All posts by John Robertson

Fistymuffs – About Time

 

Launched on the 28th of July at the Leith Depot, About Time is the debut four track EP from Edinburgh Punk trio, Fistymuffs.  It’s an utterly compelling collection of songs which screams out to be heard from start to finish.

Opening track Innocent Contact begins with a spoken word monologue, the powerful yet controlled anger demanding your attention.  As the band kicks in the raw energy is cranked up to the max as the gropers and uninvited personal space dwelling men are left in no doubt that their actions are anything but innocent.

Coercive Control deals with destructive mental abuse. The grungy riff underpinning the track serves as a perfect backdrop to the dark subject matter.  The smart lyrics are deployed like a scalpel.  ‘Show me the scars, this isn’t abuse’ skillfully lays bare the self-serving excuses of the abuser in just two short lines.

Time tells the story of an escape from an abusive relationship.  The staccato guitar playing and slightly trippy bass throughout the verses creates a claustrophobic atmosphere which only begins to disperse as the moment of escape approaches.  It’s an intense few minutes and may well be the pick of the tracks here.

The final track, Fistymuffs Anthem is classic pop punk, the singalong choruses proving hard to resist as the band lay out exactly what they are all about.  By the end of it you are left in no doubt that this band are more than a group, they’re a gang.

You certainly won’t be filing About Time under easy listening but the raw emotion and urgency throughout deserves to see it filed under essential listening.  If this is the starting point then following Fistymuffs over the next few years should be quite a journey.

Fistymuffs are Patty Vea on Bass and lead vocals, Suky Goodfellow on Guitar and Vocals and Nikki Foxx on drums.

You can purchase About Time by heading over to Bandcamp.  Just click here. 

Find out more by following Fistymuffs on Twitter.

Vistas – Tigerblood

It’s been around since the end of May but if you still haven’t heard Tigerblood, the latest single form Edinburgh band Vistas then trust me,  it’s about time you did,

The band have been producing wonderfully infectious chorus driven indie tunes for a couple of years now.  Tracks such as Calm and Retrospect were clear statements of intent, the melodic singalong choruses designed to be real crowd pleasers.

Tigerblood takes that to the next level, It is just impossible to stay still whilst listening to it. Be careful though.  It’s one of those tracks that somehow induces a heavy right foot if played in the car. You may be driving sedately as it kicks off.  As it ends don’t be surprised to see flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror as you subconsciously press harder on the gas pedal in an attempt to keep up with the sonic storm blasting out of the speakers.

This is a band that demands to be seen live.  For details of where they are playing in the coming months check out their website.

They’re also on Twitter and Facebook .

Betty and the Bass – Monk’s Blood

Last year’s EP from Betty and the Bass,  Bad Magic Tricks Part 1,  was one of my favourite releases of the year. So it was a real pleasure to catch them live at the Leith Festival at the start of June. It may have been a short appearance but there were plenty of highlights as this talented trio served up a tasty wee set. Singer Lyndsey Craig exuded bags of attitude as she fronted the band with effortless cool whilst the interplay between bassist and drummer demonstrated just how tight a gang this group are.

A hefty swig by the singer from a bottle of a well-known tonic wine served as an introduction to new track Monk’s Blood. Released on video at the start of May it’s another piece of indie magic from the band. A gentle start soon gives way to a livelier ska infused vibe as the track progresses towards a riotous conclusion. The accompanying video of the band goofing around in various places in Leith only adds to the fun. It comes at a surprise to see that the track runs for nearly five minutes as it really flies by.

Check out the video and add it to your summer playlist now, you won’t regret it.

Follow Betty and the Bass on Twitter here. 

And on Facebook here. 

Catch the video on YouTube below.

 

Me for Queen – Loose End

Released on the 1st of June, Loose End is the new single from Me for Queen. The title track from an album due later in the year, Loose End deserves to be a part of everyone’s summer soundtrack.

Me for Queen is the alter ego of Mary Erskine.  Raised in Fife with a blues guitarist Father and herself classically trained it’s perhaps no surprise that her music can’t easily be slotted in to any musical pigeon hole.

