Tag Archives: Glasgow

Love: Jamie Sturt

Jamie Sturt

A year ago I met a boy. Then we fell in love. I not really in to over sharing on the internet (although this blog has been tinged with more personal stuff lately) but this time it’s kind of essential information, given that I’m about to tell you about his music.

This is Jamie’s new demo of three songs, he wrote and recorded them over the last couple of months. I love them. There may of course be a degree of bias involved but…well I think you’ll love them too. And if you don’t, don’t. He’s a very talented man.

Crushing On: Sparrow and the Workshop

MurderopolisHiRes

I was lucky enough to get the new Sparrow and the Workshop album Murderopolis on preview a couple of months ago and since then it’s been on a pretty heavy rotation. What I know about the band is pretty limited, they’re from Glasgow and have been together for sometime and this is their third LP.

The eleven tracker swerves through the fragile – ‘Odessa’- catchy – ‘The Faster You Spin’ – and tempestuous – ‘Shock Shock’, making it  the kind of music you’d happily belt out in the car (that weird girl you see singing at traffic lights? Yeah – moi). Closer ‘Autumn in Winter’ is a sweet addition, crescendos showcasing Jill O Sullivan’s distinctive vocal.

My personal favourite ‘The Glue that Binds Us’, angst with resonance and the perfect break up song.

You can read more and stream it in full at This is Fake DIY, boom.

Out today via Song by Toad records and highly recommended!

Biffy Clyro & Me

Biffy

Tonight I’m going to Glasgow for Biffy Clyro, the Scottish rock band I’ve loved for almost a decade. When it comes to the escalating success of musicians I can be stubborn, originally refusing to buy a ticket based on it being their only Glasgow gig, on a Monday and at an arena venue. I still believe this to be a poor effort.

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The reason I’m going? Double album Opposites came out and I hands down love it.  In no particular order  here is a personally annotated journey through the Biffy back catalogue, hope you enjoy the music.

Living is a Problem Because Everything Dies

When I was twenty three I’d come back from spending a year teaching in China, then rocketing round the country looking for ‘a job in media’. Of course I ended up at home in Inverness, working for my Dad in an office. The highlight of my day was walking from one office to another to pick up the mail as I had the time to listen to one song. On a whim I’d bought Puzzle, from the first time I heard this song I was addicted to the album.  It’s a modern classic and the beginning still gives me goosebumps.

27

With any band I start to like it’s important to go back to the beginning. 27 is from Biffy’s first album Blackened Sky, there’s also a really nice B side from the record called Hope For an Angel.

Glitter & Trauma

A considered track from 2004 release Infinity Land, Simon Neil’s offbeat lyrical charm is a winner.

Justboy

My sister was introduced to Biffy after a Rockness slot, during which they were LOUD, the crowd was mental, it was kind of an off day. She trusted my judgement enough to go to a Corn Exchange show that August, this song now reminds me of the many times we’ve seen them together.

Whose Got a Match

One of the highlights of their live set and another track from Puzzle.

Folding Stars

A really beautiful song from Puzzle, lyrically it’s one of my top picks.

Biblical

The current epic hit from Opposites was my favourite track from first listen.

Finally I wanted to share ‘The Fog’ from Opposites, but I can’t find a version of it online. The melody is really beautiful.

One for the Week…Rick Redbeard

No Selfish Heart
No Selfish Heart

I waaaaay late in posting this, but as the album itself took eight years to complete I figure you can forgive my current blogging pace (akin to that of a tortoise’s steps). I first heard Rick Redbeard‘s album No Selfish Heart in December, it already reminds me of Scottish winters and the kind of lamentable snowfall that covered Edinburgh in waves.

Released with the monochrome artwork above last month I believe it’s had much acclaim already and it’s also on one of my favourite Scottish labels, Chemikal Underground.

You Need To Know

It’s the first solo LP from Phantom Band frontman Rick Anthony, a rich collection of mostly love songs, full of emotion, wise words and discovery. Sounding like a refresh of old celtic ballads it’s often thankfully simple his deep, distinctive vocal and moving lyrics are commendable.

Top Tracks

  • Kelvingrove –  originally a folk song which Rick learnt along the way, his version is a love song like nothing I’ve ever heard, plush violin meets distinctive Scottish songcraft
  • Now We’re Dancing – originally released on a spilt single with Adam Stafford it’s a clickety, wry beauty
  • Wildlove – Like a lullaby, it will raise a smile
  • No Selfish Heart – This could be my most favoured track on the album, it feels fresh and poignant plus I love the tune.

Listen when…

You’re in need of something pretty, at the coast on a chilly day or sitting my the fire in a log cabin (as we all do of an evening).

Rating

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State Broadcasters Play…The Bhundu Boys

State Broadcasters are a six-piece band from Glasgow who I’ve only come to know in the last year or so…

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…although they actually first formed first back in 2004. Released on the fairly wonderful Scottish label Olive Grove Records the band’s newly released album Ghosts We Must Carry is the type of music you’ll want to sink right in to, dusky voices, melodic strings and quite simply endearing songs.

