This year for the Glasgow Film Festival 2017 I was both coordinating the press coverage for GUM and volunteering on the festival myself. However, with so many interesting films on, there were no signs of fatigue. Here’s a quick round up of films I’ve managed to see (no fully formed reviews here, just scattered thoughts).
In the last decade, there has been an exponential growth in the amount of participatory theatre being produced. What started as a new theatrical experience has now often become a tokenistic trait. Nowadays, participatory performances rarely provide the audience with actual agency and autonomy, but rather an illusion of such. We are Slumber Club, a group of third year Theatre Studies students at the University of Glasgow. From Friday the 17th until Wednesday the 22nd of March we are putting on a project titled Trilogy. We want to return ownership of a theatre performance to you. We intend to move audience interaction from the performance to the process, so the spectator’s active involvement is to contribute items and ideas during the show’s development. When we then perform the final show, created by the spectators, we hope to question these ideas of participation and democracy.
This documentary about a group of maverick Dutch journalists investigating the possibility of ethically produced chocolate manages to be educational, depressing, and very funny all at the same time. The beginning half depicts the efforts of the core member of the group, Teun van de Keuken, to get himself imprisoned for the crime of consciously eating chocolate while knowing that its production has involved child slavery. Towards the end, the film shifts its focus to Teun’s (‘Tony’s’, as his name is commonly wrangled by anglophones) quest to create their own, 100% slave-free brand of chocolate, called Tony Chocolonely. As it turns out, there are massive obstacles on the way to achieving that goal.
Revision: making me feel like a moron since day. Unfortunately with exam period looming- unless you're hell bent on failing/ one of those people who get away with doing nothing there is just no avoiding it. So whether you're hauling ass to the library or cowering in the corner of your room struggling to read your own handwriting- this is the playlist that may just get you through.
Disclaimer: Not substitute for actual intelligence
*Warning- Spoiler Alert* ‘Springbreakers’ follows four college girls who long to escape the confines of their painting-by-numbers life and journey to the Mecca of hedonism that is Spring Break in Florida. They fund their trip by robbing a local diner and quickly realize that crime can make all their dreams come true. Once they get to Miami, all of their depraved fantasies come to life; pool parties, copious amounts of alcohol and drugs and glorious, sun drenched beaches. The film takes a dark turn when they meet an up and coming crime lord/rapper called Alien (James Franco) who leads them further down the slippery slope of crime. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=NlydTf5bJdo ‘Springbreakers’ shirks conventional storytelling to revel in the neon fantasy world created by Harmony Korine, and the viewer is treated to an explosion of colour and noise like a waterfall of skittles. Korine continues his focus on nihilistic communities that have been central to all his films, but takes an aesthetic left turn by replacing VHS home video visuals for glamorous HD slow motion photography. The result is stupefying. The overwhelming visuals follow the most basic of formulas: TITS,ASS, GUN, BLUNT, BLUNT, GUN. At first, the audience is completely titillated by the slow motion footage of parties but as these images continue and persist, they eventually erode the surface of the sun kissed, party utopia to reveal a vapid world of senseless violence.
Never before have so many bearded men in their mid-thirties cried from a combination of sheer joy and frustration. Picture the scene: it’s been 22 years since My Bloody Valentine’s last album, 1991’s hugely influential Loveless. Since then front man Kevin Shields has repeatedly waved the possibility of a follow-up in front of what must be the most patient fan base in the history of modern music; and then, out-of-the-blue, the band flippantly announce over Facebook that the new album is ready to order via their website. Now, MBV inspire a very particular type of diehard fan, the kind of dude that knows the exact combination of effect pedals used on the band’s whole back catalogue and is more than willing to share this information with you on Youtube. So, when the much anticipated album came to their attention, they flooded MBV’s website in their thousands causing it to crash until the very early hours of the morning – cue the tears.
GUM was delighted to be invited to Chillies West End, an exciting Indian located on Woodlands Road, to promote the new student deal they have just launched. The invitation coincided nicely with our new food and drink section, which seeks to promote affordable dining for all us broke foodies out there. The deal sees students walk out with 10% off all sit-in meals from Sunday to Thursday, and 10% off take-away throughout the week. A valid student card must be shown on order.
