Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 26th December

Monday's show was a end of year bonanza, comprised of tracks from my favourite albums of the year. (Which you can check here, here and here)

Recorded as a 'pre-record' and aired on Boxing Day, you can know listen again in case you missed it due to crap TV or fun filled family games! Yah!

Too Many Rappers - Beastie Boys (feat. Nas)
Weekend - Smith Westerns
I'll Take Care Of You - Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie XX
Two Against One - Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi    Rome
Morning Mr Magpie - Radiohead
The Look - Metronomy
Lion's Share - Wild Beasts
Bedroom Eyes - Dum Dum Girls
Ice Cream - Battles (feat. Matias Aguayo)
Used To Be - The Shivers
Battery Kinzie - Fleet Foxes
Minnesota, WI - Bon Iver
Face In The Crowd - Cats Eyes

Ribbon on a Bough - Martin John Henry           
Build A Harbour Immediately - Adam Stafford       
Cave - Beerjacket       
Bats In The Attic - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins       
Kamikaze - United Fruit           
You Told The Drunks I Knew Karate - Zoey Van Goey
George Square Thatcher Death Party - Mogwai       
Anti Climb Paint - FOUND           
Two Bridges - Bwani Junction
Medicine - We Were Promised Jetpacks       
Scottish Widows - Remember Remember       
Honestly, This World - The Moth & The Mirror           
(If You) Keep Me In Your Heart - Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat

Saturday, 24 December 2011

The Scottish BAMS Awards 2011

I'm posting this with a slight sense of smug satisfaction, which is probably more down to luck than any genuine music critiquing skill on my part. Lloyd 'Peenko' Meredith compiled his third annual Scottish BAMS Awards (Scottish Blogger And Music Site Awards) totting up votes from 47 of us music type people across the country.

After posting my Top 30 International Albums and my Best Scottish Albums (here and here) the more observant of you will noticed that my top two Scottish albums (The Moth And The Mirror and Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat) are both in the BAMS top 10.

So without further ado, here's the list in full, plus a lovely interview with Messrs Wells and Moffat.

=8 - The Moth And The Mirror - Honestly, This World

=8 - PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

=8 - FOUND - factorycraft

=6 - Conquering Animal Sound - Kammperspiel

=6 - The Son(s) - The Son(s)

5 - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine

=3 - Mike Nesbit - Vagrant

=3 - Bon Iver - Bon Iver

2 - Adam Stafford - Build A Harbour Immediately

1 - Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older

Congratulations Bill and Aidan, you are this years' winners of the Scottish BAMS award, how do you feel? Does this rate as a career highlight then?

Aidan - I think it might be the first award I've ever been presented with, with the exception of the joint 4th Year English Prize at Falkirk High in 1989, so it's very exciting indeed. Not sure about a career highlight – that accolade is always reserved for the work itself, and Everything's Getting Older is certainly one of my favourites, yes.

Bill - Feels good - though when it dawned on me, obviously quite some time ago, that awards are only ever decided upon by other people, not by some almighty, all knowing, arbiter of taste and quality looking down from the clouds, I thought it always best to never get too excited about any of them coming my way, not that there's been much occasion to, right enough.

How did you end up collaborating together in the first place?

Aidan - Bill says we found ourselves at the same table in a pub and I immediately asked him to play on some Arab Strap songs. I have no recollection of this at all, but at the time I was very much in love with his Also In White album so I've no reason to doubt him. After he played on the Monday At The Hug And Pint album, we did one song together and then took years to book a studio to do some more. We always seemed to have other things to do, but I'm glad we waited because I can't imagine the album any other way. It would've had an entirely different theme and tone if we'd finished it in 2005, and I really don't think it would have been as good from my side.

Bill - Indeed this is what happened - I was very surprised and flattered actually because although I was a huge Arab Strap fan, and though we were all from Falkirk, or, more likely, because, it never occurred to me that we'd ever all be in a studio together, so it did, for me at least, even at the time, feel like quite an occasion, and looking back, even more so now.

