Tuesday, 30 June 2015

We're Only Here For The Banter - Shona Brown


Since November last year Glasgow based flautist and producer Shona Brown has embarked on an impressive, and fruitful, project; committing to releasing ten recordings over ten consecutive months.  If nothing else the project has brought her to the attention of music fans in Glasgow, with appearances on STV Glasgow and BBC Radio Scotland, as well as coverage by yours truly.  I wanted to catch up with Shona to find out a little more.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

I’m great thanks.  I’ve been clearing my head in the North West Highlands after a crazy busy time, culminating in playing with Mogwai at the Barrowlands!  I’m still buzzing...

It's the question everyone hates, but could illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

I guess it’s easier to talk to you about my influences than my music itself - I’m still trying to pin that down.  It’s kind of a blessing and a curse that I’ve had such wide influences.  As a musician I’ve worked in classical, jazz, folk, rock, world and choral music so it can leave me feeling quite confused.  In some ways I’m still striving to bring all my different ideas together into something unique and coherent.  That’s one of my main goals!

My whole work ethic and approach to music is heavily influenced by my classical training.  The music is made primarily of looped patterns which are manipulated in different ways and rise in peaks and troughs.  The main sounds coming through in my music are very ambient, strongly melodic, atmospheric and folk-heavy.  That’s how I hear it anyway!

What's your song-writing / creative process like?


Usually I start with a small idea - a chord progression or a short melody and see how far I can develop it.   Over the past year I’ve been learning Ableton and production for myself which has opened up vast possibilities.   It’s quite overwhelming, like learning several new instruments from scratch. I try to reign myself in creatively - I find limiting my options is helpful for coming up with more creative ideas.

Tell us about your recent '10in10' project.

I made the commitment to release 10 recordings in 10 months starting in November last year.   Some months I released EP's and other months just singles.  It’s very much connected with the fact that I’ve recently been able to produce music for myself.  It’s been a huge learning and developmental process and the idea, from a personal perspective, was to set myself a challenge which pushed me to really go for it.  Another reason is, as I said before, I struggle to decide where I fit in the music industry so it was a way to explore different musical ideas and to try to craft my sound.  I hope people have enjoyed hearing my explorations…!

Of the tracks you've released during the project, have any particular stood out as favourites?

As I mentioned, the tracks are all very different so I think different tracks have appealed to different people.  People seem to like my song Your Silence Is So Loud - it’s quite pop-influenced and upbeat so it stands out from the other more atmospheric stuff.   I’m quite hopeful for next month’s track, I think I’m starting to get closer to the sound in my head I’ve been striving for.

What could we expect to see from a live show?


Me, all alone, with my flutes, laptop and lots of pedals and hardware.  It’s a mixture of live looping, singing, fluting and some other instruments and samples.  Generally the music is quite atmospheric, but very varied.

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2015?


The 10in10 project wraps up in August (phew!).  I’ve got quite a few gigs lined up in all sorts of places.   I’m supporting All Kings and Queens at King Tuts on July 4th.   I’m also doing a run of shows at the Edinburgh Fringe and playing at Arts centres in various Scottish locations.  You can check the list at my website www.shonabrown.com.   I’ll also be starting work on an album - hopefully to be released some time next year.

What are you listening to at the moment?

I love music which mixes up different genres - in my head it all comes together somehow.   At the moment I’m kind of obsessed with Nils Frahm, the beauty and integrity of his sound is incredible.  I’m also loving Gogo Penguin, Dahfer Youssef, Lamb, Amiina, James Blake and Vaughan Williams.


Check out more from Shona Brown

Facebook          Twitter          Website

Sunday, 28 June 2015

EXCLUSIVE - EP STREAM - Wozniak - Auster


I'll tell you what I like.

I like having exclusive streams available on Scottish Fiction for you to check out.  I like dreamy post-rock coated shoegaze.  I like layers and layers and layers and layers and layers.  I like sophisticated music.  I like when bands return with improvements.  I like noise.

