Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Battle Of The Bands - Round 3

With last fortnight's shameful defeat to Kowalskiy (sorry Brazil Exists, we tried!) in the Battle Of The Bands round 2, there is a lot riding on tonight's duel.  Win, and bring the scores level to 2 a piece.  Lose, and fall behind 3-1, with the next round in Kowalskiy's back garden.  No, its clear that only victory will suffice tonight!

Before we dive into the heat of battle, here's a quick recap of the rules:

Each blogger choose a Scottish band/artist
Bloggers take alternative turns to choose three categories (We have first pick in this round)
Highest score wins the point, except 'Total' where the lowest wins.
Best of three points, with the winner taking the spoils
Categories include 'Number Of Members', 'Years Since Formation', SoundCloud Tracks', Twitter Follow Ratio', 'Scrabble Score', 'Average Age' and 'Total'
For a full and detailed account of the rules, look no further.

This week I've gone for 8-piece folksters Randolph's Leap while David has gone north in search of success and chosen DOLFiNZ.  Have a quick comparison of the stats above, and read on to witness the whooping of Kowalskiy!

It would have been folly of me not to utilise Randolph's Leap behemoth size, in terms of band members that is, so my first pick was 'Total Band Members'.  As DOLFiNZ are a duo, that was 1-0 to me.

With a career spanning five years, and a rather prolific output, I was pinning my hopes on the 20 tracks nestling in Randolph's Leap's SoundCloud account to win my second point.  It was a close call granted as DOLFiNZ have an impressive 11 tracks.  Good David, but not good enough!

You might recall last fortnight, I lost 0-3 with David taking a clean sweep.  So now was the time to really twist the knife in.  And so for the final category I chose 'Twitter Follow Ratio', bumped up to an impressive 6.18 due to Randolph's Leap chronic anti social followings on Twitter!

Huzzah!  A clean sweep and the round goes to Scottish Fiction, tying the overall score at 2-2.  We'll do it all again in two weeks time, but as ever here's the low down on both bands.

Randolph's Leap have been busy over the past few months with appearances at T In The Park, Away Game, and King Tut's Summer Nights.  All very much deserved indeed, and they have put out a collection of their tunes so far on the 'Introducing... Randolph's Leap' album available at independent record stores and here.  We are huge fans of their quirky and humorous indie-folk music, and urge you to check them out!

In David's corner were Aberdeen duo DOLFiNZ.  We are also big fans of them, with their brand of lo-fi punk inspired alt-rock grabbing your attention and shaking it.  Recently they toured with PAWS and have also featured on a Song, By Toad Records split 12".  Exciting times!  More recently they also contributed a track to our EP Treasure Hunt!  Go find it here!

We're Only Here For The Banter - Drunk Mule

Drunk Mule are somewhat of an enigma.  Prolific song makers, they churn out track after track, all of which are up on their Bandcamp page for free, and the quality never drops, yet the band have lingered in the recording studio and remain without a live show to date.  If they keep producing music as good as they do, then there's really no need to argue!  We caught up with the duo to ask some questions.

Hello, how are you?

Hello! We’re good thanks, how’s yersel?

Very well thanks for asking!  It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

I think mainly, we make up tunes that we like playing and listening to, usually wearing our influences firmly on oor sleeve!  We’re both big Roses fans, Primal Scream, The Stones, even a nice wee bit o' Howlin’ Wolf in there.

What's your song writing process like?

Usually Richie comes up with the start of a tune and sends it over, then I’ll normally do the lyrics.  Then we send it back and forward, adding and deleting bits and pieces until we’re happy with it.  Usually it happens pretty quickly.  Richie’s a bit of a machine when he gets goin’

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Would you believe we’ve still not played live, we’ve been solely a recording band up 'til now.  If we did though you could probably expect dancers , pyrotechnics and possibly us flying out over the audience on crotch wire harness type things.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

It’s always cool hearing yer tunes on the radio and quite a few people seem to have liked oor stuff enough to kindly give us a blast, but I think having Ally McCrae and Tom Robinson play us a few times on BBC Introducing has been amazing.

What have you got planned for the second half of 2012?

We’re trying to finish oor 2nd album “I Built A Death Ray” at the moment, trying to whittle 20 odd tunes down to 12.  Maybe try and work out how to do it all live too.

At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the Scottish music 'community'?

We speak to a few Scottish bands through Twitter etc and there is definitely a whole lot of great stuff going on here at the moment.

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Not just cos we’re good mates wi them but Ambulances are a great band who’ve just released there 2nd album “Flying Simply Explained” which is a cracker.  Another couple neeburs of ours definitely worth givin’ a blast are Davie Saus, a singer songwriter and Homesick Aldo, a one man moothie machine.  All top stuff.

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

My wife said she was going to leave me cos of my obsession with The Monkees.
At first I thought she was kidding... But then I saw her face… (copyright Oz fae Ambulances)


Did ye hear about the constipated mathematician?  He worked it out wi a pencil.

We’re here all week, try the veal, etc…

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Sunday, 29 July 2012

Scottish Fiction EP Treasure Hunt

It's on!!!!!!!!!

We have released our twelfth FREE EP today in the form of Scottish Fiction July 2012 EP and as promised we have scattered 12 exclusive tracks from some of Scotland's finest artists across our 12 EP's which you can find on our Bandcamp.

Here's a reminder of the 12 artists and a little synopsis of their tracks:

The Son(s) - Karl a.k.a. The Son(s) has dusted down an old unreleased track, 'Wanton' and given it to us to finally give it a home.  Just where that home is however is up to you to find out!