I am guessing that you've spent a lot of time in each others' pockets this year; has this bonded your love for each other, or are you sick of the sight of each other?

Aidan - We haven't really spent that much time together at all, to be honest. We haven't done a lot of touring, although what we did do was quite hard work. There's more gigs being planned for next year, so hopefully we'll have more to do, but it's not as though we're a young rock band out on the road and in the NME every week, there's not a lot of fuss or constant attention to deal with; there's been a minimum of upheaval, thankfully.

Bill - Yeh, sorry, you're guessing wrong.

If the love is still there, are there any plans to work together again in the future?

Aidan - We've just started talking about our second album now, so it will happen but we're not sure when. Certainly not next year, we've both got a couple of albums each planned for 2012, so we might try and have it ready for 2013. There's no rush though, it'll be ready when it's ready; the last thing i want to do is dive into it and force it out, that's why a lot of second albums these days are a bit shit. Bands and labels are desperate to hold onto any momentum and profile a new band has, but we're lucky in that respect because we're not really a new, young band; we've both been making records for ages and there's no pressure on us at all. So 2014 at the earliest!

Bill - Just to add that I'm really looking forward to this, the musical ideas for first album were pretty much all on one cdr I gave Aidan ages ago, then the EP happened pretty quickly this year so, personally, I'm more hopeful for the 2013 result but, whatever and whenever, it'll be great to get working together in the studio again.

Seeing as we are on the subject of albums of the year, what have been your personal favourites of 2012?

Aidan - I would've said Slow Club's Paradise a couple of weeks ago (which I still love) but it's been pipped at the post by the last-minute release of Josh T. Pearson's limited live LP, The King Is Dead, which I think is far superior to his studio album. There's been a lot of very good music this year though, but my memory can never work when it's put on the spot, sorry!

Bill - I look at these end of year lists and realize I haven't heard so many of these records, so it feels like a very uninformed opinion. The last time I was asked I said the re - release of Annette Peacock's 'I'm The One' which is truly one of the greatest records ever made. However after writing that I realized that "That's Reality' by Yumbo, which is Koji Shibuya's (bass player in Maher Shalal Hash Baz) Pop masterpiece, came out in Japan in early 2011.

A huge thanks to Lloyd for including my somewhat dodgy opinions in his poll, and do check out Peenko on a regular basis.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Saturday Night Live - '00's DJ Battle

So last month some of your might remember that I took part in a DJ Battle on Pulse Community Radio. I pitted my alternative rock wits against Jamie Sparks and his electro pop flavours, and together we threw out some of what we thought were the best tracks of the '00's.

The show as a battle format where the public, and our judge the right honourable Raymond Weir, decided on the best of mine and Jamie's choices. I'll not say who won, but you can see the full tracklisting below and listen to the whole show again! There is also quality banter ahoy in this show so listening even just for Raymond's penchant for fat chicks.

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk
MGMT - Kids
Florence And The Machine - Cosmic Love
Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
Hot Chip - Over And Over
Junior Senior - Rhythm Bandits
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Head Will Roll
Radiohead - 15 Steps
Rihanna - Umbrella
CSS - A La La
PJ Harvey - Black Hearted Love
Aaliyah - Try Again
Regina Spektor - Us
N.E.R.D. - Lapdance

Scottish Fiction - Best Of 2011 - Scottish Albums: 10 - 1

It is with a tear in my eye that I present to you my final list of the list making period. I've already given you my Top 30 International Albums of 2011 and I've unveiled numbers 20 to 11 of the Best Scottish Albums of 2011.

So all that remains is for me to wipe the sweat from my brow, put down my earphones, and present to you dear reader (maybe plural next year), my top 10 Scottish albums of 2011*.

* The usual disclaimers apply - Best means favourite, I've not listened to everything (scandalous I know...) and I welcome disagreement!

