SNACKMAG.CO.UK FREE MARCH 2022
ETIENNE KUBWABO MAN ON MAN PICTISH TRAIL PETER CAT SCOTTISH SUMMER FESTIVALS GUIDE
THE NINTH WAVE MUSIC | FILM | FOOD & DRINK | LGBT+ | BOOKS | COMEDY | THEATRE | VISUAL ART | WORDS
OPEN 7 DAYS
DISCOUNTS FOR STUDENTS ART GROUPS / CLUBS & YOUNG SCOT CARD HOLDERS
SHOP ONLINE 24/7
CLICK & COLLECT MAIL ORDER & LOCAL DELIVERIES snackmag.co.uk
ALL FILMS ALL DAY FROM £4.50
MACROBERT ARTS CENTRE UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING CAMPUS 01786 466 666
macrobertartscentre.org Macrobert Arts Centre is a registered Scottish company and charity. Company no: SC337763 | Charity no: SC039546
CONTENTS WHAT'S ON
Old Bones – Sheila's Island – HippFest – Strata Collective Scottish National Poetry Slam Final – StAnza
The Ninth Wave – Man On Man Pictish Trail – Peter Cat – Etienne Kubwabo
SCOTTISH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2022
FOOD & DRINK P38 Vegan Fondue Recipe – Foodie News
LGBT+ P42 The (Not) Gay Movie Club: The House Bunny
REVIEW P44 Sloth Metropolis – SNACK Bits – MALKA x AMUNDA – Brontës Superchunk – Crush Mouse – Rebecca Vasmant – Ibibio Sound Machine
WORDS P54 @snackmag
CREDITS Editor: Kenny Lavelle Sub Editor: Leona Skene Food and Drink Editors: Emma Mykytyn and Mark Murphy LGBT+ Editor: Jonny Stone What's On: Natalie Jayne Clark Design: Kenny Lavelle & Julia Szekeres Sales: Philip Campbell Cover photo credit: Hope Holmes To advertise in SNACK firstname.lastname@example.org 0141 632 4641 SNACK is a supporter of the global Keychange movement.
Disclaimer: Snack Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this magazine in part or in whole is forbidden without the explicit written consent of the publishers. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the content of this magazine but we cannot guarantee it is complete and up to date. Snack Publishing Ltd. is not responsible for your use of the information contained herein.
Hello and welcome to issue 37 of SNACK, Condemn war everywhere. As we were putting this issue to bed, the devastating news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has reminded us all, again, that the world is a turbulent and violent place. This isn’t the place for any sort of analysis or comment, but it seems a good time to remind ourselves that no matter the situation, wherever there is conflict anywhere in the world, it’s the young and the poor that tend to bear the force of any violence. As always, I hope that the Scottish Government will use its power and influence to allow many of those fleeing war to find shelter in our country. It’s also a good time to remember that in Scotland we are in the privileged position where we can occasionally turn off the feed of desperate news to protect our mental health from the onslaught. It’s possible to look after yourself while still putting pressure on our politicians and supporting the victims of war everywhere in whatever small way we can. SNACK will be donating a proportion of our profits from this issue to a Scottish refugee charity and we hope that those who do reach our shores are looked after in a way that allows them dignity and comfort. Kenny Lavelle Editor
Fri 20 - Sun 29 May 2022 Scotland’s Largest Rural Performing Arts Festival invites you to join us for 10 Days of world-class Theatre, Music, Comedy, Spoken Word and Dance. Full Programme Launching on Wed 16th March. www.dgartsfestival.org.uk | @DGArtsFest | #DGArtsFest |
The most visited immersive multi-sensory experience in the world OPENS 17TH MARCH Festival Square, Edinburgh
BOOK NOW: vangoghaliveuk.com Created and produced by
WHAT’S ON GUIDE OLD BONES
The Old Gym Theatre, Glasgow –10th till 11th March What would you do if you were immortal? Eventually, you’d probably give into life’s vices: a bit of drinking, a touch of gambling, and so on. The protagonist of this theatre show did just that and, unsurprisingly, ended up in a bit of bother – now he’s spent the last 400 years traversing the globe in an attempt to undo a bet gone disastrously wrong. Written by Edinburgh-based playwright Jen McGregor and performed by Daniel Hird, this dark fantasy show sold out at the Prague Fringe. Perfect if you’re looking for a descent into macabre magical whimsy.
A BARK IN THE NIGHT WOKE ME UP TO A BED WITH NO SHEETS Robert’s Gallery, Glasgow – 5th March till 22nd April Robert’s are exhibiting mixed media work from the weird and wonderful mind of Aitor González, with a special opening night on the 4th March 5-7pm, followed by a club night at Bonjour. He is a Quechua/Spanish artist trained in sculpture, but has transitioned towards all sorts of the arty stuff. His work has been exhibited all over the UK and this is your moment to see for yourself in Scotland what all the fuss is about. He ‘explores the poetic possibilities of objects, processes and stories taken from the everyday’. The gallery is located in a residential home. roberts.gallery
thirdpiertheatre.com/old-bones Daniel Hird
Aitor Gonzalez, untitled, 2021, Watercolour, pen and coloured sharpie on paper, 21 x 15 cm (unframed)
A PASSION FOR ART: MATILDA HALL, COLLECTOR AND CURATOR
celebrating film with live music
Some say we have moved beyond the time of the creator and it is the curator who reigns supreme – we are in a time of overload and excess, so those with a real talent for shaping, refining, and displaying collections of works are essential – and Matilda Hall is such a person. This exhibition pulls together works from different collections influenced by her, including the University of Stirling Collection, the Art in Healthcare Collection, and her own personal collection – Scottish art selected and brought together just for you. Highlights include works by Joan Eardley and Janka Malkowska.
The Unknown © 1927 WBEI
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling – till 28th May
WEDNESDAY 16 - SUNDAY 20 MARCH 2022 BOX OFFICE: 01324 506850
THE HIPPODROME, 10 HOPE STREET, BO’NESS EH51 0AA HIPPFEST.CO.UK
Made poss ible an | dh w ng
ADVERTISE HERE What’s on Page 9
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh – 1st till 5th March
Hippodrome Cinema, Bo’ness – 16th till 20th March
The most team-building thing about enforced team-building retreats is the shared hatred for the people responsible for you ending up doing said team-building. Watch this scenario play out in a gender-swapped re-imagining of Tim Firth’s highlyacclaimed Neville’s Island. Starring a blinding cast of award-winning actresses: Sara Crowe, Rina Fatania, Judy Flynn, and Abigail Thaw. This show has been described as: ‘The Office meets Lord of the Flies meets Miranda’. Wooft: set to be hysterical in more ways than one. capitaltheatres.com/whats-on/sheilasisland
Smushed into this sensational schedule are films and live appearances rescheduled from 2020’s line-up, alongside new commissions for this year. The opening show is a new restoration of The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots, made nearly a century ago! It’s accompanied by live music and preceded by a talk from Donald Smith - author, storyteller, and director of the Scottish International Storytelling Centre. Over the course of the festival, there will be movies shown from all over the globe, including an uncensored showing of the Belgian version of Dawn – apparently one of the most controversial films of the 1920s. Each day of this film fest brings another set of rare and special movies, lovingly swaddled with plenty of talks and fine live music. hippodromecinema.co.uk/silent-film-festival
Join us at the Byre Theatre for the inaugural Festival Friday 25 – Sunday 27 March 2022
Support our work by setting up a monthly donation at www.pollokshieldsfoodpoint.org
WORLD PREMIERE C O M P A N Y O F W O LV E S PRESENTS
Follow the action and find the programme: sands-iff.com @sandsiff @sands_iff @sandsiff
Image by Raghvi Arya, winner of the St Andrews student design competition. The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland, No: SC013532. Company of Wolves is registered in Scotland. Charity No: SC049533
What’s on Page 11
NORRIE MACIVER & THE GLASGOW BARONS
MARCH 19TH 7:30pm
old fruit market
The Glasgow Barons are a Scottish Charity SC047454 and a Scottish Company SC564970
STRATA COLLECTIVE Reid Gallery, The Glasgow School of Art: 26th February till 12th March The reopening of this gallery is less like a gloved valet imperiously ushering you in through slowly opening doors and more like a big-booted adventurer smashing the doors open with a ferocious jump kick. On display is the work of eight 2020 graduates from the MLitt Fine Art Practice (Sculpture) degree – and it not only shows work from back in the before times, but also what they have been creating in the past two years. The Strata Collective have linked and moulded together over the past two years since graduation to find novel and resourceful ways to continue their practice during the pandemic. It’s a display of casting, carving, sound, ceramics, woodworking, textiles, and digitally and adapted ready-mades. Look out too for the Strata Collective’s next show, Expanse, in Glasgow later this year. gsa.ac.uk/life/gsa-events/events/a/aremix-of-damage
Edinburgh’s famous fossil shop
Abbey Corbin, In the Depths of Our Oceans, Video Still, 2021
5 Cowgatehead, Grassmarket Edinburgh, EH1 1JY 0131 220 1344 www.mrwoodsfossils.co.uk
SCOTTISH NATIONAL POETRY SLAM FINAL Britannia Panopticon Music Hall, Glasgow: 12th March, 2pm-5pm If you’ve been hearing more about this poetry or spoken word hing recently, this is the place to see it in its most edgy and feverish form. Plus, it’s hosted by the lovely Robin Cairns. Each person performing has already won a title at a regional poetry slam and has earned their place here at the Scottish National Finals. These people will blast you their words at their most wicked, warped, zingy, traumatic, and filthy. The winner will be crowned Scottish Champion and walk away with a pocket crammed wi cash along with the opportunity to represent our country in the World Series in Paris in May.
RECORDS - CDS - DVDS NEW & SECONDHAND OTAGO LANE, GLASGOW MON-SAT 10-6
10% DISCOUNT IN STORE WITH THIS ADVERT WWW.MIXEDUPRECORDS.COM U SE C ODE : S N ACK 10 FO R 1 0% DIS CO UN T O N WE B S IT E ORD ERS
The UK’s first fashion label aimed at ending homelesness
427 Great Western Road G4 9JA 0141 341 0979
1st Floor Buchanan Galleries G1 2FF 0141 332 3030
What’s on Page 13
Online & St Andrews, Various Locations: 7th till 13th March
Beacon Arts Centre, Greenock: 16th till 19th March
Following last year’s online festival, StAnza are offering up a smorgasbord of hybrid events. Several of the events focus on translated works, including an event celebrating newly translated poetry from the Netherlands (Beachcombers on the North Sea); a moving exhibition of the early years of the Modern Poetry In Translation magazine and its relationship with central and eastern Europe; and a reading presenting three diverging rewrites of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the challenges, joys, and discourse therein. In addition, there are events connecting past and present, writing prompts, open mics, collaborations, and examinations of classics and modern works of art. StAnza has more than simply poetry readings; there are also dinner dates, films, walks, workshops and much more besides.