Randolph's Leap - The eight piece indie folksters have never been bigger, with T In The Park and King Tut's Summer Nights safely tucked under their belts.  For our treasure hunt they have contributed 'Wack' a track from their mega special 'The Way Of The Mollusc' EP.

Discopolis - Electronic three piece Discopolis are one of Scottish music's hottest property.  With a whole heap of new material on the way, they have kindly given us an exclusive brand new track 'Indiependance'.

Ambulances - Responsible for one of my favourite albums of 2012 so far, Ambulances offer up a remix of their album track 'Falling Apart' by Cian Ciaran of the Super Furry Animals.

Lovers Turn To Monsters - Kyle Wood, a.k.a. Lovers Turn To Monsters is a creative dynamo.  He also has a penchant for covering lo-fi punk songs, and has given us a cover of 'The Goldheart Mountain Top Queen Directory' by Guided By Voices.  Kyle's version has been mixed and edited by Craig McConnell.

DOLFiNZ - Another brand new exclusive track from the DOLFiNZ lads.  Get searching to find their track 'Protein Shake Brain'.

Miniature Dinosaurs - Having recently signed to Integrity Records this can only mean good things, hopefully in the form of new material.  Meanwhile we've got an acoustic recording of old favourite 'Alligator' hiding in amongst our previous EP's.

The Mouse That Ate The Cat - The indie electro pop duo have whipped up a new track with the help of Kerr Okan of The LaFontaines.  Get looking for 'Going Away' and enjoy!

Satellite Dub - Craig Brown is Satellite Dub, responsible for some of the best beats around.  He's given us a brand new and exclusive track 'Kizuna Encounter' for our EP treasure hunt.  Enjoy!

IndianRedLopez - The Aberdeen five piece are tucked away in the studio working on album number two.  Lurking in amongst our previous EP's is hidden an alternative version of 'Silence/Vacuum' which will feature on that new album.

Run/Lucky/Free -We love a good live track, and Run/Lucky/Free have given us just that!  A live acoustic version of their track 'Denim Skyes'.

Mitchell Museum - We were majorly chuffed when Mitchell Museum reformed, and even more so when they generously gave us a brand new exclusive track 'The Closer We Got The Harder We Fell'.

Now you know what's up for grabs the only place to get them is by going in with our treasure hunt.  Each of the above tracks is hidden in one of our 12 FREE EP's.  So head over to our Bandcamp page and get downloading each of our FREE EP's to discover each of these hidden gems!  For those of you who like things made even easier, just click on each of the 12 links below to be taken directly to the relevant EP and download it there.

Scottish Fiction July 2011 EP
Scottish Fiction August 2011 EP
Scottish Fiction September 2011 EP
Scottish Fiction October 2011 EP
Scottish Fiction November 2011 EP
Scottish Fiction January 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction February 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction March 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction April 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction May 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction June 2012 EP
Scottish Fiction July 2012 EP


Also please take the time to listen to the other music which is on each of these EP's.  They are from hugely talented Scottish artists, and whilst we are excited about offering some exclusive tracks, we also want to promote as much Scottish talent as possible!

Scottish Ficton July 2012 EP

Another month, another free EP and another whole heap of great Scottish music to treat your ears with.  This month we have the pleasure of having music from M A D I S O N, Aperture, Johnny And The Giros and Penfold.  If you've been paying attention to the Scottish Fiction blog then you'll also know that we are unleashing twelve exclusive tracks as hidden downloads amongst our previous EP's, including this one.  Which means for each of our EP's you download you'll get an extra bonus track!  For now though, here's links to the 'We're Only Here For The Banter' posts which each of our four artists for this month.  Enjoy the EP and feel free to share and go hunting for our twelve exclusive tracks!

Johnny And The Giros

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 25th July 2012

On yesterday's show we had a very special guest in for Festival Focus, none other than Jamie Murray Festival Director of Doune The Rabbit Hole! Jamie was chatting about what makes their festival great, and played some music from three of the acts playing.

We also had our usual Peenko Friday Freebie track, our Featured Artist was Primal Scream, our Classic Scottish Album was Dananananaykroyd's 'Hey Everyone', and we had exclusive first plays of new tracks from Discopolis and Mitchell Museum. Phew!

We Are The Physics - Applied Robotics
PAWS - Jellyfish
Penfold - Before We Fall

Peenko Friday Freebie - KiDD - Who Would Believe

Shambles Miller - Confessions
Happy Particles - Black Verse (Demo)

King Creosote - I'll Fly By The Seat Of My Pants - As chosen by Jamie Murray of Doune The Rabbit Hole
Punch And The Apostles - Tie Me To The Mast - As chosen by Jamie Murry of Doune The Rabbit Hole
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Let's Stop Here - As chosen by Jamie Murry of Doune The Rabbit Hole

Discopolis - Indiependance

Classic Scottish Album - Dananananaykroyd - Pink Sabbath - Hey Everyone

KOBI - Fight

Featured Artist
Primal Scream - Movin' On Up
Primal Scream - Rocks
Primal Scream - Swastika Eyes

Pronto Mama - Still Swimming
The Trade - Do You Want It
Dead Sea Souls - Punk B-Side
Mitchell Museum - The Closer We Got The Harder We Fell

Gig Review - King Tut's Summer Nights - Pronto Mama, The Little Kicks, Dead Sea Souls & Brazil Exists

King Tut's Summer Nights kicked off on Thursday 12th July with a line up of Brazil Exists, Dead Sea Souls, The Little Kicks and Pronto Mama, with a pre-show DJ set from Weaver of Detour Scotland.