'Django Unchained' will be released in British cinemas on Friday the 18th of January but it has already stirred up a lot of controversy in America. The film follows recently freed slave, Django (Jamie Foxx) team up with the eloquent dentist cum bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz) as they track down and free Django's wife. Waltz turns in another dazzling performance, audience and director alike are wooed by his eccentric sense of humour which slightly overshadows Foxx, who, for the most part goes for more of a laconic tough guy caricature. The balance works well and helps Tarantino deal with the issue of slavery in smart ways as Schultz teaches Django how to read and shoot to further his emancipation. However it is DiCaprio who steals the show as the southern debonair, Monsieur Candie, who couples charming wit with sadomasochistic racism in a captivating performance. DiCaprio has been stifled in recent years as he constantly returned to psychologically disturbed roles in an attempt to pick up an Oscar that to this day eludes him, but he seems rejuvenated playing out of type as the Southern gothic villain with high energy and a dandy flair. Quentin Tarantino has made a name for himself by taking forgotten, worn out relics and breathing new life into them. He salvaged the careers of John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, David Caradine and put them back in front of the camera with a renewed hunger to lay down the performance of their careers (in the case of Travolta, he came up against fierce opposition with the Weinstein Company, almost jeopardizing the completion of Pulp Fiction). He took expired genres like the 70s Hong Kong revenge film, grind house and the 'dirty dozen' and charged them with his witty dialogue and vivid violence. The only misstep in 'Django' is the fact that the western genre has already been updated for modern audiences and once again exhausted by shows such as Deadwood, games like Red Dead Redemption, and films like Cowboys vs Aliens. So the awkward scrolling inter titles and long shoot-outs are a part of a ready-made style as opposed to one unique to Tarantino.
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZuWD-mSUtrU&w=250 Ah to be this excited about Christmas once again. Snow. Trees. Lights. Santa. This is the joy of the Christmas season personified, in all it’s abundance, saturation, and sensory assaulting-ness. 2. Meet Me in St Louis (1944) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g4lY8Y3eoo This film is major Hollywood mush, however that’s not necessarily a bad thing during the holidays. Following the Smith family, fronted by Judy Garland as lead sister Esther, through the seasons in turn-of-the-century St Louis, the Christmas portion of this Technicolor cheese-fest ranges from fully-fledged gaiety at the dance (Sub Club it ain’t) to the melancholic lullaby in this clip. Fueled by the fantasy of a nostalgic utopic society before the evils of the 20th century really got going, when put into context, this film can be seen as a conservative encouragement to Americans during WW2. Looking at it now, it’s undeniable that the overt naivety never really existed in an honest way, its manufactured nature is irrepressible. But when we watch it with this knowledge, it’s far easier to enjoy as a piece of familial and social fantasy, rather than something actually aiming to reflect reality. 3. A Christmas Carol (2009) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pdrcvw87BCQ (Fezziwig’s party) http://movieclips.com/fEZsY-a-christmas-carol-movie-joy-to-the-world/ A story that has been idiomized into our consciousness through the countless re-imaginings of it, the 2009 motion-capture version of A Christmas Carol certainly has its flaws. However, it is unmatched in it’s opening panorama through the streets of Victorian London, presenting in the most Dickensian way all the socio-economic variation of society, from the Christmas Card stuffed windows of the middle classes, to the urchins and beggars, to a banquet brimming with seasonal excess. Although this scene is rooted in the tint of rose-washed Christmas pleasantries, it succeeds in its juxtaposition of poverty and decadence, illustrating the political consciousness that Dickens’ work is founded upon. 4. The Lion in Winter (1968) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsojL-MhZB8 Katharine Hepburn in this movie deserves nothing less than the word; wow. Henry II (Peter O’Toole) has allowed his imprisoned with Eleanor of Aquitaine (Hepburn) out to visit for Christmas and by gum is she going to do everything to attempt to overthrow him. Yes, it’s medieval times but the basic familial dysfunction is just as relevant today as it was back then. Ok, so maybe, you’re not all physically trying to stab your brothers, plotting to have your dad dethroned, or pitting your children against each other, but the politics of this film is basically a fancy allegory for saying that Christmas can be a tumultuous time for one and all. Just don’t cut each other please.