Loose End dispenses with an intro, the vocal kicking in straight away, the warm soulful folky vibe proving to be utterly captivating from start to finish. There are several neat changes of pace here and the chorus is an absolute delight.   If this song is a sign of things to come then the album is going to be an absolute belter.

Click here to listen to and BUY Loose End by Me for Queen

Follow Me for Queen on Twitter.

Get more info on Me for Queen from Facebook. 

Little Love and the Friendly Vibes at Leith Festival

The sun was shining down on Leith festival as Little Love and the Friendly Vibes prepared to deliver their set. Looking like they had just rolled out of Scooby Doo’s Mystery Machine their laid back demeanour disappeared as soon the opening chords of first song Fictional Girls rang out. It looked like co-vocalist Leonara Winstanley had been plugged in to the mains along with the amps as she was instantly transformed in to a vigorous ball of energy.

Sounding like a cross between the Buzzcocks and The B52’s,  their enthusiasm was impossible to resist from the start. High Maintenance, a song from their album ‘The Same…..Only Worse’ proved to be even better than the rather excellent studio version. . Heads Down, Thumbs Up saw Leonara make one of many forays in to the crowd, the stage proving too small to contain her remarkable energy. The bands certainly weren’t taking themselves too seriously. Guitarist and lead vocalist Euan Weddel’s occasional guitar hero antics in front of the stage were tremendous fun to watch, one of many things about the groups’ performance that left all those watching smiling broadly.

New single Italian Leather Jacket was possibly the high point of their afternoon as the band really got in to their groove. Things were brought to an all too early finish with a storming version of Banter Enhancer. They are appearing at Edinburgh’s Canal festival on the 16th June. Get yourself there if you can, you are guaranteed to have a good time.

Find out more at Little Love and the Friendly Vibes Facebook page.

And why not follow them on Twitter?

 

 

One to catch this month……Voicex

If you only go to one gig this month then do yourself a huge favour and catch Voicex making their live debut at the Voodoo rooms in Edinburgh on the 18th of May.   Made up of former members of The Scars and Boots for Dancing we are talking Scottish post punk royalty at work here.  Add performance poet and Fistymuffs member Suky Goodfellow on voice and things become a bit more than simply interesting

On songs such as The Immortals and Never the band deliver a rich sonic canvas for Goodfellow to paint over with her distinctive strong, direct vocal delivery. The results are powerful, passionate and at times slightly unhinged. In other words the noise they make is simply irresistible.

Support comes from The Ferramoans and The Fakes. And all for only £7.  Bargain.

You can buy tickets by clicking here.

Voicex are on Twitter and Facebook.

Checkout the video for Never below.

Errant Boy – We Like You

‘We Like You’ is the latest track from Edinburgh’s Errant Boy. Released today it’s a neatly served slice of jangly indie pop. The jaunty guitar and drums drive things along nicely from start to finish.  Yet again Errant Boy’s lyrics invite you to see the world from their somewhat crooked viewpoint, the distinctive vocal delivery casting dark shadows under the light of the backing track.

Be warned, this track is a serious grower, one more play will not be enough.  With an album due later in the year ’We Like You’ is a more than decent appetiser which will leave you wanting to hear much more.

Checkout Errant Boy’s Facebook page for more info.

 

 

L-Space – Suneaters

It’s hard to believe that L-Space were only formed in the latter part of 2016 given the total self-assurance they bring to  what they are doing. Previous tracks from the dream pop band have seen them conjure up a remarkably vivid alternative sonic universe, a place made more attractive by the realisation that weirdness is never too far away.

Now signed to the wonderfully named ‘Last Night From Glasgow’ label their new single ‘Suneaters’ sees the band continue to take large strides forward. The slow burning start provides space for Lily Higham’s alluring otherworldly vocal to hook you in to the bands vision of a better future, a world where the big energy companies have been consigned to history as we harness the pure clean energy of the sun.

