Introducing: Battle Lines

battle lines

There are a small number of words in this debut song from Leeds quartet ‘Battle Lines‘, but you feel like you have already sided with front-woman Carly Humphries, in some kind of sparring of emotional and sexual indifference. It’s a big opening smacker of a debut song. The funky fresh start of ‘Huh Her’ hooks you in. Then smack you are led into a genre mashing, drum heavy 2 minutes more of fuzzed up freaky guitar and synth. With Carly’s still innocent vocals claiming “Don’t do it to me”. WOW.

Cactus&Cardigan // Band Of The Week // 07.01.13

Just as Cradle Of Filth effectively describes an English 6-Piece Extreme Metal band, Cactus&Cardigan employs the same effect for their brash, off the wall take on ‘Noise Rock’. What some may view as a random misnomer due to the band being made up of neither cacti nor frequently employing the use of cardigans as an unlikely dress code to their fun live shows; I view as a perfectly fitting title to their songs which tell stories sweeping from the Adult Entertainment Industry in ‘The Money Shot’ to informative methods of effective masturbation when your wife is out of town in their local hit ‘Wank Sock’.

It’s hard to lend justice to the clever song-writing in a short article, when really it must be heard first hand in an intimate setting from a stage or in their own home demos where they utilize a do-it-yourself mentality that, if you will, pluck all the right strings for a band such as this. Perhaps you would be forgiven for thinking there is an immaturity when browsing through a track listing of ‘Reggie Yates Is The Messiah’, ‘George Michael Cums Cobwebs’ or ‘Crab Sea Nesquik’, but a quick listen to either and all of the above in short, take you on a colourful journey which simultaneously makes you want to nod your head, punch your friend, snigger quietly, laugh loudly and then sometimes cry squeamishly. The important factor would be that you don’t disregard that although they are writing music about some unusual topics, the musicianship behind them really is fantastic and deserves to be taken seriously.

So a little bit more about the band? Well here are a few facts..

• There are three of them.
• They used to wear masks under the guise’s ‘Groin’, ‘Mouth’ & ‘Bubble’.
• They now answer to ‘Peter’, ‘Marc’ & ‘Jack’.
• They are based in Thurso, Highlands.
• They have self released a single; ‘Crab Sea Nesquik’ and have a flutter of other ideas on their Facebook which are set to become something more substantial this year.
• You should buy the above when it becomes available.

So there you have it my band of the week and hopefully yours. They are all things intense, fun, serious when they need to be and bursting at the seams with riffs. I revert to their own imagery to conclude…

Imagine a cold glass of ‘Crab Sea Nesquik’. Sure it sounds pretty disgusting and let’s be honest, it’s going to taste pretty bad; however it’s made of some smashing components (Crab and Nesquik, hello?!) and is intriguing enough for me to give it a try. Who knows, maybe, in fact, it could be the best thing you’ve ever had!

“5 Crab Sea Nesquiks please squire..”

Check them out now!! –

Cleavers // Band Of The Week // 09.12.12

According to better men than I, life is a season of good tidings, harmony for all and, on Christmas Day, hunners of Terry’s chocolate orange. According to Cleavers’ new winter 6-track album, life is shit.

Hailing from the town of Elgin, (home to 25,678 citizens, Elgin Cathedral and a surprisingly extensive Wikipedia page), Cleavers have came to be one of Scotland’s most exciting bands in little over a year since their first live show. With comparisons to gone-before-their-time Fight Poppers Dananananayroyd coming out the wazoo it’d be a crime for Cleavers to pass your (as yet) undamaged eyes and ears unnoticed. High praise from the likes of Ally McRae, Detour and Vic Galloway doesn’t come for nothing and their new EP ‘Life Is Shit’ appears to be a definite bridge to even further acclaim. Released on a limited run of 250 7”s for £4 a pop (and, obviously, an unlimited supply of those “digital downloudz” that you get nowadays for £2) you would be an absolute willy to not go and spend a small portion of your cash on one. Or, as it’s Christmas, buy all of your friends a copy! Let’s be honest, they’d prefer it to that 3-for-2 Lynx Africa set from Boots that you’re planning to give them.

You can catch Cleavers supporting Shields Up! on their farewell tour this Friday (Glasgow, The 13th Note) + Saturday (Edinburgh, Henry’s Cellar Bar) and the band are currently organising more dates for early 2013.

C Duncan // Band of the Week // 02.12.12

Hailing from the treacherously frosty parts of Glasgow. It’s our honour that we have the ridiculously talented and mysterious C Duncan as our Band of the Week. C Duncan isn’t currently gigging at the moment, which is a shame. But with the new year brings new promise for the mostly small and unknown artist. Coming to our attention after the hit machine FatCat Records, put up his demo on their SoundCloud page.

