Your monthly guide to new and unsigned music in Glasgow 1
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Shortly before they left for their UK tour supporting British Sea Power, we spoke to rising Glasgow outfit Casual Sex about their debut single through Moshi Moshi, comparisons to Franz Ferdinand and their upcoming album release.
Scottish hip-hop has always been treated like the unwanted stepchild of our national music scene - things look to be changing though...
Releasing ‘Stud’ at the beginning of the year may have seemed a bold move, but as we find out, it’s proved a wise one for the Dundee rock trio.
10 reviews This month’s round-up of reviews, including Malcolm Middleton’s solo album on vinyl for the first time and Glasgow’s loudest band, noise rock warriors Divorce live at Nice N Sleazy.
editor’s letter We’re sometimes afflicted by a rather large and hearty slice of guilt that over on our parent site, MiddleMusic.net, we don’t cover anywhere near as much local music as we should - fear no more though, because Slow Graffiti is here to save us all, our new monthly guide to new and unsigned music in our humble city. Taking it’s title from a classic track from one of the finest bands our Dear Green Place has produced, Belle & Sebastian, the magazine will shine a spotlight on music from Glasgow - and sometimes, a bit further out - that sometimes gets lost in amongst all our jetsetting international favourites over on MiddleMusic. This month’s cover stars, Casual Sex, have been - quite rightly - shaking up the music world, and we grabbed drummer Chris McCrory shortly before they departed on a UK tour. This issue also features interviews with Fat Goth and Stanley Odd, as well as reviews of old Glasgow favourite Malcolm Middleton, amongst others. It’s all great obviously!
the good, the bad & the ugly The Good: New acts announced for Wickerman, and it’s looking exciting - Vukovi and Roman Nose hadlining the Solus Tent, plus loads more. The Bad: Kings of Leon in Bellahouston Park - really? It seems T In The Park is invading the city. The joys... The Ugly: ‘The Big Reunion’ Tour - as if hearing the likes of Five (with four mebers), Blue or Atomic Kitten wasn’t bad enough first time round...
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the big story
RECORD STORE DAY 2013
Music lovers in Glasgow flocked to shops across the city to celebrate Record Store Day, with limited edition vinyl releases and a host of special in-store performances.
Love Music and Monorail Records, both in the city centre, opened their doors at 9am to queues almost half a mile long out of their doors, with shoppers eager to get their hands on some of the special records, with releases from David Bowie, Kate Bush and Pulp, to name but a few.
had become too big, but the demand is there for it, and on the day, it’s huge – it’s bigger than any sale we’ve had here.” Across the city, Love Music too see the day as vital; not just for themselves but for independent record stores up and down the country. “We’ve been involved from the very start, and as things have went on it’s helped see us through some really tough times,” says owner Sandy McLean.
Monorail Records owner Dep Downie, who has worked in record shops across the city for over 20 years, describes the day as being “bigger than Christmas.”
“The money that we make from this day in April sees us through the summer, which was traditionally one of the leanest periods of the year.
“We were afraid a few years ago that it
“Now, the spike that Record Store Day
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queues stretched the full length of glasgow’s streets on saturday 20th april for the fourth annual record store day - and glasgow’s independent record shops felt the benefit provides keeps us going until August and September, when the students return and we see another spike.” Some shoppers had been queuing since before 6am to try and get their hands on the most limited edition records, vinyl that will quickly become collectable. One of the negatives of the day is the resale of the records – while some queue from the early hours of the morning to get their hands on records and cherish their purchases, others see them simply as a way to make a quick profit from those who weren’t able to purchase the limited discs. Aidan Moffat, formerly of Arab Strap, releasesd a split 7” with Scottish post-
rock outfit Mogwai, a record which fast sold out and by lunchtime on the Saturday was already available on eBay, at ridiculously inflated prices. Moffat took to Twitter, calling it “a disgrace’, whilst Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite said that those who buy the records simply to sell them on, “hurt others, especially those in towns without record shops.” Record Store Day is now into its fifth year internationally, and continues to attract waves of shoppers into their local record shops, new custom that in some cases helps to keep the stores alive for another year – the real hope though, is that people don’t just come out for Record Store Day, but every other day.
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casual sex frontman sam smith during their support slot with british sea power photo: jayjay robertson 6 Slow Graffiti
a casual arrangement
It’s been a while since there’s been an art-rock band to get your teeth into in Glasgow. Casual Sex look set to change all of that...
asual Sex have set about capturing the attentions of the music press in a way that few Scottish bands have since the mid 2000’s explosion, with US rock bible Spin choosing the Glaswegian four-piece as one of their top 5 bands for 2013.
Their new single, ‘Stroh 80’, saw its official release on Moshi Moshi Records this past Friday (5th April), before the band head out on a UK tour supporting Cumbrian outfit British Sea Power. “Validation definitely gets the proverbial creative juiced flowing,” says drummer Chris McCrory, “It’s exciting to have an organisation with as much trend-setting clout and rich journalistic history as SPIN to place such an intense spotlight on us completely out of the blue.” The band’s “occasionally angular guitar lines,” as described by Chris, have drawn associations with Franz Ferdinand and Orange Juice – and despite the seeming inevitability of these comparisons, it caught the band off guard.
“Validation definitely gets the proverbial creative juices flowing”
“The Franz Ferdinand comparisons were a surprise to us, believe it or not. Though, we assume that being a sharply dressed guitar band from Glasgow with occasionally angular guitar lines, the comparisons are unavoidable!
“We are however, rather chuffed that someone would choose to describe us like that. Franz Ferdinand were a great band and I don’t think that any Scottish band has had such a large (and deserving) global impact since.” Your monthly guide to new and unsigned music in Glasgow 7
“undoubtedly our situation, style and taste have shaped our sound”
In a country that feels dangerously close to collapsing under the weight of a thousand bearded singer-songwriters, Casual Sex offer something of a refreshing change – a Glasgow band that doesn’t sound particularly Glaswegian. Much like the Franz Ferdinand comparisons though, it was never planned, according to Chris. “Undoubtedly our situation, style and taste have shaped our sound and will hopefully continue to do so but really, we just aim to make interesting sounding records.” With the release of ‘Stroh 80’ at the end of last week, the band are in a rather enviable situation with the backing of Moshi Moshi records, the label who helped launch the careers fellow Glaswegians Dananananaykroyd. “An incredibly loose Moshi Moshi association had been floating around for a while but was solidified when we played a show for them at Swn Festival in Cardiff last autumn.” Along with the record deal, and the undeniable success of their first single, the band are also out on tour with British Sea Power this week, taking in venues around the UK, and bringing the band’s sound to an entirely new audience. “I suppose the media could hype anyone up to a sensational level but if you can’t back it up with a good live performance, what’s the point?” Chris and the rest of Casual Sex aren’t planning to take it easy upon returning from their tour with British Sea Power either – with the band heading back on tour almost immediately, and with more releases planned throughout the year. “We have a slew of live dates coming up around the UK in the next few months and are currently planning an extensive tour – hopefully spilling out into mainland Europe around June. “With regards to releases I can reveal that we do have an album finished that’s due to be released later on this year. We also have a new single finished that I’m sure you’ll hear all about in the next month or soW!”
photo: jayjay robertson 8 Slow Graffiti
Listen to Casual Sex’s ‘Stroh 80’ single on Soundcloud, and follow the band on Facebook and Twitter at Casual Sex Band.
let the odd one in
scottish hip-hop has always been looked down on - stanley odd are out to change that though... Mention Scottish hip-hop to people, and you’ll most likely elicit a laugh as people remember the infamous ‘Kelvingrove Rap Battles’ from YouTube. Beyond the lanky fifteen-year olds embarassing themselves in parks though, there’s a strong, vibrant hiphop scene happening right under our very noses. Spearheading the Scottish rap revolution are Stanley Odd, recently nominated at the Scottish Album of the Year awards - and frontman Solareye feels it’s “a good time to be involved.” “I think that Scottish hip-hop is in very good health at present.
The band hasn’t been the only output for Solareye in the last twelve months though; he released a solo record towards the end of 2012. Is there a plan in place to keep releasing things as they come? “The thing about Stanley Odd releases is we spend a lot of time on the process. It starts with writing an idea, jamming it at practice, recording it, then we chop it up into something new. “With the Solareye EP it was good to set ourselves a deadline - there will definitely be more from us in the new year.”
“There’s a very strong and diverse community of people making hip-hop in Scotland and it feels like good music is being made consistently from a range of people.”
2013 has already been massive for the band - the aforementioned Scottish Album of the Year nomination, as well as a trip to New York after winning the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland award, but Solareye and co. aren’t resting on their laurels.
Stanley Odd have been described in terms as niche as ‘cerbral geek rap,’ but Solareye prefers to refer to their sound as “live, alternative hip-hop.”
“We’re writing some new material, and getting geared up for another festival season. We might even be releasing a little something before the summer!”
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“A PERMANENT CHIP ON OUR SHOULDER”
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Following the fantastic response to new album ‘Stud’ and their subsequent SAMA nomination, we talk to Dundonian rockers Fat Goth
Dundee hasn’t seen anything like it. Not even when their football teams were shocking the big guns around Europe was as much written about the City of Discovery. Fat Goth seem to have that something special that David Narey and co. were missing, given the unprecedented coverage their new album ‘Stud’ has received. “I’m somewhat astounded by just how well it’s been received and how far it’s managed to reach in terms of media exposure,” answers Fat Goth guitarist Fraser Stewart, who introduces himself as having “a permanent chip on his shoulder,” the sort of self-deprecating humour that pervades ‘Stud’.
taste. Therefore, the music I make will be good.’ Amen.” ‘Stud’ saw its release in January, setting the band up for a 2013 that, previously, they could only have dreamed about. The mission isn’t over there though, as Fraser explains. “This is just the beginning. We’re about to embark on our first week-long crusade below the border - I’m sure the facial expressions of bewilderment, confusion and disgust will be as consistent in England as they are in our native Scotland.” The trio’s achievements this year are all the more impressive, given the tendency for any music in Scotland to be focused upon our two biggest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
“For the most part it’s loud, guitar riff-heavy, slightly weird, visceral rock music “I think all we’ve ever tried to do is simply with a punk/metal flare.” focus on writing the best
“Our drummer, Mark, who also acts as our general manager/ whip-cracker, insisted on giving ‘Stud’ a proper release rather than simply punting it up on our bandcamp page for free as soon as the recording sessions were complete.”
