For my first ‘band of the month’, it’s the Glasgow grunge quartet ‘CRYSTAL’. The band is formed of Anna Shields, Blair Crichton, Lizzie Reid and Aidan McAllister.
One of the best things about CRYSTAL is seeing them live. CRYSTAL’S set is consistently explosive, never gets tiring and keeps you on the edge, wondering what’s next. Despite only having two of their songs available online, they’re the two songs that showcase CRYSTAL as the grungy but polished band that they are. CRYSTAL serve 90’s grunge and punk vibes that are dark and intoxicating but you still can’t help but sing along to the catchy choruses particularly in ‘Heaven’. The band feel different, whilst they definitely have clear influences, they are a big step away from what a lot of their local music scene consists of. They have their own sound and they have certainly perfected it in the form of latest single ‘Sex Rich’.
They have this air of confidence and stand somewhat separate from the rest of the scene which adds to the mysterious and enigmatic vibe of the band, which I have nothing but praise for. Anna and Blair’s chemistry doesn’t go unnoticed and their vocals blend perfectly together above the jagged guitar riffs. How candid Anna is about gender balance and sexism in the music scene makes me appreciate the band even more as it’s not something often spoken about in the punk/male dominated Glasgow scene. I’m always excited to see what Crystal do next and look forward to seeing them blossom even more this year. CRYSTAL are seriously ones to watch in 2019 and you can catch them like at the SAMA takeover festival, The Tenement TV Discover tour and Stag and Dagger festival this spring.
Check out CRYSTAL on Spotify: here.
Follow CRYSTAL on Instagram (@crystalbandx) and on Facebook (CRYSTAL).
(Photo – James A. Grant)
Almost a year on, the loss of Scott Hutchison is still very much present in so many people’s hearts, but also in everyday conversations. Scott took his own life on the 10th of May last year and a sea of grief washed over not only the Scottish music scene, but over the whole world and reached fans in every corner of the planet. The days following Scott’s disappearance was a really, really hard time for many, and still to this day I curse the ominous black box that is the Dakota hotel when I see it on the horizon while crossing the Forth Rail Bridge.
His legacy and influence haven’t disappeared, and I absolutely believe they won’t ever. I see Scott mentioned on social media, in magazines (The Skinny has included a wee mention of Scott every month since May) and in conversations every day. Most notably his close friend James Graham, lead singer of The Twilight Sad, has said that Scott’s passing influenced their new album and the band have vowed to sing Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ at every live show from now on.
Scott was such a prolific, heartfelt songwriter that left a glimmer of hope amongst the darkest lyrics, and his songs of pain and sadness made the feeling universal and connected listeners with Scott in such a deep and personal way that no other artist has managed to do the same. He was humble, sarcastic, hilarious and felt everything so deeply. Through his suffering he brought so much joy and happiness to so many lives, just through the power of music. He was a voice for the troubled and openly spoke about his mental health and encouraged people to do the same and seek help. Scott was such a significant figure in the Scottish music scene and a friend to everyone who knew him and will be remembered and celebrated forever, he really did make tiny changes to earth.
(Photo by me)
Jonnie Wallace has made big leaps recently ever since his departure into a solo career.
The singer/songwriter has developed strongly, stepping away from the more rock inspired music of his past with former band Ayakara. He is also evolving, changing things up musically as going from previously being solely a drummer to writing his own guitar songs, his new single ‘You’ is released next month. ‘You’ is a charming and sentimental love song dedicated to an anonymous someone. The song is sweet and warm, featuring careful guitar work and well mixed soft vocals. The song features accompanying strings which build up the wooing romantic tone of the song. Jonnie Wallace sings from the heart with a tune that you can’t help but smile and hum along to. The multi-talented musician writes music that’s made for anyone and this song is perfect for easy listening. Jonnie Wallace is inspired by other acoustic songwriters such as Lewis Capaldi but keeps his songs largely personal and meaningful. ‘You’ is anonymous and lets you fill in the blanks for yourself, maybe even reminding you of who ‘you’ would be to you.
‘You’ is released on the 15th of March. Listen to the rest of Jonnie’s music here:
Catch Jonnie’s next gig on the ninth of March supporting Cloud of Starlings at The Hug and Pint.
Follow Jonnie on Facebook (Jonnie Wallace Music) and Instagram (@Jonnie_wallace_music)
Jonnie is also part of a three-piece rock band ‘Felix and the Sunsets’. A review of their upcoming single ‘Deja Vu’ can be found here.
Photo – Cameron Avery
Following the release of their debut EP ‘Don’t Sleep’, Felix And The Sunsets are back with a new brooding single. The Leith band consisting of Felix Christie, Lukas Christie and Jonnie Wallace take influence from Jack White and The Stooges, and their new single certainly shows this. The atmospheric track erupts into the typical garage rock sound Felix And The Sunsets are known for. The song carries the same heavy riff throughout that gives you a buzz from start to finish mixed with Felix’s unique voice and big energetic choruses made for being played live, and loud. The imaginative lyrics and punchy beat stay stuck in your brain long after you listen to it and leave you wanting more. ‘Déjà Vu’ is the bands best song yet, and another reminder Felix And The Sunsets are definitely ones to watch.