Lena Zavaroni was a Scottish singing sensation, born in the very town where this show will premiere before touring next year. Zavaroni, born in 1963, was a superstar – singing for presidents and royalty alike, and becoming the youngest musician ever to have an album in the top ten. This story is written by BAFTA and Olivier award winner Tim Whitnall and explores the period of this child star’s fall and her father’s role in the story. An opportunity to learn about a interesting Scottish figure in the global music scene.
Various Locations, Glasgow: 8th till 27th March
GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
By our counting, there’s over 70 shows to choose from – there’ll be something to tickle even the crabbiest of folk. The Daft Duo are presenting their solo performances as a double bill and are simply a joy to watch – their silliness is a balm for the seriousness of the world and offers a welcoming embrace for the audience to open up into their silliest selves, too. Fearless Fern Brady is back, after her sold out shows from 2019, to take you on a comedic journey equivalent to attending a military fitness class after a yoga class followed by a jump in a very cold lake. Stuart McPherson (of Scot Squad) will perform a brand-new show about finding the humour in illness – as you often have to do when you have one. glasgowcomedyfestival.com
The New Scottish Music Review Podcast
Episode 2 out now
LIVE TODAY& SURFACE PRESSURE
MARCH 20TH 7:00pm The GRAND OLE OPRY
The Glasgow Barons are a Scottish Charity SC047454 and a Scottish Company SC564970
What’s on Page 15
The Ninth Wave’s Heavy Like a Headache is a stunning new album. It’s full of vulnerability, and beautifully thought out. It’s organic and emotive, flowing from fuzzy warm recordings of vocal harmonies to the powerful 'What Makes You a Man', to the simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting 'Piece and Pound Coins'. It travels through genre seamlessly, feeling effortless and mature. Significantly, this record lands at a crucial time for The Ninth Wave, amidst touring, covid-19 delays, and even an imminent band hiatus [announced on the day of the interview]. SNACK sat down with Haydn, Kyalo, and Calum for a cup of tea at Glasgow’s 13th Note to lend an ear.
Photo credit: Hope Holmes, SNACK
THE NINTH WAVE
From what I've gathered, Heavy Like a Headache is coming from a bit of an intense place emotionally. Could you tell us more about the source of these emotions? Haydn: I’d say it’s quite dark but there’s some happier moments on it too. I think it’s the first time we’d been properly comfortable with just being very direct with what we’re wanting to say and like the feelings behind the song. In the past, when we were first making music we would sort of like, try and find a way to 'tart up' what you’re feeling so it’s a bit obscured. A lot of the lyrics on this are much more direct. I think basically we’re just a lot more comfortable with what we’re trying to say. Kyalo: I think accessing those darker feelings is quite a cathartic process as well, because there is light in the songs. Even if on the surface of it it’s a bit darker, there’s a glimmer in there. @snackmag
The album explores new soundworlds and aesthetics for The Ninth Wave; did this come about as a result of you consciously attempting to push yourself in new directions, or rather as a result of you naturally developing and evolving?
I think we’d done the album and then there was other lockdowns that happened and it just didn’t feel like the songs or the ideas were as cohesive that they could have been. I think that helped us realise that we maybe had to spend a bit of time doing things.
Kyalo: I think, just more time spent together as musicians and the more experiences we’ve had being in a recording studio together, spending the time.
Kyalo: On our own …
Calum: It’s a mixture of the two things you mentioned, really. There was an element of us wanting to push the sound of The Ninth Wave as far as it could go, as well as that just being a thing that happened as a result of us being together in rooms writing music. And I think we did quite well in achieving that. It seems like you've been on this five-year journey, and that you’re now more confident together and more confident in expressing yourselves. I'm wondering if your hiatus was that something you were aware of while creating the album, or was it a recent realisation? Why now?
Calum: On our own, yeah. We needed space from being together, I would say – not in a bad way, but it was so easy before to write together and then we tried it again – maybe symptomatic of lockdown – and I think we all thought this would be better just as individual elements. Kyalo: We’ve also known each other since before playing together, and knowing each other as musicians is why we started to play together in the first place. I think that was because we saw something we liked about those people, that drew us together, and this album is definitely the clearest vision of our different voices together. Realising that is also an opportunity for us to pursue all of our own things; it’s the best time for it to happen, I think.
Haydn: Well, we finished the album over a year ago now. I feel like it was just after that we realised that ‘Yeah, after this is out let’s give it a bit of a breather.’ Calum: I think for you [Haydn] definitely. You’ve been doing The Ninth Wave since you were a very, very small boy and actually when you’ve been doing something for so long you need to take a step back from it for a while – indefinitely, maybe forever – and just assess it from afar, when you’ve been neck deep in it for so long.
Music by Zeo Fawcett Page 17
So, would you say it was a space where you helped each other grow and develop, and now you've developed? From the outside looking in it seems that you’ve almost nurtured each other. Haydn: Yeah, I guess we’ve been doing this – the band that it is just now – for the last three years. This lineup as it is now has been the most intense, but in a good way. It’s the period of time that’s had the most thought put into it. I’ve probably learned the most about myself and my songwriting in the last few years and it’s now gotten to the point where it feels easy and comfortable to think ‘Oh, I could go do something else now’, because of what we’ve done as a band. Calum: It feels like we've done this album. I think the way it has turned out has allowed us to be relaxed in thinking we can come back to it later. We also don't have to – we can leave it there as is and be really proud of what has happened. So you're about to embark on these tours and will be performing songs that you wrote at a very specific period in time; does it seem like time-travelling back to the moment they were written, or is it more something you can appreciate now that you've gained distance from them? Haydn: It feels more like it’s gonna be a celebration. It didn’t feel like that properly until today, when we let everyone know what our [hiatus] plan is. Now it feels like these three gigs in March are gonna be like a happy funeral or something. [Haydn and the other members of the band laugh]. I think they’re gonna be uplifting!
decision that was made a year ago. To make the announcement today and everyone’s reacting to it feels a bit strange, I guess. Haydn: I know what you mean, because it’s weird seeing all the people going, ‘Oh my God’ and we’re like ‘What?’ because we’ve known this was gonna happen for ages. Calum: I think it’s so nice, it’s really affirming to see how upset everyone is! [everyone laughs again, including Haydn following it with a fake 'evil' laugh] And what are the other things that you’ve got lined up? Haydn, I know that you’re touring with Lucia, supporting Wolf Alice. What’s in the future, what are you guys going off to do? Calum: So, as well as doing The Ninth Wave I’ve always recorded and written other things that are a bit more electronic. I’ve got a project called Health and Beauty that I’m hoping to do some things with. But I’ll just take it as it comes. It's an electronic-based kind of dancey-pop music with a sad undertone, and it’s just me flapping about on stage trying to do too many things at once – which is already me in The Ninth Wave. Haydn: It’s a solo project called Last Boy. It’s gonna have some traditional elements in it; I always played trad stuff with my dad so it’s nice putting stuff like that into my music now. There’s a fiddle player that’s gonna be doing some bits, but yeah. I’m excited to do that for the rest of this year.
Calum: Today has been a bit surreal because we made this decision a year ago, so we’ve sat with it for a long time. Any emotions that we had have dissipated really, because we’re all very comfortable with it – it feels very much like a snackmag.co.uk
What about you, Kyalo, what have you got planned? Kyalo: Well, I’ve also done solo stuff under a variety of different aliases over the past few years. I’m just performing under my own name now, but it’s more audiovisual. So I generate live visuals alongside the music, which is I guess electronic but less dancy, a bit more abstract. I’ve done visuals for some DJs and some solo stuff as well so it’s installation/generative/performative. Kind of interdisciplinary, crossing borders, rather than playing a gig.
Calum: Yeah! It was supposed to be Europe and the UK. She sent us flowers and all that. You can’t say the big what-if, but it’s difficult not to ask. I think we made the best of a bad situation. It was great that we had recorded that EP and had that through the first lockdown period as a focus. I think if we hadn’t then it would have been very tough. As a band, what would you want your fans to remember about you? Haydn: Oh my god, that sounds like something you’d get on the little cards at a funeral.
If you could give a favourite memory related to the band, what would it be?
Kyalo: Yeah, it’s an obituary! We’re not going away: we’re still going to be present in other ways.
Kyalo: Hogmanay was surreal, and South By Southwest.
Calum: Yeah and we’ve still got other bits and pieces to release, we’re not completely going away. But if we are treating it like an open casket funeral then yeah, you just want people to engage with anything we’ve put out there.
Haydn: Yeah, only the first South By Southwest. We played like, was it four? [the band agrees] The first one was amazing; the others were shite. Kyalo: Oh, but there was also the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh…That was weird. Wait, like on the grounds?
Kyalo: Yeah, the next video we’ve got coming out is a way fans can remember us, because it’s experiences that we shared with them, to get them excited and happy rather than sad and despondent.
Haydn: Yeah, I painted my face white because I wanted to look like one of the sculptures. I didn’t look like a sculpture.
Kyalo: Yeah, be happy that it happened.
Kyalo: Yeah, and security were like really, really on edge and worried about us knocking something over.
Heavy Like a Headache will be released on the 18th of March via Distiller Records
Calum: And come to our solo gigs!
The Final Shows Did the pandemic have a big impact on the band? Kyalo: Yeah, we were actually supposed to go on tour with Hayley Williams.
Manchester: YES, 16th March London: Oslo Hackney, 17th March Glasgow: SWG3 Warehouse, 19th March theninthwave.online
All photo credits: Hope Holmes
Music by Zeo Fawcett Page 19
MAN ON MAN
MAN ON MAN is a musical project from Joey Holman (HOLMAN) and Roddy Bottum (Faith No More and queercore legends Imperial Teen), each respectively renowned for infusing indie rock with an undeniable queer sensibility. The variety of inspirations and dynamic shifts in their eponymous debut contribute to a record that feels at once boisterous and poignant in the way it conveys the joys of queer love. They describe the project as 'more than a band: it is a partnership of two beautiful queers who are committed to creating a language that is both musical and visual, and that transcends what we know of gay music.' SNACK was fortunate enough to sit down with Bottum and Holman to discuss the liberty and challenges of songwriting with your romantic partner, and bringing this intimate project on the road.
