gigs, another album highlight of the year was The Red Eyes who launched their latest and most accomplished album “Man and Boy” in Audio. I thought they had reached their peak with “From the Outside In” with tracks like “This is My Life”. However, “Man and Boy” exceeded all expectations with tunes aplenty and provoking and passionate lyrics. The band were celebrating their 20th anniversary and played 2 sets in Audio – the first featuring the original line up from back in 1997 and a headline set from “Man and Boy” featuring Alex King from Hateful in the line-up. As mentioned, the album has some of the best song-writing I’ve heard in a while with thoughtful subject matter and accomplished musicianship. The support on the night came from Strung-Out Nights, who released 2 fantastic EPs this year and also the omnipresent Heavy Drapes. I may have seen them more than once this year…

https://theredeyes.bandcamp.com/track/its-over-before-it-even-began

Whilst on the subject of Hateful, I was late in coming to the party in buying “Noize from the Streets” but it is a fantastic album packed full of brilliant tunes and song-writing. It has everything from sub 2 minute punk songs, intro and outro instrumentals that had me reaching for & listening to the Skids “Monkey McGuire Meets Specky Potter behind the Lochore Institute” and epics tracks with strings and the works. I feel both this album and “Man and Boy” deserve a feature of their own on my blog at some point soon. Watch this space.

Tarbeach Showcase – Kiss This

Back to Heavy Drapes who also played as part of a Tarbeach Records Scottish showcase gig featuring label-mates, ReAction and The Zips. The gig was a triumph with people travelling far and wide to catch the 3 bands. ReAction threw in a handful of new songs which went down a treat and have whet the appetite for forthcoming sophomore album. Heavy Drapes introduced new bassist Paul Research in a temporary with in the band – with the recent good news that Jerry Dangerous has now returned to the fold to take up bass duties again. Paul has recently released debut single with new band Voicex – also featuring Richie from Heavy Drapes. The Zips played tracks from their extensive back catalogue including early single “Don’t Get Pushed Around”. The great news is that all 3 bands have EPs/albums due to drop in 2018.

Broadcast was also home to “Back in the Garage” earlier in the year. The gig had a stellar line-up including The Media Whores, ReAction & The Zips with a rare Scottish headline appearance by External Menace. Unfortunately I was …ahem… tired and emotional by this point and missed their set…

Back to debut albums, I also thoroughly enjoyed Delinquents debut “About Last Night” a fairly eclectic collection of pop-punk tracks that brought a smile to my face. You’re sure to catch them gigging around the UK in 2018. See my review of the album here.

https://delinquentsdundee.bandcamp.com/track/never-gonna-fit-in

Savage Cut released one of the songs of the year in “Andy from Accounts” featuring Leyla Josephine on vocals and followed it later in the year with a tremendous album of collaborations with a variety of vocalists. “A Ricochet off the Moon” doesn’t disappoint and due to the nature of the collaborations provides a great mix and variety of songs.

Another album that brings a smile to my face on every listen is the latest, and in my opinion one of his best, release from Daniel Wylie’s Cosmic Rough Riders. “Scenery for Dreamers” is an exquisite album of sublime melodies, memorable lyrics & hooks and lush guitar riffs. The album sees Daniel team up with some quality musicians well known in the Scottish music scene in Neil Sturgeon, Johnny Smillie, Jim McCulloch to name a few and the result is exceptional.

Gig of the year – Duncan Reid and the Big Heads

Duncan Reid and the Big Heads continued to prove a treat to the ear-drums with third album “Bombs Away”. The melodic and sophisticated power pop/punk played by the band is second to none and builds on the quality of their previous releases. I had the pleasure of seeing the band live in Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy with 3 Minute Heroes and Heavy Drapes. Like the last gig they played in the city (in Audio with support from the magnificent Media Whores and omnipresent Heavy Drapes) this was probably my GIG OF THE YEAR.

An honourable mention to The Media Whores here. Although “Dangerous Minds” was released in 2015 it was long-listed for this year’s Mercury Music award. To me, this is one of the most important albums of the last few years with its topical subject matters from police and political corruption to mental health and eating disorders, tackled in an eminently listenable way. The band have played some noteworthy gigs securing prime support slots along the way. See my feature on the band here.

LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Talking of Audio, Martin Metcalfe & the Fornicators recorded an acoustic live album in the venue. Unfortunately I missed the gig but the fruits of the evening’s labours have recently been released in the form of 10 track live album and it is my LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR. Tracks feature from throughout his career, from Goodbye Mr MacKenzie classics like Candlestick Park through to The Holy Brothers from last year’s brilliant Filthy Tongues album “Jacob’s Ladder”. The Filthy Tongues also played a storming support set to The Skids in the O2 ABC in Glasgow. A treat for anyone who turned up early. Which to be fair was a large chunk, the draw of the Filthy Tongues was apparent. The Skids also treated us to a fantastic show, proving that the old punks can still cut it. I also wasn’t disappointed as Jobson put on a great display of Dad-dancing as usual.

“Damage and Joy” by The Jesus and Mary Chain was a welcome album of new material for one of my favourite bands and they played a magnificent gig in the O2 ABC to support the album. Unfortunately that gig also goes down in my memory was the one at which I experienced the biggest number of knobs. I’ve still to publish a blog on gig etiquette if there is such a thing… That aside, some of the new songs like “Always Sad” and “War on Peace” stand side by side with the Mary Chain classics of old.

Two throwbacks to the 90’s saw releases that were a complete “pleasure” to listen to. Gun released their best album in years in “Favourite Pleasures” and perennial touring band, Shed Seven’s first album of new material since 2001 was exactly as described in the title an “Instant Pleasure(s)”.

The Fall have gone through an almost endless list of band members through the years. Some of the ex-members led by Brix Smith (ex in more ways than one for Brix), Brix and the Extricated released one of the albums of the year in “Part II”. With a classic indie-rock sound the album was for me a welcome return to the music scene from Brix whose previous incarnation, the more Voice of the Beehive sounding Adult Net, I also thoroughly enjoyed.

Legendary Kilmarnock goths Southern Approach finally got round to releasing their debut album “Restitution”. An accomplished album of massive soundscapes and powerful vocals from Davie, with beautiful harmonies provided by Shirley. Originally called Legion after the Theatre of Hate song of the same name, 2017 also saw them supporting said band at a cracking gig from both bands in the Bungalow, Paisley. Watch out for more rare gigs from the band in 2018. Also hoping for action from Outstandifold and the Wettygrippers in 2018 (One of the other projects including David and Barry from Southern Approach)

I enjoyed some US punk/ska-punk too this year in the form of Rancid’s new LP “Troublemaker” which was released without much fanfare. Being a Rancid fan it is no surprise that I enjoyed the album. I think I have only missed one Rancid gig in Glasgow, so I was also looking forward to seeing the band live on Glasgow Green in a line-up that included Green Day, The Skids and Slaves. Unfortunately due to “the weather” the gig was cancelled at the last minute. The less said about that the better.

Slaves second album was a major disappointment, but to make up for it Idles similar style in their debut “Brutalism” made up for it in waves.

I’ve also recently been introduced to Jason How and have been listening to his 4 albums with relish. More to follow on the blog…

Re-releases/Compilations

There were a few re-releases/compilations of note this year too.

“Reissue, repackage, repackage, re-evaluate the songs”. The Smiths took their own advice with a CD and LP box set of The Queen is Dead, including alternative takes and live concert. In my opinion, it is still one of the best albums ever released. It’s a pity Moz is a bit of a tosser these days…

The Fall helped me keep up with their extensive back catalogue by releasing an extensive box set of all of their single releases and B-Sides. Until you see them laid out in front of you, you can easily forget how many memorable songs and hits the band have had in their history. I didn’t get to see the band live this year but it was a shame to see the way Mark E Smith is looking just now. Get well soon.

The multi-talented Alex Lusty (Happy Martyr, Rats from a Sinking Ship) released a compilation songs from his hip-hop/rap incarnation Frigid Vinegar. Titled “Lou Ferringo” the album is lyrically eccentric, think of a hip-hop Half-Man Half-Biscuit and you’ll get the idea. I shudder to think what goes on in his head! Look out for a longer feature on Alex and his various projects as Rats go on tour again in 2018.

