By Mary Chang
on Sunday, 26th October 2014 at 10:00 am
Hitchin singer/songwriter James Bay has gotten another SXSW nod for 2015, so that gives him a third opportunity – after this past year’s shout and his support slot coming right up with the seemingly ubiquitous on the blogosphere Hozier – to wow North American audiences with his music. (But don’t worry, he’s also got a UK/Irish tour for November after the Hozier outing.)
The promo for ‘Hold Back the River’, his debut single out 23 November, was filmed while Bay and his band were moving on a circular platform, so if you are easily prone to motion sickness, best skip this one. Watch it and Bay’s famous hat below.
By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 25th October 2014 at 10:00 am
After selling out his next tour in record time, Noel Gallagher is offering up this new video from his High Flying Birds venture. ‘In the Heat of the Moment’ (not to be confused by the song by Asia) will be released as as single on the 17th of November and will feature on the next High Flying Birds album, ‘Chasing Yesterday’, out on the 2nd of March 2015.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 6:00 pm
Will Phelps, aka Tourist, has a new video out for ‘Wait’, which is probably best described as an electro pensive single. The promo’s monochrome treatment suits this melancholy well; you can buy the single on Sunday (26 October). We’re sure to hear more from Tourist soon, as word on the street is he’s inked a deal with Polydor and his debut album is expected in 2015. Exciting times. Watch the video below.
By Mary Chang
on Friday, 24th October 2014 at 2:00 pm
Scotland is a beautiful, unique place. So it makes total sense that everyone I know from there is also beautiful (and if the person is male, chances are he has a beautiful beard) and makes unique music or is involved in promoting music made by such musicians, such as “Uncle” Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland. I feel quite lucky I’ve had the chance to visit multiple times now, and every time there are more new and exciting things I encounter that make me fall in love with Scotland that much harder. (And no, to be clear, Visit Scotland is *not* paying me to write this.)
That old phrase goes, “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. One of my planned gigs in Glasgow was cancelled, but a friend messaged me a couple days before I went up to Scotland that I could instead see some other acquaintances of mine play in Edinburgh instead. I always say things happen for a reason and I want to thank five people in particular for going out of their way of making this American feel welcome, it really meant a lot, cheers gents!
To be completely honest, I knew little of Fatherson going into this gig at the University of Edinburgh’s student union, Potterrow. One piece of trivia I did know: they call Glasgow home, which makes it all the more strange that on the Scottish leg of their UK tour this month, they didn’t actually play in Glasgow, calling instead only in Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverness and Aberdeen. However, considering I’ve just learned 2 days ago that they’ve been given a shout for SXSW 2015, the timing couldn’t be beat for me to see the Glaswegian band in action.
The main reason I’d taken the train 1 hour east (quite happily, I might add) was to see Model Aeroplanes. Regular readers of TGTF (and Generator, for that matter) will be aware that I think the world of these lads from Dundee, having met and seen them play at Liverpool Sound City this year. Despite their young age, they’re already churning out catchy guitar pop not unlike some Irish lads from Bangor called Two Door Cinema Club did a couple years ago. (And we all know what happened to them. BOOM.) Earlier this year, they released the single ‘Electricity’, which has gained them a whole new group of fans. In Edinburgh, they previewed for us upcoming single ‘Club Low’, which follows in their current vein of upbeat indie style. ‘Dive’ was another new song that got an airing, and I can’t wait until they have a full album to release, as I expect it to do massively well with well-written pop gems like this.
‘Crazy’, another previous single, is exactly the kind of thing that I would expect to blow up on Radio 1 and sounded fab, as frontman Rory Fleming-Stewart vocals bounced to match Kieran Smith drum beats, then oozed around the melody. Fleming-Stewart makes for a very charming frontman, cracking jokes between the tunes while also positively riling up the audience for what was to come. All throughout their set, I watched as Ben Buist took over his territory as Model Aeroplanes’ bassist, banging out his notes like a windmill-like, throw caution to the wind style. It was reminded why I love playing bass so much. Lead guitarist Grant Irvine looked serious all night, but I think the explanation was he was concentrating: they were supporting good friends of theirs, for what would turn out to be a huge night for the Glaswegians.
Fatherson, originally from Kilmarnock but now based in Glasgow, released their debut album ‘I Am an Island’ in April on indie A Modern Way. I can’t say I’ve even heard the album, and since it was so last-minute that I was going to show up to see them gig, I decided I wouldn’t prepare and be pleasantly surprised. I will preface my opinion of them by saying this isn’t my usual kind of music, but having seen them now and the frenzy they threw the punters in Edinburgh into with their guitar rock, I may have to rethink this. Their style is bombastic guitar rock with heart, the likes that haven’t really been seen all that much – or well for that matter – in America lately, so I expect them to do very well in America. With loads of bright flashing lights and loads of Scottish voices around me singing along to every word, it felt very strange to be witnessing a revolution of sorts, a new movement that I knew nothing about prior to this night.
The lyrics of LP opening track of ‘An Island’ may give some clues why this indie band already has very, very devoted fans in Scotland already. Singer/guitarist Ross Leighton has a booming voice (and much better than Scott Hutchison’s), and when he begins the song in a soft and measured tone, you’d have to be a robot to not feel the mourning from where these words came from. I can’t even begin to relate to the melancholic feelings that must exist in those Scots who voted yes in the referendum. In many ways, Scotland is an island: they have their own fierce identity, and damn anyone who would try and take it away from them. ‘I Like Not Knowing’, with riffs loud enough to knock you on your arse, would be a good example young indie bands should use as how to write a song with melodic guitars that builds up to a climax. Another set standout, previous single ‘Mine for Me’, starts up quickly and never loses momentum. It’s also a song that’s wonderful to sing along to.
Regardless of the referendum’s outcome, one thing I take away every time I visit Scotland is that you can never break the independent spirit of its people. I feel this very strongly every time I step into Showcasing Scotland at SXSW too. This show with Fatherson and Model Aeroplanes, with both bands seeming to be poised for the big time, was yet another sonic illustration that the Scottish music scene is alive, well and ready to rip you a new one. (Sorry! I asked around. I couldn’t come up with a more lady-like phrase to describe this.)
Hot on the heels of their first UK headline tour, Prides (who Mary just ran into last week in Edinburgh, ha!) have just announced another set of live dates for early next year. The new list includes shows in the band’s native Scotland, as well as their largest headline show to date at London’s Heaven. Tickets for the following shows go on sale today, the 24th of October, at 9 AM.
Catch all our previous coverage on those lovable Scots this way.
Thursday 5th February 2015 – Inverness Ironworks
Friday 6th February 2015 – Aberdeen Lemon Tree
Saturday 7th February 2015 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Wednesday 11th February 2015– Brighton Haunt
Thursday 12th February 2015 – London Heaven
Friday 13th February 2015 – Nottingham Bodega
Saturday 14th February 2015 – Sheffield Leadmill