Friday, 29 July 2011

Scottish Fiction July EP

It's here! Finally!

Introducing the very first ever Scottish Fiction EP, which hopefully should become a monthly occurance. A big thanks to each of the artists who have contributed towards this, they deserve far more of your attention than the one song available on this EP so below is a link to the 'We're Only Here For The Banter' session each band did with us, and through that you can enter into the world of their music.

Michael Cassidy
Night Noise Team
Adam Holmes And The Embers
Campfires In Winter

Here's the full EP, and if you follow the link you can also download the ENTIRE thing for FREE! In the words of an now infamous looky looky man that's "better than Asda price!"

Scottish Fiction July EP

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

We're Only Here For The Banter - Campfires In Winter

Campfires In Winter are an experimental rock outfit hailing from Croy. They released their first EP, 'Cardboard Ships' in July 2010, and have since put out some tracks in a nice neat bunch under the banner of 'The Very Very Rough Demos'.

The band were kind enough to chat to Scottish Fiction, and are also contributing a track to the very first ever Scottish Fiction EP, which will be released soon.

Hello, how the devil are you?

We're fantastic. How are you?

Tell us a little about your music and your influences.

We always have real trouble describing how our music sounds to be honest. I find it better to have someone else outwith the band describe our sound really, as they'll hear it differently from how we hear it. Lyrically though, it's a mixed bag of the personal and the fictional. Many of the songs I've written have been about a few nameless fictional characters so in a way there's a sort of narrative flowing through a number of them. More recently though, I've been writing about things a bit more personal to me. As for influences, Mogwai, Frightened Rabbit, Aereogramme, The National and Sigur Ros are just a few of many.

Scotland has a thriving music scene. How do you find being a part of that?

There's a great wee scene just now, loads of cracking gigs and events happening. I don't know how much of a part of that we are right now though due to the fact we've been fairly inactive this year. We'll have the chance to get more involved in coming months.

Which Scottish musician(s) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

One of my favourite Scottish acts just now is Moon Unit. They played a superb gig in the Glasgow Art Club last year in quadrophonic sound, put on by our good friends, from a stolen sea.

One of the best tracks I've heard all year was In Winter, We Should Have Headed For Shelter by So Many Animal Calls. Brilliant tune.

Also I've recently been listening to loads of Endor, the newly reformed Sputniks Down and the sadly now-defunct Galchen. So far, my favourite album this year is Monoganon's 'Songs To Swim To'.

You release a second EP called 'The Very Very Rough Demos' in June this year. How has your music progressed since the release of 'Cardboards Ships'?

It's not really an EP I suppose, just a few tracks we recorded roughly one night so we could basically remind people we were still alive and get some feedback on how things are sounding from fans. We always encourage people to be as critical and constructive as possible. So far, it's all been very positive. Our music has changed a lot in just a year I'd say. We spend a lot more time really getting to the depth of each song we write, analysing every pretty much every bar extensively to see whether it works or not. I think there's definitely been a progression anyway. When I listen back to Cardboard Ships I find it sounds like a band in transition from one sound to another, which is pretty much what we were. I think we're getting there now though.

What's your biggest achievement so far?

I don't know exactly what our biggest achievement has been so far but certainly one of our most enjoyable experiences as Campfires was the Cardboard Ships tour we done last year where we played a load of folks' flats, including one gig with RM Hubbert. Had a great few days doing it. And got served some lovely food too.

Tell us a little about about your songwriting process.

It starts when one of us has an idea that he brings to the rest of the band at rehearsal. Sometimes the idea is as embryonic as a simple chord sequence, guitar or bass riff. It might even be a vocal melody. Sometimes, by the time it gets brought to rehearsal, it's pretty much a full blown song with provisional parts written for each of us. After that, we critique each part, change what needs to be changed, and keep repeating that for a few weeks. The lyrics tend to be written throughout the process but it's almost always the musical idea that comes along first.

What could we expect to see/hear from your live shows?

Really loud, noisy yet melodic music. Our live stuff is a little more intense so it's a completely different experience to whats on record. People tend to really like us live so I take it we must be worth seeing.

Speaking of live shows, what does the second half of the year hold for you?

We have nothing booked yet but should hopefully have a few gigs confirmed in the next few weeks. Hoping to be playing very regularly from late-September onwards however.

Thanks very much for speaking to us. Would you care to share a joke with the Scottish Fiction readers?

What's brown and white and floats through walls?

Casper the friendly plate of mince.

Below is 'Twelve Thousand Drops' which aired on last Monday's show. You can check out more about Campfires In Winter on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp and Soundcloud.

01 - Campfires In Winter - Twelve Thousand Drops by campfiresinwinter

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 25th July

Good eve one and all! I was back once again with the Renegade Master on Pulse Community Radio on Monday night after an absence of one week. And just for me coming back, the studio had been painted and kitted out with a nice new desk.

The theme was this week followed on the back of the announcement of this year's Mercury Prize nominees, and suggestions were needed for songs from past winners and nominees.

