Holyesque at The Old Hairdressers

Let me start where I will finish. With Holyesque we are witnessing one of, if not the, best bands in the country.

At the band’s intimate launch party for debut album ‘At Hopes Ravine’ at the Old Hairdressers in Glasgow, those lucky enough to be in attendance were treated to a masterclass in the delivery of angular, cinematic anthems given extra resonance by the snug surroundings.

The gallery-like quality of the venue proved the perfect location for the event, with band members Keir Reid and Ralph Mclure – who both study at Glasgow School of Art – taking advantage to adorn the walls with some stunning album related art work, with each print symbolising a word from each track on the record.

A playback of ‘At Hopes Ravine’ whet everyone’s appetite before the band took to the corner of the room to play what was an intense and thoroughly impressive set. Bar a minor technical error on the first song, the band proceeded to rip through At Hopes Ravine in full, track after track.

 

Doing so helped to elevate the album’s quality as a work of stunning depth and multiplicity, as ‘Prism’s animalistic swathe of fuzzy guitars almost incinerated the ear drums of the crowd stood at close quarters, while follow-up ‘Rose’ showcased the weighty substance of Keir Reid’s synth driven tones to the post-punk four piece.

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The double whammy of Silences and then Strange arrived with the force and muscle of successive heavyweight punches, as lead guitarist Hugo McGinley’s virtuoso scything, cosmic riffs cluster around front man Pat Hynes’s primal scream.

Meanwhile, the woozy lament that is Doll House offered a brief, momentary respite as Holyesque offered up what is the closest they come to a full blown ballad, before a blistering Tear reawakened the senses and transported us into full stadium rock territory inside the small venue.

The aggressive, pounding percussion My Wilderness, with its strobe heavy spectacle and celestial climax was a stand-out, before title track ‘At Hopes Ravine’ brought the set to a triumphant close amidst Hynes’s trembling, throaty sermon and wall of nebulous guitars.

A return to the stage saw the crowd’s enthusiasm peak with a terrific cover of Robert Palmer’s Addicted To Love, as Reid’s synths and Hynes’s vocal gave the song a tremendously 80’s disco gloss that had everyone vibrating.

Rarely in the past few years have a band sounded so well-configured, vivid and utterly relevant. Not only was this a special night for the band, the fruition of over 5 years of gigs and studio work, but also to the small crowd in attendance, who witnessed a night of supreme musical quality.

It goes without saying that Holyesque are the real deal, made up of four consummate and equally outstanding musicians who together form one of, if not the best bands not only in Glasgow, but the country. Cinematic post punk in its purest form.

Man of Moon reach for the sky.

Man of Moon haven’t quite got the hang of using chopsticks, as the fresh-faced two piece from Edinburgh, looking decidedly jaded after an early morning return home from opening last night for The Twilight Sad in Manchester, tuck into some Asian inspired vegan food in Glasgow’s Hug and Pint, scene of tonight’s headline show and precursor to tomorrow night’s supporting slot for the Sad at a sold out Barrowlands.

Their mannerisms tell me they are not too sure about they are eating, but it tastes bloody good. Belly’s full and a pint down Chris and Mikey, who formed the band after being paired together during their sound engineering course, are ready to take a breather and look back on quite an eventful 2015, a year that saw both of them blow out just the 20 candles on their birthday cakes.

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So how does it feel being back on the road with the Sad again? “It’s been really good, they are such sound guys. It’s the same kind of crowd we get so people that go to see them dig us I think as well”, said Chris.

“It’s good for them to have us as well because it’s small, us being only a two-piece it’s really easy for them. Its good fun and not a lot of hassle, chips in Mikey.

Has there been anything learned from The Sad that they will bring to their own shows? The answer was a resounding “Oh aye, definitely” from both.

“I guess watching their live show and just seeing the stage presence they’ve got and watching them sound check and stuff. They are such pros. Learning that kind of stuff is so useful,” says Chris, with an air of gratitude for the Sad that speaks volumes.

The band were more than buzzing about tonight’s show, as they cast their minds back to the last time they played the Hug and Pint in April earlier this year, a gig that for them ranks as their highlight for 2015.

“That was an amazing gig. One of my favourites we have played, really really proud of it. The fact that we do so many support gigs, to play a sold out show in Glasgow is such a good feeling,” said Mikey.

Chris followed that by declaring his love of the city. “The crowd was so good. We are quite used to playing loads of shows in Edinburgh and seeing so many familiar faces, but to walk out into a sold out crowd and not knowing any people that were there…that’s when we knew we were doing something right.”

“Glasgow crowds are always the best crowds, it beats Edinburgh.”

Controversial, coming from a band that hail from the capital? Not to Mikey…

“I think just overall it’s a better scene and people are more into and from that we get a better response”.

Not taking anything away from tonight’s headline slot, it was obvious the bright neon lights of the Barras were more than visible on their respective horizons.

“Tonight’s a warm up for tomorrow. That’s the reason we booked tonight in the first place”, said Mikey.

Although I’m trying not to think about it until we walk out”. I think if it was further down South somewhere not so familiar  it wouldn’t be as nerve-racking, but Glasgow, it really is one the best places around”, thought Chris.

With Mikey adding, “The Barrowlands. The biggest gig of our career. Our families and friends are all going to be there as well. It’s such a good opportunity, with the amount of people that are going to be there who haven’t seen us before”.

Are The Sad in the same boat?  Not according to Mikey. “They are playing it cool I think”.

For The Moon, having their sound play out beneath the famous blue and white tiled ceiling is as big a deal as any band could ask for. “If you look at just a list of everybody who has played there. Playing on the same stage as all these legends. It’s just crazy, it’s cool.”

Perhaps the only down point for the band was not picking up the Best newcomer Act earlier this year at the Scottish Alternative Music Awards, although they felt Bella and the Bear were more than worthy winners. How they found out was a story in itself, as Chris shared.

“It would have been nice to get it. It was great to be voted though. I remember bus’ing it through from Edinburgh and the traffic was murder and I got into Glasgow late, so I had to sprint up Sauchiehall Street to try and make it to The Garage in time. When I got to the door someone just told me, ‘Aye you’ve no won’. And true enough, we went in and it turned out it had already been announced.”

What about their debut single, The Road, being heralded by one member of the music press as the best British debut since New Order released ‘Ceremony’ way back in 1981, many moons before Man of Moon came into the world.

“It was great. It’s mental. It was quite a statement. I genuinely don’t know what to take from that but it’s cool to see that someone likes it, said Chris. ”

And how did the song come about? Surprisingly easily.

“The Road was written really quickly. The basis of it anyway. We got it down in about 2 minutes. I mind doing it in Chris’s attic,” said Mikey.

With Chris adding, “I had just started using a Wah pedal that Mikey let me borrow and just switched that on and Mikey started playing along. It’s just mental the response we have had from it.”

As for 2016, the band see themselves doing at least a few festivals as they take their sound out to fans across the country.

“Really keen to do Green Man next year. It’s such a good festival and I think it would really suit us”, said Chris, with Mike adding, “I’d love to play Secret Garden Party again but like a different slot. We opened up for the festival pretty much last time and pretty much nobody was there.”

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Fans will be happy to note that the band expect to release a four track EP early next year, which they will be touring at a later date, with Mikey confirming it, “It’s completely recorded, it’s just getting mixed and mastered. I don’t think there’s a real rush to get it out but when it does I think that will give people something to listen to”.

With Andy Monaghan from Frightened Rabbit on production duties, the band felt that he got the best out of them. It was amazing, he would fire ideas at us and we would be like ‘We didn’t think of that’.  He was just really encouraging. That’s what you need,” said Chris.

And even though they have been playing together for the past three years, the band still don’t see themselves as the finished article quite yet.

“I think we are still essentially finding what we are sounding like. We still buying more pedals and expanding our sound. Even now, some of our tracks sound really different from each other, they could almost be put into two different sets,” answers Chris.

As for influences from fellow Scottish acts out with the likes of The Sad and Frightened Rabbit, the band were keen to add The Phantom Band, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Errors and Kathryn Joseph to that list, with Mikey keen to thank them for their support.

“Playing with these bands makes us feel so lucky. Its crazy as well cause a lot of these bands have been playing for years and we are just really starting. For that we are pretty grateful”.

As the band put in their pretty low key rider request with a joint “Tennents” shout, their final assertion, in response to a heady future on making more waves in the music world, was a firm “We are ready to go”.

With some bands making relatively small steps up the music ladder, Man of Moon have been leaving footprints the likes of which others could only wish for. One giant step after another it seems indeed, for a band that, with a night at the Barras soon to be under their belt, have the sky as their limit.

The Franz get nostalgic.

Off the back of the positive critical and commercial success of their FFS collaboration with Sparks, Franz Ferdinand’s drumming machine Paul Thomson is enjoying the home comforts again after an extensive UK, European and North American tour, speaking over coffee about first gigs, swinging with (or without) Sparks and what it is to be an ‘unsigned’ band.

With those in music circles comparing Glasgow newbies White’s Future Pleasures as the best debut single since Franz’s own Take me Out, this gave room for Paul to cast his mind back to a small bedroom in the city’s Sauchiehall St, the scene of the band’s first gig.