10. King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize 'Diamond Mine' was released back on 28th March. Certainly it's profile has been catapulted by the Mercury mod, but those of us who have loved KC's music for a while will not be surprised by the quality of this album. It's got such quality in depth, heartfelt lyrics and with Hopkins on board the production is second to none.

(Buy the album, download, CD and LP, here)

9. United Fruit - Fault Lines

I was supposed to head along to the Glasgow launch night but fate had other ideas. However nothing could prevent this album, released on 30th May, from being a big hitter this year. Right from the off 'Kamikaze' dispells any possibility that this might be a nice subdued album and rips yer face off and rattles your bones. I've been lucky enough to see them twice this year, and wow is all I can say. 'Fault Lines' is a stunning debut, a stunning album, just stunning. Stunning.

(Download here, buy CD here)

8. Zoey Van Goey - Propeller Versus Wings

So technically ZVG are not a 'Scottish' band. Yet they've ambled about the Scottish music scene for some time now having formed in Glasgow back in 2006. And in signing with influential Scottish label Chemikal Underground and having been produced by Stuart Murdoch and Paul Savage, I'm hypocritcally* claiming them as 'Scottish'. Released on 14th February on the afformented Chemikal Underground, it's a quirky, fun-filled, jolly good fun album.

* read about how I slammed STV for including Snow Patrol in Scotland's Greatest Album.

(Buy the album, download, CD & LP, here)

7. Mogwai - Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will

Seminal post rock Gods Mogwai returned on Valentines day with their seventh LP released on their own Rock Action Records. One of the best named albums of the year, and containing the best named song of the year (you know which one), it's the same beastly guitar driven rock that we've come to know and love. Highlights include Rano Pano, San Pedro and Mexican Grand Prix.

(Buy the CD here, and also available from all good retailers and online stores)

6. FOUND - factorycraft
Released on Chemikal Underground on 14th March lead single 'Anti-Climb Paint' may have been released on a edible chocolate 7", but there's nothing gimmicky about this album. factorycraft is a more stripped back affair, with lead singer Ziggy Campbell's story telling coming to the fore. It's inventive, which one would expect from an art school band, and it's catchy and intruiging enough without being pretentious.

(Buy the album, download, CD and LP, here)

5. Bwani Junction - Fully Cocked

Released on Aksatak Records on 14th November, even though I've only been listening to this album for three weeks before making this list, it's absolutely brilliant. At times it's almost effortlessly brilliant, as the Afro-Caribbean influences sweep throughout the album. But it's not contrived or a premeditated 'sound', it's simply a celebration of sounds and Fully Cocked manages to sound fresh and by references to Auld Reekie maintain a connection to their hometown.

(Download the album here, buy the CD here)

4. We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach

I have a confession. When Lloyd 'Peenko' Meredith emailed asking for my choices for the BAMS this was number three. However I have since bumped my previous number four up one, due to repeat listening, meaning WWPJ come in at #4. That should in no way detract from what is by all accounts a solid follow up album. Released on 4th October again on Fat Cat Records, it was probably one of the albums I was most anticipating this year. It sounds better than 'These Four Walls', but some of the songs lack a little of the punch of the previous. I feel bad that I'm now comparing this album to the first so I'll stop. Opener 'Circles And Squares' has the same vibe as 'Quiet Little Voices', preview track 'Act On Impulse' hooked my interest with its simplistic beat and showing off the band's penchant for long intro's. And the lead single 'Medicine' is as strong a song as the band have ever released.

(Buy the album, download, CD and LP, here)

3. Remember Remember - The Quickening

After bigging them up in the last section, I really should explain why I've bumped RR up a place since the BAMS. I've hardly had the album off rotation in the last few months. Released on Mogwai's Rock Action Records on 26th September, the album is musically an orchastrated work of art. Keeping the simple method of layering over a repeated beat, this time round, Graeme Ronald has added in fuller sounds by recruiting a band of instrumentalists to his side. At it's peaks, of which there are many, the music soars high, even though there's a tinge of melancholy which was absent from RR's debut. This is music for grown ups.