Do you guys have a big connection with Scotland at all? RB: We’ve always had good times there; I love Glasgow a lot. I would go there with Faith No More and play multiple nights at Barrowlands, so I would stay for five days. I remember going with my bicycle and having an amazing connection with the city. JH: I’m friends with CHVRCHES and Lauren [Mayberry] is always talking about it. We’ve never played there as MAN ON MAN and I’m dying to play a show there. It sounds like everyone turns out and is into it, which is what you want to hear as a band. How are you feeling about performing the new record, having recorded it over lockdown, and now sharing this intimate project with a live audience? RB: We wrote the songs, but we never had any idea of playing them live: we just liked playing together. When we talked about maybe doing a record, there was a far-fetched idea of doing a tour, but nothing was set in stone. The record came out and all of a sudden it became obvious we had to start doing shows. We both come from bands, and the only way we could initially figure out how to do this was to tour with a full band. We started doing that, working with people we liked from New York, and did two or three performances. But quickly it became logistically impossible for us: with the size of venues, the way we travel and the money we make, it didn’t make sense to have four other people on board. It was a hard decision to make given where we come from, but we decided on playing with just the two of us. It was a scary place to jump into, but we did it, and it turns out we really like it. It looks nice on stage, and the story is right there in front of you.
JH: All we want to do is tour, having been stuck inside for so long. We’re lucky to be here [New York]. But we’re excited to go into spaces with the queer people who have been listening to our music for nearly two years. It’s always rewarding to talk to people you have met on social media in real life. We let our 2021 shows inform the energy of the new record and it’s been fun to play out live. RB: My whole life I’ve spent in clubs listening to live music, and that was the biggest challenge of the pandemic. I’ve missed that community and the energy of people who are passionate about music. What was the genesis of the project? How did you transition from a romantic partnership to a creative one? JH: The extent of what we’d done musically together before MAN ON MAN was one time in my bedroom, me on the computer on a Saturday morning, not really ‘for’ anything. You would think starting a band together would be the most obvious thing for two musicians in a relationship. It was never on our radar. But at the beginning of the pandemic, we moved to California after Roddy’s mom got sick. Roddy was rehearsing with Faith No More and I was working on my solo record, so we knew we’d be working on music in some capacity. But Roddy questioned why we didn’t just write a few songs; we would be stuck in this house for the next two weeks! But it was never meant to be a band, it was probably something we would just share with our friends. But once we released the video for 'Daddy,' that informed much of the future for what MAN ON MAN would become. We didn’t even have a name for the band a week before releasing the first single.
Music by Jonny Stone Page 21
'Daddy' firmly established the bold imagery of the project, with the two of you stripped down to your underwear. RB: The video and the imagery are testament to things that happen naturally. There were low stakes at that point: we were just pleasing ourselves. No standards to uphold, we just said, 'Let’s do something sexy and fun together.' Doing videos at this point, we tend to think a lot more about what we’re doing, but for 'Daddy,' we just didn’t care, we were having fun, and it reads like that. JH: The most conversation we had about the video was not until after it was released. That’s when we started getting a lot of reactions from it. The purpose was to have fun and do what we naturally like. And it’s funny, when we talk about the video now, I feel it became something so much more than anything we would have thought about. Songwriting is an inherently intimate process: was it easier or more challenging, writing together? RB: Easier and harder. At the end of the day, looking back on the songs and what we’ve accomplished, it’s more rewarding to do it with a person you’re close with. But in terms of the two of us working together, the stakes were high. We hadn’t communicated or collaborated that way before; it was awkward and clunky and we got in fights we hadn’t gotten in before … but getting through it was real rewarding. The songs are more special that way and we set out to impress each other in a weird way. It took us and our communication to a new level; we’re able to speak to each other in ways we hadn’t before.
Do you have similar musical taste, on the whole? JH: Not really, no, but it plays to our benefit. We bring our style to the song. We’re both under the influence of the people we love and the song we’re making becomes its own thing. Roddy might have a decision that wouldn’t be on my radar as an idea, and whatever I bring regarding guitar or lyrics may be influenced by something I loved when I was younger. You bring those two together and it might not make total sense, but if you told me to listen to the record halfway through our drive to California, I would never have believed we could make this type of record. I’m so giddy about it – we come from such different places musically, but we’ve created a record we both really love. We’ve been writing new music recently and that spark is still present because I respect Roddy so much as a songwriter and lyricist… RB: … and genius … JH: Yes, and genius! I always feel a little egotistical, but our music is really good. And sometimes we have conversations about queerness or our visuals, which we’re really proud of, but at the end of the day the music is great and speaks for itself.
Do you ever feel like the conversations about your work’s queer sensibility risk overshadowing the music? RB: More than anything, MAN ON MAN is an amalgamation of who we are, our relationship, queer love, and our music. It’s all one package. We get attention for a lot of different elements of what we are. People are here for the videos; some people just want to see us in our underwear. But then music fans are just really into the music, or people might be into the politics of it. But we have a pretty good community of people who appreciate MAN ON MAN as a whole. How crucial is it for you to work with fellow queer artists? JH: For the music specifically, it was just me and Roddy. Our friend Joey, who is queer, played bass on a couple of songs on the record, but otherwise it was just us. For our music videos, two were shot by us, but we collaborated with Steven Harwick on our video for '1983.' We worked with a queer graphic designer, Christopher Scholtz, for our album packaging and Jack Pierson, who did our album photography cover is queer too. RB: We do everything ourselves, but we do our best to work within the community. It always works out better for us. JH: It’s paramount for us. If we’re gonna work with somebody, we will go to great lengths to find a queer person to work with because they’re just going to get all the references, the vibe … nothing’s going to feel out of place. And they’re going to bring their references in queer culture we might not know about.
What can the audience expect from your upcoming live shows? JH: We’re coming to the spaces that we play in a vulnerable way: no banners, no big lights, it’s not a big production. It’s us as a couple playing music we wrote for each other, love letters, and we’re conveying that energy of our love live. It’s really loud, and it still rocks without a band, so it still feels like a huge show. There’s an element of tension without a band that we’re able to create in a great way. It puts our hearts on our sleeves and allows us to get in the zone, the hypnotic nature of performing. My biggest hope is that people come to our show, understand the circumstances of how we created our project and feel a sense of inspiration that they can do the same thing for their own projects. We want to inspire them to just fucking do it: that’s what we did, and the world is dying to hear queer voices. You’re about to embark on a huge tour, but do you have an idea of what may be in store next for you? RB: We’ve been good at turning our disadvantages into advantages. We had to cancel dates because of the pandemic, and in the last ones we had to cancel we had time we could use to write songs. We’re a good chunk of the way through a new record, and it’s been fun to tour and find our strengths onstage: what we like to do and what’s hard for us. We’re leaning into a different 'us' than from when we started. It still feels good to be loud and boisterous and to have leaned more into that realm of songwriting. But the plan is to write a record this summer. MAN ON MAN, their debut album, is out now on Polyvinyl Records MAN ON MAN perform at Broadcast, Glasgow, on 13th May Music by Jonny Stone Page 23
ETIENNE KUBWABO Filmmaker and writer Etienne Kubwabo’s 2020 comic book Beats of War is one of the more notable publications of recent years, introducing readers to DJ E.T., Scotland’s first black superhero, who comes to Earth to find a way to save his home planet. Set in and around Glasgow, with a clever clash of styles and cultures, it brought a fresh and approachable voice to the often closed world of comic books. SNACK caught up with Etienne Kubwabo to talk about the release of Beats of War 2. How does it feel to be releasing Beats of War 2 into the world?
What has happened since the first issue? Since the first issue came out, I have been going around schools and charities doing workshops related to Beats of War. The focus of these workshops has been helping kids re-imagine the world they want to live in, recreate it in their minds positively through stories and comics. I have also been working on more issues of Beats of War. I am so excited about the seed I am planting at the moment. My focus is always on Scotland and Congo, and how I can link them through a fictional and epic story that will reach more people around the world.
I feel grateful, happy and excited about the release of Beats of War 2. People were waiting patiently for the next issue and it has received positive feedback. Doing projects independently is never easy, but when it comes out and touches people, like Beats of War is doing, it's the most wonderful feeling in the world because I feel that I am contributing to this human experience we are all having. snackmag.co.uk
I have been attending a lot of Comic Con events too where I have met amazing creators in Scotland. I have attended Dundee’s BGCP Comic Con, and I have more planned this year. My plan is to get all the people of Scotland knowing about the new superhero story happening right outside their door. Most Beats of War fans love the fact that it's set in Scotland. @snackmag
How challenging has it been to get this issue made and published? It's always a challenge making comics independently, especially when it comes to financing. When issue 1 came out a lot of people loved it and they told me to start a GoFundMe campaign and that they would be willing to help the production of the next one in that way. I am so grateful to have raised almost £2,000, which went towards issue 2. We have a community in Scotland that is always willing to help creative people. The other challenge was the pandemic, but my team is passionate and committed to Beats of War and we managed to make a plan of releasing these coming issues. There are many influences in the first Beats of War, such as Marvel comics and the MCU, as well as Peaky Blinders and the history of Glasgow’s gangs. Does that continue in this issue, and are there other influences that people should look out for? The history of Scotland will be in this one too, and I have also used African cultural influences to create and add some futuristic spaceships for ET and the new characters. And look out for real places in Glasgow – places you will recognise – and more action, of course.
You must be delighted about the positive response to the first issue. Were you surprised? I was surprised by the response because, coming from my culture, only a few of us create and write comics. Some of my friends asked me, ‘Who is going to read that, mate?’ But I had this feeling in my gut that I should do it. So, my advice to others is to be honest with yourself and tell your story, and leave the rest to the world. One thing I know is that if you believe in what you are doing, believe it enough, people will definitely check it out. Should we expect Beats of War 3 soon? And if so, is there a way people can support its creation? Beats of War 3 will be out very soon. The production of my comics is stable now, and you will be getting the next issue in a few months. My GoFundMe is still running. If you search online for ‘Etienne Kubwabo GoFundMe’ you’ll find it. Beats of War 2 is out now
When we last spoke you mentioned that you would like Beats of War to be made into a film? Is that still the dream? I definitely want Beats of War to be a film. I still believe there is a jaw-dropping epic superhero story set in Scotland that has not been told. This could start off with a TV show, which then gives enough time for people to know the characters, and eventually we make it into a film.