Chilling downstairs in the Tut's bar with a burger and pint was made much more enjoyable listening to the tunes being played by Detour's very own Weaver.  CHURCHES' 'Lies' got the feet tapping, and of course, the band play as part of Detour's CIRCA club nights during the Edinburgh festival.

Anyway I digress.  First up on the Tut's stage were Stirling five piece Brazil Exists.  I've been plugging these guys a fair bit recently, and it all stems from this show.  "Hello, we are Brazil Exists", lead singer Andy McAllister rather nervously proclaimed.  Their sound is at times rather Frabbit-esque, which is no great surprise given that Andy from the Selkirk band produced their recent EP.  'Echoes' in particular, a track about the cold Scottish winter, had the indie stylings of Frightened Rabbit circa 'Sing The Greys', whilst still maintaining that something a little bit different.  That je nais se qua comes from Michael Reade's trumpet, which helps build the sound of the band.  Unlike, the populous country from which the band draw their name, Tut's was, at this stage, slightly empty.  Which is a shame, because the upbeat Maccabees influenced sound was a cry to dance.  This was the band's Tut's debut, but which the strength of their new material we doubt it'll be their last.

Next on the bill were Bathgate band Dead Sea Souls.  These guys are no strangers to Tut's and indeed are probably at a level slightly bigger than tonight's billing.  However, they showed why they have built up such a strong and loyal fanbase with their brit-pop indie rock sound.  Coming after the soft indie of Brazil Exists, Dead Sea Souls are a different kind of band, and the confidence in their own ability showed in in singer Gary Burns stage presence, not to mention his impressive mutton chops!  The band have their new album 'We Were Always Electric' out on August 12th via Big Rock Candy Records, and their set was filled with tracks from it.

Following them were The Little Kicks, all the way from Aberdeen.  With their electro-indie they managed to tease the crowd forward a little bit, and enticed some swaying of hips with the pounding electro beat of 'Loosen Up', a remix of which by Discopolis features on a recent remix EP.  The band also played a new anti-war song, which had a sort of spaghetti western intro and a funktastic bass line.  Lead singer Steven explained that the band had not played Tut's in a while, and that their sound has grown stronger since the last time.  Certainly the band were very tight and musically assured, with a well honed electro-indie sound, akin to the likes of Discopolis or Delphic.  Closing with 'Call Of Youth' which is available to download for free from the band's website, Steven reminded us of the next Little Kicks gig in these parts which takes place at Flat 0/1 on the 15th September.

And so we come to the headliners, Pronto Mama.  The unfortunate thing from this review's point of view is that sadly I couldn't stay for them, having to get Mrs Scottish Fiction home for a 5:30 alarm call the next morning.  I was disappointed, but needless to say I know what's good for me.  I am told however, by none other than Scottish Fiction favourite Michael Cassidy, that the band were on top form, and that the live performance of 'Still Swimming' from the most recent EP 'Lickety Split' was spin tingling.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Penfold

Naming yourself after Danger Mouse's sidekick is one sure fire way to gain my attention.  Having the tunes to keep my attention is another matter, and lucky this Livingston four-piece have done the business so far with their debut EP 'Hindsight And Regrets'.  We caught up with lead singer Thomas for a bit of banter.

Hello, how are you?

Hi!  We are all pretty good.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

We are a hard hitting alternative rock band who like to make some noise live.  As a band we have a range of influences including The Xcerts, Smashing Pumpkins, Frightened Rabbit and Bombay Bicycle Club.

What's your song writing process like?

The song writing process differs between each song.  Either one of us writes a full song including lyrics and brings it to the band, or one of us has an idea which is brought to the band which we then build on and bass player Calum and I will go on to write lyrics.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Energy.  Sweat.  Four boys giving it their all.  Crowd Interaction.  Clapping hands.  Slightly overweight taps aff drummer.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

On the 31st of May we released our debut four track EP through Signal Flow Records at a packed launch night in Bannerman's Edinburgh.  After the show the EP received good reviews in local blogs and has received plays on well known podcasts such as Scottish Fiction and stations such as Amazing Radio.

What have you got planned for the second half of 2012?

We are currently recording a new single that we are going to release in the autumn as a free download which will have a music video to go with it.  We are really excited about this.  We will also be touring throughout Scotland to show other places what we have to offer.

At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the Scottish music 'community'?

The Scottish music community is tremendous at the moment and we really feel it hasn't been stronger.  It is full of bands that are doing really well such as Twin Atlantic, Fatherson and Bwani Junction.

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

There are so many great artists in Scotland at the moment but we really like So Many Animal Calls, Carnivores, Dead Sea Souls, Johnny And The Giros and our friends Hold The Suspect.

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

Because of events last week this seems about right:

"Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but I'm on 02, so fax me maybe!"

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Monday, 23 July 2012

Scottish Fiction - The Treasure Hunt - Update

e left you hanging on for a while now to find out the last two contributors towards our Scottish Fiction free music treasure hunt!  On Sunday, we will be uploading our 12th FREE Scottish Fiction Monthly EP, and to mark this momentous occasion, we are also hiding 12 exclusive tracks from some of Scotland's best bands and artists in amongst those 12 EP's. 

We've already announced 10 of the artists who have contributed a track for you to sniff out.  Here's a recap of who on board already:

Satelitte Dub, Lovers Turn To Monsters, Miniature Dinosaurs, DOLFiNZ, Ambulances, Randolph's Leap, The Son(s), IndianRedLopez, Mitchell Museum, Discopolis.

Wowsers!  Read that list again, and then you too might revert to using 1950's hip words!  Well, with Sunday fast approaching it's time to unveil the last two artists involved.

The Mouse That Ate The Cat - Indie-electro-pop duo Brian and Colin, have been making music under the monkier of TMTATC since 2010, and what started as a side project has now evolved into something much more serious.  They've enjoyed plays on Radio 1, Amazing Radio, and have been touring for the best part of the summer this year in support of recent single 'I Am The Hottest Fire'.  We're mighty chuffed to have a shiny new track from the TMTATC lads!

Run/Lucky/Free - If you've been paying attention to our Scottish Fiction EP's then you'll notice this is Run/Lucky/Free's second appearance.  Why?  Well we enjoy their melodic indie pop tunes so much that we wanted them back on board.  They'll be kindly contributing another track, this one of course will be hidden for you to find!

Remember the hunt begins on Sunday so keep your eyes on the Scottish Fiction blog for the word go and get downloading to discover some great new Scottish music.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Single/EP Review - Shambles Miller - Confessions

It's the return of everyone's favourite singer songwriter named Shambles!  Certainly at Scottish Fiction, we're pretty chuffed that Shambles Miller is back with his first new release since the 'Shambles Sails The Clockwork Sea' EP in October 2010.

'Confessions' was released by the bearded folkster on 9th July (yes we're forever behind in our reviews).  A regular within his live shows for a while now, the track gets a sprucing up here with backing vocals provided by Florence MacDonald, double bass courtesy of Neil Slorance and drums laid down by David Anderson.

It's a track that I'm glad has been given the full band treatment, as there's an extra spring in the step of Shambles witty lyrics, thanks to the fuller sound.  MacDonald's backing vocals are sweetly sung lifting the track to a slightly poppier level.

Lyrically Shambles is in top form as usual.  There's the references to pop culture; Labyrinth, Back To The Future, Dr Who, Bruce Springstein; witty one liners such as "so long and thanks for all the sex" and "I never really liked your mum" and an actual important message behind the song; the importance of friendship.

I'm a huge fan of Shambles songwriting and love the way that he engages the listener.  Listening to him sing lines such as the above, "I never really liked your mum", you can almost hear that cheeky bearded grin coming through.  And when you hear Shambles' Bowie impression, it's that of a guy who's truly having fun making music.

The chorus is spent telling us that "there's no point agonising over where it all went wrong", yet Shambles, like us all, can't help but dissect and reflect on the failings of past relationships.  It's a naturally human thing to do, and in 'Confessions' Shambles has hit a vein from which we've all bled.

B-Side 'Pieces' is a slower, more introverted number, which displays a little more emotion that 'Confessions'.  Perhaps this track was written in the immediate aftermath of the breakup, whilst 'Confessions' comes later, after the hurt has dulled somewhat.

'Confessions' is out now and can be purchased right here.  Download only is £2, or for only £3 you can purchase a CD version which comes with all sorts of goodies!

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Scottish Fiction - 18th July 2012

A wee short short last week, means we're rattling through some of the best new Scottish music in just one hour flat!  What we lack in quantity this week, we more than make up for in quality with music from Holy Esque, WINTERS, Father Sculptor, Brazil Exists and more!

Muscles Of Joy - Room Of Our Own
WINTERS - Part II: Depths
Miniature Dinosaurs - Lemonade
Father Sculptor - Frances
Two Years In Russia - Greggs Run (feat. Lou Hickey)
Michael Cassidy - Meet You At The Corner
Beerjacket - Jack Chasing Jill
Brazil Exists - Cars And Aeroplanes
Zed Penguin - Tulip
Someone's Son - Out Of Time
Holy Esque - Rose

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Battle Of The Bands - Round 2

Two week's ago Scottish music saw the biggest, baddest, roughest brawl that it has even witness.  It was round one of Battle Of The Bands, David from Kowalskiy and I's fortnightly duel where we pit our music prowess against each other, with the help of our chosen artist, Top Trump style.

For a blow by blow account of the last outing, have a read here.  The short version is that despite the best effort of both sides, David with the help of French Wives, me with the assistance of Seams, came up as equals, meaning round two begins with both camps on level scores.

If you're a stickler for the rules then jog your memory right here.  The most important things to recall however are that as I picked first last week, David has first dibs this time out.  And he's going to need it, as this week I've recruited the finest geography students Stirling has ever produced.  Confirming, once and for all, the existence of the world's 5th largest country, backing up Scottish Fiction against David and his recruit, The Pictish Trail, are... Brazil Exists!

As mentioned, David had first picks this week, meaning he choose our three competing attributes.  Secretly I was hoping the combo of a 'Z' and 'X' would serve well in the Scrabble Score stakes, and felt that with a healthy five members and five SoundCloud tracks we should be able to compete there too.  From the band card above you can see our weakness was Twitter Follow Ratio, and with a youthful exuberance meaning an average age of 20, if David plumped for a more experienced (read auld fart) artist then we'd be knackered.

Well, what do you suppose happened then?  Clearly valuing age over the letters present in a band's name, David plumped firstly for Average Age, following up with Twitter Follow Ratio and completing his clean sweep of the points with Years Since Formation.  As you can see from the above band cards, David wins each point, meaning that after last week's stalemate, first blood goes to Kowalskiy.

I'd like to say he was very humble in his victory, but that would be lying.  All that I will warn, is that Scottish Fiction will be back in a fortnight's time.

Of course as aside from David and I's growing rivalry, the real focus as always is our chosen musicians.  Having had the pleasure of seeing Brazil Exists supporting Frightened Rabbit a few months ago in Dunoon, I was again wowed by their live performance on Thursday 12th where they opened the King Tut's Summer Nights.  They have a very Frabbit-esqe sound, no surprise given the links to Andy of Frabbit who took producer credits on their EP 'The Hermit'.  That very same EP can be found online at iTunes.