Also worth your time is The Membranes 5 CD box set “Everyone’s Going Triple Bad Acid, Yeah!”. It is a completist’s dream as it compiles all their releases and documents the bands journey from 1980 to 1995. The band continue to record and tour with more recent album “Dark Matter/Dark Energy” becoming their most successful. I look forward to future planned dates as I missed their December Glasgow gig.

Gary Crowley’s Punk and New Wave compilation is a superb listen. It takes a different direction than many other punk/new wave compilations which churn out the same tracks over and over again. This 3 CD box set features many lesser known acts interspersed with a few bona fide classics – among them Altered Images best song, the Siouxise and the Banshees-esque “Dead Pop Stars”, 999’s “Emergency” & The Boys “First Time”. The compilation also features Glasgow punk legends and one of the hardest gigging bands in Glasgow, The Zips with “Take Me Down”.

Tarbeach Records continued to release some gems this year, releases by GIFTSHOP, Monkey Don’t Care and The Pepper Kings to a stripped back acoustic “19 Forevva” by Jonzip (of The Zips) and the magnificent “Old School Rules” EP from ReAction. The EP shows all the sides of the band, from the old school(!) punk of “Out of My Head”, the sophisticated 2 part “Street Fight” and the dub of “Crystallised Radio” (remixed from the album Accelerator) to their version of the External Menace classic “Someday”. It was a striking appetiser for the forthcoming second album (did I mention that already?).

Tarbeach also released a brilliant compilation CD (“No Animals Were Harmed”) to raise money for Sonny Vincent’s family (more about this here), but is also a great introduction to various bands on the labels roster (the only place you can currently get Heavy Drapes “Nightrippin’”) and others mentioned here and on my blog previously – such as Thirteen, Hateful, Texas Mod Crushers and so on.

And to the singles of the year

Some of the other singles/EPs I’ve been listening to time and time again this year have included what can only be described as feel good song of the year “Ehm Feelin’ Teckle” by Cundeez. From the opening cymbals all the way to the end I defy you not to smile. You’ll want to jump up and skank.

Single of the year – GIFTSHOP

Back to Tarbeach and GIFTSHOP who released my single of the year, a double A sided blue vinyl single featuring two different but equally stunning tracks. The in your face 2 fingers romp that is “Despicable” and the more restrained almost 50’s rockabilly crooner “Dontcha”.

An enormous slab of industrial strength post-punk came on the form of Drunk Gods double A single “Found the Lord and Lost Ma soul”/“Pet Hate” with its Killing Joke-esque sound and Ewan’s unique vocals.

As well as publishing his debut novel “A Rainbow in the Basement” Ian Donaldson has previewed his solo album due to hit the shelves in February with top track “Ticker Tape Parade”. I’m looking forward to the album and live launch dates.

Albums of the Year

Dead Hope – Songs from the Second Floor
Duncan Reid and the Big Heads – Bombs Away
Daniel Wylies Cosmic Rough Riders – Scenery for Dreamers
Delinquents – About Last Night
Jesus and Mary Chain – Damage and Joy
Crimedesk – Louder…..Faster
Red Eyes – Man and Boy
Hateful – Noize from the Streets
Shed Seven – Instant Pleasures
Gun – Favourite Pleasures
Martin Metcalfe and the Fornicators – Live
Brix and the Extricated – Part II
Savage Cut – A Ricochet off the Moon
Southern Approach – Restitution
Rancid – Troublemaker

Singles/EPs of the year

GIFTSHOP – Despicable/Dontcha
Cundeez – Ehm Feelin’ Teckle
Reaction – Old School Rules EP
Drunk Gods – Found the Lord & Lost Ma Soul/Pet Hate
Jonzip/The Zips – 19 Forevva/Barbara Wire
Strung Out Nights EPs
Ian Donaldson – Ticker Tape Parade
Duncan Reid & the Big Heads – Bombs Away/C’mon Josephine

2018

And so to 2018, and loads to excite. The Skids “Burning Cities” is due in January, albums and EPs are due from Heavy Drapes, ReAction, The Zips and Ian Donaldson. There have already been too many gig announcements to mention, filling the calendar and making it hard to choose.

An intriguing announcement is due from Brian Setzer/The Stray Cats on 2nd January – do I look forward to a Glasgow re-union gig to make up for the cancelled farewell gig? Fingers crossed.

