Thursday, 29 September 2011

Why I Don't Buy CD's

Ever heard someone say something and felt about two foot high? Yeah I had that uncomfortable feeling last night at Aye Tunes Presents gig (read the review here).

Headlining act The Sea Kings, who were very good (again read the review here), recounted on stage a story about someone who e-mailed stating that they had accidently purchased a physical copy of their EP and asked for a refund as they had only wanted to download the MP3's. "Under no circumstances send me a copy of your EP" laughed lead singer Brian, with guitarist Nicky quipping that the person must have heard the band play live before. It was a good interlude between songs, and brought a laugh to the audience at The Captain's Rest.

But here's my confession. That guy was me. Ouch. Humble. I feel this big.

I should state before continuing, I know the band were joking, I don't take offence, I laughed as well. Indeed I thought it was funny that the person was accused of being 'green' given I don't know which day our household recycling goes out on. But it made me think about if I was alone in not wanting a CD, instead prefering to have the downloads.

Now I should also say that in this instance circumstance had it's part to play. It was the afternoon before my weekly radio show on Pulse Community Radio and as usual I was very unorganised. I wanted to play a Sea Kings track so I could also offer a relevant plug to the gig, and as I was planning on going to the gig I though it would also be a good idea to listen to some of the band's material given I hadn't heard a note from them. So in order to do this I had to have the songs there and then. I mistakenly followed the link for ordering a physical copy instead of buying the MP3's. This meant I then had to pay another £4 to download the EP. (Some bands do actually offer an instant download upon purchasing a physical copy. I like this. However it's obviously up to the artist/label.)

And I should also state that I buy vinyl on a regular basis. (Cue more plugs. Read my Super Vinyl Adventure Club tales here.) I enjoying owning and listening to vinyl and where given the opportunity, so long as I can afford it, I will purchase a physical vinyl.

However I have not bought a CD in over a year and a half. There are two reasons for this I think. Firstly is my preference for vinyl. I will buy, where I can, a lot of new releases on vinyl. Therefore I do not want to duplicate and waste my money also buying a CD. (I'm not that much of a compulsive collector.) And given that I buy vinyl, when I am in the house I also, almost exclusively, listen to vinyl. Therefore if I bought a CD, I would not listen to it. Of course I do own and use heavily an iPod, and I am very much appreciative of the fact that most vinyl purchases come with download codes these days.

Secondly I have far too many CD's already. I have been buying music since I was about 13. I also spent a good bit of my youth gradually stealing my Dad's CD's and smuggling them into my own collection. I'm lucky my wife lets me store my vinyl's in our living room, but I would be pushing it if I started adding to my overflowing CD racks.

To me the CD is a dead format. That may sound strange from someone who collects vinyl, but bear with me. The age of the Walkman is past. Portable music is exclusively iPod's and MP3 players. And most CD stereos either come with MP3 player adations as standard or can be fitted with one easily. In fact it's probably easier to find a good set out speakers for your MP3 player than it is to find a standalone CD player. Also account for the fact that you have services like Spotify, iTunes, Last FM, plus hundreds of free music to stream online, basically means your laptop or computer can double up as a home entertainment system.

CD's are increasingly poor in quality. The jewel cases smash easily and the digipak ones are susceptable to wear and tear. In most cases they are purchased, ripped to iTunes, placed in a shelf, rack or worst case cupboard and never touched again.

So the above pretty much sums up why I didn't want to purchase the CD copy. Agan I feel I should state that this is nothing against the quality of the music on offer, after all I did download the same EP, but simpy that I didn't want to be wasteful of money, space and materials.

Gig Review - Aye Tunes Presents @ Captain's Rest

Given that I had plugged this gig a fair bit, I felt only right that I actually parted with my money and attended. Given that Ayetunes' Jim didn't have a black eye or any facial swelling, I'm guessing no one took him up on his offer to punch him in the mouth.  T'was a good night of music at the Captain's Rest, the one disappointment I guess would be that more people didn't experience it. C'est la vie...

First up was Kevin P. Gilday putting aside his How Garbo Died day job to deliver some poetry and spoken word pieces. I must admit that this 'genre/format' is not always my favourite (although I did enjoy John Cooper Clarke at The Arches earlier this year). However credit has to be given to the passion and vigour with which Gilday delivered his pieces. His vocal style reminded me of Aidan Moffat. Highlights were a piece about the pain of working in a call centre, which with I emphasis only too much, and a personal piece called 'I Am My Father's Son'.

Up next was my personal highlight of the evening. Mr Miller. Mr Shambles. Shambles Miller to me and you. Starting his set with a favourite of mine 'Things That Make Me Angry', Shambles was full of lively banter and crowd interaction from the start. Following the next track, 'Beer Song' the crowd as asked to accomodate a longer applause, thus given our plaid shirted guitarist some additional time to slug some more beer. A reasonable request if ever I heard one. Comedy is a huge part of Shambles music, and it's his ability to make us chuckle that draw his music closer. Ever the publicist of course a solitary flyer is passed round with the instructions to memorise it's contents, pass it on, and return it back. Times are tight of course. I'm later reliably informed this flyer has survived seven gigs now. That's a healthy return for money invested! Continuing on the theme of light heartness, we are treated to a song NOT about a break up containing possibly the best line I've heard in a song in a long time. All in all, it was a great showing, and hopefully it won't be long until that flyer clocks up gig number eight.