Books by Alistair Braidwood Page 25
PICTISH TRAIL Photo credit: Stephanie Gibson
Johnny Lynch, AKA Pictish Trail, is an artist weelkent in Scotland’s music scene. Not only the founder of Lost Map Records (known for Savage Mansion, Martha Ffion and others) Lynch has much evolved from his folk sound with Fence, his Moshi Moshi electronic/synth-based collaboration with Adem, Silver Columns, to the (substantially) frenetic, repetitive, and aggressive sound of his new EP, Island Family. This fifth album from Lynch sees him move away from the dulcet ballads on Secret Soundz to this high-energy, repetitive, sardonic, personal, record. With Island Family Pictish Trail visits the old adage that no man can remain an island, however hard he might try, whilst grappling with the clear frustration and descent into madness that many have felt in the last couple of years. snackmag.co.uk
Johnny spoke with SNACK about his evolved sound and the catharsis of playing the same riff for five hours through a distortion pedal. With the success of your last album, Thumb World, and prior to that Future Echoes, there’s a bit of anticipation around your new LP. What can we expect from Island Family? Well, it's a collection of ten songs that I wrote at the beginning of last year. I’d spent the first half of the lockdown thing totally not able to think about music, just not feeling creative at all. Then I had a bit of a panic when 2021 came around and thought I needed to get back into the habit of actually writing songs. I locked myself away in a bothy for a week and came up with the first batch of songs for the new album there. @snackmag
This restored my confidence in things a lot. That’s often the way I do songwriting – I tend to store stuff up over a long period of time and then it all sort of splurges out. Musically, I was trying to do something that felt a bit different to the previous record. I was a bit more aggressive, maybe reflecting that sense of frustration that we’ve all been feeling over the past wee while. There's a bit of a shift in sound, though gradual considering the change between your 2018 and 2020 albums. How would you personally describe the change? If we compare ‘Natural Successor’ to, let’s say, ‘Half Life’? I just wanted to do something really distorted. I’d done a bit of that on Thumb World; there’s a lot of weird distortions and stuff happening. I wanted the sound to be more visceral, so there is almost less instrumentation across the new album, but everything is just a little bit louder.
Last year, gigs were limited. Will there be a whole spell of gigs alongside this release? I’m touring in March and April. The album is out in the middle of March, the tour starts in England and then we're doing sixteen shows. The last four shows are in Scotland, which I am really looking forward to – we should be very well rehearsed at that point. We’re also supporting Hot Chip in June at Junction 1 in Glasgow, which will be fun. What are you listening to right now? It sounds like the most obvious answer but genuinely about 80% of my listening is Lost Map stuff; there’s just so much of it and it’s all amazing. We’ve got this thing, PostMap Club, which is our subscription service for the label and it’s totally saved us as a label, actually, over the past two years, people subscribing and receiving music from us directly each month. It’s been really great to see what people come up with and really surprising to see the different directions our roster of artists have been going in.
So, ‘Natural Successor’, the bare bones of that song was me playing bass guitar through a distortion pedal and a sampler and a drum machine for about five hours. I just wanted to do something that was really dumb-sounding and fun, and a bit stupid. But also aggressive at the same time. I think I spent about five hours playing the same riff over the same drum loop one evening up in the bothy and then just trying to write a song from those very primal ingredients.
What is your go-to snack right now?
That sounds enough to give you cabin fever in itself…
Island Family is out on 18th March, via Fire Records and Lost Map
It was very cathartic in a weird way. You kind of get into a zone when you just sort of repeat the same phrase over and over again musically. I suppose it is like some sort of weird chanting exercise except with a bass.
For a full list of tour dates check out lostmap.com
As it’s the beginning of the year, I’ve been trying not to snack. I’ve tried to be good and just have meals but one of my favourite things to have is a bagel with peanut butter and marmite. But that is not usually a snack; it’s more of a meal. It’s just such an amazing combination and eaten really quickly with a scalding hot cup of tea. That’s me in my heaven right there.
Music by Keira Brown Page 27
The EP is quite a change musically from the debut record. Do you want to move around with every release?
PETER CAT Glasgow is a great place for emerging bands, but at times, it feels a bit samey. When attitudes, haircuts, jackets and denims start to look like a uniform, you need something different to enliven your palate, and thankfully, there’s always something new to embrace. SNACK caught up with Peter Cat to chat about books, Bowie, bedroom pop, and a lack of self-awareness. Your new EP, The Magus, is out in March – how would you describe it? A synth-heavy journey into the darker corners of society but laced with a liberal dose of surreal humour and self-awareness. It’s a real departure from previous material and it’s drawing more on modern bedroom pop sounds. It departs from the guitar-heavy work I previously released. It showcases a new way of writing for me, liberated from the traditional verse-chorus structure. I wrote at a desk with drum machines and synthesisers in lockdown, no deadline. I let the music lead me rather than trying to marshal the music. I think The Magus is a sign of real growth because of that. snackmag.co.uk
Absolutely. Growing up on David Bowie, that’s always been the touchstone: the idea that an artist can wear different masks or wardrobes musically, but that ultimately, there’s a singular vision that ties it all together. In my head, that’s what Peter Cat is. From a career point of view, it's maybe detrimental, but for me, pop music is there to push the boundaries as far as they can go while still being in a recognisable format. I want to treat, what can be called a musical career, like a cabaret or stage show. Every new release affords you the opportunity to do something different, and you should grab that by the lapels. As you say, the release has more of a bedroom pop feel. Was that out of necessity, or did you feel it was right for the record you wanted to make? A little of both. There was no opportunity at the time of writing the songs to get together with other human beings and hash them out. Out of necessity, I was bound to a solo composition and performance method. My previous releases were made in the studio, and I made up my mind that I wanted to record something at home. It was recorded in my flat, in a home studio I built up in lockdown. To get a bit Marxist on you, I’m into taking control of the means of production as much as possible. I’m not sure Karl was talking about music production. He wasn’t, he didn’t quite have the foresight. But who knows? If Marx was around today, maybe he’d be wearing a Supreme jacket and making those sorts of proclamations. We’ll never know, I suppose.
I surprised myself with how good the record sounds, but much of that is down to producer Chris McCrory, who mixed the songs remotely. With respect to not being on someone else’s clock, I could take the time to get things right. With my previous records, there were always moments I thought things weren’t there. With this EP, I had the time to nail everything, as I don’t know if there is anything I could do better.
Do you need a deadline or did the openended nature help you? On that occasion it helped, but I am usually someone who needs a deadline to get over the line. There’s always a tension, a give and take. I am a perfectionist person, and I’ll always think something can be done better. Even the staunchest perfectionist needs a push to get over the line. It showed me that, even when there was no deadline, I could cobble something together in a set time. When I return to working with labels, that will help me be better prepared.
Your debut album The Saccharine Underground has been out for a year and a half. How do you feel about it now? It speaks to how it was written and recorded, which was over a long period of time. I composed a lot of those songs when I was living in London, at uni. I did a lot of writing in London, but not a lot of recording, because it’s so expensive. We were slated to release the album when covid hit. By the time the record came out, a lot of it was five or six years old. I think a lot of the songs stand up and the performances by other musicians are great, but it’s a motley collection of songs. Unlike what I’m doing now, the songs don’t feel as though they live together, and I was keen to amend that on this one. I’m still a firm believer in the album as an art form. There are still tracks I’m very proud of and play to this day, and they’ll stay with me. If people like The Saccharine Underground, I’ll say things will get better from there. Not to wish your life away, but what is next?
The book of the same name is an inspiration, but you don’t need to have read it to recognise the feel and theme of the record. We’re acting in the same way [as the book's antagonist] with a toxic mixture of entitlement, disregard of others and a lack of awareness of consequences of actions. The line in the last song, ‘Disappearing Act’: Just one more last deception before I deceive again. If I could pinpoint a line that sums up the record, it’s that one. The paradoxical display of self-awareness of knowing what you’re doing is wrong but making no effort to stop doing it. We see that a lot in our culture. The Magus was my attempt to process this, seeing it in others, and myself. If straight men like myself are honest, we have engaged in these horrible practices, even unintentionally. Photo credit: Audrey Bizouerne
Most of the songs are written for the next record. When we track it, I want to do so with my current band. I’m playing with the best band I’ve ever played with, and I will die unhappy if we don’t commit something to record. I’m starting to demo that, and my sincere hope is you’ll have it before the end of 2022. Also, there is a more ambitious project, a two-act pop opera called Don Sequitur. That’s inspired by someone I used to know and the delusion that an obsessive knowledge of pop culture can fix all your social and romantic problems. I’m recording this now in Glasgow. The Magus will be released on 4th March Peter Cat will play Nice N Sleazy on 1st April Music by Andrew Reilly Page 29
SNACK SCOTTISH FESTIVALS GUIDE 2022 SPRING / SUMMER
DOUNE THE RABBIT HOLE
Cardross Estate, Stirlingshire 14th till 17th July
Galloway 19th till 22nd May
After its two-year pandemic pause, Scotland’s third largest festival is back with roll-over acts, including Patti Smith, joining an unmissable lineup with eclectic appeal for disco-goers and ravers alike. Where else could you catch classic 90s rave from Utah Saints, 808 State and Orbital live alongside 70s hits by Baccara and Boney M? Maybe a few places, actually, but with John Cale, Camera Obscura, Belle & Sebastian, Peaness, Corto Alto, Honeyblood, Girobabies, Snapped Ankles and more, it's the kind of line-up that only they can pull off.
Scotland’s first and longest-running greenfield world ceilidh festival draws thousands every year to its rural setting with its diverse cultural programming. Its mainstay musical line-up transects and shakes up genres of traditional, world, roots and folk, juxtaposed with everything from electro to dubstep. Hip-hop and rap come from thought-provoking lyricists such as political activist Lowkey, and SAY Awardee MC / vocalist Nova, AKA Nova Scotia the Truth. Festival favourites Mungo’s Hi Fi will serve up Jamaican rhythms to complement the Yardie-style patois of DJ and MC duo L’Entourloop. They co-headline with returnees Afro Celt Sound System, who reprise their popular online 2020 billing.
Main image: Doune the Rabbit Hole 2019, SNACK
Various venues, Glasgow and Paisley 10th-20th March
Various venues, Glasgow 31st March - 3rd April
There aren’t many festivals that would have an internationally renowned composer sharing a bill with Scottish hip-hop and an installation in a Harley-Davidson garage, but organisers Cryptic have never been ones to follow convention. The tenth year of the multidisciplinary arts festival meshes together a programme of mind-bending music and art. With Gavin Bryars conducting his totemic Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet at tramway, Alex Smoke taking over Paisley Abbey, twisted disco from The Golden Filter at The Rum Shack and ‘taste along’ performance Unusual Ingredients, Sonica looks to be a sensory treat. ‘Now more than ever, audiences are looking to have all their senses ravished,’ said Artistic Director Cathie Boyd, ‘and Cryptic couldn’t be more excited to be one of the first big festivals happening in Scotland in 2022.’ This year’s festival will also feature a showcase of artists under 25 and a series of large scale, citywide installations.