A massive thanks to all those who have read, supported and contributed to my blog in 2017, feel free to share far and wide.

All the best for 2018.

 

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down tour – Glasgow O2 Academy – 5th December 2017

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
MARILYN MANSON – Heaven Upside Down

Manson recently released his 10th studio album “Heaven Upside Down” signalling a return to form after a few lack-lustre affairs. He injured himself on-stage in New York at the beginning of October when an oversize gun which formed part of the stage-set fell on him. Add the sacking of long-term band-mate  Twiggy Ramirez at the end of October due to rape allegations from his ex-girlfriend, this was building up to be an interesting night in the company of Brian Warner.

And so it proved.

A little bit broken

After the elongated intro-music of The Cure’s “Killing an Arab, followed by The Door’s “The End”, the curtain dropped. The band launch into a blistering “Revelation #12” and revealed Manson sporting a cast on his right leg and in a customised throne-like electric wheelchair.

He remained in said chair for “This is the New Shit” after announcing that he may be “a little bit broken but you won’t break me”. He also thanked us as he’s “got a little bit of Scottish in me”.

This prompted him to a shout a mildly irritating “Glasgow” (rhyming it with cow) for the first time of what seemed like several thousand throughout the course of the evening.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Orderlies

Throughout the set he had two personal roadies (or should I say “orderlies”) on stage appropriately dressed in scrubs. They were there to helped him around stage and changing costumes. For most of the set he was on a half crutch strapped to his knee. While this made him fairly immobile, it didn’t stop him putting on a great show with his voice better this time than on the last few occasions I’ve seen him.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Kill4Me

“Disposable Teens” and a fierce “mObscene” followed before another cut from the new album “Kill4Me” with added groupies stage front. I have to say the newer songs were among my favourites that he played in tonight’s set.

“Deep Six” and “Day Three of a Seven Day Binge”, two of the stronger tracks, and the only ones making an appearance, from previous album The Pale Emperor followed.

Classic Manson

Then we were treated to a trio of Manson classics. The band started to play “I Don’t Like the Drugs (but the Drugs Like Me)” before cutting and Manson stating “that was 100% a lie”. They then launched into one of his best songs “The Dope Show”.

This was followed by his bruising take on the Eurythmic’s classic “Sweet Dreams (are Made of This). This song signalled his injury in New York. In Glasgow he writhed on a hospital trolley like a patient in a secure unit, overseen by his 2 orderlies.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow

“Tourniquet” (“the last song I played the first time I played here”) was the 3rd classic Manson track in a row.

We Know Where You Fucking Live!

He then transferred back to a wheelchair with all the house lights right down and kicked off the next song with a torch/mic combo searching the audience. An appropriate intro to the menacing fury of the full-scale assault that is “We Know Where You Fucking Live”.

The bombastic theatre continued with him donning a big coat for the latest song in his ongoing God vs Satan debate with “SAY10” from Heaven Upside Down.

Then it was almost over with the wall of sound that is crowd pleaser “The Beautiful People” was the thrilling main set closer.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Encore

Of course things were not quite over and the encore saw him come back to an extravagant lit-up mic stand covered in white stars and play my particular favourite song from the new album, “Saturnalia”, followed by perhaps one of my favourite Manson compositions, a potent “Coma White”.

As he left the stage again, the lights stayed down there was uncertainty whether he would return. However the strains of his cover of Johnny Cash “Gods Gonna Cut You Down” split the air and it was show over.

For someone who was not fully fit it was a stunning show. And to someone who thought he was possibly past his sell-by date, I was impressed

GUN – Live – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut – 28th November 2017

Gun live at King Tuts
Gun Live – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness
GUN – Favourite Pleasures – Live

Arriving before the doors to the upstairs venue opened, there wasn’t room in the bar to swing a cat. Just getting to the bar was no mean feat. However, the doors opened and the crowd dispersed quickly with all vying for the perfect vantage points to see the gig.

Gun – King Tuts

Gun are no strangers to playing this club sized venue having played a “secret” gig as NUG in an earlier incarnation and more recently a series of dates playing “Taking on the World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger”.

Nordoff Robbins

Tonight’s gig served both as a fundraiser for the fantastic Nordoff Robbins charity, in conjunction with the Sunday Mails 7 Nights, and also as a warm up to the bands forthcoming weekend gigs in Ayr and Glasgow Barrowland.