(Shameless plug here. Read Shambles Q&A for the blog here.)

Next up is Edinburgh band The Spook School. It's clear from looking at them how they chose their drummer, as even sitting down drummer Niall is still about three inches taller than the rest of the band! They have put out one of the catchiest songs of the year so far in the form of John Cleese referencing 'History', so I was keen to see what other aces they had up their sleeves. Taking to the stage with lots of energy and drive behind their maiden Glasgow performance, they have an interesting mix of distortion, twee and all round indie-ness. It's clear that the band have spend some time honing their sound, and during the obligatory ukele tracks the sound is very atmospheric, filling the crannies of the basement of The Captain's Rest. If set closer 'History' is a cheery friend who makes you smile, then 'Hallam', which was snuggled in mid set, is the gloomy nihilist. You can download both for free here (or you could be really nice and pay for them. More on this in a bit...) Once the ukele is packed up, and our ears are sonically pleased by the afformented 'History', there's a brief flurry of 'taps aff!' and then done. These guys will do well, watch out for the name.

"Why do they put the old guys on last?" muse tonight's headliners The Sea Kings. Well they might be older, but they certainly don't slow the pace any. It's clear from early tracks, including 'Scarecrows' that the band have a well honed sound, and are very tight as a unit. 'Scarecrows' comes with droony guitars dipped with a country tinge. 'In And Out And Gone' and 'Night Of Broken Glass' both stirs feelings of a Grinderman / Bad Seeds influence, and with a little bit of The Coral too. The lead singer has a good stage presence, staring into the crowd almost seductively as he jives away on stage. 'Bible John' is a worthy foot stomper, a hard hitting track which wears it's morbid undertones proudly. The band go onto to promote their EP 'Some Dark Matters' (which you can buy here) by recalling a story of a guy asking for a refund after accidently buying the CD instead of a download. Here's where things get akward... That guy was me. Read about why here. (Not now though, finish the review then go. Ok I'll remind you.)

Overall great performances by all artists on the bill, and big thanks to Jim from Aye Tunes for putting on another fantastic bill. Check out more about all the bands playing below:

Kevin P. Gilday
Shambles Miller
The Spook School
The Sea Kings

Oh and don't forget to read my no-buying-CD's justificaton post.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Modern Classics - Oasis - The Masterplan

This show aired on Pulse Community Radio a while back, but I forgot to put the link up on the blog. Have a listen below to understand why I chose a B-Sides album over Oasis' seminal debut 'Definitely Maybe' and follow up '(What's The Story) Morning Glory?'

The Modern Classic album on this show is Oasis - The Masterplan. Enjoy. As always comments are appreciated.

Modern Classics - LCD Soundsystem - Sound Of Silver

The latest episode of my other radio show on Pulse Community Radio aired last Friday. In this episode of Modern Classics, I take a look at one of my favourite albums of recent years, LCD Soundsystem's 'Sound Of Silver'. I've previously blogged about 'All My Friends' as part of my 31 Songs feature, so if you've read that then you'll have an idea of how this album changed my perception. Anyway, now you can listen to the full show again below. Enjoy.

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 26th September

Something must have thrown me off my game on Monday night as I was all fingers and thumbs. However, despite a gaff or two, the quality of music on show was of the usual high standards. As usual the first hour was packed with great Scottish music, and the theme for the second hour was 'Best Album Openers'. Had a multitude of suggestions so have a swatch below to see the ones that I chose and the album that they are from. Also listen back to the full show at the bottom.

The Twilight Sad - Kill It In The Morning
The Cribs - Men's Needs
Bugsy Malone - Fat Sam's Grand Slam
Biffy Clyro - Semi-Mental
The Sea Kings - In And Out And Gone
Ghost Pants - Who Is Leading?
R.E.M. - Nightswimming
Debutant - Thirst
The Japanese War Effort - Ribbit
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Medicine
The Last Battle - Floored
PAWS - Lekker

The Beatles - I Saw Her Standing There - Please Please Me
Muse - Take A Bow - Black Holes And Revelations
Guns 'N' Roses - Welcome To The Jungle - Appetite For Destruction
The White Stripes - Seven Nation Army - Elephant
Bob Dylan - Like A Rolling Stone - Highway 61 Revisited
Led Zeppelin - Immigrant Song - Led Zeppelin III
Oasis - Hello - (What's The Story) Morning Glory?
Michael Jackson - Don't Stop 'Till You Get Enough - Off The Wall
Radiohead - 2+2=5 - Hail To The Thief
Bright Eyes - At The Bottom Of Everything - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning
Audioslave - Cochise - Audioslave
Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper - The Midnight Organ Fight
The Music - The Dance - The Music

Scottish Fiction 26th September 2011 by scottishfiction

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Gig Preview - Lou Hickey - Crofthead Bowling Club

I never thought in all my days I would go to a gig in my little home villiage of Neilston. However, Scottish Fiction favourite Lou Hickey (read her Q&A for the blog here) is bringing her full band along to Crofthead Bowling Club on Friday 30th September for a hometown gig.

With support offered from The Lonely Boy this is a gig well worth popping along to should you be local, or even make the journey down you lazy sods!

Tickets are £10 and are available in person at Kool Kreations in the village or online here. Doors are at 8pm.

