Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Be right back...

Resound's taking an indefinite break, simply because I'm way too busy to fly solo!

I'm now a full-time contributer to Edrock.net so you can get in touch with me through that.  Keep sending stuff my way, I'll still be taking any gig reviews and CD reviews into consideration.  Also check out Scrap Brain.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Stampede Finale - The Fire And I

The Fire And I are one of the best bands in Scotland right now.  A duo comprising bassist/lead vocalist Gordon Love and lunatic drummer  Hooligan, they've spent the last years developing their profile as a uniquely exciting, energetic live act- with songs that bring together instantly memorable, chanty choruses and violently distorted, bassy rawk.  

Stampede Finale is their debut full-length album, and initially I was pretty concerned by it, as I tend to be when a band at their level of creativity and credibility come out with a proper studio release.  But I probably shouldn't have worried- it's everything I dared hope it would be.

For one thing, the production of the album is spot on.  It has a very "live" sound- the drums are punchy, but roomy enough to sound real and dynamic, and the layering of Love's bass is never overstated- the mix is streamlined and hard-hitting, with natural sounding tempo slides and all kinds of wee tricks added in, that make the whole thing sound genuinely exciting to listen to.  As opposed to click tracked, compressed-to-fuck shite.  It's as much a mix of pop and rock as the songs themselves.

And oh Jesus, how could I forget the songs.  The Fire And I write really good songs.  The album collects together previously released tracks like Dark In The Shade and set opener Revenge, remixed from their initial releases to sit better with the more recent, rawer recordings.  The format is general pretty consistent- distorted, thick bass and fast, hyper drumming- Hooligan, one of my favourite Scottish drummers, shows himself off as a seriously talented technical drummer as well as just a good performer (see the double-bassing awesomeness that is Pick It Up), and Love shows off some surprising vocal chops throughout the record.  Each song is memorable in its own way, with a load of little hooks scattered between the minimal structures- whether it's Mr K's vocal line or Left And Right's mellow, clean bass intervals.  All really well developed songs, there's not really any filler here.  The format admittedly does get quite tired when stretched out over such a relatively extensive tracklist- I guess there's only so much you can do with two instruments, to a point.  But there's a hint of future potential in the synth-poppy Fuck The Cliche, which is as close to outright pop as Stampede Finale gets (minus its nicely radio-unfriendly title).

I'll cut a long story short before I make myself sound like even more of a fanboy than I already do- Stampede Finale is a great fucking record.  Rather than take a brilliant live band and water them down, it shows off exactly what makes them brilliant, and it's so, so satisfying when an underground act's record hits the spot in that way.  Get it, crank it up, and you'll understand exactly what I'm rambling about here.  Class.

In other news, I'll soon be taking a listen to the debut record by Ghosts Of Progress, another one of my favourite Scottish bands.  Can't wait.

You can buy Stampede Finale at The Fire And I's own online store- or at least check out their facebook or myspaceAwesome.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Art Of Privilege EP Launch, Maggie's Chamber 23/10/10

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

    The quickly up and coming Fresh, "Scotland's newest music promotion service" is already making something of a splash in Edinburgh- I went along to check out their third gig, an EP launch for local grunge act Art Of Privilege (following their ESRE fundraiser at HMV Picturehouse in September, featuring Stanley Odd, Dirty Modern Hero, Jakil, etc... not too shabby!)  Their decision to embrace relatively new gig venue Maggie's Chamber is pretty forward-thinking- it's a surprisingly great sounding wee place with a 300-or-so capacity, and has already proved to be fair competition with nearby, similar-sized venues Cabaret Voltaire and GRV.  The tickets were reasonably priced (with all the money from sales going to the bands, I'm told) and sure enough, an impressive wee crowd had already formed by the time I arrived.

    First on the 6 band lineup were local slightly-prog wall of sound rockers Deco Arcade, and the groove metal-influenced Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.  The relentlessly gigging Supercharger presented the most recent in a series of lineup changes, with the addition of synth player Ben Glasgow, aka Fragile Chaos (whose tidy photographs you're looking at, cheers Ben) to their powerpop sound, which has become more and more developed both musically and performance-wise with each time I've seen them live.

A Fight You Can't Win's Matthew Bakewell.
(Photo by Ben Glasgow)
    Having never heard them before I wasn't sure what to expect, but A Fight You Can't Win turned out to be one of the night's highlights.  Awesomely loud, energetic and spazzy, they take a relatively straightforward handful-of-chords style and let it ride out on sheer passion and energy in refreshingly short, violent bursts.  Underneath it all however, there's a clear ear for hooks and melodies that made the overall experience far more absorbing- rather than being smacked in the face by a copy of Land Speed Record over and over again or something.  Standout tracks included Dead Lights ("It's about murdering women"), Glue ("I like to sniff it") and A Thousand Tongues ("It's like watching flies fucking"), all of which are on their 12-track CD.  Singer Matthew Bakewell's stage banter covered all the essential areas, from killing and fucking bassist Paul Diamond's dad, to anal beads and getting handjobs off pigeons.  Apparently they're trying to play Hogmanay- please, God, let that happen.

