ScotDrakula


I found live music when I found ScotDrakula. Living down south beyond where the trains stop running, there wasn’t much chance to see bands. Even less chance to see bands you might actually feel something for. I could barely breathe, barely see, all rundown with a knockout cold by the time I got to the Workers Club on that chill-bitten March night, but I’d been putting off seeing ‘em for far too long. I’d met Matt Neumann and Dove Bailey a while before, sitting to the left of me on live television, interviewing ‘em for the release of CRACKSTRENGTH. And I was taken: Dove, with his silent cool and Matt, with his fierce intensity. They were holding cards I knew I wanted to see flipped over. And that EP, ringing loud with tape hiss and distortion, the crisp crackle of Evianne Camille’s hi-hats and Matt’s frantic squawk, held a beguiling hand of its own. 

Sure, I’d seen shows before. But not like that.

Liberated from the flattening effect of recording, their songs blew through like a blast of desert wind. ‘Shake Ya Bones, Kick Out The AmberLamps’ and ‘Buy a Shovel!’ took on a new power screamed into one’s face; buffed up, rounded out and hot as hell with all that in-person action. And then they played new songs, more anthemic and rhythmic and vicious, over the next few months we’d piece together the words from shows nearly every week from that point on.

That ‘we’ is the group of people I now call my best friends. Yeah, real love was forged in the furnace of that show, and pretty soon we were following ScotDrakula wherever they were playing. The fireside hum of Doors&Fours, the stomping yearn of Stupid Everything, the screaming cool of BURNER – these all took on vivid shapes in our memories as the threads with which we bound our friendship. And pretty soon, that included Matt, Dove, and Evi too.

Burner was a step closer to capturing what seemed impossible to translate about their live show. Louder and wilder, it felt like a striking caricature of the electrified mask Matt wore behind the mic. Better, it was a chance to take the songs home and attempt to penetrate them in the wait for the next show, where bouncing bodies could be seen trying their best to gulp air between trying to match Matt’s lyrical yell. Meanwhile a community was forming around them, bolstered by damn near every band they played with who couldn’t help be charmed. Bands like Rayon Moon, Shards, Going Swimming, Citizen Sex, they were there from the start, but they were soon joined by the likes of, The Ocean Party, Mesa Cosa, Gooch Palms, LAZERTITS, Mangelwurzel, and just about every other good and noisy band blowing through Melbourne. If there were one band to rival what I felt about ScotDrakula, it was Rayon Moon, and watching their mutual love affair blossom was eye watering. The Rayons were always there for ScotDrakula, and that dependability is immortalised in the ‘Break Me Up video and the first line of Shazon’. When Rayon Moon dissolved and Tim joined ScotDrakula it felt – forgive me – like destiny.

I spent near half a decade running round the city and the internet trying to draw folks into feeling the same, and coming up to the release of their first full-length, everyone who’d been doing the same breathed a sigh of vindication. ScotDrakula finally started picking up some recognition from major publications in the outside world, and for good reason: three and a half years and hundreds of shows after the release of CRACKSTRENGTH, ScotDrakula had finally bottled the exhilaration of their live show. SCOTRAKULA is played tight, arranged thick, and recorded warm. Matt, Dove and Evi came through clearer than ever and the result was a record that feels fully recognised beyond anything they’d done before. Where their previous EPs were vibrant sketches, SCOTDRAKULA was the whole picture. At its core was the anxiety and disgust at the world Matt had been honing for years – Kill What You Love’ took on cultural co-opting, Wendigo was a paean to alienation, Booth At The Mall attacked the folly of war, Pig Eyes fucked the cops, Starter Humanism critiqued performative charity, ‘I Ain’t Going To Sleep prescribed insomnia for an existential crisis – but ScotDrakula’s brilliance was cloaking all this as sound-happy anthems. So many of ScotDrakula’s songs could be read, on first listen, as party rock – and some of them are – but not out of deception, out of a purpose: ScotDrakula have always documented the exhausting nature of being alive, but have known just as long that the only cure is coming together in compassion and empathy. And what better way to bring that about than through eminently danceable rock music?

‘Skeleton Fever’, their new single and the first thing you’ll hear from their new record if you haven’t been to a show lately, feels appropriately somber. Dove got married and moved to New York, which means this phase of ScotDrakula I’ve just recounted is over. ’Skeleton Fever’ feels like an ode to that. With a video featuring friends of the band among shots of touring on the road and recording, it’s an emotional final line in ScotDrakula’s latest chapter. But it also opens the next one. More restrained and complex than their previous songs but with just as much heft, ’Skeleton Fever’ is the first hint of an older and more confident ScotDrakula, just as comfortable baring their sadness as ratcheting up the volume. And unlike SCOTDRAKULAit doesn’t capture their live show at all. It doesn’t even try to. It’s downright quiet by their standards – pensive, reflective, and devastating.

If this is your first time hearing ScotDrakula, lucky you. You’ve got a lot to catch up on and it’s all waiting there for you to find. If you’ve heard everything up to this point and been to all the shows, you already know what this means. This is not the end of ScotDrakula. This is the start of something new.

- Jake Clelend

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HIGH RES IMAGE SCOTDRAKULA Album Artwork CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

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SCOTDRAKULA Album Artwork
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HIGH RES IMAGE Image Credit: Matthew Neumann CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

HIGH RES IMAGE
Image Credit: Matthew Neumann
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HIGH RES IMAGE Image Credit: Matthew Neumann CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

HIGH RES IMAGE
Image Credit: Matthew Neumann
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HIGH RES IMAGE Image Credit: Matthew Neumann CLICK IMAGE TO DOWNLOAD

HIGH RES IMAGE
Image Credit: Matthew Neumann
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LIVE DATES

JULY 22, 2016
JULY 23, 2016
JULY 24, 2016
JULY 25, 2016
JULY 26, 2016
JULY 27, 2016
JULY 28, 2016
JULY 29, 2016
JULY 30, 2016
JULY 31, 2016
AUG 03, 2016
AUG 04, 2016
AUG 05, 2016
AUG 06, 2016
AUG 07, 2016

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