(Download here, buy the CD or LP here)

2. The Moth And The Mirror - Honestly, This World

I review this album a while back (read here) and reading it back I was rather gushing with praise. And damn right too. I'll direct you the the review for a more in depth discussion, but to sum the album up, it's an album which engulfs you. Capturing you in its folky arms, once invested there is some real post punk angst released, 'Boxes' is a brilliant example of this. Released on 7th November on Olive Grove Records, this is an album which ticks all the boxes I wasn't even expecting it to.

(Buy the album, download or CD, here)

Drum roll please...

1. Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older

Right from the off I want to stress that this record should not be looked upon as solely an Aidan Moffat record. Opener 'Tasogare' should destroy that illusion straight away, with it's emotional outpouring from Well's piano. Released on Chemikal Underground on 26th April, 'Everything's Getting Older' has probably been my favourite album of 2011 since buying it. Even at the tender age of 25, I find myself identifying with the gloomy Moffat at times. It's an album of unparalled insight, beauty, humour. Fans of Moffat will click with his usual silver tounge, demonstrated especially on 'Ballad Of A Bastard' and 'Glasgow's Jubilee'. But whilst there is the underlying theme of 'ageing', penultimate track 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' is one of the most awe inspiring tracks I've ever heard. A complete understanding of this great adventure we call 'life', Moffat shows he can do beauty just as well as scathing. As for 'The Cooper Top', well no words I have can do it justice. Watch below. And buy this album.

(Buy the album, download, CD and triple LP, here)

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 19th December - Christmas Special

Monday's show was the last live show of 2011, and it was a very merry festive occassion. We played some of the best Christmas songs from Scottish artists and then took your suggestions for the best Christmas songs ever!

If you still need some Christmas cheer injected then have a listen back!

Katie Sutherland - Baby It's Cold Outside
Rachel Sermanni - Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Mogwai - Christmas Song
The Spook School - Bah Humbug!
Frightened Rabbit - It's Christmas So We'll Stop
Esperi - Snowman
Cocteau Twins - Winter Wonderland
Miaoux Miaoux - Snow
A Band Called Quinn - Snowblind
Ambulances - The True Meaning Of Christmas
There Will Be Fireworks - In Excelsis Deo
Aidan John Moffat - Last Christmas

John Lennon & Plastic Ono Band - Happy Christmas (War Is Over)
Jona Lewie - Stop The Cavalry
Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You
She & Him - Little St. Nick
Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)
The Killers - Great Big Sled
Relient K - Merry Christmas, Here's To Many More
The Flaming Lips - Christmas At The Zoo
Wizzard - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas
Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone
Avid Merrion - Proper Crimbo!
Dean Martin - Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody
The Pogues feat. Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York

Gig Review - Shambles Miller @ George Square for Hear Glasgow Loves Christmas

Ok so it wasn't ALL about Shambles Miller down at George Square on Thursday 15th December but through time and circumstances that what it was all about for me. Playing a free set as part of the wider Hear Glasgow Loves Christmas concerts Scottish Fiction's favourite Glaswegian folk singer (actually maybe just our favourite Glaswegian) was a perfect tonic for what proved to be a rather chilly evening.

Huddled away inside the tent in the midst of fairground rides, Christmas trees, baby Jesus, ice skating and the famous Christmas lights, Shambles followed Selective Service and was rousingly introduced by 'the voice of new Scottish music' himself Jim Gellatly.

Personally I always like to introduce myself to strangers with a list of things they should avoid doing so as not to fall foul of my hulk like rage, and Shambles it seems is the same. Set opener 'Things That Make Me Angry' played out to, at this stage, a very sparse crowd, and evoked some wry smiles from people in the seating area. What I loved about Shambles set is that he is very much the showman, and his charm is magnetic, so even those who were sat enjoying a hot dog and a beer became enthralled in the following numbers.

