Top Five Friday – Ryan Drever, No Island

February 17, 2012

Who? Ryan Drever, No Island

Top five…bassists

1. Joe Lally, Fugazi

It took me so long to like Fugazi. Having been immersed in the poppier ‘punk’ environment of the early 00s, I found their music to be slow-burning, complex and difficult to absorb. But as I persevered, these were the things I grew to love about them. When I finally ‘got it’, I really fucking got it, and of all the things I love about that band, Joe Lally’s bass playing is easily in the upper echelons. His playing would incorporate elements of funk, reggae and dub, while sounding as aggressive and earth-shatteringly loud as anything else that spewed forth from the 80s hardcore scene. A slick, dedicated and dynamic player, Joe Lally has been one of the biggest influences on me as a bass player and is one of few four-stringers whose lines get stuck in my head more than the vocals.

2. Mike Watt, Minutemen/Stooges/countless others

Mike Watt’s ethics and punk rock philosophy in regards to how to make a band work has had a huge effect on me. Notoriously excitable and generally just a bit of a dude, his playing was, and still is, wild, diverse and incredibly ambitious. In the Minutemen and fIREHOSE, Watt subverted the usual punk rock approach to bass playing, informed by his love for jazz, soul and Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was the one area where he was never economical and has never compromised on. Now in his 50s and still playing for any fucker that’ll have him on stage (a mammoth list which includes the fucking Stooges), he deserves some heavy respect!

3. Steve Harris, Iron Maiden

Whatever you think of Iron Maiden, I will flat out try you for blasphemy if you tell me he’s a shit bass player. Influenced by copious amounts of hard rock and prog throughout the 70s, Harris’s style was punchy yet technical, snarling yet melodic and he even pioneered the infamous ‘gallop’ which formed the backbone for metal’s almighty boom throughout the 80s. The master gunner of the main stage, and single-handed creator of one of the biggest musical empires in history, Steve Harris is of a dying breed of musical stalwarts whose style is still being ripped off something fierce to this day.

4. Geddy Lee, Rush

Again, Rush are a band who have churned out their fair share of, let’s say, ‘divisive’ material over their near 40 years together. But scrape away the 80s synth rock disasters and you’ll still be left with a back catalogue so fucking huge, dense and mindblowingly inventive that you can surely forgive a few ill decisions. I grew up hearing them blasted on every school run, every drive by the beach (in Orkney I might add) and after I got past his voice, I found myself focusing on Geddy Lee’s bass playing. Every member of Rush is a certified musical freak. Neil Peart’s 4000 piece drumkit that he abuses at every second, Alex Lifeson’s extraterrestrial leads… it’s all good but the frantic pops, gruelling melodic runs and franky baffling one-fingered proficiency of Lee’s playing is the cornerstone of one of the most intelligent and boundary-pushing groups of our time. Plus, he always looks so happy – how can you not dig it?

5. Les Claypool, Primus

Les Claypool is one of few technically freakish bass players who doesn’t just spend all his seconds wanking on you with his low end steez. Famously failing his audition with Metallica because he was ‘too good’, Claypool’s music – with Primus and otherwise – utilises bizarre themes, stories and characters, and always pairs itself with unsettling and sometimes even disgusting imagery. It’s something he’s fully committed to but by employing every rhythmic trick and machine-gun-like slap in his arsenal, he can turn stoned, half-cocked jams into pieces of intense musical mastery. Insane, unlistenable at times but always pounds your brain to mush. Check out ‘Lacquer Head’ or ‘My Name is Mud’. Crazy bastard.

Honorary mentions to Dee Dee Ramone (Ramones), Chuck Dukowski (Black Flag) and countless others.

No Island play a The Daily Dose presents… gig at Stereo, Glasgow on 5 March alongside Carnivores, The Darien Venture and Cuddly Shark, with proceeds going towards Action For Children. Get tickets here.

Top Five Friday – Richy Muirhead

February 3, 2012

Who? Richy Muirhead, founder of the Scottish Alternative Music Awards

Top five…songs that inspire me

“Here are a list of some tracks that inspire me. They are completely memorable, and not Scottish.

Stardust – Music Sounds Better With You

Every time I hear this track I just feel relaxed. It might be old in some people’s ears (1998), but it has inspired so many musicians in terms of the sound they create, and the simplicity of how music can be created. This track is an anthem – crank it up and get stuck in about it!

Dead Man’s Bones – Pa Pa Power

You maybe haven’t heard of Dead Man’s Bones? But you’ve probably heard of Ryan Gosling, yeah? Well, this is his band. I completely adore this track. This song completely chills me out and makes me relax. You should try it, beautiful effort.

M83 – Midnight City

Again this track is completely euphoric and sounds massive. The saxophone licks at 3.05 are untouchable and uncontrollable. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this record. If you don’t feel the energy I honestly think there is something wrong with you!

Slipknot – Wait And Bleed

This song has stuck with me ever since I was 13. It’s raw, yet well structured, and completely abusive. I used to, and still am, a massive Slipknot fan (fuck the haters!). They are one of the best live bands in world. I want to book them before I die (P.S How incredible would that be?) I can’t actually sit straight and listen to this song, and not many songs have effect. The outro is incredible too. Respect, and RIP Paul Gray #2!