We spoke to Chris to get some much-needed unanswered questions finally put to rest, so we can finally sleep at night once again:

How about a bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Glasgow. Both parents are musicians so it was inevitable I’d go into music myself.
I started writing songs from a young age, and went on to study composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. There I studied classical music, but continued to write songs in my spare time. After graduating a couple of years ago, I have been mainly focusing on writing and recording songs.

How do you go about writing new material?
When writing new material, I tend to start with a tune. I then add instruments and structure it. I often layer voices and instruments, which I do in the process of recording, to create the sounds and atmospheres I want.

You describe your music as ditsy-doo-da, why?
My music is sometimes quite whimsical and dream-like, so this is why I describe it as Ditsy Do-da. Also, my music often changes in style from song to song, so Ditsy Do-da generally sums it up.

FatCat putting up your demo sure drummed up some response?
Fat Cat Records have been fantastic to put my song ‘For’ up on their site, and this has given me a lot of great exposure. On the day it went on to their site, Lauren Laverne heard it and played it on her radio show on BBC 6. Since, it has been played on Triple J Radio in Sydney, and a couple of stations in New York. It’s amazing how quickly music spreads across the internet.

What artists inspire your music?
My influences…. There are far too many to list them all…. But these are a few:
Old barbershop quartets like the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. Michel Legrand, Portishead, Burt Bacharach, Animal Collective, The Carpenters, Bjork, The Knife, The Cocteau Twins, Dirty Projectors, Count Basie, Goldfrapp, Chet baker…. The list goes on and on.

If C Duncan were to be a fish, what fish would it be and why?
If I were a fish I’d be a cod, named Rod

What are your plans for the new year?
Plans for the new year are basically to keep writing and recording songs. Once I have an albums worth of songs I’ll hopefully get a band together and start gigging, but for the time being I’m happy to just keep writing new stuff.

C Duncan – For

You can check out more songs over on SoundCloud:

Queen Jane – Band of the Week – 25.11.12

Just 9 months after their first release ‘Denver’, Queen Jane are back with another. ‘Romantics’, their new 7 tracks EP has taken the band on a different direction. Rather than a collection of the band best songs. Romantics is a clearer EP with more of a start, middle and end. Stand out tracks ‘Romance’ and ‘Stop Pretending’ is perfect examples of this new direction and more central sound. Clean and simple no messing around guitar-pop genius.

We spoke with James about his thoughts on the new EP:

Why the new direction?
It doesn’t really feel like a new direction in all honesty. I’m always working on new stuff and the guys are always hyped on it so we’ve always got something fresh to work on. We gigged the Denver material pretty heavily after its release but during that time we were working on loads of new songs. They all sort of fitted together more, they had more of a central sound so it does sort of sound as if we’ve went in a certain direction but it just naturally happened. Fighting Man has been getting played for well over a year, it just took us a while to get around to recording it. We still feel like we’re going in the same direction because we’re still having fun and still not making any money.

For you, what are the main differences between ‘Denver’ and ‘Romantics’?
Romantics is definitely more of a start to finish record. Denver was just four of the best new songs we had at that time. With Romantics I had more of an idea of what type of songs I wanted to write. Romantics, essentially has four typical guitar pop tunes and two slower more atmospheric songs. I wanted it to flow so song placement was key and having an intro track and a big track to end with helped create this. ‘Sometimes’ got written with the EP in mind. In the past I just wrote songs on the basis of how they sounded, taken on their own. With Romantics I thought about how one song would sound compared to the rest. We’re definitely much happier with Romantics than Denver, it just feels like something more to show, a better representation of our music.

Have there been any new influences for you to take this new direction?
Bands such as Craft Spells and Beach Fossils made me realise how important melodies are. I used to write quite long and complicated songs but I realised that if you keep it short and catchy then it’s just as good. Bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees have always been a big influence in regards to guitar tone. There are lots of influences in there musically and lyrically. There is a Bukowski quote in Fighting Man so I suppose he’s an influence. I was influenced by Cloud Nothings when writing Josephine as the guitars on that are so raw and simple. When I wrote Josephine there was pretty much no reverb on the guitars which is alien to us but I thought it sounded good that way so stuck with it. I wrote all these songs when I was single so I suppose that’s the biggest influence lyrically. I’m now in a happy relationship so I think I’ll be stuck for good lyrics in future as songs about being content and happy, watching Modern Family marathons or tickling just aint going to cut it! I just got a new chorus pedal so that’s going to be a massive influence on our future stuff. We’re going back to the 80s.

Can you give us a track by track run down of what each song means exactly?
I never usually write a song with a specific meaning but I suppose a story can be distinguished from the lyrics. Most of the songs deal with love and all the stuff that comes with that hence the title ‘Romantics’. I really wouldn’t say I meant this but I suppose if I wrote about my cats or working in the tax office then the songs wouldn’t have the same vibes.