David's choice then was the excellent The Pictish Trail, a.k.a. Johnny Lynch.  A man who is a revered figure in Scottish music, responsible for Fence Records, a wealth of recording himself, and a new EP on the way in the shape of 'The Summer Is Empty Of Idiots'.  Check out all the vital stats as well as how to get ahold of the new EP right here.

Wickerman - Preview

Home of the burning 30ft wickerman, Wickerman Festival returns this Friday and Saturday (20th/21st July) for it's 11th year.  Over those 11 years it's became a firm favourite on the Scottish festival calendar, offering something that it's bigger rivals, RockNess and T In The Park, tend to overlook; the relaxed family experience.  It's all built upon an eclectic choice of music, spread over several stages located in the East Kirkcarswell Farm in Dundrennan.

The festival is easy to access for us central belt dwellers, only an hour off the M74, and it's wide choice of camping facilities mean even the slickest city dweller can camp out in style.  Choose from yurts, squrts, cloudhouses, tipis and the luxury camping field or brave it with the elements in the normal camp site.  Reports of rain should not be too concerning as organisers state the ground is in top notch condition at present.  And for those of you travelling with kidlets in tow, there is a fully fledged children's area to keep those hyperactive ankle biters entertained.

The festival culminates on Saturday night with the ritual and primal burning of the festival's namesake; the 30ft Wickerman.  But before that you can enjoy a plethora of music treats, including reggae, ska, punk, pop, indie, folk and everything in between.  Here's our pick of the weekend (you'll note there's a slight shift towards the brilliant Solus Tent!)

Friday 20th July

Bwani Junction - The Edinburgh quartet have been seizing 2012 as their own, making good on their SAY Award 2011 Longlisted album 'Fully Cocked'.  Their blend of indie/afro beats will coax a hip shake from even the most solemn crowd.  Catch them on the Summerisle Main Stage.

Dog Is Dead - This five piece indie band are popping up to Wickerman from Nottingham, and are now coming back stronger than ever after an initial wave of success in late 2010 - 2011 thanks to many festival performances and an airing on Skins.  Uplifting and joyful, think of a more jazzy Noah And The Whale.  Check them playing the Summerisle Main Stage.

Tragic O'Hara - Far from tragic, Tragic O'Hara is a one man wonder, bringing music, blues, folk and comedy all into the one set.  Expect some well spun yarns.  Tragic plays the Acoustic Village Main Stage.

Rachel Sermanni - One of Scotland's most glorious talents, a voice that captures your attention, and heartfelt lyrics beyond her years, Rachel Sermanni will be an absolute joy to behold playing the Acoustic Village Main Stage.  Recent tracks such as 'Eggshells' and 'Black Current' will be accompanied by tracks from the forthcoming debut album 'Under Mountains'.

Campfires In Winter - If stirring and layered post-rock melodies are your thing, then Campfires In Winter are a must.  Their recently posted '2012 Demos' are a sign of great things to come from these guys.  They'll be playing the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Olympic Swimmers - Creators of one of 2012's finest albums' 'No Flags Will Fly', Olympic Swimmers boost the vocal prowess of Susan Smillie and orchestrated musical bliss to blow you away.  Head to the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent for their set.

Quickbeam - Had enough of guitars and keyboards?  Fancy some cello, double bass, viola and harmonium?  Quickbeam are your best bet then.  Together on stage, these musicians weave music as delicate as butterflies wings, and if you allow the soft waves of beauty to envelope you, you won't regret it.  Head over to the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

United Fruit - Loud?  Check.  Tight as fuck?  Check?  Blistering debut album?  Check.  United Fruit are an absolute MUST if you'll be at Wickerman.  Think of their music as a full on assault on all five senses, and a barrage of break-neck tunes with bark, bite and attitude.  They'll be rocking out the Solus Tent.

Holy Mountain - Three guys who make a hell of a lot of noise.  This is rock 'n' roll they way they made it back in the 70's.  They are well worth going to see in the Solus Tent.

Beerjacket - Alt/folk singer songwriter from Airdrie, Beerjacket is, IMO, Scotland's premium songwriting talent.  He's been riding an overdue wave of praise since the release of 'The White Feather Trail' last year, topped off by last night's headline show in King Tut's.  Do yourself a favour and make Beerjacket a must see set in the Solus Tent.


Stanley Odd - One of Scotland's finest purveyor's of hip-hop, the Stanley Odd collective will bring fun, beats, hooks and killer rhymes all to your ears during their set on the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Michael Cassidy - If Beerjackey is our favourite Scottish singer songwriter, then Michael Cassidy is close at his heels.  Having just been announced as the winner of the inagural Gerry Rafferty Songwriting Prize, Michael has shown just why he is head and shoulders above the competition.  Go see his live show for the unique banter and the crackin' tunes.  All happening at the goNORTH Festival Tour Tent.

Human Don't Be Angry - Malcolm Middleton under his real name, Human Don't Be Angry has yielded positive reviews and a whole raft of '80's inspired work.  Largely instrumental, the set will no doubt mirror a hugely rewarding debut album, full of electronic wonder and power pop riffs.  The full band performance will be in the Solus Tent.

The Machine Room - Making bewitching pop musings, The Machine Room are an Edinburgh five piece that you should go out your way to see this weekend.  Playing songs from their latest EP 'Love From A Distance', they'll be on stage in the Solus Tent.

Julia And The Doogans - Julia Doogan is a pop genius.  Backed by her band, rather egotistcally called The Doogans, of cello, piano and flue, Julia's voice and lyrics create some of the most introspective and heartbreaking music you'll have the good fortune to hear.  Catch the ladies playing in the Solus Tent.

