Tuesday, 31 January 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Olympic Swimmers


Olympic Swimmers are a five piece from Glasgow who make somewhat shoe-gaze influenced indie music.  I first heard the band supporting Admiral Fallow in The Arches last year, and with an album due for release this year a few more heads should be turned the way of this impressive outfit.  Susie from the band took some time to answer a few questions.  Have a read.

Hello, how are you?

I’m usually a bit moany but less so today.

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

I don't hate it, I'm just not very good at answering it... Sometimes it's loud, sometimes it's really quiet. There's usually an opportunity to look at your shoes, but more for a prolonged glance than a true gaze, and more recently we seem to have had a brief outbreak of faster tunes to ensure noone falls asleep at gigs. It tends to verge on the melancholic, but we do try hard to balance that out with some element of uplift! We all have very broad and often opposing tastes but in relation to the music we do with OS we are generally agreed on our love of, and therefore openness to influence from, bands like Aereogramme, Cocteau Twins, Low.

What's your song writing process like?

Usually start with someone's idea(s) and play/sing around it until we can agree or it's time to go home.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

If you're really lucky a malfunctioning smoke machine and a pseudo-religious experience.

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

Depends what's ending! The band? My life? The world? We made an album during 2011 and we’re just getting ready to put it out. I'm very very pleased that we've managed to do this! I feel like we put a lot into it and are so happy with how it's turned out that although it would be a bit unfortunate if noone else ever hears it, it might soften the blow of the world ending to know that we at least managed to finish it.

What have you got planned for 2012?

To release this album! As soon as possible in case the world ends.

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

I'm not sure we've ever discussed it so I can't really tell you what anyone else's view is! I think that it’s nice that bands of all different styles appreciate each other’s music and can work together or play together and it doesn’t seem odd. I like the lack of genre!

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

Happy Particles, No Comet, Holy Mountain

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

Here’s a suitably themed Chic Murray number: My girlfriend's a redhead, no hair, just a red head

Check out more from Olympic Swimmers

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We're Only Here For The Banter - Blank Canvas


Edinburgh is a city with a rich musical history, steeped in the post punk history of The Fire Engines and Oragne Juice amongst others.  Rather than stand back in awe of this, a whole fleet of Edinburgh bands are surging through and amongst the strongest are Blank Canvas.  Latest double A side single 'By The Fire' & 'Golden' sweeps across your ears with it's dreamy guitar riffs and urgent bassline.  The four piece have been tipped by bloggers and press alike, so 2012 will be interesting to see what comes out the bag.  The band were kind enough to have a quick chat to us, here's what they [guitarist Daniel] had to say:

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

We are Blank Canvas and we come from Edinburgh. We collectively find it hard to pinpoint an exact genre that we would all relate to, but things like that are often retrograde anyway. Our musical style tends to shift between the ornate and the more uncouth, both to me seem equally valuable.

What's your song writing process like?

Each song is different. Some we write in a day, some take half a year. We usually start with an idea or an individual motif, often inspired by a unique sound or a more abstract ideal. These small bits of music then begin to mutate into songs or even parts of songs. We rarely write an entire song individually.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Our live shows are where I feel we truly come to life. The songs become rawer and more primitive, which in itself can be liberating. Now that we are being a little more selective in terms of gigs I am hopeful that we can keep them as intense and fresh as they have been and that they can keep improving.

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

That’s a hard question. The songs that we’ve written and the countless gigs we have played do sit very fondly with me. I think we are only just realising our potential musically, so hopefully our greatest achievements are still to come!

What have you got planned for 2012?

We have a bunch of stuff that will be announced over the next month that we are very excited about. We want to just record a lot of music and play good shows. I’m looking forward to the summer in particular as we hope to play a bunch of festivals.

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

It seems to be improving and diversifying at the moment, which is a good thing. We have never felt part of any scene, I think this might in part be due to the fact that initially we made music together in our own bedrooms and garages and didn’t really take our geographical positioning into account. There is obviously a great history of exciting Scottish music and lots of my favourite bands are Scottish, so when we raised our heads above the parapet it was cool to see ourselves hopefully in that same lineage.

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

We played a gig with Discopolis, they're cool. I like Magic Eye from Edinburgh and Vienetta from Glasgow.
Check them out.

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

I can’t think of one but here are some amusing pictures of Ross Kemp if that will do?


Check out more from Blank Canvas

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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Scottish Fiction January 2012 EP


After the huge success of our Shelter Christmas EP it's back to the business of dishing up some free music from Scotland's talented artists for you to enjoy.

Here's the line up for this month's EP:

A Band Called Quinn
Bottle Of Evil
Mickey 9's
Blank Canvas

As usual you can listen to/download the EP below.  Spread the word and enjoy!

Sunday Stuff

Hiya!  It's time for Friday FrolicsSaturday Stuff.  Sunday Stuff.  Enjoy.

Scottish Fiction Round-Up

We're Only Here For The Banter - Mickey 9's
Why Blogger? - Peenko
Gig Review - Beerjacket @ King Tut's Wah Wah Hut
Happy Burns Day
Modern Classics - Damien Rice - O
Scottish Fiction Podcast - 23rd January 2012
Beats And Eats - Michael Cassidy

News

Back for it's 5th year, Rockness announced it's headliners this week.  Confirmed so far on the bill are:
Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5, Biffy Clyro, Ed Sheeran, Justice, Noah & The Whale, Metronomy, Wretch 32, Fresh/Live, Azealia Banks, Beardyman, Death In Vegas, Chic, Etienne De Crecy, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Busy P, Gesaffelstein, Riton and The Cuban Brothers.  Meh....
Get tickets here.