Stephen Gyllenhaal’s new political comedy, Grassroots, hits cinemas at the perfect time. Based on ‘Zioncheck for President’, the memoirs of lead character Phil Campbell, it charts the progress of his friend Grant Cogswell; a young and inexperienced idealist with one ambition. He wants to bring social equality to Seattle by developing the city’s elegant monorail, with the help of some fervent students and a polar bear suit. When Cogswell, an unemployed music critic, decides to run for a seat on the local council he encounters a range of problems. He is a single policy candidate with no political prowess, no funds, and only Campbell as his equally inexperienced campaign manager. GUM had the chance to speak to director Stephen Gyllenhaal, who reflected on his motivation in making the film. “I loved the idea of two white slacker dudes who had no business going into politics, and not only doing it, but trying to unseat the only African-American council member in Seattle. Everything about it seemed wrong”. Certainly, the fact that Cogswell specifically targets African American Richard McIver does not go unnoticed. While Joel David Moore’s Cogswell is sometimes too idealistic and too one-dimensional, Jason Biggs’ portrayal of Campbell shows the great emotional journey of a character who only agrees to help his friend because he was recently fired and is struggling to get off the sofa.
In the Winter 2012 issue of GUM, James Gaddis relates two anecdotes in what seems little more than an excuse to deride pornography. All under the guise of his concern for the demise of positive attitudes to sex, though he doesn't indicate where this slide began – porn is as old as art, after all. I like pornography, in all its great variety, and as someone who's also seen the music, mainstream film and computer games he's enjoyed blamed for all sorts of social trends, I feel compelled to respond.
Tucked down an alleyway just off the busy Shoreditch high street, The Hoxton Pony was the ideal venue for the launch of one of London’s finest 3 piece electro outfits Belleruche. By 7.30 the basement- which boasts a Funktion One soundsystem was packed out with mostly 20something hipsters cradling complimentary champagne. Whilst we were waiting the resident Dj kept everyone entertained with laid back house and techno.
When the band eventually took to the stage they were met with a warm reception, having yet to see Belleruche live I was intrigued to see what their performance would involve. There’s no other way of saying it, but the make-up of the group is weird. Picture a sultry female solo singer clad in a glitzy black dress, a geeky Dj glued to his synthesiser and a stereotypical bassist hidden behind a shaggy mop of hair. Undoubtedly a strange mix, but for some reason - much like a bloody mary - it just works.
Words by Tom Clarke. Thursday the 22nd of March saw the launch of a new club night at Sub Club. The name of the night is Rubix and the organisers are Joshua Plotnek, Abraham Parker-Clare, David Shields, Daniel Bartling, James Oglethorpe and Calum Lindsay. All are second year students at the university of Glasgow and this is there first ever night.
Since 2007 and their debut Album ‘Colour It In’, The Maccabees have come a long way from singing about wave machines and ‘Toothpaste Kisses’. Their third album ‘Given To The Wild’ was released on Wednesday the 9th of January and has proven evidence of the band’s observable maturing since their adolescent, harmless debut. ‘Given To The Wild’ entered the UK mid-week charts at #1 before debuting at #4 on the official weekend charts, the band’s highest ever placing album. With this record, there are remnants of the old Maccabees, there is an essence that holds this album and the last together however, with it’s bigger, more anthemic sound and subject matter – as well as the hype factor off the back of their last album obviously – it’s no wonder that this album is looking to propel them to new heights.
A Place to Bury Strangers, the current flag-bearers of American Noise, will be releasing their latest Ep Onward to the Wall this month (7th of February) on the record label Dead Oceans. With the release of this new extended player, a short 5-track explosion, a slightly new feel is noticeably present. Although not far removed from their trademark sound of surfy, grimy, feedback driven rock, the sound has been sculpted into something typically reckless, yet more mature, without losing its chaotic charm. There seems to be more control on the Ep's five tracks with lead singer and song-writer Oliver Ackerman venturing up new and unexpected sonic avenues.
After 12 successful years at Mitchell Lane in the Glasgow city centre, it’s time for pan-Asian restaurant Bar Soba to take on the West End. GUM headed down to the launch party to check out this new addition to the already restaurant dense Byres Road. Situated just below University Avenue, at the site of what used to be cocktail bar The Blind Pig, Bar Soba is just around the corner from the university. With a trendy interior, drink promos and discounts, it is clear that Bar Soba seeks to appeal to the student crowd. Deals worth checking out is their 2 for 1 mains for students, Monday to Thursday before 5pm and the all day Sunday to Wednesday drinks promos which include Stoli, Beefeater, Havana and Jim Bean + mix at £2, a pint of Carling at £2 and Apple and Ginger Mojito at £3.