Have a listen to the full show here, and below is the full playlist for your perusal. Enjoy!

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood
Campfires In Winter - Twelve Thousand Drops
Aviation For Kids - Call And Hope
Where We Lay Our Heads - Little Death
Monty Python - Meaning Of Life
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Sun Is Shining
Bright Eyes - Four Winds 
Admiral Fallow - These Barren Years
I Am Kloot - From Your Favourite Sky
Cat's Eyes - Over You
Primal Scream - Movin' On Up
Paul Weller - Wild Wood
Supergrass - Alright
Radiohead - No Surprises
Cornershop - Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)
Manic Street Preachers - If You Tolerate This Then You're Children Will Be Next
Super Furry Animals - Juxtapozed With U
Athlete - Beautiful
Franz Ferdinand - The Dark Of The Matinee
Anthony & The Johnsons - For Today I Am A Boy
Guillemots - Made Up Love Song #43
Elbow - Grounds For Divorce
Villagers - Home 

Monday, 25 July 2011

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 25th July

To honour those who created the soundclip for the '...And Now For Something Completely Different', and to avoid any potential lawsuits for plagerism in future, this week's choice comes from the Monty Python boys themselves.

Released in 1983 to critical acclaim, and the last film produced by the group, 'The Meaning Of Life' returns to the loosely connected sketch show format to hilarious effect. The song that I played was the title track 'The Meaning Of Life', which ponders this unanswerable (42?) question. Enjoy.

T In The Park - Review

Here we, here we, here we fucking go!

Let's go, let's go, let go fucking mental!

T in the fucking park!

And all of the rest of it. Aye it's taken me a ridiculous amount of time to get this review up. I have no excuses to offer other than sheer incompetance. Anyhoo, enough of that, let's get down to business!

Last year at T In The Park, I lost my wallet, my ticket, my t-shirts, burst my shorts, got hit in the face with a can of Tennent's and generally lost all my dignity. It kind of put me off going back again. There is some truth in the nedfest beliefs which the top of this post jokingly alludes to. And to be honest, I was pretty much still the same after the announcement of the first lot of acts back in January this year.

However, the closer the weekend drew, the more I felt the itch. Despite last years mishaps, and the blaring obvious drawbacks of the festival, I have some pretty good memories from Balado and with the full announcement of the T-Break stage, the Sunday line up was looking taster than a salmon roll from the Healthy T (more on that later). So I grabbed a day ticket, roped in a friend, booked the bus, and prepared my Jagermeister concoction along with some warm cans of T. My 7th TITP was on!

An early start was essential, as local boys The Phantom Band were opening the NME / Radio 1 Stage at 12:30. Giving the inevitable walk, and the fact I had to pick up tickets at the box office, plus the hour and a half bus journey, we departed Buchanan Bus Station at 10am, which incidently is never too early for a warm can of T. The day started, pretty much as it would continue, bantering away to really friendly people. Spent the majority of the bus journey chatting to a guy, who's name now escapes me, but who shared my enthusiasm for United Fruit's set later in the day. A United Fruit fan on a bus of 50 people, most under 25 and likely to be Bruno Mars fans? That's what I call a result!

So we get there, and the day get's better as I get through what I like to refer to as the chicken run, a.k.a. the entrace to the arena, with my full cargo of 7 tins of Tennents and a 2 litre bottle of Jager and Red Bull (more on this later). A quick dash get's us to the NME / Radio 1 Stage to join the impressive crowd gathered to watch The Phantom Band. The are a dedicated bunch, and I'm sure there's a few hangovers being repressed right now. They are well assured on the stage, confident and giving of the vibe they could easily handle a slot further up the line up. The band deliver both good music and good chat, ending their set with 'The None Of One' which begins with an eerie acoustic mellowness, culminated in a orgy of heavy bass and funky electro keys. "She bared her teeth to the world" indeed!

Wooft! The Phantom Band rocked it. Now to go and have my face melted in an appropriate measure in the T-Break stage. United Fruit took to the stage, displaying their support for the blogging community with bassist Marco proudly sporting a GlasgowPodcart t-shirt (note to self, make some Scottish Fiction merchandise...) And they fucking killed it, playing with such a raw fury and passion it made me not even notice I was standing next to Scottish Radio DJ and all round legend, Vic Galloway until the last song. They deserved a bigger crowd to witness full on, balls out, no holding back rock. Sporadic head banging broke out amongst those lucky enough to be there.

We followed United Fruit, with a well deserved break in the Healthy T area. If you have never experienced Healthy T, then you are missing out big time. It puts paid to the theory that all festival food equals ring sting the next day. There is a fine selection of food on offer, but for the first of my three (yes three, I'm a fatty) meals that day I had a piri piri chicken baguette. Very tasty. On our way back to the T-Break tent, we popped in on New Zealanders The Naked And Famous. They were bang tidy, as I think I heard them describe their own set. Very well. The crowd were digging their indie vibes, and they certainly did sound good from what we heard.

With a bit of time to burn before FOUND, we decided to go for some log flume action, which was timed well as at that moment the heavens opened for the first time, and pished rain everywhere. Kind of makes paying a fiver for the priviledge of getting soaked on a fairground ride seem a bit pointless. Ho hum.

So to dry off, what better way to do so that by checking out art school rockers FOUND, whose album factorycraft is one of my favourites of this year so far. And they delivered with an excellent start to their set plying through the hits. 'You're No Vincent Gallow' came midway through, and single 'Anti-Climb Paint' a bit later. The sound of the synths and guitars combined well in the tent, however the one drawback was the excessive background noise, and many passerbys took shelter from the rain in the tent. Being an optimist myself, I'd like to think at least a few of them were intriguied enough to stay past the rain and hear the remainder of FOUND's set.

Time for some more fairground rides I hear you say? Ok, the dodgems it was, meaning I could legally drink and drive. However my stash of Tennents was dwindling, so a trip to the bar was in order. And for meal number two of the day as well, a lovely delicious Scottish salmon roll. Delish! And whilst sheltering from the rain, I heard possibly the greatest thing ever. A country cover version of Snoop Dogg's 'Gin & Juice'. Beaut!

It's noticable at this point, that alcohol was taking it's effect as my notes from this part onwards are rather incoherent. However, I'll continue as best I can, as there as more acts which deserve it. We plodded back to the now familiar T-Break stage to check out singer/songwriter Rachel Sermani  valiantly with My Chemical Romance and Bruno Mars for attention. Those of course with any degree of sanity avoid the latter and witnessed the former play a beautifully serene set of folk infused songs, which warmed the very cockles of my heart. And this leads to my one biggest bug bear of the day, that the T-Break tent is not sound proofed in the same way King Tut's tent is. The blarring music of the fairground rides outside the tent was like an unwelcome house guest, or an unruly ned barging in on our dainty little intimate affair.

And given that I've no more notes other than my hazy memory, this seems like a good point to address the T accusations. Yes T in the park does have a large proportion of neddish behaviour and patrons. There are reasons for this of course, and the main one in my opinion is the Slam tent. That's not a diss on dance music at all, but it has to be recognised that the crowd it draws is significantly different to those who would enjoy Rachel Sermani's delicate tunes. However, you can either choose to turn your nose up at the whole affair, or choose to find enjoyment in the elements of T which support and exhibit truly great Scottish music. I choose the latter. I then choose to start drinking Jager, meaning I'm probably no better than the buckie swilling morons. Ce la vie.

And so began the inveitable drifting towards the main stages. I had made a deal with my mate, that if he indulged me the morning to see the above acts, we would forgo the T-Break tent for the RAWK of Dave Grohl and friends, meaning Carnivores and Discopolis would need to wait for another time.

But before that, I enjoyed a wonderful returning set form Jarvis himself, with Brit pop legends Pulp playing on the Main Stage. The Jager was getting tanned, and continuing the theme of meeting friendly people, we got chatting to two lovely ladies from Fife, or somewhere like that, during Pulp. Pulp were all I expected, playing the hits, making me dance, and not staying quiet about the crashing of Rupert Murdoch's NOTW saga, which seems like an age ago now. After Pulp, I was convinced by a less than impartial facepaint artist that I would look good as a panda. Fifteen minutes and £5 later, I did indeed look good as a panda.

Onwards then to the Red Bull Tent for indie lovely's Noah And The Whale. This was a very good decisions. We enjoyed great music, with hits like '5 Years Time', 'Tonight's The Kind Of Night' and 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.' causing the packed tent to burst out in both song and dance. We enjoyed good company, with an older couple from Englandshire being our buddies this time, and many people being rather alarmed by my facepaint which I'm told looked more like a badger than a panda. And we enjoyed the rest of the Jager. Memories are now hard to come by.

So the night ended with the Foo Fighters on the Main Stage. I've seen the Foo's live many a time, and obviously they put on a show. And the have the tunes to back it up. Yes, recent offerings have lacked the same punch that classic album 'The Colour And The Shape' did, but when Dave starts bawling "One last thing before I quit..." there's not a drunk man with panda facepaint alive that wouldn't try and start a mosh pit with a 14 year old. The Foo's rocked, and I'm also reliably informed that Discopolis earned rave reviews in the T-Break stage. Good for them, they deserve it.

Bus time home, and to reflect on the day. Overall, it was a very good day musically. A wealth of talent, much of it from our bonnie borders. And socially TITP redeemed itself in my eyes. Yes there are downsides. The toilets are rank, the majority of the big acts booked are pretty pish, plenty of arseholes are about pishing and spewing everywhere. But throughout I experienced a commaradie, a bond which every person in that arena shares only for that day. You can be a snob and ignore that, but you're only losing out. We all go back to our lives afterwards, back to whatever makes us, us. But for that weekend in Balado, it's T IN THE FUCKING PARK!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Favourite Son Presents:

There are many great Scottish music blogs about, none more so than Favourite Son. So it's no surprise to see Chris putting on his own gig, which looks fantastic. Try and keep the 11th August free and get yourself along for some great music and a great night.