Press: Nitetime Rainbows
Origivation Magazine Feature
It would be wrong to call A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s April 1st Kung Fu Necktie show a homecoming.
For five weeks the Philly-based sextet had been spreading the good news via their brand of dreamy, effects-laden indie rock on a tour that took them from Pittsburgh to Portland, Tucson to Austin, New Orleans to Washington D.C.
As their feet hit Fishtown pavement, there seems to be a combination of familiarity and get-shit-done tour routine amongst band members: Guitarist Josh Meakim disappears with members of nattily-clad Philly band Homophones, with whom he’s performing to open the night’s entertainment. Drummer Adam Herndon clowns around with skateboard-riding neighborhood kids between trips from backstage to the van. Bassist Ryan Newmyer shows off the April Fool’s message that had him thinking his girlfriend was locked up for texting while driving. During load-in, vocalists Jen Goa and Annie Fredrickson spot a heap of clothes – KFN’s lost-and-found – and (after securing permission) proceed to dig through dusty pashminas and undersized t-shirts for secondhand finds as if it were just another day at the thrift store. Ben Daniels, ASDIG’s guitarist/songwriter/knob-twiddler/mastermind, sets about transferring his arsenal of effects pedals to a new case and wonders if it’s too big to carry on the plane.
Later that night, hometown fans, friends, and relatives will sell out the show – a breezy, exuberant performance – and pack Kung Fu Necktie’s cozy dancefloor. But the band can’t get too comfortable: Their Philly stop is only a quick breath before they embark on a two-month jaunt across Europe.
In 2005, Daniels started recording as A Sunny Day in Glasgow (ASDIG) with fellow Philadelphian Ever Nalens after the two had returned home from the UK and Scotland. After Nalens left the project, Daniels recruited his identical twin sisters Lauren and Robin as vocalists, and the trio would play live shows with a prerecorded rhythm track (or, as Fredrickson calls it, “an iPod drummer”).
In this incarnation, ASDIG released the now out-of-print The Sunniest Day Ever EP in 2006. While it sounds a little less processed than later releases, songs like the upbeat “Game of Pricks” show Daniels’ talent for writing catchy, soaring melodies and his predilection for effects-laden vocals.
Daniels isn’t shy about using computers and effects, of course; at ASDIG shows, he seems most comfortable in a back corner of the stage with his laptop, pedals, and guitar.
“Pedals are neat, but I really do not use that many of them,” he says through email. “Delay, reverb, and distortion are the only effects on Ashes Grammar I think. My budget has always dictated production values [and] the equipment I have to use.”
While Daniels can sometimes draw a direct line from what he wants to hear and the technology at his disposal, reaching that point of completion can be a long process. “I think there have only been a few times where I had a sound in my head and that sound was exactly what the finished song was,” he says. “Usually there’s lots of going along with things and reacting and pushing and reacting etc…”
Daniels has been playing music since he was young, but it wasn’t necessarily the sounds of dream-pop or twee-gaze or whatever people call A Sunny Day in Glasgow that first inspired him.
“When I turned 14, Led Zepplin was the only thing I listened to,” Daniels says. “I’ve never been as into a band as I was in them at that age. I can’t listen to them anymore because I listened to them so much back then.” Zep might be a gateway band for would-be rockers, and fortunately, his weren’t stereotypical parents steering their son away from music: “While riding in the car with my mom once, “Over the Hills and Far Away” came on the radio and I wouldn’t shut up about how awesome the opening guitar part was, and my mom said to me, ‘You should play guitar.’ So I think [that] song is why I started playing music.”
After that initial EP came the band’s first full-length, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, which was released on the now-defunct Notenuf Records in 2007. The opening three tracks display Ben Daniels’ ostensible strengths and preoccupations: A haunting yet blissful layering of vocals kicks off “Wake Up Pretty”; here the Daniels sisters’ voices drift between echoing strains of vibrato and a liquid, throaty depth reminiscent of Natalie Merchant. A simple, conga-esque drum machine beat takes over and segues into the ambient, almost transitional “No. 6 Von Karman Street,” which is four minutes of pulse, drone, and ambient swirl, before uptempo indie-pop makes an appearance with the silvery tones and relentless rock beat of “A Mundane Phonecall to Jack Parsons.” Churchlike swaths of vocal; crackling, rhythmic atmospherics; propulsive pop energy whose description falls somewhere between “fun” and “frenzied.”
Scribble Mural’s positive reception – a Pitchfork.com review drew favorable comparisons with the work of musicians as varied as Deerhunter, M83, the Velvet Underground, and Kate Bush – set up ASDIG for further greatness. 2009 saw the band ready to make the record that would become sophomore LP Ashes Grammar. By this time, Meakim – who played with Daniels in Philly band King Kong Ding Dong – had joined up as their live drummer and Lauren Daniels left Philadelphia to attend graduate school in Colorado. Daniels needed a singer, so he happened to ask a fan – future ASDIG bassist Ryan Newmyer, who had emailed him a question about pedals – if he knew any, and Newmyer tipped Daniels off about Annie Fredrickson’s dulcet tones.
“I don’t know why Ryan thought of me because I never [used to] sing in public, but he did,” Fredrickson, who also plays cello and piano, says.
Now a four-piece, Ben Daniels, Robin Daniels, Meakim, and Fredrickson recorded Ashes Grammar in early 2009; it was released that summer on Mis Ojos Discos. The lineup had stabilized, but not for long: Brice Hickey, who was set to play bass on the album, broke his leg right before his recording was scheduled, and Robin, his girlfriend, left the group to take care of him. (Ben recorded the bass parts instead.) The band took the shakeups in stride and Ashes Grammar proved to be the next step in the progression of the lush/atmospheric/pop triple-threat Daniels does so well.
ASDIG albums are constructed with little or no silence between tracks; dramatically different songs will be spliced together with no break, or half-minute mini-tracks of synthesizer oscillations will lead from one larger song to the next. Ashes Grammar boasts smoother, less dramatic transitions than its predecessor; it sounds more like a whole work than a collection of songs. The high-pitched hook and prominent percussion groove on “Failure” bring it out of the album’s multipart texture, and the relentless rock beat and siren-like vocal line on “The White Witch” highlight Daniels’ ability to combine the elements of his musical palette in unique and different ways.
One sticking point with some fans may be that the lyrics to ASDIG songs are essentially kept secret: Much of the vocals are chantlike vowel sounds, or passages so manipulated with effects as to render then unintelligible. This is, of course, by design.
“I don’t think it’s that important [to be able to discern lyrics],” Daniels says. “The whole is important.”
Fredrickson sees this aspect of ASDIG’s songs as something of an opportunity for interpretation by listeners.
“Someone did a cover of “White Witch” and sent it to us, and it was really awesome, but how did they know the words?” she says. “We never print the words or anything. But then I realized they were singing completely different words that they had just extracted from the recording, which is kind of awesome – you can kind of write your own song. Some of the words were identical, but most of them were not.”
The distortion-washed textures and pop-driven structures that are the band’s trademark are obviously highly developed and carefully constructed. Building songs seem to come naturally for Daniels. Writing lyrics comes from a different place. “[Lyrics are] the hard part. The music stuff is easy. I could write a song and record it in a day. But melody and lyrics…” Daniels says. “I don’t know. I often will set the music down, and just kinda listen to it a lot and stuff will pop out, or sometimes I’ll sit down with a piano or a keyboard and fiddle. The melodies tend to form the lyrics, I guess.”
The lyrics may have emerged after the music, but they’re not random or scattershot: “For Ashes Grammar, I had a concept – it’s not really a concept album, there was a sort of high-level thing that’s always there in some part in all the songs,” Daniels says.
The song titles alone on Ashes Grammar paint a picture darker than the joyful harmonies and shimmering effects would have you believe: “Slaughter killing carnage (The meaning of words),” “Failure,” “Curse words,” “Evil, with evil, against evil” – something spooky is going on beneath those pretty voices and uptempo beats.
Fredrickson has her own interpretation of Daniels’ lyrics. “I think there’s…sort of a theme about things that are unspoken or unable to be expressed,” she says, “either because of your own shortcomings or because of your surroundings.”
By late 2009, the group was ready to tour in support of Ashes Grammar and a follow-up EP, Nitetime Rainbows. Membership stood in its present incarnation: Fredrickson returned the favor to her friend Newmyer, who had been playing bass with Philly/Baltimore garage rockers Junkers, by recommending him to Daniels for their tour. Meakim transitioned to guitar and brought in Herndon to play drums. The only missing piece was a second female vocalist, which the band found in Goa after putting out an online call.
The band has chronicled its adventures across North America and Europe on their blog Sitting Contest, available for a read at sittingcontest.tumblr.com, sharing stories of getting bitten by dogs in graveyards (Fredrickson, who is proudly rabies-free), photos of ridiculous truck stop souvenirs, and what it was like to open for Andrew WK at 3 a.m. (“Strange”).
Another result of touring for four of the past seven months is that the band can see just who listens to their music. “As a longtime A Sunny Day in Glasgow fan, I remember going to their early shows and it was pretty much entirely guys,” Newmyer recalls. (Later at the KFN show, a fan with an armful of hard-to-find ASDIG colored vinyl and a silver Sharpie will politely obtain multiple autographs from all six members.) “Lots of tech-heads who like pedals and take pictures [of them] and that kind of stuff. And now the fanbase is really kind of diversified, and there are a lot more girls, a lot more younger people, people who are theoretically teenagers or in college.”
And Fredrickson found herself suppressing an urge to mentor a teenaged fan at an all-ages show in Seattle. “It was funny because she was wearing a Yale sweatshirt, and I was almost like, ‘You’re considering Yale? Let’s talk colleges!’” she says with a laugh. “But…I didn’t.”
Another fan told Fredrickson he couldn’t believe ASDIG’s records were made by such animated and jolly performers. “Someone came up to us at a show and was like ‘You guys are much happier than I expected, I thought you were gonna be sad, I kinda wanted you even more sad.’”
“We care that people have a good time [at our shows]” Goa says. “At the same time, we can only do what it is we do.”
Even after the band’s adventure up and down the east coast last fall, Fredrickson is down-to-earth about the rigors of touring. “I think touring is really a lot harder than any of us thought it was going to be,” she says. “And it’s fun still, but…I just focus on shows, because they’re the best part of the day. That’s why you’re driving 16 hours or whatever.”
Daniels’ answer is simpler but basically the same. “It’s the only thing I really like doing with myself,” he says.
And playing shows constantly has a way of making any group of musicians evolve together.
“As an ensemble, it’s hard to notice the differences from night to night,” Fredrickson says. “They are there…I think we all listen to each other a lot more now than we did before, so for that reason we’re tighter. And we can recover if anything untoward happens.”
Both Fredrickson and Goa come from a performing arts background. Being onstage with ASDIG isn’t quite the same as playing concertos or participating in theater.
“I’ve been performing since I was five, so it was almost like free day care for my mom to drop me off at a community theater and pick me up later,” Goa explains. “I really love it, I’m really happy [doing it]. You have to be there in that moment, or else nobody cares. I do it because it makes me really happy. It’s a way to express myself and get things out. I guess I feel like that’s the only way I’m affecting this world, the only thing I’m creating.”
“[Fredrickson] and I come from a background where we perform music that we haven’t written,” Goa explains. “That doesn’t seem odd to me at all. A lot of [fans] are like ‘So, when you wrote this lyric…’ It’s like, no no no…I’m obviously going to sing things that mean something to me, because if they were shitty, I wouldn’t sing them.
“I would obviously have a problem being in this band if I didn’t believe in it, and you think it means something to you,” she continues. “If you’re going to do a live show, someone has to be there to reproduce it. It obviously still means something to me, but that doesn’t mean I had to write it.”
Though the band hasn’t had time to explore new material, they’ve reworked some Ashes Grammar outtakes. “Ben and I did a tiny bit of recording during our one day off in New York, [but the material] came from the same period as Ashes Grammar was being made, all the bits we couldn’t get done during that time, which actually are a lot,” Fredrickson explains. “It’s new and not new. It’ll be interesting [to hear] what’s been recorded so long ago and what’s being recorded now.”
Back in March, the band released one of these reworked tracks on their website, ASunnyDayinGlasgow.com; as of now, it’s untitled, but it might be called “Sigh Inhibitionist” or “Broken Radio.” The track sounds extra-heavy on drum machine, and it’s therefore more danceable than most of Ashes Grammar – an indication of a future direction, perhaps?
“We don’t know how [future recording] is going to work yet,” Fredrickson says. “I think everybody wants to, though. It’s going to be a challenge.”
Currently, ASDIG is looking forward to time off after their touring adventures – and although they haven’t solidified plans for a third LP, Daniels sees it in the group’s future.
But in an ironic twist, the one permanent member of A Sunny Day in Glasgow has relocated from Philadelphia to Australia. Daniels moved last summer after his wife got a job there; since then, the fact of touring hasn’t presented the band with the difficulty of recording with a key member on the other side of the world. But Daniels says it will happen – so why not?
“I’m determined to get three albums from this band,” he says. “So there will be one more album…I haven’t thought about logistics really yet.”
So you didn’t get yourself a Primavera festival ticket, it’s no big deal, you’ve just got to follow the bands that are doing one-off gigs around the city over the coming weekend. Start off with A sunny day in Glasgow who will be playing on a mountain in one of the loveliest places in the city and see where that takes you.
Partie De Chasse
This trick named band is formed by two girls and four boys from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But there’s no contest : they’ve been influenced by the 90′s indie pop british scene. Since 2006 they released a serie of EP’s and two albums. A Sunny Day In Glasgow sounds like shinny and dreamy pop with a lot of vocal harmonies and experimental vibes.
A Sunny Day Day In Glasgow played at L’Escalier in Liège on 12th of April 2010.
Which album are you the most jealous of, for any reason? Where or in which
city could you live or spend more time?
The Repacements – Let I Be
The Flaming Lips : Clouds Taste Metallic
Rollerskate Skinny : Horse Drawn Whishes
The French Quarter : s-t
Kate Bush : Hounds Of Love
Whole band :
My Bloody Valentine : Loveless
New-Orleans or Berlin
Paris or Montreal
What is your main activity but music? Which website would you like to share ?
Think about I should do
The Skinny Show review
adly, the A Sunny Day In Glasgow founding member who would be most excited about playing with his band on an actual sunny day in Glasgow has left the group, leaving co-founder Ben Daniels to understatedly point out the obvious irony to the packed Sleazy’s crowd.
This Philadelphian band have gathered a lot of attention round these parts for their bizarre name; and held that attention longer with two beautifully textured albums. Unfortunately, in Sleazy’s ASDIG are unable to fully replicate all the depths of noise that they wash their sound with on record, which exposes a frailty common to any dream pop-type band whose melodic nous is anywhere south of Kevin Shields’.
Precisely: if the ‘dream’ goes missing, the ‘pop’ has to stand on its own. The cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere certainly achieves that, but the band’s own songs gasp for a little more fog.
The List Interview
‘I’m a big believer in psychogeography,’ claims dream-pop journeyman Ben Daniels of A Sunny Day in Glasgow. ‘I think place informs our thoughts more than any of us are aware.’
Daniels is well-qualified to speculate. He’s stayed in Philadelphia, London, Scotland and Montreal (amongst others) and currently lives in Sydney. He started the band in 2006, but its cast has been similarly perambulant: many members have come and gone, including his own twin sisters on vocals. Now settled as a six-piece, and loosely based in Philadelphia, its roll call features Daniels (guitars, songwriting), Adam Herndon (drums), Annie Fredrickson (vocals, cello, keyboards), Jen Goma (vocals), Josh Meakim (guitar, keyboards, vocals), and Ryan Newmyer (bass). ‘It’s the best line-up ever,’ he smiles.
Once tagged ‘The Fleetwood Mac of New Weird America’ (an accolade to which they responded with an epic acoustic rendition of ‘Everywhere’), A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s balmy rock alchemy conjures – of course – precious Central Belt summers. Does our country hold a fascination for Daniels?
‘I love Scotland,’ he nods. ‘Kelvingrove Park is one of my favourite places in the world. When I lived in Glasgow I always wanted to build a raft and navigate the River Kelvin but I never got around to it. Maybe someday…’
Did he ever visit Grangemouth, home of the Cocteau Twins – a band whose hazy lyricism and amorphous vocals are recalled in ASDIG’s quixotic pop? ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know that that’s where they came from! The Cocteaus are one of my favourite bands, so if people compare us to them, I’m very flattered.’
They cite peanut butter and riding bikes as further influences, and they’re also rumoured to fetishise horses. Is it true they conspired to steal a mule? ‘Haha, I forgot about that,’ he laughs. ‘Yeah, every weekend when we were driving out to record [their thrilling 2009 album] Ashes Grammar, we’d pass this horse farm. There was always this tiny pony in the pasture, it was so cute. We named it Pancakes. We talked about kidnapping it all the time.’
Should we fear for the welfare of our equines? ‘Scotland’s ponies are safe.’
ust to save the confusion A Sunny Day In Glasgow aren’t actually from Glasgow, they aren’t even from Scotland; they reside over the other side of the pond in sunny Philadelphia. However, the band described as the Fleetwood Mac of the new weird America – who released their EP ‘Nitetime Rainbows’ on March 2 following last years critically acclaimed full length ‘Ashes Grammar’ – stand somewhat alone as a global export from the state with their hazy sonic explorations of pop. We caught up with Ben Daniels to talk all things tour.
Check out the bands somewhat absurd new video for ‘So Bloody So Tight’, taken from their ‘Nitetime Rainbows’ EP, below.
Due to a bit of a freak accident, you guys have seen a bit of a roster change of late.
Well, the accident was just one of the things that happened while we were recording Ashes Grammar. But our bassist at the time, Brice, was literally taking some things out of the boot of his car so he could put his amp and bass in there when he somehow slipped on some wet leaves and fell in such a way to break several bones in his leg, in several places, the x-ray was horrific.
Are the changes permanent?
You come to the UK off the back of a pretty gargantuan tour of the States. How has the reaction been so far?
Very positive! The shows in the US we’ve just played were the best ones we ever have, lots of sell outs and really enthusiastic crowds.
You played quite heavily at SXSW, how important do you feel that is?
Having done it now, I don’t really know why a band would do it for any other reason than having a good time. I guess a lot of music fans go to SXSW to discover new bands and being there provides them with a chance to see you, which is great, but yeah, I don’t really know the point of it anymore. We had a great time though.
You guys are coming to the UK for the first time in April. Are you excited to see what the reaction will be?
This will actually be our 3rd time in the UK. The first time it was just me, my sister and Brice with an iPod playing drums. We sold out a show in London and I felt so bad because shows with an iPod drummer are the worst and I think the crowd agreed with that assessment. We also played a show in Glasgow on that trip and it was just as bad but the people were so nice about it up there. The second time we were here was much better. We had a full band and it was great. Stephen Pastel and members of Teenage Fanclub came out to see us in Glasgow and that still kind of blows my mind.
Ah, sorry about that. You’re playing The Luminaire in May following a more intimate show at The Windmill earlier this year. What can fans expect from an ASDIG live show?
We played The Luminaire before and loved that place. We’d never been to The Windmill before but our live show is maybe more rocking than our records.
I was originally going to pen this as a new band feature, however with two full studio albums and a range of EP’s I feel I may be a little late. How have you kept off the radar so much in the UK?
OK, the music you guys make is pretty lucid in its structures. What’s your approach to writing and recording?
I don’t know that there is an approach. We just keep working until it sounds done or right.
Philadelphia seems to have quite a rich roster of artists coming through at the minute – what do you feel has led to such a rich scene?