With the months and months of hype surrounding this film, it arguably removes the need for reviewers to harp on about how ‘you MUST go see it, now!’, but for what it’s worth, you must go see it…. Now. If, like me, the book passed you by and you thought you’d wait until someone jumped in and digitised it (an English version anyway) to see what all the fuss was about, then I can assure you that, after watching this, you’ll get it. I also learned while eavesdropping on a gentleman conferring with his lady friend during the sticky floor shuffle we all partake it when exiting the theatre, that this so called ‘Hollywood’ version is surprisingly accurate to the novel. As mentioned previously, I haven’t read said novel so I can’t really comment, however I can assume that the overall premise is the same – adding to her own personal and financial problems, Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a troubled and antisocial young computer hacker is called upon to assist recently smeared journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), in his search for the truth behind the disappearance of Harriet Vanger who went missing 40 years ago and is presumed dead. Their inquiries lead them further and further down the rabbit hole of the Vanger’s sinister and shrouded past, until they find themselves so far in that they aren’t permitted to turn back.
Here, a selection of our music contributors put forward what they consider to be the best musical offerings of 2011. But who are we to put them in order? So here they are, lined up as equals and open for your interpretation. Feel free to defend, argue or add your own favourites in the comment box below - Because there's nothing quite as contentious as an end of year list...
[TRACK] NY Is Killing Me by Gil Scott Heron and Jamie xx from the album We're New Here.An outstanding rework album, We’re New Here exhibits new Electronic music’s capability to be confessional, injected with pathos, and still able to flood a dance floor with sub- bass and addictive manipulated vocal samples. Now a tribute to the late Gil Scott-Heron, this album is a template for minimalist perfection – affirming that the clock is ticking on populist Dubstep. Mixed seamlessly NY is Killing Me in particular is a credit to Jamie XX. With a drop that Skrillex’ ugly sound could only dream of, and a soul that exudes 1960s provenance; this is how Electronic music should be done (MJ). [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7c3wRzUUjs&ob=av3e[/embed]
[TRACK] Bed of Nails by Wild Beasts from the album Smother.A hint of Twin Peaks about it, Wild Beast’s third release, Smother marks a move towards the ethereal. Bed of Nails exemplifies this new musical manifesto; smouldering lyrics, murky vocals and a haunting electronica pulse –part of a new breed (The Horrors, The Rapture, Outfit) in a sea of tired pop. Maybe Domino Records’ first great release since the mid-noughties’ indie alternative blitz (Franz Ferdinand, et al.) (MJ) [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZaevasFRUg&ob=av2e[/embed]
[ALBUM] Sam Baker's Album by Samiyam.This album was dropped back in June, all hazy and swaggering. Samiyam (AKA Sam Baker) created a collection of crisp instrumental hip-hop that was acutely delivered yet still deliciously woozy - as ready for the club as it was for chilling in your room half cut. With jazz influences, it is a welcome break from the other more bombastic trends in electronic music. As a whole, Sam Baker's Album flows with an apparent effortlessness that makes it completely attractive. Also spectacular live back in November. (MD). [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQ1wiMUPoQE[/embed]
Probably meaningless, definitely biased.1. Mainstream Dubstep. The word ‘Skrillex’ perhaps became the most divisive word of the year in music. Run of the mill chart music was infiltrated by bombastic, mutated versions of this genre, often with unexpected remixes (eg. Korn). For some, endless bass drops and grating wobbles are the thing of ecstasy, for others it causes a teeth grinding disdain ‘towards the watering down of an ‘underground’ scene’. It certainly brings out the Frasier in people. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F21aifX0lZY&ob=av2e[/embed] 2. More, more and more - MAXIMAL electronic music. Producer du jour Rustie rose to the top in 2011 as the figurehead of this attack on the boring. In his album ‘Glass Swords’, he brought intensely layered synths and crazed melodies, with every aspect being multiplied to the nth degree. This is the music of a coked-up Sonic the Hedgehog, it is pure hyperbole. Pitchfork of course wrote an immensely long, detailed, socially relevant piece on it but that makes it so much less fun. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raPKsCIc8bs&feature=related[/embed] 3. High-pitched female vocal samples. The more twisted and obscure the better. Blawan’s ‘Getting Me Down’, Hudson Mowhawke with ‘Thunder Bay’, the list goes on and possible culminates with the mega-hyped ‘Ordinary Things’ by xxxy. It often gives a more sensual tone to tracks which without Brandy squealing over the top would be lacking in humanity and catchiness. However, it seems to always verge on the ridiculous and has it now gone as far as it can? [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqAB8kAUrrM[/embed] 4. Folk saturation. Mumford and Sons, Laura Marling, and about 3896 emerging new bands adhered to the formula of acoustic guitar, wistful lyrics and super twee image. Yes, it’s lovely and tame, but in the same way that you can’t really dislike a kitten. Enough. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCrXguzRK5A[/embed]
