Friday, 30 November 2012

Happy St. Andrew's Day

What better day to celebrate all that is good about Scottish music. Here's some stuff for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Battle Of The Bands - Round 10

What's that?  The urge for pulling hair, slapping and hand bags at dawn has returned?  Must be time for the fortnightly Battle Of The Bands in which fellow Glasgow blogger Kowalskiy and I face each other in the exalted arena of Top Trumps.  It all went down on Wednesday on Twitter, so if you like tension and tweets then have a read using the #battleofthebandsround10 hashtag.

In case you've forgotten, Round 9 saw things level out again at 4 wins a piece, and a draw in Round 1, meaning coming into Round 10 the scores on the doors were 5-5.  Helping me gain victory were lovely lasses TeenCanteen, whilst Kowalskiy had gone for solo star Arran Arctic.

Round 10 sees two brand new fighters step into the ring, as Kowalskiy and I choose two new bands and fight over their respective stats.  In team Scottish Fiction this time round is my favourite bearded singer songwriter... Shambles Miller!  Whilst across the ring stands The Winter Tradition.  Ready to fight?

Haud yer horse!  First up here's the standard reminder of the rules.  And our artists all important vital statistics.

Round 10 sees two brand new fighters step into the ring, as Kowalskiy and I choose two new bands and fight over their respective stats.  In team Scottish Fiction this time round is my favourite bearded singer songwriter... Shambles Miller!  Whilst across the ring stands The Winter Tradition.  Ready to fight?

Haud yer horse!  First up here's the standard reminder of the rules.  And our artists all important vital statistics.

The battle began with Kowalskiy plumping for SoundCloud Tracks, given that The Winter Tradition boys had what must have seemed like a healthy 19.  However bolsters by his latest song 'Chris Brown Is A C***' Shambles won the point for Team Scottish Fiction with a massive 23 SoundCloud Tracks.  0-1 to Scottish Fiction.

Make or break time as we all know the second point is all important.  Staying with online attributes, Kowalskiy chose Twitter Follow Ratio, and The Winter Traditions 1.58 over Shambles Miller's 1.22, means the point went their way.  Even stevens,

Tensions often run high during Battle Of The Bands, but none higher than this last round.  I was hoping David would chose either Average Age or Band Name Scrabble Score and lo' behold he went for the latter.  Confident that Shambles score of 23 would hold up, the crushing disappointment began to sink in when David revealed that The Winter Tradition had pipped us by two points.  TWO POINTS!

Which means the balance is now tipped 6-5 in Kowalskiy's favour.  Until next week of course!

The Winter Tradition released their latest single 'Tides And Telegrams' complete with epic windswept video.  It's taken from their début album 'Gradients', which is out now folks.  Go get it!

Our favourite bearded singer-songwriter Shambles Miller put out his official début single 'Confessions' earlier this year, which we loved, and hosts a weekly open mic night every Sunday at the Vespbar in Glasgow.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Flutes

Not enough bands feature flutes these days.  Going some way to address this imbalance are Flutes, some of whom are exiled Scots living in old London town.  They don't actually have a flute in the band, but the though still counts!  Their two tracks released so far this year, 'Auld Archie' and 'Sand' have been melodic stoaters, and their album is released on 5th December.  We caught up with Godfrey from the band for a chat.

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

We write pretty honest, lyrically explicit alternative folk rock music which is influenced mainly by Scottish acts such as The Twilight Sad, Mogwai and King Creosote as well as being informed by non-Celtic bands such as The National, Interpol and The Smiths.  We didn't really consider ourselves folky until we started to write this album and integrated cello and violin into a lot of songs... especially some of the darker ones.

What's your song writing process like?

It tends to start with Rob (guitars) and I spending hours on end in a wee room in West London bashing out ideas until we find something that we hope Alex (drums) and Andy (bass, piano) won't hate.  From there, we'll work the song up as a band and often the original demo Rob and I have recorded will be totally torn to pieces by Alex and Andy... normally for the better.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

We actually haven't played live as Flutes yet.  Our first show will be our album launch on Thursday December 6th in London before we come back to Glasgow on 14th December for a launch at Sleazy's.  We've been working hard recently and have welcomed a new member into the band to play the piano parts. Plus we should have violin, cello, clarinet and a choir for both the shows.  We've always seen playing live as being as important as recording... which is probably why it took us so long to make an album (7 years!)

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

I'd be sad if it ended tomorrow... I don't want to think about it.  I feel like it's only just started.  I'm trying to stay optimistic here.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012 and into the new year?

We've got the launches in Glasgow and London plus a radio session for Edinburgh University and an in-store at Avalanche Records.  We're also releasing our album on vinyl on Wednesday 5th December - I bought a record deck the other day and we all sat round listening to it and inspecting the grooves on the record (aye, we're old and sad).  Oh, and next year we're going to have a big party for Burns' Night on Friday 25th January.   We'll be releasing our second single 'Kilburn' then and will hopefully have some friends of ours playing with us.  And there's a cheeky cover to follow but more on that later.