Of course the above is just a handful of the bands playing this Friday and Saturday at The Wickerman Festival.  There are plenty more great bands and artists, and for the full line up, as well as all ticket and travel information, head over to the official website.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Johnny And The Giros

Having formed in 2009, Johnny And The Giros have employed a strong work ethic to convert the masses to their side.  The six piece from Stirling have enjoyed sell out shows in Tut's, and recently released their second single, 'The Day That Friction Overcame Fun'.  With the band due back at King Tut's on 26th July as part of King Tut's Summer Nights, we caught up with them for a quick chinwag.

Hello, how are you?

Very well thank you!

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music and your influences?

It is a very tough question to answer, hard to find the balance between overselling and underselling yourself.  We play a brand of indie/electronic/pop.  We like experimenting with different sounds and pedals to try and create some interesting noises.  In terms of influences, there is a very eclectic range of personal influences but in terms of the band, common influences include Foals, Yeasayer, The Rapture and all sorts of house and electro kind of stuff.

What's your song writing process like?

Our writing process generally works with an individual idea then it gets worked on, changed, argued about, then settled somewhere in the middle.

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest achievement?

We have played some incredible shows which has taken us to all sorts of places.  We are particularly proud of playing O2 Academy and headlining King Tut's.

What have you got planned for the second half of 2012?

We have big plans afoot for the second half of 2012.  We are in the studio recording some tracks at the minute, which will be getting some sort of release.  Also planning a tour around September time.

At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the Scottish music 'community'?

I find it very supporting of each other, we have made some really great friends doing gigs around the place.  Also with everyone using Twitter these days, it's made it far better for bands to communicate with bloggers, bookers, radio presenters and other bands of course.

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

Oooft, there is hundreds of great artists at the minute.  Local to us there is Jack Butler, Davey Horne, Miniature Dinosaurs and Two Stripe.  Also Vigo Thieves, but I'm sure everyone will have heard of them by now, as they've had a magnificent 2012 so far.

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

A man gets in to a fight with Batman, who hits him with a vase and goes "T'Pau!"
Don't you mean "KAPOW?", asks the man.
"No" says Batman.  "I've got china in my hands!"

Check out more from Johnny And The Giros

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Scottish Fiction Podcast - 11th July 2012

None of the above artists are actually featured on this latest podcast, but I was sorting my LP's out and it was a pretty picture.  What is featured on last Wednesday's show is our Featured Artist Camera Obscura, a track from Travis who were our Classic Scottish Album, and our Peenko Friday Freebie track from PET.  In amongst all that, Festival Focus looked at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, music from the likes of Zed Penguin, Meursault, Folé, Father Sculptor and much more!

Father Sculptor - Rhein
Barbarossa - Butterfly Plague
Blank Canvas - The Wrecker
Young Philadelphia - Ambitions Are A Joke
Chris Devotion & The Expectations - The Girl Is Leaving
Conquering Animal Sound - Ultimate Heat Death Of The Universe
Sean Armstrong - Bye Bye Balloon

Featured Artist
Camera Obscura - Eighties Fan
Camera Obscura - Lloyd I'm Ready To Be Heartbroken
Camera Obscura - French Navy

Folé - Better Sights
Bear Arms - Cities
Zed Penguin - Heathens

Peenko Friday Freebie - PET - Together Apart

Jonathan Snee - Good Blood
The Clock - 100 Hours
Aperture - Chemistry
Meursault - Flittin'

Festival Focus - Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival
Classic Scottish Album - Travis - She's So Strange - The Man Who
Frightened Rabbit - Fast Blood (Live)
Fatherson - Hometown

Drunk Mule - Fancy Pants
The Winter Tradition - Firelight
We Are The Physics - Goran Ivanisevic

Monday, 16 July 2012

Scottish Fiction EP - The Treasure Hunt - Update

A week ago on Saturday we unveiled probably the biggest thing to happen here on Scottish Fiction.  In less than two weeks time we'll be unleashing twelve fantastic tracks from some of the best Scottish artists around, slipping one hidden track onto each of our 12 monthly EP's.  Read all about just how it's going to work, and how awesome it all is right here.

And then come on back here and check out the next two names contributing a track.  It's exciting!

Mitchell Museum - Reformed, not like cheap luncheon meat but like ageing rock stars, Glasgow four piece Mitchell Museum a whole heap of fun wrapped up in quirky inventiveness.  In the process of recording their second album, the Mitchell Museum boys will be throwing a new track our way.

Discopolis - They were the soundtrack to summer last year, bursting onto the scene with urgency and riding a wave of expectations.  Beautifully crafting electronic shoegaze music, the past 12 months has seen Japanese super stardom, a single Zenithobia, and multiple plays on shows such as BBC Introducing In Scotland.  Exciting!

Remember, Sunday 29th July is the big date, when we scatter twelve tracks across the Scottish Fiction EP's. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Aperture

Dropping in this week for a chat are Edinburgh post-punk four piece Aperture.  The band have been playing gigs steadily across the country, and released their debut single 'Good To Know You' back in February.  Check out what the guys had to say.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you tell us a little bit about your music 
and your influences?

Our music is female-fronted post punk/alternative rock.  Our influences are Led Zeppelin, Joy Division, The Cure, Black Sabbath, PJ Harvey, Maggie Reilly, Patti Smith, Bloc Party.  We often get compared to Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Siouxsie And The Banshees due to our driving beats and strong female lead vocals!

What's your song writing process like?