The job of warming up the crowd went to Alan Nimmo of King King fame who played a stirring acoustic set prompting the crowd to sing along and help him out. That wouldn’t be the last we’d see of Alan this evening.

The anticipation for Gun was palpable in the venue and when they joined the party, they didn’t disappoint.

The main event

The band looked and sounded as if they were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd throughout the night. Dante had a huge grin most of the evening and there was much banter between him and Jools.

The 15 song set pulled heavily from latest album “Favourite Pleasures” and the new songs sound even better live than they do on the album.

The opening salvo of single “She Knows” and the stomping glam rock of “Here’s Where I Am” set the pace for the night. Following up with crowd pleaser, “Don’t Say its Over”, before going back to the latest long player for the funk rock of title track “Favourite Pleasures”, “Silent Lovers” and a live airing for heart-warming new single “The Boy Who Fooled the World” evoking memories of recording your favourite songs off the radio.

Gun Live
Gun Live – King Tuts – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness
Accomplished band

This latest settled line up of Gun are an accomplished group of musicians. Jools and Tommy Gentry complement each other on guitar, supported by a more than adept rhythm section of Andy Carr on bass and Paul keeping the beat at the back. Dante is an energetic and impressive frontman and has made the job his own over the years.

Triumphant rocker “Black Heart” followed before one of my personal favourites from the album, “Tragic Heroes”.

I said we hadn’t seen the last of Alan and he joined the band onstage for a rousing version of debut single “Better Days”. The band followed this up with some more bona fide Gun classics – “Inside Out” and “Steal Your Fire”.

Malcolm Young tribute
Gun with Peter Scallan
Gun with Peter Scallan play Highway to Hell – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness

The date of the gig coincided with the funeral of AC/DC legend Malcolm Young. As a tribute to him and also AC/DC being one of the reasons Jools first picked up the guitar, Dantes place was taken by Jools ex-Blind Allez band-mate from the early 80s, Peter Scallan (also of Samson fame) for a perfect version of “Highway to Hell”. Nice tribute.

Dante goes walkabout
Dante goes walkabout – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness

A powerful rendition of “Take Me Down” followed and took us into the final songs of the evening. Fan favourite “Shame on You”, complete with a Dante crowd walkabout, and a final fun blast of Beastie Boy’s party anthem “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” and the band were gone all too soon.

The punters heading to Ayr and the Barrowland later that week were in for a major treat!

 

 

I Am Derek – I Am Derek EP

I Am Derek

North Devon 2 piece “I Am Derek” release their new EP on Friday 17th November. This follows on from debut (demo) EP (“Zipped” ) recorded and released between Christmas and New Year last year having got together in December 2016. The Zipped EP was picked up by several radio stations across the UK and Canada.

New SONGS

In May 2017 they started writing and demoing new tracks which were again picked up by radio stations. These early demos received radio play worldwide on internet and FM radio stations. One of the tracks, “Boxes”, was voted no 4 in an Australian radio station’s weekly indie chart.

Radio play of the demos has snowballed and has led to radio interviews and several 15 minute features and endorsements without having an official release.

Until now….

I Am Derek EP

The self-titled EP has 4 tracks:

  • I Fell Short
  • Damnation
  • A Tale of Ordinary Madness
  • Boxes

The EP is a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend 15 minutes. Three of the tracks are bouncy/noisy indie rock with fuzzy distorted guitars and from first listen they had me nodding along as I listened on my iPod at work.

The aforementioned “Boxes” has some subtle layered vocals and harmonies with instrumental break building to the end.

“A Tale of Ordinary Madness” is a much slower more ballad like affair.

On EP opener “I Fell Short”, Neil’s vocal is delivered earnestly and at times is not dissimilar to Graham Coxon both musically and vocally.

 

This self-produced EP was recorded at a cost of no more than £100, with the money having been spent on a second-hand condenser mic and a rehearsal space for recording.

The EP is scheduled for release on 17th November 2017, and is available now to pre-order through iTunes.

Follow I Am Derek on Facebook & Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tarbeach Records – NYC Record Label

Tarbeach webTarbeach Records

Over the years, there have been a number of essential record labels with Scottish roots that have given rise to some unforgettable bands and their music.