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

We miss it.  Being in London you can get lost really easily which is why we decided to focus on writing rather than playing gigs.  We'd played too many pay to play gigs and it becomes unfair on your friends.  The reaction North of border has been overwhelming and I'm glad that I've not lost my accent having been down here for so long.

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

How long have you got?  Top of the list has to be our producer Jamie Savage's band Olympic Swimmers - easily one of the albums of the year lyrically and musically.   We're going to see them support Admiral Fallow (another cracking band) soon and I'm really excited.  I really like Gav Prentice's album - honest, direct and no messing about.  A friend of mine played in a band called VCheka whose album is totally insane and just so wonderful - in fact I'm glad you asked that question as I'm listening to them again and it's brilliantly mad.  Reminds me a tad of an old Scottish band called Fickle Public.   I can't ever get enough of The Twilight Sad, Errors and Mogwai although I assume your readers are pretty au fait with them.  Andy (bass, piano) and I went to uni with some guys from Kid Canaveral and Broken Records so we have ended up seeing them both hundreds of times... and they never let us down.  Also, I think French Wives' album was a cracker and I'm surprised it didn't do better.  Shall I stop now?  I haven't mentioned De Rosa, Emma Pollock, RM Hubbert, King Creosote et al...  Oh, before I forget - there's a semi Scottish band called The Magnetic North who I'd advise having a listen to.  Their whole album was recorded in Orkney and based on a dream the singer/lyricist had.  I got a bit teary when I saw them at a festival this year (although I was drinking whisky at 11 in the morning.)

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

Was it not David Cameron who when asked to share a joke retorted 'hilariously' Nick Clegg?  Dave's a great guy... so I'll go with Nick Clegg.

Check out more from Flutes

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Scottish Fiction Podcast - 21st November 2012

On the latest Scottish Fiction Podcast is the live session from Gav Prentice who very kindly joined us in the studio recently.  Gav chats about his music, his influences, his début solo album 'The Invisible Hand' and his band Over The Wall.  There's a smattering of music chosen by Gav as well as two live tracks.

On top of that there's the usual serving of new alternative Scottish music, this week provided by Frightened Rabbit, Queen Jane, Michael Cassidy, The Winter Tradition and plenty more!  Enjoy!

Frightened Rabbit - Dead Now

Josh T. Pearson - Thou Art Loosed - As chosen by Gav Prentice

Gav Prentice - Give It Up - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Gav Prentice - Burning Down - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Robert Wyatt - Foreign Accents - As chosen by Gav Prentice

Queen Jane - Stop Pretending
The Winter Tradition - Tides And Telegrams
Michael Cassidy - Battleships
Arran Arctic - Window
CUR$ES - I Think I'm Alone Now
Mitchell Museum - Agnostic
Solareye - The Pageant
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire - Queenstown
The Imagineers - Albert Einstein
Saint Death - El Metro

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Single/EP Review - Queen Jane - Romantics

Queen Jane are a band who continue to go from strength to strength.  Their previous EP's, 'Confetti' and 'Denver' showed a tightening of sound and when they played at The Captain's Rest as part of Scottish Fiction Presents back in June it was evident to all that their live show showed there was much more to come from the Cumbernauld foursome.

'Romantics' is their latest offering, the six track EP is out on Monday 26th.  Starting off with an intro that builds and then hammers intro 'Stop Pretending'.  It's jangly, it's full of angular guitars and full of wishful lyrics.  There's a great drum solo stuck right in the middle, showing the band are not afraid to break conventional rules of making pop music.

'Josephine' continues where the last track ends, with more upbeat, afro-pop influenced sounds.  The rhythm section are tight as a badgers nut, providing the perfect backing to lead singer James McGarragle's punchy vocals.

Near enough title track 'Romance' brings the tempo down a little bit as McGarragle proclaims "we don't need love 'cause we've got romance".  There's some brilliant off-kilter and catchy guitar hooks throughout this track, and this track serves as the staple showcase of Queen Jane's sound.  I've heard them described as a Scottish Vampire Weekend, which has some truth, but they also echo the Maccabees, Bombay Bicycle Club and Two Door Cinema Club.

Having said that, next track 'Sometimes' veers off the guitar-pop track with a more solemn and darker feel.  The guitars drone, the vocals reverb while the drums are that little bit slower, showing that Queen Jane can do post-rock too.

The EP ends with 'Fighting Man', which plays by the 'save the best till last' rule.  It's an absolute joy of a track, seven and a half minutes of thoughtful lyrics culminating in an orgy of guitars and drums, akin to The National.

The EP as a whole is a complete package of summery up-beat pop music, featuring chiming guitars, angular beats and jaunty melodies.  It further cements Queen Jane's status as heading for bigger and better things, and confirms that with each release they have honed and developed their sound. 

