The CD arrived about a week and a half ago and the postmark confirms that you are indeed based in Bristol. That might partially account for my having missed this release altogether. I don’t usually need a best of list to find music I like but there you were on Jockrock’s top 40. How did I miss a number a 3? Was there any noticeable uptick in sales? Have you ever discovered a band or artist in this fashion?
Definitely sold a few more because of review and press in Scotland. There were plenty of artists on top 40 lists I hadn’t heard before and then listened to after I read them.
Blogging from afar, I’ve likely developed an overly romanticized view of the Scottish music scene. Is there a tangible difference between the local scene in Bristol and that of Glasgow?
“A bit. Tangible… in that there are more outdoor gigs in the summer because the weather is a bit better in Bristol. They both have good music scenes. Good in different ways. Glasgow’s is probably a lot bigger with more acts and great musical heritage… Bristol’s is probably more diverse in terms of genres having their own scenes. Loads of touring acts come to Bristol so you can see most acts that tour… same with Glasgow. Almost every wee town and village round the South West has some form of festival during the summer. I think that’s more down to the weather again.”
What’s the last Scottish act you’ve caught in Bristol?
“I supported Rachel Sermanni at the Thekla last october. She was great. I also went to see Twilight Sad at the Louisiana on their last tour (in fact, I’ve seen them every time they have played here since I’ve lived here… 4 or 5 times.) Supporting R.M. Hubbert, Admiral Fallow and Malcolm Middleton were all great nights as well.”
Even though we technically won’t feature them, do you have any local musical discoveries that you have made that you’d like to share?
“Bristol acts – Poor Old Dogs, Scarlett Rascal, Locks, Minke Whales, I Am Horse, Clayton Blizzard, Gaz Brookfield, Chris Webb, Yes Rebels, Beau Ties and a band called The Bad Joke That Ended Well. There’s whole load of decent bands who look like they are going to do well. Idles, Velcro Hooks, St Pierre Snake Invasion. You can find some of them on youtube.”
I had not heard of Odeon Beat Club until I did a little research and I was immediately taken with ‘Being Realistic’. I couldn’t track down an actual CD, but I did find a digital copy of the record on Amazon. Are there any other Scottish bands from the ‘noughties’ that we probably overlooked and should investigate?
“Viva Stereo, Uncle John and Whitelock, Popup, Sneak Attack Tigers.”
The opening track of the new record kicks off with, to my ears at least, a Sons and Daughters like vibe underscoring the notion that this release, unlike the last one, seems to strive for a fuller band sound. I’ve noticed a few blogs saying just how much it has ‘upped the game’. Do you think you’ve found a proper balance as a solo artist as opposed to being in a full time band?
“Nearly. I probably should do more band gigs. I’ve been rehearsing with the band and we did a few gigs at xmas. We will do more ….but probably not as a week in week out gigging band. I can (and often do) play every night of the week on my own and I like that. If a gigs rubbish there will be another along in a couple of nights.”
The track ‘A Lonely Tourist’ is especially infectious. “The trappings of youth are mostly gone, I’ve got vinyl collection to remind of where it’s gone”. Is your collection still intact or is the lyric merely an apt metaphor for the subject of the song?
“Haha…it is a metaphor but… my vinyl is sitting in my mums loft like a time capsule. Still intact. I didn’t sell anything. A few more dodgy Riot Grrrl and Indie Dance singles than anyone needs. I only stopped buying vinyl around 1998. But I’ve also got some good stuff. A picture disc copy of The Holy Bible by The Manic Street Preachers …say what you you like about what The Manics turned into later…. but that album is amazing. I’ve got a vinyl copy of Peng by Stereolab that I think is rare-ish. I tried to get it on CD and there aren’t many around. A Captain America 12′ that I played to death when I first got it. Then again, I’ve also got a copy of Star Fleet by Brian May. (I was only 13 when I bought it… so leave me alone!).”
While digging further, I noticed that OBC once played a show with Cooper Temple Clause. I had the ‘misfortune’ of seeing them live once. While I rather enjoyed their albums, the live effort was almost comical and I left after the 3rd song. Fortunately I discovered the opening act Calla. I can’t help imagining that a few people had a similar experience with your show. What opening acts have you ‘discovered’?
“I saw a Canadian act called Basia Bulat supporting Johnny Flynn. She was great (possibly better than the headliner). Honky Finger supporting Jim Jones Revue were the loudest thing I’d ever seen ever until Jim Jones played. They were louder.”
The closer ‘Viking Jazz’, an instrumental piece, that you yourself describe as “Mogwai type noise”. I can’t argue with the description. Can you share any thoughts about the musical direction for the next release?
“I don’t quite know yet. I’m trying to write and demo everything and see what is taking form – possibily less acoustic guitar and more noise.”
I imagine there is a bit of interest back in Scotland to have you do some shows there? Any plans to do so?
“Yes. I will sort some gigs in Scotland soon… Possibly a festival too if it comes off. Open to offers as ever.”
Since sending these I realized that I had, in fact, mentally tucked away the first Lonely Tourist record planning to revisit it later. The problem with mental notes is pretty obvious, but I’m not sure why I originally felt the need to suspend judgment until later. Much of it has to do with my evident preference for full bands as opposed to singer song writers. I’d strongly suggest you get this as well. It is nicely priced and contains this gem Patron Saint Procrastinate. And as for the Manics, I maintain that ‘Life Blood’ is a nearly perfect musical inversion. Give me it over ‘Send Away the Tigers’ – the supposed comeback record – any day.