Category Archives: Band Feature

Roxy Agogo: band feature

Roxy Agogo

Roxy Agogo is the brainchild of Hamish Fingland, better known as guitarist and keyboard player with Glasgow band White.

Currently showing a resurgence in musical activity, Roxy Agogo first caused ripples on the Glasgow scene in 2014 with tracks like ‘When You Dress Up’ and ‘Crocodiles’.

He wrote the score for the indie Glasgow film ‘Waitress’ released in early 2015 then took a sabbatical from solo projects until earlier this year.

Hamish Fingland has been busy touring and recording with White pushing the pop-funk boundaries.

Almost unrecognisable from his time with folk band Kassidy, Hamish Fingland as Roxy Agogo is glam rock personified.

There is substance to the style, though. The music is as self assured and full bodied as the image.

There is a stark beauty to the electronic pop Hamish Fingland produces as Roxy Agogo.

The music is experimental but shows an appreciation of 80s electronica. It manages to be both fresh and nostalgic.

This is what pop music should be, not the bland sameness found on commercial radio stations.

It is bold.

It is vital.

Art house at it’s finest.

There is often an undercurrent of sexuality in the words, a claustrophobic spotlight on pleasures of the flesh.

The lyric ‘I want to taste the saliva at the corner of your mouth’ in ‘Supercloseups’ gives a sense of intimacy under the microscope.

Every caress dissected. Every touch described.

 

It is always fascinating to see the musical vision become a reality on stage.

With a band featuring members of Baby Strange and White, and creative input from Lucia Fontaine, these are shows worth catching.

Sadly for those not living in the North, most of the live activity centres round Hamish’s native Glasgow.

Perhaps if we pay enough attention to his work. he may be persuaded to stray a little further afield.

 

 

YAK, Goat Girl and Peaness – LiverpoolO2 Academy 2: live review

YAK, Goat Girl and Peaness – LiverpoolO2 Academy 2: live review

26.10.16

There was competition for Liverpool’s live audience on the night Yak came to play. Warpaint were playing close by on the opening night of Liverpool International Music Festival 2016. It left the room at the O2 Academy 2 emptier than it should have been. Those that chose to attend were treated to fine support acts and another overwhelmingly full-on YAK performance.

Peaness brought their melodic indie to the venue to start an interesting and thought provoking night. The Chester trio use the duel female vocals excellently, providing some good quality tunes. As they said themselves, they were the quietest band of the night. They went down well with the audience as a whole and had brought their own fans with them. Songs like ‘Summer Song’ have an off-beat simplicity which suits their vocal style well.

Goat Girl from London have a wild and interesting style. They do have a cool stage persona which seems to have developed since their early gigs in South East London. Louder and wilder than Peaness, the girls brought some excellent songs to the audience and received quite a welcome. The audience reaction gained strength with every track. A great and original band.

YAK hit the stage with more bombast than many bands achieve in a lifetime. Every gig is different and the addition of a saxophonist may have added substance, but did little to change the incendiary nature of their live show. They chopped and changed from one track to another creating medleys and morphing one song straight into another.

All the anthems were there with ‘Smile’ and ‘Hungry Heart’ getting the live treatment they deserve. It was good to hear their frenzied take on ‘Cumberland Gap’, such a big part of their early live shows. The material from the album ‘Alas Salvation’ was amazing, with ‘Curtain Twitcher’ a stunning highlight. At times the room was the most amazing wall of sound. ‘Semi-Automatic’ from the recent double A-side single showed Yak are continuing to bring out quality tracks rather than simply releasing singles from the album. With a three song encore including ‘No’ and finishing with ‘Plastic People’ it was a stellar set. The audience went wild.

The Liverpool gig was the second to last before YAK break for a while. Their stage show is physical, exciting and probably exhausting. It takes real showmen to pull off a breath-taking  performance at the end of two years of tours across the world. YAK did all that.

The kids in the pit and the majority of the audience didn’t care. They got what they came for: Ollie on top of the crowd; hanging from the pipework; swigging Jack Daniels straight from the bottle. But the need for a break from the road was palpable even during this stunning gig. Ollie left the question of what comes next dangling, hinting that the break may be permanent, but only maybe. Perhaps a break to recharge will be enough. If YAK break up, the current music scene will have lost one of it’s brightest stars. The world will be darker without them to shine light into the blandness.