Again, I have no idea. Philly is a wonderful city with lots of college kids and cheap rent (or at least a LOT cheaper than NYC), so lots of people are living there and doing interesting things because it’s so easy to live there.
Finally, you sound like a band that would be quite suited to a festival – do you have any such plans here in the UK?
We love playing festivals but I don’t know that we have anything lined up in the UK now. If Glastonbury is reading this though, can we play at your festival?
ASDIG play the final UK date of their European tour at The Luminaire on Thursday May 20th, unless they get asked to come back and play Glastonbury . . .
High Voltage Show review
It’s hard not to spend an entire review focussing on the obvious when the obvious cannot be avoided.
Advances In Mathematics don’t have a vocalist. The band is, inevitably, tired of reviews purporting this fact. “So what?” They might say. Move on; tell us something we don’t know. And it shouldn’t be such a big deal – there’s plenty of fantastic instrumental music – popular, classical, whatever – out there. But here it simply is a big deal. Their music is not able to stand up by itself, it craves something else. And so do the audience who instead form inward facing groups, cradling drinks and talking throughout the course of their set. Those who remain facing the front seem a little embarrassed: they’re party to a noodling rehearsal, the Mill a fitting environment for a dank rehearsal space.
And that’s when the obvious comes hurtling back in again – though the Mill is fabulous for ambience – fairy lights and cobbles, bottled beer and body heat – it is far from ideal for sound. Again, it shouldn’t matter. But when the two female singers of A Sunny Day In Glasgow are clearly singing away and timbre and pitch are lost, it is a terrible shame. The guitars and keyboards are hinting at a funky psychedelia, but without being able to tell how they’re singing – never mind what – all is confused.
To state the obvious? It could’ve, would’ve, been great. But there were too many elements astray on this occasion.
The 405 Interview
To say A Sunny Day In Glasgow have had a colourful history would be quite the understatement. Heck, their story could quite easily be the sort of thing you might find in an episode of Lost; twin sisters departing the band and accidents with tool boxes are just a small part of the adventure this Philadelphia-based band have gone through since the release of Scribble Mural Comic Journal back in 2007.
Back with a new line-up, including a new singer in the form Annie Fredrickson, A Sunny Day In Glasgow have gone and released one of the best records of the year.
We caught up with Ben Daniels to find out more about this incredible band.
Ashes Grammar seems like it could be a classic, how gratifying has it’s reception been?
Wow, thanks. It’s been kind of a strange but great reception. I feel like it’s taken people a little while to get into to the record but then it seems as though lots of people have gotten into it and that’s wonderful.
What should we know about the new EP?
The A side contains several new songs which we recorded while recording Ashes Grammar. We didn’t have time to finish these in time for AG and AG was already long enough, but really loved these songs and we are happy they will get out there. The B side is a collection of remixes.
You’ve been all over the place over the last few months, what’s been the best venue so far? Any horrific sound situations?
Oh wow, it’s hard to say what the best venue has been so far because there have been many. Off the top of my head these ones were pretty great:
Schuba’s in Chicago, Bottletree in Birmingham, AL, Meet Factory in Prague, and I have a soft spot for Sleazy’s in Glasgow.
Can you compare your current touring line-up to past incarnations?
The current line-up is far tighter than and previous line-ups. We’ve played ALOT more shows than any other line-up. This line-up also has the knack/ability/propensity to close every party/bar/whatever. We never seem to sleep.
What were the challenges of replacing band members, after a random accident, in order to tour? Did your former bassist’s leg recover ok?
Brice’s leg is happily all better! There were so many challenges to getting new people on board. I honestly can’t remember them all. We haven’t really relaxed as a band at all since Summer 2008.
Did you experience any volcano drama while touring in Europe?
No. We were already over here and driving around in our van when all of that happened. Most of us fly back home in early June though, so fingers crossed the cloud stays north.
Did you enjoy creating the video for ‘So Bloody, So Tight’ ? What was the make-up process like?
Very much. Making the video was one of the craziest two days of the band’s life. Annie and Jen had to wear the most make-up for the longest. They were painted for 2 days, but I think Josh and Adam actually had more paint on their bodies. They were each painted for about 3 hours I think. Adam had to sit in position while he was painted too. Ryan and I lucked out and really only had our faces painted.
But the whole thing was such a wonderful experience. The people at Court 13 did a tremendous job. The second day took about 17 hours of painting and filming and everyone (there were so many people involved in making this video!) was working for free in the freezing cold and rain. In the morning, on the way to the shoot, we got into a car accident when a car ran a red light and rammed us. We thought that was a bad omen but yeah, what an absolutely wonderful day.
What do you love about Jaakko Mattila’s imagery?
The images are so meticulous but at the same time the watercolours have this really loose feel to them. He obviously thinks a lot about tone and colour. In the cases of Ashes Grammar and the Nitetime Rainbows EP the images just seemed to compliment the music so well. I can no longer separate them in my mind. I am so happy he let us use them.
What’s the current status of King Kong Ding Dong?
Alive and well! I (Ben) and not so much involved with things anymore but Josh is. KKDD is putting out Youth Culture Index on vinyl this Summer and once we are back from tour I am sure KKDD will start playing shows again.
In the past you’ve mentioned an affinity for The Cocteau Twins, can you rattle off some other dreampop/shoe-gaze favourites?
It’s a short list actually in those genres. Beyond the Cocteau Twins I would add maybe My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain, but beyond that I feel like everyone is aping the aesthetic of these three (and I understand this is something people probably think about us). I’ve always thought stuff like Boards of Canada or Caribou or even Aphex Twin/Analord was the direction those genres should have moved towards.
How long before we can expect an LP from this latest (and possibly permanent?) line-up?
We still have even more songs from the Ashes Grammar sessions that we are finishing up while on tour. Really wanted to forget about these songs and just move on, but we really like these. So I believe we will get these songs (a full-length’s worth) out this Fall hopefully. After that, we are going to take some time off to write and try to think up all new stuff. So I really can’t say when we’ll get new “new” stuff out there.
RVA Mag EP Review
On their new EP, A Sunny Day In Glasgow mixes conventional instrumentation with synths and programmed beats to create shimmering soundscapes. They make up for their lack of defined choruses by creating lush beds of sound that your head can sink peacefully into. Tough to categorize, but impressive nonetheless.
The Line of Best Fit EP Review
Far from simply cashing in on their recent success, Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day In Glasgow keep the party that started with last year’s sublime Ashes Grammar going on their equally dynamic new EP Nitetime Rainbows. Featuring an updated mix of ‘Nitetime Rainbows’ as well as three new songs and a plethora of diverse remixes of the title track, this ebullient short-player is a brief burst of springtime and uplifting ambiance that not only will tide listeners over until the bands next release, but hopefully will cause people to rediscover the genius of Ashes Grammar. ASDIG have had a relatively tumultuous past, with many different incarnations of the ever-evolving lineup passing through over the years while always being guided by the steady influence of mastermind Ben Daniels, and Rainbows seems to be a celebration of the natural camaraderie of their current roster. The songs reflect that synergy as well, maintaining a diaphanous, danceable essence while also remaining sonically adventurous and captivating.
‘Nitetime Rainbows’ was clearly a standout on Grammar, and the fresh mix found at the start of the EP brings a clearer focus to the hypnotic churn of the track, parting the clouds as it were and allowing the modern palette of sonic colours to reveal themselves. It’s a relentlessly sanguine song that bursts with vivacity, and is well served by getting its own album along with the remix treatment, for there are plenty of layers to either add to or peel away, unveiling rosier depths that grow more vivid the deeper their explored. ‘Daytime Rainbows,’ the first of the new songs, is a perfect compliment to the animated title track, building on that song’s cheerfulness by adding richer vocals and a dense wall of sound that echoes the Spector girl-groups of the Sixties while also modernizing those ideals. It’s a gloriously brief track that flows seamlessly into the propulsive ‘So Bloody, So Tight,’ the best of the new tracks, which features spiraling keyboards and cascading vocals over an entrancingly bold beat.
‘Piano Lessons’ plays off Daniels’ simple plunks at the keys, and builds that into a enthralling six-minute sprawl that winds up sounding more like a sketch than a completed song, but still has enough inventive flourishes to maintain interest throughout. The following remixes build on the positive nature of the title track, with Athens, Georgia’s the Buddy System, Benoît Pioulard and Anticipate label-head Ezekiel Honig all casting different tones and atmosphere over the same ‘Rainbow.’ The Buddy System remix is the most effective of the bunch, really stretching the melody out and giving the transfixing, looped vocals plenty of room to breathe, while also maintaining the shimmering nature of the original. Pioulard deconstructs the song immensely in his ‘acid wash edit,’ bringing some discord and abrasiveness to a song that didn’t need any to begin with, while Honig’s mix closes out the brief EP in a dreamy, sparse fashion that doesn’t really shed any new light on the original, just makes you appreciate how great it sounds when all of these elements come together.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow are clearly doing a lot of things right with their sound these days, crafting refreshing, rousing material that never gets dragged down by convention or convenience. Their songs float effortlessly but still have a pulsing soul, somehow managing to keep their songs breezy while still being deeply affecting. There is a colorful, dynamic atmosphere in all of ASDIG’s music, and this EP shows that we are all in for a long stretch of bright days as long as the band keeps churning out magnetically auspicious material like this.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow are a dream pop band from Philadelphia and their most recent album, Ashes Grammar, is 1000% brilliant. Currently, they are Ben Daniels, Ryan Newmyer, Josh Meakim, Annie Fredrickson, Jen Goma, and Adam Herndon. I tried to memorize their names as we each adjusted our bottom halves to the floor of Vancouver’s Media Club.
There have been many member changes since Ben first started the band. The band discussed amongst themselves who wanted to do what initially. They all simultaneously said, “Spinal Tap!”, and Ben added, “The band as it is now is the best.”
Ashes Grammar is their second full-length release and it’s a beautifully and carefully constructed record with each song weeping into the next. Any decipherable lyrics on the record are lost in a beguiling and bouncing glow storm. I asked them about how it became what it is. Josh answered, “It was pretty intense. We didn’t go into a studio or anything. We just rented out a ballet studio and did it all with our own equipment, so that probably made it take a lot longer. But it was also more fun that way, and less stressful.”
I was interested to know if they had jobs. Ryan said, “We did…”, then Annie jokingly interrupted, “I got a good job and a hot girlfriend.” Ben followed, “I was going to start my goth industrial thing in the off-season. It’s called… The Cemetery Flowers.” Adam told me that he wants to open a gas station and drive a vegan hot dog truck. “If I was going to serve food, I would want to serve vegan food,” he beamed, “I’m pretty much vegetarian although I think yesterday I ate something with beef and broccoli…“ Ryan confirmed, “Yeah, the French onion soup!” Josh added, “And you did eat a cheeseburger Dorito!” Later I ate dinner with them and all that went through my mind was, “cutie PIES!” Also at dinner, Adam turned his American money into “boner dollars”. I learned what this meant that night (Google it!).
Driving into cities, they research local menus. Some of their recent tour eating highlights are necessary to mention. Firstly, because they were excited to tell me and secondly because I made them describe everything to me in detail. In New Haven, they ate bacon pancakes. Annie pointed out “We probably eat together more than most families.” Jen said, “I mean, there’s no meal that we don’t eat together.” Ben recounted Chicago to me and what it was like to be fed mussels and invited to a scotch tasting. The whole band lit up from the memory, especially Ryan who said,
“It was like an ultimate reality.”
We also discussed the differences between Taco Bell and Taco Time. I argued that Taco Bell is better and they insisted the opposite. They then gave me a little packet of Hot Border Sauce from Taco Bell to keep. On it was written: “Will you marry me?”
They claim to get sick constantly while on tour but they didn’t seem sick at all. Annie said, “Ryan claims to have the best vitamins…” Ryan smiled, “They’re the best—but only for active men.” “Which is funny because we’re sitting eight hours of the day,” said Jen. Annie asked, “What about inactive men?” Ryan nodded, “That’s probably why I’m kind of sick, I’ve been taking the wrong vitamins.”
I asked them about the significance of the album name, Ashes Grammar. Ben said, “Ah, yes. It’s a colloquialism.” The rest of the band tee-heed in their various cross-legged positions claiming they had never been asked that question and that Ben had been waiting for it. He continued, “Ashes Grammar is a colloquialism to express frustration with languages and means of communication.”
The rest of the band eventually convinced Ben to let me quote him despite his protests, “It sounded terrible hearing it coming out of my mouth!” I liked what he said. It’s pertinent. It even pertains to me sitting here in front of my computer screen and writing about him saying it.
Recently, the band finished making a music video for their song “So Bloody So Tight.” It is definitely worth watching. In the video, after trashing a keyboard in the middle of a street in the pouring rain, they all take their clothes off on a paved road in a psychotic sensual dance with sparklers in their hands. Ben makes creepy faces, there is a lot of body paint, and the best part about all of this is that when explaining the video to me, they didn’t once mention any of this. They just said, “There were no special effects and when you watch it, just know that we were freezing.”
A Sunny Day In Glasgow have some funny ideas about what constitutes an album. Apparently, inclusion on last year’s Ashes Grammar wasn’t enough for Nitetime Rainbows, a dreamy distillation of the Philadelphia nu-gazer’s sound that apparently “always struck the band as a song that could be its own album”. So here it is again along with three remixes and a trio of new songs (including its thematic sequel, Daytime Rainbows). And, surprisingly, it works as a standalone release, the remixes sufficiently differentiated to stop them cloying when encountered in succession, and the new tracks proffering intriguingly intricate textures and ripples. Its success is as unexpected and pleasing as their namesake – still unmistakably a stop-gap release, but a rather good one.
Coke Machine Glow interview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Ashes Grammar burned up CMG’s 2009 year-end chart and the group is at it again with a solid new EP and a tour attended, so far, by no less than five CMG staffers. On a short rest between the North American and European halves of their tour, bandleader Ben Daniels took some time to talk about the recording of Ashes Grammar, why he doesn’t sing, and the only natural response to multitracking in triple digits.
Cokemachineglow’s Skip Perry (CMG): What’s your musical background? Did you study any theory in school or play instruments growing up?
Ben Daniels (BD): My mother was a music teacher for many years when we were kids and when I was a little kid I had piano lessons, played the violin for a couple years, but I pretty much quit everything by the 6th grade. And then in my teens I started to play guitar again. That’s it.
CMG: Compared to the band’s first record, Ashes Grammar feels far more layered and complex even though it uses many of the same sounds and compositional elements. Is it fair to say that on Scribble Mural Comic Journal (2007) you were still learning how to record an album?
BD: Yeah, probably. I had never really written complete songs before and that was the first time I had ever written lyrics or melodies. I had played in bands before and wrote music for songs, but that was the first time doing all that. I got a laptop, got a little Mbox, and taught myself ProTools.
CMG: Was there something particularly different in the approach you took to Ashes Grammar or was it the result of an evolution in what you were capable of doing?
BD: There was a slightly different approach between the two. For the first one, I just recorded everything and kind of went along, and when we got a few songs done we put them together in the Sunniest Day Ever EP (2006). People heard that and kind of got excited about it and then it turned into “Oh, we should probably record an album, people might like that!” So I took it a little more seriously, but as we were recording I was thinking of everything in the demos I was doing. Once I got done, I tried to re-record a bunch of the songs that ended up on Scribble Mural but whenever you re-record something I feel like it always sounds worse. So I just stuck with the original ones I thought of as demos and that became the album. I didn’t want that to happen with Ashes Grammar because I think on Scribble Mural every song has kind of a different sound to it. I wanted Ashes Grammar to be a little more coherent, so I didn’t finish any demos before we started recording. I left everything really skeletal and then Josh [Meakim] and I fleshed it all out while we were recording. I think it sounds a little more cohesive.
CMG: It’s not always clear where the sounds on the record are coming from, but if the video you posted of the Ashes Grammar recording session is any indication, most of the record was recorded using live instruments, not samples. Is that accurate?
BD: Pretty much. We had a big space and I borrowed a PA system from a friend of mine, so any electronics were sent out through the PA and we mic’ed the room. Everything went out into the space before it was recorded. Even electronic drums were that way; we ran a bass drum through a big amp and a lot of times would run a snare drum through a guitar amp and put a real snare drum on top of it.
CMG: In general, do you have a fully-formed idea of what a track should sound like before going into the studio, or is the process more experimental?
BD: There are a few songs we’ve done where I’ve had something in my mind and that’s what I’ve worked towards, maybe even achieved that. But the majority of the songs are done by getting the idea out there and seeing what works. You’re kind of reacting and pushing and playing with it.
CMG: This is the case with many of your songs, but on “Nitetime Rainbows” it often sounds like the band members are playing two or three songs at the same time. How do you fit it all together? Do you come up with the backing track first and then fit the vocals in afterward?
BD: We pretty much always get the music done first and then I spend days and weeks listening to the music, and then melodies start coming into my head. Once you get a melody down, sometimes you think a harmony would be nice here so you throw a harmony in there. It’s just about seeing what feels good and what feels right. “Nitetime Rainbows” is probably the most monstrous song in terms of tracks—there’s something like 150 tracks on it. I remember mixing that and thinking, “How did this happen?”
CMG: Why do you sing so infrequently? I thought you sounded pretty good in “Failure.”
BD: Well…I cannot sing. My sisters got the vocal genes but I have an absolutely terrible voice. On “Failure” I can struggle through it; on the recording I sang that with lots of pitch correction and Auto-Tune.
CMG: About the EP, it has three remixes of “Nitetime Rainbows”—was that the first time you had other artists remix your songs?
BD: When Scribble Mural came out on vinyl in 2008, Ulrich Schnauss and Asobi Seksu did remixes. I remember when I got the Asobi Seksu one, I didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn’t that. It blew me away. I felt the same way on the Nitetime Rainbows EP with the Buddy System remix. It’s kind of like its own song. It was kind of wonderful. But everyone did a phenomenal job.
CMG: So there are no ownership issues with letting someone tinker with your songs?
BD: No, I’m happy to let artists have carte blanche. I don’t want to tell them what to do.
CMG: You guys have had a lot of personnel changes. Does the current lineup feel like it’s solid for the time being?
BD: This has been the most fun lineup, I think, with the highest level of commitment. Who knows what will happen? We’re on tour for a long time and it’s really demanding. I hope for the next record that everyone is around to contribute so it’s more of a team effort. Josh and I did the overwhelming majority of the work for Ashes Grammar, and that was fun—the first album was all me, so it was nice to bring someone in to help and it added a lot. Josh knows a lot more about engineering and recording than I do, so he was tremendously helpful. I’m very crude; I just put a mic in front of something and play. There would be parts of songs where I would have no idea what to do; I’d know a guitar line has to go here but I don’t know what it is, and he would have ideas and write some guitar parts. We’d be trying stuff out, talking: what do you think of this, try this, and so on. It was really good.
CMG: Where will we be able to see you next?
BD: We just finished about five and a half weeks on tour and tomorrow we fly to Europe for two months more.
NYC Taper Live recording of Bell House performance
A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Ben Daniels is the same age as me and grew up in the next town over. We had never met before the night I interviewed him and cohorts Josh Meakim and Annie Frederickson in Portland.
Since the club was filled with the soundcheck noise of the opening band, the four of us squeezed into my car for the interview. Over the next half hour we talked about Michael Jackson, Australian beer, classical music and found even more congruences in our lives. I am pleased to present the Spectrum Culture interview with A Sunny Day in Glasgow.
Are you guys into movies?
