New Discovery: Inuit

Whilst browsing Facebook last night I came across a band that got me quite excited. Which is something, considering they seems a very new band with little more than an EP release trailer online. Comprised of three members of now defunct instrumental post/rock outfit Without Aeroplanes (who’s EP was playing on my iTunes at the time funnily enough), Inuit seem to take what they did in Without Aeroplanes and add something else.

Listening to that trailer it screams the ambience of Mogwai and Sogur Rós with an addition of a vocal that reminds me of the likes of The Twilight Sad and There Will Be Fireworks. They are singed to Glasgow based DIY label Good Grief Records who are home to the wonderfully noisy  Young Philadelphia and their debut EP is released on 23rd March, along with a launch show at Audio. Aaand there doesn’t seem to much more I can say apart from check them out and watch out for them come the 23rd March!

Check them out over on Facebook and Good Grief Records.


The Loss Of HMV Is By No Means The End…

Okay I know I’ve not written anything on here in ages, but I’ve been busy with uni and band stuff (and actually putting something up on here is a distraction to the dissertation work I should be doing just now). This however is an issue that I am passionate about and feel needs some discussion.

HMV has gone into administration, and at this moment I question if I’ll miss them, I’ve not shopped there in years. It will be strange not seeing them on high streets, yes but aside from that I don’t think they’ll be missed by most. I think one of the worst mistakes they made was their over-reaction to downloads, and phasing out music (you know, how they slowly started putting the music at the back of the shop or upstairs and pushed games and over-priced headphones to the front). I bought some of my first albums from the shop and as a child who lived in the middle of nowhere, I used to cherish the days where I was able to go to a town where I could pick up classic albums in their “2 for £10” deals.

Times have changed now though and it doesn’t surprise me that the place has closed down. Nowadays I like to take my business to independent record shops (which I even did a number for short films for a uni project on them), who are happy to talk about music, recommend listening based on your choices, have a nice atmosphere and support up and coming local bands! I buy nearly all my music in independent record shops and on vinyl too, (which is something else HMV never really embraced after chain stores such as themselves and labels phased them out with the advent of CD’s)  I hope to see them blossom after the decline of the HMV! Go visit Love Music and Monorail in Glasgow or Avalanche and VoxBox in Edinburgh. It’s not all good news for the independent shop scene either though with the news of One Up in Aberdeen announcing closure this week too.

Some doom mongers seem to be claiming the end of HMV to be death of physical music, I don’t see this somehow. There might be a decline in physical sales yes but there are still outlets to get them from. Independent record shops, online and (as much as it pains me to say it) supermarkets (it was them that put stress on music on music outlets in the first place by driving their prices down) and bands will still be selling them. I always maintain that one of the easiest ways for band’s to get their music with people is at a gig if someone in the crowd liked your music they might buy a CD. You can’t sell a download at a gig! People will always want to buy something that is tangible and you can hold on your hands.

I don’t know I might just be ranting and mumbling now and I am not hating on HMV I just feel a lot of bad decisions were made. How do you guys feel about the decline of HMV?

Dreaming Spires, Rose Parade, Johnny Graham & Matthew Scott @ Pivo Pivo 2/11/12

I enlisted the help of my good friend and band mate James Foley for this one, since I was working. So these are his opinions not mine 😉 Again it was Mainy from It’s a **** blog putting on the show.

Photo by Gobo Photography.

Matt Scott – The first time I saw Matt Scott was at Su Casa in November of last year and to put it bluntly, I liked him. Since then I have listened to his music online, reviewed it, and become quite a fan. It’s Matt’s lyrical content and rugged voice that absorbs the audience, slowly killing off chatter to a degree of silence where everyone listens intently. This was apparent on Friday night in Pivo Pivo. Unlike many musicians who fill out their music with large arrangements, Matt keeps it real – himself and his guitar. This is apparent in his recordings as well, which don’t venture further than a piano accompaniment (as far as i’m aware). This Is part of the overall charm that is Matt Scott. A cool guy, who I predict good things for in the near future.