    Jack's Big Break, next up, were in a very different part of the same ball park as AFYCW.  Their style of fast punk rock drew more from an American, commercial perspective rather than old hardcore.  The tracks were simple and punky but without the danger.  They had no lack of confidence, however- Jack's Big Break clearly put a lot of effort into putting their live show together.  Their showmanship was pretty admirable- they even had a solo section for each member.  But I have to say, without trying to be a dick about it, they could do with focussing on their songwriting a lot more than simply their showmanship.  Whilst their energy and confidence were quite infectious and charismatic, at the end of the day it felt as if their songs were secondary to the actual performance- which made the experience fun but unfulfilling, at least for me.  The rest of audience, however, seemed to enjoy them- and they did a Rock Lobster cover- so I suppose at the end of the day, mission accomplished.

Art Of Privilege's Martin Gray.
(Photo by Ben Glasgow)
    The night's main attraction was Art Of Privilege themselves, with a sizable crowd of dedicated fans hanging on til well after 11 to see their set.  They began their set with one of their best songs, epic too-tired-to-fuck anthem Conflict.  Not only an awesome song, but a good representation of exactly what AOP are about: widescreen, Pearl Jam size rock, drawing generously from early American grunge.  What distinguishes Art Of Privilege from other such bands is, ultimately, the songs themselves. Rather than allowing themselves to remain indebted to the sounds they are so inspired by, Art Of Privilege take their influences and use them to craft songs that are great in their own right.  Their awesome hooks, solos and choruses made an impression on the entire audience- seeing a band confidently roaring through a set of songs clearly written with real passion and enthusiasm never fails to win me over, regardless of where the music came from.  Another standout for me was the menacing, heavy Alice In Chains-esque From Her Point Of View.  The set also featured the slightly shaky debut of the swooning Time Flies, to be included on the upcoming EP. With soaring fan favorite Like Aviation following some tuning difficulties, the band brought a fun, well put together night to a heroic ending.  I'll be reviewing the record as soon as it's out, and damn I'm looking forward to it.

Fresh are putting on a load of gigs in the months to come: if you're interested in playing one, you can contact Roisin at freshedinburgh@gmail.comas well as checking out the Fresh Facebook page.   Scrap Brain

Art Of Privilege on Myspace:

Jack's Big Break:

Download A Fight You Can't Win's badass album for free:


Dirty Rotten Scoundrels:

Deco Arcade

Scrap Brain

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Don Broco are not particularly cool, Energy! are

So Don Broco played GRV last night.  In theory, I should like a band who don't take themselves too seriously and have fun with their songs, so I went with some optimism, even if it was a bit cautious.  But at the end of the day, it takes more than style for me to like a band- and their songs just aren't good enough, pure and simple.  But whatever. 

More interesting, and the reason I'm bothering to type this up, were main support act Energy!, who recently supported Feeder.  I know, fuck Feeder, but it's still a pretty mighty support slot for a young band to land, so I was curious.  Stylistically, these guys are basically just that kind of emo-indie-alt-rocky Scottish...stuff.   You know what I mean.  Or not. But anyway, what didn't piss me off about them was the fact that rather than being some trendy arrogant dudes riding off their stye-over-substance music to live out their Twin Atlantic fantasies or something, Energy! are 3 awkward-looking, fairly shy kids, who seem greatly into their music and just want to play it to people.  Ross Leighton's a talented singer, and their songs felt well put together and passionate, even if it's nothing we haven't heard before.  What can I say, I really liked it.  Listen to their stuff and see what you think.  Where The Water Meets The Land is a really nice song.

More substantial gig review on here and Edrock.net tomorrow...


Friday, 8 October 2010

So I've been busy...

...and also just haven't had too much to write about, but hey.   I'll get back into the swing of reviewing shit, and there's another couple interviews on the way.  For now, I want you to check out Kay Singh.  She's from France but currently based in Edinburgh, and long story short specializes in the kind of stripped-back, deep and personal lo-fi that I'm a total sucker for.  There's something awesomely dark but pretty about the whole thing, and she's recorded some new tracks recently so definitely something to listen out for.  Shit's good.

Hit up her Myspace and see what you think of it all.  I recommend, funnily enough, the Introduction track.  It's quietly disturbing and a great uhm, introduction to it all.  Also love "Heights" and "Say It Again".  Tidy tidy.

In other news, the new Oceansize record, Self Preserved While The Bodies Float Up, is really impressive- it's some of the best stuff I've ever heard from them, and if you don't believe me listen to it for yourself:

Heavy stuff.  So yeah, back in a bit...


Saturday, 18 September 2010

The genius of Joaquin Phoenix

Wouldn't you know it, Joaquin Phoenix's retirement from acting, failed hip-hop career and public breakdown were all just part of an extraordinarily elaborate mockumentary directed by Casey Affleck, I'm Still Here, released on September 10th.  The signs were there, and I find the reviewers treating the film as a serious documentary laughable, but the level Phoenix was prepared to go to for his art amazes me.  It brings to mind his brilliant performance in Walk The Line where Phoenix, unscripted, tears a sink from a wall.  You've got to have respect for actors who inhabit their work to such an extent.  Haters gonna hate, but fuck them- whether or not I'm Still Here actually stands up as a good piece of cinema remains to be seen, but the work that went into it commands a unique level of respect in its own right.  Phoenix let his life spiral out of control in public for the sake of making something unique.  There's a serious actor.

Anyway, more music:  

Anything involving Dave Sitek tends to be worth a listen. This is pretty funky stuff. There's a full-length album coming very soon, keep an eye out for it.


Today I revisted Trent Reznor's latest project, How To Destroy Angels, and I've decided it's actually really fucking cool after all. Give it a listen if you didn't already and see what you think. It's got Reznor all over it, with the added bonus of his wife Mariqueen Maandig's sexy vocals. Very drum-machiney but if you're in the mood for it...