Track Review: Sweet White – My Girl/Someone

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Over the past three years, the Peterhead band Sweet White have never been traditional or predictable: one of their earliest tracks Flesh and Blood was very well suited to its time where the likes of Peace flourished under an indie rock Renaissance but as they continued, they’ve explored ambient electro, classic rock ballads and bloody disco through various singles and an EP.   

So with their third release of the year My Girl having just dropped, it’s no surprise that the alt-act are having a stab at a new subject – romance. Sweet White have never been hesitant about chucking some affectionate lyrics into the mix but this is the most lovey-dovey they’ve been so far.

However, instead of just being that goes “she’s all mine, she’s x & y”, this latest offering is liberating – “My girl’s got things to say, my girl’s got news for you” sings Jake Cordiner as he gets progressively more aggressive, almost channelling the rage women would feel by some classic romantic archetypes. It all builds up to the band’s most lush sounding chorus thus far, layered vocals from Jake and Shaun Wilson giving off a soothing and slick appeal that is utterly undeniable. 

Sweet White aren’t sufficed by giving us just one track though, providing us with a b-side by the name of Someone. While My Girl feels like it could be written about anyone, Shaun intentionally aimed for the song to be open to interpretation, Someone is definitely a song written for, well, someone, that being Shaun’s girlfriend.

Having him on lead vocals is a nice change, his voice sounding suitably sweet while never too overbearing or corny which is good news considering the minimalist instrumentals put him right under the spotlight, The tiniest bit of percussion is the most we get backing up wise, giving the song a total lullaby vibe making it all the more gorgeous.

So, a quick recap: Sweet White can put Reflektor-esque disco, classic Foals indie rock, ambient electro pop and now two lush, unique songs about romance. It’s perhaps the most conventional subject matter the band could go for but having had a go at it and in the process giving it their own unique flair, Sweet White continue to surprise not only themselves but the listeners as well.

8.5/10


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Track Review: Sweet White – Celebrity

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

With its bass driven and glitzy synth intro, Celebrity by Sweet White welcomes its listeners with a soothing drive through an 80’s adorned landscape. The Peterhead boys have been undergoing a slow but steady evolution during their career, starting off with some intelligent and intricate rock tunes much in the same vein as Foals before dipping their toes into some poppy waters, a decision that has proved to be wise.

There’s no faltering on this latest track either. The aforementioned intro definitely sets the tone as frontman Jake Cordiner‘s vocals glide through the flashy L.A air, speaking of a woman who aspires to make it in Holywood. Talks of parties, materialism and longing for icon status channels the yuppie culture that was an epidemic at the time, further affirming its influence in that decade. The slick guitars and soothing electronics give an almost GTA: Vice City vibe to them, making it easy to imagine having this play through your car radio as you drive around the eponymous location. All of this manages to exemplify the creativity and style of Sweet White, an act that stands out as one of the most unique and, yes, best that Scotland has to offer.

Record labels, please, give this band an LP to work their magic on: you’d be doing yourselves and the Scottish music scene a favour.

8.5/10


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TRACK REVIEW: Sweet White – Lovers

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Showing themselves as an act who like to spend time working on their craft rather than rushing it out, Sweet White have returned with a brand-spanking new single named Lovers.

Following up the success of Genine, which you can read more about here, the five or so months in the lab has lead this Peterhead rock act to create something subtle yet fierce: like a lion before it pounces on its prey.

Kicking things off with an ambient, synthetic opening that sounds like it could be found in a PORCHES record, Lovers feels different right off the bat. While their last single displayed the amount of power the band could deliver, on here everything is noticeably and intentionally softer. The only thing that could be described as being within the realms of brutish is the delicate driving bass that backs up the introduction of the love-torn lyrics.

As always, Jake Cordiner’s vocals manage to keep your full attention with their subdued dominance. However, an inclusion of drummer Shaun Wilson as backing vocals, with a hint of distortion, give the song an extra bit of oomph that will help Lovers to stick out in the band’s ever-growing discography. Even the breakdown feels particularly fresh, the guitars only getting slightly more aggressive as the vocals steal the limelight with a ferocious bite to them.

Like every song we’ve had from Sweet White thus far, Lovers is a sum of its part. Each member adds to an ever growing piece of music which, somehow, seem to get better and better with every new single from the act.