Photo by Gobo Photography.

Johnny Graham – In a nutshell: Disappointingly Mumford & Sons. His folk -pop compositions felt very manufactured, as did the performance. The songs possessed very similar melodies to Mumford and were generally sung in the accent of Marcus Mumford. His song Candlewax in particular features a middle eight with soaring vocal “ohs” pretty much replicating the exact same section in Little Lion Man. It was for these reasons I just couldn’t get into his performance. Vocally, lyrically, and technically, he has the makings of a great musician, however the sound overall was very contrived.

Photo by Gobo Photography.

Rose Parade – In a band where high range instruments of banjo, glock, electric guitar and acoustic guitar dominated the sound, the missing piece under the sofa has been found. Full on bass. I’ve played alongside these guys before and reviewed them multiple times and I have to say, this was the best performance I have seen from them yet. Perhaps this was down to the driving bass that the pounding, recurring bass drum has been longing to meet. In the past, Ed’s banjo has been lost in amongst the booming bass drum and thrashing guitar rhythms, however this time his subtle and intricate parts could be heard clearly. Maybe the sound guy was just pretty darn good at his job, or maybe these guys have really become aware of and comfortable with their sound. You could feel the confidence and level of professionalism as these guys took the stage, and the crowd reaction was very supportive of this. Rose Parade’s debut album is being launched on the 1st February at the 13th Note in Glasgow and they’ve spent quite some time working on it so I’m expecting great things.

Photo by Gobo Photography.

The Dreaming Spires – “Traipsing across the States in a beat-up Chevrolet van with no mirrors”. That in itself has to sell the band to you! The guys clearly have a variety of musical adventures under their belts, conveyed by their unusual 60s, shoulder bopping sound. I say ‘unusual’ in the sense that it’s so far from the modern mainstream. Such a rich sound from a 3 piece, highlighting the talents of each individual member. Featuring switch overs from electric guitar, to 12-string, to acoustic, and keys, alongside the bass, drums, and gorgeous vocal harmonies. Man those harmonies were tight, warm in tone and yet quite close together…dare I say Simon and Garfunkel?! As a whole, I loved the sound that The Dreaming Spires demonstrated. The mellow organ, jangly guitar tones, and flowing bass riffs, all of which allow the vocals to sit firmly on top. A mature sound for a young band who are clearly set to do great things following the release of their debut album entitled, ‘Brothers in Brooklyn’.

The Wooden Sky, Evening Hymns, James Foley & Belle in the Meadows @ 13th Note 10/10/12

Yes I’m still here and completely succumbed to uni work and laziness. Tonight’s offering was another gig put on by Mainy of It’s a **** Thing, who had got a slightly raw deal with this one, in that the original venue (the now defunct Captain’s rest) and only getting two weeks to organise everything for the show! However all this taken into account he managed very well. First up tonight was Glasgow’s Belle in the Meadows, who I’d never come across before. The three piece fronted by an American gent play music that was nice to kick off the evening with because of it’s laid back manner. Their minimalist set up of acoustic guitar, piano, and violin along with a focus on harmonies managed to create an intimate atmosphere which the band managed to play on. Despite some initial technical problems with the violin the band managed to come through and give a brilliant performance. A stand out track for me was one called The Rose, definitely a band I will look out for in future.

Photo by Gobo photography.

Next on the bill was James Foley, the singer in my own band playing solo which I’m not going to dwell to much on giving that I’ve tried to avoid reviewing something which I’m so directly involved in to save being too biased. All I will say was it was strange seeing him solo and not being up there with him and he managed to get a good reaction.

Photo by Gobo photography.