What's On? - Aye Tunes Presents

Seeing as I've already committed myself by plugging this gig not once but twice on my Scottish Fiction radio show on Pulse Community Radio, I really should go the full hog.

Just who is Aye Tunes presenting the question may be. Well since you asked...

First up is Kevin P. Gilday who is temporarily leaving the day job of being in How Garbo Died to do a spoken word performance. It all sounds very arty, but it's more than likely worth getting down early for.

Next up is Scottish Fiction's favourite bearded chap, Shambles Miller (check out the Q&A he did for the blog a few weeks back). Hugely looking forward to seeing him live, as his music is a mixture of humour, politics, social commentary and acoustic strumming. All good things.

Jetting into Glasgow for their maiden 'weegie gig is The Spook School. I'm a huge fan of their 'History'/'Hallem' release, which you can listen to/download here, and have given it a fair bit of airplay.

And topping the bill is the jaunty The Sea Kings, who I must admit to not knowing overly much about, so I'm hoping to change that. Judging by what I have heard, it should be a right good time.

So, all of the above for only five of your neatly stacked pound coins (no smash please, Jim will just spend it easier...) there's really no excuse not to travel down to The Captain's Rest on Wednesday night from 8pm.

EP Review - Tiny Little Sparks - Sonny Marvello

Fresh from a busy summer which saw Sonny Marvello headline King Tut's Summer Nights (above), the band are putting out a fresh EP, 'Tiny Little Sparks' on Ignite Records and will be released on Monday 3rd October.

The EP features some brand new material from the pop loving, joyus lot, and much like previous releases will put a smile on faces, reminding us all that sometimes music should just be fun. 'Tiny Little Sparks' is a melodic and encaptulating sounding song, with a drum heavy chorus and a slightly heavier sound than many may expect. Pop with a capital 'P', it has an edge to it, and certainly hints that the band are capable of delivering big time on their forthcoming album, which they are continuing to work on. Have a listen below and check out the video as well.

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 26th September

It's showtimeeeeeeee!

This week's '...And Now For Something Completely Different' is my first delve into world of musicals, with 'Fat Sam's Grand Slam' taken from Bugsy Malone. As I said on the show, I remember my school drama department did a production of Bugsy, with my now wife playing Blousey Brown. Ahh....

Anyway, enjoy this little track and try not get splurged whilst enjoying a good time at Fat Sam's speakeasy.

Single Review - Medicine - We Were Promised Jetpacks

Bloody hell, a single review! I don't know what's came over me! Anyhoo...

Edinburgh's We Were Promised Jetpacks return with their new album 'In The Pit Of The Stomach' which is released on Monday 3rd October. It's a exciting time as their first LP 'These Four Walls' was a bloody stormer and the band have garnered a large following and a reputation for thumping live shows.

But before that we can all sit back and enjoy the lead single 'Medicine' from 'In The Pit Of The Stomach' which was released yesterday, 26th September, on Fat Cat Records.

'Medicine' wastes no time in getting started, tearing straight into a guitar riff accompaying Adam Thompson's drawl vocals. It sounds different at first, yet builds much like many of the tracks of 'These Four Walls' towards the chorus, bringing with the crescendo a sense of familiarity. The bridge before the final chorus delves into a broody current, before finishing strongly. The track boldly displays a bravado which suits the band's rise through the indie scene over the last few years. On the basis of this track, and free download 'Act On Impulse' (which you can download here), the album should mark WWPJ as one of Scotland's strongest indie acts about.

You can buy 'Medicine' on shiny 7", download the MP3 AND pre-order the album here.

RBS Community Force - Pulse Community Radio

As many of you who read the blog will be aware, I also present a weekly radio show called 'Scottish Fiction' on Pulse Community Radio, which broadcast on 98.4 FM and online at

Pulse is a full time community and volunteer run radio station, which relies heavily on support from those who use and enjoy the services it provides. As well as giving me a voice to play new Scottish music, the station also hosts Scotland's only Polish language show, junior football chat shows, Under The Radar which also showcases local talent, The Radio Book Club, and many many more.

RBS Community Force aims to provide financial support to deserving charities and projects across Scotland.

Please, please, please take the time to register and vote for Pulse Community Radio on the link below. The award would help Pulse to continue to pay Ofcom, refurbish the station, and promote our profile. Thank you.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Gig Review - Adam Holmes & The Embers @ Captain's Rest

Having been a big fan of Adam Holmes And The Embers music for a while ('Fire In The Sun' featured on Scottish Fiction July EP and Adam joined me last week for a live session on Pulse Community Radio.) So it was fantastic to be able to finally catch the band live at The Captain's Rest last Thursday 22nd September.

But before that we were treated to two fantastic support acts. (Phew that's a lot of links above!)

First up was Amy Sawers who has featured in teen drama (read: sex romp) Skins (apologies for the MySpace link, it was the only one I could find). Playing on a guitar that was borrowed from Adam Holmes, her stripped back sound retained a darkness and sense of forebodding akin to the no longer of this earth Miss Winehouse. She has a fine voice, which filled every corner of The Captain's Rest effortlessly. Last song 'Last Train' was a quieter gentler song to end proceedings. This girl has caught my attention, have a listen below to see if she catches yours.

