Press: Tout New Age
Finally, for a song, the intriguing production fog lifts, and it’s all stunning melody all the time. Ma Daniels even sits in on the piano for maximum adorable. It’s relative clarity would have been the prime talking point for discussing an eventual sophomore record if it hadn’t been tucked away in this low profile digital EP. The point, perhaps?
- Jeff Klingman
drowned in sound (uk)
Earlier in the year I contemplated giving A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s debut album Scribble Mural Comic Journal a 10/10 score (review). Why didn’t I? I can’t remember now – but it haunts me while listening back to the record that I didn’t award it the highest accolade. Really, there aren’t many records this year that are more deserving.
The record’s sister EP, Tout New Age, features the tracks that missed the cut the first time round. It’s much more than a throwaway b-side cash-in, though. Out of the 30 songs the band had to whittle down for their debut, the eight that made it onto this EP must have been subject to hours of deliberation in the recording stages. Many of these tracks match the quality of those on their debut, and some even better them. It’s a wonder why ScribbleMural Comic Journal wasn’t made into a double album. If only…
The Philadelphia trio’s unique dream-pop sound is always shrouded in mystery. As with the tracks on their debut, they take the age old shoegaze technique of hiding their music upon swathes of distortion and echo. Nothing is clear cut with A Sunny Day in Glasgow – every listener will hear something different. The EP’s earliest highlight ‘Laughter (Victims)’ bases its medley of pop hooks and fuzzy guitar upon an ’80s electro-pop beat – a description which will either have you rushing out to buy it or running to the hills. The echoed vocal haunts of ‘The Ossifrage (Tout New Age)’ wrap themselves around fractured keyboard melodies and buried drum beats. It’s a technique that’s drilled to every song, giving them a sound which is understated but no less beautiful.
I’ll probably regret not giving this EP a 10 as well in a few weeks. A Sunny Day in Glasgow are a band that gives dream-pop a fresh reference point. The Cocteau Twins can step down from their throne.
Tout New Age is available in the UK via eMusic and iTunes.
- Ben Yates
Right from the first time I heard them in January, I liked A Sunny Day in Glasgow. For devoted (and discerning) followers of shoegaze and dream-pop like myself, the Philadelphia-cum-Montreal-based group has become irresistible. Scribble Mural Comic Journal, aside from being an extraordinary combination of seemingly random words, is one of my favorites from this year. Arriving not quite fully formed (and by that I mean not quite perfect production-wise), A Sunny Day in Glasgow joined Cyann & Ben as my early-’07 daydream soundtracks.
So when I read about this tour-only EP Tout New Age, I was excited to see that this handmade limited edition release was making its way out there to those of us unlucky enough to miss them. When their tour ended July 6th, the set-up was there: Tout New Age would be released digitally. Basically, that equals one big hell-yeah from this guy. Hopefully you’ll feel the same when you hear it in full for yourself.
The applause that raises the curtains for “They Made My Baby Care About Things That Didn’t Matter” leads into a meandering REM sleep of a song that never quite breaks into My Bloody Valentine walls o’ sound but doesn’t really reach the jangly perfection of The Cocteau Twins either. That’s reserved for the next track, “Laughter (Victims),” which sounds like it literally came straight out of 1988 but actually came off of their mid-’06 EP The Sunniest Day Ever. Rarely have I heard a song that so perfectly captures the mood and spirit of the late-80s UK scene as with this track. Part of the reason it sounds as time-specific as it does is because of a kind of lo-fi quality that surrounds this EP. Indeed, homespun is the proper word for the production, even more so than on their full-length debut earlier this year. The Daniels sisters know how to sing to God alright, but brother Ben does himself no disservice by providing just the right music to accompany the sirens of such a fresh, young band. Filled with promise and not a little electronic trickery, “The Ossifrage (Tout New Age)” is another excellent example of the heavens this band is reaching toward.
Interestingly, the band’s own theme song includes their mother on piano… But it got cut from the final Scribble Mural Comic Journal tracklisting. Unfortunate though it may be, its thankful appearance here brings fine closure to the band’s first scribblings. Or maybe it’s the first journal they’ve finished writing. Either way, these tracks are all quality and though their exclusion from the real deal is sometimes understandable (Drums are barely evidenced throughout this release, going to serve that somnolence even more so than usual), it’s well worth your while to check out the fuzzy feedback and kraut-like dream-pop these kids are putting out.