“It was the Champions League final and people showed up late. Some friends of ours had organized an art showing in a flat, with the art in one bedroom and we played in the next. We only did 4 songs but because folk turned up late we played the same set twice. They all ended up on the first record. Michael, Auf Asche, Jacqueline and Tell Her Tonight. I was working in Directory Enquiries at the time so I came straight from work.”

As a then seasoned member of the Glasgow music scene, it wasn’t as if the forming of Franz felt like it was instantly going to reach the heights they eventually have.

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“We just new it was a good band. I’d been doing it for years in bands like Pro Forma and The Yummy Fur. Usually what happens is you get someone to put your record out and go and tour for a week to promote it and try and get out of signing on (the dole) for that week. Go on tour and kip on floors and get drunk, and that’s your holiday basically.”

Although it wasn’t long after the bedroom gig that things seemed to step up a gear from just playing gigs to the Art school community that they hung around with.

“I guess when people outside our social circle started coming to gigs then you’re sort of thinking that we might be onto something. With people who we don’t know hearing about us through not much effort on our part. We were just kinda doing it for our social group really because it’s what you do in Glasgow. Play shows and your friends come down.”

Paul credits Alex (Kapranos) with being the one who really motivated him and the rest of the band with the belief that something could happen.

“Alex taught IT to refugees and elderly people – teaching them how to work a computer. When we started out he had a proper job and a flat and a mortgage and all that. He had kind of given up on music because he didn’t think it was ever going to happen and then he really sort of pushed us when this came together. Whereas my life was, I was kind of living one day to the next, I was homeless and sleeping on Alex’s floor in the hall.”

“He was like, this was my last chance at this. Whereas I was so caught up in the now I didn’t have a long term plan. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for his determination and drive.”

The very fact as well that they were playing together and “being kind of fairly honest about it all”, rather than actively pursue a record deal, also seemed not to hinder the band in ways it might have others, hell bent on success.

“We never saw ourselves as an ‘unsigned’ band, because of the bands we had been in previously we did it all ourselves. I thought that’s what it was going to be like for us. We would pull all the money from gigs and pay for recording our single and put it out ourselves, like 500 7 inches. That was the plan anyway. I guess because of that background that’s why we went with Domino, because it was an indie label.”

Paul recalls how, with the band generating the attention of the major labels, Domino Records came in to snap them up, although not without the odd hiccup on their part.

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“Serge their manager met up with me and said that we were on the same level as Pulp and The Stone Roses and I was like ‘Fuck off, London wanker’. He came up and saw us rehearse and it was quite nerve racking, just playing all the songs you’ve got to one person who has travelled all the way from London.

I remember he said, ‘Yeh we will go out for a drink afterwards, Alan Mcgee is DJing at a club night in The 13th Note and I’ve got us in.’

At this point we were like, me and Alex have worked there for like six years.”

And even with the deal in place, it still took a while it to sink it that they could be on the cusp of something big.

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“I remember us taking pictures of ourselves holding our guitars on our way to practice, standing next to the posters Domino carpet bombed Glasgow with.”

As for other (Glasgow) bands who are following in their footsteps, Paul had some choice words to say how he feels the music scene has changed since Franz started to make their mark.

“No bands are getting signed now. There’s nothing worse than seeing ‘THE BEST UNSIGNED BAND IN BRITAIN’ labelled on a band. I mean, if they are that good why are they still unsigned?”

“They are as well doing their own thing, you don’t have to get signed anymore, there’s nothing in it for the artist, your better just doing it your way. In Glasgow people can get by, working part time and then spending the rest of it making music or art. The weather kind of helps as well, there’s no point in being outside. It’s always been like that.”

With the band now having played just about every venue in Glasgow, from abandoned jails and warehouse spaces to the SECC, there’s one venue not on the list that may surprise a few people, in the form of a certain King Tuts Wah Wah Hut.

“We were a total reaction against King Tuts from the start. Because they had a sort of pay to play policy it was all geared towards unsigned talent. We weren’t trying to get signed, we were just doing our own thing. We just did it ourselves cause it was more fun that way. Tuts to us was the establishment.”

It sums them up that they asked our management about doing a show for their 20th anniversary recently, when they started asking all the bands that ever played Tuts and we thought, wait a minute, we never even played there. To me that sort of highlights the entitled arrogance of the place.”

That aside, Paul turned his attention back to the here and now, and the band’s recent partnership with Sparks. Probing him on a previous assertion that Franz were like an “open, modern marriage”, I wondered if the move from a 4-some to a 6-some reflected a desire to spice up proceedings, with a casual reference to bit of marital swinging.

“No offence to Sparks, but if I was going to swing it wouldn’t be with two elderly gentlemen from Los Angeles.”

