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Miracle Glass Company & Those Unfortunates

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The release of the self-titled debut album by Edinburgh trio Miracle Glass Company is a big event for fledgling independent label VoxBox Records, which has grown out of their shop VoxBox Music in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge. Judging by the single T.R.O.U.B.L.E, they have got off to a flying start.

Miracle Glass Company consists of William Douglas (vocals & bass), Andy Duncan (vocals & drums) and Austen George (vocals & guitar). Earlier this year the guys were given a spot at the New Year’s Revolution Festival at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow; they’ve also performed at Alan McGee’s first Creation Sessions event in their home town and taken to the stage at a string of outdoor festivals including an acclaimed slot at the T Break stage at T in the Park. They’ve found an influential fan too in Vic Galloway, who has played the band on his BBC Radio Scotland show and booked the boys for a session in November.

The upcoming album has been produced by Owen Morris, who has previously worked on a number albums that you might just have heard of: Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, A Northern Soul by The Verve and Costello Music by The Fratellis and T.R.O.U.B.L.E, an irresistible swampy glam rock stomper, certainly has a touch of Fratellis style rock ‘n’ roll swagger about it.

Available in limited edition blue vinyl, as a CD or download, the album is launched on 14. Oct at Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh. Upcoming dates in Glasgow include Nice N Sleazy on Saturday (8. Oct) as part of the Tenement Trail, and then on Nov 12, they’re at The Hug & Pint on Great Western Road.

Here is T.R.O.U.B.L.E live at Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh:


For more on Miracle Glass Company:

Official
Bandcamp
Twitter

those-unfortunates-the-servant

Another week, another very fine release from Stereogram Recordings, the second Edinburgh based independent label featured this week.

The new single The Servant / Saturday by Those Unfortunates came out on Friday, hot on the heels of the London four-piece’s last effort, Letter Writing Man.

The Servant takes its inspiration from the 1963 British film of the same name that starred Dirk Bogarde and James Fox, and the band (Ben Brill, Magnus Alanko, Henry Bird & Seb Brennan) also cite a number of cult London authors such as Alexander Baron, Patrick Hamilton and Colin MacInnes as influences – and  if you only know MacInnes through that dreadfully over-hyped Julien Temple adaptation from thirty years ago, don’t let that put you off his novels. They also, as you can see below, have a thing for Malcolm McDowell, the star of A Clockwork Orange and my probably my favourite ever British film, If.

those_unfortunates_covers

Their songs has been aired on a bunch of BBC 6 Music shows, including Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe and Tom Robinson, the latter describing them as ‘daft and irresistible… [with] the lightness of touch and complete assurance found among all genuine Great British Eccentrics.’

Those Unfortunates aim for the wit and warmth of The Kinks, Television Personalities and Syd Barrett and they say of The Servant: ‘It’s three minutes of feedback, weirdy atmosphere and screaming… We are dead proud of it.’

So they should be.

There’s no video as yet for The Servant but here is a promo for Letter Writing Man, the third of their singles and their first on Stereogram. An album will follow in 2017.


For more on Those Unfortunates, click here for their official site, or here for their Facebook page.

West Coast, East Coast (Cool Ghouls & The Eastern Swell)

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San Francisco is one of those cities synonymous with a genre of music – psychedelia – but it’s what came afterwards that has always interested me more, when gentle people no longer wore flowers in their hair, having decided that grit was good; The Flamin’ Groovies, Tubes, Avengers and Dead Kennedys being just some of the acts from the Bay Area that found their way into my record collection as a teenager.

More recently I’ve been enjoying A Weird Exits, the new album from Thee Oh Sees and my current playlist has had Cool Ghouls’ Animal Races on heavy rotation ever since I penned an introduction to the band for this month’s Shindig magazine – available in yer local WH Smith and bucking recent publishing trends by upping the number of issues published each year.

End of advert.

Animal Races is a collection of tracks that often bring to mind the flower power heyday of their hometown but while singer/guitarist Ryan Wong told me they’ve been listening to a lot of Pigpen-era Grateful Dead recently, they’re just as likely to listen to something very different, bebop pioneer Max Roach being one of their current faves.

Inevitably, a little of this jazz influence has seeped into the band’s latest music and they also regularly display a distinct Flying Burrito Brothers influence too.

There’s some top-flight tracks here, Spectator comes across like an American Stone Roses, The Man and When You’re Gone are heartbreaking country rock numbers; best of all is Material Love, a great slice of hook-laden pop with the highly unusual subject matter of Jung’s theories of self-actualization. Or so I’m told.

Brimming with jangling guitars and dreamy harmonies, this is Sundial:


Cool Ghouls are coming to Britain shortly, where they are going to play six dates, the potential highlight being a performance at Liverpool’s International Festival of Psychedelia on 23.09.16.