February 6th is the official release date of No One Can Ever Know from Kilsyth group The Twilight Sad.  You can pre order some pretty (and exclusive) bundles now!  Be warned they are selling fast.

Bands In Transit put together a very special documentary video featuring RM Hubbert, French Wives, Errors and Emma Pollock.  Well worth taking the time to watch it.

Shambles Miller has finally sold the last copy of his second EP 'Shambles Sails The Clockwork Sea'.  To celebrate he has put his back catalogue available to download on a 'pay what you wish' basis for the time being.  Grab them here.

Brew At The Bog takes place just outside Inverness on May 5th.  It looks heavy braw with names such as Three Blind Wolves, Endor, Washington Irving, Kitty The Lion, Over The Wall, The Seventeenth Century, Open Swimmer and more all on the bill.  You can buy tickets are £45 a pop here.

Seems as if every week Overlook Records are signing another band.  This time it's Ayrshire band As In Bear.  Congrats guys!

Gigs

Celtic Connections still ongoing.  Here's my picks for next week:
Tuesday 31st January 7:30pm - Chemikal Underground Presents - Brel - £5
Wednesday 1st January 7:30pm - Louis Abbot & Friends - Brel - £5
Friday 3rd February 7:30pm - Mull Historical Society - O2 ABC - £15
Sunday 5th February 7:30pm - Rachel Sermanni - St Andrew's In The Square - £13
Tickets for all of the above can be purchased via the link at the top

Releases/Videos

The Twilight Sad released the official video for 'Another Bed'.  You can watch the video here and download the song for free here

Withered Hand has a new video out for the track 'Heart Heart' which will be on his new EP 'Heart Heart' released as part of Fence Records Chart Ruse series.  Have a swatch here.  And there's still time to suscribe to the series and get your hands on the EP.

Admiral Fallow have returned in style and are giving away there latest single 'Beetle In A Box' free!  Get it here.

Other Blogs

Friday Freebies on Peenko

Beats And Eats - Michael Cassidy


Continuing with my experimenting with new recipes, courtesy of The Pop Cop's Scottish Musicians Cookbook, I attempted to make Michael Cassidy's Homemade Chicken Broth.  Here's how things went.

I like a recipe that requires you to eat something to be able to make it.  To make my chicken stock I needed to steep the carcass of a roast chicken overnight, which meant dinner that night was chicken.  Lovely!  Steeping in water overnight was also a nice selection of beans, peas and lentils.

I always think it's important to follow the recipe exactly, and step 2 instructs you to listen to some music from Michael Cassidy.  The nice chilled out sounds of 'Everybody's Scared' made a good accompaniment to stirring my chicken stock whilst bringing it to the boil.  And in whilst I left that to simmer I finely chopped some vegetables, ignoring the parsnips because they would get nowhere near my soup.

This kind of chopping action needed something more lively, and 'Meet You At The Corner' fits the bill just nicely.  Being careful to not chop my fingers, a steady beat was complemented with the clickety clack of my chopping knife as I diced potatoes, carrots, celery and an onion.

One of the best things about making soup is it's pretty easy.  Bung everything into the pot, adding in the soup mix of beans, peas and lentils, some herbs and seasoning, and a stock cube.  I do like my herb collection, so in went some parsley, basil, oregano, tarragon and some chives.  Once that's done it's simmering time, so as I left the pot for 90 minutes, I closed out the cooking with '15 Years' taken from Michael's debut EP.


Tasting Notes

One of the first things you'll notice about the picture of my soup (other than the immature arrangement of the bread and bowls) is it looks nothing like Michael's.  This could be due to my poor cooking, but it also could be down to a pet hate of mine.  The recipe doesn't really specify quantities, so I pretty much had to guess.  This resulted in my soup being pretty watery.  It was also pretty salty too.  Michael does warn against this in the recipe, but maybe I was too into the music to notice!

So I'm afraid in this instance I'm going to have to give 2/5 croutons.

Check out more from Michael Cassidy:

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Check out their recipe here and thanks to The Pop Cop

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 23rd January 2012

I've been sitting at this screen for ten minutes now fitting the urges to use the numerous cliches rattling around my head.  If I tell you that the theme for this show was space, you'll maybe get an idea of what I'm fighting against.  But before we got to that, there was plenty of great music from across Scotland to keep you entertained.

Fat Janitor - French Winger
Chasing Owls - Wedding Song
Fablewood - Sylvia's Heart
Beerjacket - Eggshell
Conquering Animal Sound - Crawl
S.C.U.M. - Days Untrue

Mixing It Up Choice - The Beatles - Come Together

Mickey 9's - Christopher Walken
Bellow Below - It Shouldn't Work Therefore It Doesn't
Julia And The Doogans - Glasgow
Golden Grrrls - WrldPeace
The Twilight Sad - Another Bed

Space - Female Of The Species
Beastie Boys - Intergalatic
Ash - Girl From Mars
The Beatles - Across The Universe
The Police - Walking On The Moon
Train - Drops Of Jupiter
Air - Kelly Watch The Stars
David Bowie - Space Oddity
Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now
Bjork - Venus As A Boy
Lightspeed Champion - Galaxy Of The Lost
Elton John - Rocket Man


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Modern Classics - Damien Rice - O


Originally airing on Monday 2nd January, this episode of Modern Classics is now available for your listening pleasure.  Damien Rice's debut was a slow burner, yet word of mouth and it's enthralling content have propelled 'O' as a blueprint for singer songwriters. 

