Just as Architecture in Helsinki aren’t Finnish, Of Montreal aren’t Canadian, and Tokyo Police Club aren’t Japanese, A Sunny Day in Glasgow aren’t Scottish. A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a dreampop/shoegaze sextet from Philadelphia. Since their formation in 2006, they’ve released three EPs, three albums and a handful of singles. They’ve gone through a bunch of lineup changes, especially between the second album and the third. The only constant member is frontman Ben Daniels. Whenever you hear that there have been a lot of lineup changes, you assume that the front of the band is a real jerk. At least I assume that. I don’t think it’s true in this case, though.
Daniels and Ever Nalens both went from Philadelphia to Glasgow several years ago. Daniels dropped out of art school and went to live in London for a while. After some time of living in the UK, Daniels and Nalens returned to Philadelphia and started writing songs. Nalens left and Daniels recruited his twin sisters to sing. They recorded a few songs as a bedroom demo and mailed a few copies to college radio stations. It got some play, and before too long, labels were banging down Daniels’ door to sign him up. Out of all that, they released the The Sunniest Day Ever EP in the spring of 2006. Not long after that, they released their debut record Scribble Mural Comic Journal in the winter of 2007.
In 2009, they released their second album. After that, things got a little bit weird. Robin Daniels, one of the twin sisters, had to leave the band to go to graduate school in Colorado. The band’s bassist slipped “on a leaf” while loading some gear into his car. He broke his leg in several places and was out of commission for a long time. He was dating Lauren Daniels, the other twin. Lauren tended to her bedridden beau, and she was out of the band, too.
A new bassist, and two new female vocalists. They released a new EP in the spring of 2010, followed by the Autumn Again album in October. Daniels is a vinyl junkie and doesn’t believe that CDs are relevant anymore. To an extent, he’s got a point. He took that point to the extreme, though. Autumn Again was only released on a very limited run of 500 LPs. It was also released digitally, and Amazon offered the album as a free download for a while. That’s how I got mine. I’d heard the name A Sunny Day in Glasgow, but I’d never heard their music before. While Amazon was giving their album away, a friend send me an IM, urging me to get it. He guessed that it was right up my alley. He was right.
Everyone lazily says that A Sunny Day in Glasgow “sound like My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins”. By now, you all know that I really hate that cliché, even when it’s appropriate. My only frame of reference is this newest album, but I don’t hear those references at all. I don’t own any of the back catalog, but I plan to remedy that sometime soon. On the matter of that old cliché, I have no problem vouching for the statement that if you like MBV and Cocteau Twins, you’re most certainly going to like A Sunny Day in Glasgow. I just don’t think that they sound alike.
Here’s today’s song:
“100/0 (Snowdays forever)” by A Sunny Day in Glasgow
For the first 13 seconds, it almost sounds like it’s one of those really big, anthemic songs by one of those bands that pack football stadiums.
At 0:27, there’s a bit of tuned percussion that I really like. You guys know how much I like the tuned percussion. I can’t place it though. It almost sounds like glass bottles.
My favorite bit in the song is at 1:37, when all the dreaminess is met by an explosion of sound. The drums get twice as heavy and most of all, the guitars come bursting in. Heavy and noisy and effect-laden and feedback-y. And then there’s more of that tuned percussion. Strange to have some tuned percussion in the middle of a sonic explosion, but it’s there. That outburst lasts roughly 30 seconds, then it fades back into the dreamy part. It gets a little rowdy again at the end, but it’s not as sudden. I like that.
This reminds a few things more contemporary than My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins. Like I said, though those are much better as “recommended if you like…” than as “sounds like…”
The LP is out of print, and you probably won’t find a used copy. Get the digital download just about anywhere. For example, from eMusic. Seriously. Get it.