AF: It’s funny you should ask. Apparently, I haven’t seen any movies because now being on tour everyone is like, “Oh! Movie, movie, movie,” and quoting movies and I have no idea what they’re talking about.
BD: Basically I have no original sentiments. It’s all movies phrases that I am speaking.
AF: I don’t know when Ben is saying something from himself or when he is quoting a movie. As a result, I’ve been exposed to more movies recently.
AF: Well, we watched Singles yesterday. In Seattle (all laugh). We’ve been watching a lot of Hal Hartley films. I enjoy those.
BD: 10 Things I Hate About You we saw. I kind of like all films. I am really critical of music and hate lots of music but I’ll watch anything.
AF: Yeah, Ben has no filters. It’s kind of amazing.
BD: She’s never seen The Karate Kid.
AF: Or The Godfather.
JM: I haven’t seen The Godfather.
AF: Let’s watch it! Dude, we have a 10 hour drive tomorrow. Three Godfather movies!
So how do you guys feel about The Hurt Locker winning best film?
BD: Oh, I didn’t see it. I didn’t even know it was a film (all laugh).
JM: What is it called?
The Hurt Locker.
JM: Who’s in that?
AF: It’s about…
BD: A locker that people abuse…
It’s a movie about Iraq. About a bomb disposal squad. Guy Pearce is in it for the first 10 minutes.
JM: Oh, that guy. Does he got blown up or something?
AF: Was it a play? Or a book? Or was it an original screenplay? I haven’t seen it, obviously.
A woman directed it, which is kind of a big deal. She won Best Director too.
AF: I did see that. Kathryn Bigelow.
That is correct.
BD: What else did she do?
She did that vampire movie called Near Dark.
AF: Was that one…Corey Haim was in a vampire movie.
BD: Lost Boys!
He died today!
AF: I know; that is why I was thinking of him.
She also directed that Strange Days movie with Ralph Fiennes.
JM: That was good.
BD: That was all right.
And some submarine movie with Harrison Ford that I never saw.
AF: When were in Seattle yesterday, there was this famous strip club called the Lusty Lady, which we did not go to, but their marquee said The Skirt Locker, which I liked.
BD: I didn’t catch that.
If you like strip clubs, this is the town for you.
BD: That is what we heard.
AF: Ryan said the nicest strip club he had ever been to was in Portland. I don’t know what that means.
BD: I’ve never been to a strip club.
JM: Ah, you’re not missing much. Except awkward…Well, it’s better on hallucinogenic drugs probably.
AF: Yeah, probably.
BD: I lived in Montreal for a year and I think it’s like the North American capital of strip clubs. They are really famous for their strip clubs.
You live in Australia now?
BD: I do.
You’re not having a good time with it?
BD: It’s okay. It’s gotten a little better.
Where are you?
I used to live in Brisbane.
AF: You guys are like the same person.
BD: Yeah, sweet.
I’m not in a band though.
BD: I haven’t gone to Brisbane yet. I hear it’s nice. You don’t have seasons there, right?
It was hot, but in June it was cool. The first time I ever drove on the other side of the road was in Kings Cross in Sydney.
BD: Yeah, that’s busy.
What brought you there?
BD: My wife got a job there.
What do you miss about Pennsylvania?
BD: Oh, lots of things. There is no good beer in Australia. Did you find that?
There is plenty of good beer in Australia. Try the Coopers red label.
BD: Oh, Coopers is horrible! I did find one brew I really like. It’s some American guy who moved there and started it. He used to work for Sierra Nevada and that beer is really good.
Toohey’s Dark is okay…
BD: Ugh..Toohey’s is…ugh. I don’t like Toohey’s.
XXXX is horrible.
BD: I never had that but I believe you. VB…
I have a VB T-shirt.
BD: I kind of like the logo, but the beer is not good.
You other guys can’t add to this, eh?
BD: You are so lucky you can’t. It’s so expensive there. Sydney is probably the most expensive city there.
I was there a long time ago.
BD: In Australia, everything is like double what it costs here. The Australian dollar is very close to parity with our dollar. So it’s very depressing in that way. It’s an adjustment. I much prefer snowy, cold places. I don’t really care much about the beach.
So you’re not a big Bondi Beach fan?
BD: I am becoming more of one. The summer there was really nice and I went to the beach a lot. I went surfing a couple of weeks ago and that was really fun. It’s all this stuff happening here with the band and I am not here.
Do you miss anything else?
BD: A million little things. It’s weird. I’m from Philly and grew up there. I love it, but it’s also like, “I gotta get the hell out of here.” I was just doing the same thing over and over and over. I’ve gotten out a few times. But I had a good life and then moved. It’s not all bad.
So you guys still live in Pennsylvania?
JM: I am.
Are you guys in the city?
JM: I live in Abington still. Temporarily, anyway.
How is living in Philadelphia versus living in Minnesota for you?
AF: Well, I love Philly. I came out to Pennsylvania for school and I had never been to the east coast. I had never been on a train. Which some people can’t believe.
AF: Yeah, country bumpkin who came out for school…
BD: Country bumpkin from the biggest city in Minnesota.
AF: Yeah, I liked Philly so much that I stayed there.
Did you guys go to college?
BD: Yeah, I went to Drexel.
JM: I went to Temple for audio engineering stuff.
BD: You went to Tyler too, right?
JM: Yeah, I went there for painting for a year and a half.
BD: I did my masters in Scotland and Montreal.
BD: In Glasgow.
I was in Glasgow in 1996 and I remembered hearing stuff breaking all night from my hotel room.
BD: It was pretty rough apparently. But in the ’90s things turned around. There was big movement to get rid of glass pints and bottles in the city because people were getting the Glasgow Smile. But yeah, Glasgow is rough. But as an American they like you more than the English.
Do you prefer Glasgow or Edinburgh?
BD: Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen but Glasgow has real character. Glasgow is not as striking as Edinburgh but it’s where the “real” Scottish people live.
I know there is a real dichotomy there between people in Edinburgh and people from Glasgow.
BD: I think people from Glasgow don’t like people from Edinburgh because they’re posh and a lot of them say Edinburgh is an English city and not a Scottish city. I don’t know if Edinburgh thinks about Glasgow at all. It’s fun. The people there are great.
Moving on, I read an interview with you that said Stereolab is one of your top three bands. What are the other two?
BD: Oh gosh, I don’t know. Formative years? Probably the Cure and Magnetic Fields. I haven’t heard their new album. I kind of gave up on them. That old stuff is fantastic.
What was formative for you guys?
JM: There’s so much. Well, there’s the teenage stuff like Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine. I think the first records I got were the B-52′s first album and R.E.M. Murmur. Later on it’s been a mish-mash of whatever…Ben and I have a lot of similar music tastes. I think that is why recording the last album worked out so well. Stereolab is a big thing for both of us. I think Ben got me into Stereolab actually.
I used to have Emperor Tomato Ketchup.
BD: The vinyl for Emperor Tomato Ketchup is supposed to be really nice but I haven’t been able to get it.
JM: It’s really expensive.
BD: It’s like gold.
JM: Dan got it for like $80. It’s like transparent red vinyl.
How about you?
AF: I grew up playing cello and I was trained to be a professional cellist until I was 17 so there’s a pretty big lacuna in my knowledge of music and movies. Basically I was just practicing five hours a day. I am more influenced by classic music more than anything else. But my knowledge is expanding exponentially and that’s very exciting.
So no movies and no popular music.
AF: I lived in a cave for a very long time, so this is exciting.
Are your sisters on tour with you?
BD: No, the sisters are all gone.
BD: From the band.
AF: There’s this interview that made it sound like they were dead. That was awful.
JM: Robin is a very accomplished yoga instructor and bought a house. Lauren is going to school for animal therapy. She has horses and lives in Boulder.
AF: We saw her in Denver.
JM: Yeah, she played a couple of songs with us.
Do you see the band as a constantly revolving lineup?
BD: No, I want it to stop. That was never the plan.
So it’s not like the Who or something like that.
JM: They revolve by death. I hope it doesn’t work out like that.
Okay, a question about titles. How do you title a song that doesn’t have lyrics?
BD: Which songs don’t have lyrics?
A lot of the shorter of ones.
JM: Some of them had to do with place or what was going on. “West Philly Vocoder” was recorded in West Philly. Ben was replaying “Evil, With Evil, Against Evil” inside of a room so it was like vocoding that through space.
BD: I think I called it “Life’s Great” because that’s what it sounded like.
JM: There were a lot of sentiments hanging around while we were recording and they ended up as song titles when they didn’t have lyrics. Like “I Miss My Friends” because we spent every weekend and every weekday recording the album and not seeing people.
BD: Yeah, I didn’t hang out with my friends for months. I think “Panic Attacks Are What Make Me ‘Me’” is because I was having panic attacks around then and that song has a sample of a heartbeat going in it and I was like, “Oh! Let’s call it something about panic attacks” and it sounded kind of manic. But I don’t know. I don’t really how songs get titles. I remember how “Close Chorus” got its title.
JM: I don’t even know that.
BD: Remember when we sang that part? (Sings “Carried away.”) I was thinking about a Greek chorus and it just didn’t work out.
AF: It was “close.”
BD: That song was just about relationships and things like that. I didn’t want to call it “Closer.” That sounded too Nine Inch Nails. So yeah, “Close Chorus.” But then the chorus kind of dropped out. I don’t know. I guess I should have changed it.
JM: It’s better than some of the titles we had going at the start.
BD: What were they?
JM: We just had so many code name titles before we started recording them, like “this song sounds like this.”
AF: It took me so long after we finished the album to learn the names. It was like, “Now it’s time to rehearse ‘Passionate Introverts,’” and I was like, “I have no idea what that song is.”
JM: Well, we just called that “Dinosaurs” for so long.
Well, some your influences are so disparate. You do reference Arvo Part for example.
BD: I had this idea for Ashes Grammar right after Tout New Age got done and I thought it was going to be really minimal and really choral. Lots of vocals. By that point I had figured out my sisters’ voices and how to mix them, EQ and work with them. I had never done anything like that, so I thought I should start listening to that music. So I got some Hindemith, a lot of Monteverdi and I got an Arvo Part CD. I just really loved that CD. That song is a horrible attempt by me to rip-off one of his songs and that is why it’s only 10 seconds. The rest of it was garbage.
JM: My interest in classical, besides the stuff you learn in school and college, is more minimalist composers and ambient stuff. Like Arvo Part, Mahler. Steve Reich is definitely a huge influence. Stockhausen is a big thing too. I read one of his books about spirituality in music. That was a big influence.
Yet people still like to apply the shoegaze title to you guys. That always seems to come up.
JM: Yeah, it’s because of the vocals. Lots of reverb and delay and people like to jump to that.
BD: It’s an easy one to go to.
People like putting things in a box.
JM: Well, My Bloody Valentine is an influence we share to a certain extent. At the time, electronic music is just as important to us as anything else. That was definitely a huge influence on this album.
BD: Right before the album, I got into Kompakt Records stuff.
The Field is really good.
BD: Yeah! And this guy Ulf Lohmann. His record was really great. It’s 13 songs and none of them have a title. I think he was on Kompakt. And Marcus Geitner, he’s pretty good too. That was all I was listening to. And I said this in one interview a few weeks ago and it hit me that I don’t listen to any of that now. Which is good. It’s like I’m moving on to something else.
So the next one will be Nas and Eminem influenced?
BD: That would be awesome.
JM: They’ve been listening to a lot of ’90s pop music. They listen to Mariah Carey a lot.
BD: Janet Jackson. I’ve been really into Rhythm Nation lately.
I was listening to Hot Chip and one of the songs on the new album sounds like a Madonna song. I was thinking that if Madonna sang this song, it would be popular but not cool.
BD: It’s just a hallmark of this age that everyone is into everything.
Yeah, Pitchfork likes both Justin Timberlake and Scott Walker. It’s amazing. One word I keep reading about Ashes Grammar is “sprawling.” Back when CDs came out, people were making 74 minute records to fill up the space. Then there came a return to 30 minute albums. A lot of people are making a big deal that your record is 22 tracks and really long. Now that you’re removed from the album itself, are you satisfied with the end result or would you have liked to go back and pared it down some more?
BD: I like it. It was what it had to be. We did pare it down. When we started recording we had a lot more songs. I didn’t really appreciate the length of it until we had the songs mastered and I was laying it out. I was like, “God, it’s 64 minutes long!” We weren’t working on it as a whole. Just individual parts. Well, you keep the whole in mind as far as a consistent sound for it.
Well, I think you said we should listen to it like four EPs.
JM: It turned it out nice. Like a double record. When I listen to it, or even my friends that I give it to, it’s just one record at a time.
BD: It’s a shame the re-press is taking so long because it is a great record for vinyl. You can look at it like each side is an EP.
Is there a way you could have demarcated that on the CD?
BD: I suppose I could have.
JM: Lazer Guided Melodies is sort of like that. It has four different sections. I don’t know. Why make it complicated?
AF: Yeah, you can experience it in different formats.
So even though you are making forward-looking music, is a lot of it based in your ’90s upbringing?
BD: I don’t know. I couldn’t even say.
JM: We’re huge music nerds. We listen to tons of stuff. The fact that we hang out with each other makes it even worse because we’re constantly like, “Oh! You have to listen to this!” We spend a lot of time driving back and forth to the recording studio and be like, “Ah! Listen to this new thing I have.” It would be scary and Halloweeny so we would cover the Misfits. Then we would put on a Misfits song. I think a lot of bands are afraid to wear their influences on their sleeve or admit openly that they are influenced by the music they listen to. I think it’s silly to do that because that is where you get your ideas. You don’t necessarily rip things off. Sometimes you’re like, “I really like what this person did here and I want to make a part that reminds me of that.” There’s a part on “Nitetime Rainbows” that could be the Fleetwood Mac part. There’s a part on “Close Chorus” where Ben said, “Look at this keyboard part I wrote. It sounds like a Michael Jackson thing.”
BD: Yeah, we listen to a lot of Michael Jackson.
JM: Yeah, lot of Michael Jackson to get us pepped up.
JM: Lots of them actually.
BD: Thriller more than any, I think.
JM: We were very into “Human Nature” during that time period.
What have you heard recently for the first time that you have been really sucked into?
BD: I like that band jj from Sweden. No 3 isn’t that good as No 2.
The xx is really good too.
BD: Yeah, the xx’s music is really good but I just wish they were more melodic and less monotone.
JM: I think the last moment I had like that was the Panda Bear album that came out awhile ago. I really like the self-titled High Places album too.
AF: I made a classical music mix for Ben and I haven’t listened to classical music in awhile and it was great to re-experience it again. I’ve been listening to a lot of Mozart opera. It’s so good.
Are you into choral classical music?
BD: Not so much. That was my original idea for Ashes Grammar but it kind of fell apart when my sisters went their own way.
Coke Machine Glow Show Review
3 April 2010 :: The Green Room, Montreal, QC
A couple of things stand out while watching A Sunny Day in Glasgow, a band of which I possess the firm opinion that they represent something relevant and exciting in indie rock. First is that they haven’t broken through to that enormous, peripatetic mass of indie fans that move through Montreal like a storm cloud eating up all of the oxygen: the xx and Serena-Maneesh were playing the same night, and against that kind of competition ASDIG managed about twenty people to hear them on the last stop on a North American tour in support of one of the hands-down best records of 2009. (They didn’t even compete with a Japandroids/Love is All show from the night before, which, set in some shitty, windowless storage locker of a bar, still crammed in at least a hundred people.) The second thing, which became obvious during a broken-string break during which the sparse crowd was treated to an achingly gorgeous impromptu a cappella cover, is that these kids are trained. I’ve got nothing against the xx and Serena-Maneesh, but it was obvious to me which of the three bands has the technical and professional acumen to at least equal their style.
The set was understandably short and sweet, the kind of well-honed thing a band uncomplicatedly sets out on the last stop of an exhaustive tour, as if having burned away all pretensions of showmanship and crowd interaction until all that’s left to display is their wares; their “The White Witch”/“Failure” combo was here employed with expert efficiency, as it seems like it usually is. But you can add a third thing to those that become self-evident as you watch A Sunny Day in Glasgow perform: only two albums in—both of which putting a premium on textures, dabbling, and expansive set lists—and this group has a set mapped out that kills mercilessly. There was surprisingly little jamming, no vanity gestures, just their strongest songs perfectly arranged and effortlessly performed.
They’re off to Europe now, where they can be ignored in Belgium because Neon Indian or some other bullshit is in town, but those few of us lucky enough to take that cab ride will get to hear this band being legit; the real authors of that staggering document that too few people heard last year, slogging it out on the road. It doesn’t get much more essential than saying it’s well worth your fifteen bucks to check them out.
This Week In New York Show Preview
After an exhausting SXSW that included nine appearances over four days, Philly’s a Sunny Day in Glasgow will float into Brooklyn on March 29 on the ethereal sounds of their last two releases, the twenty-two-track ASHES GRAMMAR (Carrot Top, September 2009) and the vinyl/digital-only EP NITETIME RAINBOWS (Mis Ojos Discos, March 2010). From the successful rush of “Failure” to the subtle grooves of “Shy,” from the soft mood of “Loudly” to the heavenly lilt of “Ashes Grammar,” and from the grandiosity of “Daytime Rainbows” to the rhythmic electronica of “Piano Lessons,” ASDIG creates engaging music that lifts you up and takes you away on a rainbow of sounds; don’t get thrown off by such titles as “Slaughter Killing Carnage,” “Curse Words,” and “Evil, with Evil, Against Evil.” Led by founder Ben Daniels and drummer Josh Meakim, ASDIG’s ever-changing lineup, which often includes Daniels’s twin sisters, Robin and Lauren, currently features Annie Fredrickson, Jen Goma, Ryan Newmyer, and Adam Herndon. ASDIG will be playing their dreamy pop at the Bell House on March 29 with international outfit Mahogany and local shoegazers Pacific Theater. Meanwhile, DJs Russ, Mister Disco, Dana “Shaking Like Trombles-o” Trombley, and Moodgadget’s Jakub will be spinning similar sounds in the lounge as part of the Rage Against the Dying of the Light series, beginning at 6:00; admission is free.
Spill Magazine EP Review
Nitetime Rainbows is the follow-up record to A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Ashes Grammer. This EP features only seven tracks, three of which are remixes of the title track. Nitetime Rainbows opens up with a mix of synth tones that evoke a feeling of transformation somehow, like change is in the air, this may be the perfect precursor to the three remixes of the song that come later. The steady drum beat and the droning vocal paired together is what creates such an interestingly quirky song of sorts. The sequel to the title track is “Daytime Rainbows.” More on the pure pop side of things, this song’s driving bass and blurry guitar sound create a real head bobbing track. “So Bloody So Tight’s” ethereal chanting style vocal and screeching synth sounds meld flawlessly together in this track, but the stand out in this song has got to be the uplifting drum beat. The title track’s remixes each offer a new sound to the song, one being more dance concentrated, one more noisy, and the last very delicate. A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s dream pop album, Nitetime Rainbows, may be their brightest sounding album to date.
Washington Post Show Preview
Creative Lofting Show Preview
Snug Harbor continues a welcome trend of booking current “it” acts that typically see CLT from their van’s windows on their way somewhere hipper. Vancouver’s Japandroids are a self-proclaimed “two-piece trying to sound like a five-piece” with a pummeling brand of garage rock-angst yanked into the 21st century. Philly-based A Sunny Day Is Glasgow is all guitar shimmer and thrumming groundswell, a “nu-gaze” shoegaze outfit (more Slowdive than MBV) run through that deliciously hazy 4AD filter – the vocals of twin sisters Robin and Lauren Daniels make Cocteau Twins comparisons practically inevitable, but this is no mere copy-catting. Btw: By the time you read this, likely sold out. With locals Weekenders
WRGW News Show Review
Gails of wind and pouring rain could not stop devoted music fans from packing DC9 for shoegazers A Sunny Day in Glasgow Sunday night. The six piece band from Philadelphia (no, they’re not from Scotland) sparkled as they performed songs from their critically
acclaimed 2009 effort “Ashes Grammar.”