Have a listen to the show again:

Happy Burns Day


Burn's night is upon us.  A night where the fevourous nationalist chest thumping takes centre place.  Haggis, bagpipes, whiskey.  Oof you couldnae be mair Scottish if ye tried!

I don't like haggis though (shocker I know).  So I thought I'd share some contemporary Scottish music, that perhaps owes just a tip of the Tam O' Shanter and a raise of the dram to that man Rabbie.

Have a good one, whatever you get up to.









Gig Review - Beerjacket @ King Tut's Wah Wah Hut


New Year in Glasgow can only mean one thing; King Tut's Wah Wah Hut's New Year Revolution.  And staying true to the old saying, 'save the best 'till last' last Wednesday 18th January was a stormer of a line up.  Headlining was yer man up above, Beerjacket, but before Peter Kelly took the stage, there was a trio of support to whet any appetite.

Before we head up the King Tut's stairs, adorned with names of those who have 'made it' post playing here, a special mention should go to Burning Cafe, who kept us entertained in the bar beforehand.  Two guys, one girl.  One guitar, one ukulele and one mandolin.  With it being their first gig in Glasgow they made a fair attempt at playing to the large crowd gathered for the main event.  Plenty of songs with a grunge-y sound and elements of contemporary folk meant they were a pleasant enough entree.


It normally takes a lot to drag me away from a bar.  But place a cake stand next to said bar, and your talking nigh on impossible.  One thing proven to work is Julia And The Doogans taking to the stage.  Kicking off with the mysterious and haunting 'Diamonds', Julia could not have been more laid back with her onstage presence.  Friendly and engaging chat is a sure fire way to engage a crowd, and having the good to back it up is paramount.  Next track 'Borderline' was a little more poppy, and following that we had a taste of the new material which should be released in March.  For me the backing band of flute, cello and keyboard compliments Julia's voice well, and closing track 'Down The Line' was a highlight of the night.


Bursting onto the stage like an Energizer Bunny on speed comes Paisley's own Michael Cassidy.  Barely pausing for breath, slipping in a hearty and excited 'hello', Michael rattles through the first four tracks including 'My Electric Heart', and the stunning 'Montpellier' which showcases Michael's voice very well.  He's got an EP on sale at the bar, and taken from that EP is 'Till You', which serves to bring the tempo down a notch.  It's a wonderful track and you can read my review of the full EP here.  After a slight bit of jiggery pokery, a huge cheer goes up when the show gets on the road again with the rather topical 'Battleships', which is more upbeat than the preceding tracks.  Michael's aptitude for on stage chat somewhat precedes him, and he's again on form tonight, quipping that as a Paisley lad there's no chance he'll be buying the drinks tonight!  Newer track 'Dancing At The Devil's Door' has the hint of occult about it, slightly creepy and Robert Johnson-esqe.  A final plug goes out for the EP, and set closer is the now well known and well received 'Everybody's Scared'.


It's now the turn of Coat Hooks to entertain us with their merry band of folk-rock.  Led by Andrew Lindsay, their atmospheric sound fills the corners of King Tut's well.  Lindsay's voice is gruffer and rougher, and the music has elements of traditional Scottish sounds throughout.  The band have amassed a large following to bring with them, and that crowd are well up for it.  Playing a mixture of songs new and old, there's rousing moments of 'ooh ooh's', but by far the best song is saved for last.  Conjuring up images of the Scottish highlands there is something altogether homely about Coat Hook's music.  The crowd shout for more, but alas time is tight.


Anticipation can sometimes lead to disappointment, take X-Men 3 for example, but luckily tonight was no such case. I've never seen Beerjacket live before, so I was eagerly looking forward to tonight's headline act. Like our mutant friends in Charles Xavier's School For Mutants, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Beerjacket's, a.k.a. Peter Kelly, special power was an extra finger on each hand.  His guitar playing is inspired and was clear for all to see on the opening track of the set, 'Drum'.  Defending his position as Scotland's premier singer songwriter, Beerjacket was truly on form tonight, playing a multitude of hits from his latest work 'The White Feather Trail', including next track 'Cold Roses'.  With the crowd enthralled Beerjacket takes a moment to reflect on the possibility that maybe, just maybe, people actually like his music after all.  With songs such as the foot stomping 'Cave', it's not hard to see why.  Beerjacket's style jars between the intricate guitar work, reminiscent of RM Hubbert, and harsh brash moments.  It's all finely done though, as the crowd are hanging on every note.  One suspects you would hear the tiniest noise such is the level of respect given to the man on stage.  We are treated to a special guest appearance from Louise Connell, a.k.a. Reverieme who brings her delicate vocals to three tracks including the brilliant 'Eggshells'.  Bringing to an end a thoroughly enjoyable set was the ukulele powered 'Poor Captain Of The Soul', during which one dared not breath and personal favourite of mine 'Barricades'.  This was the first time I've seen Beerjacket live.  It won't be the last.