Despite national and local press now falling over themselves to speak to the Dundonian three-piece, nobody within the media sphere has thus far been able to accurately define the Fat Goth sound - so who better to do so than Fraser himself? “For the most part it’s loud, guitar riff-heavy, slightly weird, visceral rock music with a punk/metal flare. “Personally, I hope folk regard our music as unpredictable and difficult to pigeonhole. I’m a big Melvins fan and I really liked this quote from Buzz - ‘I believe I have good
music we possibly can. If it’s good enough, people will eventually hear it and enjoy it regardless of where it’s from.
“I’ve lived in Dundee my whole life and have been making music for over 10 years so I’m used to the cons of being based in a small place that often gets overlooked.” Continuing to ride the tidal wave of success that ‘Stud’ has brought them, Fat Goth could have an even bigger year ahead of them, with a plethora of festival appearances on the way. Despite Fraser’s assertations that the “mental stability of the general population would have to be brought into question” for Fat Goth to become global rock monsters, the way people have taken them to their hearts this far, it isn’t out ther question.
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tijuana bibles wild river ep
malcolm middleton - 5:14 Fluoxytine Seagull Alcohol John Nicotine Despite originally being released almost thirteen years, former Arab Strap man Malcolm Middleton’s solo album, 5:14... is set to be released on vinyl for the first time this month, in an expanded package courtesy of the folks at Chemikal Underground Records. Bringing together the original record, radio sessions, and an unreleased acoustic demo tape, the reissue, unlike some which attempt to change the original album itself, the 5:14 re-release leaves the original work in its entirety. The rawness and self-deprecating humour that caught the music world off guard upon its initial release - Middleton had, for a long time, been seen as the silence behind Aidan Moffat’s vocal violence in Arab Strap - is still as powerful today as it was ten years ago, with Middleton live favourites like ‘Crappo the Clown’ and ‘Best In Me’ still sounding as affecting as they do in Middleton’s acoustic performances. The additional material, whilst fairly nonessential for anyone who isn’t a Middletonphile, adds an extra dimension to the album. Though his sonic pallette has been somewhat deepends since 5:14 first saw the light of day, the album remains as an artefact of what Malcolm Middleton’s music once was, darkly humourous, stripped back and from the heart. 12 Slow Graffiti
It must be difficult to make it in Scotland, given the abundance of musical talent we’ve produced. From the sound of their debut EP, Tijuana Bibles don’t look like being the next local success story. It’s hard to pin down what the band are aiming for - the sound sponges from Green Day, The Hives and everything in between, the whole cornucopia of early 2000s guitar bands topped off with a bizzarre American drawl. There’s something there, but it doesn’t even seem the band know what.
this familiar smile i had passion It’s been a very quiet year for Ayrshire outfit This Familiar Smile. Whilst contemporaries like Fatherson and Brown Bear and The Bandits have went from strength to strength, TFS went completely off the grid over the last twelve years. Thankfully, they’re back with ‘I Had Passion,’ the first single to be taken from their new EP. The band specialise in up-tempo rock, and their new material looks to be no different. They’ve got some ground to make up after their self-imposed exile, but if ‘I Had Passion’ is anything to go by, This Familiar Smile could return to the top of the pile.
conquering animal sound - on floating bodies ‘On Floating Bodies’ is the second release from Conquering Animal Sound, the follow up to their Scottish Album of the Year nominated debut. The album is a genuine stab at pop music - but
sometimes it’s a bit wide of the mark, as songs like ‘Mimese’ and ‘Treehouse’ take a FOUND-esque approach. They have pop hearts, but art sensibilities somewhat get in the way.
divorce @ nice n sleazy - sunday 14th april Glasgow noise-rock group Divorce have created quite a name for themselves in the last year, thanks in part to their relentless touring schedule. Since the release of their self titled debut album last year, the band have barely had time to catch their breath as they play up and down the length and breadth of the whole UK, cultivating an army of fans for their patented ‘naewave’ - a uniquely Glaswegian take on the 1980’s New York no-wave scene that spawned bands like Sonic Youth and
Swans - sound. This show, in support of Comanechi was a rare chance for the road warriors to come home, and the crowd were more than receptive of them for it. Burning through tracks from last year’s debut, cut with some new tracks, the band sounded tight as ever, their imposing schedule having done nothing to dilute their talents - particularly the machinelike drumming of Andy Brown, the glue that holds the whole outfit together.
photo: jayjay robertson Your monthly guide to new and unsigned music in Glasgow 13
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