Is that a groovy or an utterly shite title for a review page? I can’t make my mind up, and, if you can think of anything better (not hard shoooerly) let us know. We’ll maybe change it.
ANYWAY, this is the opening effort of a regular-ish round-up of some random tune-age as listened to by some of our contributors. If you have anything you’d like featured then whiz an electronic mail to info at flaresnseagulls.com and we’ll give it a listen. Probably. Enough tittle tattle, on with the show…
First up is a couple of singles and an EP as seen through the eyes of JustBoy57.
LightGuides – The Casting Call
I’ve been a fan of LightGuides for some time now and have been referring them to numerous people over the last six months. Australia, England, Ireland; the LightGuides word is spreading and the amount of people at their recent T in the Park performance simply highlights that people are beginning to switch on to this band and high time too.
New single, The Casting Call, is a rumbunktious, fast paced, wall of sound that sees the three-piece steam roll their way through three minutes and thirty-six seconds of Scottish alternative rock. It rip roars from anthemic choruses to lighter moments with lead singer Mark Cowan leading the way and surely staking a claim for best unsigned voice of 2010. The evolution from early singles such as SwizzleStick through to newer tracks such as Midget Gems and now this brilliant, noisy number puts emphasis on a band that appear to be focused and more ready than ever to take not only the Scottish music scene, but the British music scene by storm. LightGuides MySpace
Make Sparks – The Answer & The Question
This new release from Scottish perfectionists of guitar-pop Make Sparks is part of a joint release with LightGuides and is more than capable of standing out against the mainstream dire that recently everyone seems to be subjected to. The two singles, The Answer and The Question rock and roll their way through pitch perfect harmonies and distorted guitars. It’s polished, very polished, but there is a distinct like-ability about this band and these two singles further emphasise their widely circulating reputation as one of Scotland’s best unsigned bands. Make Sparks MySpace
Call Me Ishmael – Game of Kings
Glasgow alternative six piece Call Me Ishmael released brand spanking new EP Game of Kings with a victorious headline gig at the Cathouse in Glasgow last Friday. Standout tracks include a new version of old-time favourite and scarily catchy, I Am Stop, You Are Go, the angst driven Blood and Ashes, but it’s the haunting Fire the Tank, that really makes this EP stand out. It’s powerful, angry, thought-provoking and melodic. This is a statement of intent from the band and expect big things from them in the coming months. Call Me Ishmael MySpace
And now Godzilla Blues takes the podium…
Min Diesel – Din Measles EP
Min Diesel is a local 3 piece band that I’ve seen live a couple of times and I’ve also chatted to 2/3 of them on occasion. They did promise to send me a copy of this to review but probably forgot. They don’t strike me as being the most organised of guys for some reason. Organised enough to get this EP together though I guess. Anyway, I spotted it in One Up’s racks at 3 quid for 4 tracks, which is pretty good value these days, so decided I would donate some hard cash to their cause. It comes in a nice gatefold recycled cardboard package with a simplistic splattery cover design. Opening song ‘Broad Street Blues’ features a fast-paced buzzsaw rhythm that would be familiar to anyone who has spent some time listening to The Wedding Present. The trebly guitar sound in general offers quite a retro sound to my ears and recalls the alternative bands of the late 80’s along with American acts such as early Dinosaur Jr and Sebadoh. The rhythms are slightly off-kilter but not jarringly so, which is a problem I have at times, melodies become lost in amongst distracting timings. The vocals are raw and untutored sounding but this completely fits with the music. Live I’ve found the vocals a wee bit flat at times, probably down to the fact the guitar work is quite busy – singing and playing guitar at the same time is a notoriously tricky business. It’s a strong release and worth 3 quid for sure. If you’ve only seen them live and liked what you heard, I would get hold of this, there’s a lot of detail in there that isn’t done justice live. 9/10 Min Diesel MySpace
OK this is a split single from the rather nicely named Gerry Loves Records. It’s not clear whether there is any A/AA side so in order of listening –
Towerblock by Trapped in Kansas is a nice piece of anthemic guitar rock reminiscent of the likes of Aereogramme and De Rosa. The guitars start off quite intricately but start to soar towards the end. Make Me Stop by Yahweh has a steadily building electronic backing track which underpins a half-spoken, slightly distorted layered vocal track. It actually wrong-foots you slightly on the initial listen, as the big finish that you suspect is coming never arrives and it remains a pretty gentle listen.
Quite a nice contrast in styles and 2 pretty good songs giving a quality release. 8/10
Making his FnS debut is Telenovela, who is giving his views on Hercules Moments Vol: 1 sampler album which you can download free here.
This compilation features seasoned veterans as well as relative baby faces to the Aberdeen music scene. With the liner notes claiming to have “searched high and low to find the best bands Aberdeen has to offer” I don’t think Eoin and Russell – the creators of Hercules Moments – are far wrong. From tracks one through ten, there’s most certainly something for everyone, whether you want a full on rock assault, a catchy pop-punk number or a sing-a-long indie-pop anthem.
Opening track “North and South” by long-standing indie-rock band, Eskimo Blonde, is the perfect toe-tapper to grab your attention before Estrella rock your socks off with the first of three Hercules Moments exclusives.
Only The Brave are quickly gaining an army of fans on the live scene and it’s easy to see why with “The World Is Waiting” – HM exclusive no. 2 – having catchy hooks and seamless vocal harmonies.
FiveFifteen are next up with their prog-indie sound very reminiscent to bands from days gone by but with their own contemporary stamp to have you dancing round your living room, before relaxing with a sensuous song from Indian Red Lopez that is sure to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
Captain Face’s “Mexican” completes the trio of HM exclusives and is the perfect way to up the tempo before your ears are hit with another great effort from Right Hand Left who have perfected the art of writing catchy, indie-pop songs similar to another Aberdeen band, The Xcerts.
The Hijacks play ska-punk and play ska-punk well. By their own admission, ska-punk is not at the top of the tree on the Aberdeen scene but they fully merit their place on this compilation, which highlights the diversity of the Aberdeen music scene.
The Lorelei may have similar thoughts to The Hijacks about their own style of music but I don’t think anyone could not enjoy a good dance to “World Hotel”. An upbeat country rock song that is sure to have you jiving and singing along to yourself or anyone in the room with you.
Finishing off the compilation is Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band who have been gigging on the scene for longer than I’ve been born! With that amount of experience, it’s no mistake that “Love” is a well-composed bluesy-rock number that oozes years of craftsmanship similar to someone building a model of the QE2 out of matches.
Despite lacking from a track or two from some of Aberdeen’s heavier bands, this is still a varied compilation of what Aberdeen has to offer and if one day you meet an Alien (or even someone from outside the city) asking about what Aberdeen has to offer musically, give them this CD (or free download link) and they won’t go far wrong. 4/5
1. North and South – Eskimo Blonde
2. Whatever It Is – Estrella
3. The World Is Waiting – Only The Brave
4. Gold Dust – FiveFifteen
5. KYS – Indian Red Lopez
6. Mexican – Captain Face
7. Re-Invent Yourself – Right Hand Left
8. Wars, Invasions (Love Your Nation) – The Hijacks
9. World Hotel – The Lorelei
10. Love – Gerry Jablonski & The Electric Band
Hercules Moments Website
And thats it for now. We’ve quite a few more releases still to cover so I’d imagine the next update will be done in the next 3 weeks or so. If there’s anything you’d like us to review then just send us an email on info at flaresnseagulls.com.