What really impresses here is how the track builds perfectly, layers are added seamlessly before the track reaches a wonderful guitar driven climax which should have you punching the air with delight. With an album release planned for later in the year, 2018 could prove to be a big year for L-Space and on the evidence so far, they deserve all the plaudits that are sure to be headed their way.

Check out the bands website for more info.

Watch the  video for Suneaters below.

Gentlemen Jackals – The Open Door Within Your Mind

‘The Open Door Within Your Mind’, the debut EP from Fife band Gentlemen Jackals, is a wonderfully infectious collection of songs. Imagine classic rock with added Indie swagger, seasoned with hints of seventies metal, all underpinned by a captivating rhythmic groove and you will have some idea of what this band sounds like. Their influences may be retro but the five songs here sound fresh and unique.

Opening track ‘Heathens + Broken Hymns’ is a real attention grabber.  There’s no way you can stay still while listening to this slice of superior power pop. This band’s rhythm section are incredibly tight, the strong foundations allowing everything else to flow easily.

‘Preachers Son’ is a driving rocker. Its snappy intro sets the scene nicely for some crashing guitar work and a real singalong vocal.  The fast and furious finale is guaranteed to leave you breathless. Things are slowed down slightly on ‘Out of Reach’, a more jangly indie sound than what has come before. It’s a neat change of pace and further demonstration of this bands awareness of what it takes to keep the listener interested.

‘Wisdom to the Wise’ is another confident indie rocker with several twists and turns packed in to its three minute running time. Things are brought to an end with ‘Waiting for the Day’, a track that begins with echoes of Simple Minds at their best before the band morph in to their own singular sound. It’s a strong finish to what is a solid, bright collection of songs.  There is much promise on show here. On the evidence of this EP it’s odds on that Gentlemen Jackals will continue to deliver.  You can help them to do that by purchasing this EP.

Gentlemen Jackals are Mark Wilson on Guitar and Vocals, Craig McMahon on Lead Guitar,  Scott Thomson on Bass and Backing Vocals and Douglas Harden on Drums.

Find out more by following them on Facebook.

Or catch up with them on Twitter.

Yvonne Lyon – Metanoia

I have to admit that February has taken me by surprise. January has passed so quickly, driven along by the usual contradictory post festive season mix of happiness, melancholy, confidence, self-doubt, gloom and optimism.

Thankfully the current Scottish music scene can only encourage the latter feeling of optimism as musicians of all genres continue to contribute to what feels like something of a cultural high point.  There has been a lot of new music delivered already this year but I make no apologies for breaking my silence in 2018 by taking a look at Yvonne Lyon’s latest work, Metanoia which was released in November of last year. It is an album that I have returned to repeatedly over the past month and it proved to be the perfect antidote to the January blues.

 The album’s title, Metanoia, comes from a Greek word which refers to the process of changing your outlook after a spiritual experience or period of reflection. With its mixture of new songs and older songs revisited Lyon has delivered a coherent collection which provides plenty of surprises as it runs its course.

Opening track ‘Where the Poor Find Gold’ certainly grabs attention with its driving country-folk rhythm. It’s a strong start so it is good to say that what follows is even better. There are moments of reflection on tracks such as ‘Someday.’  The synths and beats of ‘Hope’ provide the perfect backdrop for Lyon’s dreamy vocal and is one of many highlights.  There is real defiance here too on ‘Sweetest Freedom’, a anthem for those who believe the good guys will eventually win, no matter what is thrown at them.

There is a strong case for saying that Yvonne Lyon saved the best for last when listening to closing track ‘Gigha.’  Situated just off the coast of Kintyre, Gigha is one of Scotland’s smaller inhabited Islands.  It’s a place I have been lucky enough to observe many times during the ferry crossing to Islay from Kennacraig.  Its familiar shoreline takes on many different guises depending on the weather, the state of the sea or the season.  Yet  with only piano, fiddle and that remarkable voice Yvonne Lyon manages to conjure up a wonderfully atmospheric picture of just what makes ‘Gods Island’ so special.

 Metanoia is one of those rare albums that rewards repeat listening with something new every time. You really can’t ask for more than that can you?

Learn more by visiting yvonnelyonmusic.com