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The best kept secret in music


"RADAR: Kain and Able"

They are the most exciting band to come out of Glasgow since Franz Ferdinand. So why the fuck haven't KAIN got a record deal?

In deepest, darkest Glasgow, far removed from Franz Ferdinand's world of smoked salmon, arched eyebrows and starched polyester, there resides a band whose gigs draw the kind of devotion witnessed only at Libertines mini-riots. A band writing songs that document everyday life - booze, broken homes, bad chemicals - in a way that makes it seem like the most exciting thing on earth, and who are so utterly dedicated to rock'n'roll that they'll eat cocaine in its name.

Yet chances are you've never heard of Kain, Glasgow's kings of booze-powered good times. It's not because they're not every bit as good as that last paragraph cracks them up to be either. Comprising frontman Ian, bassist Cloudy and prodigiously talented guitarist/songwriters Jon and Wilf, Kain are simultaneously Glasgow's most worshiped and most overlooked band. Together for six years now, they've supported - and blown away - more passing hyped-up chancers than they'd care to list, as well as built up a rabid cult following in their hometown. No, you've never heard of Kain simply because of record industry ignorance and apathy.

"When we started out," recalls hyper-kinetic frontman Ian, "people would ask us, 'Why would you want to be in a rock'n'roll band?' They wanted us to play cellos and write ballads! We've been doing this for a long time now but I knew right from the very first rehearsal that our songs were as good as the Faces, or the Stones."

And what songs. Ranging from 'Beers For The Boys' - a self-deprecating tale of casual alcoholism - to the unabashed, wide-eyed optimism of 'Satellite', they encompass everything from '50's doo-wop, to northern soul, to glam rock, to Arthur Lee-influenced mariachi. Not only that, everyone of them sounds like a 24-carat chart-humping gem.

"I wouldn't even be on the stage if I didn't think the music was special," says Cloudy, a gentlemanly bar-room raconteur, who keeps pictures of Beethoven by his bed and plans to one day alter Glasgow's collective consciousness via the introduction of magic mushrooms to the city's water supply.

"I listen to bands like Jet and I think, 'Jon and Wilf write better songs than that in a day.'"

Wilf groans in the background, and puts in his unintentionally hilarious two-cents' worth. "That Jet song, 'Rollover Beethoven' or whatever its called, that's pretty fucking grim... pure Trebor Extra-Strong mince."

"Great things are happening in Glasgow just now," muses Ian. "There are loads of brilliant bands around, but I think Kain are the only real rock'n'roll band. We're about making girls dance" - a sly grin snakes across his face - "and making guys beat the shit out of each other."

We all know the record industry loves to celebrate the ordinary, but it also seems hell-bent on ignoring the unique. Not since the advent of Oasis has a band made this writer (and this one - New Bands Ed) want to put his arm around sweaty, pissed-up strangers and sing loudly, off-key in their ear, more that Kain. Record company fatcats, A&R pigdogs and whichever fuckers are responsible for the continued existence of guff like Starsailor and The Thrills: salvation can be yours. Sign Kain today. - NME

"The Sound Of Scotland"

“Fast becoming NME favourites (don’t let that put you off), these Glasgow riff artists have but one simple goal; to rock, to roll, to drink large quantities of ale, to rock and roll again for a bit.

Nothing new, of course, but Kain, who formed in 1998 under the original name of Castillo, rise above most retro-rockers by dint of the fact that they possess a genuinely irresistible arsenal of bumptious anthems which sound like Rod Stewart whipping Jagger with a wet Bay City Rollers scarf.

They have already had support slots with The Libertines and The Raveonettes; the rest of the world is surely only a 12-bar boogie away.”
- Scotland On Sunday

"Rockin' All Over The World"

[NME’s] new darlings are the Glasgow band Kain, with their riff-heavy mix of classic rock inspired by the New York Dolls and 1970’s Bowie.
- The Sunday Times


Baby Am Amazed (3 track single on Hijacked Records).

All three tracks off the debut single recieved nationwide airplay in the UK, alongside other demos including NME favourite 'All My Heroes'.


Feeling a bit camera shy


“We are Kain from Glasgow, and rock n’ roll isn’t alive yet but it is…now.”

If I’m being entirely straight with you, I couldn’t honestly tell you all that much about the five twentysomethings that comprise Kain. It’s been little over a year now since I made my first acquaintance with them, at an NME Scottish Showcase gig in Glasgow’s King Tut’s last October, where they were sandwiched between the worlds of bog standard indie miserablism and preposterous Goth metal pantomime. Understandably, their style was somewhat cramped. 2002, you may recall, was the Chinese year of the chancer, where anyone with three chords and a vague approximation of ‘The Truth’ was hailed as a jean-wearing Jesus, but Kain still managed to crawl out of the post-indie sludge with a set full of gems that you’ll discover soon enough.

Since that fateful night, I’ve seen countless shows, held countless drunken conversations and sent off countless CD-R’s, yet still they remain a mystery, shrouded in an enigma, and lost at the bottom of a river of booze. Favourite records? Early influences? Second names, for fuck’s sake? No idea. But like all great rock n’ roll bands, you don’t need to know such things. You don’t need to know that Joey Ramone was really Joey Hyman, the lanky Jewish kid who got beat up at school for looking like a Praying Mantis, or that Slash, rather than coming into this world blazing through the gates of Hades was actually born in, um, Stoke On-Trent. The truth simply gets in the way of good stories.

And Kain could tell you a few of them.

Here’s what I do know. Kain as they are now – Ian (vocals), Cloudy (bass), Jon (guitars), Neil (drums) and Wilf (guitars) – formed in Glasgow in 1998 under the original name of Castillo. The intervening years were a long, hard struggle against an unwelcoming zeitgeist that finally began paying off in 2002 – a string of sold out dates, a revelatory performance at T In The Park’s T-Break stage, and support slots with The Libertines, The Raveonettes and The Soledad Brothers. They also managed to turn Glasgow’s Vale Bar from Jakeball central into the hippest Friday night in town via their own self-run HIT! Club, and developed the kind of cult following usually reserved for Gouranga prophets along the way. Without the tunics, obviously.

All of which has led to this, their debut single. Recorded with ex-Teenage Fanclub alumni Brendan O’Hare, it’s three tracks – ‘Baby, I’m Amazed’ ‘Daddy, Daddy’ and ‘Satellite’ – encapsulate all that is great about Kain, and let you know exactly why Carl Barat, Meg White, and Toe Rag studio’s Liam Watson, amongst others, have fallen so hard for them. It’s all there, everything that you thought two years of soulless garage rock fashionistas had taken away from rock n’ roll; melodies that will eat your brain, lyrics that bring a cheeky smile to the face and an unwavering self-belief that not even five years in the cold could kill off. This is something the band members have left university for, worked unforgiving hours in shoe shops for and lugged amplifiers and drumkits all over the country for.

From the 60’s Britbeat jitter bomb of ‘Baby I’m Amazed’ to ‘Daddy, Daddy’ the band’s self-proclaimed “Greatest rock n’ roll song you can dance to since ‘My Sharona’” to ‘Satellite’s irrepressible, gleefully narcissistic hook line of “I’m just too pretty for the world” this is possibly the last great single of 2003 from the first great band of 2004.

I could witter on for several thousand more words, extolling the virtues of songs that aren’t on this single and live shows that have to be seen to be believed, but I’ll let you discover them on your own terms. Right now, just procure yourself a £3 bottle of wine and prepare to have the most fun you can possibly have without seriously injuring a Stereophonic. Adieu.

Barry Nicolson, NME