diskant is an independent music community based in Glasgow, Scotland and we have a whole team of people from all over the UK and beyond writing about independent music and culture, from interviews with new and established bands and labels to record and fanzine reviews and articles on art, festivals and politics. There's over ten years of content here so dig in!

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DAN DEACON – Spiderman of the Rings (CD/LP, Carpark Records)

Posted: June 9th, 2007, by Alasdair R

Hello people. I haven’t reviewed anything in a while but I have been taking a break from reality and hiding from the real world. In other words I have been watching far too much TV and trying my hardest not to think too much, if at all.

In one of my more lucid moments I agreed to help Marceline by sorting through the CDs that come through the diskant door. In doing so I am exposed to some appalling artwork and press releases but I also get to pick out stuff that looks interesting. Dan Deacon’s Spiderman of the Rings was one such find and I am hugely glad it caught my eye.

It is brilliant. I put it on expecting mildly pretentious, but potentially entertaining, sample heavy electro-noodling only to be entirely blown away. This is great fun mutant cartoon electric funk rock with fantastic tunes. If I realised reality could sound this good I would not have stayed away so long.

Dan Deacon’s website
Carpark Records’ website

PATRICK WOLF – Accident & Emergency (loog)

Posted: October 17th, 2006, by Alasdair R

I’ve put off posting about this song for a while because I’m not sure if I can really capture in words how much I enjoy it. If you haven’t heard of Patrick Wolf yet he is a (seemingly) sweet natured young guy from London who makes great pop music from a wealth of instruments and machines. His last two albums were masterful pieces of work that showcased a truly individual spirit alongside a great talent for rich and textured song writing. Patrick can oscillate between acoustic and electric with ease while his singing surprises at every turn.

“Accident & Emergency” is a beat-boxing, casio explosion of a folk-disco record. Drum machines make surprisingly easy bedfellows of accordions and siren samples punctuate the call of Wolf’s growling vocals. It is damn near perfect and it is out on Monday the 23 of October.

myspace – www.myspace.com/officialpatrickwolf
his own site – www.patrickwolf.com
youtube – Patrick Wolf ‘Accident & Emergency’ video
loog – www.loogrecords.co.uk

POPUP – Lucy, What You Trying To Say (art/goes/pop)

Posted: October 6th, 2006, by Alasdair R

I heard some positive whispers about this band a while back but being the casual music fan that I am I didn’t take notice and I didn’t check them out. I now fully regret that lack of commitment as, on the basis of “Lucy, What You Trying To Say”, Popup are now my new favourite band.

The story of Lucy, a slightly shy girl on a night out on her own, is touching, warm and funny. In a does-what-it-says-on-tin kind of way, Popup have delivered a great fun, up beat pop song. Their vocals shine with personality, guitars gleefully deliver exuberant hooks and the drums boast beats that wouldn’t be out of place on a Beyonce CD.

I particularly enjoy that the Scottish brogue of lead singer Damien Gilhooley reminds me slightly of The Proclaimers and not at all of River City. This a good thing.


MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE – Welcome To The Black Parade (Reprise records)

Posted: October 6th, 2006, by Alasdair R

I love this track. I’ve been playing on repeat on my ipod for the last couple of weeks and it almost makes me cry each time. I’m not sure if that makes me a bit ’emo’ but as I haven’t bought any nail polish yet, I think I’m safe for now.

If you haven’t heard it is MCR’s defining song: it is the song they’ve been trying to record right from when they started. It has broken world records for the number of tracks that were ‘laid down’ for it, there is everything from a marching band to a school choir in the mix. Something about it all reminds of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and that can never be a bad thing in my book. It is a big theatrical monument of a record that is a beautiful meeting of style and substance and I think it is brilliant.

I sound like a right fan-girl but nevermind.


Envy & Other Sins – Prodigal Son (Loog Records)

Posted: March 18th, 2006, by Alasdair R

This wee single was has suffered the classic diskant delay of indescision. It languished for a while whilst the robots that rule us wondered who to give it to for reviewing. I left it alone for a while too, mainly because I’m just lazy like that.

So, sorry for the delay guys but this track is a grower and has taken time to reveal itself. (If more than just two versions of the same track were included perhaps I may have reviewed sooner?) “Prodigal Son” is a fine mixture of sparky guitars, poised vocals and measured drumming. While not great, it only misses the mark by sounding too perfect. There isn’t a point where the whole song could come crashing down around itself and propel the listener to jump, cry, dance or gin. In other words it doesn’t quite have enough grit or soul to really take hold.

Envy & Other Sins look and sound like a band that really knows its stuff and I’m sure they will be capable of much more very soon. “Prodigal Son” is good fun and well worth a listen at least.

Envy & Other Sins
Envy & Other Sins on myspace
Loog Records

BATTANT – Jump Up EP (self released)

Posted: February 12th, 2006, by Alasdair R

I went to see Adult play Glasgow’s ABC last night and I was quite taken by the support band, Battant. For the same reason Marceline keeps telling me to stop listening to the likes of Interpol and get into Joy Divison instead, I am half sure Battant will be turn out to be fairly derivative of someone or other. While I’m listening in ignorance I have to say I fairly enjoyed their set and this, what I believe to be a self published EP I bought after the gig.

While on stage I noticed that I was mainly liking the songs they introduced their new ones. My favourite being ‘Jump Up’, the first track on this EP. It is an acid sharp heavy electric number with disaffected noisy vocals from singer Chloe Raunet. To be honest I can’t really make out what she is singing about but unusually for me that doesn’t matter here.

There is something enjoyably awkward about Battant. Despite the cut glass electronica, or perhaps because of it, there is a solemn, scratchy texture that intrigues and entertains. Battant make music that is dark, sinister and easy to get swept away with.


NEON PLASTIX – Prick Tease / Neon Invasion (Blow Up)

Posted: February 12th, 2006, by Alasdair R

This is pretty dumb. But in a good way.

On this, their debut double A-side single, Neon Plastix make what is in many ways modern indie pop by numbers. Slightly affected posh vocal? Check. Angular guitars? Check. Nifty electro-synths? Absolutely. Dance floor influenced drum sounds? Of course. Any good? I think so.

Ok, even if they do sound a little like The Killers, The Faint, Franz Ferdinand and others, they have found a neat line in choruses and base lines. Neon Plastix are one of many bands that we’ll no doubt see this year making sparky electro pop despite hipsters proclaiming the death of ‘electro-clash’.

If they keep coming up with stuff as fun as ‘Prick Tease’ the Neon Plastix could add up to being a band to be reckoned with.

The Neon Plastix
BlowUp Records

YSN – More (Wrath Records)

Posted: February 3rd, 2006, by Alasdair R

I have never been to Leeds, and until recently I had no desire to. I worked with a guy from Leeds and I could hardly understand a word he said. I had to nod in agreement whenever he paused after asking ‘innit?’. I’ve heard good things about the city: a busy arts scene, half decent shops, and nice buildings. I hadn’t heard much about its music scene though but if YSN are anything to go by, I may have been missing out.

YSN do many things I enjoy: on first hearing forthcoming single ‘More’ my heart skipped I was so excited.

They are camp in the best possible way – witty, articulate, sharp and sexy. ‘More’ has a timeless retro-futurism, it sounds like it could have been made by robots from a future that people used to dream about in the 70s. It boasts sophisticated synths and arch guitar hooks alongside wonderfully theatrical vocals and tight song writing. On b-side ‘At The Club’ the vocals take center stage as the boys come over like a barber shop quartet gone bad performing to a half empty candle lit cabaret club.

YSN display more than enough wit and charm to convince me that Leeds could be easily be filled with articulate and well dressed gentlemen, frequenting once decadent, but still alluring, back street gin joints.

The single is out on the 13th of February and are touring the UK throughout the month. I think I may be exploring Leeds in March.

YSN at myspace
YSN’s Website

BUILD BUILDINGS – there is a problem with my tape recorder (self released)

Posted: January 4th, 2006, by Alasdair R

Build Buildings, a.k.a. Brooklyn based Ben Tweel, is a master of subtlety: “there is a problem with my tape recorder” is a strong collection of minimal electronica that is crafted with care, warmth and precision.

Tweel provides the listener with a seemingly limitless assortment of beats and samples, each delicately and purposely placed to build tensions and melodies that slowly slide under the radar of the listener.

There is a feeling of familiarity throughout; Tweel has produced something that is imaginative, playful and rooted in the every day. Sampled clicks, hums and whirrs from the gadget and button filled world around us meet sparingly used acoustic strings, percussion and piano. I imagine at times his music sounds like what a fax machine might sound like if it tried to serenade a photocopier with a harp.

Even at loud volumes, “there is a problem with my tape recorder” will always seem quiet, which is no bad thing. Sounds from outside of the music rub alongside the music with ease – beats mix with the hum of traffic or shop lights elegantly. I even found that at times that I had forgotten that I was listening to music and had become half convinced that my life had always been soundtracked so perfectly by Build Buildings.

CANNONBALL JANE – Street Vernacular (Fortuna Pop! Records)

Posted: January 4th, 2006, by Alasdair R

Imagine a world in which drum machines are made from bubble gum and the best guitars are kitted from fuzzy pink wool. In such a world Debbie Harry or Vivienne Westwood would rule the earth and Cannonball Jane would be on the radio 24/7.

Street Vernacular is bright pink bundle of New York flavoured lo-fi pop. It rocks, bubbles and shimmers in all the right places, showcasing Cannonball Jane’s warmth and humour. While the album is a perfect soundtrack to daydreams and wistful gazes, it is cute without being cloying. With a mixture of home-taped samples, Abba-esque keyboards, fuzzy guitars, and future disco drum machine patterns it is adventurous, exhilarating and above all really good fun.

Cannonball Jane
Fortuna Pop!