You can keep up to date with the band via their Twitter and Facebook


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Top 50 Songs of 2016

 

 

 

 

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

It’s here! Chuck those negative opinions aside as for the next week we’ll be counting down my musical highlights of the year. While 2016 was full of many negative events (US election, multiple celebrity death, suicide squad, damn daniel etc.), on the other side of the coin music was as entertaining and fascinating as ever. Hip-hop continued to demonstrate its creative power while rock and other genres revitalised themselves to provide us with some of the best singles of their respective artist’s careers.

As always we have the staple “this is my opinion” placeholder to insert before we get cracking on so if there are any songs you think are missing or should be placed higher/lower then keep in mind that this is my list. Since there are 50 tracks to go through, I’ll speed through the first 25 or so and go into a bit more detail as we reach the top 20 picks. With that being said, let’s get the ball rolling…

50. Glue 70 – Casin

49. Crywank – Love

48. Vistas – Sign Language

47. Brand New – I Am A Nightmare

46. Boston Manor -Lead Feet

45. Kevin Devine – Instigator

44. SBTRKT – Let Them In

43. Run The Jewels – Talk To Me

42. Fake Boyfriend – Bumtown

41. Parquet Courts – Dust

40. Pale Kids – Not Listening

39. Blink-182 – Cynical

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC97caHUgKk

38. Weezer – Jacked Up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJOsRoY-na0

37. Frightened Rabbit – Die Like A Rich Boy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=es8wQcKrrhA

36. Jamie T- Tescoland

35. Hovvdy – Try Hard

34. Honeyblood – Love Is A Disease

33. Skepta – Man

32. Metallica – Spit Out The Bone

31. Young Thug – RiRi

30. Enter Shikari – Hoodwinker

29. Touche Amore – Displacement

28. Kendrick Lamar – untitled 03

27. Biffy Clyro – In The Name Of The Wee Man

26. Sweet White – Genine

https://soundcloud.com/sweet-white/genine-1

25. Joyce Manor – Eighteen

24. Death Grips – 3 Bedrooms In A Good Neighborhood 

23. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities 

22. Twin Atlantic – Gold Elephant, Cherry Alligator

21. Mean Jeans – Michael Jackson Was Tight

20. The 1975 – Somebody Else

Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you that The 1975 are making an appearance on this list. Whilst their latest album was a double-edged sword, only just managing to provide more killer than filler, when the band delivered something good it was really fucking good. See Somebody Else for example, a song that dabbles into the topic of modern day romance that frontman, with the hand of some vocal manipulation, executes brilliantly.

19. Charli XCX – Trophy

The ultimate pump up song of 2016, Charli XCX continues her reign as one of the most likeable female vocalists in music right now with a fantastic combination of 00’s club music and peculiar beats.

18. Radiohead – Daydreaming

Beautifully minimalistic and driven solely by piano alongside some glitzy chimes with a Jamie XX flare to them, Daydreaming was the standout track on Radiohead’s triumphant return A Moon Shaped Pool: a calm, borderline lullaby that dips its toes in fearsome waters before diving head first into them during the climax.

17. Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

Showing off the majority of 22, A Million’s religious subtext, 33 “GOD” is a showcase of Bon Iver’s experimental take on their latest record packaged alongside the delicate rock they’ve mastered since their debut For Emma, Forever Ago.

16. Blood Orange – Best To You

Providing some of the best R&B in recent memory, Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound hit its peak four tracks in with Best To You. Featuring a stunning vocal performance from Empress Of, Dev Hynes showed off just how good he is at mixing production and songwriting together.

15. Real Friends – Mess

A pop punk song that has lyrics that manage to be fresh for the act due to being about something other than a break up?! Revolutionary! All jokes aside, the crisp production value along with a catchy as all hell chorus makes the track feel like Real Friends have been working hard on their songwriting capabilities since their debut record and, despite what they’re saying in the public eye, are making efforts to progress as a band.

14. Codist – Puddle

Glasgow band Codist came out with their debut record all the way back in January and continued to be one of my favourites throughout 2016. My personal favourite track off of Nuclear Family had to be Puddle that harks back to Blackened Sky era Biffy with some equally beautiful lyrics about “why you can feel your insides glow”.

13. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein – Stranger Things

The shortest track by far on this list, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s titular theme tune to Netflix’s surprise hit series Stranger Things is, much like the show itself, a total love letter to 80’s electronica with ominous synths lulling you into a sense of dread.

12. American Football – My Instincts Are The Enemy

Showing that the band still had what it takes to retain relevance in a genre that has long since evolved since their one and only record, American Football showed they deserve all the praise they get with their second LP. My Instincts Are The Enemy is a testament to the intricacy this band can provide with just three instruments, pulling off smooth and satisfying tempo changes and delivering beautiful lyrics as if they had never been away.

11. Schoolboy Q – Groovy Tony 

Schoolboy Q may have given us a pretty lacklustre LP in 2016 but he made sure we weren’t left empty handed with Groovy Tony, drenched in eerie production and driven by one of the most aggressive sounding flows in hip-hop.

10. Frank Ocean – Nikes

WE IN THE TOP 10 NOW BABY! The musical Where’s Waldo Mr Frank Ocean returned this year with his long awaited Blonde that kicks off with one of the strongest tracks of his career. Nikes modifies Ocean’s vocals into unrecognisable territory, delivering lines about lost ones and consumerism with a minimalistic background which needs to be listened to for it to be fully experienced.

9. Danny Brown – When It Rain

Not only did Detroit’s prodigal son Danny Brown deliver the best record of his career, arguably one of the greatest hip-hop albums in the past decade, but he managed to shake up his tried and tested sound on top of that. Much like Groovy Tony, When It Rain cranks up that ominous notch up to 11 and packs the visceral imagery to back it up.

8. Moose Blood – Knuckles

Arguably the best track Mooseblood have delivered thus far, Knuckles embodies everything the band have been great at since their debut: providing a killer hook with beautiful lyrics and vocals. While the majority of the band’s sophomore effort is far more grounded in pessimism, Knuckles seems to hit a major realist chord and wonderfully so.

7. PUP – DVP

Unlike other acts of the genre who do a lot of rocking but very little growing up, PUP manage to nail the topic of maturity on DVP which flows seamlessly on from the aforementioned If This Tour… into an even more anthemic style on record The Dream Is Over. Addressing how they handle issues, in this case getting “so drunk that I can’t speak”, as well as others telling them to grow up, the track manages to keep a positive vibe going in its instrumentals whilst juggling some of the darker lyrics on here.

6. James Blake ft Bon Iver – I Need A Forest Fire

While James Blake’s latest record was sub par at best, there was a diamond in the rough in the form of I Need A Forest Fire. Combining Bon Iver’s beautiful vocals alongside Blake’s versatile singing is a genius concept and is wonderfully executed, managing to explore the .topic of new beginnings with total ease.

5. Chance The Rapper – Blessings

It’s hard to argue that 2016 belonged to anyone but if I had to place a bet on it, my money would be on Chance The Rapper. Colouring Book was one of the most enjoyable listens of the year with bucketloads of optimism and hope in a year that very much needed it. Blessings pretty much embodies the album’s core message better than any other track does. A gospel influence is felt not only in its sound but its lyrical content: lines about redemption, fatherhood and faith are subtle with the main hook from Jamila Woods being infectiously catchy.

4. Childish Gambino – Redbone

No artist this year transformed quite like Childish Gambino. Swapping out hip-hop for funk/soul/R&B music is an impossible risk but Gambino somehow survived the transition, quality intact. Redbone shows this perfectly, displaying a wonderful use of vocoder and the aforementioned funk element that made Awaken My Love one of the most refreshing listens of 2016.

3. David Bowie – Lazarus

The loss of David Bowie was one of many celebrity deaths to occur in 2016 but was the one that no doubt hit the hardest. Lazarus pretty much acts as a foreshadowing to it all with lyrics such as “look up here, I’m in heaven” managing to evoke a tear or two out of even the most casual Bowie fan. While it may be a difficult listen considering the context, Lazarus stood out well before the passing of Bowie, providing the perfect balance of instrumentals and Bowie’s unique vocals.