‘Men were deceivers ever’, sings the ethereal voice of Claire Wallis sucking the audience into the world of STAG’s stunning production of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. This modern take on Shakespeare’s adored classic, directed by student Joshua Payne, takes the story of love, lies and deceit to new levels. We are thrust into a land of criminals and con-men led by the infamous Donna Pedro and Leonato. Don Pedro’s change of sex is an interesting alteration by Payne, but works well in giving the language of the play a greater degree of sexual tension. The pair, together, equate to the mafia of the business world. With an aura of power and cunningness oozing from their presence, especially from actress Harriet Bolwell (Donna Pedro), they decide to take on more than just the money - It is cupid’s turn to be fleeced. Fraud and lies work for business, and the pair use the same devices to concoct a loving match between the striking Benedick and Beatrice. This match, based on a web of lies, surprisingly works out for the better. The love of fellow characters Claudio and Hero, however, a love based on truth and real feelings ends disastrously with devastating humiliation for bride Hero, and agony for both. Hero, played by Isabel Otter-Barry Ross, is the perfect sobbing bride, accused of an adulterous act she did not commit. Deceit has once again played its part, this time under the control of the sexual deviant Josephine Pedro, Donna Pedro’s villainous sister. It becomes clear that not only are lies used to the business world outside this gang culture, members are also untruthful to each other. Every relationship is poisoned by deceit.
In this consciously upbeat dedication to ambient pop and acoustic, Jassy Earl takes us through some of her favourite current tunes that will definitely make you want to forget about that crappy Thursday and retreat to the woods...
[ONE] Ben Howard - The WolvesIt may seem an obvious choice but raving earlier over Ben Howard's debut, I was astonished to be deafened by replies of "who?!" If you haven't heard of him yet, it begs the question as to whether you've been tracking down polar bears in the Hebrides or have indeed lost your hearing after too many night on Sauchiehall Street. His album Every Kingdom is an intimate beach side jam and a layering of folk and mainstream pop; a showcase of raspy voice and magnificent guitar virtuosity. It's a sound comparable to Jose Gonzalez' and is definitely about and beyond the hyper-popular appeal of Ed Sheeran. There's believability and a raw emotional loading. The Wolves itself is haunting and soulful amongst complicated guitar patterns and military drum beats; and empowering antherm that should be the top of your Most Played list. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLQaGEI5D2Q[/embed]
[TWO] Lucy Rose - Middle of The BedAfter supporting Ben Howard on Tour, Lucy Rose is one to look out for. She finished her A-Levels, lent her vocals toBombay Bicycle’s ‘Flaws’ and has continued to follow in the footsteps of Laura Marling and Emmy the Great, who have spurned a new generation of female singer-songwriters. Beautiful lyrics, acoustic melodies and a subtle husky tone loaded with beautiful harmonies and simple storytelling lyrics makes the track a catchy one. It’s also worth checking out Don’t You Worry - more sombre, but still magnificent. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adBPg8Zdp2g[/embed]
Vanishing Point returned to the Tramway with a show reminiscent of ‘Interiors’, their last production. Separated from the stage by a panel of glass, the audience survey the action as if they were looking into a block of flats. Privy to no character dialogue whatsoever, we only hear sounds such as the television set, a hoover and a guitar being strummed. In the two flats we are allowed to see, the muted actors perform in mime. Above the main point of action, an old woman sits in a small room for the entire performance watching a television in the dark. Beneath her a young couple give a display of their life.
Contributor Alexandra Embiricos went down to Mono to listen to Glaswegian singer songwriter Andrea Marini and attempted to unpick his charmingly modest personality and hard work ethic. Andrea Marini would appear to be more at home performing in a western than at Mono on a rainy Glasgow evening in September. But despite his name, inherited from his Italian father, Marini is disarmingly Scottish. What on stage sounds like Cash in one of his softer periods, becomes a charming Glaswegian chirp. Just in case there’s any doubt, when a musical admirer asks to buy him a drink, he takes whisky over water. “I don’t feel like a really confident salesman, I made a sale earlier on- I’ve sold one.” He jokes, “we made it mostly in peoples living rooms, the clock wasn’t ticking so it was good for us” he says about the three year period it took to record the album, compromised completely of original songs. “A lot of the time was just spent with the recordings, listening to them over and over, getting them right, and it’s a luxury that you have with a debut album. The most important part of the three years is that you make a lot of material and you cut it down. If you listen to the record it’s got quite a lot of space to it. I don’t think that it would have the space that it does if it weren’t for the lengthy period it was recorded over”.
