Written by Ola’s Kool Kitchen
“Glasgow is a very frustrating place; very insular, parochial and predictable in their tastes. The amount of utter shite indie-pop garbage that is spouted is ridiculous…..When every second person on the street, at gigs or in pubs looks like a Franz Ferdinand reject with straightening irons and an eating disorder who’s been kicked through a Top-Man store, it’s hardly surprising this mass brain-washing has diluted the live music being heard… We mean what we do. If you really want to make psychedelic music it has to come from a very real source and experience. If you’re jumping on the latest fashionable band wagon then those who understand the music will suss it out in no time at all.”
-John-Paul Hughes from Helicon.
Welcome to a quick tour of four fabulous bands in Glasgow that deem further investigation. Starting things off is Helicon a personal favorite of mine and one I have played on several occasions, including recording their live set in London for broadcast on the Kool Kitchen radio show. They are described as doom-mongering behemoths of Psychedelic Rock, as sincere as the quote above from band member John Paul; the band completely means business in creating layers of rich textured sonic reverb.
A good place to start is with their epic track, “The Point Between Heaven And Hell”. If not already, this should be a classic in the shoe gaze cannon of must have tunes. Like all the best songs, this is a journey that twists and twirls like the title, someplace in the imagination between heaven and hell. For your perusal, the song by Helicon to make your ears tingle with delight!
Having just performed at Liverpool Psych Fest in the UK, live Helicon is equally mesmerizing. There is an intricate melancholy to their soul gazing, click here for a sample of their London gig at Paper Dress Vintage in my podcast to give you a taster.
Glasgow’s premier fuzz-noise-terrorists St Deluxe, is harkening back to 90’s old school blessed out indie. There is an enthusiastic quality to this energetic three some fused with moments of pure riff/pop joy, teenage punk riot and dense, shoe-gaze fog. To listen to them fulfills my yearning to return to the hey-day of Creation Records and a UK chart that still had elements of real indie in the rock. They have also been known to make appearances live and on recordings with Stephen Lawrie from The Telescopes.
Their song “Evil Dead” is a nice introduction, immersed in horror and zombie film imagery laced within the lyrics. I always enjoy any references to B movies in songs, so the theme is rather compelling in the fast-paced, guitar pop tempo. To check out the scary nostalgia here is the track.
HIS NAME IS CODEINE
Although His Name Is Codeine are not officially based in Glasgow (from Elgin), when asked about bands to be booked for a gig in Glasgow their name came up. Tenuous geographical connection, I know but will make it work anyhow! This band is murky, with some moments of sludge-psych/gaze, oozing a Cimmerian shade of subterranean depths of sound.
A closer look at their song “The Measure Of Your Misery” off their latest album The Only Truth Is Music, reveals all those elements intertwined with a slightly jangly sad song. Like a snake it slithers in a slinky manner, hypnotizing the listener into a warm sonic cotton woolly ball. Sometimes there is true pleasure in wallowing in the forlorn and I find this so here; but don’t take my word for it, check it out and judge for yourself.
THE CHERRY WAVE
The Cherry Wave is a shoe-gaze band from Glasgow creating structures of echoing drenched fuzz and distortion while also incorporating melody into their dense tone-brume. In certain moments the band has an underwater warble that burbles slowly to the surface, mimicking the unconscious in a rock song.
The song “Drown” rams home the sub-aquatic nature of these musical ocean floor dwellers. Something about this track reminds me of a Crustacean crawling through sea weed. It’s a pleasant sonic trawl through dark muddy gaze. If ever there was a way to “Drown in Sound” this is it. If you like it uber-fuzzy, fishy and liquid lush, I highly recommend testing it out here!
There is an ulterior motive for writing this article, The Telescopes will be returning to play at King Tut Wah Wah’s in Glasgow on Friday October 25th 2013. Joining Stephen on stage as the Scopes will be St Deluxe and Cherry Wave will be supporting alongside dark psychedelia from Dead Temple. For those in Glasgow, you can check out some of these bands in exciting action or for those further afield enjoy the snippets collected here!