Returning for its 11th year, Counterflows will be filling a variety of venues and community spaces in Glasgow’s city centre with adventurous and non-standard music in the first weekend of April. Glasgow-based musicians like the prolific multiinstrumental Richard Youngs and the spidery Still House Plants join a global array of experimental musicians, including Malian electro from DJ Diaki, a sonic noise duo from Spain and the incredible multi-lingual Ugandan MC Yallah & Debmaster. Curated by Alasdair Campbell and Fielding Hope and featuring a ‘pay what you can’ ticket tier for the first time, Counterflows will bring a few days of boundary-pushing club nights, live sets, installations and workshops with a focus on artists and music that defy easy categorisation. counterflows.com
Still House Plants
NOVA FESTIVALS 2022 Page 31
Glasgow Green 8th till 10th July
The Crichton, Dumfries 22nd & 23rd July
With a range of ticket packages already sold out for this year’s all-star instalment, the only way to catch Friday’s headliner Paulo Nutini is to grab a weekender ticket for all three days. New York icons The Strokes will illuminate Saturday’s stellar line up, along with Foals, Self Esteem and doubleentendre queens Wet Leg. Festival favourite Lewis Capaldi heads up Sunday alongside Wolf Alice and Sigrid.
Two days of straight-up fun in the stunning and historic grounds of The Crichton in Dumfries. Heard The Waterboy's classic 'The Whole of the Moon' live yet? Here's your chance. With Alabama 3, Bad Manners, Kyle Falconer, Shambolics, Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5, and I'm A Raver all appearing over the weekend, along with a liberal topping of local talent, you'll be more than set.
JUPITER RISING Just outside Edinburgh 26th till 28th August Wet Leg
RETURN OF THE SLAM TENT Hopetoun House, Edinburgh 29th April till 1st May
jupiterartland.org Photo credit: Aly Wight Photography
Back to delight underground dance audiences after six years is the stuff of rave legend: the Slam tent. Slam DJ duo Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle return to the decks, teaming up with FLY to present an unmissable May Day weekender. The stately environs will welcome Glasgow club favourites Eclair Fifi, Optimo (Espacio), Nightwave, and Gary Beck. Homegrown talent joins international invitees Len Faki, one-time resident DJ at Berghain in Berlin, and French duo Viper Diva, for an unmissable belter of a party.
Set in 125-acres of landscaped gardens, meadows, lakes and jaw-dropping artworks, JUPITER RISING is a cracking small festival (the actual festival site is beautifully compact) where you can truly feel comfortable in your surroundings while checking out an inventive and experimental programme of live music, sound and performance. Camping is provided on-site.
Jupiter Rising @snackmag
STANZA POETRY FESTIVAL
EDINBURGH INTL BOOK FEST
Various venues around St. Andrews 7th till13th March
Edinburgh College of Art, Lauriston Place and online 13th till 29th August
Scotland’s International Poetry Festival is themed ‘Stories like Starting Points’, aligning with funder EventScotland’s ‘Year of Stories 2022’. Via the increasingly common setup of pay-it-forward ticketing, poetry becomes more accessible. stanzapoetry.org
KELBURN GARDEN PARTY Kelburn Estate, Largs 1st till 4th July Plenty of electronica and psychedelia bubbling across this year's Kelburn programme with Max Cooper, Henge, Stanley Odd, Falle Nioke, corto.alto, Moonsoup and OR:LA all on this year's bill. An eclectic focus on new and underground artists continutes. All are acts to look out for in a festival line-up that always delivers something interesting. Bonus points go to Kelburn for one of the most picturesque festival sites around. kelburngardenparty.com
THE GREAT EASTERN & THE GREAT WESTERN Various venues Glasgow
The Edinburgh International Book Festival's packed programme of events, discussions, performances and more will be revealed in early June. Building on a successful first foray into hybrid events last year, this summer’s Book Festival will feature hundreds of events for adults and children, all with in-person audiences; many will also be streamed live on the Book Festival website. This year’s Festival will once again take place at Edinburgh College of Art on Lauriston Place in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town. edbookfest.co.uk
SOUTHSIDE FRINGE Various venues across Glasgow’s Southside May (dates tbc) Since 2013, the Southside of Glasgow has had its own local, not-for-profit, annual art fringe, and the Southside is where it's at these days, eh? Showcasing festival talent across a fortnight, neighbourhood venues are as celebrated as their hosted musicians and other assorted artists. Looking for a 100% community-based festival with bags of heart? This is the one for you. southsidefringe.org.uk
These sisterfestivals are always a good day out. TGE has announced Kathryn Joseph, Anna B Savage, and Soccer96 along with a load of other class acts for 2022. 432presents.com FESTIVALS 2022 Page 33
AFRICA IN MOTION
Glasgow October 2022 (dates tba)
Various venues, Glasgow and Edinburgh October (dates tbc)
The non-profit, Glasgow-based Film Festival’s curated programme of film with LGBTQIA+ influences is aligned with its aims of increasing reach, conversation, and accessibility for queer film in Scotland.
Since 2006, AiM has engaged and entertained diverse film audiences, including the African diaspora community, through its annual film festival, which has seen over 900 screenings of enlightening cinema from Africa.
GLASGOW FILM FESTIVAL
Various venues, Glasgow 2nd till 13th of March
Various venues, Edinburgh 12th till 20th of August
Despite the GFF’s fantastic events from previous years still not making a comeback, this year's line up is immensely exciting. Our top picks are Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou’s newest offering One Second, and Scotland’s own stars Peter Capaldi and Jack Lowden playing poet Siegfried Sassoon in Benediction.The festival continues to inspire a love for the diversity of world cinema, as evidenced by one of the spotlights being on African film.
We remain hopeful of a return to the debaucherous mayhem of the pre-covid Edinburgh International Film Festival this year, with parties and starstudded events and premiers a go-go. It’s a shining jewel in the Scottish calendar, one that brings all kinds of talent from Seoul to Timbuktu. Previous guests of recent years have included Kevin Smith and Richard E. Grant, and with covid looking to be much less of a hurdle, we are sure to see more folks of their calibre.
GSFF Various venues, Glasgow 23rd till 27th of March At the forefront of the short film form for many years, the GSFF makes an in-person comeback that looks tantalising. Opening film The Timekeepers of Eternity reimagines a lost Stephen King mini-series into an animated nightmare. Strands such as Eco-Spectrality and TechnoFix explore colonialism, technology and the otherworldly. Get your thinking cap on for this intellectually stimulating celebration of the short film form.
HAVANA FILM FESTIVAL Glasgow (dates tbc)
The Timekeepers of Eternity
Glasgow is twinned with Havana, and since 2014 the festival has been celebrating Cuban film and revealing the links between our two cultures. If you want to attend a film festival that’s a little different and fuelled by passion, here you go. hgfilmfest.com
SCOTLAND LOVES ANIME
Macrobert Art Centre, Stirling (dates tbc)
Glasgow & Edinburgh –October (dates tbc)
If documentaries are your thing, look no further than the Central Scotland Documentary Film Festival, showcasing the best of the year worldwide. Last year for the first time, the festival invited film-makers to submit their work. That looks set to continue this year, which will lead to some gems of films being discovered, and their off-the-beaten-track subjects illuminated.
Who doesn’t like Japanese anime? Since the 80s and the explosion of the style with the legendary Akira, audiences can’t get enough of the invention and transcendent beauty at play. This festival has been on the go for a number of years now, and always plays to packed houses. Expect the cream of the crop when it comes to new releases and old classics.
lovesanimation.com FESTIVALS 2022 Page 35
SANDS St. Andrews was overdue for building on the success of its university’s bold transnational cinema-focused Department of Film Studies, and now we have the debut year of its own film festival, Sands. Nine fiction and nonfiction films will be showcased, with a focus on first-time directors, many of them homegrown talent. The town will be buzzing with filmmakers and industry folk, so if you want your visit to St Andrews to be a little different and to catch some inventive filmmaking, here’s your chance. On the documentary side, Chinese American director Jessica Kingdon’s Ascension uncovers modern China’s capitalist and consumer society. With an approach akin to the ground-breaking Koyaanisqatsi, the film focuses on expertly framed and edited images, with no voiceover. A darkly humorous and surreal, yet ominous, window into the excess of today’s culture. Alan Cumming has been praised across the board for his performance in Jono McLeod’s My
Old School, a doc/animation film that tells the story of fraudster Brian Mackinnon, also known as Brandon Lee. Many will remember his story from the mid 90s, when he posed as a teenager and attended Bearsden Academy, when he was in fact 30 years old. Cumming sits in for Lee, who refused to be filmed but is interviewed, and his classmates and teachers are featured. A charming mix of old school animation and inventive documentary style, the film will have you gasping at the true story told. Fiction efforts Hive and Queen of Glory add a healthy diversity to the films chosen, with the latter an award-winning indie about a Ghanaian American woman’s journey to embrace her immigrant identity. Hive meanwhile concentrates on a Kosovan woman who must face family tragedy and the complexities of a patriarchal society. This film truly broke my heart, and is pure, vital film-making of the highest order. A bona fide Hollywood talent will appear in person at the festival in the shape of Joe Russo, co-director of Avengers: Endgame, and the industry events will include talks by filmmakers such as Jono McLeod. Festival director Ania Trzebiatowska conveys the passion of those involved: ‘If audiences have half as much fun watching the programme as we had making it, then I’m sure we will be in for a fantastic festival.’ With Scottish film Long Live My Happy Head, where an artist with a terminal brain tumour explores his own mortality through comics, plus Spanish absurdist comedy El Planeta on show, the festival is sure to delight those who like to immerse themselves in the diverse nature of the medium. Sands: International Film Festival of St Andrews 2022 will run from 25th till 27th of March
Queen of Glory sands-iff.com snackmag.co.uk
HIPPFEST The talkies take a back seat as the Hippodrome Silent Film Festival returns to Bo’ness Cinema for an in-person showcase. Silent-era movies get a new lease of life on the big screen, accompanied by live scores, in a packed programme featuring rescheduled presentations from 2020’s line up and brand new commissions. There’s a focus on celebrating the legendary stories and talents of the silent era, both already known and yet to be discovered by the masses, with queens and women claiming plenty of programme space. The opening of the festival, on March 16, presents the world premiere of a new restoration of 1923’s The Loves of Mary, Queen of Scots. Chronicling the life of one of Scotland’s most celebrated historical figures, Mary Stuart, the film is preceded by an illustrated talk from Scottish International Storytelling Festival director Donald Smith, showcasing the passionate, headstrong queen of legend.