Why Blogger? - Peenko


First up to bat in the 'Why Blogger' feature is Lloyd Meredith from Peenko.  Lloyd is a busy man, as when not putting out great content on his blog, he also co-runs Olive Grove Records, puts on gigs, and has also recently ressurected Peenko Records.  Here's a peek inside Peenko's head.

Hello, how are you?

Not too bad, not too bad at all.

Sum up your blog in 140 character tweet.

The ramblings of an idiot, mixed in with sensible words from artists.

There's little (if any) monetary gain in blogging. Why do you do it?

I often ask myself the same question. I guess I have always wanted to be involved with music in some way and seeing as I have no musical talent, blogging allowed me to be part of something that I love.

Allow yourself some self praise, what's your proudest blog related moment?

That's a tough question, so many crazy things have happened since I started the blog. What from starting a label, presenting radio shows, being asked to appear on music industry panels and that's just the tip of the iceberg. But out of everything I've been involved with putting on gigs has been the most enjoyable part of it all. The first Aytunes vs Peenko gig with Kid Canaveral, Mitchell Museum and Campfires in Winter is still one of the greatest nights ever for me.

You're on a plane and the only in-flight movie is Maid In Manhatten. What do you take to:
Listen to: Maid in Manhattan
Read: The in flight magazines guide to find out more about Maid in Manhattan
Watch: Maid in Manhattan/for the air hostess to get more drink

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

Off the top of my head PAWS, State Broadcasters, Randolph's Leap and PET

Do you write your blog with an audience in mind, or do you blog about what's on your mind?

I used to write as if I was writing solely for my friend Jamie, but that was a long time ago. Now I just tend to ramble in the hope that someone might give a shit

What do you think blogs bring to the music 'scene'?

A collective sense of support, when I first started it was really only The Pop Cop and Song, By Toad that were posting regularly about Scottish music. Now it really feels as if a new blog starts every week, which I guess just shows what a strong scene Scotland has at the moment. There's so much great music, so we need more folk out there covering it.

As a reader, what blog(s) do you frequent?

I try to read all of my fellow Scottish music blogs, I would list them all but I'd undoubtedly miss folk off. Have a look at my blogroll and you'll get a good idea of what I've been reading.

Thanks very much for talking to us. Would you care to end with a joke?

As a young boy, Joe was completely obsessed with tractors. He had pictures of tractors all over his bedroom walls; he had tractor toys, tractor T-shirts, a tractor carpet, and duvet cover, the whole works. He ate, drank and slept tractors. On his 17th birthday he was thrilled to get an invitation to go to a tractor factory nearby and test-drive a brand new tractor.

His excitement was incredible as he told his family and friends. The great day came and he went to the factory for the test-drive. Unfortunately something went terribly wrong with the tractor when Joe was driving it and it flipped over, trapping and breaking Joe's leg and fracturing his skull.

He was so upset and tried to sue the tractor company for negligence. But the company would have none of it and told there was no liability and he could get lost!

You can imagine he was very annoyed with tractors after this and vowed to shed them from his life completely and forever.

All the posters came down, the toys were given away - tractors were GONE.

Many years later, Joe went into a bar for a drink. Inside, the cigarette and cigar smoke was terrible but through it he saw a beautiful girl seated at the bar on her own. Tears were streaming down her face.

Joe asked her what was wrong and she said that the smoke was making her eyes sting and stream with tears.

With that, Joe looked around and then took a huge breath, sucking in all the smoke. He then walked outside into the car park and blew all the smoke out again. He goes back into the bar where the air is now clear and sweet and sits down next to the girl.

"That was amazing!" she said, "How did you do that?"

"No problem", said Joe

"I'm an ex-tractor fan"

Check out Peenko's blog here

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Mickey 9's


Mickey 9's describe themselves as "funkier than funk".  Even with their self confidence, they are not far off the markFour guys hailing from Glasgow town, Mickey 9's exploded onto the scene with their debut EP 'A Thing To Try And Dance To'.  The band have a keen way with words, as you'll see below, and their creative influences extend further than music, branching into the comic book realm.

Hello, how are you?

Tense.

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

It's like funk only funkier. We are influenced by life and Daft Punk.

What's your song writing process like?

We have two books. One, The Giant Book of Bass, t'other, Tupper's Book of Proverbial Philosophy. These are not e-books, but pulpus veritas. While watching an episode of Planet Earth we each rip a page out of the respective books and eat it. Once this has been watered down with some buckfast, we begin to write songs.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Intense waves of felicitous good times.

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

Nutmegging Conor McNulty in P6 and then lobbing the ball over Ryan McEntee who was in goals.

What have you got planned for 2012?

When we are not releasing new singles with music videos to accompany them, and continuing our band based comic book AND playing riotous gigs around the UK and at festivals, we will be provisioning our underground bunker for the oncoming apocalypse and reading up on Mayan mythology.

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

Incredibly fertile and shamefully overlooked. So many great bands fade away while other average bands are given leverage. Such it is, and such it always shall be, one fears.

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

Sadly, we see too often some our favourites disappear and although the music scene in Glasgow is without a doubt one of the richest in the UK, a coherent scene or movement has yet to develop. As such, we can only recommend a few random artists who spring to mind, all of whom are excellent. Andrea Marini, a wonderful songcraftsman who recently self released his eponymous LP, The Young Aviators, infectious indie, Vendor Defender (but I think they split up), and Gasp, hiphopster.