They played an incredible set, selecting some of the best tracks from the 63 minute album, opening with two of their most popular songs, “The White Witch” and “Failure,” moving into “Nitetime Rainbows,” also the title track of a seven song EP released earlier this month. The songs sounded even better live than on the album, due largely in part to talented new vocalists Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson, who replaced former singers Lauren and Robin Daniels.
There was so much going on at any given point onstage it was almost overwhelming, whether it was guitarist Josh Meakim blazing out a solo, Goma and Fredrickson singing intricate harmonies or Ben Daniels playing a number of different instruments, including an electric mandolin on one number.
Fredrickson took time between songs to talk to the audience. “Since we’re in DC, I just want to say it’s awesome that healthcare passed,” she said to a roar of applause. “Well, it could be better, but it’s good.”
The set wasn’t without some surprises. Mixed in with the ethereal, dreamy songs of “Ashes Grammar” were two heavier compositions. Drummer Adam Herndon pounded his crash cymbals and kickdrum while Ryan Newmyer turned his steady bass strumming up in the mix, laying down a menacing rhythmic foundation for Daniels and Meakim to fill out with layers of distorted chords. All the while, Goma and Fredrickson maintained their sweet, melodic vocals with Meakim adding vocoder harmonies. The energy in the room instantly morphed from a euphoric daze to a rock frenzy that was nothing short of spectacular.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow mingled with the ecstatic crowd following the set and thanked fans profusely as they made their way back into the wet DC night craving more.
Eye Weekly Show Preview
Contrary to all intuitive logic, A Sunny Day in Glasgow are actually from Philadelphia. This dream-pop/shoegaze sextet released their 22-track second album, Ashes Grammar, last year, featuring a complex layering of vocal harmonies and dreamy electronics. They most recently captivated audiences at SXSW; this week, it’s your turn.
The Music Fix EP Review
Last year’s Ashes Grammar was a master class in dreamy soundscapes and electro-pop wizardry, and here A Sunny Day In Glasgow have returned with an EP featuring a rejigged, and unbelievably more enchanting version of one of the standout tracks from that album, ‘Nitetime Rainbows’. This seven-track release takes in some brand new songs as well, namely the partner piece ‘Daytime Rainbows’ with its lashings of electric guitar and lovely female melodies. ‘So Bloody, So Tight’ has been described by the band as their favourite song yet, and no wonder. Its driving beat is buried under a sea of fuzzy effects and washes of acoustic guitar and synth, hopefully looking forward to what may appear on their next full-length. There are also three remixes of the title track, the highlight coming from experimental folkster Benoit Pioulard, with his ‘acid wash edit’, which basically turns the whole sound up a notch and creates four minutes of blissful, noise-soaked ambience. 7/10
City Paper Show Review
A Sunny Day in Glasgow was one of the first bands I ever booked in college. I didn’t really know the city yet, but hearing Scribble Mural Comic Journal, the band’s debut album, gave me reason enough. Their combination of gorgeous ambient textures and beautifully dissonant harmonies didn’t really sound like anything else I’d heard. Best of all — they were from here! The band I saw at Kung Fu Necktie last night is still called A Sunny Day in Glasgow and they’re still from Philly, but that’s nearly where the similarities end.
The Homophones played first, were the perfect opening band: fun, irreverent, engaging and altogether uninterested in the seriousness that a band usually needs to get really famous or whatever. They didn’t seem serious, but they sure took their irreverence seriously. They danced a lot and popped balloons and even sang a song about David Foster Wallace.
Arc in Round, who played second, sounded very little like the Disco Inferno song after which they presumably dubbed themselves last year. They’ve got a beautiful web presence — lots of vibrant colors and patterns — which makes me think shoegaze and ambient, but on stage, they actually sounded a bit proggy. I kept thinking about Tool, possibly because of frontman Jeff Zeigler’s shaved head, but also because the band does have a little bit of prog metal in them.
Then it was time for Sunny. At this point lead songwriter Ben Daniels is the band’s only “original member.” It’s a testament to Daniels’ considerable abilities as a bandleader that with all the lineup changes, the band’s overall aesthetic isn’t really all that different. The singing might be most impressive. New vocalists Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma stay true to the band’s earlier vocal sound, which, after all, is what made their music stand out in the first place.
They’ve mellowed a bit — their new songs are lighter, more upbeat, maybe more digestible, without abandoning that ever present dissonance (is there any other band with harmonies like these?). It’s a welcome development: staying true to their roots even as they get closer and closer to writing that perfect, three-minute pop song — a direction I never even realized the band might take. There were a few songs last night that sounded surprisingly close to power pop. Were they new songs? Were they songs from their second album Ashes Grammar or their recent Nitetime Rainbows EP sped up so much that I couldn’t recognize them? I’m not sure, but they sounded fantastic.
And, how about one last difference? The new singers dance more.
Dusted Magazine EP Review
Few bands make the case for the continued viability of the album-as-a-format as A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Last year’s Ashes Grammar was one of a few records that seemed to be chiseled from a single block of sound. Yes, it’s easy to parse the record to single out the hits — “Failure and “Passionate Introverts (Dinosaurs)” — and sweep away seconds-long interstitials. Sitting down to take in the whole hour or so of the dreamy pop album showed just how strongly the songs were bound together. The true power of the band is in the way emotion and dynamics ebbs and flows over the course of a whole record. To think of Ashes Grammar in terms of just songs is to miss the forest for some admittedly lush trees.
Which makes the decision to release Nitetime Rainbows as an EP somewhat perplexing. The original “Nitetime Rainbows” originally appeared near the geographic center of Ashes Grammar, after the big peaks but before the dénouement. Here, it’s the leadoff as well as the centerpiece, given a shiny new mix that dissipates some of the hazy atmospherics for a more precise, mechanistic feel. Instead of being a piece of a larger puzzle, its edges are also rounded off to allow it to stand alone. There’s no continuity with the rest of the record in hopes of hitting it big by focusing on the single. The three new songs that appear afterward sound like afterthoughts. No connective tissue brings them all together like before. You would expect “Daytime Rainbows” to present some kind of flip side, but the relationship between the two songs only exists in name.
This is a gambit that might have paid off and gotten them into the singles game, but as it stands, “Nitetime Rainbows” wasn’t the right choice for an attempted break out. It’s pleasant enough, especially with the shift away from Broken Social Scene towards a dancier Cut Copy aesthetic, but it’s ultimately forgettable. The perfect connector for a full album, but not strong enough to hold its own.
The three remixes do nothing to help the situation either; all of them are even more aimless than the original. They make for decent enough ruminations, but without a framework to anchor them, each of them is fairly superfluous. Studies of a sketch that has not yet fully realized its potential itself.
This leaves the EP in a strange position. These songs are undoubtedly good when taken on their individual merits. It’d be hard to single them out as a step down. But if Ashes Grammar has proven anything, it’s that A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s music is never as strong when it stands alone.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow has had its fair share of change since its original inception in 2006. The band has undergone so many shifts in lineups that this writer admittedly had a tricky time matching names to faces onstage (and extends her personal apologies if anything is off!) It was only last year that the band posted a request for a new singer on Brooklyn Vegan. Since then, the sextet has welcomed a new soprano and base player into the fold, and with that, released a brand-spanking new EP, with a tour to boot.
Last night at the Bell House, the band faced with a new set of challenges: some unsightly rains and the first night of Passover surely made for a slimmer crowd than anticipated. Frizzy hair and ironic weather conditions aside, this dream pop band didn’t disappoint. On lead vocals and Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma delivered ethereal purrs on songs like “Failure,” and “Shy”. With heavy ambient influence, vocal turns were piled atop one another, echoing and creating a whirl of sound.
It’s also worth noting the remarkable diversity in the setlist. Early in the show, Fredrickson and Goma relished in some accapella with a cover of Vashti Bunyan’s “Diamond Day.” Breaking with the shoegaze stylings of previous numbers, the group then amped up the energy and debuted a unnamed new track; the percussive energy of Adam Herndon had even the band members caught up beat. Goma joined in on tambourine and in a matter of seconds everyone was bouncing around onstage.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s third EP, Nitetime Rainbows is available for download now at iTunes.
Temple News Show Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow started with Ben Daniels playing and recording songs in his bedroom.
“I went to school in Glasgow for a year, and I never realized there was a place where the sun could go away for weeks at a time,” Daniels said. “It really affected me. When the sun would come out, it was just the most amazing feeling.”
Last year’s Ashes Grammar is a flowing mesh of mysterious melodies and moods. The 22 tracks, some as short as 10 seconds in length, resemble a backdrop of similar styles and emotions. The tracks flow seamlessly from one to the next, showcasing choir-like, male/female harmonies; distant, deep-synch waves; guitar layers; unpredictable rhythms and millions of other sounds unfamiliar to the average ear. It’s a hypnotic listening experience.
“On the recordings to date, we each kind of play everything,” Daniels said of the band’s fluid lineup.
Live performances feature guitar playing and sampler mastery by both Daniels and Josh Meakim.
“I think I feel most at home in the studio,” Meakim said. “We’ve made some really great recordings and have been working really hard on being a good live act. I’m really proud of Ashes Grammar.”
Meakim and Daniels agreed the band would like to stay busy and hopefully get back into the studio again this year to work on recording short EPs and a new album. The pair’s newest EP, Nitetime Rainbows, was released March 2.
The group is currently in the midst of a U.S. tour that landed them at the exponentially popular South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. Thursday, they make their only tour stop back in their home city at the Kung Fu Necktie in Fishtown. Philadelphia, Meakim said, is a great place to return to after months on the road. Daniels, who grew up in the city, said it has influenced him more than any other place has.
“I’ve traveled a lot and lived in other countries, but Philly’s the only place where I’ve been able to assimilate it all into a final product,” Daniels said. “I feel like I love Philly as much as I hate it, and I think that’s a good relationship to have with your hometown.”
Daily Free Press Show Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a mostly-Philadelphia-based indie/dream-pop band that, through extensive touring and laudatory reviews from publications like Pitchfork, Tiny Mix Tapes and Cokemachine Glow, is gaining national attention and making a name for itself. Its most recent album, 2009’s Ashes Grammar, ran the gamut from woozy shoegaze to soaring pop songs, grounded with electronic beats and some of the catchiest melodies in modern pop music.
The band is touring now in support of its latest EP, Nitetime Rainbows, and The MUSE got a chance to ask ASDIG mastermind Ben Daniels about touring, songwriting, and upcoming projects.
The MUSE: Your sound made a pretty huge leap from the first album to the second, which I’m sure came with new members, but the sound is much more developed on Ashes Grammar. Do you have any ideas for your next album stylistically?
Ben Daniels: We haven’t written anything, but conceptually I hope it will be simpler, and we’ll put the vocals more upfront. There will be more straight lines, with a clearer sound. I would like it if people heard it and didn’t think it sounded like A Sunny Day in Glasgow.
We started recording so many songs for Ashes Grammar, that Josh and I decided not to work on all of them or it would take a year to finish the record. There are probably 10 more aside from Ashes Grammar that we’re wrapping up, including “Sigh Inhibitionist,” which we’ve been playing live a lot lately because it’s fun. All the music is pretty much done, and I’m not sure what we’ll do with that. We might just give it away for free.
TM: Some songs seem to be many disparate sections, albeit in the same tempo, stuck together. What is the songwriting process like?
BD: It’s different for every one. A lot will start with fooling around on the computer with samples or noises, and I’ll hear something and a song will build around that. Other times it’s just fooling around with guitar or mandolin with no set process.
TM: Who are some of your biggest influences?
BD: The Magnetic Fields and Stereolab. I listened to The Cure a lot when I was younger.
TM: How do you develop songs for the live setting differently from how they are in studio? Do you have to revamp parts, take parts out?
BD: There are so many instruments that it’s not possible for six people to play all of them, so there’s a little arranging. For the most part it’s pretty true to what happens on the record. But, for example, “Close Chorus” in the studio has an electronic house beat with real drums on top. It’s much harder to sync that up live, as it would get slightly off and sound horrible, so we abandoned the electronic beat. Little things like that, for the most part. We used to be a four-piece live, but with six of us it’s a little more nuanced, less raw.
TM: The vocals are often drenched in reverb. How do the lyrics fit in to the big picture? Do you write all of them?
BD: They’re no more central than the music, but there is a ton of work that goes into them. They’re not nonsense. I’d like the listener to come to their own understanding of what they are. They never put enough reverb on the vocals live, so sometimes you can understand the words, and if you hear something, that’s great.
There’s one song on the EP for which Annie wrote the lyrics: “Piano Lessons.” My parents made me take piano lessons as a child, and I quit as soon as they let me, but now I regret it. One night I spent hours fooling around and banging on a piano where I was house sitting, recorded a lot of the noise, and made that song. A lot of it is not really playing, just mashing, and there are lots of layers of that.
TM: You played a show with Andrew W.K. at SXSW. Was that weird, as his sound is sort of antithetical to yours? Who else are you touring with?
BD: We played at 3 a.m., and he played at four, to a thousand or so people in a space that should only fit 300. Everyone had been drinking all day, and we played a really short set, since by the end of our fifth song, people were chanting for Andrew. So we covered a Misfits song.
We’re about to play some shows with Japandroids. They came to our show in Vancouver to say hi and introduce themselves. We saw them at the Urban Outfitters party at SXSW; they’re a lot of fun.
TM: What do you like about the Philly scene and what keeps you there?
BD: Actually, I moved to Sydney in October right after Ashes Grammar came out, and we’ve been touring since then. I’m not sure how it’s going to work once this tour is over, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow is playing at the Great Scott on Wednesday, and the show starts at 9 p.m.
Chromewaves Show Preview
This isn’t quite an introduction as I first said hello to A Sunny Day In Glasgow back in December 2006, but considering they’re far from the same band they were at the time of their first EP, I think we can let it slide. When I first took notice of the Philadelphia outfit, they were a family unit – Ben Daniels on songwriting and instrumentation with twin sisters Robin and Lauren on vocals – with some clear genetic predilection for blending wispy melodies with fuzzy, clattering programming and cut-and-paste production, the net result sounding like a proud standard-bearer for electro-twee-gaze, if such a genre ever existed.
And while that sounds like the sort of thing that would be target-marketed to my musical sensibilities, I found their 2007 debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal a little too much of a head trip to really fall in love with. The melodies, while present, were buried under reverb and white noise and the song structures deliberately bent into disorienting shapes. Clearly this was deliberate aesthetic and musical choice on their part, and points should probably be given and not taken away for not doing the easy “pop” thing, but I never found myself wanting to listen to it much.
The follow-up, last year’s Ashes Grammar, continued along the path forged by the debut but with enough added clarity and growth to make it a far superior effort, at least by my standards. The aural gauze that swaddled all of Comic Journal has been thinned out enough that it’s easier and more enjoyable to pick out the many tones and textures at play. The vocals are still deliberately ghost-like, but given stronger melodies to wrap themselves around, they can’t help but make their presence more strongly felt. It’s a record that manages to be much more what I wanted to hear from them and yet remaining very much what they envision for themselves – win-win.
So of course as soon as the record came out, the band went off and reinvented themselves, personnel-wise. Through a series of circumstances, both sisters left the band and a new lineup more suited to touring was assembled around the one constant of Ben Daniels. It was this ASDG Mk2 that I saw a couple weeks ago at SxSW and who surprised me just how direct-sounding the live renderings of their songs are. Granted, reproducing the records verbatim would be as difficult as it is pointless, but it was still a bit of a shock – pleasantly so – how willing and able they were reinvent themselves as a relatively straight pop band on stage.
Due to an inability to tell time, I only caught the tail end of their performance but it was enough that for all the live music options in Toronto this coming Friday night, April 2, I’ve committed to catching their local debut at the Garrison. Tickets for the show are $10 in advance but courtesy of Collective Concerts, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to spend A Sunny Day In Glasgow” in the subject line and your full name in the body, and have that in to me before midnight, March 31.
aux.tv, The Daily Free Press and Spinner have interviews with ASDG leader Ben Daniels.
Decibel Tolls SXSW show review
I saw A Sunny Day in Glasgow bear witness during the South By Southwest Music and Film Interactive Conference in the seat of Travis County Texas, Austin, during their free performance at the IODA Welcoming Party at Emo’s Annex. I drank Lone Star tallboys and smiled a lot before my fucking face melted off. A Sunny Day is Glasgow does not fuck around, nor are they interested in doing such. A Sunny Day in Glasgow ruled.
It’s worth mentioning that I was worried that these pictures would come off as overly amateur. Which they are… but we totally smoked Pitchfork’s concert photography. See We Listen For You’s anthology of unearthed, lulz-worthy visuals. Somebody needs to try harder.
Pop Matters EP Review
Nitetime Rainbows—a companion EP to last year’s excellent Ashes Grammar LP—is a victory lap for the Philly dream-pop sextet. Since the release of Ashes Grammar, the band’s profile has gradually risen through a combination of year-end praise, extensive touring and glowing word of mouth. In my review Ashes Grammar , I was a bit premature in my judgment of the album as it turned out to be a textbook grower and one of my favorite albums of 2009. Being an EP, Nitetime Rainbows is, naturally, a more digestible chunk of music and an easy one to love at that.
The EP’s title track is a new mix of the Ashes Grammar’s standout. It’s accompanied by three new songs and three remixes of “Nitetime Rainbows”. Each of the remixes is enjoyable in its own way, but they’re ultimately forgettable. Let’s be honest: an essential remix is an honest-to-god rarity. Fortunately, the three new tracks are all keepers. Filled with flare gun guitar, “Daytime Rainbows” is the bright, molten flipside to the title track. “Piano Lessons” is exactly that: a composition ASDIG leader Ben Daniels pieced together while teaching himself how to play the piano. The resulting song is much better than that description makes it sound. Best of all is the EP’s radiant pop center, “So Bloody, So Tight”. Questionable song title aside, it’s easily one of the band’s finest moments to date and, hopefully, a taste of things to come.
With their whimsical sound and magnetic qualities, A Sunny Day in Glasgow has helped to define the landscape of indie-pop, combining a dreamlike aesthetic with an uncanny ability to create accessible yet multi-dimensional feel-good music. However, despite the 22-track listing of their 2009 sophomore record, Ashes Grammar, the band was not at a loss for material, having been left with an abundance of songs in need of a home. Cue: The Nitetime Rainbows EP, the latest release from the Philadelphia six-piece, which continues to boast their trademark whimsy as well as three unique remixes.
“There’s this kind of pressure – you’ve got to be prolific,” explained lead member Ben Daniels. “It’s like you have a great album out [but] everybody’s in a band now. Which is great, but it’s kind of like you get less mileage out of an album now. So you’ve got to keep things coming out to stay in people’s minds, I think.”
While recording Ashes Grammar throughout fall and winter 2008, the band quickly realized that unless they were willing to put material aside, they’d be sentenced to an additional year in the studio.
“We started recording it by September 2008 and by late October we had to have a talk and be like, ‘We’re not going to finish all these songs and if we try to work on all of them, we’ll be recording for another year’,” shared Daniels. “So we set some aside to work on later, and just [focused] on the ones that were Ashes Grammar. But yeah, it took six months to record it so there’s a lot of stuff there. . . . We still have like, another album’s worth of songs from then that we’re hopefully going to get out at some point – but we liked these songs, [and] we just didn’t finish them in time.”