Ultimately I like Wozniak.

Delighted to be able to bring you an EXCLUSIVE first listen at the new EP from Edinburgh's Wozniak.  The EP is called Auster  and is out on Monday via Morningside Young Team Records.  It follows on from the band's last EP Pikes Peak, displaying more of the same with added oomph. 

The EP takes its name from the Roman God of the south wind, and reflects the elemental forces at work on Auster’s four tracks.  The four tracks were recorded at The Depot Studio in Edinburgh, under the guidance of Craig Ross of Broken Records.

You can get the EP from Monday via the band's Bandcamp, and on iTunes, Amazon and in independent record shops around the country.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 25th June 2015


What a wonderful world we live in sometimes... 

Musically speaking this week's Scottish Fiction show is pretty lovely too.  I added one half of the new AA single from Kathryn Joseph to the Scottish Fiction Playlist, and there's also new music from The Van T's, Wozniak, Reverieme, TeenCanteen, Bdy_Prts and more!  

The Van T's - Growler
The New Fabian Society - Melt Inside
Machines In Heaven - Taxpayers Compass
Bdy_Prts - Cold Shoulder
Deadly Rides - The Ride
AROUND THE WORLD - Death From Above 1979 - Virgins
Baby Strange - California Sun
Min Diesel - Trail of T-Shirts
Sean Armstrong - Floating With You
Dec '91 - I Don't Want To Hurt You
Lovers Turn To Monsters - Scottish Weekend
PLAYLIST - Catholic Action - The Real World
PLAYLIST - Machines In Heaven - Displacer
PLAYLIST - Kathryn Joseph - the worm
Brendan Dalton - Medium
Sorren Maclean - Way Back Home
Esperi - Sonshine
Exit-Omni - Since We Last Met
Wozniak - Snow Effect
Seconds - Rest
in:tides - Yours Is The Earth
Reverieme - Plankton
Stanley Odd - Monsoon Season
TeenCanteen - Sister

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Connect with us and submit any submissions via:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/thisisscottishfiction
Twitter - twitter.com/scotfiction984
E-mail - scottishfiction@mail.com


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 18th June 2015


Oh my lordy lord, what an evening was had on Wednesday at the fourth annual SAY Awards ceremony.  Despite the humiliation in revealing my new hairdo to the world - yes I did manage to shave a chunk out the front of my hair - it was a truly spectacular evening thanks to fantastic performances from Tuff Love, Golden Teacher, and Loki and the Kartel, some on-from DJing from the TYCI crew at the after party, and the small matter of Kathryn Joseph winning the award!

In this week's show all that is covered, plus some more tracks from our recent Almost Scottish Fiction Vol. 3 EP.  Catholic Action are added to the Scottish Fiction Playlist, and there's room from new ones from Martha Ffion, Halfrican, Fiona Soe Paing, Siobhan Wilson and more. 


Tuff Love - Groucho
Martha Ffion - No Applause
Wendell Borton - The Worst
Halfrican - Down To Fuck
SHARPTOOTH - Queen of Scots
AROUND THE ROUND - Waxahatchee - Under A Rock
Washed - One To Five
Broken Boy - Just To Leave You
Kathryn Joseph - the bird
Siobhan Wilson - Terrible Woman
Bella and the Bear - Leave It Out
The Great Albatross - Righteous Man
FROM THE VAULTS - Fake Major - We're The Same (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Rachel Sermanni - Tractor
C Duncan - Garden
PLAYLIST - Machines in Heaven - Displacer
PLAYLIST - Catholic Action - The Real World
Eyes of Others - Binary World
Miaoux Miaoux - Luxury Discovery
Shards - Just To Get Something Started
Kobi Onyame - Imminence (Only Matter Of Time O)
Naked - Bubble
Golden Teacher - Double Bump
Loki with Becca Wallace - G.I.M.P.
RE-MIXING IT UP - Outblinker - BLUE (Antoni Maiovvi Remix)
Fiona Soe Paing - Heartbeat

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Connect with us and submit any submissions via:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/thisisscottishfiction
Twitter - twitter.com/scotfiction984
E-mail - scottishfiction@mail.com

Scottish Fiction - 18th June 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Monday, 15 June 2015

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 11th June 2015


It's been a loooong few months away from microphone for a number of reasons.  However I'm dee-lighted to be back with Scottish Fiction in the brand new radio studios of Pulse 98.4.  Perched at the very top of Barrhead, it's pretty picturesque with the view spanning all the way across the Clyde valley.

As for the music, well on our return I tried to pack as much music into the two hours as possible, so there's tracks from Poor Things, Lovers Turn To Monsters, and Aylee, as well as Machines In Heaven who take pride place as the first song on our Scottish Fiction Playlist.  There's also a track from each SAY Award Shortlisted album, plus Re-Mixing It Up and new features From The Vaults; a classic Scottish Fiction session track; and Around The World where we extend our music choices beyond Scotland. 

Poor Things - No Way, Jóse
Halfrican - Life Is Hard
Honeyblood - Killer Bangs
PAWS - Tongues
The Amazing Snakeheads - Here It Comes Again
Young Fathers - No Way
Happy Meals - Altered Images
PLAYLISTED - Machines In Heaven - Displacer
Numbers Are Futile - Monster
Ubre Blanca - Muscles and Jungle
WHITE - Future Pleasure
AROUND THE WORLD - Run The Jewels - Early
Aylee - Learn To Swim
Mt. Doubt - Leap
FROM THE VAULTS - Rick Redbeard - Any Way I Can (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Hector Bizerk - The Waltz of Modern Psychiatry
Errors - Genuflection
Kathryn Joseph - the why what, baby?
Belle & Sebastian - The Party Line
Paolo Nutini - Better Man
Slam - Ghosts of Detroit
RE-MIXING IT UP - Prides - Messiah (Giorgio Moroder Remix)
Man of Moon - The Road
Woodenbox - More Girl Than Friend
Lovers Turn To Monsters - Glass Hands

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Connect with us and submit any submissions via:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/thisisscottishfiction
Twitter - twitter.com/scotfiction984
E-mail - scottishfiction@mail.com

Scottish Fiction - 11th June 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Monday, 8 June 2015

Almost Scottish Fiction EP Volume 3


It's the not-quite-the-first Monday of June, however a week late is better than never!  Myself and David are absolutely thrilled to unveil Volume 3 of the Almost Scottish Fiction EP  series.  Again there's six tracks to wrap your lugs around, and my oh my what a collection they are!  I know I have to say that, but really I'm smiling ear to ear about how good this little EP is.

As before the EP is curated by myself on behalf of Scottish Fiction, and David McElroy from Almost Predictable, Almost and features tracks from our favourite artists.  To grab your download head along to the Scottish Fiction Bandcamp, or the Almost Predictable, Almost Bandcamp and download.



Machines In Heaven - Taxpayers Compass

Machines In Heaven have provided us this exclusive track for this release.  Combining the power of the Aphex Twin and Radiohead circa Kid A, this is a masterclass in electronic pop music which still retains the band's experimental edge.

Mt. Doubt - Leap

Taken from Mt. Doubt's stunning debut album My Past Is A Quiet Beast,  this track is a driving number with shimmering guitars creating a War On Drugs style feel. Leo Bargary's vocals complete the package with a baritone quality reminiscent of Matt Berninger.

Shards - Just To Get Something Started

Shards debut release Just To Get Something Started  perfectly shows off the band's brand of melancholic eletronica which the band have christened melancholitronica.  It's part ambient, part experimental and really rather fantastic.