Evening Hymns hail from Canada and have been on tour with headliners The Wooden Sky (more on them later). They initially came on as a two piece with singer, Jonas backed up by a female singer (who I’m sure stole a few hearts). Their voices blended in a magnificent way to create lovely harmonies that really made everyone listen. The Wooden Sky actually came out to join them and play their songs. Jonas seemed to have a story about every song they played, one that stood out in particular for me was about how he went out to a cabin in the far out reaches of Canada to write/record some new material. Despite it being a -25 degree winter and having to drink whisky to keep him going he managed…until the power went out (he tells it a lot better). This aesthetic and passion comes through in his music too a cross between grassroots and country that keeps itself afloat with a rocky edge. A lot of his songs were about his late father and I can see that he feels the man deserved a fitting tribute, which he managed very well. I highly recommend you to check out this band!

Photo by Gobo photography.

The Wooden Sky were the headliners who I’d not come across until Mainy and James showed them to me. The Canadian 5 piece were summed up rather well by my good friend as, “Ryan Adams fronting Bright Eyes.” I loved they way the coral keyboard/organ arrangements played with the violin to make an almost ambient effect. They have awfully country-esque harmonies that I would liken to Glasgow’s own Three Blind Wolves. I noticed the violin also managed to fot in very well almost playing a counter melody to that of the main melody. Mainy himself said that the gig was like seeing a band on the cusp on “making it” and I agree with him. For the end of their set they came out into the crowd and played some songs completely unplugged, joined by Evening Hymns too – it really was once of those you had to be there moments. All in all it was a great gig with some excellent talent on showcase and I look forward to managing to catch all the acts again.

Photo by Gobo photography.

PAWS Cokefloat! Album launch @ CCA, Glasgow 4/10/12

Okay so over the past month there has been a distinct amount of radio silence on the blog recently but don’t worry I’m still here! I’ve just been busy with…stuff. Anyway I’ve been looking forward not just to this gig but to finally catching the might PAWS live ahead of the release of their debut album. Coming into the CCA, I was confused, mainly because I almost got lost in the place and my pals hadn’t shown up yet. Glasgow’s North American War were the first (and only support) act on tonight’s bill, the CCA was close to selling out just before they started too. North American War are quite honestly a band I’d never heard before now, but I warmed to their sound as they progressed. They came across initially with a psychedelic stoner rock sound with very dreamy sounding vocals. The female vocal combined with the dissonance of the guitars and drone of feedback provided The Pixies as an immediate comparison for me, think more Surfer Rosa than Doolittle though. Their set seemed to finish just as they and the crowd were getting into it though which was a bit of a shame. Definitely a band I’ll look out for in future.

Next though was the moment I’d been looking forward for so long, finally getting to see PAWS! Coming on to a packed out crowd there was a real sense of buss in the air. They opened with Catherine 1956, a tribute to singer Philip’s late mother. From then on song after, song came and the reaction was ecstatic. With no security and no crowd barriers things got pretty mental in the pits – so much crowd surfing! There’s not much that I can say about the band that hasn’t already been said. Musically I don’t have anything to say about them that hasn’t already, apart from their music despite their sound being nothing genre breaking, the band seem to have a telent to write great and catchy pop songs which actually have a depth to them the assault of trashing drums and down stroked guitars, and I think that’s what is most attractive about them as a band. They played what seemed like all their songs and more and seemed to have a blast doing so highlights included, Misled Youth, Jellyfish, Miss American Bookworm, Lekker, BAINZ, and much much more. Closing with the album’s closer Poor Old Christoper Robin, they left the stage not so much to do an encore where the band pretend to leave the stage but to get a beer. They returned to play two more songs. I left the CCA think I might have just seen one of the hottest bands in the UK at the moment and I implore you check them out!

PAWS’ debut album is out on FatCat on Monday and is available to stream over on The Skinny just now. If I get the chance I’ll write some words about it soon.

Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Dirt, Little Fire & Matt Scott @ Pivo Pivo 30/8/12

I’m a great believer in helping out friends since in return they will help you. Mainy from the It’s a *** Thing blog has helped me with this blog and as a struggling musician trying to get coverage. So when I noticed he was putting on American act Hurray For The Riff Raff, I was happy to go along. It also gave me the option to write about something that wasn’t new solely Scottish music. The first act on at Pivo Pivo tonight (the original venue was to be The bay but it closed down), was Kilmarnock’s Matt Scott. Having featured Matt’s renent EP on the blog recently I was eager to hear him live again. Opening with a bluesy number that voice again that captivating voice struck me. It’s amazing how Scott manages to take both the character of Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison to create one of the most individual voices in the Scottish singer/songwriter scene has to offer at the moment. He went on to play some songs from his recently EP (which is available for free download) such as To Do Something and Jenny We All Know, and rounded his set off with a Frankie Miller cover and a version of Roadhouse Blues by The Doors. The young singer did both songs justice and was a brilliant first act.

Ayrshire’s Little Fire was second on this evening’s bill. Being in a band based in Ayr it’s hard not to escape seeing and playing with Little Fire. He blasted into I Met A Girl, a song full of reflection. Having Little Fire just so much I find it’s easy to forget just how talented Jamie Mcgeechan is. His husky voice is reminiscent of Ray LaMontage and hid songs are perfect pop gems. Having been recording his debut album I look forward to what is come for the future of Little Fire.

The Dirt were a band I’d never come across before until tonight. The two piece hail from Glasgow and have a distinctly country sound to them. If I was to make an initial comparison they seemed to me what Johnny Cash might sound like if he was based in Scotland nowadays. Graeme has a deep booming voice and Jen’s much higher voice makes a perfect blend for this comparison. Instrument-wise the duo mainly just and and had one guitar however some percussion was added for a few songs in the shape of a cajon (one of those drum boxes for those not aware of what one is). This stripped back set up seemed to suit the bands songs, which as Mainy described them are “murder ballads”. One song in particular was about a notorious Scottish serial killer – so you know you get the message. A group well worth checking out if you like that kind of thing.

I did have a picute of The Dirt but it was terrible so here’s a much better one of them playing Captain’s Rest.

Finally Hurray For The Riff Raff took to the stage, and wow, the New Orleans band could put on a show. I wasn’t too big a fan of country music before this show, I mean I liked it but not massively but they definitely turned my head. Touring their second album this was the first date in their UK tour before they headed over to Europe to promote it. One thing that strikes me the most about their music initially is how individual sounding singer Alynda’s voice is and still has a distinct country sound to it. Their harmonies in particular struck me as well. Also as a guitar player the tone that they guitarist could get out of an acoustic guitar with what looked like an electric pickup going into an amp was awesome…anyway enough guitar geeking out. They played a mix of old and new material with one or two covers of older country numbers. Overall it was an excellent performance by the band.

Vasa, Bellow Below, Sound Over Silence & Young Philadelphia @ The Market Inn, Ayr 15/8/12

What’s this? Another gig in Ayr? Goodness me. It was indeed true, the first night of Vasa’s tour was in the Market Inn of all places. Somewhere that can easily be described as an “old man pub”. The wooden decor, fire places and 35ml measures it has it all, however upstairs it has a little used (to my knowledge) function room. This was the setting for tonights eardrum shaking. First on tonight were Glasgow’s Young Philadelphia who were joining Vasa for half of their tour. I’d never really heard much of them before now but they didn’t disappoint! With thumping drums and big riffs they they instantly reminded me of Bronto Skylift and Holy Mountain. I’m sure we’ll be hearing of them again.

The lighting was not very good for taking pictures so I’ve stolen them all from Facebook.

Next up were Sound Over Silence who it seemed were distinctly lacking post-rock for the line-up that was on offer. They have more of 70’s/80’s hard rock sound than the other bands who were on the lineup. This was apparent from the fact their singer wouldn’t have looked out of place in Free and their guitarist resembled Zakk Wylde. Sound wise they were full of dropped tuned riffs and pinched harmonics and 80’s style screams. I like this music but was not feeling it this evening.

