An Ode To Glasgow

April 2, 2009

By some quirk of fate all of my current favourite bands are from Glasgow. Maybe it’s purely coincidental or maybe Glasgow is a bastion of Post-Rock / Emo / Prog chaos.


El Dog Promo Shot

El Dog Promo Shot

(Click Image for Myspace)

El Dog – I came across this Post-Rock 4-piece while working for The Great Escape Festival. They sent us an EPK which is basically an online press kit. We received thousands of these EPK’s and of all the bands I heard, El Dog stood out. Signature track OO is an epic, tumultuous masterpiece beginning ominously with slow-building thunderous percussion and bass, delicate and ornate guitars, floating, ethereal string sounds and powerful Biffy-style Glasgow-drawl vocals. The track builds, with the addition of jagged distorted guitars, epic drumming – heavy on the kick, before cutting out just as you think it’s going to explode into riff driven, screaming guitar prog-enormity.

Ha Ha Nae Joy on the other hand is a slow track, featuring fragile key lines,  and (what sounds like) roaring timpani drums. Atmospheric and emotive, this haunting track displays a versatility in the vocals, as well as an ear for a slower, frail and elegant track. My Personal favourite Rebecca’s Spine, begins with an eerie muted guitar lick, off-beat syncopation in the bass-line, and intricate hi-hat and rim-shot laden drum-work. Again, after a short string interlude, the song builds: ornate keys join the fray and the rhythm morphs into a more regular 4/4 pattern over which dual vocalists Alan Peacock and Bob ‘Dogboy’ Rafferty display impressive vocal prowess and musicality in their pop-hook-riddled close harmonies.

Unfortunately, it is hard to come across El Dog‘s music online. Their’s not a lot on Youtube and (unless you set up a Sonicbids account) you can’t access their EPK to check out Rebecca’s Spine and Ha Ha Nae Joy. The band’s Myspace page is well worth a visit though, and displays 4 fantastic tracks, including OO, suggesting that their debut album, The Lamps Of Terrahead, is going to be a must-buy-record.

El Dog will appeal to fans of Biffy Clyro, Jeniferever, Sigur Ros, Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky. They are an incredible and well produced Prog outfit and yet tragically they are relatively still unknown. Check out their Myspace and let’s change that!


David - vocalist/guitatist of TFS - Live

David - vocalist/guitatist of TFS - Live

(Click Image for Myspace)

This Familiar Smile – Late last year I got a demo CD from these guys while working at Supervision Management. As an intern you listen to a million of these and often make decisions within ten seconds of listening so tracks have to grab you immediately. No annoyingly long reverb / delay-drenched faffing about intros. Straight to the point is what you need to make people sit up and notice.

An Ode To The Bomb, the first track on the demo, did just that. It explodes into a cacophany of distorted powerchords, dischordance, tribal rhythms and emotive, powerful and strained vocals. This is seriously intelligent Experimental Emo. Dont be put off by the word Emo, this isn’t My Chemical Romance‘s brand of pop/rock bollocks. Ode To The Bomb is a beautifully crafted and structured work, slipping effortlessly between dischordant, chaotic, crashing Rock sections and delicate, ethereal, lighters-in-the-air Pop.

Early demos from what will become debut album Ribbons, Regards and the More Machine show that these boys are maturing. The Gin demo for example is essentially a Pop/Rock ballad displaying a vulnerability and fragility in the delicate, strained, yet emotive close harmonies, and ornate xylophone lines. Red Wine meanwhile displays intelligently layered intricate guitar lines and again demonstrates an impressive capacity to slip in and out of completely juxtaposing sections seamlessly, and 9V Soldier is a return to epic, cacophonic, dischordant Experimentalism.

This Familiar Smile are a quite uniquely diverse, versatile and intelligent act, blending Progressive, Emo and Metal influences with undeniably catchy singalong Pop hooks. I am really excited about this band and cannot wait for Ribbons, Regards and the More Machine!


Promo Shot Of Flood Of Red

Promo Shot Of Flood Of Red

(Click Image for Myspace)

Flood Of Red – I first came across these guys while working for Futuresound up in Leeds in 2007. I think I saw them at Slam Dunk.. or Collision Course.. or both.. or neither.. that whole era is a little hazy. It was only when I started working for Supervision and noticed that they were on the roster that I really started to pay attention to them. Cheekily I made myself a CD of all the album demos from their debut album, recorded in Baltimore, Maryland with Brian McTernan at Salad Days Studio, and due for release later this year. It quickly became the only CD I listened to, playing it in my room, the car, the gym and at work.

Flood Of Red have come a long way since the first time I saw them in Leeds, as a fresh-fraced Screamo band. Their style has developed and their sound has matured. The screams have pretty much been dropped, and while tracks are still predominantly high-tempo Rock/Emo numbers driven by epic and intricate guitar riffs, there is a more ambient feel to these early demos, and the outcome is a far more polished and accessible sound. The track Demo 1 on the Myspace page for example begins with a ferocious, rip-roaring riff, which reappears throughout the work. However unlike earlier work, this track develops with a contrapuntal, call and answer guitar interlude during which time it is impossible not to pick up and dust off your air guitar, before ripping back into the initial riff.

The track temporarily named Demo 3 meanwhile is an ambient, swaying 3/4 number beginning with ornate, interdependant guitar lines steeped in delay and reverb, before ripping into epic drumlines and crashing power chords for the chorus. Basically, Flood Of Red have shown a much greater depth to their song writing ability with early album demos, indicative simply of the fact that they have matured and developed over the last few years. They’re still an awesome Rock band, but now with an accessibility and versatility that will win over many more fans to add to their current cult following.

Fans of Dopamine, The Blackout and We Are The Ocean will love these Ambient / Emo Rockers.


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