…Blah blah blah blah blah. How many times have you heard raving about a shoegaze album before and been disappointed? While all of these kind words are nice and all, sometimes brevity as the soul of wit is the better part of intelligence; on that note, let me leave you with the band’s own thoughts on Tout New Age. I could not have (and did not) put it more succinctly myself.
- Patrick Masterson
A tour-only CD, we’re please that A Sunny Day in Glasgow didn’t let these tracks linger in too much obscurity and have released the EP in digital form. Admittedly a “hodgepodge” collection, the eight songs are culled from the “Scribble Mural Comic Journal” sessions and dare we say they’re just as good. Warm, ethereal, gauzy pop that fans of Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine and Broadcast will love.
New Music: A Sunny Day in Glasgow “Hugs and Kisses (Theme from A Sunny Day in Glasgow)”
When you’re cutting thirty songs down to a thirteen-track running order for your debut album, as A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Ben Daniels did for his band’s debut LP Scribble Mural Comic Journal, there are obviously going to be some tough omissions. But to ax your band theme song? The one where your own mother plays piano? That’s cold. A bit puzzling too, as it’s perhaps the tidiest pop moment in the young band’s catalog.
Since it’s basically a collection of polished leftovers, it makes sense that the eight-track Tout New Age EP is filled with the disorienting psych pop that was the record’s trademark. In contrast, “Hugs and Kisses” is predominantly melody and light, albeit slightly off-kilter. The coy sweetness of the Daniels sisters’ vocal blends in with the gentle surrounding sonics, instead of acting as counter-balance to jagged guitar or rumbling drum fills. Mom’s piano
sounds pretty ace as well.
Have a listen now, in advance of the EP’s July 10release through iTunes, eMusic, and other fine digital-music providers.
- Jeff Klingman
A Sunny Day in Glasgow Tour, Hawk Handmade EP
Now that we’ve peeked inside their Scribble Mural Comic Journal, enigmatic Philly dream-psych-poppers A Sunny Day in Glasgow will deliver their hypnotic wares directly to our doorsteps. And by doorsteps, I mean a venue near you. And by near you, I mean possibly not near you at all.
Along the way, ASDIG will encounter windy days in Chicago, rainy days in Seattle, smoggy days in Los Angeles, and noisy days in Brooklyn, with a variety of days spent in a variety of cities in between. Joining our faux-Glaswegians for most dates are NYC’s My Teenage Stride, who’ll serve up compatible sounds, such as those heard on this year’s Ears Like Golden Bats.
Pack a few extra five-spots into your billfold should you journey to one of these gigs (and you should!): A Sunny Day in Glasgow will be selling copies of a new, limited edition, handmade EP titled Tout New Age at the merch table. It’s packed to the gills with math rock worthy song titles and also includes “Laughter (Victims)”, from the out-of-print The Sunniest Day Ever EP.
If you dwell in Poughkeepsie, Chattanooga, Kissimmee, or any of the other fine pockets of semi-urban America passed over by A Sunny Day in Glasgow this time, dry those tears at once: You can still score the Tout New Age EP in digital format via the band’s label, Notenuf, beginning July 10.
A Sunny Day In Glasgow Talk EP
Dispersed between Philadelphia and Montreal, the members of A Sunny Day In Glasgow have overcome geography to make plans for their first nationwide tour, which should coincide with the release of their still-in-progress EP Tout New Age (Notenuf). “I’m happy because it will be the first time we’ve been able to practice properly,” says ASDIG’s guitarist Ben Daniels. “I’ve been living in Montreal since September, so we would usually just practice for a [couple] hours before a show and then go to it.”
That lack of practice time hasn’t seemed to slow down the band’s creative process, though; ASDIG has readied seven songs for Tout New Age already. “[If] we are really productive over the next couple weeks there will be ten songs on the record,” Daniels adds.
Once the record is done, it will only be available in CD format at ASDIG shows. Digital downloads, however, will be available to shut-in fans come July 10. Additionally, fans can listen in to KEXP and WUOG for live in-studio performances June 21 and 30, respectfully.