He went on to suggest that their work together has come to an end, even he regards the album as an accomplishment for the band.

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“It was just different having to accommodate two totally different people from different backgrounds. So for us it was time to draw a line in the sand after the last tour date. Have you heard our Christmas single? I don’t think anyone has.”

So what’s next for Franz Ferdinand then?

Again, off the back of a remarkably successful 2015, and with 4 studio albums and over 3 million albums sold to date, the band aren’t for calling it a day anytime soon.

“I guess we are just going to write and demo as much as we can. We still think of ourselves as contemporary even if no one else does.”

White, your new favourite colour.

2015 has been some year for White. Big ups from Elton John, headline sets at Tenement Trail, and making the floor bounce at Amsterdam’s legendary Paradiso venue spring to mind for the band seen as the best export Glasgow has had to offer the music world since a certain Franz Ferdinand.

To put the cherry on top their proverbial pie, the group walked away with ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ at the recent Tartan Clef Scottish Music Awards in Glasgow. Not bad for a band that have only been on our radar for the best part of a year.

As the band swanned up the attention on the red carpet, frontman Leo Condie admitted that the award represented a nice milestone for the band.

“We are all really excited that we are winning something that makes us feel that we are getting somewhere. It’s always hard to tell because we have our heads down immersed in the music, so it’s really nice that people have taken notice of us.”

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“We’ve always kind of written songs that we want to be immediate, songs were you are able to get them without having heard them and listened to them over and over again.  We want them just to hit you straight in the chest. When you go out and play and you get the right response from that it’s fucking great.”

As for highlights so far, the band were hard pushed to see beyond the Amsterdam gig, as guitarist Hamish indicated.

“The Amsterdam gig was fucking amazing, it was like a rave. It’s probably one of my favourite gigs we have done. We were the last act on at 2am and the room was stoud out and everyone was jumping around. Our friend was in the audience and said the floor was moving when we were playing.”

Although closer to home, headlining Tenement Trail still lingers fresh in the memory.

“That was amazing, we owe Tenement TV a lot. We are a totally new band and there were a lot of bands that have been going for a long time on the bill so for us to be given the chance to headline a Glasgow festival like that was awesome. It put us right in people’s faces. The festival will just get bigger and bigger.”

Hailing from previous groups such as the Low Miffs, Kassidy and Garden of Elks, bass player Lewis is quick to extol the connection between the five-piece.

“The reason why we have all came together in the band is that we all love music, we all love playing together and we are all friends. Me, Hamish and Chris have been writing together for ages so it was great when Leo and Kristin came in and added this other dimension to the band.”

Whereas guitarist Chris was keen to tip his hat off to Glasgow.

“It’s cool to have an eclectic mix like we do in the band. It totally resembles what the Glasgow scene is like just now. There’s a lot of people making music because they want to without holding any unnecessary grudges against other bands.

And with respect to their home city, Leo feels more than happy to see the band mentioned in the same breath as Franz Ferdinand, with WHITE’s upcoming headline show at the QMU a personal triumph for him.

“I remember growing up in Glasgow and it was so exciting how well it was going for them and  it made the eyes of the music world turn on Glasgow for a while, although we were all a bit to young to be in bands to profit out of it. I remember standing outside the QMU when I was at uni listening to them sound check and stuff, so for us to be playing there is great.”

A slot on the bill for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party will see them play out the year in some style, as the band look to a 10 date UK tour spread over February and March, with Hamish keen for the band to spread their wings further afield again.

“I’m kind of hoping we become one of these bands that does well in Europe and we can go over and play there all the time.”

To which Leo finished with a smile…

“We will be headlining Hampden next year.”

And, although he was being tongue in cheek, you can’t fault the swagger and confidence the band gives off, as the cry for ‘a new colour in the musical palate becomes as loud as the band’s wardrobe.

WHITE.

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A gem to be found with FOUND.

Cloning, released on November the 6TH, represents a welcome return to action from Edinburgh band/art collective FOUND, which, as the name suggests, offers an engaging post-modern vision that sounds like it has torn a page or two from inside a Philip K Dick novel.

After 2011’s celebrated factorycraft, the BAFTA winning group’s new release sees three become two, with Ziggy Campbell and Kevin Sim continuing proceedings after Tommy Perman’s departure for pastures new, and this long awaited return sees the duo stick to a winning formula of opaque, experimental, synth pop, dowsed in sparkling analogue synth chords.

Opener A Souvenir for Every Hope You Had gallops along like a more sugar coated version of Mogwai’s Mexican Grand Prix, while diverse tracks such as The First Catastrophe and Halfway Cured give a polished, dream-like dystopian sound that ventures occasionally into 80’s horror film territory.