After being hailed as one of 2009’s musical victories, Ashes Grammar helped further expand the band’s cult following while solidifying their status as critical darlings. But where other groups have simply fallen victim to their acclaim and been branded “buzz bands”, A Sunny Day in Glasgow have worked to achieve longevity over hype.
“It’s weird – at first, it kind of seemed like . . . it came out and people sort of missed it,” revealed Daniels. “It didn’t seem like anything. But it kind of stayed around and people kind of got into it slowly, I think. But it’s strange – I don’t know. At first, I was like ‘People don’t seem to like this one as much as Scribble Music Comic Journal’ but I think that’s switched now, and I think people are enjoying the record. I don’t know if the reception’s impacted anything in terms of song writing or anything, but it’s nice that people are enjoying it.”
While the group have become accredited members of the indie community, the band has fallen under the umbrella of “pop” – the vast and indefinable category that houses everyone from The Beatles to Lady Gaga. However, Daniels maintains that while the genre is ever-changing, a pronounced shift in pop conventions and what defines them is still questionable.
“[With] pop music, I guess the sound kind of changes but the structure always kind of stays the same,” he elaborated. “It’s typically always “verse-chorus-verse” – or hook – so that never changes about it, but maybe the aesthetic might change a bit. But the structure’s still there. [And] as for a shift [in pop], I don’t know – it’s hard to tell when you’re in the middle of things . . . It kind of seems like people are more into lots of things now than they were previously – but I don’t really pay attention much. . . . [But in regards to mainstream versus indie pop], production values seem to be the biggest defining feature there. Because anything – anything – can be mainstream now.”
As music works to become more complex in the wake of merging genres and higher expectations, bands like A Sunny Day in Glasgow have been praised for producing music that requires attention and an ear for detail. However, with the recent trend of minimalist acts, fans may see the band begin moving in a simpler direction.
“I don’t know if [pop] will become simpler again, [but] that’s kind of the direction I hope to take on the next record ,” shared Daniels. “I hope we can tear things down, because Nighttime Rainbows – I love that song – but there’s something like 150 tracks on that [it] that are not all playing at once. We’re mixing that, and it’s kind of like ‘how does this happen?” [So] we’re going to try and avoid that in the future.”
“I think what’s really popular now is really simple, stuff like The xx or Vampire Weekend, and it’s wonderful, you know?” he continued. “So basic. It works well. . . . It’s a good time to be making music.”
Consequence of Sound EP Review
What might A Sunny Day in Glasgow sound like? Like children laughing, cars passing, trees in the wind? If you don’t know, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The ambient six-piece out of Philly releases yet another stellar soundscape with their EP Nitetime Rainbows. The seven-track release clocks in at a little over half an hour, but don’t be fooled—it’s the nicest half hour you’ll spend all day.
The album begins with titled track “Nitetime Rainbows”, characterized by dark-tinged, at times slightly off-key sounding synth beats, and a certain desperation that comes across in the slow build of the rhythm and the tense vocals. “Daytime Rainbows”, appropriately enough, bursts next with a pleasant lightness that carries the whole album up and into the sky. There’s more guitar on this piece and more vocal warmth, translating into a more upbeat feel in general.
My personal favorite is the next track, titled “So Bloody, So Tight”. It begins with the loveliest, simplest guitar phrase, repeated again and again over a gradually rising backing track. When the vocals come in over top, intoning “we are/ we are” above the whole noise, the song takes on a spiral quality that evokes the same feeling as gazing out a train window. If you’ve ever wondered what song might play over your morning walk in the movie version of your life (come on, it’s not just me), this is it.
“Piano Lessons” features the instrument of the same name layered over a slightly grungy synth beat, and with more ethereal lyrics laid over top. The repetitive nature of the song is soothing and lends itself well to bathtub-floating or crossed-leg meditation. “Nitetime Rainbows (The Buddy System Remix) is similarly pleasant, with well-placed handclaps and nearly unintelligible vocals overlaid some two or three voices deep. “Nitetime Rainbows (Acid Wash Edit by Benoit Pioulard)” follows with a lot of fuzz and distortion. The higher parts rising over the din take on an almost hopeful quality. Lastly, “Nitetime Rainbows (Ezekiel Honig Remix)” finishes things off with a lighter touch. It evolves slowly from rhythm, fuzz, and the sound of someone inhaling sharply, and becomes a comforting guitar piece by the end, pulling thing to a warm and fuzzy close.
Ambient music should ideally be a place to focus your mind, to visual the physical characteristics of the music, and also a place to lose yourself. Nitetime Rainbows has those qualities in spades. This has become my go-to album for stressful moments; if you’re having a similarly hectic spring, dear reader, do yourself a favor, and buy your mind some quiet time. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a place I’d like to be, indeed.
Nashville Scene Show Preview
Garage-rock stripped down to non-essentials, Japandroids’ full-length debut Post-Nothing was one of last year’s most exhilarating collections. The Vancouver, B.C., duo make dense, allusive music with electric guitar and drums, and the result is definitively post-rock–never mind the slightly self-conscious title. Post-Nothing crams what sounds like a thousand subtle variations on basic rock-guitar patterns into every song, but it’s the record’s yelping lyricism that makes it something more than the usual formalist game. Rockers in love with speed and uncertainty, Brian King and David Prowse dream about “sunshine girls” and gas up their old car for a trip out of town. Sharing the bill is the Philadelphia sextet A Sunny Day in Glasgow, who construct unhurried pop with plenty of keyboards and murmuring vocals. Their new EP Nitetime Rainbows is a skillful dreamscape with its share of underlying tension.
Brooklyn PaperA Sunny Day in Glasgow will shine on the Bell House
Ben Daniels should hate being on tour. Currently on the road for months on end, the frontman of A Sunny Day in Glasgow is thousands of miles from his Sydney, Australia, home, where he left behind his wife. It’s also nearly impossible to get anything done creatively (unless, of course, you call watching old “Simpsons” episodes inspiration).
Luckily for his hordes of fans, though; despite these drawbacks, the singer is a fan of the road.
“I love being on tour,” Daniels said from his van while on a long drive from Des Moines to Denver. “Life gets very simple on tour — there’s so much less to worry about, you just have to play shows and get to the next city.”
The band has pointed its compass toward the east, as it makes its way to Brooklyn for a show at the Bell House on March 29.
“New York and Brooklyn have always been really good to us,” says Daniels. “We love coming through there.”
Touring, Daniels said, helps A Sunny Day in Glasgow get its creative juices flowing, and resulted in this month’s EP “Nitetime Rainbows,” a more-concise follow-up to last year’s “Ashes Grammar,” which put the band on the ambient-pop map.
“They’re more poppy, maybe a little less sprawling,” said Daniels of the seven new tracks, songs that the band started while working on “Grammar,” but were left off because they didn’t mesh with the rest of the album. “We stopped [working on them then] because they were kind of different from the other ones.”
That isn’t much of a surprise for a band that has always been a little scattered. Formed in Philadelphia in 2005 by Daniels and his two sisters as a bedroom recording project, A Sunny Day in Glasgow has always been a revolving door of band members, with Daniels at the helm. He now lives in Australia, ever since his wife got a research position at a university there, but the band can’t shake that Philly label. That’s probably fair, given that Daniels has only lived on the continent for a month — he’s been touring the rest of the time.
When he returns to Sydney, it’s difficult to say what will become of his traveling, morphing band.
“I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” said Daniels. “It’s hard to think about life past August.”
Best of New Orleans Blog
TONIGHT: A Sunny Day in Glasgow & Vivian Girls
But not at the same venue, of course. Would’ve been too easy. Instead, AllWays Lounge hosts Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow at 10:30 p.m., while Circle Bar hosts Brooklyn’s Vivian Girls at 10 p.m.
This is Sunny Day’s second trip to New Orleans (and the second to AllWays, where the band played in November 2009). Vivian Girls is here for the first time, though, but not alone — the trio brought the UK’s Wetdog and Vermont’s Happy Birthday, who just released a fun garage-pop debut on Sub Pop this month.
It’s heads or tails, really. For a $5 admission, there is Sunny Day, who dropped one of the finest albums of last year, shot a pretty but super-twee video in New Orleans, and also performs with Rusty Lazer, fresh from South by Southwest. For $8, there are cute girl-group garage groups (and a recent Sub Pop signee).
Coke Machine Glow
While most people had their minds on the rather terrestrial business of ranking the Hype Records of ’09 like so many tennis pros, A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s otherworldly Ashes Grammar fell to earth like a meteorite, an unexpected artifact from a distant, uncharted planet. And if it didn’t end up with a competitive seat near the top of your list, chances are it’s because you didn’t hear it. Across genres, Ashes Grammar was one of the year’s most compelling hours of music—a stream of lush, emotive melodies (as composed by chief songwriter Ben Daniels) highlighted with fuzzy synths and angelic female vocals. Though it’s an undeniable pop record, its best songs—like “A Close Chorus,” “Shy,” and “Nitetime Rainbows”—were almost operatic in structure; its hooks soared to a place beyond the limits of even the most anthemic choruses. But for all its colossal ambitions, the emotions Ashes Grammar transmitted were both intimate and familiar, like a continuation of a collective dream pop music’s been having for years. “Every generation deserves a Loveless (1991),” they seemed to be mumbling with a sly assurance, “so…here.”
Before even listening to Nitetime Rainbows, it’s clear it doesn’t promise the same level of grandeur the Philadelphia band achieved on their last release. Comprised of three new songs and three remixes of the titular track, the EP functions as an adequate—though, predictably, not nearly as mesmerizing—corollary to their previous release. In contrast with most of the songs on Ashes Grammar, which tended to bleed into those surrounding them like watercolors, “Daytime Rainbows” sounds more self-contained, mostly thanks to the steady percussion that thumps through the foreground of the track like a heartbeat. Following track “So Bloody, So Tight” would have fit more seamlessly onto the LP: stirring synths and ethereal vocals provide subtle hints that they’re building towards something goosebump-inducing, but the particular sublimity of the song’s climax (here it’s a synth riff drenched in JAMC-esque distortion) is surprising enough to knock the breath out of you.
Aside from the title track, though, these two new songs are easily the highlights of Nitetime Rainbows. “Pianos Lessons” creates an inviting atmosphere, but it doesn’t deliver the pay-off that the previous two (considerably shorter) tracks do. The remixes don’t fare much better. The first, done by the Buddy System, employs the most conventional methods of the three, chopping up snippets of the original to create a hyperactive composition that sounds like a schizophrenic “Rainbows” having a sputtering conversation with itself. This remix denies much of the original’s charm, the fluidity with which it passes through a number of different hooks, abandoning them and leaping deftly to the next before each is even given a chance to become repetitive. The next two remixes—Benoit Piuolard’s and Ezekiel Honig’s, respectively—don’t commit the same error; they’re much sparser meditations on the original track. I like Ezekiel Honig’s take best: the repetition of a bending, mournful note and a stammering breath works nicely as a minimalist take on A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s almost biorhythmic aesthetic. Intriguing approaches, but at no moment do these remixes even come close to improvements upon the existing formula. If anything, they serve as reminders of the unerring brilliance of the original and invitations to start the EP over at track one.
The EP itself doesn’t amount to anything great, though this is not to say that “Nitetime Rainbows” is not the kind of song that deserves an EP—or perhaps a small island nation—named in its honor. Because it is. But the EP sputters too often into simple adequacy, which is frustrating knowing how high this band can soar given enough room for a proper take-off. A Sunny Day in Glasgow, I think, are a band particularly ill-suited to the EP form; and I say this as one of the highest compliments I can give them. This band can do incredible things: contain sweeping grandiosity and tiny intimacy in one breath; they can collapse the actual sky with the veiny one you see when you look at the sun with your eyes closed; and I’ve little doubt they will perform other impossible tricks on their next LP. Nitetime Rainbows has its moments of bliss, but they aren’t as enveloping as I’d hoped; the problem here is that you wake too early from the dream.
Philadelphia Weekly SXSW
Under the Radar Show Review
Apply named, A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s sound is not unlike a piercing beam of light. Minimal exposure to the Philly-based sextet’s ethereal blend of shoegazing theatrics, dueling female vocals, and reverb (oh the reverb!), and you might be left believing that they are capable of lighting up a gloomy Scottish city, brightening up a generic cloudy day, or shining in dark and overstuffed Los Angeles bar. If Rainbow Brite was a hipster, you know this is exactly the type of music she’d be listening to.
While failing to achieve sound levels equal to the glorious cacophony of their newest LP, Ashes Grammar (The Mint’s sound system, I’m sure, thanks them), ASDIG managed to maintain a surprisingly intricate sonic balance as members shuffled between keyboards, guitars, and tambourines. Their exuberance? Palpable. Their banter? Negligible. (“We drove in today from Davis! And…that’s the whole story!”) Like a ASDIG album, their performance seemed to fly by in a slipstream of color and sonic textures, lead by the driving beats of drummer Adam Herndon and bassist Ryan Newmyer.
After the world’s weakest call for an encore (Come on guys, if Rainbow Brite was there she wouldn’t have been too cool to clap!) The band obliged with a cover-set. The ladies of ASDIG, Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma, emerged first to perform an impressive a cappela cover of Vashti Bunyan’s “Diamond Day.” After a brief pause, the men joined them to perform a surprisingly straightforward interpretation of, bar-friendly Fleetwood Mac jam, “Everywhere.” A surprising end to a night of strong originals? Sure. But judging by the faces of fellow attendees, I wasn’t the only one who saw the light.
Examiner Live Photos
The Daily Athenaeum EP Review
As a fan of indie bands from Scotland, I was sure I would like A Sunny Day in Glasgow before having heard the band.
It turns out the band was good and, ironically, it isn’t from Glasgow.
As a relatively young band, A Sunny Day in Glasgow has been supremely active.
The band has released two studio albums, three EPs and has a constant touring schedule, upward of 50 dates from now until the end of May.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow has toured with bands including M83 and The Metric Mile.
The six-piece band from Philadelphia characterizes its sound as “dreamy pop music that uses lots of samples, guitars and melodies,” according to the band’s MySpace page.
However, that doesn’t mean the album only consists of “dreamy,” popular music.
The band’s liberal use of space and unorthodox texture on the recently released EP would cause popular radio stations to lose most of their listeners during the album’s lengthy tracks.
Overall, the “Nitetime Rainbows” EP provides some not-so-new fodder to the band’s rapidly growing canon.
The use of acoustic guitar is an appreciated departure from the band’s insistence to feature a stock shoe–gaze guitar tone.
The track “So Bloody, So Tight” sounds markedly similar to “Shy” from “Ashes Grammar.”
Unlike most EPs, “Nitetime Rainbows” is not solely a mini-album of what is to come from the band in the near future.
Instead, most of the album consists of what the band has composed in the past.
Four of the seven tracks are variations of “Nitetime Rainbows,” a track featured on 2009’s “Ashes Grammar.”
It is obvious the band is attempting to make the connection with shoe–gaze band My Bloody Valentine.
However, A Sunny Day In Glasgow successfully incorporates electronics and more keyboards than its early ’90s counterpart, especially heard in “Nitetime Rainbows (Buddy System Remix).”
Though the scarce occurrence of vocals and buzz-saw guitar and the constant sustaining of keyboard chords are atypical for popular music, this EP, along with its title track is an ideal song for first-time listeners and is sure to get them hooked on the band’s unique sound.
Some might find A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s music to be dangerously sleepy to listen to while studying. Others will probably find the music particularly appropriate for an afternoon drive though the rain–maybe even through Glasgow.
Check this out if you enjoy Fleeting Joys or Deerhunter.
Treble Zine EP Review
A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s Ashes Grammar was the rare album that not only worked most strongly as a whole, but actually flowed seamlessly as one extensive piece of music. The Philadelphia dream pop outfit pieced together gorgeously glimmering pop songs with abstract, yet gorgeous instrumental interludes, creating a symphony of electronic textures and shoegazer sounds. Which isn’t to say there weren’t individual highlights-”Failure” and “Close Chorus” were two of the album’s most instantly powerful tracks, while “Nitetime Rainbows,” one of the most densely constructed and complex, is the A-side on the band’s new EP, which also lines up three remixes of the title track with three unreleased B-sides.
Spanning a half-hour in length, Nitetime Rainbows is practically a full-length release by some bands’ standards, and though it’s still somewhat abbreviated in comparison to A Sunny Day’s epic last album, it features a substantial offering of dream pop delights. The title track is a heady and wonderful introduction, which continues with “Daytime Rainbows,” a much shorter and more rock-sounding track that provides its companion track an upbeat complement. Meanwhile, “So Bloody, So Tight” is an ethereal delight with a persistent, pulsating beat, and “Pianos Lessons” juxtaposes a detuned piano against throbbing electronic waves, eventually breaking for the sound of a simple piano exercise. Closing out the EP are three remixes of the title track, the first being the Buddy System Remix, which opts for a series of hypnotic loops, while Benoit Pioulard’s Acid Wash Remix takes a heavy layer of distortion to everything, making for a decidedly more chaotic, but ultimately more satisfying take. Rounding these out is Ezekiel Honig’s take, which distills the song down to its barest elements-a handclap, some guitar shimmer, a simple breath-turning it from song to meditation.
Though Nitetime Rainbows is only a small sliver of A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s trippy, sparkling melodic experience, it’s nonetheless a compelling entry in the Philly group’s discography. In the hands of others, their songs become new and fascinating constructs, less about danceability than abstract art presentation. But it’s the band’s own source material, four dazzling and beautiful compositions, that truly make this 30-minute head-trip a treat.
Finally, new music from this East Coast sunshine shoegaze dream pop combo. Both of their full lengths, Scribble Mural and Ashes Grammar ended up being big faves around here, so we were definitely excited for more more more.
And thankfully, everything we loved about ASDIG is still present, the shimmery jangly guitars, the ethereal vocal harmonies, the woozy rhythms, but this time around the band have added some new sounds, the opening track for instance, has a cool breakdown where things get all washed out and in comes a muted techno thump, before the launch right back into the rock, only to have that electronic skitter follow them, getting al tangled up with the vocals. The guitars are crunchy here and there as well as jangly, “Daytime Rainbows” is crazy catchy, and finds the band at their heaviest, channeling the spirit of nineties shoegaze legends the Swirlies. That electronica finds its way into the third song as well, before they finish off with “Piano Lessons”, a midtempo groover with fuzzy low end synths, laid over a seriously dreamy swirl of sounds.
As if 4 new songs weren’t enough, this 12″ also tags on 3 remixes, all of which take the original songs in dramatically different directions, the first is a pretty straight up electronic reimagining of the title track, the second one though buries the original under all sorts of crumbling distortion and blown out buzz. If you can imagine Wold remixing ASDIG, it might just sound like this. Finally, Ezekial Honig, whose Surfaces records we reviewed a while back, turns that same track into something super space-y and minimal, hushed and abstract. Really nice.
LA Record Show Preview
You might say that A Sunny Day in Glasgow has a most satisfyingly perplexing pop aesthetic. On the one hand, the Philadelphia-based band does indeed yearn to pump out the joyous, dreamy teen beat, full of nagging melodic hooks that plague the brain and keep the toes a-tapping, but it all comes in weird angles, like smeared shards of pop’s past mirrored in a thousand nonlinear images and sounds. At least that’s what you get on their latest album, Ashes Grammar, and especially their new EP, Nitetime Rainbows (both on the band’s own Mis Ojos Discos), which do all of the above by drawing supposed inspiration from modernist composers such as Arvo Pärt and Alvin Lucier, where the tones themselves are as important as the sum import of the “music.” While these days that sort of conceptualizing can come off as tedious, ASDIG is anything but: There’s sheer glee in everything they do.
