Glasgow Showcase, In The City, Manchester,
September 30th ****
The bands selected to represent Glasgow's musical future at the prestigious music biz bunfight had a weight of responsibility placed on them, but all acquitted themselves admirably. Josephine jangled with the venom of punk rock at its best but played it cool too, replacing bass for flute in a quieter interlude - with a current guitar-pop revival, these Steve Lamacq favourites are surely going places.
Lapsus Linguae defied categorisation; a hybrid of classical piano and glam-metal riffs (and looks). Their chaotic live performance spilled off the stage, frightening the more staid representatives of the record industry.
Pariah were an ocean of calm after all this frantic activity - this 5-piece used swirling synths and choral effects to produce a moody soundscape bringing a spooky, almost chilling feel to this sweaty basement club and earning the band a deserved ovation.
On the performance of all three bands, the future of Scottish music is in good hands.
My Legendary Girlfriend, 13th Note Cafe, 17th October ****
Pop music done with style is rare these days, but My Legendary Girlfriend have plenty - impeccably dressed, their live show is classy, even boasting a music quiz interlude. Content is important too and they have loads - boy-girl vocals, swaggering chorus-heavy tunes and lyrics ranging from the wry - Metal Kidz - to the cutting politic of No 'us' In US. When it comes to a question of pop, MLG have all the answers.
Aberdeen Lava, 9th November *****
Less a collection of tunes and more a medley that shifted pace and crashed through the boundaries we use to define pop music, Bendy Toy, for an electronic one man band, provided a formidable live set. Stephen Evans, with only banks of electronic hardware between himself and audience, made for a compelling live show, given his act was completely speech-free. Samples from diverse and bizarre sources peppered his songs, themselves more challenging yet as commercial as Fat Boy Slim or the Chemical Brothers. A remarkable live act, with even more awaiting us on record.
Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh October 4th ****
For a band who namecheck Mogwai there was little in their set to suggest the brooding sweeping noisescape we might have expected, but Sputniks' admittedly all-instrumental set wasn't lacking in colour. Fast-moving trip-hop beats and scratchy samples, culminating in an epic Pixelated, suggested their new 'Much Was Decided...' album may establish a whole new musical genre.
The Boy Cartographer,
13th Note Cafe, Glasgow, 8th November *****
With one of the leading lights of American alt.rock, Will Oldham, also in town, there was a gratifyingly decent crowd for one of Glasgow's leading exponents of the genre. Drawing their feel from the likes of slow-core luminaries such as Codeine or Rex, The Boy Cartographer take a whole new slant on the genre, with tunes complex yet catchy, not least with Scottish accents prominent in their nicely harmonised vocals. Tight too; from the moody swing of 'Threnody' to the jangle of 'Sketch', they're a band who are going places.
Some of these reviews originally appeared in the Sunday Mail. Though not all of them. The bastards.