Bellow Below are originally from Ayr so managed to pull quite a crowd. I’ve been looking to see the “Overlads” for quite a while too. My initial thoughts were they were loud! Which unfortunately made the sound a bit muddy (no fault of the set up it was the best they could do for the space they had) but this didn’t deter them. Their sound seems to be based on harmonies between their two guitars and singer, Jamie’s not exactly shouting but shouty vocals. Oh aye, and loads of tapped guitar riffs! They’ve been recording a new EP which should be available soon, so played quite a lot of material off that, but managed to play some of their old stuff that I recognised (which incidentally you can get a free download of here). I’d love to see them again with better sound.

Vasa are as regular readers of the blog will know, a band I regularly wax lyrical about so was looking forward to see what they have to offer tonight since they’ve been gigging even more and have been in the studio recording their debut EP. Launching into their first song it’s clear to me they’ve got all the more used to playing live. There’s much more animation to their performance than when I’ve seen them before, which seems to being another dynamic to their live performance than it did before. This included Scott taking a wee trip into the crowd at the end of their set. Although trying to speak less between songs since it does ruin the atmosphere somewhat they couldn’t resist a little bit of chatter. They played a storming set covering most of their songs including Cynthia, Not Soon But Now and I don’t Know Where, I Don’t Know When, But Something Awful’s Going To Happen. I canot wait to hear their EP and what else they have to offer.

By the time I’ve got this finished Vasa have almost finished their tour however they play the Jamjar in Dunfermline tonight.

A Quick Chat With: Detour Scotland

I know I’ve neglected this feature quite a bit since I started it with so much promise. It’s a combination of unwillingness on my part and people not being available.

However here a new brand spanking new one with Mr. David Weaver of Detour. Built up of Ally McCrae and David Weaver, Detour seem to always be doing something a bit different to promote Scottish music.

First of all for anyone who’s not heard of what you guys do what do, how would you describe Detour?

We’re a wee community of people, who are passionate about promoting the best new music in Scotland. And we try to do it in exciting and innovative ways that haven’t been done before. We make videos, we put on gigs, and we curate and organise really weird events.

What started it all for Detour?

Ally and I (Weaver) met at Stirling University, and ended up running the student radio station, Air3, together. We put on gigs, and hosted a radio show, with some amazing new acts. Once we left uni, we wanted to continue that, so decided to start a podcast and a live night. We had some brilliantly talented friends with video cameras, and over the next year, our gigs and our videos really took off.

Over the years you’ve really achieved some great things. What are you most proud of though?

We loved doing our Wee Jaunts – one day adventures throughout a city, where people just knew to turn up somewhere, and had no idea what was going to happen. We’d take a 100 folk on a tour of weird locations – public toilets, parks, alleyways – and have bands playing sets there. Everything’s done with no money changing hands, and with an amazing sense of togetherness.

You’ve just started doing you own internet television show, what was the motive behind it?

Why not? Haha – we’ve been doing little videos online for two years, but our goal I suppose was always to have a TV show. We just decided, instead of going to TV companies and selling our soul, we could make exactly what we wanted. We can promote the bands we love, do what we want, and hopefully it’s entertaining enough that people watch it. We just love doing it.

What else soon can we expect over the next year?

We are doing five episodes of the show – the last one will come out at the start of October. We’ll then be doing some more live stuff – it’s been a while since we concentrated solely on putting on nights and events that people won’t forget. We’re currently doing live nights at the Edinburgh Festival, then over the next few months, we’re going to experiment, and challenge ourselves.
Then ideally, we’d love to come back and do a second series of the online show – but we need to find out how to pay for it. We’re all skint, and doing it for the love of it.

And finally since this a new music blog are there any bands that you recommend that people check out?