'Romantics' comes out on Monday 26th November on Queen Jane's bandcamp page.  Check out their EP launch on Sunday 2nd December at Glasgow School Of Art Student Union.

Check out more from Queen Jane

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Saturday, 24 November 2012

Video Killed The Radio Star - Round Up

I did one of these a few weeks back which seemed to have been rather well received so as I've got some spare time today and there's a whole bunch of videos out recently, why not do it again!  Here's a selection of what people with video camera's have been doing recently.  Enjoy!

Failpopsters (yes I'm at a loss as well) So Many Animal Calls have a brand new single out on 3rd December via mega-brilliant Glasgow label Overlook Records.  'She Was Speaking From The Bottom Of The Sea' maintains the SMAC boy's excellent reputation for making music you can equally sway and rock out to.  Check out the video and grab the single when it drops.

Stanley Odd front man Solareye dropped his solo EP 'The Pageant' as a free download on Monday (pick it up here).  The EP features other Scottish hip-hop contributors Louie and Tickle, and this up close and personal video is for lead track 'The Pageant'.

Ahead of 'Pedestrian Verse' the fourth LP from Selkirk's finest Frightened Rabbit, the band have released a video filled with footage from their recent European and US tour for new track 'Dead Now'.  The album isn't out until 4th February 2013, but if you pre-order you will receive this track RIGHT NOW!  Woo!

If you like video's with tour footage then take a peek at Three Blind Wolves new video for their track 'Gold On The Cross' which features footage from their last jaunt to America.

Taking a pop shot at the need to 'invent' a benevolent all powerful creator and the promise of eternal bliss Admiral Fallow's latest single 'Isn't This World Enough??' features some wonderful scenery.  The single is out on 10th December. so in the meantime enjoy this video.

Last one this time round is The Winter Tradition with a video for their latest single 'Tides And Telegrams' taken off their album 'Gradients'.  It's a rousing track and the video features some rather epic instrument playing against the backdrop of a lighthouse.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Album Review - Gav Prentice - The Invisible Hand

oing solo is one of rock's greatest clichés.  We've all at one stage or another sat through an album from the frontman or guitarist (hell even some drummers get in on the act) of a band we really love, and thought 'what the chuff was that?'  Yet every now and then there emerges a solo album which genuinely does stand alone from the artists previous 'band' and serves as a vehicle for the musician to say something they couldn't have got across as a collective.

Step forward Gav Prentice, one half of indie-pop duo Over The Wall, who released his début solo album 'The Invisible Hand' via Instinctive Raccoon on 15th October. 

On first listen there's a familiarity in that Gav provided the vocals in Over The Wall, and while when speaking to him about the album he felt he'd adopted a more Scottish twang in the absence of his English counterpart, those familiar with OtW will not mistake Gav's distinctive vocal style.

Where the main difference will arise is the stripped back and acoustic style of 'The Invisible Hand'.  The production work on OtW's album 'Treacherous' was fun and outlandish, 'The Invisible Hand' is lo-key, at times rather raw and is emboldened for being so.  Themes of home-town blues, loss and the inevitability of ageing are explored through predominately indie-folk styled strummings and at times sung with anger and ire. 

The lyrical content of many of the tracks seems to be Prentice expunging himself, yet when Gav joined us on the Scottish Fiction show recently he revealed that there are in fact three different characters at play, each giving a different perspective to the same small town mentality.

Opening track 'King George' comes from the view of an elderly gentleman George, lamenting what has been and gone and ultimately changed and lost; "tried holding on to what I loved, tried holding on and now it's gone."

Lead single from the album 'Give It Up' is a rip-roaring track with a punchy beat backing the fury of Prentice's voice as he recalls the advice of home town friends and family who's advice in his early days of playing music was simply 'give it up'. 

'My home town is burning down' cries Prentice in folk track 'Burning Down' a sentiment that I'm sure many living within the small towns across Scotland's central belt.  There's also a cheeky wee nod to the Reid twins at the end of the track.

The lo-fi feel of the album is at it's most strongest during the short 'Honesty Lost In Silence' and 'I Know That', which serves, as it does throughout the album, to place Prentice's words at the fore.  One gets the feeling that for one reason or another these words were of such importance that they were not to be lost amidst the musical production of bleeps, whizzes and effects. 

The tempo picks up again on 'How Are You Sleeping', with a fast paced drum beat driving the song forward.  It's a strong track, again there's real anger in the lyrics.  The penultimate track is another short stutter of a track, 'I'm Not Gonna Cry' before the traditional 'Ae Fond Kiss', the Burns song re-arranged by Gav.  It's a fitting way to end an album which does focus a lot of the singer-songwriter fare of loss and anger. 

Gav Prentice - 'The Invisible Hand' is out now via Instinctive Raccoon.  You can buy the album hereCheck out Gav Prentice live this Saturday 24th November at The Flying Duck for his album launch.

Check out more from Gav Prentice

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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Gig Review - Jo Mango @ The Glad Cafe

week ago on Saturday I ventured out in the dark night to Pollockshaws Road in Shawlands to a fabulous new venue, The Glad Cafe.  And boy was I glad (first and last pun I promise) I did!

The occasion was the official album launch of Jo Mango's latest LP 'Murmuration', which dropped on 5th November via Olive Grove Records, and support was provided by Admiral Fallow front-man Louis Abbot and album producer Adem.

As you can see from the pictures the stage in The Glad Cafe was lovingly adorned with a murmuration of hand knitted Arctic terns, upon to which clambered Louis Abbot.  Shorn of his beard and almost trademark beanie hat, he remained in fine voice, despite as he informed the crowd risking losing it as his beloved Hiberian topped the SPL table that very afternoon.  For fans of Admiral Fallow it was a change to see many of the bands hits, including 'Dead Against Smoking', 'Old Fools' and 'These Barren Years', performed stripped back and acoustically.  For anyone unaware of Admiral Fallow (not likely given their first album was released initially on Jo Mango's imprint label Lo-Five Records) they would have witness in Abbot a song writer of immense talent and great craftsmanship.  Highlight of the set was Jo Mango joining Abbot on stage for a rendition of 'Beetle In The Box', before the set ending with a cover of a Joanna Newson song.

'Murmuration' producer Adem is next on stage, and with his soaring high vocals somewhat betrays his appearance.  'Small Things' is a soft and gentle love song, and 'Love And Other Planets' utilises guitar pedals to haunting effect.  The whole set is tinged with meloncoly, although Adem at one point teases the crowd with the offer of a rave song played on the piano!  Flitting between guitar and piano, and offering some glimpses of 'works in progress' it's an excellent set from another fine musician.  To rapturous cheers Adem ends with a cover of Low's 'Laser Beam'.  Great stuff.

Amidst a vast array of intricate musical instruments, some so small they look they may break if played, and the murmuration of terns which hang from the ceiling, Jo Mango and her band snuggle onto the stage.  Given the length of time this album has taken, and that Jo herself has just completed a PhD in Musicology, it's almost a given that each track displays creative and inventive qualities.  On 'The Moth And The Moon' there's the reverberation of a xylophone being played with a bow, whereas 'Bird Song' utilises claps, delicate harp and instruments I'd  be lying if I said I knew what they were called.  Each sound is carefully considered and is part of the overall whole.  Not a single note is unintentional or out of place.  A multi-instrumentalist herself, Jo switches between guitar and piano for tracks such as 'Ludwig' and 'Blue Dawn Light', which contains one of my favourite lyrics, "life could get very dull if you knew what came next."

During the set, there's some explanation from Jo regarding the making and process of this album, indeed at one point it may not have happened at all.  There's also an airing for a couple of new songs, which are of the similar same high standard as those on the album.  The venue and the warm music was contributing to a very intimate and cosy evening, and during 'The Black Sun' the male vocal choir who's chanting emanated from amongst the crowd served to wrap the crowd up in a glorious and accomplished blanket of sound.  Truly it was a joy, and as I scanned the room I couldn't see a glum face anywhere.  'Murmuration' is a sublime album, and as Jo played closing track 'Chordelia' she ended an equally impressive live performance.

Grab yourself a copy of 'Murmuration' here and check out Jo Mango live at Platform on 1st December, or The Glad Cafe on 14th December.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 14th November 2012

The latest Scottish Fiction podcast was NOT a live radio show, instead was a pre-recorded show which aired on 14th November 2012.  Does that mean there's no mistakes?  Well you'll have to listen to find out!

On the show is music from The Yawns, Meursault, Birdhead, Trapped Mice and plenty more.  Our Aye Tunes Friday Freebie comes from KiDD, whilst our Re-Mixing It Up track is a Midnight Lion remix of The Mouse That Ate The Cat track '40 Years From Now'.  Our Classic Scottish Album is Aereogramme's 'My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go' and we play a track taken from that and our Featured Artist is The Pastels meaning there is three tracks from them.  Get stuck in!

The Recovery! - Vulture Club
Blindfolds - Black Magic
Miniature Dinosaurs - Next Of Kin

KiDD - So... Are You Aiming To Be Out? - Aye Tunes Friday Freebie

The Yawns - Butterfleyes
Hunt / Gather - Phoenix Maker
Static Future - LaBeija
Trapped Mice - Night Of Broken Glass
The Birthday Suit - Uh-huh Uh-huh

The Mouse That Ate The Cat - 40 Years From Now (Midnight Lion Mix) - Re-Mixing It Up

Run/Lucky/Free - Denim Skyes (Live Acoustic)

Aereogramme - Barriers - My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go - Classic Scottish Album

digital bear - Live In A Suitcase
Campfires In Winter - Outside
Gav Prentice - Burning Down
Meursault - Dull Spark
Fiona Soe Paing - Tower Of Babel
Snide Rhythms - Distractions
Vasa - Cynthia

Featured Artist
The Pastels - Crawl Babies
The Pastels - Thank You For Being You
The Pastels - I'm Alright With You

Birdhead - Tourist

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Scotland Sings

Scotland Sings, part of the Scotland’s Winter Festivals programme is a new initiative, designed to encourage people to sing in public between 30th November and 2nd December in celebration of St Andrew’s Day.