By the time Shambles played 'Rapture' (*shameless plug alert* available for free on the Scottish Fiction Sep EP) a healthy crowd of passers by had been stopped in their tracks by the witty lyrics of Shambles music, either that or his nice boxers. A cover of Jona Lewie's 'Stop The Cavalry' was enough to warm the bunions on the coldest of feet.

Indeed when it came to last song 'Alice's Song' it was an end brought on too soon. One can certainly hope that Shambles sturdy flyer (I hope he got it back) and the infectious charm of his music is enough to bring more to his party.

Scottish Fiction - Best Of 2011 - Scottish Albums: 20-11

The more observant amongst you may have noticed that I've been rather late in revealing part two of my favourite albums of 2011. Part one (which was my top 30 albums by International artists) was nearly two weeks ago! (read it here)

However I've been busy inbetween putting out the Scottish Fiction Shelter Christmas EP, two Scottish Fiction shows on Pulse 98.4 FM, recording a end of year special which you can here on Pulse 98.4 FM on Boxing Day at 9pm AND rocking out to We Were Promised Jetpacks at ABC and Mogwai at the Barrowlands.

So without further ado here is Scottish Fiction's Best Of 2011 Scottish Albums numbers 20 to 11:

20. Take A Worm For A Walk Week - T.A.W.F.A.W.W

Third album from the experimental Glaswegians who do not know the meaning of the word quiet. Released on 4th July (a fitting nod to the American metal influences) on It's A Stiff! Records, this album will not be to everyone's taste, but that's part of what makes it so good, it fully commits to the alt metal vibe that thrashes from the word go.

(Dowload here, Physical CD here)

19. Black International - In Debt

I first discovered Black International's music earlier this year when the band agreed to do a Q&A session for the blog and subsequently contribute a track to one of our free EP's. Their album 'In Debt' was released on 11th March on their own label Return Of Order. Its an album choka block with influences, different sounds and bursting with energy.

(Buy the album, download and CD, here)

18. Martin John Henry - The Other Half Of Everything

Released on Gargleblast Records on 10th October, ex De Rosa man Martin John Henry has produced an album that is a open and beautiful as it's coverart. It's an intriguing and compelling listen, which is full of so much detail that multiple listens, because you'll want to listen again, pick up on little gems obscured from first glance. Personal highlight is the below 'Ribbon On A Bough'.

(Buy the album, download and CD, here)

17. Evil Hand - Huldra

Contained on this album of 16 tracks, part new material, part reworking of older tracks, are some of the finest songs released by a Scottish artist this year. The album staggers from minimal acoustic hummings, to ambient drones, and all the while takes the listener for a most enjoyable journey through the brain of creator Derek Bates. 'Returned In Time' is a gem of a song. Have a listen below.

(Download for FREE here)

16. IndianRedLopez - Empty Your Lungs And Breathe

Hailing from the granite city (Aberdeen for those not in the know), IndianRedLopez released on of the finest debuts this year. Released on 6th June on A Badge Of Friendship, 'Empty Your Lungs And Breathe' is an album with the legs to propel IndianRedLopez to bigger things that their sound craves. Never straying too far of the mainstream rock path on songs such as 'Ropes' and 'My Eyes' which would be snug at home on any commerical radio stadio, there is also plenty of dabbles into electro and alternative rock to keep everyone interested.

(Buy the CD here)

15. The John Knox Sex Club - Raise Ravens

I think it's pretty safe to say that The John Knox Sex Club are unlike any other band on this list. Their second album, self released on 29th August is an absolutely fucking (note this is the only profanity in this post) triumph of an album. It shouldn't really be this good, it's heavily folk influenced, it's opener is 13 minutes long, and it's pretty depressing to listen to, but my oh my does it hit home. The band are mighty fine live, and on this record they've captured that as best as they could.