WASHED - One To Five

WASHED is the new electronic project by David previously of Fiction Faction.  This track One To Five  offers a tasty insight into what has been going on in the studio, with reverb vocals draped over rising and see-sawing synths.

in:tides - Yours Is The Earth


Yours Is The Earth  is the closing and title track from Glasgow post-rockers in:tides' latest EP.   If you like your music layered, building and with arena filling atmosphere, then this will be right up your street.  The band are playing at Xpo-North this week so don't forget to check them out!

Analog Angel - Your Breath

Your Breath  is Analog Angel's most recent single, released ahead of their rather exciting support slot with former Kraftwerk man Wolfgang Flur in Norwich on 20th June.   The track is a much poppier affair than the band's previous releases, though no less powerful.

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Gig Review - Withered Hand (Nothing Ever Happens Here), Summerhall - Friday 8th May


This evening's gig is part of Summerhall's much celebrated, and rightly so, Nothing Ever Happens Here season.  Organised by Jamie Sutherland, frontman of Broken Records, the series has been organised in response to Edinburgh Council's painstakingly slow reaction to Young Fathers' comments on Edinburgh's live music scene.  Fusing a programme that includes established and newer Scottish bands as well as groups from further afar, Nothing Ever Happens Here has reignited an excitement in live music Edinburgh has been needing.

Newcomer Eyes of Others, aka John Bryden, takes the first slop for the evening hot on the heels of releasing his eponymous debut EP.  Bryden's off-kilter electronic pop songs are reflective whilst still maintaining light hearted elements through their arrangements and production.  Cruel Romantic Dreams is a prime example, a downtempo and more serious affair, but littered with laid back and infectious synth lines.  The five songs on display widened Bryden's palette from the EP and let the hooks shine through.  The real strength of Eyes of Others is the production.  Vibrato-less, analogue-sounding synths hint at coldwave influences without ever sounding pastiche, overtly retro or ironic, but instead sit effortlessly side by side alongside more modern percussion and ambient washes.

Woodpigeon, who is currently embarking on a European tour with Withered Hand, strips his songs down to solo arrangements following the more band-orientated recordings that form Mark Hamilton's side of Song By Toad's recent split with Rob St John.  Opening with Knock Knock, Hamilton's voice was evidently struggling to carry over the increasingly busy, Friday night audience.  Towards the latter half of the song looped vocals begin to get lost in the haze.  After a false start to Canada, however, as well as an explanation for the lost voice, a softer approach was taken, with more gentle vocals and fingerpicked, rather than strummed, guitar.  Not only did this approach suit the broken voice, but also helped to carry the songs and focus the crowd.  Woodpigeon shares a skill with Adam Stafford, in taking to the stage with only a loop pedal without falling into the mediocrity and clichés so often associated with a loop pedal.  Although perhaps not as left-leaning as Stafford, the loop provided some of the set's finest moments, particularly in a haunting period of overlaid pitch shifted vocal harmonies that fused seamlessly with Hamilton's broken voice to create something altogether strange and wonderful.

Withered Hand, the man behind Scottish Fiction's 9th favourite album of last year, however, is undoubtedly what the crowd has waited for.  From connections with Edinburgh fixtures, Eagleowl, Meursault and SL records to Willson's history with Fence mean all ages are suitably well represented in the crowd, who welcome the band, as always in Edinburgh, with open arms.  Backed by a 5-strong band, the set sounds a lot more New Gods than Good News, despite being made up of slightly more of the latter.  The balanced set list had the feeling of a rounding off of the New Gods tour.  Now a year after it was released, it truly feels like both albums have settled to be firm fan favourites, meaning Willson is not required to push or promote either.  Singles Horseshoe and Black Tambourine alongside California are ecstatically received, perhaps even more so than old favourites Religious Songs, New Dawn and Heart Heart.  The set could have benefited from the intimacy brought from Woodpigeon, California would have suited the same solo treatment as Cornflakes, and No Cigarettes felt sorely missed but, after all, this felt less like a small celebration of gentle song and more like a victory lap after what has been a hugely successful year for Willson.

- Ashley Leiper