Next on the bill was Donna Maciocia with her FULL band. Standing on stage strumming a ukele she starts her set. With the help of a self made beat box, the sound is Hawaii meets East London, which is no bad thing. By the end of the first song their is a five person choir echoing round the small room, but only one person on stage. Impressive. Second song 'Infinite Colours' sees the rest of the band join Maciocia on stage, and rock a funky bassline throughout. Donna stands centre of stage, commanding her keyboard and filling the room with some well placed 'ooooooh's (except it sounds better than it looks written down).

A few songs in and we get treated to another absolute belter of a track, 'Beauty Of Choice' sees the return of some beatbox action, which is used to very good effect. You can check out the video on YouTube. Some name dropping celeb action follows as Stu Goodall (he of the Stu Goodall Band) clambers on stage to lend some soft vocals to the next song.

The set ends with possible the worst plug I've ever heard, as Maciocia informs us that she has CD's on sale upstairs, but none of the songs she has played are on them! It's all in good jest, and I'm sure that many people, like me, left the gig with one of those CD's in hand. Onwards to the closing song, which finally let's me place a musical reference, as it sounds very Alison Mosshart (in either The Kills or The Dead Weather). Keep your eyes peeled for some future blog space from Miss Maciocia.

And onto the main event.Adam Holmes takes the stage backed by his band The Embers. Straight from the word go, Holmes is keen to involve the audience, offering up explanations behind the songs he is singing. That's one of the first things to strike you about the band, they genuinely seem to be enjoying every minute on stage, and Holmes' songs are written with a heartfelt honesty.

Third song in and we are treated to a track of the recent EP, 'Long Way Home'. It should be noted that only in Glasgow's West End, with it's healthy population of Edinburgh ex-pats, could you get away with saying, "I'm from Edinburgh, it's a great place" as Holmes does to introduce the next track 'Home'. It's the most folky/country offering of the night so far, and keeps the crowd happy.

Keeping up the banter, Holmes then recalls a story from our interview on Pulse Community Radio last Monday evening. I'm humbled, but not as humbled as I'm sure Donna Macoicia must have been, having been told that with her full band, The Embers feel like they should be supporting her. It's good when there's a mutual appreciation between acts on the same bill, rather than the selfish 'I've-done-my-bit' attitude.

As for the sound, there's a genuine feel of Neil Young in the music, and a hint of Paolo Nutini in Holmes' voice. At times the band almost inspire a hoedown, and others the mood is very mellow. One of the skills of Holmes, is knowing when to change pace, and the well lubricated audience are offered a rarity. A happy song.

Heading to the final stretch, Holmes throws in a cover of one of his biggest influences, who we are told if he was still around today would be sitting in bars getting drunk. Can't argue with that. A beautiful rendition of Robert Burns' 'Ae Fond Kiss'. The last two songs are the other tracks from the EP. 'I Can't Be Right' is a powerful track, with the full band backing it up, sounding very much influenced by Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes. And to end the night Holmes' invites his support acts, Amy Sawers and Donna Maciocia back up to join in with the chorus of 'Fire In The Sun'. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable night, and I certainly recommend checking out more of all three acts on the bill.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 19th September

That's a scary man right there. But that scary man was also a genius. This week's '...And Now For Something Completely Different' took a turn into the choppy waters of classical music. As I said on the show, I've been missing the soothing sounds of Classic Rare Bits which used to air after my show on Pulse Community Radio, so I decided to treat you all to this. All together now... dum dum dum dum dummmmm.

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 19th September

I've been spoiled with the standard of guest on my show at Pulse Community Radio lately. Last Monday I was joined by Adam Holmes from Adam Holmes And The Embers. Adam played a couple of lovely live tracks, chatted about the band and their EP, and also choose some songs to play. It was rather braw, and you can listen to the whole thing again below.

The tracks that Adam played live were:

I Can't Be Wrong When I'm Right

The songs that Adam choose to play during the hour were:

Neil Young - Old Man
Bon Iver - Stacks
KT Tunstall - Other Side Of The World
Carole King - Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
Laura Marling - Rambling Man

The rest of the evening's playlist ran as follows:

Reverieme - Get To Know Me
Run DMC - It's Tricky
The Savings And Loan - Swallows
The Shins - Phantom Limb
Ludwig Van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5
Sonny Marvello - Pull Me Up
The Spook School - History
Amber Wilson - Love Will Tear Us Apart
Ace City Racers - Work Hard, Play Hard Again
Wavves - I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl
Where We Lay Our Heads - Collapsed Lung
Trapped Mice - Dance While Winter Cries
Edinburgh School For The Deaf - Thirteen Holy Crowns

Saturday, 24 September 2011

We're Only Here For The Banter - Reverieme

Louise Connell a.k.a. Reveriemie (pronounced Reverie-me) is a singer/songstress hailing from Airdrie who has an incredible penchant for writing bloody good pop songs. Coated with a indie/country feel, her debut album 'Melodies' is a thing of beauty, and this year has seen performances at T In The Park, Wickerman, and a live session for Ally McCrae at the BBC. Not bad going.

Hello, how are you?

Very well, thanks! A little tired, trying to find the balance between work, uni and music – something that, considering my years of practise, I am still baffling terrible at – but entirely jolly nonetheless!

Tell us a little bit about your music and influences.

A fairly simple, but accurate, description of my music would probably be lyric and melody-driven pop. I’m influenced by lots of artists but some of my all-time favourites are Of Montreal, The Dresden Dolls, Regina Spektor and Rilo Kiley.

