Tuesday, 7 June 2011

King Tuts - Summer Nights Album

Summer is upon us and festival season kicked off in Glasgow at the weekend with the West End Festival and this weekend is Rock Ness and Doune The Rabbit Hole and then we have T in the Park, Wickerman, Tartan Heart and loads more to come.

Last summer saw DF Concerts and King Tuts introduce their Summer Nights series of gigs, gathering some of the best unsigned/independent artists in Scotland to play at one of the best and most famous venues in the country. This was followed up by their New Year Revolution gigs in January and Summer Nights is set to return again this July.

Summer Nights is being well promoted on the Tuts and DF social media sites, in newspaper adverts and with the added bonus of a FREE DOWNLOAD ALBUM featuring all of the headliners. (scroll to the bottom of the page).

With quite a few bands that I haven't listened to or caught live, lets delve into what is on offer....

Sonny Marvello - Pull Me Up
Sonny Marvello released their 'Pull Me Up' EP late last year with the Daily Record describing it as 'like the Monkees doing ELO, just perfect to banish the winter blues'. So the album kicks off with a nice slice of upbeat guitar pop. Sonny are going from strength to strength, recently establishing their 100 club and releasing a ltd edition acoustic mini-album (featuring the song below) with an exclusive gig for 100 club members in a vintage clothes store. They are currently recording their debut album, with one of the tracks 'Tiny Little Sparks' recently being played on Ally McCrae's Radio 1 show and being described by Ally as 

'I can see that (Tiny Little Sparks) in a festival field with people bouncing and bouncing.' Sonny are writing big songs, they play from the heart, they have enough hooks to floor Rocky and always put on a show, this is sure to be a great night.

Sonny Marvello  - Fire Went Out, from the 100 club mini-acoustic album

Jumpers Knee - Letter to the Sun

The title suggests another ideal song for Summer Nights. Jumpers Knee are a young band that have been building up a fanbase, a collection of songs and developing their sound. I first heard of them a couple of years ago and they seem to have come on leaps and bounds by the sound of this, developing an electro element to their mod roots. With the motto 'to play live is to be alive' this could be a gig to check out. The best bit in this song is when it all slows down a couple of minutes in and takes on a funky bass groove before kicking in again.

Jumpers Knee - The Hunter

Bwani Junction - Middle Meadow

Bwani Junction hail from Edinburgh and there isn't a great deal of info about them on their myspace or facebook pages, so I can only go with what I have to listen to here. The vocals are kind of new wave, the guitar is quite inventive and melodic and there is a 'we take control, we take control' hook that ensures the song doesn't just pass by. 

Bwani Junction - Two Bridges

Aerials Up - All Your Mothers Daughters

Possibly the stand out track on this album. Everything works on this track, the vocals, lyrics, outstanding musical ability...it all combines to produce quite an epic song with strings, vocals straining with emotion. Unlike a lot of the other bands on the album I have caught Aerials Up live and I may well do so again in July.

'cause I've been talking too much in my sleep, I've been talking in my dreams'

Aerials Up - First In The Fire

Fatherson - Gonefission

Summer Nights is a 12 track album with a great range of music, as I started writing this bit for Fatherson I was going to be dismissive of the name of the band (which I don't like) and the song. However the song really developed as it went on and I've now played it 3 times. I could compare them to Idlewild in many ways - melodic guitar at times, crunchy and rocky at others, the vocals sung with a thick Scottish accent. The best bit of the song for me was the complete break at 2 minutes 10 seconds into the glorious refrain;

'there are things that I can't see, I cannot belive in fairytales'

I imagine that Fatherson would be good to see in a live environment as from the sound of this song they are clearly tight in the studio.

If you like your music loud, rocking, raw and raucous then Bronto Skylift may be the band for you. They just don't do it for me though, I'm sure they won't lose any sleep over that! That said this song has its moments, notably at 1 minute 45 when the previous racket develops into an actual hook...just not for too long. I have seen them live, amazingly in the middle of an island in a river in Inverness at GoNorth and can assure anyone interested in seeing them live that they will give it their all.

Song of Return - Trajectory
Featuring a former member of Union of Knives and the prolific Louis Abbot of Admiral Fallow, I was looking forward to listening to this track. This is an atmopsheric song that builds for over 2 minutes until the beats and synths kick in and the song flows from there. The production is top class, as are the vocals. On the evidence of this track Song of Return clearly have ambitions to create epic soundscapes with enough layers to keep you discovering new things on each listen. I think I'll check out their album.

Dead Sea Souls - My Problem 

'My Problem' is radio friendly, upbeat guitar pop. I can imagine this going down well with a lot of people. Check the video below and judge for yourself. 

Davey Horne - Last Train Home

Davey's facebook page says that he takes the best bit from Neil Young and Prince - quite a combination. From the sound of this song its definitely more of Neil Young. This is a good wee song with some brilliant Emmylou Harris style female harmonies kicking in for the last minute;

'if you love me baby you will let me go, please don't hold on too tight'
'cause you know I'm leaving, I'll be outta sight, I'll be on the last train home'

Davey Horne - Someone Like You (Adele cover)

Meursault - Crank Resolutions

Meursault are one of the most prolific independent bands in Scotland and with the backing of the Song by Toad label/blog they seem to have found a label that suits them down to the ground. Their releases have led to a growing fanbase, ever expanding tours and festival appearances. Despite being from the East Coast I expect a good crowd at this Tuts date. This is what Pitchfork had to say;

'Meursault are ambassadors of misery, self-loathing, and huge, heart-heavy choruses. Most sad bastards can generate a modicum of optimism on January 1. But onCrank Resolutions, the sadder bastards in Meursault declare, "I broke down on New Year's Day/ And I mixed my drinks/ And I lost my way," among hyperventilating electronic beats and pyrrhic victory shouts. It's enormous fun, of course, and I can't wait to see a live audience sob along to every word.'

It does start off in a miserable tone, poetic with it, just after the 1 minute 30 second mark it all changes with a beautiful picked guitar riff, then fuzzy guitar washed over everything and the vocals are relegated to the background. This could be pretty special in a love setting with the Tuts sound system. Check this footage from them playing the song at Glastonbury from 3 minutes 50 seconds in.

Seventeenth Century - Banks of Home
I've written about the strengths of Seventeenth Century a few times on this blog. They don't disappoint with this offering. Mark Farmer's vocals twist and soar as he ensures he gets the most out of every lyric. Elesewhere the trumpet lifts the song, the bass and drums lock in, the inventive guitar playing of Ryan Burns is a joy and the harmonies are perfect. It's a dark and moody offering, atmospheric in their own unique way. This is the lead track from their second EP released on Electra French Records. For a look and listen, check out the outstanding track 'Debut Dance' below.

Seventeenth Century - Debut Dance

The Ray Summers - Oh No
The album runs in order of the nights at Tuts, otherwise the tracklisting could have been a nightmare. As it is the album closes with a track by Falkirk's The Ray Summers who have been gigging at a ferocious rate for a few years around the UK and having seen them live I can assure anyone that hasn't seen them that that is where they are most at home. Taking in mod, 60's beat and ska influences, with an ear for a hook and a few songs jam packed with them, they are well worth checking out. Their album 'Russian Tearoom' is available to buy HERE. And you can watch some footage from a previous Tuts gig below.

So well played King Tuts, DF and Craig Johnstone for bringing together this fine collection of bands for a series of gigs and an album. This isn't even half of it! There are four bands on every night....too much for one blog.....check them out and you may find a new favourite band.