The three-day event will see a series of singing events take place across Scotland, in locations including Edinburgh, Perth, Paisley, Glasgow, Dundee, Largs and St Abbs.  People of all ages, backgrounds and vocal talent are being encouraged to get involved, with the aim of getting the whole of Scotland singing.

Supported by EventScotland and Creative Scotland, Scotland Sings is coordinated by ‘Hands Up for Trad’, the organisers of The Scots Trad Music Awards and BBC Scotland Young Trad Musician of the Year.  Simon Thoumire, Creative Director of Hands Up for Trad, said “Scotland Sings will celebrate and present Scotland’s rich singing traditions in a truly unique way.  We’re hoping people throughout Scotland will get involved to help establish Scotland as a singing nation, whether that be through getting together with friends for a sing-a-long, starting a band, joining a choir or signing up to a community singing group.  The beauty of this project is that all you need is a voice and a sense of fun to get involved.”

Humza Yousaf, Minister for External Affairs and International Development, said: “Scotland’s Winter Festivals brings together some of our most important cultural celebrations.  “The programme for 2012/13 offers a spectacular mix of traditional and unusual events that will showcase Scotland’s rich creativity.  With such a variety of events on offer, there will be something for everyone to enjoy no matter where they are in the country.”

To find out more about Scotland Sings events taking place in your area please visit:

To take part in Scotland Sings please contact:

For further information about the Winter Festivals programme please visit:

Battle Of The Bands - Round 9

The fortnightly bloodfest that is Battle Of The Bands moved to it's new home of Wednesday this week when David of Kowalskiy blog and I pitted our wits and musical knowledge against each other Top Trumps styleee.  The action all took place on Twitter so if you want a front row seat next time get following me there.

Going into Round 9 things stand at 5-4 to Kowalskiy, after his last round drubbing of me and my choice of Lovers Turn To Monsters, with the help of IndianRedLopez.  But regular followers of this feature will know that home advantage is crucial and with first pick back in my hands for Round 9, I'm confident of levelling the scores.  Before we get into the action, here's a timely reminder of the rules of play.  Ready?  GO!!!


First up lets me the contenders.  Fighting for all that is right and just in the Scottish Fiction corner are all girl group TeenCanteen.  Whilst the shady Kowalskiy has recruited the lone assassin (or double agent?) Arran Arctic.

First pick in Round 9 was average age, and even though it's rude to ask a lady her age, I'd managed to establish that the TeenCanteen girls averaged out at 26.  However Arran Arctic sneaked the point for Kowalskiy by the smallest of margins, an extra year.  One point played, 1-0 to Kowalskiy.

I was saving my tactical master-stroke to last, but it would only pay off is I could capture the all important second point.  Twitter Follow Ratio it was and luckily TeenCanteen's 1.27 pipped Arran Arctic's 0.92.  As always I consider anything over 1 worthy of winning, and so it proved!  1 point a piece!

For the deciding point then it was time for a return of the rule-bending Total attribute, where unlike the others the LOWEST score wins.  Given that this stat hasn't been used since Round 1, I was hopeful of catching Kowalskiy off guard.  And so it proved!  Over confident with his 27 SoundCloud tracks and his 8 years active service in the music biz, Arran Artic's total of 78.92 was far too high for TeenCanteen's low of 46.27.

Final point played, 2-1 to Scottish Fiction and TeenCanteen!

So tactics proved important over high scoring points, and the series is once again even at 5-5, and home advantage has still to be broken.  Let's have a gander at more than just our contenders vital stats.  Here's why David and I chose our relevant musicians.

TeenCanteen are a four piece all girl band who have flourished from the ashes of Futuristic Retro Champions.  They have caught many people's ears with their melodic surf-pop influenced tunes, including the wonderful 'How We Met (Cherry Pie)' and fantastic live performances.  The band next play at SWG3 on 1st December.

As you'll see from Arran Arctic's bandcard the singer-songwriter has been crafting music for 8 years now.  His latest album 'Like Lovers' is out now and is a very good listen.  It was preceded earlier this year by free download 'Covers', and if you like that, you'll not be disappointed by the album.  Check it our (and buy it) here.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 7th November 2012

The latest Scottish Fiction podcast, which aired on Pulse Community Radio on 7th November 2012, features an orgy of great new Scottish music.  There's a first play of a track from Queen Jane's new EP, Trapped In Kansas, Magic Daddy and CHVRCHES.  Boo-yah!

On top of that our Featured Artist is cult heroes The Vaselines, there's a track from Kid Canaveral's debut album 'Shouting At Wildlife' which features as our Classic Scottish Album.  Our Re-Mixing It Up track is a smoking Discopolis remix of 'The Fog' by Rachel Sermanni and our Aye Tunes Friday Freebie track comes from The Douglas Firs.  Enjoy!