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Standout track Wheel of Apocalypse brings Campbell’s vocal talents to the fore, as the Vangelis-esque synths juxtapose with romantic notions of impending catastrophe: “Futures come and futures go, there’s a future I can’t get to / Now it’s gone, I have to choose, a future where I can’t forget you.”

At eight minutes long, The Second Catastrophe continues the cataclysmic feel with pounding drums accompanying fragile, soaring vocals against an eclectic synth backdrop as Credits offers a strong, brooding finish to a distinctive, yet dynamic piece of work.

Holyesque get spiritual.

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and it’s bucketing it down. The four local lads who together make up Holyesque shuffle in soaked one after the other, some still sobering up post Finnieston flat-party, to sit down to chat about their upcoming double A side single and  Glasgow headline show at St Lukes and subsequent release of long awaited debut album At Hope’s Ravine in February.

Since the band’s inception in late 2010, a steady flow of single releases, celebrated gigs, European support slots and SXSW jaunts have gradually heightened the buzz around a group whose sound, driven by singer Pat Hynes’s raspy, primal scream and industrial guitar, fails to conform to any comparative music out there, and all the better for it.

Celebrated recent shows at Tenement Trail, the SAMA’s and Camden’s Barfly – with a certain Annie Mac in attendance, alongside multiple Radio 1 plays of upcoming single Silences, seamlessly draws a line towards an arrival at the big time, and the band, whose design background seeps into their image – keyboardist Keir Reid and drummer Ralph McClure both study at Glasgow School of Art while not making music – are keen to take full advantage, as Pat himself intimates.

“We are planning on keeping the momentum going. It’s picking up I feel like we are progressing and we going in the right direction.  We are in the best position we have ever been just now and we hope the anticipation will pay off and people are going to be into the album.”

The chemistry amongst the foursome – Pat, Ralph, Keir and guitarist Shug – is contagious. It’s like old pals that just happened to pick up their instruments and decide to make music, and Keir believes that this sense of camaraderie is what drives the band forward.

“When we started the band there was never any blueprint or any kind of set idea or discussions. Everyone has their own inspirations and influences. We were all from different angles and places.

Pretty much all decisions are made as a group. Anything creatively, whichever direction the band is going in, whatever we are doing, we all decide together.”

Although for many fans, the album seems to have been a long time coming from a band that first got our tongues wagging with 2012’s Rose, Keir mentions that the wait for the album wasn’t as a result of a lack of material, far from it.

“With an album generally it’s not about the amount of songs you have, there are so many other factors to take into account. It needs to be right. It annoys us when people think oh ‘we have finally got an album worth of material’. We held it off because we wanted to make sure it was right and done properly.”

With regards to At Hope’s Ravine, the band removed themselves from the goldfish bowl that is Glasgow, splitting their time between Copenhagen and Brighton, a decision, that Keir thinks, paid off dividends, especially with regards to ramping up the creativeness emanating from the band.

“We spent a week and half in Denmark where we got all the basics down and then went for two weeks to just outside Brighton to experiment and work with the songs more.

It was kind of this great atmosphere and we were like ‘fuck it will we try it’. We ended up singing in stables and using wee kids toy pianos, just anything. It was our first real experience of experimentation in the recording process. Trying to tap into something new.”

 

Keir is also keen to detail working with Grammy award winning producer John Schumann, a bona-fide fan of the band, and how it seemed the perfect fit for where they wanted to go as a group.

“We became quite friendly with him when we did the Ravonettes support slot (in 2012), he was into the band and we knew he was a ‘somebody’. I think we rubbed off on him.

He gets it, he understands what we are doing and he is enthusiastic about it. John brought out the best in us and sent us in the right direction.”

And although a few years have passed since their 18 date jaunt around Europe with the Danish indie-rock duo, Ralph doesn’t discount heading back out to the continent on a support slot ticket; although this time they might treat it a little differently.

“Something like that would be perfect for us. The last time we were on a tour we were young and impressionable but we learned a lot (from the Ravonettes). We were stealing their rider and wanting to go out and party every night while they were real pros. We were arseholes. It was an insight.”

The band also seem to have found themselves a niche market in the form of Austin, Texas, with a visit in 2016 not out of the question, off the back of trips out there the past three years in succession. Something Pat is eager to share.

“We seem to have a yearly residency now out there. We have a lot of friends now and we just have a really good time. It’s been getting better every year for us. Especially since we started playing in dive bars and cupboards. I think a lot of people suffer from that but for us it really did help us and turned out to be quite beneficial.”

Casting nostalgia to one side for a moment, Pat gets back down to speaking about their number one concern, the music, and the connection that exists between the foursome.

