Time is tight.
That’s not just a brilliant track by Booker T. & the M.G.s; it’s an accurate description of the way this Bits column is careering towards the deadline. Combining gig-going and good times with illness and laziness presents a challenge, so if you’re reading this, be in no doubt that it was a close-run thing. But, as the Bee Gees sang, we’ve gotta get a message to you.
And it’s not as if there’s a lack of inspiration, as there’s an abundance of good songs out there for you to explore. The drop-off in new music for the Christmas market (no, not the one that sells glühwein) is looming, but let’s make hay while the sun fleetingly shines.
‘Cruel’ continues Frankie Morrow’s journey from folk to pulsating rock with nuanced layers. It’s a song that offers rewards on repeated listens, and if you have the phrase ‘cry wolf’ stuck in your head, blame this lot. Lead singer Maz is as beguiling on record as she is on stage, with the vocal delivery as catchy as the flu season that will be rapidly rolling around to the Central Belt soon enough.
Elisabeth Elektra makes her way towards a full EP release, with the title track grabbing attention round these parts. ‘Broken Promises’ builds on the feel of previous single ‘The Dream’, blending electro-pop with a gothic overtone and mystic feels to create something that is otherworldly, but at the same time, right for these mixed-up times.
If you need any further encouragement to listen, the fact that the track features Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Johnny Scott of Chvrches should perk you up, but the song stands on its own merits.
There’s enough genuine cause for sadness in the world without getting too upset about a band you like splitting up. Then again, as bands are amongst the few natural sources of joy these days, you can’t blame fans for moping when their favourite acts are no more.
Which is why Bits intends to raise a glass to Wozniak at the Wee Red Bar on 2nd December, when they bow out. The group leaves us with the Memory Disorder album, released on 24th November. Lead track ‘Black Polaroid’ is close to six minutes of menacing majesty, and you know the album will match that for intensity, melody, and jaw-dropping moments.
On ‘About Love’, Dead Pony add some emotion to their usual bite, and the track is all the better for it. The current incarnation of the band has evolved into a harder and heavier animal, shedding much of their youthful charm to crank up the power. It’s pleasing to see they can still make you stop and think amidst all the bluster, and the more flavours of Dead Pony to enjoy, the better.
Now, if you’re thrown by text speak, you might find the title of Lamaya’s debut single ‘Coming 4 UR <3’ slightly confusing. Basically, the emerging Scottish hip hop performer is coming for your heart and – by the sounds of it – your minds and in time, the money from your bank account.
It’s a strong induction, subtly produced, making the soaring moments more poignant and powerful. On the whole, Lamaya’s vocals have a seductive power but the twist in the fierce moments keep you on your toes. There’s more than enough to like here, and to note for next year.
We’ve long been fans of Elephant in Red, with Loup Havenith at the helm, and new single ‘Honey’ is no different. The early November release carries on the good work, but in tune with the name, is a bit stickier and smoother than before. The added production style crafts a song you can sink into, and it’s definitely one to slip into late autumnal playlists.
Looking ahead, the November 17th release for the It Makes An Emptiness Of A Crowded Place EP by waverley. is a good way to kick off the final run of this month’s column, and there’s more good music coming throughout the month.
The Edinburgh band create plenty of restrained, powerful moments, with ‘Lowry Scene’ biting deep, especially when those vocals kick in halfway through. There’s plenty of ambition here, and if you’re looking for a Scottish guitar act with a landscape sound, this is one to look out for.
You’d expect Grace & The Flat Boys to generate interest and pick up new fanswith the Dark Glass // Rose Tint EP, released on 17th November. Lead track ‘Ghosting’ has a frenzied feel but with an unhurried tempo, making for a tumultuous, funky number that leaves listeners in no doubt of the seething anger at play, while giving us the chance to dance.
‘Demon Hour’ bristles with jazz excitement and rolling drum fills, and ‘Planet Express’ delivers a more down-to-earth meandering. All in all, it’s a measured collection that should tickle the interest of jazz and R&B aficionados.
Joe Goodall releases his debut EP, A Series of Safe Spaces, on 24th November, and headlines SWG3 Poetry Club the night after. It’s a brisk and breezy four-song bundle, with plenty of optimism, rising choruses, and stirring strings, which many will gladly latch onto in these darker times.
’Turning My Back On Nothing’ even features some power chords and big rock moves, so it’s a neat mix for those who enjoy a range of tunes.
Right, go and enjoy your November; don’t do Christmas stuff this month, leave that until December, as crazy as that might sound. Say no to Mariah: you’ve got more than enough great Slade tracks to enjoy without the obvious.