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

Oh, I don’t even have my invitation to the Scottish music scene hazing yet! I’m a spec on the peripheries of the Scottish musical community. I do love what artists from these here parts are creating, though, and I love being proximate to so much talent!

Which Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

My very talented buds, who are all so musically different (which I love), include Andrew Lindsay & The Coat Hooks, Shambles Miller and Loch Awe. I hope you’ve heard of them already but, if not, get away and listen!

What is your songwriting process like?

Since I’m a fairly terrible musician, I’ll often start with the words and work backwards from there. The stories merge people and incidents from real life, with fictional characters and events from books or films. If a degree in English Lit has left me with anything, it’s the impression that those two worlds aren’t very distinct at all. That, and a useless piece of paper with some Latin written on it.

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

Very different things depending on which gig you’re at! This summer saw the formation of the Reverieme band: friends, and friends-of-friends, who very kindly lent me their musical talents. For acoustic shows, I play on my own or with Andrew (who plays guitar in the band but adopts the, very manly, glockenspiel at acoustic gigs). Either way, it gets pretty mental (if by mental you mean not-mental).

What does the rest of 2011 hold for you?

Recording the new album and, hopefully, playing a few wee gigs here and there!

How do you deal with the infamous 'singer/songwriter' tag?

Ach, I’m used to it. The term makes complete sense, since I am a singer and a songwriter, but it does tend to transmit some unwanted (read: earnest, James Blunt-ian) connotations. As long as people make their judgements after listening to the music, rather than just reading the description, I’m happy.

Your album 'Melodies' is quite stunning. And I hear rumours of a new one over the horizon? Can you tell us any little secrets about it?

Thank you! Yep, the new album should be getting started come October/November time and I’m really excited. I’m (but hopefully we’re, since I’d love the band to be involved) recording with David Anderson, who produced Melodies; so while it won’t be drastically different to its predecessor, we’ll be aiming for a more cohesive balance between the acoustic and the ultra-produced sounds.

What's been your biggest achievement so far?

This summer! It’s been so much fun and I’ve absolutely loved it. We were lucky enough to be picked for the T Break stage at T in the Park, then later in July we played Wickerman, and then in August we popped along to Radio 1 Scotland to play a live set on Ally McCrae’s show. Considering things had just been chugging along slowly up until then, it was gloriously mad!

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

Did you hear about the magic tractor? He turned in to a field!

That’s my 4 year old niece’s favourite. My brother tells me she enjoys sharing it with strangers on the bus, which I think is admirably gallus since she lives in Tollcross.


You can, and should, download Reverieme's debut album 'Melodies' from her Bandcamp page. Also have a swatch at her Facebook and Twitter And she also writes some lovely little things on her blog too. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Scottish Fiction Teaser

As if having Adam Holmes (minus his Embers) performing live on the show this evening wasn't enough of a teaser to convince you to listen tonight, I'm throwing this into the mix as well. You know you can't resist!
98.4 FM
9pm to 11pm

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 12th September

Back to the usual format last Monday with one hour new Scottish music intertwined with some other great music, and followed up with an hour of music based on our theme of acoustic versions. T'was as good a show as I've done in a while and thankfully this time I can actually share it with you again!

So to listen to listen to the whole lot again, just click play on the link at the bottom. But before that, here's the playlist in full for you to nod and approve. (Or shake your head in dismay, it's your choice.)

The Phantom Band - Everybody Knows It's True
The John Knox Sex Club - The Neighbours
Billy Paul - Me And Mrs Jones
Suspire - Salvation Sister
Edwyn Collins - A Girl Like You
2Pac - Changes
Cancel The Astronauts - Seven Vices
Starsailor - Four To The Floor
Fiction Faction - Apparitions
Collar Up - Short Term Memories
Beirut - Santa Fe

Eric Clapton - Layla
The Cranberries - Linger
Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger
Nirvana - All Apologies
Ocean Colour Scene - The Day We Caught The Train
Daniel Bedingfield - Gotta Get Thru This
Led Zeppelin - Going To California
Lenny Kravitz - Fly Away
Lady Gaga - Poker Face
Motorhead - Ace Of Spades
The Cure - Boys Don't Cry
Queens Of The Stone Age - No One Knows
Foo Fighters - Everlong


Scottish Fiction 12th September 2011 by scottishfiction

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Super Vinyl Adventure Club

The second part of my vinyl buying frenzy has been sitting patiently awaiting my having some time to actually write about it. So I've good two weeks off work which can only be good for my blog productivity rate. So far in my vinyl buying exploits I've been very Weegie-centric, so for this adventure I head into the jungle that is Paisley. (It's okay I used to live there so I can slag it off if I want...)


I lived in Paisley for over two years without realising there was a record shop just round the corner from me. Life is like that I suppose. Snuggled between a video shop and what I'm sure is a hairdressers, Record Market sits on Broomlands Road. It's not a big shop at all, and the owner, whose name eludes me at present, has tried a few set ups to utilise the space. Record Market has been trading for 25 years, and collecting for much longer than that I'm sure. Most of the stock is sold online, but having a real life shop is still something worth holding onto as it draws people in. The last time I was in, there was an impressive array of 7"'s on display. This time it has been replaced by more LP's, something which is no bad thing when it boosts an impressive collection.

The owner is a friendly man, greeting you as you walk in, allowing you the time to browse before engaging in conversation, something I wish clothes shops would learn. But once the conversation has begun, he'd be happy to chat away about music for hours, and can generally through a few sales pitches into the mix as well!