We write the songs together as a band.  At practise a band member will bring an idea such as a melody or a hook and everyone builds around it.  It's usually a very organic process.  Lachlan McIntosh our drummer makes it work as he brings it all together and has a great rhythm and musical ear.  Lisa writes the lyrics while listening to the atmosphere of the music.  Some of the lyrics come from dreams, conversations or memories.  All band members contribute greatly to the song writing process.  We often email each other ideas and build on them at practise!  Practise is where it all comes to life, when our chemistry as a band comes together!

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Our live shows are high energy and expect a lot of dancing!  Aperture have a great loyal support who we love to see at our live shows.  Expect lots of drum solos and whistles when the rhythm section kicks in!  Ian Curtis style dancing is also an influence!

If it were all to end tomorrow, what would you say has been your greatest

Our greatest achievement to date was probably our sold out show at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow, the whole band and our fans really enjoyed the night.  We also met some really great people and similar style bands!  It was also great to see Lisa's gran at the show as she is 81 years old and still going to rock gigs!

What have you got planned for the second half of 2012?

For the second half of 2012 we would like to write new material, record a video and build some festivals and headline slots to increase our presence around Scotland.

At Scottish Fiction we focus on new Scottish music, how do you as a band view the
Scottish music 'community'?

There are some great people doing great things keeping live Scottish music alive in a digital age.  Everywhere we go we are amazed at the people who keep great bands going!  A band is nothing without great support and great infrastructure.  The Scottish audiences are really great and it's great when people actually take the time to come up to a band member and say that they enjoyed the music.  As with everywhere in the UK live music is flourishing, the variety and quality has never been so high and so good but unfortunately the development of talent is not always there.  Also it would be great if local people would get behind their local bands!

What other Scottish artists would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

We have been impressed by many bands that we have played with such as Vukovi, Bwani Junction and United Fruit.  Other Scottish bands we like are Aberfeldy, Garbage, Orange Juice and Talking Heads.

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

How do you tell when your lead singer is at the door?

He can't find the key and doesn't know when to come in.

Check out more from Aperture

Facbeook        Twitter       Website

Sunday, 8 July 2012

RockNess - Friday Review

t might have taken a while, but finally here is the first part of our Scottish Fiction review of Scotland's most scenic festival, RockNess...

Arriving at the shores of Dores early on Friday afternoon for my maiden RockNess the first thing I noticed was just how much smaller RockNess is from T In The Park.  For those more experienced in RockNess than myself that might sound a tad obvious, but with seven previous visits to T I guess I was expecting a sprawling campsite and the ominous long walk to get there.  Thankfully the bus dropped us pretty much at the gate, and after a short jaunt it was time to pitch the tent!

Usually at a festival you've got the chance to catch a couple of bands before the ones you've most been looking forward to, however first up on the main stage, hot on the heels of their second album 'Tree Bursts In Snow' was Admiral Fallow.  The Glasgow indie-folk band opened with old favourite 'Subbuteo', the pounding of the bass drum reflected in the nodding heads of the crowd who had turned out to see them.  And the nods soon turned to dancing with the fantastic 'These Barren Years', showing exactly why Admiral Fallow deserved this main stage slot.  It was the opportunity to see a live airing of the new material that was the real pull, so with the crowd firmly onside, Louis introduced their recent single 'The Paper Trench'.  Punchy and full of energy, it's been an inclusion in live sets for a while, but on the back of the songs release has gathered more wider reverence.  'Isn't This World Enough', 'Guest Of The Government' and 'Brother' all from the new album followed, as the crowd at the main stage began to grow.  It was great to see Admiral Fallow getting the chance to play the main stage (Scotland's biggest festival instead has shunted them onto the BBC Introducing Stage) and also to see them getting a decent sized crowd.  The band made the wise choice, for a festival performance at least, to keep their more gentle material back, and ended their set with the rip roaring 'Squealing Pigs' and the joyous 'Old Balloons'.  Cracking stuff to kick off the Friday evening!

Returning to the main stage later that night it was the turn of Londoners Noah And The Whale to bring the indie folk.  Armed with violins and guitars, the band drew upon their back catalogue as well as their recently successful album 'Last Night On Earth', swapping effortless between the joyful quirky pop of '5 Years Time', the more classical inspired 'Love Of An Orchastra' and the melody driven pop of 'Tonight's The Kinda Night'. 

It was clear who most of the crowd were here for, and with Friday night clearly being indie-folk night at RockNess Noah And The Whale were the perfect prelude to the headliners. 

Mumford & Sons, despite only having one album to their name, have enjoyed major popularity thanks to their jig inducing tunes.  Whatever you may think of them, some hate them, some love them, I think they are ok, they do get the crowd going.  Songs like 'Little Lion Man' and 'The Cave' were made for festival occasions like this, and fuelled with many many beers I danced like a hillbilly at a ho-down.  The band kept the momentum going, rattling through their debut album 'Sigh No More' with vigour.  The only time the pace dropped was for the airing of a few new songs, always a dangerous move with a festival crowd.  However the general consensus from the swelling crowd was that the Mumford lads, with their four person driven harmonies and folk washed meoldies were a hit.  And with Mumford & Sons drawing to a close, it was onwards, into the night for more alcohol fuelled fun and campsite antics.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 4th July 2012

Yes that is a picture of pot pourri  I don't know why, I can't explain it, we'll just have to swiftly move on.  Last Wednesday's show was 4th July.  Happy 'Jeff-Goldblum-saved-the-world-with-an-Apple-Mac' Day to all!  It also meant that we are now officially more than halfway into 2012, conveniently allowing me to use the occasion to recap on the best Scottish albums released this year so far.  Which is exactly what we did on this very show.  Enjoy!