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

Why did the tiger get lost?

Because Jungle Is Massif!

Check out more of Mickey 9's

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Saturday, 21 January 2012

Saturday Stuff


That's a puppy. Winking. At you.

Now we have that out of the way here's some news and stuff:

Scottish Fiction Round Up

We're Only Here For The Banter - Bottle Of Evil
Single/EP Review - Michael Cassidy - Michael Cassidy
SOPA/Blackout Protest
Beats And Eats - Blue Sky Archives
Scottish Fiction Podcast - 16th February 2012
New Logo
Scottish Fiction Birthday Radio Show

News

Another week, another band getting signed.  Overlook Records seem to be hogging them, as they have snapped up Ayr quartet Bellow Bellow.  To celebrate they are giving a whole heap of stuff away for free.

Jamie Crossan has written a good wee article for the NME regarding the proposed BBC cuts to the Introducing shows.  Read it here.

RM Hubbert was on Subcity radio on Friday playing song live songs.  Have a listen.

Frightened Rabbit played a gig on Thursday night at Cabaret Voltaire.  There was some slight issues.  Here's what the band had to say about it.

The Save BBC Introducing In Scotland campaign was debated in the Scottish Parliament.  Watch the video here.

That man RM Hubbert again, and he is going back out on tour with Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat.  Check out the dates here.

SXSW is soon.  Scotland has a good history at this festive, and so far 8 bands are lined up to travel over.  Read a bit more about it here.

Gigs

LAID takes place at Bloc on Wednesday 25 January.  Playing are Trapped In Kansas and Poor Things.  Doors are at 9pm and it's FREE

Celtic Connections has kicked off.  Here's some stuff next week I'd recommend:
Tuesday 24th January - 7:30 - Brel - Chemikal Underground Presents: - £5
(Rumour has it that the personnel is Malcolm Middleton, FOUND and Rick Redbeard!)
Wednesday 25th January - 7:30 - Brel - Louis Abbot & Guests - £5
Thursday 26th January - 7:30 - ABC - King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - £15
Friday 27th January - 7:30 - ABC - Admiral Fallow, FOUND, Eagleowl - £12.50
Sunday 29th January - 7:30 - Brel - Remember Remember - £10
Tickets can be bought at the link above.

RM Hubbert with support from Tattie Toes play for Hubby's Thirteen Lost & Found album launch on Friday 27th January in Stereo.  Doors are 7:30, tickets are £7 and available here.

Releases

New video/song from Jonathan Snee.  Check it out it's called Passing.

Lonley Boy has a new video also.  Have a look here.

Other Blogs

Video News on Favourite Son

Friday, 20 January 2012

Scottish Fiction Birthday Radio Show


Hey!  I'm having a party!

It's hard for me to get my head round, but on the 30th January I will have been on air at Pulse Community Radio for 12 months.  Granted the first few shows were pre recorded, and the show in it's current format didn't quite come to fruition until a wee while after, but it's still a pretty fucking awesome thing.

So to celebrate I've asked some people to come along to my birthday party!  I'm hugely excited to announce the following will be joining me live in the Pulse studio on Monday 30th January from 9pm to 11pm for live music, banter, hand picked tracks, cake, and other frivolties:

Michael Cassidy
Shambles Miller
Julia Doogan

And as if four people in the studio wasn't enough, Jamie Spark of Pulse Friday night fame and regular 'Mixing It Up' collaborator will be in the studio for a LIVE Mixing It Up feature!

Lastly I want to also extend an invitiation to YOU!  If you fancy popping down to the studio to either say hello, join the party, or even just listen live then let me know! 

New Logo!


The more observant of you may have noticed that I've had somewhat of a make over.  Yes I finally have a logo! 

And what a belter it is!  Look at it!  Doesn't it just... pop?

Ok, Dogam quotes aside, I'm really chuffed with the end result and I just wanted to share that with you.  And public thank you to Shaun McSorley for his work.  Kudos sire!

A Day In The Life...

Happy Friday everyone!

It was envitable, but tonight is my first capitulation to deadlines, and this evening's planned Friday Frolics post will now become a Saturday Stuff post tomorrow.  Apologies to anyone who is disappointed, which is no one so I'm not really sorry.  If you have any planned events or music related news you do want me to include then email me.

I will actually be putting a few Scottish Fiction news announcements on the blog tonight, so stay tuned for that.

And in other news I got my first DMCA Notification today.  Is that me officially a blogger now?

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 16th January 2012

In this weeks's show I was hefty excited about going to King Tut's on Wednesday to see Beerjacket, Michael Cassidy, Coat Hooks and Julia And The Doogans, so I played some Micael Cassidy to convince you to go. As usual we also played a strong selection of new alternative Scottish music.

Our theme this week was 'Best Closing Tracks'. Check out below for your suggestions and listen/download the podcast as well.