For more on the band, here’s a link for their Facebook page and here is where you can find them on Twitter.

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Stereogram is as near a guarantee of quality as it is possible to get on a small Scottish independent label. So far they’ve released music by For Malcontents Only favourites Lola in Slacks, the rejuvenated James King and The Lonewolves and The Cathode Ray, three acts that have all made recent appearances in my end of the year best of lists.

This impressive roster has recently been bolstered by two highly tipped new acts, Those Unfortunates – a London band I intend to feature in the coming weeks – and The Eastern Swell, an Edinburgh based four-piece consisting of Chris Reeve, Lainie Urquhart, Neil Collman and Andy Glover – whose debut album, a selection of songs about love and loss called One Day, a Flood is just about to be released.

Like Cool Ghouls, there’s an element of psych in the sound of The Eastern Swell, although on the spectrum of that genre, they veer much closer to the pastoral folk end of the scale rather than to the classic California variety.

Run Down Country Palace, which is perhaps their finest song, reminds me of Espers at times, as does 1000 Yard Stare, while on Temples, they stray into Shelagh McDonald territory with Lainie Urquhart’s fragile vocals sounding exquisite.

Traces of West Coast America are, though, discernible in a couple of their songs; What’s Done is Done and Too Little, Too Late both incorporating that laid back mid ’70s LA feel, best epitomised by Fleetwood Mac.

Admirably, The Eastern Swell aren’t scared to throw a real touch of unpredictability into the equation though, and this comes here in the shape of Dancing Zombie Blues, a frenetic sub-three minute blast that somehow resembles Eugene Reynolds of The Rezillos covering The Living End by The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Appropriately enough for an album that often seems infused with a real autumnal feel, One Day, a Flood is out tomorrow, just as leaves are starting to fall (my birthday too incidentally but don’t feel you have to bombard me with lavish presents, folks). It will be available on CD or as a download.

A single, Rattling Bones, is already out and The Eastern Swell launch the album at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on Sunday 18th September with support coming from Candythief.

Penned by guitarist/vocalist Chris Reeve and with string arrangements by producer Pete Harvey, this is Rattling Bones:


For more on The Eastern Swell:

Official
Facebook
Stereogram Page
Twitter

Infinite Variety & Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

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Infinite Variety

If I had to list every act that the members of The Cathode Ray had ever plyed their trade in then this would likely become an overly long post. Instead I’ll just say that singer Jeremy Thoms was once upon a time a Revillo, going under the gloriously bad but somehow perfect for that band moniker of Fabian Wonderful, while Neil Baldwin was bassist of TV21 and guitarist Steve Fraser used to be a Scar.

Various bloggers have mentioned the influence of Buzzcocks, Wire and Blur on the music of The Cathode Ray and, sure enough, the single Resist does come over as the closest thing we’ll ever get to hearing what a collaboration between A Different Kind of Tension era Buzzcocks, early Wire and Blur at the height of Britpop might have sounded like.

The Cathode Ray have a new album Infinite Variety out shortly on Stereogram Recordings, a label based in Edinburgh whose roster includes Lola in Slacks and James King and The Lonewolves. If such an award exists, Stereogram surely must be in the running for best Scottish independent label in 2015.

Written and produced by Fabian, sorry Jeremy, this is their new single Resist, which the band themselves describe as ‘a sort of crazy punk rock/krautrock oompah hybrid.’ I find it almost impossible to believe that anybody that follows his blog won’t approve heartily of this track:

 
To coincide with the release of Infinite Variety, the band will perform a half hour in-store set at the Elvis Shakespeare Book & Record Shop on Leith Walk in Edinburgh on Record Store Day (Saturday, April 18).

Here’s The Cathode Ray Facebook page and here’s the Facebook page of Stereogram Recordings.

Earthquakes & Tidal Waves

Dot Dash are one of those groups that appear incapable of writing a bad tune. They’re also one of the most underrated bands in America in my not entirely humble opinion.

Their third album, Half-Remembered Dream, was one of my favourites of 2013 and since then a new lead guitarist, Steve Hansgen, formerly of Washington D.C. hardcore pioneers Minor Threat, has slotted seamlessly into their line-up. Now they have just released a new album, Earthquakes & Tidal Waves on Canadian indie label The Beautiful Music.

I’ll be covering Dot Dash in more detail soon but if you want a taster from the album – which I would definitely recommend – head over to this Bandcamp page where you can download a free MP3 of track three from the album, Rainclouds.

For more on Dot Dash, here’s their Facebook page.

For my post Three Girl Rhumba & A Band Called Dot Dash, click here. For Wire & A Band Called Dot Dash (The Sequel), click here.