Record Market specialises in Indie / Alternative music. They also have a good stock of older releases in good condition. I'm not going to review any of my purchases, the reason being that the newest was released in 2007, so there's probably not a lot I could add other than "umm... I like it." But I certainly consider being able to pick up R.E.M's 'Out Of Time', The Coral's 'Magic And Medicine' and The Shins' 'Wincing The Night Away' for £20 a damned good day.

All three LP's were in exquist condition, especially 'Out Of Time' which is 20 years old, and all were sold in dust protective covers. Another successful outing!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 12th September

"Me and Mrs Jones..." Some songs just command a certain Je' Ne Sais Quoi. And when Billy Paul croons about an extra-marital affair with the insatiable Mrs Jones, it hits the spot. Written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the song was an international hit for Billy Paul in 1972. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

We're Only Here For The Banter - Collar Up

'Short term memories fade to black, it's funny how a three chord song can bring them all back', sings Collar Up's chief protagonist Stephen McLaren on the Edinburgh-based trio's new single 'Short Term Memories'. The song, an uptempo reflection on 21st century relationships, is a potent slice of melodic pop, informed by the dreamy, well-crafted tangents of Beach House, Mercury Rev, The Divine Comedy and Kate Bush.

Collar Up has been playing together in this incarnation since 2010. McLaren's vertiginous vocal and arresting piano motifs are supported by Stephen Dennis' warm guitar atmospherics and the graceful, percussive pulse of drummer Nora Noonan to create a sound unique on the current Scottish musical landscape.

According to frontman and writer McLaren, ''Short term Memories' is about society's expectations and contradictions concerning the ideal of lasting romantic love...It's a sad song, but tinged with naive hope'.

When I recieved a promotional e-mail from Night Noise Team's Sean Ormsby asking me to have a listen to their label PermWhale's latest release, I'll be honest in saying I wasn't expecting much. However, I am happy to admit that I was both wrong and humbled. Their maiden release 'Short Term Memories' is a stormer of a track. And the band have been kind enough to answer some questions for the blog. Check it out below:

Hello, how are you?

We're very well.

Tell us a little bit about your music and influences.

We'd probably class ourselves as dream-pop, ranging from melancholy hypnotic piano to more up-beat dancy numbers.  We've lots of different influences, but, to name a few, Mercury Rev, Cocteau Twins, and The Divine Comedy rate highly.

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

It's great to be a part of a thriving music scene, though the sheer volume of music sometimes make it difficult to be heard.  We'd like to think that we're worth listening to though... 

Which Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Hmm.  You've put us on the spot!  There are a few: we'd recommend giving Night Noise Team a listen, as well as Fiction Faction, Bwani Junction, Wrongnote, and, maybe more well-known, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Found, Meursault, and The Twilight Sad.  Dancing With Mice as well, just because they're the most unique band I've seen live and they have amazing song titles.

What is your songwriting process like?

We are not prolific.  We'll only come out with a song if the chord progression, first of all, interests us, and then we're satisfied with the lyrical content.  Short Term Memories is more a song about love and modern life, but some of our songs are fairly political, so the lyrics often reflect this.

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

A male lead singer wearing lipstick.  We'd like to think that you would see/hear a band that stuck out as being a band, from the many, as worth going to see again.  We have a very loyal fanbase in that, if people are "into" us, they tend to be "really" into us.  We're confident that enough people will like us that it'll be worth gigging, maybe until we all die.

What does the rest of 2011 hold for you?

We'll be promoting the single.  We've plans for a Christmas party....but, first of all, we're playing Hair of the Dog Sundays at Red Dog Music on Sunday 25th September - which is the eve of the launch date.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

What d'you call a spider with no legs?  A raisin.  Old school.

Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to us.

You can (and should) download their debut release 'Short Term Memories' on the band's Soundcloud. Also check out their Facebook page. Have a listen to 'Short Term Memories' below.

Short Term Memories by collarup

Monday, 12 September 2011

Scottish Fiction Teaser

It's Monday night again, you know. Which can mean many things, but one of those things is that Scottish Fiction is back on the radio on Pulse Community Radio on 98.4 FM and online at from 9pm to 11pm.

I've got a fair good selection of music to send into your ears tonight, including an acoustic theme for the last hour. I'll also try to provide some banter to ease the painful start of another week, but I don't make any promises.

Here's a wee sneak preview of what you might here tonight:

Sunday, 11 September 2011

31 Songs (A Scottish Fiction Rip Off...) - Song 3

I'm a bit behind with my 31 songs feature, so with out further ado, I present song number 3.

Song 3

That music has the power to invoke feelings is a given. In fact it''s probably the reason that so many of us completely immerse our lives in music. Some songs make us happy, others sad. But more than invoking just raw feelings, music also has the power to bring back memories. Combine the two and it often leaves one with a strong feeling of attachment to a song.

Growing up as a child of the 90's, it was impossible not to feel the heavy presence that Brit Pop played over the music scene. One band more hovered more than others and it was Oasis. I was nine in 1995, and as a nine year old it was so easy to be engulfed by the aura that surrounds Oasis' third single from their album '(What's The Story) Morning Glory'. 'Wonderwall' is probably Oasis' best known track. It's one of the few that cracked stateside, and it's lasting effect on British society is evident from the amount of drunk men who think they can sing it at kareoke. It's easy now as a 25 year old to be dismissive of Oasis. They were never that creative, they heavily borrowed without disguising it from numerous sources, and they had an terrible attitude which often overshadowed their music. However despite the doubters and despite the snobbery that sometimes gets thrown at them, 'Wonderwall' is a bloody good song.