Five off the top of our heads – Crusades are one of the most exciting heavy bands to come from Scotland in a long time. Friends in America have the makings of an incredible, world-beating indie band. Ambulances are from Fife, and they are pop in the very best way possible. Dirtdrinker from Aberdeen are crushingly heavy, and could do pretty great things. And GingerBeardMen are techno gods in the making. [I tried to find them online but couldn’t, if some gives me their details I’ll link them]

You can find Detour on both Facebook and Twitter, and even watch their most recent TV show here:

Also their next show at the Edinburgh fringe is tonight with Bwani Junction and the The LaFontaines, details of them all can be found on their website.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2012

Belladrum holds a special place in my (tartan) heart (sorry, I had to do it) since it is not only the first festival I ever went to, and have been coming back every year since, but is arguably my favourite one too. It not only has a great family atmosphere but is an excellent opportunity to see a mix of different up and coming bands but some more established and older acts too.

Looking at the line up the day on the Friday had to start with Kilmarnock’s Fatherson. Who attracted quite a large a large crowd despite having an early slot on the Hothouse stage. They managed to fairly get the crowd going playing a number of their well known songs and a few new ones off their upcoming album. An excellent start to the weekend.

Next up was a clash between Make Sparks on the same stage and Bwani Junction on the main stage. Giving the sun was out (I think Belladrum has had the best weather for a festival this year) I opted for the latter. The Edinburgh four-piece pulled off their trademark angular riffs and rhythms with ease in the sunlight. They mainly played stuff off their debut album but also showcased some new songs including one called Cival War. The highlight of their set for me is still Two Bridges, which some might argue has one of the best guitar breaks in Scottish music right now.

After a walk round the site i ended back up at the Hothouse stage to see half of Vukovi’s set, who unfortunately didn’t seem to have as much of a crowd as I thought they would. This didn’t stop them rocking out, making riffs clash with booming bass. Singer, Janine has a banshee scream element to her vocals but manages to keep it back just the right amount.

Over on the Go North Seedlings stage, (which mostly featured a number of the acts who had been part of Go North earlier in the year), was Cherry Fostphate, who I seem to remember seeing in Ayr once. Their brand of guitar pop went down well with the crowd in the tent.

American act, Vintage Trouble wowed the crowd at the main stage attracting a large audience and whipping them into a frenzy with their their rock and roll tinged rhythm and blues. Singer Ty Taylor certainly had some moves in him I can tell you that!

French Wives are a band I’ve heard of but never listened too that much. Having not long released their debut album on Stow Collage’s Electric Honey label I was interested to see what they were all about. I was pleasantly surprised that the Glasgow act came across as perhaps what Bombay Bicycle Club might sound like if they were Scottish.

The somewhat secret special guests on the Friday were Kassidy who have gone down a storm in previous years, having gone off the band in recently I only stayed about to watch the start of their set. The crowd there seemed to be loving them though. I went down to the Seedlings tent to catch some of Finding Albert’s set, again not knowing quite what to expect. First impressions of the energetic band were the electronic element to make me think a more electronic and dance sounding Muse (you know before they went a bit mad with power).

Not long after were Glasgow’s This Silent Forrest, a band I had heard on a couple of Podcasts previous to now. I also knew singer Graeme “Squirrel” Macdonald from the Slow Club nights at Bar Bloc. It was clear from the start that they have quite a mix of influences, and according to the groups facebook page it does range from Bruce Springsteen through Aereogramme to Frightened Rabbit (more on them later). Having two different singers made for quite a difference in their material too with, electric guitarist Jamie’s voice (and look for that matter) reminded me very much of Louis from Admiral Follow meanwhile Graeme’s was much different to this, it brought a really nice dynamic to the bands material.

Taking the Grassroots stage for the second year in a row was (fairly) local lass, Rachel Sermanni. This time backed up my her all female band, built up of three violins and a keyboard it was nice to see her trying different lineup. Attracting a large crowd she gave a good performance spanning older material along with some newer stuff. One thing I’ve noticed about after having heard her play in the past is how her material manages to sound great solo and with a band.

Out the three choices of headliner for the Friday night out of Wombats, The Buzzcocks and Willy Mason, I opted for the latter upon the recommendation of a friend. Having not heard any of his material before I was rather impressed! For one man with an electric guitar he played a great set that was a nice way to chill out after the first day. Mason seems to have a voice that can captivate an audience.