“The majority of time the best songs are done on the spot there and then. It’s the best feeling in the world for us when we are all playing things and it just comes together and you know there’s something there. It’s like there’s a silent understanding between us.”

Further to this, however, is the design element, which flirts alongside their music to deliver a whole package, something that the band themselves are keen on expressing, as Pat and Keir indicate.

“You need to offer more than just a song. People need to grab onto something. Whatever we are doing we want to make a visual element that worked with the music. I think it goes hand in hand. You spend so much time writing and recording a song and making it sound good, just to give it to a label to put their own thing behind it. For us it’s part of the process. One benefits the other.

I think music is pretty two dimensional. So for us it’s important to pull in these other aspects to it, to open it up for people to take more from it, not just the music.  It’s just another edge to the sword.”

Doing so, it seems, helps the band really develop their own sense of how they see themselves as a band, helping to avoid what Keir regards as “lazy” comparisons with other bands.

“We don’t like being pigeonholed. We have been against that from the get-go. There comes a time when it can become detrimental to a band.”

While Pat agrees.

“Pidgeon-holing. Fuck that. We’ve always wanted to leave things open to interpretation with regards to our music. We’ve always encouraged people to question what we are doing. Why this lyric is that in the song, why those visuals are in that video, for example.”

Meanwhile, seeing out the year by playing at new Glasgow venue St Lukes ,a venue they themselves chose for the upcoming single launch , will, Keir hopes, give them the kind of blank canvas they are looking for to really cement their ambition, purpose and intention to those in attendance.

“I’m interested in the idea of communities and religions and that place has been used as a kind of gathering place over the years. I quite like the idea of us re-contextualizing it in our own way, with our music and with our own visuals. We really can’t wait for it.”

In between all the preparations for the album, the St Lukes gig and the single launch, Pat points out that they haven’t let that get in the way of already looking towards album number two.

“We are already working on it (Album 2). There’s no breaks for us. What else would we do? We are in the studio writing new songs all the time.”

With a drive and determination that may put other like-minded bands to shame, the group don’t seem like they are the kind who would take stock. Indeed, the band seem pretty humble with respect to how much they feel they need to achieve before they have ‘made it’, judging by Keir’s admission.

“We know we will have made it when we come back in here to the pub with fur coats on with enough money to get a pint.”

Jokes aside, it’s refreshing to hear from a band, who, undoubtedly are one of the best acts to come out of Scotland in the past decade, who have their feet firmly on the ground and are just focusing on doing what they do best, making vibrant, intense and unique music.

Here’s to the Holy.

Tijuana Bibles preach their indie-rock sermon to the converted.

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From the streets of Coatbridge to the dusty, tumble weed strewn backwaters of Louisiana, Tijuana Bibles seem to have swapped the town’s famous Time Capsule for darker, True Detective-esque climes, such is their gritty, swaggering sound.

Their newest release, Ghost/Dance/Movement EP, is a remarkably polished effort that wouldn’t sound out of place squeezed amongst the bastard son of an Arctic Monkeys or Black Rebel Motorcycle Club whisky-fuelled consummation.

Opener Apogee grinds its boots into the dirt and hurtles along at an incessant pace, banked by heavy guitars and Tony Costello’s soaring vocals (“Bite down on the pill when she pulls the trigger/Sweet as a kiss to cure my killer”) echoing the punches thrown by Queens of the Stone Age at their most heavyweight.

Ghost Dance showcases the band at its most potent, snarling, and memorable, keeping with the pace from the previous track. Costello continues to impress both lyrically and vocally, as if preaching to a petrol-hungry mass of converts (“I feed from the fire of the sun/Love is the only weapon”).

Follow up Six to Midnight eschews heavy riffs and Shamen references, with gun-slinging, fist fights and red wine all thrown in for good measure, reflecting as it does the band’s drive and ambition in spades.

Closer Sun Chaser offers a perfect end to proceedings, a layered, Eastern sounding gallop which hints at desert horizons and immortality, backed up by some impressive cloud-high choruses to satisfy any pair of ears.

A stunning piece of work from a band who fully merit their status as one of Scotland’s hottest acts and who will, hopefully, continue to deliver, just as they did at their sell out show at Glasgow’s Oran Mor, which nearly shook the old church to its foundations.

The band had the 500 in attendance in the palms of their hands as they rattled through songs off the new EP with a panache and arrogance that puts them on a par with early Oasis. Frontman Tony Costello seemed born for the starring role as he confidently led the crowd into a sweat-filled frenzy, backed by thundering drums and snarly guitars.

A European jaunt followed that saw the Bibles play in venues across Poland, Germany and Estonia, winning over an army of new fans in the process.

