The early months of a Glasgow year require a lot of moving around the city between festival events. January has Celtic Connections, February means Glasgow Film Festival, and in March the focus moves to Aye Write!. Few other cities in the world can boast that sort of festival action occurring before the clocks change, and a quality soundtrack is required to accompany the necessary toing and froing. Luckily for all concerned a very classy one emerged as some fine, and particularly melodic, new music was released.
We’re going to begin by going back to late February when Glasgow band Quick brought out their EP This I Know. It’s a beautiful collection of songs which stride that line between melancholy and inspiriting. The harmonies in particular are almost tangible as they wrap themselves around you, immediately improving your lot in life.
At times travelling to the more alt side of country, reminiscent of The Cowboy Junkies and Jessie Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter, at others dealing in the more traditional, Quick don’t just remind me of some of my favourite bands, on this evidence they are quickly going to join them. Listen for yourself, and for goodness sake if you like what you hear get yourself a copy. That goes for all the music featured in these reviews. Support your local musicians – we’ll all miss them when they’re gone. Here endeth the sermon, from now it’ll be just the music all the way – promise:
While we are keeping things classy, State Broadcasters release their new album A Different Past this month on Olive Grove Records. SWH! saw them play as part of Celtic Connections in January, and it was a reminder, if one was needed, that this is a group of musicians who cannot help but make memorable music together. The album is launched in Edinburgh and Glasgow later this week, and from it this is ‘Break My Fall’, with a fabulous video directed by Kris Boyle. From the opening piano refrain the song builds slowly introducing the rest of the instrumentation and harmonies in a manner which appears effortless and organic. If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye then you’re a hardier individual than this reviewer, and I wouldn’t swap places with you for all the world:
James Yorkston appears a man in a hurry. Last year not only saw his excellent debut novel Three Craws published by Freight Books, but also a solo tour as well as the release of the debut album from Yorkston Thorne Khan, his collaborative project with Jon Thorne and Suhail Yusuf Khan. The three are back with a new album, Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars, released on April 7th. They are also touring it, including a night at Glasgow’s Oran Mor on the 31st March. If you get the chance to see them you should grab it as however good they are on record (and they are very good indeed) seeing such fine musicians live is a rare and special treat. The first taste of the new album is ‘Bales’:
Pop song of the year so far comes from Sacred Paws in the form of ‘Strike A Match’, the title track from their new album. Wearing their pop-sensibilties with pride, Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodger make music to put a spring in your step and a smile on your face. It’s a magic which is difficult to define, but it appears that it’s in large part due to the wonderful marriage of Rodger’s chiming guitar, Aggs’ mesmeric and beautifully understated drums, and vocal harmonies which tell of musicians comfortable with each other and what they play. If you’re a fan of Tuff Love then you’ll love Sacred Paws, but then if you’re a fan of Tuff Love you’re probably already well aware of Sacred Paws. For everyone else, have a listen and see if everything said above is not true:
We have long been fans of Eugene Twist at Scots Whay Hae!, and you can still hear him being interviewed on the podcast from a few years ago. He’s always had a winning way with angular pop songs and arch lyrics which would put the Wainwright family to shame, but his new music is proving to be his best to date. Backed by a full band, with suits as sharp as his hooks, and an old-school new wave sound to match this feels like Eugene Twist’s moment as he brings the music and aesthetic of Stiff Records bang up to date. All of this would mean nothing it he didn’t have the tunes, but the latest single ‘Stuntman’, (from the album of the (nearly) same name), proves there is no need to worry:
Most of the music in this roundup has been based on close and correlative collaboration. This certainly applies to Audrey Tait and Michelle Low, who are The Miss’s. They have been making music together, between other ventures, for some time. Their new album Crash is a little bit country, a little bit rock and soul, and is made up of eleven songs, each one as memorable as the last. It is a proper album, one to be listened from beginning to end. How rare is that?
They have made the brave, and correct, decision to keep the production on Crash minimal which lets the mostly acoustic music speak for itself, and allows Low’s extraordinary voice to shine. The songs are intimate and empathetic, tales of lives lived and love lost told in a manner which will speak directly to those who take the time to listen. The truth is music like this never dates, it only gets better with time. My favourite track changes with every play, but you can listen to ‘It Won’t Happen’ here and now to give you a flavour of what to expect. Quite simply, Crash is a bona-fide classic. This is one to tell your friends, family and strangers about. They’ll thank you for it:
We’re going to finish with music which demands to be called ethereal, and I make no excuses about it. L-Space, (who take their name from Terry Pratchett’s name for libraries in the Discworld universe), are suitably otherworldly in their music and outlook. More an artistic collective than band, their core members are Lily Higham, Gordon Johnstone, Dickson Telfer and Maggie Tam, and together they push the boundaries of their music, how it is made, played, and presented.
It’s great to discover a band who bring such a sense of wonder to the table. You have no idea as to what they may do next, and you suspect that they don’t either. You can, and should, explore more fully over at their Bandcamp page, where you can buy their Sol 0 EP as well as receive some compelling free downloads. From Sol 0 this is ‘Blue Flowers’, where Goldfrapp meets Slowdive, but it only tells a small, if beautifully formed, part of the L-Space story. Prepare for liftoff:
And that’s all for the moment. There were other terrific new records released, such as Vukovi’s eagerly anticipated debut album, and Alasdair Roberts’ latest solo outing Pangs, but we have all got homes to go to so we have to draw the line somewhere. But have no worry, the next roundup should be with you in around six weeks time. Before that there will be a preview of Record Store Day (14/4/2107) and the best of what it has to offer. In the meantime you can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with new music you love and think other people need to hear.