On 25th September, contributor Tom Clarke lent his ear to the new boy of psychedelic odd ball pop.
This is the first night of Mockasin’s tour and it’s ramshackle, hilarious and utterly brilliant. It’s also his first headline tour ever, something that Connan marks out to the audience; “this is different, you’re listening to me”. Pretentions and hierarchies are thrown out the window when he asks if he can lower his mic stand off the stage and sing from within the crowd. His humbleness in front of the audience and the fact that he bridges the gap between them and himself, may give the impressions of shyness or a lack of confidence but these would be completely misplaced. Connan Mockasin does exactly what he wants and knows exactly what he is doing and as he glides through the nine song set that includes eight of the ten songs featured on his most recent album, 'Please Turn Me into a Snat'. There is a wild energy running between him and his two band mates, who hang on his every movement, looking for indications and directions, when to change, when to speed up. Connan is obviously in charge and these songs have no set in stone layout. Connan Mockasin’s band is usually a five piece but tonight the missing band members are made up for by Mockasin by way of the crowd who he has singing and clapping at particular times to fit the songs and in effect produce a fourth or fifth instrument.[embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7CaTJ2SvG8[/embed]
GUM checks out some of the plays at the 2011 edition of Arches Live. Read, enjoy and keep a look out for our next print issue for a story of a rather unusual theatre experience... "Songs For A Stranger" by Nichola Scrutton A soulless twenty minutes ended with half the audience standing unmoved and the other half covering their ears. When the applause came, it seemed more an appreciation of the vocal versatility the performers had just demonstrated, unrelated to the piece’s depth. The two females on the stage improvised to a soundtrack of multi-layered electronic music trying to create a song to reflect feeling like a stranger. The range of sounds they were able to make with their mouths and voices was remarkable, but it took a strong use of the imagination to escape the fact that all that faced us on the stage were two women making interpretive sounds and screams into two microphones. Had this piece been an improvised exploration of the theme in the rehearsal room, it would be hailed as brilliant. Had it been released on a CD it would have been labelled interesting and challenging. Yet as a performance it meant very little apart from sour ears.
Ease into the week with GUM's fornightly playlist. September is creeping to it's end and with October comes Official Autumn. But delay that extra wooly jumper and forgo the fervent beard-growing as GUM brings you tracks that will envelope you like a warm bath. If you're always getting caught in the rain (but remain indifferent to pina coladas), have a listen and remind yourself it might never happen. [ONE] Julia Holter emerges with 'Tragedy', her most recent album that is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. In track 'Try To Make Yourself A Work of Art', a cacophonous blend of elegant melodies and white noise create an abstract, droning backdrop upon which her sparse vocal are laid. This is is the fine line between classical ambience and Dada-ist nightmare. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zu5QVDdThdw[/embed]
BY HANNAH CURRIE [caption id="attachment_1444" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Jamie Webster: Photo by David Gourley"][/caption] “ It’s a difficult bloody thing, managing bands,” says Jamie Webster, the boss of Glasgow indie label Instinctive Racoon, almost as soon as he sits down. Immediately I’m suspicious. Firstly, because managing a record label is to music lovers what cake testing is to gluttons -a dream come true. Secondly, because the tour diary I’d read in preparation for this interview is somewhat at odds with his solemnity: “The party went on into the small hours and a couple of the boys managed to snuggle up to some smoking hot babes,” The rest of the diary is chock-full with fun times and debauchery, plus unspeakable antics which apparently he can’t print “for legal reasons”. (Though, given Charlie Sheen’s recent transgressions, I’d suggest doing so might boost his popularity ten-fold). The tour to which Webster is referring was with Three Blind Wolves during their support slot for Frightened Rabbit. Webster has nurtured the act from its early days as a solo project by Glasgow singer-songwriter Ross Clark - whom he spotted at an open mic night - to its current success as the latest signing by Communion, the coveted label founded by Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons. The bands also won Best Live Act at the recent Scottish Alternative Music Awards and are currently on an extensive tour of the UK. It all sounds pretty positive- so why the long face? “The first time we toured Three Blind Wolves in the UK we probably had one good show out of seven. We weren’t getting paid, it was costing us a lot of money, and the band were going out onstage and playing to a small handful of people. It can be soul-destroying”. Ah, fair enough then.