(Buy the album, download or CD, here)

14. Adam Stafford - Build A Harbour Immediately

I think a lot of people have either missed this off their list completely or had it a lot higher. And I think that's because Build A Harbour Immediately, released on Wise Blood Industries on 22nd August is either loved or not. So strangely I'm in the middle. Well not really the middle, because I think it's an excellent record, but not quite top ten material. But let me rescue myself by saying that this is one of the most creative records of the year. Stafford quite often pulls the rug from beneath your ears halfway through a track, which generally results in a broad smile across the face.

(Download the album here)

13. King Post Kitsch - The Party's Over

Released on Song, By Toad Records on 13th June, I've been listening to Don't You Touch My Fucking Honeytone for a good portion of the last few weeks, and it really reinforced in my just how good the whole King Post Kitsch album really was. Whilst '...Honeytone' is a standout brawling highlight, the rest of the album is of equal quality. The slight roughness of the sound helps add a certain underdog feel, and makes you want to spread the word about this album even more.

(Buy the album here)

King Post Kitsch - Walking on Eggshells by Song, by Toad

12. Beerjacket - The White Feather Trail

Peter Kelly, a.k.a. Beerjacket is Glasgow's premier singer/songwriter. Up until the release of The White Feather Trail on 3rd October this year, Beerjacket's releases were self recorded and produced, which it should be said doesn't take away from the quality of the music at all. TWFT is that little bit cleaner, and the album soars for it. Heart firmly on sleeve, TWFT is full of positive uplifting honest stories that make your day that little bit better.

(Buy the album, download or CD, here)

11. Song Of Return - Limits

Born from the ashes of Union Of Knives. Add in Louis Abbot and self released 'Limits' (6th June) is the result. And what a result. At times you can feel the angst in some of the songs (UoK where unceremoniously dropped prior to their album being released). Song Of Return create big songs. Atmospheric, slightly dark at times, and climxing in almost anthemic sing along moments. 'Trajectory', below, was the sound track to the TITP 2011 website. Nice.

(Buy the album, download and CD, here)

Stay tuned for 10 - 1!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Scottish Fiction Shelter Christmas EP

A very merry Christmas one and all!

It's that special time of year, where amidst all the jam pies (we don't like mince pies here at Scottish Fiction), eggnog, tinsel and obligatory Cliff Richards songs it's very important to remember that Christmas a time for goodwill to all men.

Shelter are a charity who do an incredible amount of work, helping those who are unfortunate to be homeless at this time of year, and throughout the other 364 days of the year.  And you can do your bit to help too.

This month for the monthly Scottish Fiction EP we are asking for a minimum of £2 to download some fantastic seasonal music from a wide variety of talented Scottish musicians. £2 is not a lot to pay for seven tracks, but it will go a long way to helping Shelter continue their great work over Christmas and beyond. (Please note £2 is the minimum donation. By all means donate more should you wish to. Bandcamp let's you choose how much to pay.)

You can download the full EP here. Please also feel free to share this with as many people as possible.

So without further ado, let me introduce to you the participants in this month's EP:

Lonely And Lola - Cute pop influenced music with ear splittingly catchy harmonies, this duo take the essence of the '60's and twist it into a modern sound to behold. Lauren Reilly displays bewitching vocals on their take of 'Santa Claus Is Coming To Town'.

Ed Muirhead - Ed is a man who takes great enjoyment in crafting his simple, honest, brand of folk infused music. Also running Tattie Records, Ed's hardwork and DIY ethos is conducive to producing music that warms the cockles. Here Ed has reworked a 150 year old Christmas carol, 'Midnight Clear'.

The Spook School - I love The Spook School. So much so I have dreams of them bursting out a giant present under my tree on Christmas morning. I've posted lots about the C86 twee coated alternative rock before so you really should just read that. Their track 'Bah Humbug!' is as good as anything they have ever done, but with bells!