Miaoux Miaoux - Autopilot
Olympic Swimmers - Father Said
Jesus H. Foxx - Twins
RM Hubbert feat. Alasdair Robert - The False Bride
Errors - Earthscore
Holy Mountain - Great Monkey
Battery Face - Gomez
Lightships - Two Lines
Django Django - Hail Bop
Two Wings - Feet
Ambulances - Shine On My Shoes
Esperi - Proverb
Plum - Smile
Admiral Fallow - Guest Of The Government
French Wives - Younger
The Leg - Twitching Stick
Hunt / Gather - Denver Shaking
The Twilight Sad - Don't Move
Profisee - Magikal
Human Don't Be Angry - After The Pleasuredome

Scottish Fiction EP - The Treasure Hunt

We know how much you love free stuff, after all who doesn't!  We certainly like giving away free stuff, in the form of our FREE monthly EP's.  And with July's EP due at the end of this month, it's a milestone of sorts.  July's EP will be our 12th* and we're doing something a little bit special to mark the occasion.

* Technically we've done 13, but our Christmas one was a special EP for the charity Shelter so it wasn't free.

On the release of this month's EP, we are going to be hiding 12 tracks in amongst our existing 12 EP's.  We've asked 12 of our favourite Scottish artists to contribute a track each, amongst them are some exclusive brand spanking new tracks, and every one of them is a topper!

To add to the suspense and secrecy, we won't be revealing where the tracks are hidden, so to find them you're going to have to download each of our previous EP's to get the full lot.  But that's a good thing, because already on those 12 EP's is great music from the likes of Shambles Miller, The Spook School, The King Hats, Plastic Animals and many more!  So we'd like you to download them all because, and I guarantee this*, there will be something that will excite you in ways you've only experienced with the lights off.

* As the EP's are free, even if I break this guarantee, there's no refund.

To help whet your musical appetite here are the names of some of the artists involved.  We'll unveil the full 12 nearer the time!

Satellite Dub - Responsible for the blistering and sonically orgasmic 'Velikovsky Said' EP, Craig Brown (no not that one) a.k.a. Satellite Dub draws influence from Krautrock and Psychedelica to create textured synth inspired music.  Already a big favourite in Scotland's electronica scene, he's featured on BBC Radio 1 and played with Calvin Harris.  Sweeeeeeeeet!  Expect a new tune of epic proportions!

Lovers Turn To Monsters - A self billed lo-fi superhero, Kyle Wood, a.k.a. Lovers Turn To Monsters, specialises in acoustic emo-indie pop.  Armed with his guitar and a tape deck, LTTM has a prolific work rate, and when at his best stirs emotions that you stored away the last time you listened to early Bright Eyes.  Coming your way is a beautiful, and unheard/unreleased, cover version of a Guided By Voices track.

Miniature Dinosaurs - As well as hosting five-a-side football tourneys, the MD lads also made pretty darned good music!  The Stirling pop/rock four piece have in the past received praise from the likes of Ally McCrae, and have released singles on Saraseto Records and Electric Honey, and their new single 'Lemonade' will be out on Integrity Records on 13th August.  Get ready to go hunting for an acoustic version of a firm favourite.

DOLFiNZ - I'm showing my age when the first thing I can think of saying about Stonehaven three piece DOLFiNZ relates to grammar.  The uber cool use of a 'Z' instead of 'S', coupled with their fast and furious grunge/garage rock and an actual dolphin cursor on their website, means I'm more than willing to push past their penchant for over-using text speak.  With releases by Tuff Wx, CATH Records and more recently Song, By Toad all tucked in their baggy jeans, DOLFiNZ are ones to be excited about.  We've got something a little bit different in the form of an acoustic recording ready for your ears.

Ambulances - Having just released their second album 'Flying Simply Explained', which is fantastic by the way, the Fife 6-piece have also had the track 'Feeling Sick' remixed by Steve Mason.  Dubby!  With an ability to create insanely catchy hooks, and mix electronica with indie-rock effortless, we are excited to hear the track Ambulances are contributing from their vault.  You can bet it'll be good!

Randolph's Leap - Having recently had lead singer Adam on our radio show as a very special guest, it's no surprise that I'm a big Randolph's Leap fan.  And with good reason too!  This summer has seen the 8-piece take their quirky indie folk-pop to T In The Park, and with a headline slot at King Tut's Summer Nights as well as playing Fence Record's Away Game, they'll hopefully be filling the ears of more and more people.  Hiding away on one of our 12 EP's is a track from their very secret 'The Way Of The Mollusc' bonus EP.  Exciting!

The Son(s) - The Son(s) is as talented as he is mysterious.  Specialising in dreamy Americana, The Son(s) music at times is so easy going and laid back that you'd be forgiving for mistakenly thinking you were drifting down the Mississippi river on a warm summer day.  With the 'Leviathian' EP released on Olive Grove Records recently, we've managed to get our hands on the wonderful track 'Wanton', which, until now, has been previously unreleased.  It's, in our opinion, as good a track as any on the recent EP.

IndianRedLopez - Despite not knowing what the spacebar is for, Peterhead four piece IndianRedLopez know damned well how to make infectious indie-electronic music.  Their last album 'Empty Your Lungs And Breath' delivered plenty of promise, making it onto our top 20 albums of 2011, and with the band currently working on album number two we won't have to wait too long to hear that promise fulfilled.  Get a sneak preview of what's to come by getting a hold of an exclusive track!

We'll be announcing the remaining four artists in due course, and I can assure you they are just as exciting and talented as the eight acts above.  So mark Sunday 29th July in your diaries, not only for the release of July's EP, but for the release of these 12 secret tracks.  In the meantime you can check out what's already available by heading over to our Bandcamp page.