Glasgow

Album Review: “Sugarmilk” by The Dirty Blonde

Coming back almost a year after the release of their self-titled debut, The Dirty Blonde, is back with a vivacious and thoughtful follow up record, Sugarmilk. The record bounces back and forth between raucous shoegaze, temperate garage rock and full on grunge with some tracks a conglomerate of all of the aforementioned. Sugarmilk’s inability to make up its mind creates a record that will never get old, boring or too familiar. Though, the musicians behind the band are all too familiar with each other. Brothers Paddy Gallagher (bass) and Danny Gallagher (guitar/vocals), Dean Canale (drums) and David Rybacki (guitar/vocals) grew up together in the same neighborhood in Glasgow where they learned about the music of Ween, R.E.M. and even traditional folklore of Scotland. Together they created their own version of what music should sound like which some people didn’t agree with. Paddy and Danny were known to be kicked out of music classes during their schooling but it paid off for them to stay true to their musical instincts. Each track highlights the Glasgow boys’ talent and creativity as musicians and beneath the bands’ unique qualities I hear some familiar sounds like Protomartyr, Futurebirds and Slowdive.

 

At the top of Sugarmilk is “Bends”, a track that perks the ears of shoegaze fans like myself. “Bends” is short and to the point, just like introductions should be. Blink and you’ll miss the track but you’ll likely find yourself listening to it over and over again because the driving energy behind “Bends” is quite addicting.

 

The opposite of “Bends” is the following track, “Bottom Feeder.” It stretches itself out to be twice as long coming in at 5 minutes but as far as 5 minute tracks go, this one holds on tight. It starts gently but builds carefully and apprehensively until it crashes down with a flooding sense of release.

 

 

 

The more mellow tracks like “Going Home” and “Grieving Friend” offer a more pensive perspective on The Dirty Blonde while high speed “Husky” highlights how high the boys can crank the volume up. Their reflective lyricism intermixed with the assortment of moods, styles and genres of music makes Sugarmilk a refreshing taste of one interpretation of garage rock.

Sugarmilk is out now on Two States Recording and can be purchased on Bandcamp. Find out more about The Dirty Blonde here!

Debut EP from Scottish alt rock band, Armstrong

Acquiring attention rapidly in Scotland, Armstrong is a force to be reckoned with. Nicole Mason’s vocals fly high above the dynamic and compelling drums of Brian Chandler, irrefutably rock n’ roll guitar licks of Stuart Hay and David Lennon and rhythm-driving bass of Ian Cruise. All of this is whirring around between your ears with an edge of punk while simultaneously bits of it remind me of some of The Strokes’ guitar riffs. Check out the music video for the band’s first single, “Thursday Night”:

 

Each track on their debut EP packs a punch of its own but my personal favorite is the more subdued, “Bend. Buckle. Break.” How often in your existence have you felt all three of those forces, each leading to the next? The first line of the track is:

“The morning after my life before…”

The instrumentation and the lyricism fuse just as they should and clearly others are noticing. The band has been playing gigs since March of this year including a few sold out shows. Keep your ears perked for this foursome.

Interview: Glasgow four-piece, Even in Arcadia

Even in Arcadia is a female fronted band from Glasgow with a vast array of musical influences including some of the greats of the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s: The Ramones, Blondie, Nirvana. Hazel Gore’s thick vocals meld flawlessly with the post-punk grunge rock scaffolding the Christopher Garvin (guitar), Chris Gore (bass) and Blair Martin (drums). Chris Gore and I chatted via email and he told me about the birth of Even in Arcadia, their musical influences and an exciting upcoming gig they have on December 23rd at King Tut’s in Glasgow.

MFL: In your bio, it says the Even in Arcadia have only been together for a short time! When and how did all of you come together? Is there one common thread between the four of you that brought you together?

Even in Arcadia (Chris Gore –CG): Hazel and I (Chris Gore) are brother and sister. We were looking to put a band together and recruited Christopher Garvin and Blair through an advert placed online. That was in August 2014 and we have been together ever since.

 MFL: Your influences (Blondie, The Ramones, Blue Oyster Cult, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Nirvana) are quite diverse and cover about three decades! I can hear subtle hints of them weaved into your EP. Could you break down one or two of your tracks off your EP in terms of influence and content?

CG: In a nutshell “Electric Thumb” is about anxiety – the emotional and physical symptoms that it brings. The different dynamics in the song take you on a journey. We love playing this song live. It’s loaded with energy and emotion and is a fan favorite. In terms of influence, I’d say bands like Foo Fighters and The Pixies play a part in this song.

 “City in the Dark” is about the drinking culture in Glasgow and the loneliness of 5 o’clock in the morning once the pubs and clubs are closed. Many people make their way to parties or some go home alone while the city sleeps. The song has an eerie feel about it but has a really big chorus which ties nicely with the lyrical content of the song. This was definitely influences by bands like The Cure and The Smiths. It has a classic indie feel to it.

 MFL: As a group or individually, list three to five songs that struck a chord with you when you were first discovering music. You know those songs that you’ll never forget!

CG: Nirvana – In Bloom

 Patti Smith – Gloria

 The Cure – A Forrest

 Neil Young – Heart of Gold

 Jeff Buckley – Last Goodbye

 

MFL: Congratulations on the release of your EP, Blue Prints! What does this mean for the next year of Even in Arcadia?

 CG: Thank you. We will just continue to try write more and more songs and keep growing as musicians and songwriters. We plan on getting back in the studio soon and getting more tracks recorded. More gigs are in the pipeline and will continue to get out on the road regularly.  

 MFL: Tell me about the making of Blue Prints. When did that project begin and how did you decide it was complete?

CG:  It was recorded in 7 West Studios in Glasgow. Both “Electric Thumb” and “City in the Dark” were recorded live. It was a great way of recording as it really captures the atmosphere in the room and I think that comes across on the record. It sounds really raw. We had recorded an acoustic session previously and decided we would use “Weave a Web” from that session on this record.

It was completed once we couldn’t afford to record anymore! Haha.

MFL: You have a major gig coming up in December! You’ll be playing at the acclaimed King Tut’s in Glasgow.

 How many times have you all been to shows there?

CG: I think we have all been to shows there a couple of times in the past. It obviously has a very rich history of amazing bands coming to play. I’m sure everyone knows it was where Oasis were picked up by Alan McGee, so it’s a pretty special place to be asked to play and something we are really looking forward to.

How did this opportunity come to Even in Arcadia?

CG: We were invited to play the show by one of the promoters who work for DF Concerts. We are supporting Paisley based band, The Label.

What’s the game plan for that evening?!

 CG: Not sure we have a game plan per say. But we will definitely be on the top of our game, and when that happens there is no stopping us. We are going to tear the house down!

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 MFL: Finally, if you could tour with any band past or present, who would it be?

 CG: Wow, tough question! I could probably change my mind on this one several times. I’ll stick with current bands though, and I’ll say either Wolf Alice or Drenge. I saw them play in Glasgow recently and both bands were fantastic. I think we have a similar vibe to them and would sit well in supporting them.

Thanks Chris Gore for giving us all a peek inside the musical lives and minds of Even in Arcadia! And thanks to Even in Arcadia for making music! Don’t forget to catch them at King Tut’s in Glasgow on December 23rd!