Musicfest NW: The Twilight Sad

photos by Kyle Johnson
intro by Christy Thacker

It’s nice to see the use of the word “twilight” for something other than a cheesy, teen vampire romance. From the grassy hills of Kilsyth, Scotland, The Twilight Sad is anything but tacky with their unmistakable indie rock, layered noise sound. Beginning as a high school cover band, the quartet has since grown up and made a name for themselves, playing alongside mega-artists like the Smashing Pumpkins, Mogwai and Snow Patrol.

In 2003, after schoolmates James Graham (vocalist), Andy MacFarlane (guitar, accordion) and Mark Devine (drums) met Craig Orzel (bass, glockenspiel- xylophone-like instrument) at a bus stop, the four began performing 30 minute experimental noise sets. They eventually set aside their toy instruments, film tape loops and galactic computer games to create a more traditional, eloquent sound that we see from them today. Still, their music wavers between technical and ambient with distorted guitars and turbulent rhythm, showcased in their debut 2007 album, Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters. Lyrically, the album is all about the band’s experiences in Scotland, the people they know and events that have shaped their lives. Graham stays true to his Scottish culture, incorporating silly slang into his songs like “battered a dug” (kicked a dog), “am oan a pure mad whitey by the way” (when you drink too much and you go pale and spew) and “dobber supper” (sausage and chips).

On top of their U.S. tour with Brakes and We Were Promised Jetpacks, the band is releasing a second album, Forget the Night Ahead, September 21.

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