We might get in trouble for saying November is an apt month for the next Guy Fawkes to descend on the Houses of Parliament, so we won’t say that at all. Instead, as November is the month of St Andrew’s Day, we’ll focus on the best new music in Scotland. As we do every month!
If you’ve got a good memory, you’ll recall SNACK heaped praise on Loup Havenith last year. Loup is back, this time known as Elephant In Red. Thankfully, Loup’s Elliot Smith-like vocals still sound as glorious on ‘Silver’, and this track is a rollicking little number. At over five minutes, it has enough time to jolt into a Crazy Horse workout for the last 90 seconds. Everybody knows this is nowhere, but there are many worse places you can be. The song is out mid-November, with Glasgow and Edinburgh gigs around this time, so you’ve plenty of opportunity to check them out.
Another Glasgow gig we’ll remind you about is the Frankie Morrow show taking place at The Hug & Pint on the 25th of November. We covered the Blue Parrot Backpackers Hostel EP last month, but as a late October release, there’s no harm in reminding you we loved its folky ways.
You’ll also find Saint Sappho in The Hug & Pint in November, on the 7th. They’ll be armed with recent single ‘Two in the Room’, which is a short and snappy introduction, with dreamlike and nagging (in the good sense) sections in equal measure.They might be new, but they have that jaded-with-life outlook we love, which means SNACK will keep eyes and ears out for a forthcoming EP.
Something new for us, and probably you, is ‘Oh God’, the debut single from Edinburgh’s You Are Lost Be Careful. Right from the off, it’s a measured and moody track, and very disciplined for a debut track. And then you remember the pandemic and how many acts got all this extra time to hone their craft. On initial listens, it was time well spent, and if you love restrained angst with a bit of bite, this should be good for you.
A more traditional, and way heavier, rock number comes from The Rhubarb, with ‘Mist’ paving the way for the band’s debut album, set for release in spring next year. It’s a lunging and lurching track, with treated guitars crunching their way behind the warbling singing style of Hannah White, who splits vocals with Sean Maguire. The section where it all speeds up is as familiar and welcome as a story about Ozzy biting bats, and while there is an air of seriousness to the track, you cannot fault a band who prick pomposity by including the line ‘A chair dusty and unused it hasn’t seen any bum for so long’. The drum fills at the end are great too.
We go from rock to pop, but we continue ‘Into The Dark’, the new single from Callum Gibson. The quick guitar strum and a reference to ‘Molly’s Chamber’ should position Callum with his audience in no time. It’s the soundtrack of house parties, warm-ups and comedowns, and the infectious groove should see the song fit neatly on playlists featuring Gerry, Jamie, and all those other lads who fuel daydreams and the sesh across the land.
We’re finishing off the November issue in late October, so it’s all pumpkin flavourings and forced frightening behaviour round here. A reminder that the spooky and unsettling isn’t just for Halloween – it can be an all-year round activity if you believe enough – comes from SNACK regulars Post Coal Prom Queen. The talented duo is back with ‘Free Radio Phobos’, an early insight to their forthcoming Music for First Contact release, a recorded version of their operatic debut from this year’s Hidden Door events. We love bands that show ambition, and feel great relief when said ambition is matched with a quality song, it isn’t always the case. It is here. Anyways, the tinkling intro creates urgency and mild terror, while Lily Higham’s vocals cut through with a light and breathless manner that leave you with the sense that something bad is going to happen. Just like it does in the movies. The wail of sax and tripping backing track creates a feeling of dread, and it’s a performance piece as much as a song. And the song mentions submarines, which is a guaranteed way to please this writer. Then again, what about that early demo of ‘Yellow Submarine’ on the Revolver box set? That’s a bit depressing, isn’t it? You wouldn’t want Ringo chirruping that version.
Looking ahead, the Humour pure misery EP, scheduled for late November, sounds well worth checking out. ‘yeah, mud!’, the opening track, refuses to stand on ceremony, merging melody and shouted sections with a pressing desire to get things done. ‘alive and well’ is slower, but more manic, indicating Humour is a band of conflict and complexity. In saying that, there’s earworms all over the release, so it’ll likely find a home amongst those looking for things to rail against.
‘NYC’ by Ava Carlyle is lovely, with the strings being particularly pleasing. ‘Take It All Away’ by The Distant Few is an interesting listen, switching from a rumbling and grumbling sound to something not far away from highly polished 80s fare. If you dabble with Marillion or Simple Minds from that era, this won’t be out of place or spirit.
SNACK advocates Protection, so it’s just as well we like the band’s debut release. Then again, as it features Scott Paterson from Sons & Daughters and Iain Cook from Chvrches, it was starting from a position of strength. ‘Still Love You’ blends electronica, a sky-scraping vocal sample and the intuitive sense of repetition that makes you feel everything is going to be all right. We certainly can’t promise that, but we think there’ll be more good stuff to come from this duo.
Let’s hope local bands don’t down tools early for the end of the year, or December’s SNACK Bits might have to regale you with our favourite festive tunes. See you then to round off 2022.