Bat Bike: band profile

BAT-BIKE: band profile

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BAT-BIKE produce such experimental and often humorous songs, it is hard to classify their music. Formed in Scotland in 2013, the band partially live in South-East London and often bring their hectic live show to the capital. One of the acts at Nestival in Deptford, they slammed the crowd with a frantically superb set at Deptford Vinyl, which I was lucky enough to catch.  The band continue to confound and delight with their chaotic charm and gutsy, fuzz-laden sound. There is a wonderful variety to their output, aided by a prolific number of self-released digital albums, as well as their excellent first album ‘Getting Back’ released by Trashmouth Records in January 2016.

From the hypnotic psychedelia and dead-pan humour of ‘Leicester Holiday’ through the blues fuzz of ‘Sean Lemon’ to the total gospel choir anthem ‘Getting Back’, the album is an amazing piece of work. It stands as one of my favourite albums of the year.

With part of the band living in one country, England, and part in Scotland, the logistics can be difficult, but their live shows are anarchic and a hell of a lot of fun. With such a lot of material to draw on the set is always a brilliantly crazy one-off. The music hangs together perfectly, like the ingredients in the famous shit-hot sauce cooked up by Bat-A; spicy and guaranteed to blow your socks off.

Also featured on the 2016 Trashmouth Records Album Day release and the compilation ‘Thinking of Moving to Hastings’, there are a lot of ways to obtain your own slice of surreal BAT-BIKE musical counter culture. This is a musical revolution you need to be part of.

 

 

 

Darma: band profile

Darma are a three piece grunge fuzz band from Manchester. They come with enough attitude, volume and dour Northern humour to hit you right between the eyes; a triple whammy.

Only working with their current line-up since 2015, the band consists of Harry Corbett on vocals and lead guitar, Issac Whitehead on drums and Lloyd Whitehead on bass. With two fine EPs already released Darma are already aiming for the stars and might well reach them.

Their first EP, the self-titled Darma and the recently released Milk are only the beginning for these talented guys. They already have plans to release a full length album next year, no mean feat for a band who fund all their releases themselves.

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Darma Live at Brink: Photo by Georgia Flynn

Some bands mellow as they develop, but Darma seem even louder and more vital with every release. There are some serous earworms on Milk including ‘Your’e Always Right‘ and title track ‘Milk‘. Add the excellent tracks from the first EP such as ‘What Are You Waiting For‘ and you can see the total quality of material the lads are producing from the word go. They also throw a loud, exciting stage presence to the mix. It is blindingly easy to see Darma’s potential. Get them while they’re hot.

Roxy G

 

 

Baby Strange: band profile

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Baby Strange by Roxy Gillespie

Baby Strange have come a long way since I saw them give a stunning performance to eight people as a support band. Their following in their native Glasgow is fierce and the band’s material goes from strength to strength. With the recent release of their first album, ‘Want It, Need It‘. the Glasgow trio have cemented their place at the forefront of the current punk/indie scene.

Baby Strange consist of Johnny Madden on guitar and vocals, Connaire McCann on drums and Aiden McCann on bass. There is a moodiness about their music. It can be stark and brutal, as on ‘Want It, Need It‘ or fatally charming on tracks like ‘VVV‘. Johnny Madden has a deep, dark vocal style perfect for the music he and the McCann brothers produce. Sometimes their sound verges on pure pop on tracks like ‘California Sun’. The music may be radio-friendly, but has an undercurrent of unrest that marks the band apart.

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With or without their Glasgow friends White, Baby Strange have always been a hot proposition live. With a headline tour about to start, these should be a must-see on your Autumn gig calendar.

Roxy G

Yak: band profile

 

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Already the darlings of the garage/ punk/ psych scene, Yak are doing very well for themselves. With a record deal on Jack White’s Third Man label and a highly thought of album, ‘Alas Salvation’, released this summer things seem pretty rosy for them.

With a variety of styles, ranging from the gentle psychedelia of ‘Please Don’t Wait For Me‘ and to the frantic, wild stampede of ‘Victorious‘, Yak are always worth listening to. Yak are known for their crazy live shows. Ollie Burslem  is more in the audience than on stage and a table full of Elliot Rawson’s broken drumsticks at the end of the night is not an unusual sight. Having stood next to the bass amp of Andy Jones at a recent Brighton gig, I can assure you the music can be felt as well as heard.

If you want to see the mayhem for yourselves, Yak tour this September. Your very own chance to make sure Ollie stays firmly where he is supposed to be –  playing some very fine guitar while crowd surfing above your head.

Roxy G