A Band Called Quinn - Boy Cries Wolf
Pioneers Of Anaesthetic - Call To Arms
Milagres - Here To Stay
Michael Cassidy - Til You
Aperture - Good To Know You
So Many Animal Calls - Broken Antlers

Mixing It Up Choice - Jamie N Commons - Now Is Not The Time

Happy Particles - Aerials
Vukovi - Snakes & Ladders
Take A Worm For A Walk Week - Like My Pacifier?
The King Hats - Happy New Year
Wolves Of Winter - The Art Of Temptation
Evil Hand - A Drop Of Sunshine

Radiohead - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Road Trippin'
Jeff Buckley - Dream Brother
Oasis - Champagne Supernova
Idlewild - In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction
The Arcade Fire - My Body Is A Cage
Stereophonics - Rooftop
Muse - Knights Of Cydonia
The Beatles - Tomorrow Never Knows


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Beats And Eats - Blue Sky Archives


Those lovely folks at The Pop Cop have given me a new lease of life in the kitchen.  Their recent Scottish Musicians' Cookbook was a pretty braw side show from the usual business of music.  So in a slight twist on my usual fare, I've decided to do a recipe/music review (with my tounge firmly in cheek when it comes to the cooking side of things).  My first attempt was at Blue Sky Archives Beef And Chorizo Chili.

To get things started I put on Blue Sky Archives' \\Purral EP to get the musical feel behind the food.  The recipe called for two red onions to be roughly chopped.  Incidently I'm never sure how to roughly chop, so I threw the onions about a bit before attacking them with a knife.  I then had to fry some mince in olive oil.  Opening track 'Dear Middle Aged Ponytail' was good for that because with it's frenzied middle it makes for a perfect rhythm to flick the pan. 

As well as my onions I had to chop red chili's.  I made the schoolboy error of scratching my nether yeas afterwards (yum!) and it stung.  Don't do this!  I then fried the onions, chili's, chorizo, cumin and smoked paprika as instructed.

Next track 'Your Stage Left, Or My Stage Left?' soundtracked me added the rest of the ingredients, chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, beef stock, and tomato puree`.  Nice track to listen to whilst doing this, as like the recipe it has many ingredients complementing each other (Be warned this kind of bad comparison between food and music may be a continuing theme).

It was time to simmer and season.  Salt and pepper plus some dark chocolate into the mix and leave for at least 45 minutes.  So I listened to their third track 'A Mighty Handful', which in this context could be renamed A Mighty Mouthful.  Some pleasing vocals from Lauren Mayberry over a punchy rhythm.

At last it was time to eat, a brief sprinkle of chopped coriander, and then slapped into some tortillas with cream cheese and guacamole. 


Tasting Notes

Firstly I must say this was a very tasty dish.  Packed a meaty and spicy punch.  Plus my wife loved it, so kudos to me for cooking a nice dinner!

I would say it looks as if the recipe is for four (it doesn't specify) so I had to chop the measures in half.  I also wasn't sure what the dark beer was for, adding to the recipe or drinking.  So I poured some in the mix and drank the rest. 

My last point would be regarding the dark chocolate.  For me it wasn't needed, but I know a lot of chili recipes include it.  It didn't spoil the dish, but didn't add anything either.

Overall I'll give it 4/5 chili's.

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Check out their recipe here and thanks to The Pop Cop

SOPA / Blackout Protest


The internet is a wonderful thing.  A collective place where mankind can share it's knowledge, creativity, ideas, and pictures of kittens.  It was a gift unto mankind, and probably like no other invention has changed the way human beings live their lives.

SOPA could potentially criminalise people for sharing information, and hampen the use of the internet and probably most importantly curb and limit free thought and speech.  And what for?  To take the easy way out in the fight against piracy and save money.

The blogging community has seen action of this kind before, which several blogs pulled temporarily or even permanently because of draconian laws.  No one (at least no one at Scottish Fiction) is advocating piracy or not crediting and rewarding people financially for their work both physical and intellectual.  SOPA is not the answer.

For a full 24 hours (from 18 January 2012 at 17:00 until 19 January 2012 17:00) Scottish Fiction will lend it's support, alongside Wikipedia, Google, WordPress, and hundreds of other small websites, to support the blackout and campaign against SOPA.

Thanks for your support and understanding.

P.S. Would SOPA allow for this hilarious, and very accurate, meme?

Single/EP Review - Michael Cassidy - Michael Cassidy


T
o say I've been looking forward to this EP would be a huge understatement. I first heard Michael Cassidy's music in 2010 (not counting seeing him play in various bands in teenage years). Last year after hearing 'Everybody's Scared' and also watching the rather solemn video it set in my mind the notion that Michael would be onto bigger and better things before long. It's an opinion which is shared by a lot of people, and he had a fantastic year in 2011, supporting Ocean Colour Scene, Ben Howard, playing regularly across Scotland, getting a play on BBC Introducing In Scotland and of course playing live on the Scottish Fiction radio show (a highlight I'm sure!).

Having signed to D Set Records and playing along with Beerjacket, Coat Hooks and Julia And The Doogans at tonight's King Tut's Wah Wah Hut's New Year Revolution gig, Michael is using tonight as an opportunity to play the tracks from his debut EP, simply titled 'Michael Cassidy'

It's an EP that holds together very well, the glue to that structure is Michael's warm and comforting voice. It's a truism that singer/songwriters are a dime-a-dozen so the nature of Michael's voice, along with the slightly dulled Paisley accent, is something that stands out.

Opening track is the most well known, having been the track played on the aforementioned Ally McCrae show. It's also probably the strongest on the EP, instantly hooking the listener with it's intriguingly simple melody. 'Everybody's Scared' has an almost onomatopoeic quality about it, as it genuine conveys the sense of fear both in Michael's voice and especially in the haunting trumpet section. My love for this track is well documented, and indeed I included it as one of my 'Best of 2011'.

Second song on the EP is '15 Years', a love song with a limit. The vocals in this track have a reverb-y quality about them, and there's another strong acoustic rhythm underneath with a steady beat kept at times on some bongo drums. The backing vocals on this track also add depth and nice 'all around you' sound. It's another track I'm familiar with (you may be too) as it was on the July Scottish Fiction EP.

'Meet You At The Corner' is the very first song of Michael Cassidy's I heard. It's a tale of youthful adventures, fraught with the common enemies of no money, no place to go and drunkenness. With lines such as 'Well we're going to the Union and we've got a tenner each', and 'I feel no chains around these feet' it's a feel good track about a time when things were just simpler.

'15 Years' and 'Meet You At The Corner' are both fine tracks, but they are sandwiched between the real quality on this EP. I've already waxed lyrical about 'Everybody's Scared' and closing 'Til You' is another track with haunting vocals, mesmerising backing music and a real 'Neil Young' feel about it, with Michael espousing the benefits of clean living. It's not quite as good in my opinion as the opener, but it's a fine closing track, showcasing Michael's talent as a musician and songwriter.

I can't really say this as a criticism (because it's not), but the only minor note for me is that I've heard all this material before. It doesn't diminish the quality of it, and indeed it's not as if it's recycled or a blatant rip off, I just wanted a little taste of what's to come. I'm being unreasonably greedy no doubt, and impatient. This EP will garner many more to Michael's music and takes us all by the hand leading to us anxiously waiting for more.

Buy Michael Cassidy - 'Michael Cassidy' for £3.50 here

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Tuesday, 17 January 2012

We're Only Here For The Banter - Bottle Of Evil


Derek Bates is one of those lovely people who can't seem to stop producing music.  And so is his partner in Evil Steven McGilvary.  Derek puts music out as Evil Hand (see our Scottish Fiction Christmas Shelter EP) and Steven operates under the guise of Bottle Of Steven.  But together they become the shoe-gazed, alternative indie rock force that is Bottle Of Evil.

They hail from Lanarkshire, and put out the joyous 'Inside Looking Out' in October 2011, which received unamionous praise from the blogging community.  It's delicate melodies and post rock sensibilities are such a treat that we hope it's not too long before we see them releasing some new material.  In the meantime have a glance at what the band had to say when we had a little internet chat.

Hello, how are you?

Not bad, cheers for asking

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

We like to experiment with instruments and effects, but I'd say our music usually comes back around to folk or dream-pop styles. A recent quote refered to us as being "an exercise in smashing genre norms" - which is flattering as we always try and keep things interesting for ourselves and whoever maybe listening.

Influences-wise it's tough as there are thousands of influences out there for both of us - I suppose the last albums I bought were KC and Jon Hopkins, Martin John Henry and Blouse. But we grew up on a lot of older music such as 60s/70s psychedelia, 80s post-punk and 90s metal too.

What's your song writing process like?

Usually there is very little pre-planned when it comes to recording. We'd maybe get an idea together then meet again a few days later to start recording - realise we've forgotten what we were doing and start something different. After spending years in bands rehearsing and touring this was a chance to try a new approach.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

We have nothing lined up at the moment I'm afraid - maybe towards the end of the year when we start working on the next album.

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

Back in November we entered a track into the Scotsman Radar Prize, in which we came runner up judged solely on the music - no live shows, meetings or interviews. That kind of recognition and support is achievement enough for us and there are many to thank for that.

What have you got planned for 2012?

We'll be working on our own projects Evil Hand and Bottle of Steven for the first half of the year before returning to the studio and recording the second Bottle of Evil album at the end of the summer. There'll probably be a single put out along the way too.

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

The high ratio of great Scottish bands to the output of other countries still baffles me - I think the fact we're isolated up here, don't take ourselves too seriously and are sarcastic miserable bastards provides for some great music.

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

I'm sure most of you will already know them but I'll throw some out there: Benbecula Records, Martin John Henry, Plum, Capitals, TalkingMakesNoSense, Royal Edinburgh Music, Christ, Monoganon, United Fruit, The Ocassional Flickers, Cheer, Pan, Withered Hand, Brave Little Note, Malcolm Middleton, Call To Mind,

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

David Cameron

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Friday, 13 January 2012

Friday Frolics - 13th January 2012

Welcome and good evening.  This is the inagural 'Friday Frolics' post (which is a crap name but I'm having serious mental block so it'll do).  Basically it's a round up of the week's news and some things that will be happening next week.  Fancy getting your 'big thang' on it? Just email me!

Scottish Fiction Round-Up

First things first, here's what you've missed on Scottish Fiction this week:

We're Only Here For The Banter - A Band Called Quinn
Album Review - Happy Particles - Under Sleeping Waves
Why Blogger? - Scottish Fiction
Scottish Fiction Shelter Christmas EP
Scottish Fiction Podcast - 9th January 2012

News

Glasgow hardcore band Take A Worm For A Walk Week announced their split earlier this week. Never ones to do things by half you can be sure their farewell and final gig.
April 5th 19:00 - Stereo - £5/£6 - Buy Tickets

Glasgow band Open Swimmer are a kind bunch.  If you go to their King Tuts gig (see 'Gigs' below) they'll give you a copy of their EP.  Free.  That's nice!