PAWS - Bird Inside Birdcage, Ribcage Inside Bird
Loch Awe - I Will Drift Into 10,000 Streams
Jamie Flett - Just Goes To Show
Queen Jane - Romance

Rachel Sermanni - The Fog (Discopolis Remix) - Re-Mixing It Up

Gareth Dickson - Adrenalin
Jo Mango - The Moth And The Moon
Admiral Fallow - Isn't This World Enough??

ILCMF (The Douglas Firs) - statues - Aye Tunes Friday Freebie

Michael Cassidy - Guy Fawkes
Randolph's Leap - Hermit
Trapped In Kansas - Only Child
St Deluxe - Evil Dead

Kid Canaveral - And Another Thing!! - Shouting At Wildlife - Classic Scottish Album

The Mirror Trap - Future Lionheart
Black Balloons - Rascal
Verse Metrics - Burn Twice As Bright
Magic Daddy - Space Rays

Featured Artist
The Vaselines - Jesus Wants Me For A Sunbeam
The Vaselines - Teenage Superstars
The Vaselines - Son Of A Gun

Young Philadelphia - Not Even God Knows What You're Doing
CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Vasa

We're generally huge fans of Overlook Records here at Scottish Fiction, therefore it's no surprise that Vasa, signed on the label, are producing good stuff at the moment too.  With debut EP due out soon, and current single 'Cynthia', which is fucking mighty, gaining attention, you'll be hearing a lot more from this four piece in 2013.  We caught up with guitarist Scott for a natter.

Hello, how are you?

Right now, the collective feeling in the band is giggly, yet cautious.

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

Well, we're an instrumental rock band, so I think it goes without saying that we're influenced by the likes of Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky etc, as those guys are the front runners of the genre.  However we take influence from a fairly wide range of bands such as ...And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank, Deftones, Intronaut, Aereogramme, Brontide, LITE, Foals, Maybeshewill and 65Daysofstatic.  Stick all that in some kind of blender capable of blending music and you'll come out with something that sounds a bit like us.  Or just a fucking mess.

What's your song writing process like?

It depends really, some of our songs have been fully written by Blaine before they even come into the practice room, others come together from an idea that one of us brings into practice and then we play around with it until we're happy.  We do our best to avoid the post rock cliché of just playing one riff for 5 minutes and building up to a crescendo, with no vocal melody for the listener to follow it's important for us to keep the music as interesting as possible.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

A ridiculous amount of guitar effects being utilised, lots of energy and a lovely wall of noise.

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

We've been together for about a year now and we couldn't be any happier with how far we've come in that time, but I think the past week has been the peak so far, we've been offered a support slot with Maybeshewill, a band we're all big fans of and had our single played on Radio 1.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012 and into the new year?

We've got a few shows lined up around Scotland before the end of the year, including a couple of mini-festivals in Thurso and Dundee and a Christmas Eve show in Perth.  Most importantly, we're releasing our debut EP on the 14th of December on Overlook Records, we'll hopefully have details of a launch show in Glasgow fairly soon.  As far as the new year goes, we're planning to get out on tour again as much as possible, hopefully with some shows down south and possibly a trip to Ireland as well.

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

There's definitely a great sense of community among Scottish bands and artists, we've certainly been made welcome by other more established bands who we've played with as well as various promoters and venues across the country.

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

So many!  Bellow Below, The Darien Venture, Trapped In Kansas, So Many Animal Calls, Crusades, Young Philadelphia, Campfires In Winter, Poor Things, Atlas:Empire, Bear Arms, WeCameFromWolves, Bonehouse, The Barents Sea.

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

No problem!  I heard about this new cocktail, it's called a "Sandy"

It's basically just a watered down Manhattan.

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 31st October 2012

On the latest podcast, which aired 31st October 2012, features new music from Jo Mango, Collar Up, Gav Prentice, Flutes and much more. There's gig chat and some general banter from me, plus all our usual features.

This week's Featured Artist are Errors, our Classic Scottish Album is De Rosa's 'Prevention' and our Re-Mixing It Up track is a brilliant Miaoux Miaoux remix of 'Where It Snows' by Olympic Swimmers. As always we have some free music in the form of the Aye Tunes Friday Freebie track, which is a brilliant number from The Yawns. Enjoy!