Frazer Graham - aka HaHaHa - is a DJ, music producer, self made label exec and all round good guy, whose relationship with Subcity Radio started three years ago when Frazer was a Business student at Glasgow Uni. His initial intrigue into the possibilities the station had to offer came after attending the Research Club parties with Benny Boom behind the decks (who, incidentally, recently enthused about Frazer on his Mixed Bizness blog<http://mixedbizness.co.uk/hahaha-1111-mixtape/>.) From helping out with visuals and putting forward production ideas, to joining this year’s Subcity events team, Frazer has quickly become a key part of the Subcity community. [caption id="attachment_1420" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="HaHaHa: photo by Sean Anderson"][/caption] Although his first live set as HaHaHa was only six months ago, Frazer has been making beats since November 2009, alongside his other projects which include drumming for acclaimed Glasweigan band Vendor Defendor and making musical bleeps under the Alpine Ski Champion name. Six months ago Frazer decided to give up everything non music in pursuit of making the music he loves- as he explains: “Some people think I'm an idiot for dropping out of uni with only a few months to go [till finishing] but when it’s a choice of doing something you love or something you hate I choose poverty.”
Nina SchonbergGlasgow University’s own Cut Filmmaking Network arranged one of their weekly activities on Tuesday (22/02/2011) in the Boyd Orr building. The network hosts workshops and projects’ nights every week, varying from prosthetics to camerawork.
[caption id="attachment_1416" align="aligncenter" width="275" caption="Alasdair Roberts: Image by Laurent Orseau "][/caption] This week, the network had invited Alasdair Roberts as their guest, a folk musician (based in Glasgow since 1995), to talk about his career, which has also included working on soundtracks for various short films. In the filmmaking scene, he is probably most well known for his work on the David Mackenzie film Young Adam (starring Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton) from 2003, for which he played guitar. He told us that his focus turned to music when he was a teenager, around 15 years old and since then he has been involved in music in various ways, though his focus mainly being guitar and vocals. Folklore and traditional Gaelic melodies are something he is fascinated in and this is reflected directly in his music. He has never been taught in music but rather he learned by ear, which is how he still approaches music today. He listens to a lot of music to gain inspiration and always thinks about how he could incorporate fresh aspects into his own music and through this also develop himself as a musician. He has a distinctive style in his work but he still says there are no definite sources of inspiration for him rather that they change through time.
Inbetween their UK tour featuring a wee slot at King Tut's, Mary Machin caught up with Rhydian Dafydd of Welsh outfit The Joy Formidable for a chat and insight into their creative mindset... [caption id="attachment_1362" align="aligncenter" width="318" caption="R-L :Matt, Ritzy and Rhidian, Image:MusicRooms"][/caption] How’s 2011 treating you so far? Rhydian: Pretty well, yeah. It’s all very early days but we’ve been itching to get on the road and get debuting tracks from The Big Roar live. When it comes to playing something live for the first time, do you translate songs so their sound is varied from that of the record? R: Yeah, absolutely, I think we do see the two as quite distant and it’s nice to challenge yourself and change things night to night. The live experience is something within itself, that’s the way we see it and I always think, why go and see something live that I can listen to on a record?
3/11/10 NME Awards Tour 2011 The NME circus arrived in Glasgow for one night only, showcasing the talents of Everything Everything, Magnetic Man, and Crystal Castles. Alex Embiricos arrived ticketless to the O2 Academy, nabbing the last crumpled ticket on the streets, before being granted entrance to one of the most anticipated music events of the month. The O2 was packed with a crowd of the young and the hip, a tangible energy buzzing with expectation even before any of the acts took to the stage. By the time Everything Everything stepped on wearing top down buttoned shirts and glasses, there was not a single space on the floor. Although the indie-pop four piece remained pretty static, the synth started up with a good backbeat of drums and heavy bass, emphasizing what was to come from two of the most exciting electronic bands around. The audience picked up on this teasing prospect and towards the end of their set the lead singers high pitched, feminine vocals had the crowd’s appetite whetted, and the enthusiasm escalating into a rhythmic jumping frenzy.