Saturday morning was a bit of a struggle to make to see some acts I wanted to see. I wanted to try and catch Alan Frew and Olympic Swimmers but by the time I got down to the site I opted for watching Johnny Cash tribute band, Jericho Hill. Now, covers bands and such are normally not a favorite of mine so I was prepared to take this with a pinch of salt however they proved to be a good tribute to the man in black playing material from his whole career and managed to get a great reaction from the festival crowd.

I managed then managed to catch half of Chris Devotion & The Expectations, I’ve heard compared with the likes of Bruce Springsteen and The Clash. I can see how too, their rabble-rousing tunes got a positive response from the audience.

Sunday night for me (and what sealed the deal for going this year) was all about Frightened Rabbit. The borders band are one of my favorites around just now and have never been disappointed any other time I have seen them. Having just signed to Atlantic records from FatCat they are becoming a pretty big band too, playing below the headliners tonight too. Playing a set of their well known material to the big crowd there was people clapping and singing along, it was great to see. One thing I’ve alway noticed about when the band play live is how well they manage to create all the layers that their and complex arrangements that their albums have in the live situation, a definite highlight.

A band featuring a good friend of mine are Roadway. They were making a live comeback after an unfortunate serious car accident featuring two of the members. The six piece band take influence from both modern and classic rock bands and have quite a distinct sound for a band based in Scotland. Seeing their two guitarists after their recovery from the crash made the performance all the more special with the crowd singing along to a lot of their songs.

Saturday night headliners and closing the festival was Travis. A band I didn’t know that well but after I heard a lot of their songs it turns out I did. They banged out what seemed like a greatest hits set with (I think) a few new songs. Overall a good set though.

I obviously didn’t take this I stole it from facebook…

If you’ve never been to Belladrum before I recommend you do since it’s brilliant little festival!

Review: Gatsby’s Green Light – EP1

Gatsby’s Green Light is a new project by Largs based singer songwriter Stewart Robbie. The project is based around the writings of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and although he’s not my favourite writer, (I blame higher English), it’s interesting to see someone embark on such a project. Attempting such a project is quite a task in itself; to write with such focus and still take the themes and characters from the writer’s writing, then apply them to songs everyone can relate to.

The opener, First Day Of Summer, starts with Robbie’s slightly raspy vocals leading a chilled out mid tempo, strummed pattern that reminds me of the kind of chords that Jack Johnston would use, (influence?). The kind of song that one might play if you were looking out over the beach on a summers day. In between verses there’s a nice little finger picked riff to keep your ears interested as he goes between verses. The chorus is a simple repeated phrase at the end of each verse. Lyrically the song covers two characters who seem to have a longing to meet each other, and will meet each other in the summer. It then progresses to the end of summer to the first day of winter.

Track two, Dumpender Road, opens with a delicately picked pattern leading to the verse. The song follows a similar structure to the first but yet manages to stand out as a completely different one. The song itself covers this one place called Dumpender Road and how as Robbie puts it, “some things change and some thing stay the same,” but this area stays the same as it always was, and always will.

She Pulled The Wings From a Butterfly is the third offering on the EP. It covers a young boy who keeps meeting this girl over the course of his childhood and who at first seems strange and it grows into a friendship and then blossoms into a relationship. Musically the arrangement is not dissimilar to the first two tracks.

The final track, Cyclone Hill is a quiet number with a focus on the vocal line with some very loose strums in the background, which builds as the track does. A nice end to a what looks to be the first of many releases in the project.

Production wise the track is very simple, (I mean guitar, vocals and the occasional second guitar there’s not much to play about with it there?) but this simple production suits the music perfectly. It seems to me it might have been live too, and although it will have been done digitally it really has the vibe of the artist staying up recording demos on a tape recorder feel to it.

You can get the EP for free download on Bandcamp. You can also find Gatsby’s Green Light on Facebook and Twitter.

I think I might be able to get Stewart in for a session soon, so watch this space…