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The Return of Natalie Pryce

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Natalie Pryce vol 2

You might remember me interviewing Mark Swan of Glasgow band (or artistic musical collective if you prefer) Natalie Pryce at the tail end of last year.

Since then, their single Emily was named in the Top Tracks of the Year list of Alistair Braidwood at Scots Whay Hae! and they also found themselves the subject of a highly favourable New Artist of the Day feature in Louder Than War (okay, this was actually written by me so no big surprise there).

Produced by Samuel Joseph Smith of Casual Sex at the Green Door Studio in the west end of Glasgow and financed entirely through crowdfunding, their second album, Vol. II: The Ascent from Ego to Ego, is released today.

Remarkably, each track was recorded in one single take on the first day in the studio in analogue, the whole process of recording and mastering the double album taking a mere three days.

I’m obviously a fan of their apocalyptic collision of dirty blues and desolate garage rock which manages to reflect a myriad of high and low culture influences from grim fairy tales to the films of David Lynch.

Intensity levels are cranked up to eleven throughout and the whole band is in complete command of their material. There are some economical and loping bass-lines from Steven Litts and Greg Taylor’s guitar provides an always interesting coating for all of the songs, while even the J.K. Simmons character from the 2014 film Whiplash would surely approve of Stephen Coleman’s splendid drumming. It really is exceptional.

Mark Swan meanwhile hollers, screams, yelps, shrieks, croons and even whispers his lyrics with the manic conviction of a man who knows he is about to embark on a long day’s journey into a particularly bleak night; sometimes he can sound unhinged and sometimes strangely tender. He also supplies harmonica and occasionally melodica, the latter in particular giving certain tracks like Sam an intriguing and hypnotic texture.

Much of this can make for an uneasy listening experience and Natalie Pryce won’t be for everyone but they aim high and I like that in a band; they also refuse to play safe and clearly put a whole lot of effort into the creation of their music and videos, so see what you think, this is new single Søren, which they advise you to watch on HD.


Søren is available for free download now here and if would like to hear the album streamed on Soundcloud, click here.

For more on Natalie Pryce:
Official Site
Facebook
Twitter

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Finally, since I mentioned the Green Door Studio and David Lynch, I thought I should throw in an extra wee treat that combines the two. Here is another act whose debut album (Night Tides) was recorded at Green Door. This is Hausfrau covering the track Mysteries of Love, a David Lynch & Angelo Badalamenti composition written especially for Lynch’s surreal and mesmerising classic, Blue Velvet, after the director was unable to gain the rights to This Mortal Coil’s stunning version of Song to the Siren for the film.


For more on Hausfrau, click here.

Lola in Slacks, The Cosines & Kurt Cobain’s Favourite Songwriters

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Lola in Slacks Glad Cafe

Quite a few very promising shows in Glasgow this weekend that locals might be interested in.

First up, Lola in Slacks will be making an appearance at the Glad Cafe in Shawlands tonight (27 September) and this is one not to miss if you have the chance.

For a band that have still only played a handful of gigs, Lola in Slacks have already made a very positive impression on those who have came across them and I have no hesitation in naming them the best new Scottish act I’ve heard this year.

Vocalist Lou Reid (yip, her real name) possesses the kind of intriguing, timeless vocal delivery that would likely have gone down just as well in a Weimar era cabaret bar as a music venue in modern day Glasgow and collectively the band complement her perfectly, in fact, guitarist Brian McFie (formerly of The Big Dish) reminds me at times on tracks like False Lines of her near namesake, the Velvet Underground legend.

I really think that in the not too distant future they could make a album full of great songs.

From a demo recorded by former Simple Minds keyboard player, Mick MacNeil, this is False Lines, a track that would make a fine debut single:

If you want to hear another version of the song along with five others from a recent session the band recorded for Billy Sloan, click here.

Tonight will also see the first visit to Scotland from The Cosines, whose recent album Oscillations I enjoyed a lot. Think C86 meets Stereolab.

They’re playing the Bowlers Bar, which I’d say was the best pub in Bridgeton – although some might see that as damning with faint praise – and support is supplied by Duglas T. Stewart favourites, No More Tiger and Citizen Bravo, who is Matt Brennan of Zoey Van Goey.

I’m told admission to the show is only a fiver and the Bowlers booze is very reasonably priced – a real rarity in any venue with live music nowadays.

Here’s some Pure Pop for Neu! People in the shape of Out of the Fire, the opening track of their album, which is out now on Fika Recordings:

 
And finally, I did promise some Vaselines last week, and coming out on Monday on their own Rosary Music label is their third studio album, V for Vaselines.

The plan seems to be that Eugene and Frances will be play two acoustic sets in-store at Monorail in Glasgow this Sunday (28th September ) between 4pm & 6pm. More details here.

V for Vaselines is a great listen and if you’re interested in hearing my further thoughts on it, here’s my review for one of my favourite sites Louder Than War.

The band also play Edinburgh’s Caves along with Teen Canteen on Monday night and later, after some dates in England and Europe, Kurt Cobain’s favourite songwriters will be returning to Glasgow on November 28 when they’ll playing at the Art School.

This is the new single High Tide Low Tide, filmed if I’m not mistaken in the Costa del Largs. Enjoy:

For more on Lola in Slacks, click here.

For more on The Cosines, click here.

& for more on The Vaselines, click here.

Simply Thrilled, Barbed Wire Kisses & Mutant Moments & Memorabilia

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This upcoming Saturday is Record Store Day, when I like to set my alarm for an almost unfeasibly early, pre-dawn rise that guarantees me first dibs or almost first dibs on whatever one-off limited edition vinyl rarities are on offer. Last year saw me at least treble my money on the bulk of my purchases when I put everything I’d bought up for auction immediately on eBay and if you’re looking to make a fast buck yourself, I’d recommend you do the same this time round.

Only joking.

I just doubled my money on the most of the records.

No seriously, up till now I haven’t as yet visited what I tend to call a record shop specifically on this particular designated date. Cliché though it may be, every day should be record store day, although if an official RSD does help get punters to pack into independent record shops to buy vinyl rather than giving their moolah to the likes of Amazon, then it gets the thumbs up from me.

This year, though, there is something up for grabs that I really do fancy snapping up ASAP, not a record but Simon Goddard’s latest book Simply Thrilled: The Preposterous Story Of Postcard Records, which will be available exclusively in Scotland a week earlier than anywhere else. Not only that, but if you’re one of the first 500 to buy a copy over the counter on Saturday, you’ll receive a free A3-sized ‘Funky Glasgow Then’ print which is an illustrated map of the city during the Postcard-era.

According to Simon Goddard: ‘The print is suitable for flattening and framing… or equally suitable for wandering around Glasgow’s West End getting lost looking for what was once The Spaghetti Factory’.

That’ll be a Scottish restaurant called Stravaigin folks, if you’re not one of the lucky 500.

Simply Thrilled JAMC Barbed Wire Kisses

Also out on Saturday is Zoë Howe’s Barbed Wire Kisses – The Jesus And Mary Chain Story, which I’m also rather keen to get my mitts on, although sadly no ‘Not Entirely Funky East Kilbride Then’ map is available with information on that town’s musical landmarks such as The Olympia (which resembled a Neds’ convention at weekends but where Orange Juice once played a show and is now a Sainsbury’s), Rockabill Records and Impulse*, where the young Aztec Camera were regular customers (both of those shops have long since bitten the dust too) and the Bonnie Prince Charlie (which once hosted a weekly reggae night in the function room upstairs).

The Jesus and Mary Chain have by coincidence just reformed and announced some live dates. Sometimes they love Rock’n’Roll, on this occasion, though, they hate it:

 
And finally, a mention for an exhibition at Glasgow’s Voidoid Archive that I’m hoping to get along to later this week. Mutant Moments and Memorabilia includes work by former Jesus and Mary Chain bassist Douglas Hart, photographer Ryan S. McGill and Gerard Malanga.

Malanga is famous for many things but I’ll always associate him primarily as the guy who danced with Edie Sedgwick while brandishing a whip as part of Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable show that featured The Velvet Underground, a band who were, of course, a mammoth influence and inspiration for The Jesus and Mary Chain and, for that matter, Alan Horne and Postcard Records.

For more information:

Simon Goddard
Postcard (on this here blog)
The Jesus and Mary Chain
Zoë Howe
Zoë Howe: Interview with Douglas Hart
Mutant Moments and Memorabilia

* I still have very fond memories of the ‘Punk & New Wave’ box on the counter of Impulse as well as their ‘lucky bags’ of singles which were usually dominated by some godawful disco dross, unlistenable AOR and unspeakably bland MOR but which also always seemed to include at least one Spizzenergi or Swell Maps type punky gem too. Or maybe I was actually just lucky.