Gav Prentice - Square Mile
For Abel - The 17th Failed Hope Song
Human Don't Be Angry - Dreamer
Collar Up - Tonight
Lovers Turn To Monsters - "My Dad Doesn't Really Like My Interests, I Can Only Imagine What He'd Think Of You
IndianRedLopez - Ropes

De Rosa - Nocturne For An Absentee - Prevention - Classic Scottish Album

Make Sparks - Floored
Jo Mango - The Black Sun
Sefiros - The Dead Things We Are Made Of
Campfires In Winter - Twelve Thousand Drops

Olympic Swimmers - Where It Snows (Miaoux Miaoux Remix) - Re-Mixing It Up

St Deluxe - Born Into Flame
Flutes - Sand

The Yawns - Summers Wasted - Aye Tunes Friday Freebies

Behold The Old Bear - Solsbury Hill
Verse Metrics - Aches

Featured Artist
Errors - A Rumour In Africa
Errors - Magna Encarta
Errors - White Infinity

Yusuf Azak - Smile Tactics

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Scottish Fiction EP - Hidden Tracks EP

A few months ago we ran the Scottish Fiction free music treasure hunt featured twelve free tracks from some of our favourite Scottish artists.  These tracks were then hidden amongst our EP's for you to find and discover, all in aid of celebrating one year's worth of free music via our Scottish Fiction EP's.

As the EP's have come to a, hopefully temporary, stop, we thought it would be good to put all of the tracks together for the first time, and let you get a hold of them all if you haven't already done so.

So get downloading, and share with your pals.  Here's what's on the EP:

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!

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 called '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'.

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 called 'Going Away'

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.  Enjoy!

IndianRedLopez - The Aberdeen five piece are tucked away in the studio working on album number two.  On the EP's is 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'.

We're Only Here For The Banter - St Deluxe

Glasgow four piece St Deluxe return following their 2009 self titled debut album, which garnered high praise amongst peers and critics alike.  The fuzzzy rockers release their new album 'Born Into Flame' on 3rd December, and have a single of the same name out now.  We caught up with Martin from the band for some Scottish Fiction style chat.

Hello, how are you?

Mighty fine!

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

We take a wide range of influences from the usual indie rock bands like Sonic Youth and Nirvana, but we've been delving into the more obscure corners of our record collection recently, some psych, drone rock and shoegaze stuff.  I would also say that our influences have been more than musical lately, anything from zombie B movies to personal experiences have also came to the fore with the writing of our second album.

What's your song writing process like?

One of us will have a idea, whether it's a chord progression, riff, melody, drum part and bring it to the rehearsal room and then we just chuck it about and play around with the structure and things until we've finally bend it into a song.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Noise, Jamie's hair thrashing about, happy accidents, and hopefully a wee bit of losing yourself for a brief moment.

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

For me personally I reckon it would be playing a few shows with Stephen Lawrie from the Telescopes as the Telescopes.  He's a total gent and I was a huge Telescopes fan and to end up playing those songs not only as the support band but as the actual band was just something else.  As a band I suppose getting to SXSW was a pretty big achievement.  The last of the three shows we played out there was on the bill for the tribute show for Alex Chilton who was supposed to play but died very suddenly.  It was a huge privileged to be involved that night, it was one very special and emotional gig.

What have you got planned for the rest of 2012 and into the new year?

Well we've just released two free download singles available through our Bandcamp site which will feature on our second album which is due for release on the 3rd of December.  We'll be doing a London and Glasgow launch for the album which is called 'Born Into Flame'.  The Glasgow show is at Nice and Sleazy on the 7th of December and we've got Static Future playing with us at that and most likely one more band.  After that we've got a few things in the pipeline gig wise and we'll be starting the recording of our third album later tonight at Riverside Studios in Busby.

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

In terms of Glasgow there's so many great bands coming out all the time it's really difficult to keep up but I do keep my ear close for new stuff happening.  We kinda seem to just get on with our own thing, I've never really felt as part of a scene as such.  We've tended to work with people Like Stephen Lawrie, Calvin Johnson and Sonic Boom who we really admired and wanted to work with to see how they do things and see that first hand.

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

I'm a big PAWS fan but I guess you already know about them, Static Future are a great band who recorded a great EP not so long ago.  I picked up on a band called Ursual Minor by chance on Facebook the other day and they really blew me away too!

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

I'm really crap at jokes so I won't bother you with possibly the lamest joke you'd ever have to publish.

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Thursday, 1 November 2012

Videos Killed The Radio Star - Round Up

If you used to read the Favourite Son blog, which sadly stopped a few months back, then you might have enjoyed Chris's weekly round-up of music videos.  Now before you get all excited, I'm not committing myself to doing a weekly round-up, but there's been a few videos cropped up over the past few days and week's that have caught my eye, so I thought I'd fire up a quick post.  Enjoy!

He's been supporting Amy McDonald the past few night, and in the build up to his single 'Battleships' being released on 19th November Michael Cassidy has got a cool underwater video out now.  Check it out.

We were lucky enough to have been joined by The State Broadcasters on the Scottish Fiction radio show a few months back.  Their brilliant album 'Ghosts We Must Carry' is out now, and here's a brand new video from them for the single 'Trespassers'.  Beautiful stuff so it is.

From furry animals to political statements.  Yes it's time for a home-made video courtesy of Solareye from Stanley Odd.  Here's an interesting visual for the excellent track based around the Scottish independence debate 'Marriage Counselling'.