Happily back in their native town, upcoming shows supporting The Enemy at mythical venue The Garage, alongsdie solo shows in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Kilmarnock, should see the band head into 2016 on the verge of greatness.

The Wellgreen set for Spanish adventure.

Glasgow’s The Wellgreen are ready to take things up a gear as they set sail for the Spanish Main in two weeks time.

After lighting the touch paper with debut release, Wellgreens, in 2010, the band followed that up with Grin and Bear It, both of which were self-produced under The Barne Society label.

Considerable local acclaim was quick to come their way from fans and fellow musicians alike, none more so that from Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian.

The band, centred around multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Marco Rea and Stuart Kidd, actually ended up making music together after Stuart asked Marco to work with him on a song for a Christmas compliation album.

Developing a 60’s psychodelic piano-based sound that feels like a cross between The Left Banke, The Kinks and The Beach Boys, with a nod to The Beatles Revolver period to boot, the band’s commitment to old school recordings allow them to cement that classic, other-worldy feel, backed up by retro casio tones.

A gig at last year’s Indie Pop festival brought them to the attention of Valencian record label Pretty Oliva, and after captivating their Spanish onlookers, the result has led to a collaboration that seems like a match made in heaven, in the form of the ‘Summer Rain‘ LP.

The 12 track LP features remastered songs selected from their self titled debut, alongside tracks off second album, ‘Grin and Bear It‘, alongside 3 new songs thrown in. With that flying off the press over in sunny Spain, the label has seen fit to take the band on tour across the length and breadth of the country, which will see them play four concerts in the cities of Madrid, Oviedo, Santiago de Compostela and Valencia.

The dates in Spain will see the band go on their first tour as a bona-fide 4 piece, with Daniel McGeever y Jim McGoldrick helping to reinforce and layer their sound.

The band’s manager, Balir McLaughlin, is excited about what’s in store for The Wellgreen;

“There’s a wee circle of decenlty placed music heads over there that absolutely adore the band. So hopefully we can make the most of our time out here. These guys have been amazing during this whole release & tour.”

Here’s hoping the boys do Glasgow proud and return home having earned a new legion of Spanish speaking fans.

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Crash Club on a collision course with the big time.

Ask the movers and shakers of Glasgow to sum up how buoyant the local music scene is at the moment and, for many, two words will give you the answer you’re looking for: Crash Club.

The band, who formed in 2010, seem to be subconsciously providing the soundtrack to the city, with their strobe-heavy, swagger-inducing, energetic live shows continuing to win over audiences and help cement their status as one of the best bands in the country.

Collaborations with the likes of Tony Costello from Tijuana Bibles and Ian Mackinnon from Medicine Men show that they well and truly have their finger on the pulse musically, helping to hone and add another dimension to their sound – one that offers shades of Primal Scream’s XTRMNTR mixed with a heavy dose of The Chemical Brothers – as well as their live performances.

It’s a case of so far so good then for bassist Neal McHarg, “We’ve already done a lot of things we’d have put down on a musically bucket list kinda thing, like releasing a 12” record, and playing with bands that got us into dance music, being involved in festival season and to play T in the Park.”

This week saw a step up to the mantle in more ways than one for the electro-rock outfit, after they picked up the ‘Best Electronic’ act accolade at the recent Scottish Alternative Music Awards, where they also performed at alongside the likes of Holy Esque and Hector Bizerk.

This came hot on the heels of a support slot with The View in Edinburgh, alongside a barnstorming midnight show at the day-long Tenement Trail festival in Glasgow, which, I’m told, left even an attending Mhairi Black MP with her tongue wagging.

Surprising, it seems, is bassist Neal’s level-headedness amidst all the commotion.

“We just get on with it, to be honest,” he explains, “the hype could die down as quickly as it started. I’ve been around long enough to see it with bands I really believed were going to break through so I think for us we’ve got to keep writing better tracks and come up with new ways to make the live shows better.”

Meanwhile, the band are currently knuckled down in Glasgow’s Rocket Science studios, working on their new EP, which, by Neal’s own admission, is sounding “massive”.

“It is heading towards a New York sound, one where you really feel the beats and it’s hard not to groove,” he reveals. “It resembles the sound you probably would think of when you listen to DFA Record’s acts like LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost and The Rapture, although a bit darker in tones.”

When probed about possible future collaborations, he isn’t giving anything away.

“We are lucky to have some of the best acts in Scotland involved with us,” he boasts, “but I’ll keep that hush hush until it’s all finished.”

And with an upcoming King Tut’s headline slot on November 6th, alongside the promise of more late night shows in the near future, the hype surrounding Crash Club sees no signs of being written off.