- Lee Bains
A Sunny Day in Glasgow, which actually hails from Philly and Montreal, plays a post-Animal Collective pop, with bright, hopeful melodies peeking out from a jungle of surreal textures.
Talk The Talk: Ben Daniels Of A Sunny Day In Glasgow
Ben Daniels has been present and accounted for in Philly’s indie pop scene for, gosh, about a decade now. First in Lainmeyers, and then Persons, Daniels has finally come into his own with A Sunny Day In Glasgow. Fronted by his twin sisters Lauren and Robin, ASDIG released their debut late last year to heavy acclaim, Pitchfork and otherwise. That album, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, was one of the boldest debuts of a Philly-based band in quite some time. Amid laptop noise and all manner of psychedelic fog, A Sunny Day do what they can to breathe new life into two forms desperately in need of an update: shoegaze and twee. And yeah, they do a lot. The group is just wrapping up the tour for Scribble with a show in Philly tonight, and another in New York tomorrow. After the jump, we catch up with Ben Daniels to rap about nügaze, unplugging, and what in the hell is up out in West Philly.
How’s it goin?
Good. I see you guys have the new EP on the City Paper “Playa,” so named because of Philebrity’s apparent ownership of the word “Player.”So it is up there. I wasn’t actually sure what was happening with that. I’ve been in a tour related communication black hole the past many weeks.
Is that a good thing or bad thing? Sometimes it seems like going on the road might be the only way left to unplug from the telecom mess.
Definitely a good thing. I spend way too much time on computers. The bad news is my sending texts went up a lot.
What kind of shows have you guys been playing? One of the things that’s really gotten me hooked on the band lately is how it exists in this simultaneous shoegaze/twee/noise world, which is a rarity. Most bands that have any of those elements are usually just one, and pretty stringently at that.
Shows have been either in bars or art spaces. We’ve generally been paired with more “shoegazer” type bands on this tour, no twee or noise really. I think that live we sound more aggressive, so it kind of makes sense I guess, but I would have welcomed some more “twee” or noise type shows. Most “shoegazery” bands are super duper boring.
Yeah, it’s funny how that medium – bands like Mahogany notwithstanding – is now kind of frozen in time like rockabilly or goths.
Yeah, even bands from back in the day that would get called “shoegaze” or whatever, I find alot of it really boring. Like they stopped at a sound someone else had already done without trying something different.
Top 3 shoegaze cliches: Go!
Um… I dunno, maybe singing about “suicide,” owning like 10 pedals, comparing everything to My Bloody Valentine…
OK, we’ll stop picking on the shoegazers. Or the nü-gazers. Tell me this: This music seems
pretty ProTools-heavy: How do you do it live?
Yeah, when I recorded the record I didn’t give any thought at all to the live versions of the songs. Most people we’ve met on tour have commented that it defiinitely sounds different from the record. The interesting part is seeing which people like this or dislike it. But the live versions are alot simpler and I think alot more agressive. I think the more ambient parts of the recordings are probably not really there at all. If we had an 8 person band, or
even 6 people maybe, we could probably get it closer to the record. But i don’t think that’s important. A live show and a record are two very different things in my mind.
I agree – what do you mean by more “aggressive,” though?
Where maybe on the record certain songs are alittle more laid back or something, live they are a lot louder and more intense. I feel like “Lists” is a good example of this. Maybe “C’mon” too?
Stock Philebrity question: Do you still live in Philly, and why are we talking to you if you don’t?
I’ve spent the past year in Montreal but moved back just before tour. Montreal is wonderful but i am happy to be back in West Philly.
OK, since you’re out there, talk to me a little bit about West Philly music and why so many bands out there have trouble connecting with the rest of the deodorant-using world.
West Philly music is my favorite music from this city. As I say, I’ve been gone for a while, but i think my favorite bands from philly are the Bad News Bats and Tickly Feather. Also, the Danger Danger house was the best place in this city to see or play a show. I was really saddened to learn it was shut down. I think that deodorant is powerless against awesome house shows.
But stank is powerless against L&I. Hakuna matata, dawg.
But I think the Danger Danger situation got to the heart of the West Philly music scene brain cloud: As fun as it is, you can’t just have shows at your house, have them advertised and listed all over the place and expect not to have problems. Just like you can’t expect to have your band’s whole presentation to mired in some vague 1990s anarcho-undergrad-vegan steez and expect to be taken seriously anywhere on the other side of the Walnut Street bridge. I am sure that sounds kind of obnoxious, but it is what it is.
I agree about advertising house shows, but they were around for a couple years i think. And when you’ve got something that good, who cares about being taken seriously east of the bridge.
Because unless we’re all just gonna give up and say that the West Philly scene is a regional folk music with no connection to the outside world, it’s a self-defeating, self-ghetto-izing thing. Which, last I checked, is not really why people get into music, to do that kind of thing to themselves. I just want these kids to get it together, I guess.
I’m probably the worst person in Philly to discuss the Philly music scene with as i seldom go out, but i don’t think of West Philly as isolated from a wider music scene. Maybe just from the rest of Philly. I’m not trying to play up some rivalry-type division within Philly because that probably does not exist, but i do think bands from West Philly sound diffrerent from those in the rest of the city. Actually, we did this session and interview at the university radio station in Minneapolis and the interviewer specifically asked me about the “West Philly basement scene.” It made me really happy. I don’t think West Philly is ghetto-izing itself, it’s just got lots of good things going on that are maybe not as accessible as the bar venues. Or maybe the rest of the city isn’t interested? I don’t really know, but I do love the “west philly basement scene.” Gotta run now, see you at the show?
Yes indeed! Have a great afternoon, and thank you for taking the time!
A Sunny Day In Glasgow play Johnny Brenda’s tonight with My Teenage Stride and Brown Recluse Sings. For more info, check our listings.
You don’t need to listen to Philly’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow to grasp the band’s creepy sensibilities. Just peruse their song titles: “Ghosts in the Graveyard.” “Panic Attacks Are What Make Me ‘Me.’” “Watery (Drowning is Just Another Word for Being Buried Alive Under Water).” It’ll force you to assume the worst for otherwise innocuous-seeming songs like “Wake Up Pretty.” Which is pretty much as it should be. The Daniels brood – Ben and twin sisters Lauren and Robin – do up the gauzy/ambient/ethereal thing right, channeling equal parts My Bloody Valentine, Sigur Ros and, oh, The Cocteau Twins, but imbue their songs with a deep-down fascination with death.
It’s not so much an obsession with the morbid; A Sunny Day in Glasgow sound as if they’d like to take death up in their arms, sing it a little lullaby, rock it gently to sleep. The band’s not all doom and gloom. Their songs are lush and gorgeous, layered with guitars and electronic effects galore, sprinkled with glimmers of pop and snatches of soaring melody. Wrapping up a nationwide tour on the strength of their electro-ominous Scribble Mural Comic Journal (Notenuf), the band will be peddling a limited-edition handmade tour EP, Tout New Age, full of songs recorded around SMCJ.
Thu., July 5, 9 p.m., $7, with My Teenage Stride and Brown Recluse Sings, Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 215-739-9684, www.johnnybrendas.com.
- Brian Howard
A Sunny Day in Glasgow is at DC9 (202-483-5000). The group’s poppy noise — think a lighter version of Jesus and Mary Chain — can sound a bit chaotic at times, but amid all the swirling sounds it always manages to come together at just the right moment.
Philadelphia’s new buzz-band, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, trek down I-95 to play DC9. Armed with a wall of guitar noise and splatters of delightful, airy vocals, they’re starting to make some noise nationally and are definitely worth the $8 pittance. Also with My Teenage Stride, Stamen and Pistils, and Fimfarum. 8 p.m.
The “creepy and awe-inspiring” Philly band A Sunny Day in Glasgow brings their indie-pop sound to DC9
Sure, they sound Scottish, but they’re from Philly. Siblings Ben, Lauren, and Robin Daniels dropped noisy sleepwalker Scribble Mural Comic Journal on former local label Notenuf earlier this year, invoking Scot pop tarts like the Vaselines as the Daniels sisters get psychic, huffing fuzzy guitar fumes and singing about panic attacks. It continues with the hazy quirk of new EP Tout New Age. Take deep breaths with Brooklyn’s My Teenage Stride and locals All in the Golden Afternoon.
- Audra Schroeder
A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW
Generally Vaudeville Cabaret is Tucson’s punk rock club, but Monday seriously mixes things up by welcoming
dream-popsters A Sunny Day in Glasgow. Fronted by dual female vocals, The Big Takeover hails the band’s songs as “supreme head music” and “filled with sparkling melodies and harmonies.” On its first cross-country jaunt, the Philadelphia-based ASDIG is joined by the New Yorkers of My Teenage Stride.
When: 10 p.m. Where: Vaudeville Cabaret, 110 E. Congress St. Price: call for cover
Info: 622-3535, www.vaudevillecabaret.com
Five Live: Music
A Sunny Day in Glasgow We can’t vouch for the Glasgow bit, but this trippy, happily surreal pop group has the sunny nailed. 9:30 p.m. Friday, Towne Lounge, 714 S.W. 20th Place; $5, 503-241-8696.
A Sunny Day in Glasgow, My Teenage Stride, Gingerbread Patriots
[SHOEGAZE] Sun in Glasgow is about as likely as a sun-filled winter in Portland. ASDIG celebrates the rare and unlikely with uber-uplifting electro-crafted shoegaze that’s both dirty and drowning. And like a nice day fighting the clouds of Scotland, their songs and sentiments are muddled in a lo-fi wash that’s both warm and comforting.
- Anika Sabin
Impossible Music: A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s Controlled Chaos
When Ben Daniels, the mastermind behind Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day in Glasgow, began tracking for his band’s debut, he was guided by a simple principle: “I suppose the only thing I try to avoid is writing boring songs.” The resulting album, Scribble Mural Comic Journal, and the forthcoming tour-only EP, Tout New Age, are full of disorienting but soothing electronica that is anything but boring. Daniels’ songs morph and shift unexpectedly, resisting definite shape and upending listeners’ expectations. It’s a murky, mind-bending approach to making music, where instruments surface and disappear in the mix like a shipwrecked crew struggling to keep their heads above some very choppy water.
On the first few listens, his songs are also impossible-or at least very challenging-for human ears to process as pop music. Trebly guitars fizzle with distortion and washes of atmospheric synths shimmer, while a bedrock of metronomic beats implies an elusive structure. All the while, the voices of Daniels’ sisters, Lauren and Robin, drift in and out of the songs, hauntingly disembodied. It’s a deeply spatial production strategy, in which these conflicting sounds exist on different planes that only occasionally intersect for a common melodic goal.
On the one hand, the way these songs seem to pull at their own seams and risk falling apart charges them with an engaging sense of tension. But even if Daniels’ collage-like compositions are as precariously executed as a tightrope walk, the overall effect is an entrancing wave of sound that soothes more than it unsettles. It’s hard to
imagine how the band could re-create such fine-tuned chaos onstage, but Daniels is all too happy to remain unpredictable.
“The listener is something I don’t really consider at all [when writing songs],” he said. “I never really thought about the live versions of these songs as we were recording them. I don’t think it needs to sound like the record; they are different experiences.”
- John Motley
Arthur & Yu (CD release), A Sunny Day in Glasgow, My Teenage Stride
Break out the video camera, the champagne, and the condoms because tonight is a celebration of firsts. Headliners Arthur & Yu, a local duo whose sound goes down easy with spoonfuls of the Velvets, Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, celebrate their debut release, In Camera. It’s the first record out of the gate for Sub Pop offshoot Hardly Art and, with much blogosphere buzz already, should prove a sturdy base for the young label. A Sunny Day in Glasgow, the Philly-based band of King Kong Ding Dong’s Ben Daniels and his twin sisters, make their first stop in Seattle to showcase material from their initial effort together, the atmospheric Scribble Mural Comic Journal, along with a special tour-only CD. Crocodile Cafe, 9 p.m. $9.
- Aja Pecknold
Critic’s Choice: A Sunny Day in Glasgow
Remember that Remington ad where the guy liked the shaver so much he bought the company? I can’t tell you how many times I played A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s self-released The Sunniest Day Ever EP the night I brought it home last winter, but by the time the sky had turned robin’s egg blue I’d e-mailed the band offering to release their next album, responding to an insert soliciting interested labels. (I don’t actually have a label, but I do have an AmEx card.) Turns out I was beaten to the punch: Scribble Mural Comic Journal, which reprises the best tracks from that EP alongside new material, was released on the tiny Notenuf imprint in February. The quartet’s sound and hook sense is strange but teasingly familiar: imagine the best aspects of every 4AD band all rolled together, then worked over by My Bloody Valentine every other song. Which isn’t to say they don’t transcend influences: their best moments are like summers, completely different even though they somehow feel the same. My Teenage Stride and Anon Good Nurse open.
- J. Niimi
ASDIG get dreamy at Brillobox
Some of them, like a tough relationship that ultimately bears fruit, you have to work for. A Sunny Day in Glasgow’s “Scribble Mural Comic Journal,” released in February on Brooklyn’s Notenuf label, is one of those albums, and while it may feel distant, washed out and aloof on the first few listens, don’t give up. It’s not that way, and it may require getting familiar with the surroundings – the shimmery, dreamy compositions, the trancey guitars, synth and noise samplers that won’t let go, the fading, beautiful vocals of sisters Robin and Lauren Daniels.
It’s hard to affix a label to ASDIG’s sound (shoegaze-indie-pop-dance?), but why does it need a name in the first place? It’s gotten rave reviews from Venus magazine, Pitchfork, Idolator and plenty of other tastemaker sources, and curious local music fans will have a chance to see what the buzz is about when the band pulls into the Brillobox Saturday night at 9 for a show with My Teenage Stride (who are supporting “Ears Like Golden Bats”).
Some writers, be it out of laziness or simply hoping their audience will be able to understand a little better, have named My Bloody Valentine and the recently reunited Jesus and Mary Chain as seemingly obvious influences on the band. Not so, says Ben Daniels, brother to Robin and Lauren and founder of the band with former member Ever Nalens (who coined the moniker).
“I got into those bands very late in the game,” Ben says. “I just got (JMC album) “Pyschocandy” maybe a year ago? I would cite R.E.M., Magnetic Fields, Stereolab, maybe the Cocteau Twins as bigger influences for me.” “It seems that any band that incorporates anything remotely hinting at either of those bands just gts immediately evaluated in terms of those bands. It’s really annoying, and a shame.” Ben’s aforementioned influences provide a better guide toward what people unfamiliar with the band can expect. And perhaps the reaction will be a swell of enthusiasm, similar to that which met the band once they completed working on their first recording “The Sunniest Day Ever,” an EP released in March 2006.
Ben and Ever started working on the songs once both returned from Europe (Ben was in London with his girlfriend, and Ever was in art school in … Glasgow), and once Ever left following their Philadelphia sessions, Ben recruited his sisters. It should be noted Ever still is a major contributor, doing the artwork for “Scribble” as well as shooting the band’s promo shots.
The project started more as a creative outlet with no concrete plan to go full time, but reactions from others helped turn that into reality.
“I mean I love making music more than anything else I do,” Ben says. “I’ve always wanted to do that more than anything else. But it’s just when I was writing these songs and we were working on them we didn’t attach any sort of expectations to them. It was just fun.
“After we had finished a few songs we decided to put them together on a CD and we sent them out to maybe 10 college radio stations. One day I got e-mails from several stations thanking us for sending them the CD, and then WNYU wrote to tell us we charted No. 1.” Had the band never heard from these people, it would not have killed the project. We just might not be welcoming them to town this weekend.
“We would have kept working on songs and making music without this, but it probably would have been at a more leisurely pace,” Ben admits.
“Knowing people kind of cared I think maybe (made us) focus more and work a little harder.” The fact the band is a family affair also should help them stick it out. Ben says their family was grounded in music growing up (he cites their mother as the best musician of all of them) and that has contributed to their creative bond. But can brother and sisters get into the same vehicle and tour without family ties being strained? Ben thinks so.
“We probably get along better when we don’t spend lots of time together, but most of our intense sibling rivalries are behind us at this point,” he says.
“We’ll see how this tour goes. I don’t think we’ve spent this much time in a car together since we were little kids, and the drive from Minneapolis to Seattle is a lot longer than from Philly to the Jersey shore.” For more on the band, check out
www.asunnydayinglasgow.com or their label’s site at www.notenuf.net.
- Brian Krasman