This article originally appeared in The Herald Newspaper (Scotland) on Jan 2nd, 2013.
You say you want a revolution? Well, you know … there’s one happening at King Tut’s. For the third year running, the Glasgow venue is hosting more than 50 Scottish bands over a fortnight, under the banner King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution. As with previous instalments, this year’s keystones are upcoming talent and aural diversity – from the radiant electro-pop of Miaoux Miaoux, through the hazy garage-rock of Honeyblood, to Chris Devotion and the Expectations’ rabid, hotwired rock’n’roll.
Once the preserve of quiet nights and Burns Suppers, January in Scotland got a kick up the arts when the hugely popular, and culturally vital, Celtic Connections launched in 1997, and with King Tut’s now joining the post-festive fun (while mobilising punters and offering bands a landmark stage in the venue’s down-time) we’re spoiled for choice at the start of the year.
2011’s inaugural New Year’s Revolution mini-festival included performances from indie rock voyagers Cancel The Astronauts, enchanting alt-bard Yusuf Azak and hip-hop dynamos Stanley Odd, while 2012’s re-match cast the stellar likes of electro-indie dreamboats Discopolis, alt-rock firebrands United Fruit, gorgeous pop swashbucklers Randolph’s Leap and minimalist rap deuce Hector Bizerk. The 2013 bill is similarly broad in scope and promise, and there’s a golden ticket offer where you can see all 15 shows for 30 quid, but failing such a marathon gigging feat, here are a few particular highlights.
January 4 sees combustible Glasgow four-piece Blindfolds tear through 50s trash-pop, 60s garage-rock and 70s New York (post) punk in a burl of tattoos, skeleton-masks, screaming rockabilly and b-movie imagery, while January 6 zaps us back to the future with a blinding bill of electronica. It’s headlined by ultra-pop alchemist Miaoux Miaoux whose second album, Light of the North (Chemikal Underground) was one of last year’s stand-outs. Miaoux Miaoux is joined by masked machine-vanquishers Roman Nose – one suspects that Grandpanda, Bullet Beard and Young Cheteen are not their birth names – and self-professed “power-sleaze duo” Organs of Love. Comprising synth pop odyssean James McKinven (Berlin Blondes, Altered Images, One Dove) and performance artist / vocalist Alicia Matthews, Organs of Love have issued deep electro-sex epics on Optimo and recent Glasgow underground compilation, Some Songs Side-By-Side.
Similarly thrilling are scuzz-pop grrrls Honeyblood (pictured), who lead the King Tut’s charge on January 10. The Glasgow-based garage-rock duo released their debut EP, Thrift Shop, last year via Glasgow DIY cassette label Cath Records (run by loveable alt-rock tearaways PAWS), and an ace new single, Biro, is forthcoming. Variously evocative of The Breeders, Throwing Muses and Sleigh Bells (with whom they’ve toured), and with a dreamy photo-booth aesthetic that’s reminiscent of Strawberry Switchblade, Honeyblood fuse dreamy melodies and vocals with tumultuous fuzz-riffs and barb-wired lyrics, as evinced on the awesome Super Rat: “I will hate you forever, scumbag, sleaze … you really do disgust me,” they sing. Hear them roar.
Fans of the rock and the roll and the noise should stage a stampede on January 11 as Tut’s, fittingly, turns it up to eleven. The raucous bill is headed-up by punk-strutting riff demons Chris Devotion and the Expectations, who released their incendiary debut album, Amalgamation and Capital (Armellodie) last year, and they’re joined by vociferous post-punk / grunge reprobates Black International and wry, high-velocity rockers Fat Goth – a riotous Dundee triumvirate who unleash their delirious second album Stud (Hefty Dafty) at the end of the month.
Melodic rockers Fatherson continue to reap “next big thing” praise and they join the Revolution line-up armed with a full brass and string section (and a strong support in singer-songwriter Michael Cassidy) on January 16. And there’s plenty more: Campfires In Winter bring their swoon inducing alt-folk to a bill with chamber pop troupe Kitty The Lion on January 7, Anderson McGinty Webster Ward and Fisher bring the long names and folk-rock on January 12, Michael Edgar promises classic Americana on January 13, psych-blues gets a look in thanks to Haight-Ashbury on January 14, and there’s even talk of a hip-hop fringe uprising via Glasgow’s Loosely Speaking posse.
January’s days will be dark and cold, but with bright home-grown pop like this, the Revolution nights are gonna be all right.
King Tut’s New Year’s Revolution 2013 runs from Jan 3 until Jan 17. For more info, full line-up and tickets, click here.
Related articles: Miaoux Miaoux interview (The Herald, June 2012)