Linzi Murphy - With her traditional Scottish folk style Linzi has drawn much critical acclaim amongst the traditional and folk music scene. And rightly so, her stripped back version of the classic 'Silent Night' showcases her vocal talent and natural guitar playing extremely well.

Evil Hand - Evil Hand, a.k.a. Derek Bates, has an incredible knack of producing music which is both pays homage to the ever popular alt-folk sound and experiments with ambient electronica aspects. His album 'Huldra' was one of this year's highlights and it's a pleasure to have his track 'Around The Tree' on the EP.

The Dirty Demographic - Unashamedly catchy pop, that brings new meaning to the phrase, 'all that glitters is gold'. The Dirty Demographic are all about having fun, and making music to dance like a drunk student to. Their track

Lovers Turn To Monsters - A.k.a. Kyle Wood. A very talented individual who has the work rate of a honey bee. A honey bee that makes lo-fi emotional music. He enlisted the help of producer and multi instrumentalist Walker Smith Jr. for their track 'Snowflake Frustration'.

So there you have it folks. Seven songs all yours for only £2 (download here). And that warm fuzzy feeling that comes from doing a good deed. Plus once on the Scottish Fiction Bandcamp page you can fill your boots with previous month's EPs which are absolutely free!

A huge thanks from me to all of you for your support to the blog and for purchasing this EP. A massive thanks to each and every one of the above artists who have donated their time and music offerings for free, whilst the main thing is to raise money for Shelter, it's also a big plus to be able to share such great music with you. Be sure to show them support and check out more of their material via the links provided. And also a big thanks to Andrew Wilson for his artwork (below) which I've tweeked slightly to give a rather amatuerish festive feel to.

Please feel free to stream the album below, but please please please download it and help us give Shelter a nice sum of money.

Thanks. Oh and merry Christmas!

Please note that due to the way Bandcamp works your £2 will go into my Paypal account, and will show on your statements as a payment to 'Neil Wilson'. I don't have anyway around this unfortunately, and whilst I hope I'm trustworthy enough to not have to, I'll happily provide sales details along with the final amount passed to Shelter. Let me be extremely clear, ALL proceeds from this EP will go to Shelter. Thanks again.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Scottish Fiction Playlist - Monday 12th December

Howdy folks! Monday night's show is now up and available for you all to listen to again. And when it features music from Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat, We're Only Afraid Of NYC, Jack James and much more why wouldn't you?

The theme this week was 'Keeping Up With The Jones'' and I think we did a fair good job of filling it with music. As usual playlist is below and listen again to hear the full show.

We're Only Afraid Of NYC - Y+M
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Cruel Summer
The Japanese War Effort - Our Land Could Be Your Life
Marie Collins - Thursday
Sigur Ros - Festival (Live)
The Smiths - Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want
Jack James - Top Of The Hill
Bat For Lashes - Sad Eyes
The Seventeenth Century - Full Moon
Field Mouse - Cloth Pattern
Damien Rice - Cannonball
Esperi - Dialled

Aqua - Doctor Jones
The Jam - Smithers-Jones
Billy Paul - Me And Mrs Jones
Frank Sinatra - Have You Met Miss Jones?
Space feat. Cerys Matthews - The Ballad Of Tom Jones
Stereophonics - A Thousand Trees
Mousse T. feat. Tom Jones - Sex Bomb
Travis - Re-Offender
David Bowie - Sound And Vision
Counting Crows - Mr Jones
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi feat. Norah Jones - Season's Trees
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Ballad Of Jim Jones
The Clash - Janie Jones

Scottish Fiction - Charity Christmas EP - Update

Oh boy, oh boy! Great news all round and I'm really happy to announced that the excellent and very kind boys and girls of The Spook School will be contributing a new Christmas track towards our charity EP which will be released on Thursday. Regular readers should know how much I rate The Spook School, so this is kind of a big deal!
Again it will cost all of £2, and all the proceeds will go towards Shelter. An excellent charity that does a lot of good work, not only just a Christmas but all year round.

