Gig Review: Twin Atlantic @ Summer Sessions

words + photos fae gregor farquharson (@grgratlntc)

As cliche as it is, Glasgow is always the best place for a gig. Now, put a band who grew up in the city on a massive stage with 15,000 Glaswegians and you’ll be on to a winner. That was exactly the case last night, when Twin Atlantic were main support at Glasgow Summer Sessions.

Opening with the first song off their last album, GLA, the bar was already set high from the start. Lead singer Sam McTrusty graced Bellahouston Park with a beautiful patterned suit and the band stormed through hits from throughout the years. Going straight into Valhalla then The Chaser, it was hard to believe that the band’s latest album GLA has now been out for nearly two years and we can now start to look forward to whenever the band release new material for fans to scream live.

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Tracks from earlier album Free, despite now being 7 years old, still did the job of being massive festival pleasers. The ballad of Yes, I Was Drunk was a real crowd pleaser and had just about everyone screaming every lyric back to the band.

Going from slow to fast, the band dedicated the fast paced indie track I Am an Animal to headliners Catfish and The Bottlemen. The track went off, fans erupted and the atmosphere in Bellahouston Park was colossal. Other tracks from the band such as You Are The Devil and Brothers and Sisters felt like they belonged to be played in this setting: a massive gig in the city the band were born.

Closing with No Sleep and Heart and Soul, the crowd erupted into a sea of mosh pits and bouncing fans. The set was a perfect way to bring day into night, and everyone in the crowd that night would have went home with memories and stories to tell for ages.

Producer Bruce Rintoul gives an insight into the music industry

By Gregor Farquharson (@grgratlntc)

Bruce Rintoul is a Glasgow based music producer, working in 45 A-Side Studios in the Bridgeton area of the city. Having been in the business now for well over 10 years, both as a musician and a producer, he has some great experience in what the industry is actually like. From watching bands he first worked with grow into rock superstars and even kick starting new bands careers, Bruce has seen it all within the industry.

While playing in bands himself, now established music producer Rintoul needed a quick and cost effective way to demo his work. It was from that point he decided that this was what he wanted to do.

“I just really enjoyed it and everything you could do with the audio and on the computer and ways of manipulating it. My interest just grew and grew.”

Experienced within his field, there are definite high points of being a producer.

“The best thing about the job is the team of people working towards that one common goal. Don’t get me wrong, not everyone agrees all the time, but to know what everyone is working towards is a really rewarding thing.”

Yet, it doesn’t stop there for Rintoul, as the highs well continue after the final product, whether that be an album or a single, is released.

“Getting to listen to that final product and getting to read reviews and see the sales figures, that is a really satisfying feeling.”

Rintoul noted that the album he did for Glasgow based band Vukovi was a particular highlight for him. Not only due to the fun had in the studio, but what that record did for the band.

“After we finished the (Vukovi) album, everything seemed to go pretty crazy for them. They were booked on the Kerrang! Tour and right now are on tour supporting PVRIS. From what they have been telling me the reception they’ve been getting has been incredible.”

Having been based in Glasgow for so long, he has seen many bands come and go and perhaps not quite make it. However, Rintoul worked extensively with Glasgow rock band Twin Atlantic in their early days, helping them get started and eventually turn into the huge band they are today.

“They were one of the earliest bands that I worked with starting out, and now they’re a pretty big deal. It is just really satisfying seeing that and going off to see their shows. They just played three nights at the Barrowlands in Glasgow and I was there each night. Seeing all those people there to support the guys in Twin and being so passionate about their music was just, well amazing.”

It’s not only Glasgow that Rintoul has worked in. Having been in this profession for so long, he has been to other studios across the UK. Some with extraordinary history.

“I went down to Rockfield Studios in Wales for a couple of weeks. It is where Bohemian Rhapsody was recorded and other huge bands like Coldplay, Oasis and Rush have all recorded in there.”

Although Rintoul has been working in the city for so long, the idea of a move to somewhere new has always been something that has crossed his mind.

“I often think it would be a bit easier moving to London but the thought of being self employed there with the rent prices scares me. I would say that either London, Glasgow and Manchester are the three places to be for music.”

Despite thinking about a move, Rintoul recognises the talent and hard-working nature of bands in Glasgow and why this city is such an important place for music.

“It is a slight disadvantage being based in Glasgow, since you are so far away from the music industry in London. That just means bands and musicians simply need to shout louder to be heard, and I’d say Glasgow bands are pretty good at that.”

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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Top 10 Gigs Of 2015

With 2015 over, here are the best gigs Glasgow had to offer last year, showcasing the variety the city has to offer!

Review: Twin Atlantic, SSE Hydro, Glasgow – May 9th 2015

Twin Atlantic are sort of a big deal.

Forming in 2007, the band, comprising of Sam McTrusty, Barry McKenna, Ross McNae and Craig Kneale, have taken a page out of fellow Scots Biffy Clyro’s book and have tackled every rung of the ladder to get to the stage where they can fill an arena of 13,000. It’s really no surprise as to how they got to this level though, as shown by their stunning performance on Saturday.

As soon as frontman McTrusty struts on stage, after Bohemian Rhapsody had played beforehand as per Twin tradition, the crowd went predictably mental. “It’s great to be home” he shouts before belting out opening song Make A Beast Of Myself from their 2011 sophmore album Free. This track perfectly highlights the band’s rock pop sound which, while not totally original, screams passion and leaves the audience hungry for more.

One problem I’ve always had with the Hydro is the sound and atmosphere, something that makes the venue a bit less formidable to local competition like King Tuts. This should be expected of a venue as big as the Hydro though Twin managed to work their way around this problem and outperform themselves, putting the gig well above their 2014 Barrowlands gig. Every band that performs in the hydro from now on has a new level of quality to surpass. However this didn’t mean there wasn’t a few cliches, one of which was the Hydro classic “turn the lights off and make the crowd turn their phone flash-lights on”. Maybe it’s just me that finds it annoying but if anything it’s a tiny nitpick that didn’t take away from the experience.

Despite this, the gig couldn’t have went better. A highlight for me was We Want Better Man, a song so unapologetically patriotic that it might as well be called the Alex Salmond Anthem. When the crowd yelled “here is the handle, now get a fucking grip” in unison, it sent a shiver down my spine. Even some of the new tracks off last year’s The Great Divide like Fall Into The Party showed their worth, the crowd giving back the same love that Twin were giving out on stage. What Is Light, Where Is Laughter also made an appearance, showing that the band still acknowledge their early days, although a few more tracks off Vivarium wouldn’t have went amiss.

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This Hydro gig can be described simply as an emotional homecoming. As the crowd sang along to the tearjerker track Crash Land, Sam McTrusty complimented the crowd saying “And that’s why you’re the fucking greatest city in the world.” A city well renown for its music scene, Twin Atlantic are definitely a success story that deserve all the praise they get. With festival season approaching, the rest of the world should prepare themselves for this powerhouse act.