The Owl Show Review
A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW @ Hemlock Tavern 3/11/2010
I’ve been to many shows at Hemlock, (Samara Lubleski, Past Lives, Japandroids, to name a few) and I can tell you that even though it’s a tiny venue, it’s rare to see “Sold Out” on the chalk board by the front freezer flaps. Apparently word has gotten out about the awesome-ness of A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The kids turned out, packed shoulder to shoulder, beer to beer to hear the sonic assault brought forth Thursday night at Hemlock. It was quite the scene and A Sunny Day did not disappoint. The sound was far too vast for such a small club, but the band seemed to push the walls aside making room for their swirling, effects-soaked guitars, bouncing rhythms and lovely vocals.
For a band that boast a larger list of former members than current, they have a very cohesive sound and stage presence. Each member contributes seemingly unrelated parts to form well crafted, sonically rich, shoe-gazing, pop songs. It’s like My Bloody Valentine had a more sensitive and playful younger sibling.
I think if the band could settle on a secure line up then fans would fall in love with the members as well as the music, people want a stronger sense of familiarity in a band where they recognize the faces when they go to see them. However, as was demonstrated Thursday night at the sold out show, the buzz is getting louder around these six Philadelphia rockers and I suspect seeing them at such small intimate venues will soon be a thing of the past.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Show Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow wants you to rethink shoegaze. The Philadelphia trio layers their instruments in a manner that resembles a 21st-century Cocteau Twins, but their wall of sound is never as heavy, aiming instead for a sunny pop atmosphere you wouldn’t expect from the genre. Sometimes the accompanying vocals by Annie Fredrickson and Josh Meakim are maddeningly hard to make out beneath the waves of sound, but then they emerge clearly at just the right moment, like a breath of fresh air. Last year’s sophomore album Ashes Grammar (Mis Ojos Discos) was a sprawling mega-mix of moods, with songs bleeding into songs willy-nilly, and it’s safe to figure that their live show would reflect such a singular aural experience. If the critical reactions to Ashes Grammar are any indication, chances are good A Sunny Day in Glasgow won’t be performing in spaces as tiny as the Hemlock for long.
Brooklyn Courier Show Preview
Ben Daniels should hate being on tour.
Currently on the road for months on end, the frontman of “A Sunny Day in Glasgow” is thousands of miles from his home, in Sydney, Australia, where he also leaves behind his wife. It’s also nearly impossible to get anything done creatively (unless, of course, you call watching old “Simpsons” episodes inspiration).
Lucky for you, though; despite these drawbacks, the singer is a fan of touring.
“I love being on tour,” said Daniels from his van while on a long drive from Des Moines to Denver. “Life gets very simple on tour – there’s so much less to worry about, you just have to play shows and get to the next city.”
The band will soon set their compass East, as they make their way to Brooklyn for a show at the Bell House in Gowanus on March 29.
“New York and Brooklyn have always been really good to us,” says Daniels. “We love coming through there.”
Before they left, ASDIG was able to get the creative juices flowing, releasing the digital/vinyl-only EP “Nitetime Rainbows” earlier this month. It’s been considered a more concise follow up to last year’s “Ashes Grammar,” which put the band on the ambient-pop map.
“They’re more poppy, maybe a little less sprawling,” says Daniels of the seven new tracks, songs they started while working on “Grammar” but which didn’t mesh with the rest of the album. “We stopped (working on them then) because they were kind of different from the other ones.”
Initially formed in Philadelphia in 2005 by Daniels and his two sisters as a bedroom recording project, since, ASDIG has had a revolving door of band members, with Daniels always at the helm. While Daniels now lives in Australia (his wife got a research position at a university there), the band can’t shake that Philly label. Which is fair – Daniels has only lived on the continent for a month. After moving there in September, a month later, he was off on a tour that will see the band traveling for most of the year.
When he returns to Sydney, it’s difficult to say what will become of the traveling ASDIG.
“I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” says Daniels. “It’s hard to think about life past August.”
Until then, the frontman’s going to enjoy life on the road and worry about the only thing he has to – the next city.
Exclaim Show Review
A Sunny Day in Glasgow / Solars
Media Club, Vancouver, BC March 8
By Mark E. Rich
Vancouver act Solars may have seemed an odd pairing for A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s debut show in the city, but if you follow back the lineage of both band’s love of shoegaze, there are definitely a few dots to connect. Solars, a guitar-based two-piece who have already released a handful of cassettes and seven-inches in their brief existence, take the heavily affected guitars from the cult shoegaze band Flying Saucer Attack and stretch them out into a wavering, blissful noise. Their 20-minute set was an awe-inspiring and ear-ringing testimony to the staying power and the ingenious mutations of the genre.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow, too, have a penchant for piling on a mountain of effects in the style of bands like My Bloody Valentine or Cocteau Twins, smearing their songs into a blissed-out, pastel-hued mist. This musical blurring often makes it difficult to separate one song from the other, particularly on their most recent effort, 2009′s Ashes Grammar. The live show, on the other hand, was quite the opposite. Every song in their hour-long performance at the cavernous Media Club popped out of the speakers as clear as a sunny day in, well, you get the idea.
Most notably in the front of the mix were the dual female vocals, which had previously been buried beneath the mix far enough to obscure most of the lyrics. “Failure” and “Close Chorus” from Ashes Grammar were stripped down to the bare essentials, revealing an almost sugary pop that seemed miles away from the heavily treated sound the band has become synonymous with.
Despite the resistance to clutter their sound, there was still plenty happening on stage. Between every song, the six members swapped guitars, drums, bass and a scattering of keyboards and random electronics. The crowd soaked the whole show up, swaying and shimmying to the ecstatic groove laid down, which is about as much as you can hope to get out of the usually pacifistic Vancouver concertgoer.
Urban Outfitters SXSW
Loud Loop Press Show Review
It was a night filled with offset guitars, otherworldly vocal harmonies and vigorous dancing. If you missed A Sunny Day In Glasgow at Schubas on Wednesday night, then you missed quite the extravaganza.
Two hailed from the east including Brooklyn’s Acrylics and Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day In Glasgow, while Chicago’s Light Pollution opened. And the best part of the whole show? Every single band danced to their own music. Not just bobbed a little, these kids cut loose and really danced.
It all kicked off with Light Pollution. It’s almost as if they took the open-hearted, lofty vocals of Sufjan Stevens and mashed them together with Animal Collective’s off-kilter synth beats. All the while, the lead singer ceaselessly bounces in place like a vertical metronome. Light Pollution is a very tight band for the amount of chaos that is going on in their music. Just when you think they are going to lose it, they bring it back into something upbeat and funky. It just made you happy.
Rising stars, Acrylics came on next and took us down a few notches with their calm, cool folkish rock. Using both acoustic and electric instruments and focusing on the quiet side of things, they reminded me of a cross somewhere between The Sundays and The Cranberries. Their clear male/female vocal harmonies and minimalistic music was a nice cleansing of the auditory palate. If this is a revival of that sound we knew so well in the 90’s, then Acrylics have captured the essence entirely. Instead of a drummer, they used a drum machine, but I’m not sure if that was even necessary. Early in the show, the drum machine did start acting up, causing them to turn it off and their music pulled through just fine without it. A good portion of their set was highlighted by a vintage-looking Steele guitar that really rounded out their whole sound.
We moved on from the quiet of the Acrylics to the beautiful dreamy sounds of guitarist Ben Daniel’s masterpiece, A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The small, candlelit venue with a Bavarian beer hall feel, suddenly gave way to a room full of flailing and shimmying fans shaking what their mamas gave them to the music. ASDIG is a force to be reckoned with on stage. Their passion and emotion for the sound they make is seen in every member of the band. Everyone appears to get lost in the music, completely enjoying every minute of it. The effect this has on an audience is sensational. It’s near impossible to resist moving along with them. But, then, with that music, how could you not dance?
I have to say that I didn’t expect them to be able to pull off their music live. I thought there would be a number of replacements or fill-ins for parts that I expected to be there. But no, ASDIG packed the stage with all sorts of instruments, computers, and electronic devices that I didn’t even recognize, just to make sure their fans got the full amount of sound they needed and expected. Lead singers Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma stretch every vocal chord they have to create the choir-like atmosphere found on their albums. Back-up vocalist and guitarist (or I should say Jaguarist) Josh Meakim blended in perfectly with the ladies, hitting ranges that you had to see to believe. Bassist Ryan Newmyer had the difficult job of maintaining control and losing control all at the same time. His impressive bass tones had to fit in with both the wild sounds of the band, but also be stable for Adam Herndon’s fantastic drumming. Herdon appears to have found the final piece to this intricate puzzle and stands with his feet on the ground no matter where his dreamy companions try to fly to.
They played all my favorites from Ashes Grammar including “Failure” and “Shy”. They were even sweet enough to come back for an encore and play a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” which sent everyone reeling and cheering. After the show, they manned their own merchandise table where fans were able to speak with them, take pictures and of course buy merchandise. It was a delightfully personal show with a delightfully personable band. I would do it again and again. I think you should too.
TA Live Show Preview / EP Review
reality, 2010 should be predestined as a tough year for A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Not because they’re stuck in dreary weather in Glasgow — they’re not. The band is actually from Philly, and there’s nothing particularly sunny nor glasgow-y about them in the first place.
You see, 2010 should be tough because it has the unenviable task of following 2009’s fairy tale ride of indie buzz and critical acclaim in the wake of the band’s sophomore breakout, Ashes Grammar.
The 2010 product, Nitetime Rainbows, isn’t as much a fresh musical statement as it is cutting room floor material from the Ashes sessions. Typically, even the B-side scraps of a masterpiece are delightful, and there’s no exception here. Rainbows delivers a slightly brighter (sunnier, perhaps?) spin on the same post-rock grungy shoegaze goodness that got them here in the first place — smart in sticking to the tried and true formula but noble in proving the band’s more than a one trick pony.
Rainbows can’t be taken on the same level as Grammar and it’s likely not the band’s intent for it to be, as signified by the inclusion of three remixes of the title track. Superfluous on a new LP, each different take on the tune really defines this record as a waiting game filler that underscores the point — that ASDIG shouldn’t leave your radar any time soon. A perfect coda to Ashes‘ brilliance, Rainbows is the perfect appetizer for a feast surely to come with the next full-length.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow play DC9 March 28. Tickets are on sale at Ticket Alternative.
Agit Reader Interview
With a record as gorgeous and epic as last year’s Agit favorite, Ashes Grammar, it’s hard not to psychoanalyze its creator in order to find some deeper meaning, some sense of purpose as to why and how it was made. A Sunny Day in Glasgow, a band that claims Philadelphia as its most stable home, started as the bedroom project of Ben Daniels. Once Daniels realized he needed vocals to flesh out the pop songs he envisioned, he quickly recruited his twin sisters, Robin and Lauren, into the fold and began fully realizing the dreamy mix of pop, ambience and shimmering soundscapes swirling around in his head. The band’s 2006 debut, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, certainly sounded like an amorphous blend of those tropes, but may have been too slight, layered beyond cohesion and ultimately not taking hold of the listener despite some breathtaking moments. In comparison, Ashes Grammar is that colorful, textural, fever dream for which Daniels has been searching from the beginning, one that inhabits a space somewhere between the ethereal gauze of the Cocteau Twins, the glowing guitar waves of My Bloody Valentine, and the shape-shifting minimalism of electronic artists like the Field and Fennesz. But even as expansive and seemingly comprehensive as Ashes Grammar sounds, there are plenty of loose ends, patterns that blur in the horizon, and unformed thoughts that suggest Daniels’ journey is far from over.
Daniels’ sisters left the band before Ashes Grammar, but Annie Fredrickson came on board in time for the recording. When it came time to take the record on the road, longtime fan Ryan Newmeyer joined as bassist and Adam Herndon came on to play drums, while Jen Goma was recruited to sing through an open-call for recorded submissions. In fact, in talking with Daniels and guitarist Josh Mekam before a recent show in Columbus about topics as varied as psycho-geography and the profound influence of Led Zeppelin, I found that A Sunny Day in Glasgow is still a constantly evolving band, recording new material and ideas whenever and wherever they bloom and synthesizing all of these wild muses into a transcendental blur of pop.
Given that your albums are filled with a number of ambient pieces, noisy fragments, and decorative interludes, would you consider yourself more of a composer than a songwriter? I guess what I’m asking is do you feel more comfortable experimenting with sounds or sitting around writing a skeleton of a melody first?
Ben Daniels: It’s half and half, maybe more experimenting with sound.
Josh Mekam: At least that’s how it was with this record. It started off with Ben writing songs and being the core, making demos. He had these skeletal ideas and we took them to the studio and fleshed them all out, and that’s where we did all of the experimenting.
I think that even when you have something that resembles a song, like “Close Chorus” or “The White Witch,” you tend to obscure those melodies even more than the blatantly abstract material. Is this a conscious effort when you are recording? Do you think the melodies become more profound when the listener really has to dig for them?
BD: It’s not such a clear thought as that. You go into the studio and try things, and if it works, you follow that path.
JM: As cheesy as it sounds, we were just trying to make a record that we liked. There were songs that we mixed as straightforward pop songs at first, but then we’d throw reverb on the whole track. Maybe it’s because with this one we were trying to appeal to fans of the last album, but at the same time move in a direction of recording pop songs. We were listening to a lot of ambient and electronic music at the time, so it’s hard not to have your influences seep in.
BD: I was thinking about that today, about what we were listening to leading up to that year. I haven’t listened to a Kompakt compilation in a long time.
Ashes Grammar sounds like a fairly ambitious album, in that editing and piecing it together took some time and patience. Was this a project, one whole work, that you had envisioned from the start, knowing everything that it would encompass, or did it take on a sprawl of its own once you began?
BD: There were a lot more songs that we started recording that we stopped two months in because we knew we wouldn’t finish them. The songs on the album that really tend to build into each other, those we wrote together as a group. But for the most part I didn’t have it mapped out other than just standing back and saying, “Jesus Christ, this is a long album!”
JM: We were really just having a lot of fun. The last album Ben did in his bedroom, so this time we had the proper space. We were able to experiment with all sorts of mics and able to start a song, and if we didn’t like it or got bored, we could work on something else.
I’ve read in a lot of interviews that you have a particular disdain for ’90s shoegaze and don’t really appreciate the comparisons. But given the fact that you’re almost always compared to those bands, I was wondering if you could elaborate on what you find frustrating about those comparisons.
BD: Generally, when somebody mentions one of those bands, I try to argue against it. For me, there were a handful of bands that get called “shoegaze” that were incredible. It was something real that they expressed. Then there are a lot of other bands just taking that aesthetic, and it’s those bands I don’t have time for.
JM: It’s definitely an influence, but we owe just as much to something like the Field. As soon as you use a delay pedal and reverb, you’re in that genre.
BD: I love Boards of Canada. To me, that’s something you could call “dream pop.”
Though I’m not the biggest My Bloody Valentine fan, I do consider the tones and textures of Loveless to be a landmark in modern music. So many bands since then have tried to achieve that sound, though few have even come close to replicating. I feel like Ashes Grammar is an album that reaches that level, without succumbing to mimicry, so I’d like to know how much of an influence Loveless is on your work.
BD: I came into Loveless pretty late. It was actually Josh that introduced that to me.
JM: It’s not something I would want to mimic, but I think it’s a record that is trying to make sounds that have not been made, and that’s something I always try to do.
Is there something else—that doesn’t particularly have to be a band or album—which has truly inspired your recordings?
BD: When I was a kid I got super into Led Zeppelin to the point that now I don’t listen to it anymore. I remember driving around with my mom, and “Over the Hills and Far Away” came on the radio. I loved that song so much. My mom suggested I start playing guitar, so that’s where that started.
You’ve travelled and lived in a number of different places over the years, and I do think there’s transience in your music that represents that wanderlust. Do you think being a bit of a nomad has an influence on what you do musically?
BD: On our albums, I like to put cities on there because I’m a strong believer in psycho-geography. It’s the study of places affecting thought. Living in London had a big impact on some of my songwriting.
I know Ashes Grammar was finished quite some time ago, so what have you been doing in the meantime? Can you give a hint at all at what you want the next record to sound like?
BD: We have a lot of songs we need to finish up once we finish touring. Compared to Ashes Grammar, they are a lot happier, a little poppier.
Soundcheck Magazine Show Review + Photos
The very band name of A Sunny Day in Glasgow actually hints at improbability. A sunny day in Glasgow? That’s like a cold day in the netherworld. Yet, the band has a very accessible and catchy sound that has survived numerous lineup changes and what some might call shifts in sound or direction. Mainly from Philadelphia, the band is now a six piece with Ben Daniels leading the group. You wouldn’t necessarily realize this from their stage presence, however, as Daniels tends to let the female presence dominate and lead the youthful sets they are becoming increasingly well known for.
Though the music is made up of original compositions vs. covers and has a much different feel to it (think shoegaze crossed with light hearted indie pop), the live presence of the band bears some similarities to Nouvelle Vague. Mainly, it’s the two beautiful females that stand out the most up front in the light while the four men behind them really serve to give the songs their lush sound. In fact, it was difficult to see most of the males on stage because of the size of the band and where they positioned themselves. Jen Goma and Annie Fredrickson lived it up front playing keyboards but mainly singing in glorious union. They also seemed to be having the time of their lives between their dancing and their hair flips, which made the band increasingly fun to watch. Their positive energy even recalled twee bands such as The Brunettes in terms of their happy demeanor and sense of un-self-conscious fun.
It also bears mentioning that the six piece isn’t trying to one up eachother live. Though there are layers of instrumentation, no one member dominates with an extended play. You won’t hear any intricate guitar solos or attention given to bombastic drums, for example. Instead, there is a glowing sense of unity that its members are working together to make the sound possible and an enjoyable experience for everyone. In fact, it wasn’t the least bit surprising to see audience members dancing around to the songs with a gleeful response.
In some ways, the overall sound of A Sunny Day in Glasgow is not too surprising considering the rise in popularity of shoegaze bands such as The Besnard Lakes and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is much closer to the latter, especially with their recent output and stage presence. There are no reeling guitars or heavy progressions weighting the songs down. There’s really only the ethereal, which was one thing that was unfortunately reduced live in comparison to some of their album recordings. It’s possible that the band’s sound will evolve even further after this most recent release, Nitetime Rainbows EP. There’s a likelihood that they could become a much more mainstream act. Let’s hope if that happens, they won’t sacrifice all the hopes and dreams that have made all their songs worthwhile.
Playing a 50 long minute set, the band succeeded in captivating the audience with songs like “Shy” and “Failure” as well as a surprising encore cover of “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac. Though their set length was substantial, like many good shows it felt like it was finished too soon, as if by the time the audience was completely engaged, they were departing the stage, leaving their fans to long for more. Let’s hope they come back soon!
(Chicago)Time Out Show Review + Photos
A Sunny Day in Glasgow was the obvious draw for the evening, packing the venue before kicking its set off with the title track from its latest EP, Nitetime Rainbows. Throwing in tambourines, maracas and plenty of handclaps, the dream-poppers churned out an enchanting performance fueled by infectious energy and angelic female voices. Despite relentless touring, the Philly kids were far from burnt-out and made friendly small talk with the audience, throwing in an obligatory toast, “We love Chicago.” But with their cheerful demeanor, it’s hard to think they didn’t mean it. A magnetic performance elevated shoegazing to a celestial level.
