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  • Alistair Braidwood

Good Vibrations: Viva Stereo and The Darien Venture…

Two bands have new releases to promote, and the lovely thing is they’re both rather fine. I don’t mean to sound surprised, just relieved. I’m always banging on about how much good music is out there at the moment, you may have noticed, and it’s always heartening to have fresh ammunition to back this claim.

First up are Viva Stereo, a band who are celebrating their 10th birthday this year but show no signs of fatigue. Their latest album is Endure the Dark to see The Stars, which comes out on De-Fence records (the home of the excellent FOUND and HMS Ginafore) on the 9th of May, and it’s a belter.

Strangely, as I listened to the opening track Vultures, I was reminded of Richard Jobson’s post Skids band The Armoury Show, who I haven’t thought about for at least 15 years. This is a good thing by the way, and I think it’s the vocals and drums what did it. But this is a much more subtle affair than Jobson mustered in his musical career. There are varied styles on show, from jangle guitar, through 80’s influenced blues/rock, to post rock and the spirit of Spiritualized, all done in an individual style. My favourite tracks are Endure the Dark to see the Stars, Good Friend and the Durritti Column sounding closers Nocturne and We Set Sail, but the album really works as a whole, and is free of filler, a rare thing these days. I highly recommend to anyone who likes their rock music classy. Viva Stereo have class to spare.

If you order from the De-Fence website before the 1st of May you can get a free album from their impressive back catalogue. To do so go here .

And so to The Darien Venture, surely one of the best names around. They have not been going for quite as long as Viva Stereo, but long enough to have understood what makes a band work. References? Well there are a lot of familiar names to juggle with, including Vampire Weekend, Frightened Rabbit, and perhaps this is just me, but the loose rhythms and playing had me in mind of early Public Image Limited. The Darien Venture’s new E.P. Indications is now available from Overlook Records, the latest in an increasingly impressive number of independent record labels that are allowing such great music to be heard. Visit them here

In one of my favourite films, Robert Rossen’s The Hustler, Paul Newman’s Fast Eddie Felson is told that he won’t win anything until he develops ‘character’. Well The Darien Venture sure have character. There is a confidence in Indications that some bands never discover, and it’s justified. This is a great taster of what to expect. From Indications this is The Whydah, which is not perhaps typical of their sound, but it’s my favourite track and it’s a rather nice vid:

Two more examples, as if they were required, that Scotland’s music scene is fair bursting with talent. I’m off to listen to the new Night Noise Team album Slow Release which I’m very excited about, and which you can read about here sometime soon. Night night everybody, night night.


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