Another Olive Grove artist Jo Mango has a new video out ahead of her new album 'Murmuration' which will be released on 5th November.  Check out this wonderful video with flocks of birds a plenty.

Rounding things off is the latest episode from the Detour boys. Featuring Michael Cassidy, CHVRCHES, Crusades and more!

Gies It Ya Dix!

Recording studios are an integral part of the music community.  When you're at a gig or listening to a band's latest single not many people think about how many hours of practice, jamming and recording goes in to produce the finished article.  As well as providing the means to polishing up an artists act, they can also facilitate creative thinking between bands interacting with each other.

That's why it's refreshing to see a studio such as Dixon Street Studios doing what it can to help unsigned artists.  Their latest initiative is Gies It Ya Dix, a cheeky play on words, where the studio will give away 30 hours of recording time for free to the winner of a public poll.

All the bands on the poll have been nominated by bloggers, including yours truly, venues and promoters within the Scottish music community, and the winner is chosen purely by public vote.  There's a smorgasbord of talent on offer all of whom would be deserving of the prize.  The full list includes:

Secret Motorbikes
Shambles Miller
Lovers Turn To Monsters
Shooting Stansfield
Waiting For Go
Blank Canvas
Tijuana Bibles
Behold The Old Bear
Dirty Old Red
Kill Surrrf
Hector Bizerk
Thank The Boy
Campfires In Winter
Chris Devotion & The Expectations
Mechanical Smile
Little Fire
Sandstone Flats
Queen Jane
Mark Copeland & The Wounded Pirates
Cherri Fosphate
Johnny Barr
Poor Frisco

Click on the links for more about each artist.  Voting for Gies It Ya Dix is open until 5th November and you can cast your vote here.  Go on!

Battle Of The Bands - Round 8

Before we get into the nasty and brutish business of Battle Of The Bands Top Trump style, it's announcement time!  The fortnightly duel between David of Kowalskiy and I shall be shimmying onto a Wednesday night from now on, so set your calendars accordingly!  As always you can follow the action on Twitter with #battleofthebands(insert round number accordingly).

Time for Round 8!  So far in the series, aside from a draw in the opening heat, home advantage has proved invaluable.  Essentially who ever has first pick of the stats, has borne out as the winner.  This was true in Round 7 where I led the way with the boys from Croy, Campfires In Winter as we took victory over David's choice Toy Machene.

 The ball is now back in the Kowalskiy camp as we enter into Round 8 at level pegging.  For those who haven't been keeping up with the rules, you can remind yourself here.  For those up to speed with everything... Let's battle!

In the Scottish Fiction corner you'll find someone who is quickly becoming our 'house band', given the amount of times he's featured on the show.  I make no apologies for it, 'cause his output is both vast and impressive.  It is the appropriately named for Halloweeen, Lovers Turn To Monsters

Once again David heads north in search of inspiration, and has plumped for Aberdeen band IndianRedLopez, who were responsible for one of my favourite albums last year, 'Empty Your Lungs And Breathe'.

The action kicked off with the Band Name Scrabble Score stat, and as you've probably figured out the band with a 'Z' in their name won that fight.  With a score of 27 IndianRedLopez trumped Lovers Turn To Monsters score of 23.  1-0 Kowalskiy.

Make or break time with the next pick, and David went for Twitter Follow Ratio, in honour of our battleground.  It was a close call and I thought LTTM's score of 1.15 would be enough to win, but sadly IndianRedLopez pipped us with a score of 1.23.  That brought the score to 2-0 and game to David.

Despite losing there's always the chance to save face with the last point.  That hope turned to despair as David chose Average Age.  As LLTM (a.k.a. Kyle said himself on Twitter, at least he has his youth...  David won the point with a score of 28.2 to 24, sealing a 3-0 win and a whitewash in round 8.

Scores on the doors are now 5-4 to David, but I've got home turf again in two weeks time so we'll see if I can level the scores.  Remember to follow us on Twitter to keep up with the action live as it unfolds.  My Twitter is here, whilst you'll find Kowalskiy here.  As always though, there's not really a winner or loser (that's what me and Kyle are telling ourselves anyway!) and it's about the two artists involved. 

Let's start with Scottish Fiction favourite Lovers Turn To Monsters, a.k.a. Kyle Wood, who is a lo-fi singer AND songwriter (not singer-songwriter!).  His simple (not a bad thing) style of recording and writing, means his Bandcamp is filled with hordes of songs, amongst which there are plenty of gems.  His latest offering is a collection of tracks on an EP entitled 'This Horror Movie Is A Metaphor For Puberty'.  Check out the track below and keep an eye on the blog for some more stuff from Kyle soon!

David's winners (a meaningless term surely!) were of course IndianRedLopez.  Last year's 'Empty Your Lungs And Breath' was a cracker of a debut, and earlier this year they contributed a track to our Hidden Tracks feature.  New song 'Break Us Both' is a great indicator of things still to come!