More to come soon!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

EP Review - We're Only Afraid Of NYC - zero.four

Wooft! We're Only Afraid Of NYC sure know how to pack a punch. Their fourth EP 'zero.four' was made available to download for free on Friday 9th December and it's a cracker.

Opener 'Walls' is a track that had been about for a while, yet loses none of it's intensity and power, 'We Lived Here' slides off in a different direction at times, with parts of the track showing some restraint, and others experimenting with just how much noise the Glaswegian three piece can make.

The band have gathered a rather ample following which is no big surprise given the increasing quality of each consecutive output. Third track 'Matter' is a softer affair, almost like an interlude between 'We Lived Here' and forth track 'Y+M' which is awe staggeringly good.

The EP closes with 'Seeds' and 'Mirrorball', the former brooding with meloncholy, the latter a gentle affair, softly closing the lid on an all round sterling effort.

You can download 'zero.four' on the band's bandcamp for nowt, and their previous three offering are all there too. Go on, fill yer boots.

Lists, Lists, Lists

Lists are a strange thing. When I say 'lists' I don't mean the factual kind e.g. Forbes Rich List, or 100 Best Selling Albums, but the kind that are a permanent feature on blogs and review sites at this the twilight stage of the year. Lists of the opinionate variety , lists which are completely subjective and dependent upon the tastes and whims of the person compiling them. What is it about 'Best Of' lists that compel us to read them, write them and undoubtably argue over them?

I read an article on the Guardian website yesterday which gave an interesting account of the end of year lists that many of us concern ourselves with. My own view is that lists provide a useful service if they are understood in the correct manner.

For the reader it is important to understand what you are reading. No matter which blog, which media outlet or which magazine, the list you are reading is the opinion of the writer (or the collective opinion of several). Unlike a factual list, for instance 'biggest selling albums of 2011', there is no imperical weight behind anything. You can't argue that Adele hasn't sold the most records because the figures are there in black and white. But you also can't reasonably argue against opinion either.

Now this may seem like an obvious point, but many forget it. So when NME, Q, or even me say that your favourite album doesn't feature in an end of year 'best of', you can't argue we are wrong. Simply that our opinions are different.

Once you understand this point, and some people never will (especially angry teenagers who post comments on YouTube), then you can begin to reap the benefits from end of year lists. Because it's not about whether the list maker agrees with your opinion, it's about what can you discover from their opinion. What albums did you maybe overlook? What artists have you never heard of but maybe you would like?

It all, of course, depends on the value you place on the list makers opinion. Afterall, if you really do not like hip hop, you'd be ill advised to follow the advice of Vibe's end of year lists. Similarly if in the past you've discovered some gems through reading a particular blog, then you might want to check out what they recommend. 

For me as a reader, that's the value of lists. Not that I have to agree with them (I personally don't see the big fuss about PJ Harvey's 'Let England Shake'.) But that there is so much out there it is impossible for me to even acknowledge it all, let along listen to it. End of year lists from different sources provide a summary of what I may have missed or, depending on the source, shine fresh light on something I've overlooked.

For the writer the use is more of an egocentric one. I'll happily admit that I swell inside a bit when someone reads and comments on a blog post. But putting aside this particular aspect of it, I think there's another important function of lists for the writer.

If you have a blog, a newspaper, or even if you just want people to listen to you, it's a good idea to let them know what you're all about. Lists let you do that, in a nice neat orderly way. They make a statement about the writer, they say, 'this is what I like' in the most obvious way.

But despite all of this, they remain something we will obsess over, something we will argue about and ultimately something that will continue to dominate this particular time of the year. And is that really such a bad thing? If it gets people engage and involved in music then surely that's the goal?  Anyway, I'm off to compile my top 10 lists...