Following a Play a Song For Me plea Pete from the band was kind enough to share a musical memory with us…

The Artist: The Bhundu Boys

The Album: Shabini

When I was young our dad used to play us The Bhundu Boys in the car. They’re a band from Zimbabwe who play this beautiful jangly pop music that is about as catchy as anything you’ll ever hear. Their guitar lines manage to be both intricate and simple at the same time, and their vocal harmonies are gorgeous. John Peel was a huge fan – there’s a lovely story Andy Kershaw has about them going to see a Bhundu Boys gig and Peel crying through the whole show because he thought it was so wonderful. I think hearing their music has had a massive influence on the way I make and enjoy music: I love a major key, and sunny jangly pop songs. I’m pretty sure my love of The Smiths and The Beach Boys can be traced back to hearing the Bhundus in the car when I was 4. 

The story of the band is extremely sad. Their early records are full of exuberance and celebrate a bright and optimistic future for Zimbabwe, – when Mugabe took control of the country after the civil war he was seen as a good leader, someone who would take the country forward. But as time passed parallels can be drawn between Zimbabwe and the band themselves. Most of the original Bhundu Boys lineup are now dead – the lead singer committed suicide, and 3 others died of AIDS related illness.  The only founder member still performing is the guitarist Rise Kagona, who now lives near Edinburgh. He hasn’t been able to return to Zimbabwe for years and doesn’t get nearly as much recognition as he deserves for his music – he’s one of the best guitarists I’ve ever seen and if there were any justice would be playing huge sold out rooms.  I’d urge you to go and see him play – it’s a totally joyous way to spend an evening.

The thing I personally love most about Pete’s suggestion is that I doubt I’d have thought of picking up this record and it’s quite far away from what I’ve fallen in the pattern of listening to, but I love how vibrant and sunshiney the songs feel and hear echoes of their influence in work by many other artists. As a random aside also read that they labelled their style ‘jit’, love the word and being a massive fan of watching performances on vintage telly, thought you might enjoy this treasure

Here’s a wee bit of Rise Kagona for good measure, playing with Scottish musician Doug Veitch.  I also found a great Guardian interview

As for State Broadcasters you can stream their second full length album below, purchase from their bandcamp and check them out all over the wonder woven internet. Ghosts We Must Carry highlights include comfort laden single ‘Trespassers’, the delicately melodic ‘The Only One’ and opener ‘The Only Way Home’.

If you listen to one thing this week…make it Sucioperro

More precisely the new Sucioperro album Fused.  I’m in the middle of a hyper busy week which means I’m not going to say much at the Ayrshire trio’s latest effort, other than it’s some mightly addictive rock -yaaaaaaaaaaaaaasss! Available in independent music stores everywhere and of course to stream below.

Video for the quite brilliant ‘To Nothing’…

Olympic Swimmers Play…Richard Youngs

Right I’ll start here. I heard Olympic Swimmers at Christmas, when they released a song called ‘Where it Snows’: it’s delicate, beautiful and you can’t fail to love it. The first live outing I managed to catch was at Belladrum this August, a jubilant set showcasing tracks from their debut album No Flags will Fly.

After I accosted them at Bella, Simon Liddell from the band shared this suggestion, a sweepingly beautiful track by Richard Youngs.

RICHARD YOUNGS ‘Soon it Will Be Fire’, from the album Sapphie

I first heard Richard Youngs on a sampler CD from Indianna label Jagjaguwar. The track was ‘Soon it Will be Fire’ from the album Sapphie.’

‘I knew very little about him when I first heard his music, and was stunned to discover he was Glasgow based. I’ve rarely heard a record that comes close to this in it’s simplicity and fragile beauty. It’s almost difficult to listen to, as I know I will never be able to record anything that could touch it. Here are the reasons I keep going back to this record…

Simplicity: It’s just acoustic guitar and a vocal. As a musician, it’s a reminder not to overcook arrangements and saturate a song with different parts / instruments. Even his finger picking style is quite sparse (particularly in The Graze of Days), and the silence between notes plays as much of a part as the instrument itself. I read that the guitar he used is a battered old cheap classical. I like the idea that, to record an album, you would choose an instrument based on sentimentality, rather than tone (although to my ears, it sounds great anyway).

His voice: One of the most mournful, somewhere between Mark Kozelek and Efrim Menuck. The album was recorded in a flat, but the vocals are drenched in reverb throughout, sitting on top of the dry guitar. The most beautiful moments of the record occur when his voice cracks.

The songs last for ages! 3 tracks, 37 minutes…’

Olympic Swimmers released their debut album ‘No Flags will Fly’ earlier this year. The ten tracks are melodic, well crafted and filled with seraphic sounds, fronted by Susie Smillie’s unique vocal. Amongst them are the upbeat ‘Knots’, echoing ‘Apples and Pears’ and triumphant, choral closer ‘Mt Noah’.

Watch ‘Father Said’ at Belladrum…

and I know it’s not winter just yet, but the video for ‘Where it Snows’ makes pretty cool viewing at any time…