The list is massive but everyone must be familiar with at least one of these:

  • Postcard (Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera)
  • Creation (Oasis, Ride, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain, House of Love)
  • Creeping Bent (Vic Godard, Secret Goldfish, Alan Vega)
  • Chemikal Underground (Mogwai, The Delgados, Malcolm Middleton, Arab Strap)

And that is just scraping the surface.

Scottish Roots

Add a new one to that list – Tarbeach Records. Although NYC based, the label has Scottish roots and a number of Scottish bands on their release list.

To date they have an impressive back catalogue (see below) of releases from bands old and new – with much more to come.

ReAction Accelerator album cover
ReAction – Accelerator

I first came across the label when I bought the peerless debut album “Accelerator” by ReAction, but have since bolstered my Tarbeach collection somewhat.

In addition to the ReAction album mentioned, from a Scottish perspective, Tarbeach has been supported releases from the much touted Heavy Drapes and Glasgow’s legendary The Zips/Jonzip. These 3 bands recently played a sold out showcase gig “Kiss This” in Broadcast, Glasgow.

Kiss This Poster
Kiss This – Broadcast, Glasgow

Walter Stewart

I asked Walt Stewart about the origins of Tarbeach…

The label started in 2016. I had recorded an album in 2007 called “Thee New York Tarbeach Recordings”. It was an Avant-garde set. I continued to record as Thee Electric Fits, or Thee E-Fits or Thee EFF-its.

The reason for the labels existence is because I felt like doing something, more concentrated, other than these abstracted projects.

So from humble beginnings, the label has worked with a range if bands to get their product out there. Walt expanded on the ethos of the label.

This label was intended to be, and has become a self-functioning collective. I hope it is about giving bands a home and appreciating their efforts by releasing their music indiscriminately. That their effort is so natural, is nothing to do with the label at all. That’s the ethos.

We don’t have a roster (of bands), whatever is coming out will be on the website. We don’t have any CAPITAL to advertise ‘n stuff, if it’s out, it’s on the website.

All the more reason for anyone reading this to spread the word far and wide. If you need any encouragement – just listen to some of the bands that have released their music on Tarbeach. (See the list of releases below). I guarantee you’ll find something you like and be impressed by.

What about the music Walt likes?

I can swing from Miles (Davis), to Buttholes (Surfers), to Sparks, To GBV (Guided by Voices), to The Fall, to Milkshakes, to Pixies, to Reaction, to Monkey Don’t Care.

But most of all, I listen to the local scene. My fave bands of late are Pepper Kings, and GIFTSHOP.

On that note, being NYC based, Tarbeach naturally supports a diverse range of New York/US based bands, including some of those mentioned by Walt.

Again, NY and Glasgow have reflected activities around showcasing the bands on the label. As well as the recent gig in Glasgow there have been showcase gigs in NY in the last few months including Monkey Don’t Care, Pepper Kings and The Bowery Boys along with Golden Axe Attack and the Rose Pedals in Gussy’s Bar, Queens in June.

Tarbeach showcase gig June 2017 NYC
Tarbeach Showcase NYC

A truly international label. Loved by many on both sides of the Atlantic. Tarbeach artists regularly feature on Danny Mac’s Testifying Time Radio Show. On the other side of the pond, Walt (along with ReAction’s Joe Whyte) recently appeared on DJ Rob Select’s show

The label has also been involved in supporting Sonny Vincent and family after the much publicised tragedy that befell them. This was through the release of a compilation CD (details below) of bands associated with Tarbeach with funds raised going to the support fund.

Upcoming releases

Tarbeach has a busy few months ahead with a number of releases scheduled. Look out for the following exciting releases coming in the next few months:

October 31st:

Halloween sees the release of the second EP from Monkey Don’t Care:

Monkey Don't Care
Monkey Don’t Care

Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace” CDEP – Tracks “She Goes Her Own Way”, “Slow But Sure Destruction”, “Lids of my Eyes” (Tar022)

3 great tracks of melodic alt-rock with distortion heavy vocals on a couple of the songs. “Slow but Sure Destruction” is a standout with its pleading opening bass over the sound of rain bringing a feeling of desolation but builds into a crashing epic song. “She Goes Her Own Way” brings the tempo back up again and is reminiscent of early REM.