From the footsteps, and the groove of the record at the start, to the instantly recognisable chords strummed on Noel's acoustic guitar, to bare honest lyrics there are so many things to love about this song. Firstly the acoustic guitar part, which countless buskers have butchered since, is a thing of absolute beauty. It works so well in amongst the drums, bass and lead, filling the gaps between verses like cement between bricks. It's Noel at work in the background of what really is one of his masterpiece songs, keeping the whole thing tied up together, looking on as his little brother takes vocals. I also love the fact that the verses one and three are the same bar the line "That they're gonna throw it back to you", which changes to "That they'll never throw it back to you". It breeds familiarity even upon first hearing. And what seems familiar seems like something we can love, something we can cherish.

It's the little things about the song that stick as well. The gap at 2 minutes 6 secs which leads to a gloriously simple drum fill. The fact that on the second, "I said maybe..." refrain, Noel provides the vocal returns. It's so infectious that I now subconsciously do it at almost every opportunity. At the end of each line, I find myself singing along. My own personal favourite is after, "But I don't know how", where I think the song is crying out for a "I said I don't know how!" And this leads me to the main reason why I love this song.

'Wonderwall' is perfect, absolutely perfect for sing-a-longs. This is a much more redeeming feature than drunk men singing kareoke. I have spent many a night with my friends singing along to 'Wonderwall' backed by my friend Dave's guitar. Campfires, weddings, house parties, bus journeys, anywhere and everywhere. And yes it was normally accompanied by copious amounts of alcohol, but let's not be snobby. The memories that Wonderwall invokes in me is of good times. Times with my friends, singing together, enjoying what ever night we happened to be on. Which brings me back to memories and feelings.

Super Vinyl Adventure Club

There's been a severe lack of record shop action on the blog in the last month. This has been down partly to my severe lack of funds despite getting a new job, and also my severe lack of time, which has been affected by my new job.

So in order to compensate for this, I went on a bit of a vinyl splurge. Here's how I got on:


I've raved about Monorail numerous times. It's a great establishment, and is always expertly stocked. Last Saturday I popped in after work to have a nosey round the racks. The adjacent bar/cafe Mono was packed full of people enjoying an evening drink, and is always like a little hub of bohemian activity. It adds a real atmosphere to proceedings and with the open plan makes you feel like your browsing through someone's personal collection in their living room rather than a record shop.


As I've already said, I went on a bit of a splurge. It could have been a lot worse with new releases from Mogwai and The Rapture catching my attention. First up on the shopping list was RM Hubbert's brilliant record 'First & Last'. Hubby was kind enough to join me on my show on Pulse Community Radio a while back, and whilst I've had a digital copy of his album for a while, that show prompted me to go out and buy the record.

'First & Last' is a very personal record. Even the front artwork is by Hubbert's then wife, Maria. The album starts with a full on flamenco styled guitar playing, which of course for those in the know is the general feel of the album. 'Hey There Mr Bone' is a song influenced by Hubbert's dog, and the tapping of the guitar feels like the kind of rhythmic panting of a dog. It's a great opener and sets the standard high. The next track, 'For Maria' is an example again of how personal an album this is. It's basically a compilation track made for Hubbert's wife. It's a beautiful piece of music and listening to it feels deeply moving. You can stream the album online at RM Hubbert's bandcamp page, and you should certainly make the effort to buy the LP yourself. Have a listen to another stand out track, 'TipsyTapsy'.

Next up was Edinburgh four piece Kid Canaveral. Their record 'Shouting At Wildlife' has been available on Fence Records since July, and given the high praises it has recieved, it's about time I bought the damned thing.

'Shouting At Wildlife' is a great advert for Scottish indie music. From the wonderfully titled 'You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night', which reminds me of a Scottish Los Campesinos! with it's catchy 'la la la's' and guitar solo mid way through, to the quirky humour of 'Smash Hits'. The album is one which will leave you with a sense of happiness about life in general. It's not out to change the world, but remind you that music can simply just be fun. And if you need any further convincing, the album artwork, above, should do it. Check it out and have a swatch at 'And Another Thing' below.

Both records also get Brucey bonus points for including a CD along with the LP. It's things like this that will keep vinyl, and record shops, going as real music fans can get the best of both worlds, without resorting to illegal downloads.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

We're Only Here For The Banter - Shambles Miller

Campbell Miller, A.K.A. Shambles Miller, is your friendly neighbourhood singer/songwriter. Shambles hails from Glasgow and has a lovely way with words, weaving between political commentary and humour with ease. He has released two EP's, 'Shambles vs. The Dragonwizard' and 'Shambles Sails The Clockwork Sea', both of which you can purchase from his bandcamp page. Shambles was kind enough to take some time out to take to us here at Scottish Fiction. Here's what he had to say (including compliments as usual!):

Hello, how are you?

Hello, I'm a bit hungry. Are you going to eat that?

No, no, feel free. Tell us a little bit about your music and influences.