Vancouver Courier Show Mention
(Denver) AV Club Show Mention
Radio Free Chicago Show Review
The highlight of the evening featured ambient shoegaze sextet from Philadelphia, A Sunny Day in Glasgow. The solid 60-minute mesmerizing performance by the band were lead by the dueling angelic vocals of Jen Goma and Annie Frederickson coupled with the spacey guitars licks of Ben Daniels. Also at the driving wheel were Ryan Newmyer on the thumping bass, Josh Meakim on trancey guitars and Adam Herndon on bombastic drums. Sunny Day hit the road following the release of its recent EP, Nightime Rainbows and its magnificient, 2009 third LP, Ashes Grammar; a 22 track celebration of shoegaze scene, which calls to mind, the early works of Lush or the late works of Northern Picture Library or Slowdive’s Pygmallion. Nevertheless, the cacophony of sound filled up the room brightly with its heavenly salute to shoegaze, which had me staring at my shoes entranced by a higher light. While playing such favorites as “Close Chorus,” “Ashes Math” and “Nighttime Rainbow,” the band encored with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.”
In 2009, A Sunny Day In Glasgow’s second album, Ashes Grammar, put the Philadelphia-based band at the top of the ambient-pop heap with its twinkling, ethereal kaleidoscope of sounds. In the time-honored “give them an EP until the follow-up album’s ready” tradition, ASDiG has based a seven-track EP around the ‘09 album cut “Nitetime Rainbows.” In this case, the gambit seems likely to keep fans satisfied; after leading off with the aforementioned album track, we are led into a sequel of sorts called “Daytime Rainbows,” whose more clamorous, fuzzy-guitar feel will bring a smile to those who recall actual Scottish ambient popsters Adventures In Stereo (a possible influence?). From there it’s on to a bit of dream-pop paradise with the psychedelic guitars and squelchy synths of “So Bloody So Tight” and the rather School Of Seven Bells-ish “Piano Lessons,” before we’re launched into a trio of title-track remixes, one dance-minded, one noisy, and one minimal/ethereal. All in a all, a pretty wild ride for a group best known for keeping their heads up in the clouds.
Vancouver Straight Show Preview
No one could ever accuse A Sunny Day in Glasgow of lacking ambition. The Philadelphia-based band’s most recent album has 24 tracks on it. Sure, some of them are as short as 11 or 43 seconds, but when you consider that Ashes Grammar clocks in at just over 63 minutes, it’s still a monumental achievement. Even so, the band’s guitarist and main songwriter, Ben Daniels, says that if he and the album’s producer, ASDIG guitarist-keyboardist Josh Meakim, hadn’t reined it in, the album might have turned into a never-ending project.
“We had tons and tons of songs, actually, that we started,” Daniels says, reached at the band’s rehearsal space. “We’d still be recording it now if we kept going for all these songs. So we kind of saw where we were at with them and we said ‘We’re not going to worry about that one. We’ll come back to that. These other ones are further along.’ And we just stopped working on a bunch, because we were going to go crazy. And it’s very good that we did that, because it still took another four months from that point.”
When Ashes Grammar was finally complete, it was released by Mis Ojos Discos last September to universal acclaim, its pastel-hued layers of reverb-saturated vocals, sunburst-and–snow-blind ambient haze, and lo-fi dance beats garnering comparisons to the 4AD and Creation Records back catalogues. Mind you, Daniels makes it clear he has little use for any of that, pointedly dismissing the likes of Lush and Slowdive in conversation with the Straight. It’s telling, too, that he coyly avoids using the term “dream pop”, preferring to describe A Sunny Day in Glasgow as merely “dreamy pop”—not that he spends a lot of time worrying about making his music fit into any particular genre.
“I don’t know that I think about it that much, to tell you the truth,” Daniels says. “I think when I generally write songs, it’s kind of like a pop format, I guess you’d say. I mean, on Ashes Grammar, there’s a bunch of really long songs, but generally when I start they’re like three or four minutes and there’s maybe a verse part and a chorus part or something. And that’s maybe how it would be at the beginning….There’s not always so much of a firm concept or plan when it gets going. You do stuff and you react to stuff, and eventually you figure out what works and what doesn’t, and you end up with, hopefully, something good.”
Well, it’s working out so far—even if the end result is a lot closer to classic dream pop than Daniels would ever admit.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow plays the Media Club on Monday (March 8).
Des Moines Metromix Show Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow got its start in Philadelphia when founders Ben Daniels and Ever Nalens returned to their home city after living in the United Kingdom for several years. The band earned some early acclaim when indie music site Pitchfork Media gave the band’s debut album, “Scribble Mural Comic Journal” an 8.0 out of 10, high praise from the notoriously stingy review site.
This week ASDIG has a new EP, “Nitetime Rainbows,” and a gig in Des Moines Thursday at the Vaudeville Mews. Daniels answered a few questions via e-mail while on the road.
Q: On your fall tour the band got in three car accidents in three days. Was there any worry that the entire tour might be problematic, or that you might be cursed?
A: Haha, those first three car accidents were all very minor and more funny (can a car accident be funny?). I actually felt like the last tour was charmed or something. There were no massive problems. We did get in a “proper” car accident in New Orleans where a guy ran a red light and drove right into us on the driver side. It could have been a lot worse than it was (as the driver could have easily been killed). And then, on a positive note, the shows were all fantastic.
Q: Tell me about the “Nitetime Rainbows” EP. Was this material that was worked on while making “Ashes Grammar,” or more recent compositions?
A: This is all stuff that we started with “Ashes Grammar.” We started recording close to 35-plus songs and after about six weeks Josh (Meakim, guitarist) and I realized we needed to cut back or else the album would never get done. So these songs were all put on hold. There’s another whole album’s worth of songs from this time as well. We’re working on getting these done for later too.
Q: You’re playing Glasgow in May. Has the band played there before, and if so what kind of reaction have you gotten?
A: We’ve played in Glasgow twice and it’s like playing in your hometown or at your best friend’s house. They are so nice to us and we love playing there. The first time we played there, there were only three of us and we had to borrow instruments and play with drum beats on an iPod. It was a terrible show, but the crowd was so nice and they even made us play an encore and then everyone just hung out with us for the rest of the night.
The next time we came back with the full band and played a sold-out show that was attended by Stephen Pastel and members of Teenage Fanclub, which was kind of mind-blowing.
The 405 EP Preview
A Sunny Day In Glasgow have always been a mystery to me.
I remember buying my first record from them a couple of years ago in one of my new-music-hunting spree at Pure Groove (for the record, it was the impeccable Scribble Mural Comic Journal).
When I first listened to that album, it was one of those gloomy days that only British weather can offer – and while letting my gaze wander out of the window, I was asking myself what a sunny day in Glasgow must be.
Now I know that ASDIG are actually from Philadelphia and have nothing to do with the Scottish landscape, a part from the fact that ASDIG mastermind Ben Daniels – who, despite the ever-changing line-up of the band, keeps being the brain behind the band’s dreamy-pop sound and haunting melodies of faraway places – lived there for a while and never forgot it, apparently.
After Scribble Mural Comic Journal came out I never heard of the band again, and even the superb Ashes Grammar, released last year, and which contains already a version of ‘Nitetime Rainbow’, passed strangely unobserved to my eyes and especially ears.
But I’m quickly catching up and Nitetime Rainbows will definitely be the target of my next record shopping spree. Plus, it comes only in digital and vinyl, which is another pro (CDs should be banned in my ideal world!)
‘Nitetime Rainbow’ opens with a classic ASDIG vibe, a bit dreamy, a bit space-y, a bit melancholic, a bit floaty… The fuzzy guitars and hypnotic keyboards remind of Memory Tapes ’Bicycle’, only more complex and harmonic, a kind of richness of sound – but not too much – that could only be achieved by a full band, as ASDIG are.
But it’s ‘Daytime Rainbows’ the most surprising track of the EP. With its shoegaze-y guitars, drones and heavy toms, it sounds more Dum Dum Girls than ASDIG, and it’s so catchy and hypnotic that one could listen to it forever.
‘So Bloody, So Tight’ keeps up with ASDIG trademark drones, echoes and otherworldly atmospheres, while ‘Pianos Lessons’ delivers 6 minutes of piano virtuosity combined to an almost krautrock backing track.
The following 3 tracks of the EP are remixes of ‘Nitetime Rainbows’ – which is OK, but to be honest, I found them unnecessary, being the original track already so beautiful.
Anyway, here is a great EP from a genuinely great band, which finally deserves to get out of the shadow.
Their calendar is full of dates and I see they’re going to play in SXSW 2010 too. Still no dates for London, but I’m sure we’ll hear from these guys soon.
Time Out Chicago Show Preview
MUSIC – A Sunny Day in Glasgow + Acrylics
A Sunny Day in Glasgow, which actually hails from Philly, plays post–Animal Collective pop, with bright, hopeful melodies peeking out from a jungle of surreal textures. A dude in Grizzly Bear produced the mellow gold of boy-girl duo Acrylics. Schubas, 9pm. $10
Read more: http://www3.timeoutny.com/chicago/blog/out-and-about/2010/03/five-things-to-do-march-3/#ixzz0hAw4fA3E
Denver Westword Show Preview
Despite the Anglocentricity of its name, Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow is far from some Belle and Sebastian clone. Instead, the coed ensemble reaches toward the heavens with a wispy, wintry shoegaze sound that’s as abstract as it is dizzying. Like a shitstorm in a teacup, A Sunny Day’s debut full-length, 2006′s Scribble Mural Comic Journal, is full of blunted angles and skittish hooks that take My Bloody Valentine’s aural washes and scramble them into something far more disembodied and deeper in the dream cycle. Despite some major changes in the group’s lineup, last year’s Ashes Grammar is just as blindingly brilliant; packed with whiteout soundscapes and avalanche-trapped vocals, the disc embraces the depths of sonic probing and the heights of beauty. But as with MBV, there’s a chance A Sunny Day’s careful chaos could turn into a shimmering, disorienting haze at this hi-dive show. We can only hope.
L Magazine Show Preview
With Ashes Grammar, A Sunny Day in Glasgow released one of the dark-horse best records of 2009. It’s a massive album full of sprawling, multi-layer compositions that utilize the talents not only of mastermind Ben Daniels, but of Annie Fredrickson, who shines as a cellist, a pianist and a singer.
The Line of Best Fit Tour Preview
The Music Fix Tour Preview
Alt Sounds Tour Preview
Mishka Bloglin EP Review
This EP could be 2 EPs. Or 3 proper singles and some B-sides, or a couple remix singles. Whatever you want—there are tons of ways to approach the Philly nu-gaze band’s latest, and just as many ways to totally love it. Fresh off the heels of last year’s so-incredible Ashes Grammar, the Nitetime Rainbows EP features (duh) the OG but newly mixed “Nitetime Rainbows”, plus 3 new jams and 3 remixes, all manner of ASDiG extras intent to sate die-hards until the tour rolls through town. But even though it has a bit of hodge-podge to it—there’s a lot of stuff here and it’s ultimately more collected than composed—this EP doesn’t feel like a bunch of junk thrown together on a whim, mere Ashes Grammar garbage repurposed to make a few bucks. Suspend disbelief long enough to take it track by track (or EP by EP) and you’ll unearth some truly gilded moments.
Skip around. The pacing is fine, but it’s open to interpretation; what are you here for? The A-side is piled with new things: a perfectly poppy “So Bloody, So Tight”, the simple, childlike “Piano Lessons” and, maybe most importantly, the atmospheric counterpoint of “Daytime Rainbows”. ASDiG has a serious knack for extending a theme through both name and concept (see: “Ashes Grammar/Ashes Maths”) and paired with the title track, this song has a real sunrise/sunset vibe about it. Sweet to start, all tangled with layered vocals and chime-like guitars, but gone just a little sideways by its finish.
And then the remixes. Cue for many to tune the eff out, sure, but I love the mere idea of edits and reinterpretations so this second half—the second EP, if you’re so inclined—is totally my shit. Buddy System turns “Nitetime Rainbows” into an angular, propulsive dance track, and Benoit Pioulard’s Acid Wash edit lives up to its name: crunchy, gritty, dipped in Clorox and shoved through, like, a food processor. But Ezekiel Honig’s mix, the most bare-bones and minimal of the bunch, reveals the most about “Nitetime Rainbows”; atmosphere-stripped and exposed to the elements, ASDiG’s dream-pop is recognizable via a flash of samples but still completely bare. A concept flowing in reverse. Which, when you think about it, is totally the point of an EP like this—a miniature bizarro world where the strictures of a full-length’s cohesive sound go crashing out the window. Point and counterpoint. True ASDiG style.
Loud loop Show Preview
Three reasons to get y’rself over to Schuba’s to see A Sunny Day In Glasgow this wondrous Wednesday eve…
1. It’s the first day we’ve seen the sun in who knows how long. To commemorate this occasion and keep with the sunshine theme, you should go see A Sunny Day in Glasgow at Schubas tonight.
2. ASDIG’s Ashes Grammar was hands down number one on my Top Ten Best Albums of 2009. This band has the ability to convey emotions through their music like nothing you’ve ever heard. After many hardships while creating Ashes Grammar, ASDIG overcame all they needed and launched themselves to the forefront of the indie rock scene. Holding to the spirit of cerebral shoegaze and atmospheric, sparkly vocal layers of lyrics you will never understand – akin to bands like My Bloody Valentine-, ASDIG will take you through the emotional ride of all they felt while creating their songs. It will be a night of beautiful, shimmery shoegaze in a perfect size venue to create just the right level of intimacy ASDIG needs to tell their story.
3. Here. Let me just show you what I mean:
Portland Mercury Show Preview
MIDWAY THROUGH “Close Chorus,” a track on A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s 2009 album Ashes Grammar, there’s a break on which a brass sample rises from the reverb-flooded song. Listen closely and behind it you’ll hear lightning crashing against the tin roof above the recording space, a semi-abandoned dance studio in New Jersey. It’s an illuminating window into both the physical environment and larger sound that have been visited by the Philadelphia outfit since their 2007 full-length debut, Scribble Mural Comic Journal.
Back then, Glasgow was bedroom pop riddled with noise, tamed by the coo of co-vocalists Lauren and Robin Daniels, the twin sisters of brother and band co-founder Ben Daniels (Ever Nalens, who named the band, left before their debut). Many pundits called it shoegaze, a label Ben steers clear of. “I don’t care for any descriptors really,” he says. “They usually do more harm than good.”
When Journal appeared, critics fell all over themselves finding ways to cite Glasgow’s cobbled lineage. Drowned in Sound raved that it “deconstructs the best parts of tried-and-tested genres and pastes them into one sonically astounding collage.” Pitchfork laboriously quoted a review of The Velvet Underground and Nico from an obscure rock rag. This kind of talk is the indie rock press’ mealy-mouthed equivalent of a knighting.
In 2008, Lauren and Robin left for non-musical pursuits and Ben began using the dance studio on weekends. “We had a huge room, so it made sense to put mics all over and see how things sounded,” he explains. Much of this experimentation was influenced by composer Alvin Lucier, whose signature work, I am sitting in a room (1969), gradually layers natural reverb in such a way that it completely washes out the original source. Applied to Ben’s melodic reveries, the result is Ashes Grammar, an album boasting an acoustic depth practically unheard of in the Pro Tools era.
Now with two new vocalists (Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma) replacing the Daniels twins, the project is on its sturdiest footing to date. A Sunny Day in Glasgow may not be a shoegaze band, but, at long last, they are a band.
San Diego Examiner Show Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow is touring this spring making a stop in San Diego. They will play Soda Bar in North Park on 3/14. They released a digital / vinyl-only EP titled, Nitetime Rainbows this week on Mis Ojos Discos. The album is an eclectic mix of new ASDIG cuts and remixes by The Buddy System, Benoit Poiulard and Ezekiel Honig.
ASDIG music is at times very epic in length and in construct, with dream-like transcendental feelings permeating everything; they take the listener on a journey through shifting and swirling worlds where lyrics and sounds twist around each other. Underneath their dense sound is alluring melodies and a playfulness that keeps the music fun, thus separating them from the sea of mediocre shoe-gaze knock-offs pirating the past without creating something authentic and new.
This project has a protoolian foundation though it moves in so many directions. Yet, all the songs seem to be grounded by a very engaging, organic feel. This warms the digital production, making it an all-together salacious mix of atmospheric sounds and chorus style vocals. To sum it up…imagine a f’ing great party inside of a Cathedral.
Don’t miss A Sunny Day in Glasglow in San Diego on 3/14 at Soda Bar. To learn more about this project read an interview with Ben Daniels, the wizard behind the curtain, so-to-speak, of this experimental, electro-fused project:
A lot of publications have reported on ASDIG and often use the label “second generation shoe-gaze” when doing what journalist do best, that is define by comparison…what does shoe-gaze mean to you guys and is it a fair term to use when defining your sound?
I can understand why people use that term with us, it makes sense to me. But I’ve always tried to distance this band from it because I think the overwhelming majority of bands labeled “second generation shoe gaze” or even the first generation, are/were incredibly boring. There were only a small handful of bands that had something original and new to get across and these few bands did it using an aesthetic that everyone else jumped on and used to make boring music. I also understand that there are probably a lot of people who would level that charge against us, but I am really trying for something (if not new) different.
Do you find these labels to be helpful in communicating the vision, feel or style of a band or do you perceive it to be laziness on the part of the journalism community?
Honestly, more laziness. But I guess if you have to review hundreds of albums you have to use these kinds of things to help you save time. Still, I feel like they do so much more harm. I mean any label here. Because someone will hear it and think they know what the band is all about without listening to it. I usually try to argue against any labels people apply to us just in the hopes of at least creating some kind of confusion so a potential listener will maybe feel like they have to listen to it to figure it out for themselves.
You bury a lot of beautiful melodies deep within the music…with an often elaborate (or seemingly elaborate) and almost ethereal like sound-scape layered on top…explain a little bit about your chemistry when writing material and how does the creative process works for you?
There’s no real formula or anything. I almost always write some music and then start to play around with it. Usually I’ll make some mistakes or sounds will just kind of bubble up. Once there is a more coherent structure then I can usually start writing lyrics. And then once vocals are recorded, more sounds usually come out or get cut out. Sometimes I’ll hear a noise or some random sound and a song will just grow up around that. And sometimes, very rarely but most welcomely, you just sit down and everything gets written in a half hour and it’s done. The last one is the best.
Your songs are at times, very epic in length and in construct, with dream-like transcendental feelings permeating everything; you take the listener on a journey through shifting and swirling worlds where lyrics and sounds twist around each other. What’s the impetus for all the movement in your songs?
Wow, that sounds nice. Thanks. I couldn’t say what the impetus is. This is just what comes out while I am trying to make boring music.
Any last remarks or comments?
Thanks for listening!
Atlanta Music Guide EP Review
In reality, 2010 should be predestined as a tough year for A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Not because they’re stuck in dreary weather in Glasgow — they’re not. The band is actually from Philly, and there’s nothing particularly sunny nor glasgow-y about them in the first place.
You see, 2010 should be tough because it has the unenviable task of following 2009’s fairy tale ride of indie buzz and critical acclaim in the wake of the band’s sophomore breakout, Ashes Grammar.
The 2010 product, Nitetime Rainbows, isn’t as much a fresh musical statement as it is cutting room floor material from the Ashes sessions. Typically, even the B-side scraps of a masterpiece are delightful, and there’s no exception here. Rainbows delivers a slightly brighter (sunnier, perhaps?) spin on the same post-rock grungy shoegaze goodness that got them here in the first place — smart in sticking to the tried and true formula but noble in proving the band’s more than a one trick pony.
