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Margaret Glaspy, CCA, Glasgow

Catching New York's Margaret Glaspy at Glasgow's Stereo last winter was a treat. Expectations were set at default, although word was that something good was to occur, and the general consensus following the performance was "Whoa!" with a complimenting 9/10 review. Upon return to this fine city, noting that this may be one of my last ever gigs here and with expectations heightened from the previous triumph, how would Round Two be with such "high stakes"? 

Set in a room with an air of sophistication, the start of the set missed both the endearing and emphatic characteristics of the previous show, but then things kicked into gear. With Glaspy pausing to explain the importance of a particular cover, one of several included, that feel of community was reignited and the crowd seemed to settle into the show's atmosphere. 

Tracks from last year's Emotions and Math and covers built the set in tandem as Glaspy seamlessly switched between her own tracks and those borrowed without a slip in precision or the audience's captivation. If you have to hear one track, the cover of Lauryn Hill's 'Ex-Factor' was as poignant as always as simply a vocal and a guitar weave some magic. 

That debut record lacked some kick in recorded form, something that Glaspy's vocal and distorted guitar brings in the live setting. Upon debuting some new tracks, that oomph is cranked up further and catalysed by some potent material. Powered by romantic discontent, the cuts of new material leave the hype for Album Two high as crooning and guitars crash with great effect. 

Understated on record, Glaspy cannot be overstated on a stage. Deceptively timid at first, she and her colleagues settle into their groove and provide an exquisite live music performance every time. Where musicianship meets simple humanity is where the enjoyment of this wonderful artist blossoms. 

CHUCK - Frankenstein Songs For The Grocery Store

A parting gift from Charles Griffin Gibson, Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store is his final release as CHUCK, and a charming farewell it is.

Opting not to flip the table or reinvent the wheel on this record, all 15 tracks possess a touch of lo-fi and twee as Gibson's candid lyrics narrate DIY soundscapes. Like extended and produced vocal recordings, the tracks give snapshots into the life and / or imagination of the writer as they're spoken softly in your ear. The minimal and almost discordant nature of the music won't be to everyone's tastes, but the sincerity is endearing even is the guitar playing isn't virtuoso. 

'Bodies (Studio)' is an acoustic ballad, 'Hudson' is a wavering instrumental, 'Bulldog [Interlude]' is just that, and 'Meow' is a jangling indie rock number. Then 'Oceans (Electric)' drones and 'Caroline' yearns, each track possesses a unique identity and the record jumps from gear to gear as you traverses each of these in turn. Described as a "bedroom musician" this mish-mash of tracks makes sense, although there's no doubting CHUCK could be something clean and coherent if that's the intention. 

Fun to listen to in full or in parts, Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store is a fitting closing fanfare for CHUCK as it showcases a variety of influences and styles, wrapping up the story in a comprehensive way. Whilst this is the last of this moniker, hopefully the mind of Gibson will dabble in music again soon. 

Frankenstein Songs for the Grocery Store is available now from iTunes and Amazon

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