‘Stop Pretending’ – This song is basically about kidding yourself. It tells the story of a guy meeting a girl on a night out, thinking she’s amazing and going home with her. In the morning he realises she’s not very nice. The amount of times I used to get drunk and would meet ‘the love of my life’ only to wake up the next day, see a Twilight poster and think ‘Jesus!’.

‘Josephine’ – This song literally got made up on the spot in practice. It’s basically about this girl called Josephine who ruined a man’s life, classic Hollywood cliche. It doesn’t mention how she did it though so it could be that she ran him over or stole his cat. You decide.

‘Romance’ – This is basically about the wee dating period where you first get to know someone. It’s all very romantic and exciting. Musically the song sounds very summery and therefore the lyrics have that same type of nostalgic summer longing feel to them.

‘Sometimes’ – This is a mega depressing number. I wrote this when I was sitting in on a Friday night and my girlfriend was in Spain. We had just started seeing each other and then she left for 5 weeks so it was pretty horrible as it was bang in the middle of summer. It’s basically about wanting something really badly but not being able to have it. This happens to everyone ‘sometimes’ whether it’s the loss of a family member, being dumped or your best mate being on another continent.

‘Dives’ – This song is just about getting stuck in, diving into something without weighing up the pros and cons. It could be anything from an impromptu camping trip to a relationship. Life is too short to mull over things for too long.

‘Fighting Man’ – If you listen to this one I think it’s pretty clear what it’s about, basically having someone in your life that’s worth fighting for. It’s more than just a love song. It’s about the sort of love you have for your parents, siblings or your partner. Most of the other songs deal with romance or wee flings but this one deals with the commitment you have to the people you truly love. I experienced my first family death in summer and it made me see things a lot differently. Love isn’t all Hugh Grant one liners and sunsets. When you loose the people you love it can pretty fucking dark and make everything seem pointless. This song means a lot more to me now that I went through that. I saw how important family really was and how everything else is pretty insignificant in comparison. If you didn’t have those sort of people in your life then it’d be a very lonely, worthless and empty existence. Everyone should have someone worth fighting for. It sounds horribly cheesy but it’s very true.

Upcoming shows:
‘Romantics’ EP Launch – December 2nd – Art School, Glasgow
New Year’s Revolution Festival – Jan 5th – King Tuts, Glasgow
Cave Painting Support – Jan 26th – Broadcast, Glasgow

Queen Jane – Josephine

Queen Jane – Josephine from Queen Jane on Vimeo.

The Peach Kings // Band of the Week // 18.11.12

The Peach Kings are Paige Wood, with her hauntingly beautiful vocals and Steven Dies’s fingers of envy. Above video ‘Lonely’, is from their recent 6 track album ‘Handsome Moves’. ‘Lonely’, is a masterpiece itself. A New York city backdrop and spectacular camera trickery. The video was also one of Vimeo’s staff picks. ‘Handsome Moves’, which was released on September 6th of this year. Six tracks of rock/bluesy riff guitar and soulful vocals full of luster. First track ‘Fisherman’, is the perfect start to a full bodied small album. ‘Fisherman’ has a quick guitar riff that reel’s you in, hook, line and sinker. Plus Paige’s vocals gives the track a real stadium like presence.

Other stand out tracks are, ‘Do For me’ and ‘Like A Stone’.

Band of the Week // The Yawns // 6.11.12

The Yawns. It’s an interesting name, it’s the noise some fear. It can be a loud roar telling the household you have awakened. Or a quiet, the day is getting on, i’m bored, it’s friday lets go home. However, if The Yawns were defined as a yawn. I’m pretty sure it would be one of those refreshing yawns. You know the one. After it you feel pretty energised, ready for the day and ready to listen to a new and exciting album.

Having some sort of relation with legendary underground label Cath Records. Who have released records for bands such as PAWS, Bronto Skylift and Baby Strange. Consisting of 4 guys and 1 girl, from the south side of Glasgow. The Yawns, quite like the name, are a laid back refreshing guitar pop band.

Expecting any artists first release to be so well constructed and to hear each of the 5 parts fall so delicately together, is a feat many fail to grasp. From the get-go,’Summer Wasted’ sucks you in. The opening bass riff made me feel all warm and tingly inside. The reverb on the vocals and guitar work is beautifully colourful and has been clearly timed and crafted by masters. You rarely find albums that haven’t been over thought and over produced.

If i was to say what tracks stand out for me, i can’t. Listen to the whole thing as it was meant to be enjoyed. Relax, stick on a pair of headphones not earphones. Get the best quality this album deserves. Sink in, absorb, respect and admire.