Other big names on the silver screen are Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Douglas Fairbanks, Lon Chaney and Gloria Swanson. And there are plenty of live appearances to look out for too. Live highlights include storyteller Marion Kenny and Scottish folk singer Mairi Campbell, musical accompaniment to FW Murnau's City Girl from The Dodge Brothers (plus Mark Kermode in conversation), and live narration of L'Homme du large from actor Paul McGann. With screenings varying from the uncensored Belgian version of Herbert Wilcox’s Dawn – one of the most controversial films of the 1920s – to the swashbuckling adventures of original caped crusader Don Diego Vega in The Mark of Zorro, it’s a line-up with something to suit and surprise all. HippFest runs from 16th till 20th March, Bo'ness
Image courtesy of Park Circus and Warner Bros Studios
On Thursday audiences will be transported around the world, in seven films with a specially curated programme marking the 90th anniversary of the Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. Friday celebrates the silver starlets of the silent era with a specially curated Nasty Women Gender Rebels double-bill of gender hijinks. On Saturday, the BFI National Archive’s Bryony Dixon invites you to hear more about British screenwriter Lydia Hayward’s outstanding contribution to silent film, and in the evening Jonny Best provides live piano accompaniment to Tod Browning’s 1927 jarringly macabre drama, The Unknown, featuring soon-to-be superstar Joan Crawford.
Festival Guide contributors: Chris Queen, Yasmin Ali, Martin Sandison, Lindsay Corr and Kenny Lavelle FESTIVALS 2022 Page 37
Photo credit: Foodie Explorers
VEGAN FONDUE snackmag.co.uk
Fondue, warmed gooey cheese served in a pot for dipping skewers of bread, meat or vegetables into, is designed to be shared with your partner or friends and is a Swiss creation. It comes from the french verb, ‘fondre’ meaning ‘to melt’, and similar to many other foods which are now held in high regard like haggis, cassoulet or bouillabaisse, fondue is likely to have been a peasant dish originally, a means to use up stale bread and cheese which is past its best. For this recipe, we are creating something similar in taste, colour and texture to cheese, but keeping it 100% vegan. It’s also gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free and alcohol-free. As for what to dip into the fondue: well, pretty much anything. We’ve tried baby gherkins, roast / boiled potatoes, mushrooms, olives, cherry tomatoes, carrots, sliced red pepper, and of course bread. If you don’t have a proper fondue pot you can improvise with a regular pot, some forks, and a tea light food warmer or camping stove.
METHOD ▌ Chop the peeled potato into chunks of about ––an inch in size. ▌ Add the potato to a pot of boiling water. ▌ Add the chickpeas to the pot of boiling water. ▌ Lower the heat to a simmer. ▌ Cover and cook for 15 minutes. ▌ Drain the potato and chickpeas. ▌ Place the potato and chickpeas into a blender.
1 teaspoon oil (any will do)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized potato, peeled
▌ Add the yeast, cornflour, onion powder, miso
1 can (240g) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
▌ Add the oil and garlic to the empty pot and fry
––broth and garlic to the blender. ▌ Blend until the sauce is smooth.
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
3 tablespoons cornflour
––for a couple of minutes.
1 teaspoon onion powder
▌ Add salt and pepper if required.
2 tablespoons miso broth
▌ Transfer to a fondue pot and serve with
▌ Add the sauce back to the pot and heat through
whatever raw and steamed veggies you like. Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 39
FOODIE NEWS EDINBURGH The newest vegan kids on the block, Typhoon Ten are popping up in two locations currently: The Mad Hatter in Haymarket and Home in Tollcross. Their hand-made seitan burgers and BBQ jackfruit loaded fries are delicious and affordably priced. Check their Facebook or Instagram account, @typhoon.ten, to find out when they pop up. What was Lebowski's on Morrison Street is now The Festival again (this is what the pub was called up until 2009, before Lebowski’s took over). It’s now run by Belhaven, offering a typical pub menu but with more emphasis on live music and DJs than your typical chain pub. Jollibee is a Filipino fast-food chain that combines chicken and spaghetti to create something which they call ‘chicken joy’. So a bit like KFC, but with an anthropomorphic bee wearing a chef’s hat in place of Colonel Sanders. They are now open at 136 Princes Street. They will also be opening a restaurant in Glasgow, where Burger King used to be on the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Renfield Street, on Friday 25th March.
GLASGOW Following the success of adult-only gaming bar NQ64 on Lothian Road in Edinburgh, a brand new NQ64 is opening on Friday 18th March in the basement of Merchant Square, at the old Distrikt nightclub on Bell Street. It will feature a selection of new and old arcade games and pinball machines, to be enjoyed with craft beer and game-themed cocktails. nq64.co.uk
Hard Rock Cafe have always been known for messy burgers, but for a limited time in March, they will also be known for Messi burgers. That is, burgers made in tribute to Argentine football legend Lionel Messi, comprising some of his favourite ingredients like steak, provolone cheese and chorizo, but will this burger be the greatest of all time? Probably not, but there's only one way to find out for sure. Cail Bruich will be opening Shucks, another new venue, opposite Epicures, which they also run, where Nick’s Bar & Diner used to be on Hyndland Road. As the name alludes to, it will be serving up oysters (shuck means to remove a shell or outer covering), fish and shellfish with an emphasis on local suppliers and Scottish produce. They open on Wednesday 30th March. shucksglasgow.com
Every whisky drinker knows about Bushmills, right? But did you know there’s actually a whiskey distillery in Belfast? Samuel Gelston's, opened by its nakesake in 1830, was purchased by Harry Neill when Samuel died in 1869, with the brand remaining in the Neill family ever since. In 2016, the business was revived by Harry’s great, great-grandson, Johnny Neill, the same Johnny Neill who founded gin brand Whitley Neill. Six different expressions are available with three of them picking up awards at the 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Edinburgh brewers Vault City Brewing have become the first UK brewery to implement a fourday working week permanently. This follows a successful eight-month trial where staff extolled the benefits of increased flexibility, improved mental health and job performance. To back up the success of the experiment, production is up, turnover is up, the team has increased in size during that time, and they’ve just opened a bar, The Wee Vault, at Haymarket. vaultcity.co.uk
To celebrate their 90th birthday, confectioner Lees of Scotland have teamed up with Glasgow’s Drygate brewery, to brew a 7.5% coconut and mallow chocolate milk stout. Dark and toasty with hints of vanilla and a sweet, soft mallow taste. Pair with a Lees snowball for maximum enjoyment. drygate.com
Food and Drink by Mark & Emma, Foodie Explorers Page 41
Image courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment
THE HOUSE BUNNY It has been a minute since we chose a contemporary cult classic to be inducted into the (Not) Gay Movie Club, the premise of which is to celebrate films with no immediate LGBTQ+ themes or characters but which still appeal to queer audiences or enjoy a queer subtext. We thought our trip down memory lane would be a little shorter this month, moseying all the way back to 2008 (which was longer ago than I realised when writing this), to commemorate a fish-out-of-water caper, The House Bunny. The House Bunny details the trials and tribulations of a former Playboy bunny, Shelley, who signs up to be the 'house mother' of a unpopular university sorority after finding out she must leave the Playboy Mansion following a cruel prank from a bitter bunny rival. Her dreams of being a double-spread model are thwarted, and Shelley realigns her focus, finding solace in a group of misfits in dire need of a fairy godmother. Her unconventional methods get off to a rocky start, but – SPOILER ALERT –she both learns from the girls and teaches the girls how to be the best version of themselves. Hilarity and good-natured shenanigans ensue.
Anna Faris has delivered some spectacular (and high camp) performances throughout her career: Cindy from the Scary Movie franchise comes to mind, as well as Erica from Friends. Faris has no fear – she commits to every ridiculous facet of her character and delivers every absurdity with the utmost sincerity. Her slapstick is outrageously physical, and the prep it must have taken to really embody a Playboy bunny must have been arduous. Criminally underrated. Faris campaigned heavily to make this film work and The House Bunny is really her brainchild: it is impossible to imagine any other actor bringing Shelley to life.
The film’s script reads like a hyper-feminine Airplane or Naked Gun: no play on words is too stupid. While instructing her ardent followers on how best to apply their eye makeup, Shelley reminds them, in what may be the best line of the film, that 'the eyes are the nipples of the face.' No pun left unturned (‘This is not a brothel.' 'Oh, I’m not looking to make soup.'), Faris provokes belly laughs amidst a fairly pedestrian plot. And the cast, surprisingly, is full to the brim with comedic talent: Emma Stone, Kat Dennings, and Katherine McPhee are part of Shelley’s house and go above and beyond to elevate the script – the best lines, justly, are reserved for the leading lady, but as then-newcomers, they succeed, compared to some of their onscreen counterparts. Oh, and Beverley D’Angelo plays the cartoon-villain bitch Mrs. Hagstrom, the Phi Iota Mu godmother who wants to put an end to the Zeta girls. There is nothing gayer than trying to convince others that a public figure like Beverly D’Angelo is a gay icon, and this is a hill I will die on proudly. The House Bunny flirts with being pure satire, but doesn’t completely buy into the message you want it to. The film vaguely critiques the pitfalls of Playboy but never really addresses the gross misogyny often related to the grotto, the publication, and its founder. At times, the jokes aren’t barbed enough, and the debate around whether the bunnies are really that autonomous is never sufficiently addressed, even for a fluffy film like The House Bunny. And even with Shelley’s self-confidence and powerful sense of worth regarding her appearance (Faris looks unbelievable, by the way, like a cartoon come to life), there is still something a little jarring about seeing the women of the house become Bratz dolls, objectified by the men around them and indeed the audience.
The film doesn’t quite strike the balance enough to make the commentary we think it wants to make. But can we really expect biting commentary from a film whose working title was I Know What Boys Like? So, one must question what it is about The House Bunny that fulfils the criteria as our (Not) Gay Movie of the month. The answer lies in Shelley, an eternal optimist in the endless pursuit of family, investing everything in her surrogate daughters and finding purpose. She doesn’t fit in anywhere she goes – more bunny than human outside the mansion, too human for the grotto – and life deals her a raw hand, yet she bounces back nonetheless. Shelley muses, 'Kindness is just love with its work boots on.' And she’s not wrong. Who can argue with that? The analogy is dreadful, but her heart is in the right place (her head). The House Bunny may not be the perfect movie, but its message – if you look really, really hard into it – and its performances make this film more fun and thoughtful than one may initially consider, and definitely tick the boxes required to be inducted into our prestigious, illustrious cinema selection. Shelley is such an innocent, earnest hero for the piece, and Anna Faris so painfully funny, that it is impossible to resist her charm. And her struggle proves an interesting commentary on how ageing women are mistreated in the entertainment industry. But ultimately, this is Faris’ chance to do what she does best and act the fool in what is probably her best role. Oh, and am I the only person who can’t not meet a new person by repeating their name in a low, demonic voice? Just me?