November 17th:

(The) Meghan Taylor (fronted) quintet (GIFTSHOP) specializes in CBGB’s style punk mixed with 21st century pop hooks. GIFTSHOP’s dynamic live shows have earned them prime festival slots.

Giftshop band picture
GIFTSHOP

GIFTSHOP – “Despicable”/”Dontcha Know” – AA blue vinyl 7” (Tar020)

“Despicable” with its driving guitars and plaintive vocals is a straightforward fuck you to an asshole who thinks he does “the things that make him likeable”, but is really just ”despicable”. A fantastic 3 and a half minute romp. “Dontcha Know” shows a softer side to the band – more ballad like and with a real 50’s feel to it. Definitely not aimed at the subject of “Despicable”. Brilliant.

December 25th:

Pepper Kings – “Pepper Kings” debut CD album (Serial No TBC)

Pepper Kings band picture
Pepper Kings

I want to say the Pepper Kings are quirky. I can’t think of a better word to describe them, their sound is unconventional and often eccentric (Hoot Owl).

It would be difficult to pigeon-hole Pepper Kings. While not necessarily sounding like them – the band are off the wall in the way bands like XTC, Devo and Talking Heads are – doubtlessly a good thing.

The vocals at times reminiscent of varied vocalists like Jello Biafra, Calvin Johnson and Fred Schneider. Like Dead Kennedys, there is a serious side to the songs too, with “Casinos Mean Jobs” making a deliberate political statement.

You will categorically not be bored listening to Pepper Kings. I’ve only heard a selection of the songs from the album, but I look forward to hearing more.

(Date – TBC):

ReAction – “Out of My head” b/w “Crystallised Radio” 7” white vinyl (Tar013)

Reaction live picture
ReAction – Live

ReAction are a phenomenal band both live and on record. The energy from Big Carson is second to none and the song-writing and music is sophisticated and varied. The 2 tracks here showcase different sides to the band with “Out of My Head” being an in your face punk rock romp. ”Crystallised Radio” on the flip side is a dub remix of Accelerator album track “Crystal Radio” and follows on from Fireball in Dub (Warped Plan Remix) on the album.

I am excited for the future of Tarbeach and hope to see many more releases coming from the label continuing with the variety of music styles as they have to date.

Thanks to Walt and all the bands for the time and effort they put in to get their music out there to the masses.

I’ve linked to bands Facebook pages/websites throughout where possible.

Get the above releases and the back catalogue from the website – Tarbeach Music. You can find them on social media too – Facebook and Twitter

Back catalogue

Tar002Electric Fits – Opposable Thumbs (album) CD/DL

Tar003 – Electric Fits – Sonic Metamorphine b/w Being One (single) DL only

Tar005 – ReAction – Accelerator (album) – CD/DL

Tar007 – ReAction – Hey Patty Hearst/Heavy Drapes – Into the Blue AA split 7” red vinyl

Tar010/ Tar010CD – Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – amber vinyl/Heavy Drapes – Should I Suck EP – CD/DL

Tar011 – Double pack of Tar007 & Tar010

Tar012EP – ReAction – Old School Rules EP – CD/DL

Tar013 – ReAction – Out of My Head – single – white vinyl – Final Release date TBC

Tar014/Tar014CDEX – Jonzip/The Zips 19 Forevva/Barbara Wire AA split 7” green vinyl/Jonzip/The Zips – CD EP with 2 extra hidden tracks – different colour sleeves

Tar015 – Triple Distilled – pack of Tar007/Tar010 & Tar014

Tar016 – Tarbeach Compilation – No Animals Were Harmed During Any Recordings – CD/DL

Tar018 – Monkey Don’t Care – “I Hear What You’re Saying But I Just Don’t Care” 3 Track EP – CD/DL

Tar019 – The Bowery Boys – “EP#1” 5 track EP – CD/DL

Tar020 – GIFTSHOP – Despicable/Don’t’cha Know – AA single – blue vinyl (released 17/11/2017)

Tar021 – The Pepper Kings – “EP#1” 4 track EP – CD/DL

Tar022 – Monkey Don’t Care – “Pearl Necklace EP” – CD/DL (released 31/10/2017)

 

 

Theatre of Hate and Southern Approach – Live at The Bungalow, Paisley

Theatre of Hate October 2017

Three firsts for me tonight.