2. The Weeknd – Starboy

Before we get into the top pick of this list, we have but one more track to praise, that being The Weeknd’s Starboy which features on the RnB superstar’s eponymously titled record. Featuring a backing beat that sounds like a less feisty but equally enjoyable Yeezus feature, the partnership with Daft Punk means it’s no real surprise that Starboy finds itself so high up on a best tracks of 2016 list.

1. Kanye West – Real Friends

While The Life of Pablo was an enjoyable albeit messy release, it undoubtedly features the best song Kanye West has released since Runaway. Real Friends puts Mr West in his most vulnerable position since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as he voices his guilt regarding friends and family over a beautifully tragic sounding beat. Think Aphex Twin entwined with heartbreak. The song ends with a poignant howl that evokes the same sadness and, in a way, isolation that we have become accustomed to with Kanye’s more personal tracks. Sources say that when the track was first released, the title was missing the word “friends”. In a twisted way, it’s both a relief to hear Kanye sounding the most real he has in years whilst it’s also uncomfortable to witness the inner turmoil he’s experiencing that has only since got worse with his recent inauguration into a psychiatric ward.

 

 

 

 

~

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TRACK REVIEW: Sweet White – Genine

By Liam Menzies (@blinkclyro)

Having seen the Peterhead indie rock and pop outfit perform at The Voodoo Rooms last year to promote their Monet EP, Sweet White have been firmly on not only my radar but a vast of music journalists. Going quiet for a brief period, the band has followed up their recent BABYSTRANGE support performance to premiere Genine, a song that has become a staple of every one of their gigs.

Starting off fairly quiet and well-tempered, the track quickly erupts into a belter of a chorus that does a lot to cement frontman Jake Cordiner’s singing abilities, his vocals ranging from fragile and well-spoken to behemoth sized proclamations with ease. Instrumental wise, Genine is arguably the most stripped back of Sweet White’s discography with an absence of glitzy sounds though having them replaced with some apt roaring guitars accompanies the aforementioned vocals superbly.

Having said the band were the next big Scottish band in the making, it’s a relief to see Sweet White solidify this.

You can keep up to date with the band via their Twitter and Facebook in addition to catching the band live at the Tenement Trail in Glasgow next Saturday (October 8th). Genine will be available on all streaming platforms October 7th.

Sweet White gig w/ Monet EP review 

As I walked into the Edinburgh venue Peterhead band Sweet White were playing at, there was an overwhelming sense that something wasn’t quite right. “It looks like something out of Twin Peaks” quipped frontman Jake Cordiner as the band to prepared to go on stage.

As they began to play, the same amazing surrealism that the cult 90’s TV show provided was there for all to see at the Voodoo Rooms tonight as Cordiner and Co possessed everyone’s attention.


Promoting their new EP, titled Monet, the boys weren’t shy to show off their new material. Take for instance the opening track Tides, which recently was released alongside a well directed music video, that features some great lyrical content alongside a spectacular breakdown.

The title track Monet shared the same nature as Tides, featuring a spectacular riff that would make Foals jealous. Jenine was a song that was difficult not to hum to myself on the walk back to my train, with a hook so catchy that it expertly reflects the pop elements that the band unashamedly embrace.


That’s not to say there weren’t any golden oldies, a term that you don’t find yourself often using when describing an up and coming band. There’s a track played tonight that is named after the band themselves and all I could think of when listening along was that it took a page out of Kings Of Leon’s book when crafting a slower paced cracking tune.

When the band announced that the set closer was named Dazing, I was reminded of the indie gem California Daze from the title alone. Unlike the chill tune that Peace crafted, what fans get is a deceitfully energetic tune that evolves just when you think it couldn’t get any better. An amazing set closer and although the band might sing about a character not knowing much, they themselves know how to craft a catchy tune.


Both the gig and their EP were amazing to put it lightly. The band have all the makings of a true juggernaut and more often than not I’d say “time will only tell” if they’d be able to make use of this potential.

I’m not going to say that here though. Sweet White are going places and there’s no stopping that. The next big Scottish band in the making.

You can catch Sweet White tonight at the Green Room in Perth tonight with gigs at the Eagle Bar in Inverness tomorrow (17th) and the tour finale at the Harbor Lights in Peterhead on the 24th. They’ll be selling the Monet EP for £5 at their merch table alongside some black and white t-shirts. You can follow them on Twitter here.

Big love, Liam x

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