LGBT+ by Jonny Stone Page 43
Track by Track: The Moth Necropolis Sloth Metropolis So, we’ll clear up the extensive disclosure required straight away in as chatty and casual a manner as possible, in order to make you feel comfortable with my personal admissions rather than challenging your credulity. I first became aware of Sloth Metropolis because I became friends with, and occasionally jam with, their drummer, Steve McNamara. What has kept me coming back to their shows and listening to their records is, well … everything else. Sloth live is an experience. I know writers use that type of term willy-nilly, but it’s actually valid when faced with the range and relative incongruity of the music being played almost as a soundtrack to the outfitted, anthropomorphic Sloths, Demons and assorted other mythical guests playing out ritualised acts and interdimensional combat. On record, they don’t really have any direct peers and resist being easily assigned a single genre like prog, folk, doom, or any other fourletter metaphorical umbrella. Each Sloth record proudly boasts in its sleeve notes that ‘no guitars were harmed in the recording of this album’ and it’s a necessary caveat, as Calum Calderwood’s snackmag.co.uk
electric violin (put through a familiarly formed pedal board) has the ability to sound like multiple guitars, while maintaining the ability to make dramatic and ambient sounds no guitar could ever manage. The storytelling element of their gigs is reflected in their recorded output: their first three albums, The Sloth Cycle Volume I, Origins, and Humanise (released via Bad Elephant Records), dealt with the eponymous Sloth of the Metropolis, his occult connections, and his extended journey into his ultimate triumph of becoming bipedal and no longer wearing a dressing gown all day.
The new album was approached from a slightly different developmental process to previous efforts, with less of a focus on the songs being jammed out into precise forms in a rehearsal room and more use of samples and recycling earlier free-jams. The outcome of this is fewer prog-like time changes and Zappa-like time signatures and more of a groovy, psychedelic freak-out vibe. As if to prove this point early, opener, ‘Fungus’ clocks in at just under ten minutes while rarely straying from a locked-in beat; however, the tempo does seem to increase throughout as the intensity deepens. Calum’s violin parts, at some points purely atmospheric and at others utterly shredding over Peter Fleming’s bass, sound incredible, while Alastair Milton’s keys move to centre stage for the last two minutes. The way the band seem to naturally build and retract the music’s composite parts is the result of four people well used to reacting to and playing with each other over many years. In terms of the overall, larger story we’re looking at here, there’s a new protagonist in the SMEU (Sloth Metropolis Extended Universe) and he lends his name to ‘Moth’, an ambitious twelveand-a-half-minute collision of layered percussion and what sounds like some sort of hybrid between a harmonica and a set of bagpipes. The last two minutes collapse in a cacophony befitting visions of black-and-white mushroom clouds.
‘Bacterium’ is another track clocking in at longer than it takes to boil four eggs consecutively, but it earns its runtime. Starting with a fuzzy bassline hypnotically looping over a riff most bands would make the main hook of a song, it traverses through haunting choral sounds into an unsettling breakdown that kicks back in precisely when you would want it to. Despite its organic structure, this is the closest the band sound to the likes of Gong. Lead single ‘Starseed’ (at least, I hope it’s the lead single – the other contender is ‘Moth’ which possibly wouldn’t fit on both sides of a traditional seven inch) is the most uptempo track on the album, giving the feeling of a primitive knees-up to celebrate emerging unscathed from the Necropolis. The pulsing rhythm and spiralling organ parts are enough to make you dance yourself into a druidic plane – part fear, part euphoria. Is this record their best yet? Well, not quite. I still think Humanise is my favourite, but The Moth Necropolis contains enough in its five lengthy tracks to take the band on the type of directional narrative journey usually undertaken by the Sloth mascot in the live shows. If you get the chance to see them in your town, telling tales of denim axes and dusty books, you won’t regret taking it. The Moth Necropolis is out now on Nasomi Records
The moth is being pursued by some sort of private investigator obsessed with Timothy Leary. ‘Flea’ either references this guy or some sort of reanimation ceremony. This is possibly the most experimental sounding the band have ever been. Its beat, which never quite resolves itself, and a good chunk of the mix is devoted to the sound of a decaying synth seemingly spitting out white noise as some sort of defiant death rattle.
Music by Stephen McColgan Page 45
SNACK BITS Understandably, we’ve spent most of the run-up to this issue digging out Mark Lanegan records, but as true professionals, SNACK Bits is back to help you catch up with the latest Scottish music releases. Let’s hit the city. Peter Cat is back, as you should already be aware of thanks to his interview earlier in this month’s mag. The Magus EP will be available as you read this. Anyone who loved the debut album, The Saccharine Underground, should be prepared for a massive sidestep, but it still moves forward. As with most issues in life, things aren’t always as they seem, but that’s not always a bad point.
Music can be uplifting, but it also has a power which means it can deliver messages and support in a way many other mediums cannot comprehend. Maranta, from Edinburgh, serve up ‘My Man’ which in their words is a ‘analogue-synth-powered shock-pop bop all about difficult things’. And they’re right, and it’s important to talk about these matters, even more so when the song is such a strong vessel for the missive. We missed ‘Goodnight Maria’ by Peplo in January, but why should you be punished for our oversights at the start of the year? It’s a big pop tune with loads of ambition, cloaked in a shy and soft overcoat. No matter your mood, it should connect. If you’re looking for a jangly number that can’t quite shake off the scent of Madchester, ‘Sold’ by Moody Moody is likely to be your bag…or baggy. Squiggles kick into ‘This is a Wake Up Call’ with a Pixies reference and then the rest of the song rattles through US indie-rock callouts and styles like your dad rifling through your playlist to find that one song he likes. Helmed by Niall McCamley, the drummer from The Spook School, this is a handy primer for the debut EP which is scheduled for an April release. Squiggles
Pretty Preachers Club
We don’t really go in for the sermons of religious people in our music review section, regardless of how attractive they claim to be, but that form goes out of the window thanks to the new release by Pretty Preachers Club. ‘GRLfriend’ is the recent single, and it’s a cheery and honest number, with a chorus begging for an audience.
And seeing as we’re wishing our life away by looking forward to April already, there’s no bad time to start getting excited over This Rock, the debut album by Jill Lorean. When you consider the individual players involved with this record, also including Andy Monaghan (Frightened Rabbit), that it’s more than the sum of those parts should be all the build-up this album needs. And if you’re planning for May, you’re more optimistic than us, but fair play to you. C Duncan will be back with a new record, Alluvium, at the start of that month, but there’s a slice of ‘Heaven’ now for those who can’t wait that long. The album teaser is a highly polished synth pop that follows the path of being acceptable in the 80s, and positively encouraged in the 20s. We were delighted to see the live debut of Upturned Boats, supporting Randolph’s Leap at Stereo. If you’ve missed the beguiling and tentative majesty of State Broadcasters, but also wanted crunching guitars and meandering banjo in the mix, make some room in your heart. Psweatpants' 'Candid' is a tiny slice of tightly focused hip hop from Glasgow. It comes in at a fraction over 2 min, complete with only a pensive piano lick and crisp beats, allowing his confident vocal to take centre-stage. And of course, we’re still running our ‘Get Back Anonymous Club’ for those pining for the chance to view that documentary for the first time all over again. If you're on the chase, keep an eye out for the upcoming Biffy Clyro documentary, Cultural Sons of Scotland. At SNACK, we believe there’s nothing like a good music documentary.
‘I’d stop and talk to the girls who work this street, but I’ve got business further down’.
SNACK Bits by Andrew Reilly Page 47
ANDRÉS N. ORDORICA
Poetry collection: At Least This I Know
Book: Good Intentions
Poetry, at its best, makes you reflect upon yourself as much, or more, as on the poet. Andrés N. Ordorica’s debut collection does just that. The central theme is about belonging and many of the different ways that idea manifests itself. The judicious structure leads to potentially multiple readings. There is a linear narrative, from the poet’s earliest memories to the recent past, as well as looking towards the future, but sections are also themed with reference to ‘growing’, ‘losing’, ‘giving’, and ‘loving’. It is the last of these which bursts from At Least This I Know.
Kasim Ali's debut, Good Intentions, is an exploratory and emotional novel about a young man who has kept a romance hidden from his parents, unintentionally affecting many in his path, as he makes presumptions about the perception of his life decisions. It's the countdown to midnight on New Year's Eve and Nur eventually plucks the courage to tell his parents that he's seeing someone, four years after they initially began dating. As a young British Pakistani man, Nur has spent years living a hidden life, which ultimately comes with an anticipated but equally unexpected cost.
The poems are honest and open, often confronting painful and even traumatic experiences, but there is a joy of life that accompanies even these. The opening poem ‘November 16th, 2014’, works as the perfect introduction as ‘Andrés’ has to answer a number of questions to be allowed through immigration. The poem is at turns angry, funny, thoughtful, and smart – terms which can be applied to the collection as a whole. There is more than a hint of Edwin Morgan on display, so it’s only a slight surprise to read ‘fresas’, which is inspired by Morgan’s poem ‘Strawberries’. With At Least This I Know, Andrés N. Ordorica’s offers a poetry collection which is sensual, sensitive, witty, and warm, and which makes you understand the world, and yourself, a little better. At Least This I Know is published by 404 Ink Alistair Braidwood
An insecure college student, Nur is a character we’ve seen time and time again. It’s an emotive if awkward novel that flits throughout time. Ali effectively brings us into Nur’s life, and his relationship with Yasmina, as it develops, moving from libraries and cramped coffee shops to an apartment they share together. Ultimately, it’s his insecurity that leads to the eventual conclusion of the novel, rendering it conceivable, adding depth. Deftly transporting readers across the course of the novel, this novel exposes with genuine authenticity the complexities of immigrant families and racial prejudice. A complex, wry depiction of coming into adulthood, Ali forces us to consider the traps that are laid out for many as they become more acquainted with themselves within their heritage. Good Intentions is published 3rd March by 4th Estate Keira Brown
MALKA X AMUNDA
Single: On the Up A blistering pop floor-filler with echoes of 00s Xenomania and the Sugababes at their untouchable peak, ‘On The Up’ is a pure rush of joyous feminist power: ‘‘feeling on top because we earned it’. The latest release from the Hen Hoose collective for International Women’s Day struts like the cool kid sneaking a smoke in the corner of the club before dominating the dancefloor.