First time in The Bungalow, first time I’ve seen Southern Approach live & first time I’ve see Theatre of Hate live.

The Bungalow, Paisley

The Bungalow didn’t let me down.

Unassuming from the outside, but a perfect intimate venue for a gig inside. The venue has loads of great vantage points to watch the bands and with a great line up of acts due to visit, I’m sure I’ll be back

Southern Approach

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Southern Approach didn’t let me down.

The Kilmarnock band had formed over 30 years ago but split up before they released an album, due to public demand according to frontman Munro. They reformed last year, recorded and released their debut album “Restitution”. The album is packed full of epic songs which we were treated to tonight.

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The band ripped through their 10 tracks, kicking things off with album opener “Break in The Circle”. Munro has a commanding voice complemented by luscious harmonies from Shirley Guthrie. The band were tight through their set and treated us to one hook laden track after another. Songs like “Shake” & “Killing Fields” & “The Traveller” are titanic soundscapes with instantly memorable refrains.

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Judging by the number of CDs they shifted on the night, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed their set. This was great for the band as tonight’s gig was a big deal for them having originally been called Legion after the Theatre of Hate song of the same name.

Theatre of Hate

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live in The Bungalow

And to complete the set, Theatre of Hate didn’t let me down either. I’d seen Kirk Brandon live before in various guises, but this was the first time I’d seen Theatre of Hate.

It was a different story for the majority of tonight’s packed out crowd. Bass legend Stan Stammers mentioning having played the original incarnation of the Bungalow 30+ years ago. From the reaction of the gathered masses, there were a fair number present who had been at that gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The band of Kirk Brandon. Stan Stammers, Adrian Portas and Chris Bell with Clive filling John “Boy” Lennard’s shoes were on prime form. The 18 tracks played at the gig borrowed from the entire back catalogue of the band, including 5 tracks from 2016’s Kinshi. The newer songs sat perfectly alongside the old Theatre of Hate favourites.

Classic tracks

Right from the off the intensity was pronounced. The opening trio of classics, “Rebel Without a Brain” and debut single “Original Sin” sandwiching “Black Irony” from Kinshi, set out the bands manifesto for the rest of the gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The sax is a fantastic instrument when played well, and tonight was a great example. There was no John “Boy” Lennard tonight due to family circumstances (thoughts are with John) but Clive ably filled his shoes. Not many alternative/rock bands can get away with a sax player. With Theatre of Hate, it is vital part of their sound. A perfect foil to the power of the bands lyrics and crashing guitars.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Kirk introduced “My Own Invention” as “a tender song about mass murderers”. The band followed it up with “The Maintenance Man” a song about “the ones who clean up after them” complete with a nod to Harvey Keitel’s roles in Point of No Return and Pulp Fiction.

Kirk Brandon live
Kirk Brandon

Brandon alternated between playing guitar and dancing in his unique style when not playing. Taking to the side of the stage at times to give the rest of the band their place, he was evidently lost in the music. At one point I did think that he and Richard Jobson could challenge each other to a dad dance-off.

Unfortunately for him, no-one took him up on his request for ice cream at the start of “Triumph” which he introduced as “(sounding) like ice cream music to me”.

Energy

One of my own personal favourites, “Judgement Hymn” notched the atmosphere up a level. There was a discernible increase in the energy and exuberance from much of the assembled hoard.

As the band reached the climax of their set with “Poppies”, “Solution” and “Legion” there was an outbreak of vigorous dancing in the “pit”. This initially created a bit of tension which threatened to spill over, this was picked up by Kirk who urged the crowd not to “hurt each other”.

In the main though, the atmosphere was good natured. Everyone finding their place and enjoying the gig in their own way. As the band returned for the brace of “Do You Believe in the Westworld?” and “Propaganda”, I turned round and saw a sea of people with huge smiles on their faces. Energetic dancing and singing continued right to the end with a rush of people looking to shake the bands hands before they exited.

A great night’s entertainment. As I said hello to a few folk before I left, I heard a number uttering phrases like “gig of the year”. Proof if needed that the auld yins can still show the youth how to do things right.