Well, some of my influences are fairly obvious, being a singer/songwriter; Frank Turner, Billy Bragg, Beans on Toast, etc. My music is pretty lyric-based, I don't really see that there are things I can't, or shouldn't say in my songs. If I think it fits, or it's worth saying, or if it makes me laugh, I'll put it in. I'm generally inspired to write by anything I really care about and I always say I try to wear my heart on my sleeve with my music. Sometimes that leads to me ranting on political polemic, other times it leads to dirty jokes.

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

It's good. I like it. Haha, aye it's great, even for someone like me who isn't exactly the most well-known artist, I love that every gig I play introduces me to new bands or songwriters. It's kind of exciting when you're part of a music scene that has lots of different bands and artists trying to carve out their own wee niche. And when you get the recognition of musicians you admire, that feels pretty braw.

Which Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Canny go wrong with a bit of Reverieme or Andrew Lindsay and the Coat Hooks. I also recently played a show with We See Lights, whose songs have got stuck right in my brain. Julia and the Doogans are also braw, so's Little Fire, Where We Lay Our Heads, Loch Awe, Kitty the Lion...I could go on. Will I go on? No? Ok then. Are you- right, gotcha. Zip.

I'vealsobeenlisteningto Stanley Odd recentlyohandLouiefrom Hector Bizerk didaprettycoolfreealbumwith Bigg Taj thatcameoutatthestartofthisyear ok I'll stop.

What is your songwriting process like?

It differs from song to song, but the songs that make it onto my records and into my live sets are usually the ones which come the most naturally; lyrics, melody and chords all arriving at pretty much the same time. Not all of them of course, hence the title of my song "AAARRGGHHH!" (I had quite a bit of writer's block with that one)

How do you deal with the infamous 'singer/songwriter' tag?

Haha, some people are always going to dismiss you because they hear that phrase and think "well, I don't like that sort of thing", perhaps they prefer to listen to bands or rock music or they're not too interested in the lyrical side of things. But they know what they like, so that's fine. For everyone like that, there's someone who is more likely to give their time to your music because it's the sort of thing they DO like. There's a purity to the sound of one voice and one guitar; it's great when people really get it.

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

See: I usually ride a huge tiger into the venue, right up to the stage. As I dismount, I engage the thrusters on my rocket boots and perform the whole gig roughly a foot off the ground, whilst sleight-of-hand magicians and dancing girls circulate through the crowd. Towards the end of my set, a midget dressed like Groucho Marx hands out chocolates and insults.

Hear: Ma tunes. Songs which will hopefully make folk smile. Or at least occasionally laugh then turn to the person sitting next to them and ask "did he just say...?"

Read: Me telling lies about what you'll see at my gigs.

How did the name 'Shambles' come about?

It's a nickname my friend gave me. Presumably it stems from my personality, general appearance and life choices.

What does the rest of 2011 hold for you?

I'm planning to release a single in the next few months, so I'll be busy with that, as well as gigging as much as I can. I'm looking forward to playing the Oxjam Glasgow Takeover again in October as well as my own headline show in November. Hopefully the world won't have ended by then.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

I went to the cash machine today to take out a tenner. The cash machine asked if I'd like an advice slip. I pressed yes and it printed out a wee bit of paper that said "Sort your life out".

You can check out more about Shambles Miller on his blog , on his bandcamp, on Facebook and on Twitter. Wow, what a multitude of options. Also here's a wee video for your viewing pleasure.

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 5th September

Another Monday night, another live guest in the Pulse Community Radio studio. This week I was joined by Russel and Craig from The Celestians. The guys were kind enough to come along and play some songs, chat about their band/music and also choose some tracks to play. You can check out the Q&A the band did for the blog a while back here as well.

The tracks the band choose to play were:

The Xcerts - Aberdeen 1987
Angels And Airwaves - Hallucinations
Kings Of Leon - Charmer
General Fiasco - We Are The Foolish

The rest of the evenings playlist was crammed full of music from some great Scottish artists. Check it out here:

Arches - Like Fireworks
Animal Magic Tricks - Heavenly Bodies
We're Only Afraid Of NYC - Walls
Kid Canaveral - You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night
Mondegreen - Making Cookies
Shambles Miller - Strike!
Sparrow And The Workshop - A Horse's Grin
John Gordon Sinclair - We Have A Dream
Jeff Buckley - Forget Her
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - John Taylor's Month Away
Oasis - Wonderwall

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 5th September

Call me optimistic, but I have a dream. A dream that Scotland can still make it to Poland and Ukraine. Monday night's '...And Now For Something Completely Different' was an attempt to rally the troops for Tuesday night. And it seemed to work, given Scotland beat Lithuania to keep alive our slim hopes. Here's my favourite Scotland song, 'We Have A Dream' by John Gordon Sinclair.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Scottish Fiction Teaser

Monday is just around the corner, and with it comes the invevitable sense of dread about a new working week. However salvation is not far away, for once the working day is done, you can tune into Scottish Fiction on Pulse Community Radio from 9pm to 11pm. Here's a sneak preview of what you can expect.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

...And Now For Something Completely Different - 29th August

"So who the fuck is Alice? She from Buckingham Palace?" I never realised that the 2000 hit single 'Freestyler' by Finish Bomfunk MC's contained such vulgar language! Mind you neither did the censors as it slipped through into our ears uncensored.

I loved the video for this song, which you can see below, and that tipped it into being this week's '...And Now For Something Completely Different'.