As much as they've impinged themseles upon the rising Edinburgh scene and earned critical kudos, even if most of it is still north of the border, Meursault seem to be a band who work entirely within their own head space. Their dark angst and "big music" divisions of grandeur may have a modern Scottish lineage, whether Glasvegas, Frightened Rabbit or Broken Records to name obvious contenders, but few could hope to marry it anything like as successfully to both laptop electronica and Fence Collective folk (although sometimes it sounds more like a field recording) frameworks. Their new second album, All Creatures Will Make Merry (order direct from Song By Toad), was recorded in their label boss' front room, and if the fidelity sometimes wavers the commitment underneath doesn't, making it more Microphones/Mountain Goats atmosphere capturing than some Brooklynite adding cassette hiss to their ProTools. It's heartaching and defiant, bleak and optimistic, welcoming the world and weary of the way it drags you down. Neil Pennycook's grazing, howling into the void voice sound ready to take the world on single handed on the acoustic songs, driving towards it when the dirty machine tooled beats kick in - Pennycook apparently labelled it "epic lo-fi". It sounds warm, but it's prepared to be harsh.
Meursault tour the UK in October, and before then play Glastonbury's BBC Introducing stage, End Of The Road and Truck. Oi! Truck! Now we're committed elsewhere that weekend, will you stop suddenly adding loads and loads of fantastic bands? As well as Meursault there's, to take a cross-section, Los Campesinos!, Future Of The Left, Mew, Teenage Fanclub, Islet, Blood Red Shoes, Summer Camp, Thomas Truax, Dog Is Dead, even, we understand, Ace Bushy Striptease. You're seriously taking the piss in our absentia.
Meursault - Crank Resolutions
Pagan Wanderer Lu isn't as yet playing any festivals this summer - in fact he played in London with Stairs To Korea last night, sorry, didn't realise in time - but he does have a full band together. What Andy Regan and occasional friends are promoting is European Monsoon (order direct from Brainlove), his fifth album in all but third of wider note. "How can I banish negative thoughts when everything's so unbearably awful?" asks the first track, which about sets the tone. Well, not quite, it's less directly angry then Fight My Battles For Me and is genuinely optimistic and loving at times, but the overall air of wry pessimism is hard to shift. It's also more electronic than his previous full-lengths, less bedroom recorded and with greater sonic depth while still sounding made up of knackered analogue keyboards, second hand grooveboxes and things that make odd noises round the edges, often with a proper pop (ie no sort of pop people buy) undercurrent. Regan's quest to force scattershot ambition into its own vaguely accessible shape of warped electronic song trickery continues on a fine course.
Pagan Wanderer Lu - Banish Negative Thoughts by brainlove