Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Novel indeed

Billed as the world's premier new music convention, In The City has been chugging along for close to 14 years now. Founded in 1992 by Yvette Livesey and Factory Records honcho Tony Wilson, the event serves two purposes: during the day, music industry bigwigs gather to talk shop -- and twist their moustaches and hatch schemes to further destroy pop music; at night, the shindig becomes a music festival (allegedly the biggest city-based music festival in Europe), as unsigned artists are showcased at various venues throughout the host city (which is typically held in Manchester; one-time sites have included Glasgow in 1997).

In The City has helped launch the careers of countless acts, including Oasis, Doves, Suede, and The Stereophonics. More recently, the festival played a hand in kickstarting the career of Glasgow's My Latest Novel. Since performing at In The City back in October of '05, this five-piece outfit has performed at the 2006 T In The Park, done a support slot for The Pixies, and inked a deal with Bella Union Records. But not in that order.

I discussed My Latest Novel rather briefly back in July, but felt the need to revisit them after finally landing their debut album, Wolves (thanks Joel!).

"There is without doubt, a character to Scottish music because we tend to still be very much a Scottish race and don't have a large immigrant population," Graham Weir, a lecturer in popular music at Napier University, said in this article. "So Scotland tends to have its own kind of music -- usually guitar-based."

My Latest Novel, however, aren't bridled by their six-strings; they build upon that ancient guitar template, garnishing their sound with violins, xylophones, peculiar percussion instruments. The result is a work fraught with anxiety and absolution -- an album that fills the listener with a heightened tension, rewards with a much-ached-for release, then starts the cycle anew before one's had time to bask in the afterglow. Scotland hasn't heard a release this labyrinthine in years.

Hear it for yourself. Download: Wrongfully, I Rested" and "Learning Lego" by My Latest Novel.