‘Déjà Vu’ is out on the 1st of March. Listen to the rest of the band’s music Here
Catch Felix And The Sunsets next gig at Sneaky Pete’s (Edinburgh) with This Feeling on the 23rd of March! Tickets here: Here
Follow the band on Instagram (@felixandthesunsets) and on Facebook (Felix And The Sunsets).
Photo by: Lensy Henry
What is there to say about Fiendz debut single Tesco Elvis that many scholars and poets already haven’t. The song is, to sum up in one word, mental. It paints a perfect picture of what Fiendz are all about. The song is incredibly catchy, the words ‘Tesco Elvis’ chanted over and over again won’t leave you. Instrumental work on the song is excellent from all sides. There’s a consistent thumping bass line that gets you in to the rage induced mindset of the song, powerful intricate drums and a cacophony of screeching guitar, all of which puts you in a place where you feel like if a bus hit you, it would simply just break in half because you’re just so powerful. The lyrics are just surreal and feel like a very personal vendetta against an unknown Tesco employee. The scary thing is that you can’t help but agree. The song is a perfect opener to explain what Fiendz are and what it’s like to see them live. It’s high energy, it’s easy to remember, the lyrics are hilarious but most importantly it’s a fantastic song. Fiendz are a band that leave your jaw on the floor and then near enough punch it off.
Listen to the single: here
Follow Fiendz on Instagram (@fiendz_yt) and on Facebook (Fiendz YT)
Catch their next gig at Broadcast on the 9th of March!
I had the pleasure of talking to Finlay McCarthy, bassist of Glasgow’s goth pop band Walt Disco to find out a selection of his top 5’s when it comes to music at the moment.
Top 5 songs at the moment
1) Toro y Moi – Who Am I
2) Albert Hammond Jr – Far Away Truths
3) George Clanton – Monster
4) Wild Nothing – Letting Go
5) LVL UP – Hidden Driver
Top 5 gigs you’ve ever been to
1) Slowdive @ The O2 ABC
2) The Cribs @ The O2 Academy
3) The 1975 @ The Hydro
4) Peach Pit @ Sneaky Pete’s
5) Young Fathers @ Electric Fields
Top 5 songs ever
1) The Bilinda Butchers – Stevie Nicks
2) The Voidz – Human Sadness
3) Ross From Friends – Pale Blue Dot
4) Porches – Now The Water
5) Hebronix – Unliving
Top 5 artists ever
1) The Smashing Pumpkins
3) The Cribs
4) The Bilinda Butchers
Top 5 Scottish Artists
2) The Ninth Wave
3) St Martiins
4) Cocteau Twins
5) Young Fathers
Top 5 Scottish Artists Songs
1) Lucia – Blueheart
2) The Ninth Wave – Love You Til the End
3) St Martiins – ur so pretty
4) Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas
5) Young Fathers – Shame
Photo’s by: Dougy Hill
Stream Walt Disco’s latest single ‘My Pop Sensibilities’ on Spotify here :
Follow them on Instagram (@waltdisco) and on Facebook (Walt Disco)
The twilight sad are a band which crawls breathlessly forward, singing about so much pain and hardship but still providing hope to all who listen in a promise of ‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’
Their newest studio album feels like a sudden sucker punch in retaliation from someone whos had enough of being pushed around. The sound of the album still carries that recognisable lonely, spacey guitar sound filled with fuzz and squealing pedal effects which the band are known for but welcomes in a new sense of strength to its angst. Many of the songs on the album feature powerful almost operatic synth which gives everything a higher sense of importance, especially to the very personal and brooding words that frontman James Graham cries out. Songs such as ‘Keep it all to myself’ and ‘the arbor’ exemplify this pounding choir of synths.The album departs at times from a more guitar driven past with 2014’s ‘fourteen autumns and fifteen winters’ and ‘nobody wants to be here & nobody wants to leave’ to a highly synth driven soundscape being built up with the addition of those staple fuzzy guitars, with some still containing that heavy guitar sound such as ‘VTr’ and ‘Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting’.
The album feels like an unexpected but undoubtedly correct way for the band to evolve, perfectly incorporating something new and unknown while still keeping it as close to their original sound as possible.The balance of this doesn’t even sway, it divides perfectly.
‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’ pulls you in seductively and keeps you there.
The album sounds as true and honest as ever with James Graham’s unedited Lanarkshire accent, lulling you into the echoey space the songs create.
This is a band that have clearly gone through a lot and instead of letting that overcome them, they’ve taken it all on and become stronger for it.
Star Rating – ★★★★☆
Listen to the album here: