Since chancing across them a couple of Indietracks back we've been intrigued by Glasgow's Wake The President, a process that reaches a crucial staging post with the release this week of debut album You Can't Change That Boy on Electric Honey (the label run by Stow College, also home to Tigermilk and debut singles by Snow Patrol and Biffy Clyro). While openly indebted to the razor sharp riffs of Orange Juice and the Sound Of Young Scotland alumni, at its best it's a properly exciting collection of confident driving hooks and charging jangling riffs, the subliminal cheerful summery outlook of which is undermined comprehensively by singer Erik Sandberg's lyrical tales of lives and loves passing their occupants by, melancholic losers and documentation of people too full of themselves to care. Sounding as if they've chanced across a new approach to breezy guitar pop even if aware of its storied history, it's as if the class of Edwyn Collins, Paul Haig and Davey Henderson have found their star juniors.
So there's the album in precis: here's guitarist (and Erik's twin brother) Bjorn Sandberg to reveal where it originated from.
First single bought: Oh dear... Bon Jovi, Always. In first year at school I fancied this bird... So I sent her an anonymous Valentine's card complete with the lyrics to this song. All I can recall about her is that she was my first kiss and she had a peculiarly big chin.
First album bought: Fuck me this is getting worse. It was, again, Bon Jovi, Crossroads. I vividly remember walking into Fopp on Byres Road and at the time (1994 I believe) my big brother Lars Sandberg was the manager. I remember the look of digust on his face as I approached the counter. Bear in mind this was when Detroit acid house was the thing to be into in Glasgow; Lars was the tastemaker in the west end hipping all these cool techno records to the kids in Fopp. And there was his little brother. Buying Bon Jovi.
First gig voluntarily attended: Ocean Colour Scene at Stirling Castle August 1997. I was 14 and stoned. Erik was drunk and got his wallet stolen.
The record that most made you want to get into music: Simple. Sgt Pepper by The Beatles. Up till that point I had worshipped Oasis. But it was the arse end of Britpop and even at 14 I was starting to see through the shite like Hurricane #1, The Bluetones, Menswear and post-Morning Glory Oasis. It was one of those moments in your youth, when you knew things would never quite be the same again. I remember it vividly. 14th December 1997. Erik and I went into Fopp on Byres Road (by which point Lars had left Fopp off on his own musical odyssey as techno DJ Funk D'Void) and we chipped in our pocket money to pay for it together. I remember hearing the opening guitar line to Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds and instantly falling in love. A month later we both bought acoustic guitars and the rest as they say is history.
The three headliners at a festival you were curating: Felt, Orange Juice (circa 81) and The Smiths in Botanic Gardens, Glasgow.
A song not enough people know about but everyone should hear: Paris by Andrea Marini. Glasgow boy in the vein of Scott Walker and Leonard Cohen. Heartbreakingly beautiful.
A song you'd play to get people dancing: Chic - I Want Your Love
The last great thing you heard: I came home to my mum's tonight and it was great to hear the dog when I was walking up the close. I've missed him (Harry).
Your key non-musical influences: Maybe one for Erik but... women, love, Glasgow, hate, emotional destruction, sexual confusion.
Your favourite new artist: I'm really looking forward to the debut album from Zoey van Goey. They are a great bunch too. Also I've just signed an all girl trio from Glasgow to my Say Dirty label called Peter Parker. I'm looking forward to working with them.
Wake The President play a Rough Trade instore next Monday, then for the next two or three month gigs around Aberdeen and Glasgow plus one in Middlesbrough. They're also coming back to Indietracks this year, which hasn't been officially announced yet but they've put it on their Myspace so there you go. A couple of embeds to explain further - this is the title track:
And this is how forthcoming single (6th April on a split 7" with Je Suis Animal) Miss Tierney sounds live: