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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LOW SPARKS – Out Here In The Woods EP

Posted: March 21st, 2006, by Tom Leins

‘Out Here In The Woods’ is the refreshingly-odd new EP from London-based Low Sparks. Hipster-baiting opening track ‘She Was Always Cool’ is a cracking song that splices together Beck-style slacker-pop with British Sea Power-esque rural cheeriness before dragging you down the garden-path for some grin-inducing jazz-rock lunacy! Elsewhere their “stark English indie” claims are more-than backed-up with a jittery, literary mix of The Kinks and The Libertines. With so many new London bands convinced that faux-urban-deprivation somehow makes for great pop, Low Sparks are more than happy to trade-in over-familiar tales of council estates and smog for treehouses, fresh air and interesting tunes! A quirky, low-key delight.



Posted: March 7th, 2006, by Tom Leins

London trio Olympus Mons have been together for just over a year, and have already attracted plenty of attention after supporting The Pete Doherty Drug Circus (aka Babyshambles) on tour last autumn. Fortunately, their own music has little in common with Babyshambles’ half-baked dirge. Olympus Mons play geeky art-pop or arty geek-pop – depending on which way you look at it. Either way, it’s ace. Stand-out tracks ‘Circles’ and ‘Follow You Down’ manage to blend the Buzzcocks and Bloc Party to great effect, whilst other songs add hints of Pavement and The Cure. Two parts edgy to one part catchy. Top stuff.

THE WOODSMEN – Only Man In Heaven Wearing Black

Posted: February 23rd, 2006, by Tom Leins

Look who i’ve just found lurking in the woods after dark…

Brighton’s newest strange children The Woodsmen “are here for your souls, or whatever else you got”. Their first offering – ‘Only Man In Heaven Wearing Black’ sounds like Nick Cave challenging The Pogues to a knife-fight at a barn-dance, and is creepy enough to unnerve a carny.

The music rests its sweaty head at a grubby halfway-house somewhere between folk and rockabilly, but pitch-black rock ‘n’ roll blood still bubbles in their veins.

Their single – purportedly recorded on equipment half-inched from Pinewood Studios and haunted by the death rattle of Vincent Price and Peter Cushing! – is available for whiskey or hard cash.

Gawp at them at: www.thewoodsmen.co.uk


Posted: September 27th, 2005, by Tom Leins

Parisienne/Mancunian 4-piece The Clerks offer up 5 self-assured slices of fizzy, fuzzy pop on their new demo. It’s a lo-fi blend of Factory cool and Gallic insousiance as befitting their origins. They’ve played with Mercury Rev in the past, but their own sound is essentially a low-budget blend of bubblegum pop and drone-rock.
Best tracks: ‘The Dissidents” narcotic groove is The Velvets-as-remixed-by-Beck; ‘Get Off Stage’ is slurred cowboy angel blues like the Dandy Warhols after a nervous breakdown. Good stuff.

“They are so very proud of their music it’s almost indecent.”
So they should be.


CATNAP – Have You Seen Larry? (Self-Released)

Posted: September 27th, 2005, by Tom Leins

“Catnap was conceived sometime in early 2003 in Zone 5, North London, and was delivered to the world a year later in Brighton – where all its members currently reside.”

Now Catnap have been thrust, kicking and screaming into the big, wide world, what do they sound like?
This is woozy, talkative Sonic Youth-derived pop – at once dark ‘n’ twisted and bubbling ‘n’ playful.
My favourite track is: (deep breath) ‘One Day We Will Grow So Tall That Your Institutions Crumble Beneath Our Feet Like The Spineless Pests They Are'(phew)- which, slightly bizarrely sounds like my old favourites Urusei Yatsura.

“Catnap is still a child, but it is growing up”.
Heaven help us when they discover alcopops, bostik and underage sex…

If you’d like to be part of their grubby, freaky little art-rock riot check out www.catnapmusic.co.uk

I AM ZEITGEIST – 4 Track Promo

Posted: August 23rd, 2005, by Tom Leins

Apparently, the 250th issue of I-d magazine declared the suitably-named I Am Zeitgeist to be one of the 250 hottest new bands/artists/filmmakers/fashionistas of the moment – which, i suppose, is highly plausible. They say they make “music to make your head nod and your feet tap”. I say: a noisy, slightly messy love-in between Kurt Cobain and Steven Malkmus. Their peculiar art-pop strut contains Pavement wooze and Nirvana drawl among other elements – all shot through a darkly-cheeky post-Britpop filter. It’s too early to say whether or not they’re genuine contenders, but they’re an interesting band, who, thankfully sound nothing like the increasingly-tiresome angular punk-funk/skag-fuelled yob-pop musical zeitgeist. Wait and see.


CAYTO – Stupendium! EP (Rictus Record)

Posted: July 25th, 2005, by Tom Leins

On the basis of this new EP (recorded with Aerogramme/Arab Strap/Franz comrade Geoff Allan), Glasgow’s Cayto truly are a band of two halves. The title track is queasy prog-fuelled indie-pop that offers a very brief nod in Muse’s direction; and ‘Lost Property’ treads a similar, if more schizoid/menacing path. Interesting, if a tad bizarre, but not really my cup of tea. Their tender flipside, on the other hand, is far more palatable to my slightly-morose tastes! ‘The Thread of Forever’ is a beautifully-gloomy slo-burner that wouldn’t sound out of place on Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’. Closing track ‘The Splitting Up Song’ is nearly as good – a sombre piano ballad with touches of Hope of the States in its soggy grandeur. Cracking stuff. For the uninitiated/downright curious amongst you, the EP is available through the band’s own Rictus Records from September 5th. Where they go next is anyone’s guess.



Posted: July 25th, 2005, by Tom Leins

No Hope Astronaut are new kids on the alt.rock block – “four lost souls” from Kingston-Upon-Thames who create music for “the disconnected, the isolated and the disaffected”. They’ve been lumbered with the slightly confused/confusing sobriquet ‘the pioneers of alternacore’, and this dubious tag highlights their conflicting influences. Caught between a(n edgy, indie-)rock and a (twitchy alt.metal) hard place, No Hope Astronaut may well prove to be ‘too metal’ for the indie kids and ‘too indie’ for the metalheads. Only time will tell. Anyway – a good solid demo with some nice touches of early KoRn and Deftones in the dynamics; but let’s hope they’ve got a few more bruising tricks up their sleeves to set them apart from the rest of the Kerrang-fodder.


DETWIIJE – Would you rather be followed by forty ducks for the rest of your life? (Gizeh)

Posted: July 10th, 2005, by Tom Leins

In sharp contrast to the intense-yet-ponderous 15 minute noise-epics Detwiije are prone to crafting, i’ll keep this brief: on ‘Would you rather …’ Detwiije have cultivated an impressive bittersweet post-rock cacophony – an album easily capable of setting Mogwai quaking in their ‘blur:are shite’ t-shirts.



Posted: June 28th, 2005, by Tom Leins

The Black Tulips would have us believe that they are the latest in a long-line of intelligent English art-pop bands that includes The Beatles, The Kinks, Roxy Music, The Smiths and Suede. However, if you’re expecting a bland, limp-wristed fop-pop jangle then you’ve got another think coming. In actual fact, The Tulips play rabid dosshouse disco that tramples the not-so-thin line between unhinged and erm, hinged. The vocals (courtesy of Alexandra- “Eloquent and vulgar, wild and shy; often to be found taking tea.”) are totally diseased and sound like nothing i’ve ever heard. ‘Just Keep Coming’ is a feral garage/blues stomp, ‘I Don’t Want You’ is propulsive disco-punk that sounds a bit like Franz Ferdinand after a sex-change operation gone-wrong and ‘Sad Sally’ is primal-sounding Bowie fuzz-rock. Scary, but definitely in a good way.