Rainbows can’t be taken on the same level as Grammar and it’s likely not the band’s intent for it to be, as signified by the inclusion of three remixes of the title track. Superfluous on a new LP, each different take on the tune really defines this record as a waiting game filler that underscores the point — that ASDIG shouldn’t leave your radar any time soon. A perfect coda to Ashes‘ brilliance, Rainbows is the perfect appetizer for a feast surely to come with the next full-length.
Seattle Weekly Show Preview
Philadelphia sextet A Sunny Day in Glasgow – so named for the city in which one of the founding (now former) members was living prior to returning to the States and starting the band in 2006 – crafts dreamy, woozy rock music by running their guitars through an ass-load of pedals, slathering on some droney, noisy textures, and gently placing some feathery female vocals on top. I suppose you could call it “shoegazer’” their vibe is vaguely reminiscent of MBV, Ride, Cocteau Twins, Slowdive, and the like. Thankfully, these ladies and lads have actual, honest-to-goodness melodies to go along with the swirly atmospherics and celestial vocal harmonies that tend to nudge things away from the ruminative and downcast to brighter, more uplifting spaces.
Pittsburgh City Paper Show Preview
Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow is on a tear: Tonight the band appears at Brillobox early in a tour that takes it across the nation and across Europe, as well (including a date in its namesake town). The ambient outfit, centered on songwriter Ben Daniels, has released a series of records — LPs, double LPs, digital downloads — on the micro-indie Mis Ojos Discos, and just hatched a new EP, Nitetime Rainbows, packed with hypnotic synth swirls and ethereal, echoing vocals.
New City Show Preview
Often mistaken for actually being from Glasgow, this dream-pop company hails from Philadelphia. Pairing ambient shoegaze atmosphere with electronic beats and heavenly vocal harmonies, the band’s two full-length records have been artistic successes if not quite homeruns. The group’s EPs have been impressive too, and their most recent, “Nitetime Rainbows,” will be released the first week of March. While the band has enough talent to one day create an astounding record from start to finish, it hasn’t yet; the group does seem to be leaning more towards minimalist techno and away from traditional rock these days, and it suits them well. But that doesn’t mean A Sunny Day in Glasgow can’t be unbelievably frustrating—every time a song seems to be approaching a moment of stunning beauty, the band backs off and injects some sampled weirdness. Live, though, this is all said to be a treat.
House List Show review
A Sunny Day in Glasgow was literally what NYC needed on Friday night. The idea of any kind of sunshine was a far-away dream buried beneath the snowed-in streets, but that didn’t stop the band from launching their US tour in a packed Mercury Lounge. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is not sentimentally named. Instead, the moniker refers to what a freakish occurrence a not-gray day actually is over there. The idea of waiting out the everyday for those unusual moments exactly describes the group’s process, constructing dense layers of just barely melodic sound.
The blasted wash of guitar tones consists of a thousand individual chance elements. And the harmonies from Annie Fredrickson and Jen Goma, who sometimes seem to be singing completely different melodies and lyrics, come together in a way that can’t be planned. Rows of guitar pedals and samplers, with inexact dials and effects, add even more layers of uncertainty to the band’s live performance. Ben Daniels, a founding member, and Josh Meakim, both on guitar, certainly work hard to keep the saturated tones cooperating, carefully watching each other for changing effects and sound cues. Adam Herndon, on drums, provides the only consistent sound, keeping an even rhythm for the reverberated vocals from both frontwomen. It all comes together in an experimental twee soundtrack of dizzying heights.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow thanked the audience for braving the weather, but it didn’t seem to be on anyone’s mind. For this group, ambient shoegaze pop didn’t end with My Bloody Valentine, Lush or Cocteau Twins. No, they’re trying to create that unexpected moment when the clouds finally part.
Under the Radar Album Review 7/10
Comprised of three Ashes Grammar B-sides, and four versions of Nitetime Rainbows (three remixes and the original), this EP delivers exactly what fans want – meticulously layered sonic delicacies, frosted with ethereal female vocals. On the new tracks, heavy drums step t up during “So bloody, so tight;” “Piano Lesson” features a gloriously pounded piano; and “Daytime rainbows” plays like a photo negative of “Nitetime rainbows.” However it can be tough to rework already saturated sounds. Ezekiel Honig’s remix, with its asthmatic wheezing sounds, falls flat. “Acid wash edit” lives up to it’s name but “The buddy system” comes out on top, transforming “Nitetime rainbows” into a surrealistic dream.
Pitchfork Album Review; 7.0
Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of EPs: 1) Those, whether intended or not, that function as a unique short-form listening experience, and 2) Those that serve more as a clearinghouse for leftover material, covers, remixes, scattered ideas, and the like. That second type tend to be stopgaps and rewards for committed fans, and as such they tend to be the more forgettable of the two. (Though Grizzly Bear’s Friend was a recent notable success.)
Still, we can forgive a band like A Sunny Day in Glasgow for offering up something of a patchwork EP with Nitetime Rainbows. After all, this is a group that managed to cram no fewer than 22 tracks onto last year’s winning hour-plus opus, Ashes Grammar, so it stands to reason that there would be plenty more from where that came from. What’s more, the Philly outfit seems to be experiencing something of a recent renaissance. After playing lineup musical chairs for a few years, a band has finally coalesced around ASDIG mastermind Ben Daniels, and it makes sense that the new crew is eager to get more representative material out there. Hence the Nitetime Rainbows EP, home to three new compositions, alongside the title track (lifted from Ashes but newly mixed) and three remixes of said tune. As if the times needed another sign, it’s vinyl and digital only.
Ashes Grammar was the rare record that actually benefitted from its sprawl, and the act of teasing ecstatic moments out of that sprawl is a key delight of the Ashes listening experience. Nitetime foregrounds one of the finer moments, a series of particularly evocative synthetic tones that form the intro of “Nitetime Rainbows”. Hidden amidst the LP, these sounds have a transformative, palette-cleansing effect, but even divorced from that context they still make for a marvelously effective mood-setter. Otherworldly and nocturnal, that mood is less second-hand signifiers and more of a piece with the stuff that makes dream-pop and shoegaze so alluring in the first place.
As if to suggest there’s more than one way to assemble the Ashes Grammar puzzle, ASDIG roll “Nitetime” right into “Daytime Rainbows”, and a renewed esprit de corps immediately becomes evident. The syrup-thick toms and initial volley of “do-do-do”s would have us think we’re due for a jangle-pop throwback rave-up in the style of Vivian Girls or the Pains of Being Pure of Heart, but before long a guitar goes de-tuned, the vocals get smeared, and we’re right back to business as usual. Even so, to date it’s their most pure pop moment. “So Bloody, So Tight” is pretty clean and patient by ASDIG standards, while “Piano Lessons” turns Daniels’ late-night attempt to relearn the titular instrument into a spirited ride along a motorik groove. It would have made a perfect closing track were it not for…
The remixes, which is where, in true clearinghouse fashion, things start to taper off and feel tacked-on. Athens, Georgia’s the Buddy System come up trumps here with their take on “Rainbows”, which shimmers things up and chops the vocals into a delirious rhythmic component. It’s rote but enjoyable all the same. Kranky recording artist Benoît Pioulard sands the smooth edges of “Nitetime” with glaciers of static, very much in the manner of Fennesz or Tim Hecker.
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s Anticipate label boss Ezekiel Honig, whose significantly more subtle reworking deconstructs the original track into a few chief elements: a drone here, a guitar loop there, a lone handclap somewhere in between. If anything, though, it serves only to prove that it’s the collusion of these elements that makes the original such a golden egg. Ashes Grammar, mind you, wasn’t without its dull moments– they were just tucked away at appropriate intervals across a majestic sonic vista. Here those moments cloud together, and the view gets a little obscured.
Brooklyn VeganShow Preview
A Sunny Day in Glasgow are back in NYC, playing Mercury Lounge (tickets). They’ve got a new EP, Nitetime Rainbows, coming out next week that shows off their more experimental, soundscape-y side. Which side will we get Friday? This is the start of a lengthy tour which of course includes SXSW.
Spinner SXSW Preview
Originally begun as a “bedroom recording project” by frontman Ben Daniels and his sisters, Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow experienced a revolving door of band members last year while they were recording their second LP, 2009′s ‘Ashes Grammar.’ Despite the lineup changes (which included the departure of Daniels’ sisters), the dream pop sextet continued to garner attention from the indie rock blogosphere and plans to spend much of 2010 touring and releasing new material. Spinner recently spoke with founding member Daniels and singer/cellist Annie Fredrickson about the band’s upcoming first trip to SXSW.
How did you come up with the band name?
Ben Daniels: When it first started out, it was me and a friend of mine, and he had lived in Glasgow while I was actually living in London, and he came up with the name. He’s no longer in the band. He left actually before it became a band, but I just kept the name.
Describe your sound.
BD: I would say bluesy pop music with lots of melodies, and maybe kind of dreamy.
Ben, you originally formed the band with your sisters, who are no longer involved. How did the current lineup form?
BD: It was kind of like an evolution. While my sisters were still in the band, Josh joined the band. And then, while we were recording our last record, my one sister moved to Colorado and the other sister kind of just moved away from the band, just kind of wasn’t as involved. So Josh and I were like, oh, we need to get someone else to sing. So we got Annie to join up, and then we played some shows with that lineup. Then my sister and her boyfriend [Brice Hickey], who was our bass player, didn’t want to go on tour [after Hickey broke his leg]. So, we found another singer, another drummer and another bass player, because Josh had played drums but wanted to play guitar. It just kind of seemed a natural evolution.
Annie Fredrickson: I’d never sung in a band before. I have training as a cellist. I’ve been playing cello for, like, 20 years. I was nervous and not even really sure why they wanted me to sing in the band. But when it became evident that they did, then it was really fun after that point.
Who are your musical influences?
BD: I don’t know if the collective group has one, but individually, the KLF were really important to me. I don’t know. Boring answers like the Cure and R.E.M., Magnetic Fields, I would say.
AF: That’s such a hard question. I should probably think of a better answer. It’s hard to think of yourself as having influences, because everyone wants to think that they’re original, you know? And so, it’s hard to say you’re trying to be like [someone else].
What are your musical guilty pleasures?
BD: Coldplay is totally ridiculous. I mean, intellectually, I know that. But once in a while, I just want to hear ‘Clocks.’
AF: La Roux. She’s kind of forgettable. I can’t remember any music I’ve been listening to all day today, but it’s totally fun.
Who are some other SXSW acts you’re excited to see?
BD: I really want to try to see the XX and JJ.
AF: I know that [the SXSW] lineup isn’t solidified yet, and so I don’t want to get excited about going to a show and then find out that I can’t go. So I’m gonna wait until I know what we’re doing.
BD: Oh, that’s a good idea. But I’m most excited just to go in general, because I’ve never been to SXSW before.
Any thoughts on how you’re going to survive the week?
BD: I think it will be a test of stamina rather than performing ability. I don’t even drink coffee, so I don’t know how I’m going to make it.
AF: Yeah, me either. That’s a good question. A lot of tea.
Is there a concert experience that had a particular impact on you?
AF: When I was younger, I was very much immersed in the classical world, and so it was probably going to see the orchestra when I was, like, seven or eight or something. I wanted to be a professional cellist for a really long time.
BD: They Might Be Giants. That was my favorite concert ever, of all time. I remember the exact date. It was December 30, 1995. I grew up in the Philly suburbs. It was cold and I think it was a little snowy. And we hung out, and we smoked pot, I remember, in this country club on the way to the train station to go downtown to see the show. They Might Be Giants have this song called ‘The Statue Got Me High,’ and so we kept making jokes about how, like, if we got arrested, we would just tell the officer that the statue got us high. Then we went to the show, and it was, like, totally packed. Everybody danced the entire time. It was just so much fun. It was like the best concert experience ever. It was awesome.
What’s your craziest tour moment in recent memory?
BD: We did a video [for the song ‘So Bloody, So Tight’) … in New Orleans on our last tour. The first day we were there it was 70 degrees and beautiful. And then as soon as filming started, it went to 40 degrees and raining. We got in a car accident … Some of us were drunk for, like, 15 hours of the 20 hours of the shoot.
AF: I was covered in paint the whole time. It was crazy.
A car accident?
BD: We were driving to the set. And we were all like, man, we’re gonna be freezing. And [guitarist] Josh [Meakim] and I were like, we need to get some whiskey, because that’s the only way we’re gonna stay warm. So at 8:30 in the morning, we were driving to buy whiskey and this guy ran a red light and hit us. It was a crazy day.
Stereogum “So bloody, so tight” video & The New Gay footage
The dreamy Philadelphia swirl-pop outfit A Sunny Day In Glasgow put out the record I most often cited as “most overlooked” last year with Ashes Grammar, a 22-track portrait full of soft vocals floating in lush soundscapes and shifting rhythms, stitched together by scene-setting, gauzy, often synthetic interstitials. It requires a full listening, but is worth it. Despite a list-season reappraisal that brought them a little more notice, it still sits on the under-appreciated side of things. Maybe Ashes hasn’t gone as far because it is a true album at a time when blogs (yes, like this one) have sights set on “key tracks.” (Which, “Failure”btw.) So the band announcing a quicktime followup to last year’s LP with the forthcoming EP Nitetime Rainbows is great news in terms of timing (capitalizing on year-end movement) and in terms of offering a manageable amount of new material (three previously unreleased tracks, in addition to the title cut which comes from Ashes and its three remixes by various artists). “So Bloody, So Tight” is one of the new ones, and considerably brighter (or as the band put it, “more hopeful”) than what we’re used to hearing from them. In turn, the video is much goofier than anything we’d expect from them.
Here’s the band in a very different costume, covering Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” acoustic (acoustic!) for The New Gay. It’s pretty, although I’d post it however it sounded out of love for A Sunny Day In Glasgow and worship for Fleetwood Mac:
Pitchfork “So bloody, so tight” video premiere
Fluxblog track review
A Sunny Day In Glasgow “Nitetime Rainbows” (The Buddy System Remix)
This remix doesn’t sound a great deal like the original recording by A Sunny Day In Glasgow, but it certainly sounds like A Sunny Day In Glasgow. This version feels more solid and focused than anything on the deliberately hazy and amorphous Ashes Grammar album, but the gently vertiginous swirl of essentially wordless soprano vocals is unmistakable. The arrangement here is lovely, mixing the cool sweetness of the female voices with an assertive forward momentum. It feels like being led along through colorful abstraction, like some kind of obvious sensible path through blissful psychedelic confusion.
Tiny Mix Tapes EP & tour announcement
Wears The Trousers EP & show announcement
The second single to be lifted from last year’s Ashes Grammar [review], this seven-track EP will be available on limited edition clear 12″ vinyl from March 1, with a digital release coming a week earlier on February 22. Includes new songs (‘So Bloody, So Tight’, ‘Piano Lessons’) and mixes galore. A Sunny Day In Glasgow play a one-off show at the Brixton Windmill in London on April 8, followed by an 8-date tour from May 13–20 including appearances at the Great Escape festival in Brighton on May 13 and Sound City Festival in Liverpool on May 19. Full list of dates on their Myspace.
Prefix EP announcement
Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow follow up their critically-acclaimed Ashes Grammar with Nitetime Rainbows, an EP featuring new material, holdovers from the Ashes Grammar studio session and rounded out by 3 remixes of the title track. Still as dreamy and shoegazey as ever, Nitetime Rainbows is some of the brightest-sounding music of ASDIG’s career. It’s the sound of the band taking a victory lap after a triumphant 2009.
Aversion EP announcement
A Sunny Day In Glasgow is all rainbows, all the time on its next EP.
The indie pop band’s Nitetime Rainbows EP is built around the title track and its sunnier counterpart, “Daytime Rainbows.” Recorded while main man Ben Daniels was house-sitting somebody’s mansion, the EP also features “So Bloody, So Tight” and “Piano Lessons” along with three remixes of tracks on the band’s Ashes Grammar (review) (Mis Ojos Discos) and is in stores March 2.
Comfort Comes EP & tour announcement
Limewire EP & tour announcement
in your speakers EP & tour announcement
A Sunny Day In Glasgow, not content so rest on the laurels of their very decent 2009 album Ashes Grammar, are already releasing a new EP of new material as well as planning a lengthy world tour, which will take the oft-changing line up of musicians to cities all over Europe and the United States, with stops at a number of festivals, including SXSW.
The EP, entitled Nitetime Rainbows, was recorded in a mansion Ben Daniels was house-sitting after he was laid off from his job, while the band was supposedly taking a break. The resulting sessions, reportedly the sound of A Sunny Day In Glasgow “falling in love…having fun,” as well as the sound of the core group of members cementing their friendship to one another.
Nitetime Rainbows will be released March 02, and in the meantime the title track can be streamed here.
Exclaim!EP & tour announcement
Philadelphia, PA left-field shoegazers A Sunny Day in Glasgow are on a bit of a roll right now. Their first two albums, 2007’s universally lauded debut, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, and the stunning 2009 follow-up, Ashes Grammar, both got Exclaim! recommendations, and their limited run of 250 coloured vinyl copies of the latter sold out in no time. Suddenly, 2010 doesn’t look too shabby for the band either.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow will release a new EP, titled Nitetime Rainbows, on March 2 via Mis Ojos Discos. The EP is made up of songs from the Ashes Grammar recording sessions, a few new songs and some remixes from Benoît Pioulard, Ezekiel Honig and the Buddy System. The band’s press release states that “these are the sounds of a band falling in love, a band having fun.”
A Sunny Day in Glasgow have also announced a massive spring 2010 tour in support of the EP, swinging through Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto. They’ll also join Vancouver garage poppers Japandroids for a couple of shows along the way.
And one last thing: that limited-edition, coloured-vinyl version of Ashes Grammar that’s “completely sold out”? The band have announced on their MySpace that they’ve kept a few to sell on tour.
Philadelphia Weekly EP & tour announcement
Philly dream-pop outfit A Sunny Day in Glasgow just announced a new EP — Nitetime Rainbows, out March 2nd (cover art at right) — and a lengthy spring tour that will take them around the country, down to SXSW in Austin (where they’ll hopefully wow some music industry bigwigs) and back to town for an April 1st (no foolin’) show at Kung Fu Necktie before sending them to Europe just in time for festival season.
Under the Radar EP & tour announcement
Philadelphia ambient-shoegazers A Sunny Day in Glasgow will follow up last year’s enchanting Ashes Grammar with a seven-track EP named after Ashes song, “Nitetime Rainbows.” Alongside the title track, the release features three new songs and three remixes. It’s drops in MP3 and vinyl formats on March 2nd, via Mis Ojos Discos.
The Sunny Day six-piece will also line up a North American trek that starts in New York at the end of February. Noise-pop duo Japandroids will offer support for a few Southern concerts. Check out those dates below. Also, Sunny Day co-founder/guitarist Ben Daniels recently divulged to us what he loved about the 2000s in our recent Best of the Decade Artist Survey.
Pitchfork EP & tour announcement
Philly shoegazers A Sunny Day in Glasgow will follow up last year’s Ashes Grammar (Pitchfork’s #42 album of 2009) with a seven-track EP named after Ashes highlight “Nitetime Rainbows”. Along with the title track, the extended player features three new tracks and three remixes. It’s out on MP3 and vinyl March 2 via Mis Ojos Discos.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow are also set to embark on a continent-spanning tour starting in New York at the end of February. Check out those dates and stream “Nitetime Rainbows” below: