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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Mid Nineties Gold

Posted: September 30th, 2008, by Chris S

You Tube Gold, having something of a nostalgia-trip today but how cracking are some of these tunes?




Love this song. The guitar is so bendy. I think I saw Scarce once but unfortunately my brain is shot through like Swiss Cheese and I can’t decide if I dreamt it or not. Phil Welding swears he saw Page & Plant play the Ballroom in Nottingham and there is NO WAY that happened. Mind you, I only know I saw the Jesus Lizard because I can pick me out in the footage from TV show The Beat.




If these guys had done less speed and cider and slowed it down they’d have sounded like Neil Young. Of course that means I wouldn’t have dug them in 1993.  More from The Word in a moment…

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PORT-ROYAL – Afraid To Dance (CD, Resonant)

Posted: September 21st, 2008, by Simon Minter

A quick mention of this album as it’s been on repeat here in my work room for the past week or so now, soundtracking my exciting world of designing, writing, computer gaming and sitting blankly staring at a monitor, without ever becoming tiresome or irritating. This is very subtle, very relaxing electronic music, meandering through the ambient world in which Aphex Twin, Orbital and Underworld have left trails (obvious names to use as comparison I admit, but it’s true). The emphasis is on warm, comfortable pillows of sound – as a whole, this album is one long, shimmering glow. Good music to work to, it would seem.


LIBRARY TAPES – A Summer Beneath The Trees (CD, Make Mine Music)

Posted: September 14th, 2008, by Simon Minter

Sweden’s Library Tapes have been following a steady path for some years now; developing and experimenting around a core sound of soft, echoed piano lines and an atmosphere of loss and regret that is beautiful and, at times, heartbreakingly intimate. As with previous work, this album sounds plaintive and thoughtful, and it’s very, very quiet. Circular piano melodies build slowly, augmented with subtle string arrangements and occasional ‘real-life’ sounds of distant traffic and the hiss and pop of vinyl. In previous work, Library Tapes have sometimes been in danger of drifting off into a meander, but on A Summer Beneath The Trees the songs have more direction, more individual character across the set. ‘The Modest Triumph,’ for example, is quietly confident and positive; the fantastic, ten-minute-plus ‘…And The Rain Did Fall’ reflects on endlessly repeating notes, recalling Michael Nyman’s Greenaway film scores. This definition of character helps the album to sound warmer and more comforting than previous work, with some forays into string-led semi-ambient soundscapes suggesting a combination of the feelings engendered by Rachel’s, Godspeed! You Black Emperor and even Mike Oldfield, when glockenspiel and a distant trumpet come into play and the arrangements become more complex. It’s certainly music to create feelings.

Library Tapes
Make Mine Music

SPECTRUM MEETS CAPTAIN MEMPHIS – Indian Giver (CD, Birdman Records)

Posted: September 13th, 2008, by Simon Minter

In his post-Spacemen 3 years, Sonic Boom has followed a determined path of experimentation, releasing countless volumes of electronic music under the Spectrum and E.A.R. names, moving from the melodic Soul Kiss (Glide Divine) into more esoteric territory with collections of drones and relentlessly repetitive keyboard motifs. Indian Giver, Spectrum’s collaborative effort with Captain Memphis (aka Jim Dickinson, producer of Big Star’s Third, amongst a variety of other production work including the Replacements and Mudhoney) changes tack, being something of a collection of nods to the past. It features a variety of analogue instrumentation – upright bass, fiddles, trumpet, sax – alongside Sonic Boom’s trademark electronic shimmers, augmented here with space-rock sweeps and wooshes from Randall Nieman (Windy & Carl/Füxa). The album includes reworkings of Sonic Boom’s previous output – Spectrum’s ‘Take Your Time’, Spacemen 3’s ‘Hey Man’ and Mudhoney’s ‘When Tomorrow Hits’ (as previously covered by Spacemen 3 years ago). This, combined with Dickinson’s smoky, gruff blues vocals, create a warmer, more human sound, and one that has not been heard in Sonic Boom’s output for some time. He has always dug into the past for musical references from the blues and psychedelia, but here these influences are more transparent, less swathed in electronic experimentation, than ever before. For every soft Krautrock meditation like ‘Mary’ and ‘Take Your Time’ here, there are tracks like ‘Til Your Mainline Comes’ and ‘The Old Cow Died’ – raw, unpolished work that sounds all the better for it. The two styles merge to create songs like ‘Confederate Dead’, a wonderfully sedated take on Neu!, with added fiddle, and ‘The Lonesome Death Of Johnny Ace’, a travelling blues tale set to Duane Eddy’s twang over Kraftwerk’s synths. It’s great stuff, humanistic music combining Sonic Boom’s past loves and present interests to impressively natural-sounding ends.

Sonic Boom
Birdman Records

The Arches is in trouble

Posted: August 30th, 2008, by Stan Tontas

After a complaint about punters shagging at the Arches‘ “Burly” gay club night, the venue has been told to shut for the next 6 weeks.

Could have serious consequences for the Arches, which is 85% self financing and shows some of the most innovative work in Glasgow, including hosting the Instal festival for most / all of its time.

It’s not all bleak though, this story about an orgy in a nightclub does include a policeman saying “Lest the chief constable’s position be misinterpreted”…

ELITE BARBARIAN – It’s Only When You Get To The End That It All Makes Sense (CD, Front And Follow)

Posted: August 24th, 2008, by JGRAM

One of the strongest electronic beep records you will ever hear, the new record from Elite Barbarian achieves a certain kind of ambience ordinarily/usually harboured by the most strung out and sensitive of electronic acts without using such barbed sonics. 

Tickling like the insides of a ZX Spectrum and playing out like the soundtrack of several Atari 2600 games; over the course of 58 minutes the album takes the listener on a journey of unexplored confines electronic beats/beeps often coupled with crazed sick piano licks. 

The author of the album is Ben Page who as a member of both Rothko and Rocket No.9 is a seasoned and accomplished composer of modern ambient extracts often emerging from improvisation and instinctive desires and trajectories.

The real strength of this record is the manner in which it achieves being both relentless and relaxed at the same time, tempered and tenacious in its brute meditation.  As the atmospherics grow so does the intensity as sonic layers reminiscent of raindrops, pulses and bubbling machinery scour your consciousness almost feeling transient as it interrupts the flow of your immediate activities.

Listened to as a whole the album merges into one great body of work not strictly to be swallowed whole but to accompany any mindset or duty that requires a holding hand to assist concentration and clarity.

By the time it reaches the 16 minute climax “Let’s Go Back To Morse Code” you sense you are coming to the end of being subjected to some kind of subliminal intake and that it is actually quite possible that the beeps could well be pieced together Joe Bonham style to forge together some kind of alien message.  You’re unlikely to hear this record at parties, only funerals.

Thesaurus moment: static.

Elite Barbarian

Front And Follow

diskant rewind: White Denim

Posted: July 2nd, 2008, by Ollie

I have just realised I once did an email interview with a man who is now in one of my favourite bands. This Talentspotter dates from sometime in early 2004 I think, and Matt is now the rather eyecatching singer in household names Pissed Jeans.

Allentown, PA label White Denim has released some very fine cuts of vinyl by the likes of Nice Nice, Air Conditioning and Barnacled. Perhaps the jewel in the WD crown though, is the frankly spectacular Closet Full of Clothes comp, which features Dischorders Black Eyes, noise/puke boys Hair Police, and many more. Matt Kosloff was recently kind enough to provide the answers to the questions.

Could you start by telling us a little about how you got started, and how long you’ve been running?

I got started in the summer of 2001 with the idea of doing a label. I was always a huge fan of punk vinyl and wanted to start my own thing, basically because it seemed like such a huge source of fun and excitement. It’s all been downhill (or uphill?) from there.

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Summer catch-up: Places and events

Posted: June 30th, 2008, by Marceline Smith

Gustav Klimt, Painting Design & Modern Life in Vienna – Tate Liverpool
A showcase event in Liverpool’s City of Culture calendar is the first major exhibition of Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt ever staged in the UK.  One of the most prominent members of the Vienna Art Nouveau movement, his major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects. Klimt’s primary subject was the female body, and his works are marked by eroticism. The exhibition includes most of his major works and is presented alongside the work of the architect and designer Josef Hoffman, co founder of the Wiener Werkstatte and close friend of the artist. Hoffman’s extravagant interiors created for Klimt’s patrons compliment the gorgeous decorative paintings. If you like pretty things you will be attracted like a magpie to the work on show here. Hoffman expressed the ethos of the exhibition perfectly ‘It just isn’t enough to buy paintings. As long as our towns, our houses, our furniture, our clothes and our language and feelings do not reflect – elegantly and simply and beautifully the spirit of our own time we are living at a level far beneath that of our forefathers.’ Link [Mandy Williams]

I still love LONDON.  After the mistake that was the job on Baker Street, I now work in St John’s Wood around the corner from Abbey Road, I am continually finding new haunts and exciting things to do all across the capital. [JGram]

My House
Well, I’m certainly enjoying living in the house I bought with my other half recently. To hell with property prices spiralling all over the place; we’re happy and that’s that. [Simon Minter]

Wollaton Park, Nottingham
I have spent lots of time recently in the lovely Wollaton Park in Nottingham. A Council-owned beautiful stately home set in acres of lush meadows, lakes and with wild deer roaming free, it’s a blissful place to spend a weekday afternoon. Weekends are a bit more ice cream and screaming in summer but roll on winter when the deer are a bit more friendly and no one is around.  Photos. Also went up to sneak into Riber Castle (talking of Dead Man’s Shoes, the Shane Meadows film). [Chris Summerlin]

Any kind of open space with greenery is good enough for me these days. I hopped over to Belfast the other weekend and spent a trundling up and down the coast, which was suitably spectacular. [Dave Stockwell]

Baby McChesney
The birth of our child sometime in the next few weeks is likely to be the biggest event I’m likely to attend… well… ever.   I am excited and terrified in equal measure. [Alex McChesney]

Bangkok, Thailand
Thanks to the wonder of future scheduled posts, I can say HA HA, I’m in Thailand just now, shopping in the markets, swimming in the sea and stuffing myself with curry-filled pancakes and Mr Bun. How’s Glasgow? Is it raining? Just wondering…. [Marceline Smith]

Summer catch-up: special introductory offer

Posted: June 22nd, 2008, by Greg Kitten

Given strict instructions to write about A RECORD, A BOOK, A FILM OR DVD, A COMPUTER GAME, A FANZINE/MAGAZINE/COMIC, A TV PROGRAMME, A BAND, A PLACE OR EVENT and/or A WEBSITE, I nearly fainted from the wealth of options on the table. I knew I had to have my finger on the pulse, write about things that matter to the kids, and pull it off in a fashion that leaves me looking cool as fuck in the eyes of the reader. A role model, a deep thinker… maybe even an Idol.

So I was going to write a paragraph about A BOOK, and wax all philosophical like about the release of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the pointless focus on game balance and oversimplistic mechanics overhaul at the expense of backstory & other fluff on player races and a shift of focus away from collaborative storytelling and toward MMO style XP grinding, but fortunately for you guys, something exciting happened in my life, so you’re all spared.

Instead, I’m writing about AN EVENT, that event being my getting arrested for the first time. What can I say? Being arrested sure isn’t what it was in the old days. I always figured it’d involve handcuffs, a night in the cells, blagging a “snout” where and when I can, and an eventual court appearance, which, let’s be honest, would be a near perfect excuse for buying some clothes that look like they should be worn by a grown-up. Fortunately, I was spared this indignity, and can continue dressing like a badly informed 19 year old for the foreseeable future.

This is how it “went down”:
My band played a show last night, our first for like two years. Needless to say, it was a real return to form, what with my late arrival for soundcheck, typical tuning problems and a heaving crowd of around twelve people once all the emo kids had gone home to bed, just in time for the headline act. After the show, the spirit of rock & roll clearly pumping through my veins, I managed to obtain a small amount of the smelliest weed I have come across in years. Thing is, I don’t really smoke anymore. Rarely touch the stuff. But as I say, this night was clearly all about the power of rock, and with no groupies in sight after about 10pm, I was destined to take a ride on the Children’s Plastic Slide with A Badly Formed Snake’s Head of the “slippery slide” of the drugs world: weed.

Heading back to my illegally-parked car with a spring in my step, closely followed by despair on my face, I noticed I had acquired a new decoration on my windscreen; a bright yellow flyer advertising a band called “Fixed Penalty Notice”, with an eye-catching yellow and black logo. This was truly going to be a night to remember.

Driving home with my windows down, the breeze in my hair, and the reassuring pungent odour of cat’s piss filling my nostrils, my attention was drawn to flashing blue lights in my mirror. I pulled over to the side of the road, expecting them to just pass right by, but to my dismay, it was me they were flashing.

I was taken to the rear of my car, and told that my brake lights weren’t working. I expressed genuine surprise – I keep my car in decent order, and am always up to date with tax, MOT and insurance. It was at about this moment that I started feeling my age – policemen are usually such cliches, it must be part of their initiation or something, but this time, I was the damn cliche. I kept looking at the officer writing out my ticket, and all I could think was “god damn, you young”. It also seems he was a young man, most likely a non smoker, with a keen nose. He told me in no uncertain terms that my car did indeed smell like an elderly male lion had decided to mark it as his own, and to be perfectly honest, he was right. On being pulled over, I had cleverly removed the offending article from my pocket and placed it in the super-secret compartment known to the criminal underworld as “that bit in the door where you throw your change and sweet wrappers”.

At that moment, perhaps noticing that I was suffering a little from the cliched thoughts going through my head, the young officer decided to take the weight off my mind and run out a few for himself. As he was searching me (very thorough, though not as intimate as I was hoping), he basically told me that if I co-operated and just told him where the weed was, this would all go very smoothly for me, but if I gave him a hard time and made him actually work for it, my night was going to be over. I held out for a couple of minutes, but as soon as they requested backup in the form of a couple of female officers to search my female passengers and a gosh darn, full fledged dog unit, I decided it was probably best to come clean. I handed it over, and the dog unit and backup duly arrived to search my companions and car.

I was put in the back of the police car, and told I was being given a “Cannabis Street Caution”. Now, this was pretty impressive – I like that they throw in the word “Street” there. It makes it sound cool and edgy. But this is the confusing part – they told me I was under arrest, read my rights etc, but I was merely getting this caution. So basically, I was under arrest for about half an hour while they filled out some forms, which were delivered by yet another officer in the fourth police car of the night, which I now fondly refer to as the “Forms-mobile”. They asked me a bunch of not-very-thorough questions, and transcribed every single word of my answers. This was one of the cooler parts – I noticed they were doing this, so rather than saying “yes” every time, I mixed it up a bit to make it exciting for them. I broke out “Indeed”, “I understand” and “very much so”.

All things considered, they were actually pretty cool about the whole thing, and they completely upheld their end of the deal, which I didn’t expect. They did spell out exactly how it would have gone down had I not cooperated – night in the cells, blood test, followed by court appearance and loss of driving license. Dude even pulled my trousers up for me while he was searching me, though I did have to point out that he was the reason for them nearly falling down. A few cliches later (“Needless to say, we’re not going to give you your drugs back” and “so, this is what ‘no cannabis’ looks like”) and after being forced to sit there and listen to them chat about how they were lucky to be “back on their patch” and not have to “go back into town” (this was the only slightly unsettling part – they were vocally really pleased that they were dealing with me rather than stopping people being knifed and bottled in the town centre) and I was free to go.

Five officers, four cars, two dogs, one bag of weed. Result!

Now something about A TV SHOW – if you don’t watch LOST, you’re insane.

LOVVERS – Laughing Man (7”, Jonson Family Records)

Posted: June 3rd, 2008, by JGRAM

What was it that prompted me to fork out £3.49 for a seven inch single in this day and age?  One thing may have been the classily twisted cover art straight from the school of Raymond Pettibon displaying the vivid attitude that accompanied Big Black’s Songs About Fucking LP sleeve.  Perhaps it was the label it is released on, the wonderful Jonson Family Records who I had vague dealings with straight back to the first Stanton single released by them up to the Ten Minutemen vinyls and the Peel session(s).  Maybe it is the autographs and signatures on the back of the sleeve making it prime for Ebay!  Perhaps it is the jukebox hole in the centre.  Regardless they got my money.

Eclipsing all these elements however are the dirty sounding guitars and bouncing stride of confidence that accompanies all of the above.  With a set of influences that read straight out of my shelves/collection, here is truly one of the last remaining independent releases you will see in stores

In a time when guitars no longer whistle or scream, as inept guitar players take over the shop and make it boring, here is a house for the estranged and desperate, a tune so lumbering it actually helps to be obese to enjoy it.

The influences of this band are said to be Sub Pop grunge and I can hear that in a dirge that reminds me of the Thrown Ups and their ilk, the less conventional bands on the label during that prized era, the fallen heroes.  What the record reminds me of most are the early lo-fi punk songs of the Beastie Boys from the Some Old Bullshit compilation, an association in sound that is most welcomed.

And as a bonus you get a band member that looks like a younger version of the dad from Malcolm In The Middle.  Lovvers have everything and more!

Thesaurus moment: BBW.


Jonson Family Records