Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Scottish Enlightenment - Little Sleep EP

I have somewhat of a strange love affair with The Scottish Enlightenment. When they released their debut single 'Eyes' back in 2007, I was an impressionable young 18 year old. 'Eyes' grabbed me so much that I wanted to delve deeper into the treasure chest that is the Scottish music scene. Lo and behold, three years on, I have fully embraced Scottish music and this is partly due to that one The Scottish Enlightenment song. After 'Eyes' things kind of went a bit quiet for the band, but last year they released song free tasters and my appetite was whetted once again. Then came along 'Pascal EP' which has been one of my favourite releases of the year so far. So how does 'Little Sleep' weigh up?

It is an EP you have to devote time to, that's for sure. The title track will grow on you in time as the unusually catchy chorus sinks into your consciousness while the thundering guitars have a certain dark warmth about them, which kind of lulls you into a sense of wanting more. 'Get My Limousine' is a patient affair, tumbling along slowly, with their token self-deprecating and insecure lyrics about the pitfalls of busting your gut in a criminally underrated indie band. The real turning point is 'Drip Feed'. It reminds me of when I first heard the Fugazi song 'I'm So Tired', due to it being so far from their token sound, yet it could never be by any other band. Built on a catchy piano hook and with superbly intriguing and haunting lyrics it is certainly the stand out track on 'Little Sleep'. 'When You Hate Me' returns back to the less immediate feel of 'Get My Limousine', while closer 'Saint Germain is Thick Tonight' is a fairly upbeat number for the band.

Upon receiving this album I thought it was going to be cast-offs from 'St. Thomas' - their upcoming album - but how wrong I was. 'Little Sleep' stands on its own as a great EP with some of the bands strongest tracks yet in 'Drip Feed' and 'Get My Limousine'. Show this record patience and you are bound to be rewarded.

<a href="http://thescottishenlightenment.bandcamp.com/track/get-my-limousine">Get My Limousine by The Scottish Enlightenment</a>

<a href="http://thescottishenlightenment.bandcamp.com/track/drip-feed">Drip Feed by The Scottish Enlightenment</a>

'Little Sleep' is out now via the brilliant Armellodie Records. Please support the artist.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

[MP3] Crocodiles - Mirrors

I have listened to almost nothing else since purchasing Californian duo Crocodiles' sophomore effort 'Sleep Forever' last week. The album takes a quieter, more restrained step back from their debut 'Summer of Hate' and it is all the better for it. With multiple Mercury Prize winning producer James Ford behind the desk they effortlessly change the gears between noise-rock, shoegaze and even a fairly upbeat organ and drum machine lead closer, 'All My Hate and My Hexes Are For You'. However, it is the opener 'Mirrors' that really steals the show here. Get this album now!

Mirrors by Crocodiles

Crocodiles play Captain's Rest in Glasgow on the 2nd October.

'Sleep Forever' is out now via Fat Possum

Introducing - Iglue

My first introduction to Iglue - real name Niaal Manson - was during my visit to Inverness for GoNorth. I remember fellow blogger Peenko remarking that he sounded like a mix between Bright Eyes and Bombay Bicycle Club and at the time I thought that description was as accurate as you could get. The 21 year-old's new batch of songs are a far cry from that initial reaction. Sparse and timid melodies replace the pop sensibilities of his older songs and youthful optimism is now traded for jaded cynicism. 'The Modern Youth' is a perfect example of this as Manson strives for answers via a sullen existential lament. Environment plays a massive hand in the foundations of his songs as he grew up on the small, ocean locked Island of Lewis. 'Afloat', 'Men Are Made At Sea' and 'Jump Into The Sea' evidently have a recurring theme, using the sea as a vehicle for many a metaphor. The lack of optimism can, at times, grate on you and a wee glimmer of hope would be nice but I suppose this is the whole charm of these songs. It also illustrates the bleakness of island life extremely accurately (as I found out during a stint in Shetland).

Iglue is far from a finished product but these songs definitely show promise. Some variation in sound would certainly give the songs more longevity while bringing back the initial sound which caught my attention. However, what young Manson has achieved is show his diversity and maturity which makes him one to watch.

If you want to find out more there is a lovely wee interview with Niaal at the aforementioned Peenko Blog.

The Modern Youth by iglue

Afloat by iglue

Myspace / Soundcloud