Alex Embiricos caught up with one of Glasgow's up and coming bands, The Lava Experiments, who supported Caspian and God As An Astronaut at King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on 9/11/10 "We were thinking of dressing up in clown suits, there's nothing like playing melancholic music wearing a big pink clown suit.” [caption id="attachment_1203" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="The Lava Experiments"][/caption]
'The Lava Experiments are a band in the chryslis of change, not in the comedy of a clown suit.' Originally the brain child of singer/ guitarist Fraser Rowan, the band began as a series of experimentations named 'Lava' in downtempo ambient electro and, as Fraser eloquently puts it, “some guitar orientated stuff”, which were entirely autonomous. But as it turns out an Icelandic jazz bad had all ready nabbed that title, thus with the addition of bassist Rory McGregor and drummer Alan Wond, The Lava Experiments were born. So when I ask how they all met I was immediately dealt with “In a dark room, in a gay bar, we just felt things”, thus begins my highly entertaining interview with an interesting band, who no doubt have the required chemistry to pull off the mammoth sounds I heard the other night at King Tuts, with only three guys on a small, sparse stage. Sparse the stage may have been, but the crowd was packed in and intently listening to the layered synth, crunchy guitar and deep vocals which had formed so completely and emerged from the cocoon. Their audience, expecting post-rock, displayed much “nodding of heads, tapping of feet, and stroking of chins” in contemplative appreciation.
Hey, a blizzard! Put my jacket on, head out...
Ahead of their Glasgow gig at the 02 Academy Colin Reilly caught up with the Chris Differs, frontman of influential New Wave band Squeeze and solo artist in his own right to discuss the latest incarnation of Squeeze, their new album and tour... [caption id="attachment_1048" align="aligncenter" width="203" caption="Chris Differs of Squeeze (Image credit: Rich and Laura Lynch)"][/caption] Colin Reilly: Hi Chris. How are you today? Chris Difford: Okay Colin: The tour has just kicked off. How was the gig last night? Chris: It was good. Very good. Colin: Do you find your audience is mostly older fans who have followed you since the begining or are there younger fans as well? Chris: There's a mixture these days. Especially in America where there's quite a lot of youngers fans. The wit of the audience is generally growing. Wits are larger, heights are dropping but the general age is a mixture which is really good.
Abbey Shaw checks out Katy Perry’s new album and the burning question is…is it an improvement on ‘I binned a cat and I liked it’ or something along those lines: [caption id="attachment_1001" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Image Credit: Capitol Records"][/caption] Bubble-gum pop is not my thing. My friends so often complain that all of the music I listen to is nothing more than an incessant drone. Most of the time, I like it that way. There are, rare occasions when something so catchy and poppy will seep into my consciousness that, for a brief blip in time, I will agree that mainstream pop can be brilliant, leaving my cynicism behind. Katy Perry has most certainly won me over. She is most definitely pop but her powerful vocals and defiant attitude do give her an edge.
by Lauren clark I'm aware with this being October that any mention of Christmas is going to be met with irritable groans but I can assure you that my intentions are not to promote mince pies or any of that other premature festive hoopla that starts to creep in at this time of year. Instead I'm endeavouring to inform you about Yorkhill Santa Cause, an arts and music project that's merely riding on the coattails of Christmas promotion to generate a little giving in us lot in order to raise money for Yorkhill Childrens Hospital. This 8 week music and arts extravaganza will be
Last Saturday, the GU Photo Society (did you know there's a Photo Society? well... there is) went away to Clydebank and ascended the Titan Crane. Pictures were of course taken, and here are some of mine. (at Partick railway station)
…is all you want after a good night out seeing unsigned bands that Glasgow music scene is renowned for. Breathe in deep then before you go and listen to one of these four gems that we have found for you because you are going to be dancing for a while.
Franck Martin has a chinwag with front man Andy ‘Falco’ Falkous from the delightfully abrasive, refreshingly anarchic alt rockers Future Of The Left.
Ok, so the recession’s crept its way into our summer plans and we’re being a little more wary with our cash. In the past we’ve been all too happy to chuck our hard earned overdraft in the direction of a certain domineering, beer-scented festival sponsor.but what should we be doing now we’re being a little more discerning with our financial moves this year? Laura Doherty wades through the portaloo spotted scenery of the summer’s festivals to show you where to invest your tent pegs.