Up & Coming | Justin Caselton & John Hutchinson

GUM talks to five up & coming bands to keep an eye out for in 08/09

Laura-Jayne Hunter

Laura-Jayne Hunter is a singer, songwriter from Northern Ireland whose folky style is not dissimilar to the likes of Imogen Heap.

Laura-Jayne has been singing since she was a child and soon discovered a love of Prince and Eric Clapton. At the tender age of 14 she started writing her own material and since then she has been in various bands and experimented with a number of different styles. The singer graduated from Leeds Music College earlier this year and is currently gigging and recording some new material. In between this she has done some studio work in London and has even been involved in a Guinness world record attempt for ‘the most people singing together at once’.

“I was asked by the producer to sing the song on the recording, so basically I was doing some session work in a London Studio owned by Michael Wolf.”

This is no small achievement considering that this particular studio has been used by the likes of Bonnie Tyler and Duke Special. Between the release of this magazine and Christmas, Laura–Jayne will continue to play gigs and will be collaborating with a producer to record some new material for an E.P.

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The Black Alley Screens

The Black Alley Screens consist of three Irish lads from Warrenpoint, who have been making a name for themselves since moving to Glasgow two years ago.

Having played Live at Loch Lomond earlier this summer, the guys have recently returned from Wales where they have been recording their latest record.  The Screens are a grimy indie-punk band with some funky bass lines to boot. Two more additions to the screens armoury are the intelligent and acutely observed lyrics and the charismatic drumming of John Markey who is not unlike a certain Jim Henson puppet.

Their latest recordings are a testament to how the band has grown over the last few years. The material has become more focused yet still maintains a punky edge that sets the Screens miles apart from other ‘indie rock by numbers’ bands.

“In terms of sound, the new tracks are definitely better produced and in many ways they are more mature. A lot of more of our experiences of Glasgow are in the lyrics as well. They’ve got a more alternative-Americana feel to them. The pixies have always been a big influence on our writing, probably more so in these records.”

November will see the Screens embarking on a UK tour and for some this could cause delusions of grandeur, but not for the Glasgow three piece: “In between we will be the city’s fine pubs and clubs in pursuit of celebration, sherry and cigars, that is all one really needs.”

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Super Adventure Club

An Edinburgh based three piece in the textbook formation; guitar/vocals, drums and bass. However there is not much that could be considered textbook about the bands material. From listening to their newly released debut album, “Chalk Horror” it is evident that the band has been exposed to an impressive body of music. They hop effortlessly from genre to genre fuelled by Bruce’s screeching and mind spanglingly crooked guitar riffs, with Mandy’s bass and Waz’s relentless drumming giving the whole outfit some quite impressive cojones!

The origins of S.A.C. can be traced back to the glorious pinnacle of human endeavour that is Jewel and Esk Valley College where Bruce first met Mandy, who later drafted in Waz.
Although Chalk Horror’s musical influences are diverse to say the least, the lyrics stemmed from the bands own mindless ramblings and the actions of the people’s poet, Tommy Sheridan.

“I guess when you hear the lyrics, you can see that we’re inspired by people like Tommy Sheridan, Sharky the Impaler and Rik Waller etc. If they have done something that we think is funny or worth singing about then we will.”

Over the next few months SAC will be gigging furiously, even leaving their homes and jobs to go on a one-month tour of France.  With their musical originality and execution on stage, Super Adventure Club are well worth checking out.

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The Velcro Quartet

The Velcro Quartet, a quartet by name, not by nature, are yet another three piece, whose music treads on the edge of insanity. A mish-mash of electro, ska, pop and rock mixed together in a bowel of carnival lunacy creating a fruit cake of sublimely organised chaos! The songs are incredibly accomplished, full of hooks and clichés delivered in an extremely surprising and original manner, rich in delicious electronic beeps and whirs, tasty bass-lines and the singing of a madman offering advice on how to kill your wife!

As with their music, the story of Velcro Quartet’s formation is not for the faint of heart:  “Joe Rodger moved to Glasgow in order to start his own pop group. As the long, cold nights living in a skip took their toll, Joe changed. He would metamorphose regularly into a hideous beast and would often be seen lurking around Kelvingrove Park with half-eaten swans hanging out of his mouth. Two philanthropic local gentlemen (Rudi Zygadlo and Andrew Pattie) had heard the legend of the beast and decided to take him in. Joe, however, had soon corrupted them with his tales of pop aspirations, and a band was born; however, the original sound Joe had dreamed of had become soiled and sinister. After that, it was as simple as placing an advert on a blimp above The Halt Bar which read: ‘Wanted: The Best Drummer in All the Land’ for Craig O’Brien to join the team; thus, The Velcro Quartet was born.”

One may be forgiven for wondering what inspired the group’s particular brand of pop mayhem.  However when mused upon logically, the answer is perfectly simple: “Italo-disco and unsettling smiles”.  Over the foreseeable future the group plan to release their first single, tour England and between all of that, continue to play here in Scotland so they can enlist more fans and of course “advocate the qualities of sleeping in skips”.

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Punch & The Apostles

Glasgow band Punch and the Apostles are a veritable menagerie of musicians and instruments. As well as the usual suspects there is a violinist, accordion player, and a brass section, who all contribute to the blend of flamenco, jazz, and ska, (among others) that makes up the bands music.

The origins of punch is just about as epic as there music: “In 2005, Nape-of-the-Neck, Ginger St. Vitus Dance and Dougter-who met in the infirmary of a fish-packing factory in which they all worked. Having, by chance, simultaneously fallen victim to the bane of the fish-packers existence, carpel-tunnel syndrome . they struck up conversation.” Indeed.

Through this conversation the three ‘soon to be apostles’ unearthed a shared love of “obscure avant-garde Argentinean accordion music”. The next step for the trio was to travel to a “renowned apothecary” specialising in their affliction. After some “alto sax noodling”, the trio had an epiphany that would become Punch and the Apostles and convinced Mr Nelson, the sax noodling potion master to join them. From there the rest was simple. The next recruit was an ice cream vendor named Squeezy, a quick-witted accordion player who worked in a music hall next door to the packaging plant. After some persuasion Spanner rose from his toolbox to join the motley crew, and before long the apostles found their final member, Chazzmatazz.

“He was sipping single malt and thought, through a protein-induced aneurysm ‘why the hell not?’ Thus the seed that was planted in the sick bay of a fish disembowelling plant grew into the Venus fly trap that is Punch and the Apostles.  It is unclear what they intend to do over the next few months, but with any luck they’ll be gigging their trousers off!

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