Scottish Fiction favourite RM Hubbert announced a mini tour kicking off 27th January in Glasgow's Stereo.

Hungry?  The good folk at The Pop Cop, along with plenty of Scottish musicians can help!  Check out the Scottish Musician's Cookbook

Michael Cassidy is playing at King Tut's on Wednesday (see 'Gigs' below).  He's using the occasion to launch his debut EP, which is brilliant.  Why not combine the two and buy a ticket and EP for £6 here.

The Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2012 website is now up and running.  Taking place on 1st March, keep up to date with news on the website and mobile app.

Aye Tunes posted their Obligatory Ones To Watch In 2012 a few days ago.  It's got some good tips.  Have a swatch.  Also never one to miss a trick, have a look at mine too.

Happy Particles are live on BBC Introducing In Scotland with Ally McCrae on Sunday night.  Listen from 12 midnight.

Uncle Vic has tipped a mere 35 bands for 'success' in 2012.  Have a gander here.

Glasgow epic popsters Galleries were tipped as the band of the week by BBC Introducing.  Might have to eat our words about Scottish bands not getting any exposure.  Then again...

It's always great when a deserving band get signed.  One such band is So Many Animal Calls who signed to Overlook Records.

Graham Coxon is touring.  A whole heap of bands have applied to support him.  Lots of good Scottish ones, including The Spook School, are amongst them.  Have a gander and vote for your favourites here.

As well as nearly selling out the ABC (tickets going fast) Admiral Fallow have also signed to Nettwork Music Group.

Gigs

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut New Year's Revolution has kicked off.  Here's my pick of the bunch for next week:
Sunday 15th Jan 8:30 - Esperi, Callum Baird, Bronagh Monahan, Gary Ovens, Cafe Disco (Bar) - £6
Monday 16th Jan 8:30 - United Fruit, Lady North, Hunt/Gather, Natalie Pryce, Jonathan Snee (Bar) - King Tuts - £6
Tuesday 17th Jan 8:30 - Open Swimmer, Revermie, Randolph's Leap, Ajimal, I Build Collapsible Mountaints (Bar) - King Tuts - £6
Wednesday 18th Jan 8:30 - Beerjacket, Michael Cassidy, Coat Hooks, Julia & The Doogans, Burning Cafe (Bar) - King Tuts - £6
You can get tickets for all the above gigs by clicking on the link above.  Or if your smart you can try the individual artists involved for some great deals.  Hit them up on Facebook for more.

Haud the press!  Frightened Rabbit announced three gigs taking place next week! Cabaret Voltaire on Thursday 19th, The Tunnels on Friday 20th and Stereo on Saturday 21st.  Edinburgh and Aberdeen gigs are on the door only (get down early!) and a link for Glasgow tickets will be available on Monday.  Keep yer eyes peeled!

Meursault have been announced as the support band for Clap Your Hands, Say Yeah!  They come to Glasgow on 28th January playing SWG3.  Check out the full list of gigs here.

Supporting Trailor Trash Tracy's are Run/Lucky/Free at The Captains Rest.
Sunday 15th Jan 20:00 - The Captain's Rest - FREE

Releases

Now Wakes The Sea released a brand spanking new album last Friday.  It's called Fluoxetine Morning.  Listen and more importantly buy it here

Vukovi have a spiffing new EP out now.  Called ...But I Won't Wear You Again it's on iTunes here

Glasgow band The King Hats have pulled a debut EP out of their *ahem* hat.  It's called First Light and you can listen to and buy it here

A rare moment for non Scottish music, but when it's The Shins I'm sure y'all forgive me.  Stream new track Simple Song here.  It's simply splendid.

If on the off chance that someone in the continent is reading, then brace yourselves for We Were Promised Jetpacks who announced a European tour this week.

Catch a preview listen to Discopolis' new single Zenithobia which will be officially released on 5th March.

Other Blogs

Friday Freebies from Peenko

Video News from Favourite Son

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 9th January 2012

As the Renegade Master once said, "I'm back once again!"  The first show of 2012 featured a whole heap of great music and an hour long tribute to Ziggy Stardust himself.  Check out the full playlist below and listen in again.  Podcasts are also now available to download.  Fill yer boots.

Pensioner - Big Trouble In Little Richard
Errors - Earthscore
Shambles Miller - For The Would Be Woody Guthrie
Little Love And The Friendly Vibes - Typical Teen
Jonnie Common - Summer Is For Going Places (alt mix)
Cymbals Eat Guitars - And The Hazy Sea
Calm As The Colour - Velvet Sunburst
Now Wakes The Sea - You Are The Cold
Happy Particles - AM Sky (Bleary)
Jonathan Snee - Falling Out

Mixing It Up Choice - Kerry Leatham - Do You Fancy Me?

David Bowie - Rebel Rebel
David Bowie - Blue Jean
David Bowie - The Man Who Sold The World
David Bowie - China Girl
David Bowie - Jump They Say
David Bowie - Heroes
David Bowie - Fall Dog Bombs The Moon
David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes
David Bowie - The Jean Genie
David Bowie - Sound & Vision
David Bowie - Golden Years
David Bowie - Rock 'N' Roll Suicide
David Bowie - Life On Mars?