Sigur Ros – Svefn-g-englar

Sigur Ros are one in a million. Words can’t describe this. I honestly cannot describe the term beautiful, so I’ll let the music do the talking and I hope you all agree and understand where I’m coming from. Listen to this song – relax, be blessed and enjoy the sound. Everything will be okay.

To conclude – this is only five songs that make me feel inspired and give me the buzz to pursue my future. Perhaps this energy will feed onto you – I really hope so.

Keep up to date with me on Twitter @richymuirhead or follow my business @OfficialSAMA.”

Top Five Friday – So Many Animal Calls

January 20, 2012

Who? Ross Stewart, So Many Animal Calls

Top five…songs that make me want to pick up the guitar

“The vast majority of guitarists I’ve ever come across seem to love really fiddly solos and awful riffs, which I’m really not a fan of. I’m more into weird song structure and noise of any kind, which I think my choices below probably indicate. I play guitar because it’s fun – I love smashing on pedals and seeing what sort of weird noises I can get from them, I love just thrashing away on it.

Mogwai – Glasgow Megasnake

I could have really picked anything from Mogwai – their back catalogue is consistently brilliant – but Megasnake is definitely one of the highlights. It is ferocious in nature with its hypnotic repetitive edge, and I definitely get the feeling for making noise when it’s on. When the new owners of the Barfly ran the ‘Name our venue competition’ to decide the new name of the club, I suggested Glasgow Megasnake which gained a good deal of support on Facebook. In the end, the bar chose the awful title of ‘Shenanigans’. They haven’t opened yet…wonder why? MON THE MEGASNAKE.

Nirvana – Radio Friendly Unit Shifter

As clichéd as it may be, I attribute Nirvana as the band that made me want to play guitar. Growing up I’d always known of Nirvana but when I hit 13 I didn’t listen to any other band for that entire year. I love ‘Radio Friendly…’ due its screeching feedback, rawness and the fact that every live version that was ever recorded always sounds completely unique and still relevant after all these years. They really started me off as a collector of music. I love nothing more, in music, than discovering some forgotten B-side or live recording from one of my favourite bands, and I have Nirvana to thank for that.

The Antlers – Atrophy

Whilst The Antlers are not exactly a guitar-centric band, I still feel they’re relevant on this list. Their album Hospice is pretty much one of my favourite albums ever, but I think however it’s as a live band that they excel. ‘Atrophy’ is one of the songs from Hospice that when played live, gains a whole new life. The guitars are huge and soaring, creating this immense wall of sound, all soaked in feedback and reverb. It’s just amazing to listen to and really makes you want to play with pedals to make some interesting sounds. is gold for live Antlers.

PAWS – Jellyfish

PAWS are without a doubt my favourite Scottish band right now. I love everything they’ve released so far and I’m extremely excited to hear their album once it’s finished. I could have picked anything from them, because their songs are just fun to play along to. Every release they’ve put out so far has been amazing, but this is my personal favourite from PAWS TAPE Vol.2. They’re just everything that every band out there right now should be aspiring to be.

Brand New – You Won’t Know

The guitar line is another hypnotic one that just seems to build and then punch you in the face. It really combines everything I love about playing guitar so I can’t really say much more about it other than it, and everything else on Devil & God is fairly immense. It’s without a doubt their best album to date. Everything is so unstable and messy sounding yet it just works. Jesse Lacey really knows what he’s doing.”

So Many Animal Calls release the single ‘Traps’ via Overlook Records on 13 February.

Top Five Friday – Aerials Up

July 15, 2011

Who? Neil Mulholland, Aerials Up

Top five…songs that changed my life

Aerials Up: If you ever encounter them in a park, be scared

“I guess the first song I can think of would be ‘Start Me Up’ by the Rolling Stones. I used to come home from nursery every day and rock out in the living room with my Dad to a Rolling Stones live album – it’s my first memorable encounter with rock music, I think. ‘Start Me Up’ was, and still is, my favourite Rolling Stones song.

I think the next couple of songs that spring to mind after that are Queen and Oasis songs. My older brother introduced me to both of them when I was about 10 or 11. I remember laughing hysterically in his face when he played me ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ the first time and being distinctly un-impressed by Oasis’ ‘Live Forever’. After giving them a chance though, both Queen and Oasis became a couple of my favourite bands for a long time mostly thanks to those two songs.

Once I got to about 14 or 15 years old I started looking into bands that had been a bit before my time, discovering the likes of Pink Floyd, The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac through my parents and uncle’s CD collections. I remember hearing ‘The Chain’ by Fleetwood Mac and being amazed. The vocal harmonies blew me away, and still do. If I had to choose one I’d probably say ‘The Chain’ is my favourite song of all time.

I think recently the most important song I’ve heard has been ‘Glitter and Trauma’ by Biffy Clyro. I first heard it when I was about 16 or 17 and needed a few listens to get my small mind round what was going on. Pretty quickly after that Biffy became my favourite band.”

The Daily Dose is hosting a night of live music at The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore on Saturday 16 July with Aerials Up, Letters and a DJ set from Detour. It is free entry so come on up/down. There is more information here.