The Twilight Sad and a bright future ahead.

The Twilight Sad are 4 dates into a slot supporting Editors on their European tour, and basking in the fresh critical acclaim coming their way in light of the release of ‘Oran Mor Session’ – a compilation of stripped back renditions of songs that mostly made up last year’s Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave.

James Graham emits a relative calm amongst the storm, as the frontman and I sat down for a chat within the not so glamorous surroundings of Glasgow’s Laureston Bar, to talk about New York posters, Glasgow crowds, and social networking.

As the pints arrived, James gave us the lowdown on the Editors tour and winning over new fans.

“It’s going really good so far, we are going to try and win new fans and make an impression on people as opposed to playing to people who know who we are.

There’s a confidence in showing these people what it means to you but at the same time there is the scary element of, thinking ‘this crowd could hate us’.

As we have been playing people have been cheering louder, so I guess it feels like we are winning them over with every song.”

The impending gig that night, however, up the road at Glasgow’s 02 Academy, may have required a different mind-set.

“I think because our other Glasgow gig is sold out, which is mental, some people are coming to see us here just to see us. Glasgow is different in that at the gigs you see the same faces you’ve seen since day 1 and the support is always amazing… I’m basically a big back of f@£$ing nerves.”

Not that he was showing any signs of it. The excitement was evident. The recent filtration of the mammoth 25 date support slot for The Cure in America – with a three night stint at both the Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden – still had the band swimming in awe and anticipation, an opportunity James described as ‘mad’, coming off the back of frontman Robert Smith’s cover of ‘Girl in the Corner’.

“I must have listened to his version around 500-1000 times, and I remember when we heard it for the first time in a van in San Francisco. We just sat there in silence and said ‘What the f£$k just happened there’. I had to stop listening to it because I was getting obsessed by it.

As for the tour, I saw a poster in NY someone tweeted us that had our name on it…I don’t think doing Madison Square Garden will sink in until we stand on the stage and start sound-checking.”

The offer to play alongside a band they consider as being one of their favourites says a lot, to James, about the kind of band The Twilight Sad they see themselves are…

“We seem to be more of a band’s band where people in other bands like us. As far as the other sh@£e is concerned we are not on their radar completely and I’m quite happy for it to stay that way.

It shows me that we are doing things in the right way as bands should do and not just be there on hype.”

To him the success hasn’t allowed them to deviate from the ideas and philosophy from which they began writing and recording songs…

“I hope we can become a band that can go and play places and has a room full of people who want to see our music. At the same time, we won’t change even if people’s perception of us change. I don’t care about anything else apart from writing music and playing gigs.

It’s the reason why we started the band in the first place, to make music that we thought kind of mattered, and that’s why we do it.”

Through the European jaunt with Editors, alongside a handful of concerts on the continent, the Barrowlands end of year gig looms as large and bright as the venue’s famous exterior…

“It feels like we have joined a club we have always wanted to be a part of, like a badge of honour or seal of approval from where we live. The gig feels like it will be the end of a chapter for us, so we can give the record (2014’s Nobody Wants To Be Here…) the send-off it deserves. We’ve got to make sure that it is the best gig we have ever played”.

With that in mind, James feels that the city itself has had, and continues to have, a definite influence on the band.

“We say we are from Glasgow and we are proud of that. That’s where our favourite music came from. Plus the fact that all those folk we listened to have taken us under their wing. To even be mentioned in the same sentence as some of our favourite bands is just as big an honour as anything.

We have always been a band that shies away from any kind of scene or group, but I’m very happy to be part of the ‘Glasgow Gang’ along with them. I’d be quite happy to be the tea boy for that group.”

Another interesting point to note, is The Twilight Sad’s use of social networks to further spread the word and maintain that very ‘real’ contact with fans and doubters alike, a role that James taken on personally.

“The first thing I do before I go to bed or when I get up is see what people have been writing or tweeting about us and I do try my best to respond to it. If someone shows an appreciation for us I like to respond and say thank you.

On the same note, if someone is being a fanny I will tell them they are a fanny, you have to take it both ways”, he says.

As for any further musical developments to look forward to come 2016, fans will be happy to know that they seem intent to keep the Sad momentum going.

“Andy and I started writing some stuff over the summer. There’s a few concrete tunes in there, in as much as I can see the (new) album opener and another two at least. All going to plan we will have the album recorded before we go away with The Cure.”

With so much on their plate for 2016, and with the enthusiasm for making records and playing live shows as strong as ever, it sure seems like it is gearing up to be the year of the Sad.

Especially if their blistering performance at the 02 Academy was to go by, it seemed that they were in full ‘Barrowlands’ mode a full two months early.