Single: First Hand Arrogance There’s breathless energy to this song, in its pace but also in its confidence. For a debut single, Brontës burst out of the blocks with purpose and vigour. Don’t dwell on their youth: it’s a song with swagger, great guitar licks and that underlying drive that has fuelled New Wave, Funk and all manner of nights out that straddle the divide between great and good. The vocals sit well in the mix, but that makes the casual oohs even punchier when they drop. That’s a deft touch that makes for a more significant impact.
‘On The Up’ is released 8th March on Tantrum Records Chris Queen
It’s not as if a Scottish audience needs a reason to get on the dancefloor for a local act, but here, you’re at least doing it for all the right musical reasons. As initial statements go, there’s a whole lot of intent from this Glasgow band, and let’s hope there is much more to come. ‘First Hand Arrogance’ was released on 22nd February on LNFG Andrew Reilly
STRANGE BLUE DREAMS Single: Simple Machine Glasgow quintet The Strange Blue Dreams have awoken, with new single ‘Simple Machine’. It’s a bitter-sweet and cool affair with a different vibe from the band’s previous output, ditching the surf rock for a distinctly New Orleanian, bluesy sound. ‘Simple Machine’ is out March 4th on Holy Smokes Records Dom Cassidy email@example.com Page 49
Album: Wild Loneliness
Single: Swamp Monster Coming on like a fifteen-eyed mucus-dripping beast from the B-movies, ‘Swamp Monster’, from Glasgow artist/producer Hugh Holton, is a confidence-boosting ode to being yourself, even if your teeth are green. A goofy and glorious festival anthem in waiting, with the aesthetics of Adventure Time and an unabashed 90s hip-hop assurance. The track has been out for a while now but well worth highlighting again for its excellent video, which is out on 2nd March via YouTube. Go check it out – it’ll light up your day.
‘I sleep like a dog’, says Mac McCaughan, ‘every sound scares me to waking’. The righteous anger of 2018’s What a Time To Be Alive has mellowed, but his outlook is still erring towards the anxious – drinking through the news, trying to find a grip he’s not sure he ever had. The ghosts of the past crowd the edges of an album filled with wistful longing, looking for little moments of pleasure in the ‘nonsense and banana bread’ to keep the price of unkept promises at bay. ‘1980 piling on; 2000 asking why I’m stalling.’ Songs that on first listen seem like flashes of bright teenage optimism hide a contemplative search for peace and meaning. ‘Is this the year the leaves won’t lose their colour?’ he asks over the Byrds and Big Star harmonies of ‘Endless Summer’, making it clear that the California he’s evoking is not the one of Brian Wilson’s beaches but of the forest fires and crumbling down towns where the kids are ‘Starbucks smarter’. Superchunk have been at the centre of this kind of shimmering guitar pop since the 90s and here they’re joined by a few fellow travellers. There’s Mike Mills and Franklin Bruno on the optimistic lift of single ‘On The Floor’, while contributions from Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley , Sharon Van Etten, and Tracyanne Campbell all pepper the remainder of the album. While there’s a worldweariness to it and a feeling of aimless wandering through the city at night that they share with Merge labelmates The Clientele, they always come back to a melodic core. Some beautifully lyrical guitar lines imbue a sense of possibility; of finding chinks of light and joy in an uncertain world.
‘Swamp Monster’ is out now [self released] Chris Queen
ATOM EYES Single: Building Blocks If this sublime neo-soul track was a drink, I wouldn’t pour a glass: I’d fill a pool and practice my breaststroke. Gorgeous vocals are layered beautifully and outstanding jazzy instrumentals tie together sweetly. Close your eyes for but a moment and you may find yourself sitting amidst red velvet booths, simple cocktails, and tobacco smoke. ‘Building Blocks’ is wholeheartedly joyful: do yourself a favour and check this track out, and form an orderly queue for whatever comes next. 'Building Blocks' is out now [self released] Dom Cassidy
Wild Loneliness is out 24th February on Merge Records Chris Queen snackmag.co.uk
IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE
Single: Broken Biscuits The fourth song from the Dance Yourself Free EP, ‘Broken Biscuits' sees Vasmant continue her advocacy for the city’s flourishing jazz scene, with a groove-focused tune centering Nadya Albertsson’s trancelike vocal. Featuring a group of talented musicians from a session recorded in a single night, the cut-up broken beats and bass layering in a solid core let the cosmic brass and voice intertwine and pull away, into a dreamy, sun-soaked float over the world.
Single: Protection From Evil
‘Broken Biscuits’ is out now on Tru Thoughts. The Dance Yourself Free EP is a limited release of 500 for Record Store Day 2022 Chris Queen
Ahead of the release of their fourth, and potentially most progressive album, electronic afro-funk ensemble Ibibio Sound Machine have released this new dynamic single, ‘Protection From Evil’. Featuring Hot Chip’s Al Doyle on production, the track sees London-born Nigerian frontwoman Eno Williams speaking in tongues as she utters cryptic and ancient-sounding magic over a glistening futurist beat. It also features a searing synth line that you could use to de-flea an elephant. Tense electro-disco fun. ‘Protection From Evil’ is out now on Merge Records Aisha Fatunmbi-Randall
Assai Records Edition
． ［ ＞ Ｋ ５ ﻣ ﻢ ５ﻩ ［٬ Ｆ［ ٬５٬ ［٬ ［ﻢ ٬ﻶ ٬Ｍﻺ Ｓ）ﻰ
５Ｃ ﻹﻡ ﻶＪ［ ＳＧ［ﻼ５ ﻭ Ｓ ٬ﻸ
Assai Records Edition
firstname.lastname@example.org Page 51
THE WIFE GUYS OF REDDIT MALKA Single: Pig Fat Despite having formed only in the globally restrictive maelstrom that was 2020, TWGOR have managed an impressive rate of output already, with a couple of singles and last year’s accomplished Wet and Tired EP. Their reputation is gaining some momentum, which will only be bolstered if you get the chance to catch them in their live habitat.‘Pig Fat’ is heavier and more frenetic than most of their previous releases. Guitarist/vocalist Arion Xenos (who can flick between using a plectrum and finger-picking arpeggio) showcases a formidable stack of overdrive effects on his tone, while the trademark dovetailing vocals with bassist Niamh MacPhail provide a gasket-like release. There is a natural chemical balance between the four of them which other bands must envy. Elise Atkinson’s drumming can impressively move from fluid to rigid and the multi-instrumental inputs of Angus Fernie always feel balanced. TWGOR are quite hard to pigeonhole and best sit under their own tag of ‘Soupy Rock’. Whether they realise it or not, they have a natural bluesy undercurrent and, playing live, they bring to mind The Von Bondies and the cool ‘Scottish Sonic Youth’ stylings of Urusei Yatsura. It’s too early to say definitively, but, if they keep it up, they might well end up my favourite band. ‘Pig Fat’ is out 25 February [self released] Stephen McColgan
Single: Not Alone Sometimes, you need to hear others are in the same boat as you. Those of us who lived/loved/ endured the 90s know full well you should never put your heart in a rock and roll band, but these are different times. Artists like MALKA have already worked wonders in ensuring people know there’s always a place for them and that others feel the same. Therefore, it should be no surprise that the singer has detailed her struggle with Long COVID in a way that reaches out to people. ‘Not Alone’ is a polite pop song rather than one that makes you dance, sing, or shout. However, it still has a chorus that will bury itself in your mind. That should be enough to like what’s on offer, but if the words help someone seek help or help others, its impact reaches much further than its duration. ‘Not Alone’ was released on 22nd February Andrew Reilly
ASTROTURF INSPECTOR Album: My Bones Are Singing Astroturf Inspector’s debut album, My Bones are Singing, is an introverted affair. With roots in the offbeat psych-folk of Syd Barrett, songwriter Daniel Crichton used the instruments around him, along with some household objects for percussion, to produce an album of reflection and revelation inspired by the loneliness of lockdown. Written and recorded in his bedroom in Leith, the homebaked nature gives a surprisingly unsettling texture to some very personal songwriting with real strength and depth of insight. My Bones Are Singing is out 8th April on New Teeth Chris Queen
Single: Figures The name Eurotoire might not be familiar to you, but as this track features SNACK favourite Raveloe teaming up with Dutch folk singer Tamara van Esch, it’s got our attention, and it should grab yours. A marauding bassline swiftly joins the quirky steps of the intro, and before you know it, a song of menace and bite has wrapped itself around you. The distorted and slightly disorientating backing makes the perfect platform for a piece focusing on the world's pressure and displacement of womxn.
EP: Death Drive Death Drive is the debut release of Dreamwreck, but the artists themselves are no strangers to the Scottish music and art scene. The haunting vocals of Cosima Cobley Carr provide a smoother entry to the work of Canaan Balsam, both artists enhancing what the other brings.
With a multi-person shout-along chorus in place, you’d need to have a heart of stone to be unmoved by ‘Figures’. Just as you find the groove, the abrupt ending can only beg for repeated plays and listens. The Eurotoire album On A Red Thursday is released on 9th March, and is shaping up to be a strong collaborative effort from musicians of various backgrounds. ‘Figures’ was released on 25th February with Louvana Records Andrew Reilly
At nearly eight minutes long, ‘Appears To Be Living’ is the centrepiece of the EP, featuring soothing orchestral sounds pierced with unexpected child narratives and robotic intonation catching you off guard, albeit then collecting you before you land. ‘Mirror’ perhaps suggests what might have transpired if The Factory dreamers had hearts and minds from this side of the Atlantic. The musical backing of ‘Pills’, the closing track of the release, offers a hopeful lilt to the footsteps many take when managing their toils and troubles. An ambient rumination on human behaviour isn’t for everyone, but it could hit the spot for you. Death Drive was released on 25th February with Modern Obscure Music Andrew Reilly
Photo credit: Stelios Demetriou
email@example.com Page 53
POWDER TRACKS Fade my hair to flour, dry / soft malleable days of power / when snow and dimes and car insurance never mattered. we walked in circles on the years, your boots / my sandals tracking mud from that May when the tornado came / the sky turned green beneath our feet, passing hours guessing our thoughts and adding ice cubes to tea. Steam fills me with peppermint nostalgia. You’re the heavy cream / I’m still writing to you over thousands of miles of memories, watching the auditions of my life / waiting, / wondering / will anyone walk over the water tower and grab a pair of needles and dare to put their feet in our footprints?
THE ﬁnal album the ﬁnal shows out 18.03.22 16.03.22 17.03.22 19.03.22
yes, manchester oslo, london swg3, glasgow