Friday, 31 May 2013

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 29th May 2013

After kicking off the show with the sweet summer vibes of Giant Fang, I welcomed Drew Wright, a.k.a. Wounded Knee into the studio as my session guest for the evening.  With a wonderfully obscure selection of tracks under his arm, we chatted, mused about protest songs, and discussed the Whatever Gets You Through The Night project.  And there was plenty rummaging in the infamous bawbag to choose the three live songs you'll hear during the show.

There's the usual serving of new Scottish music too, including tracks from the forthcoming Camera Obscura, Boards Of Canada, Quickbeam and Algernon Doll albums, plus a Cover Lover and Re-Mixing It Up track.  Huzzah!

Giant Fang - Aqualung

Davie Stewart - Macpherson's Rant - As chosen by Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee - Muckle Sang - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Zwabesho Sibisi - Angihambe - As chosen by Wounded Knee

Wounded Knee - The Old Main Drag - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Wounded Knee - The Herring Road - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Alasdair Roberts - Firewater - As chosen by Wounded Knee

Blood Relatives - Dead Hip
Camera Obscura - Fifth In Line To The Throne
Quickbeam - Grace

Cover Lover - Cleavers - Transmission

Trapped In Kansas - Collapse Rebuild
The Pastels - Illuminum Song
Algernon Doll - Anti-them
Poor Things - Ice Cream
Boards Of Canada - Reach For The Dead

Re-Mixing It Up - Bwani Junction - Civil War (Discopolis Remix)

Song Of Return - Trapped Inside The Night
We're Only Afraid Of NYC - Blood
A Fight You Can't Win - Burning Sky

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction - 29th May 2013 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Is the Scottish Album of the Year Award in tune with popular taste?

On last night's STV Scotland Tonight, a panel including Ministry of Sound DJ Rebecca Vasmant; a member of the awards judging panel; the musician Aidan Moffat who, along with Bill Wells, won last year's Scottish Album of the Year award for Everything's Getting Older; and the Daily Record showbiz journalist Bev Lyons, discussed the announcement of The SAY Award shortlist.

The override theme of the 8 minute slot was the exclusion of two artists, Calvin Harris and Emeli Sande, and the idea the The SAY Award is out of tune with popular taste, a theme it must be said was mainly pushed by panelist Bev Lyons and to some extent directed in that way by the production team and host Rona Dougall.

I question why the faux uproar has arising now and who it is actually coming from?  It seems like an excuse for the media to focus on two acts they know rather than turn the spotlight onto ten lesser know acts.  The judges were in a difficult place regarding these two albums.  Inclusion leads to calls of selling out and pandering to commercial sales, exclusion leads to calls of musical snobbery and elitism, as so elegantly put by Bev Lyons. 
Rebecca Vasmant gave a very good explanation of what the judges were looking for to include an album in the shortlist, namely a record which acts as an album as a whole, for the tracks to work together as one score, and not a collection of singles.  It is then on that basis, not sales, hit records, weeks in the top 10, fans, global success or any other criteria, which undoubtedly Harris and Sande have excelled in, that the awards shortlist must be based.

What I would say is that other than the judges it's unlikely that anyone has actually sat down and listened to all twenty long listed albums, therefore their judgement is at least in context of all the competition on a musical basis and in the scope of an 'album' rather than collection of hits, which both Sande and Harris' albums undoubtedly are.

Answering the question is The SAY Awards in tune with popular taste is such a complex beast it is almost impossible to answer.  The easiest way to tackle it though is to point out that The SAY Awards recognises and rewards artists irrespective of popular taste and has never pretended to be a Scottish version of the Brits. 

What I noticed from the STV programme is that Bev Lyons never once gave a credible reason as to why Calvin Harris or Emeli Sande should be on the list.  She mentions their worldwide success, yet doesn't actually argue why the music is worthy or frame their albums in the context which Rebecca Vasmant had stated the judges were working.  There's one point where she states, "it's a given" that one of the two albums would be included.  Why?  Justify yourself please?  The fact you and millions others like it, doesn't automatically make it a better album that the ten that have been picked.  To her credit Vasmant does state why the judges didn't include either album, namely they were a collection of hit singles rather than a fully produced well flowing body of work.

Aidan Moffat makes the exact same point I made on the blog last week, regarding the fact that Harris and Sande, and by extension their labels, didn't show any interest whatsoever in the award, and that given their large fanbase, they could have easily walked off with the public vote.  You could argue in a way that The SAY Award organisers gave the public a vote to avoid accusations of industry snobbery, and that the two acts who would have undoubtedly scored best chose to snub that completely. 

Lyons, tries to argue that smaller bands rally together to get votes, as to why Harris and Sande's albums didn't win the public vote, although she does later concede that they didn't garner the support they should have without admitting that was generally because they didn't appear to care.  Let's put this into perspective here.  The Twilight Sad have just under 13,500 followers on Twitter.  Emeli Sande has approximately 900,000 and Calvin Harris has over 2.1 million.  You do the math.  The simple reason that Emeli Sande and Calvin Harris didn't win the public vote was because neither cared a jot to publicise their involvement.

Then comes the accusation of "elitism and inverse snobbery", which Lyons tried to assure us she doesn't want to accuse of happening, despite doing exactly that.  Have a look at the judges.  Tell me that there's not a diverse spectrum of tastes, experience, and culture in there.

"Should it not be changed to the Indie Music Album Of The Year?" quips Lyon.  No it shouldn't.  As Vasmant goes on to stress, again, it was based purely on the music.  Within the shortlist there is folk, electronica, pop, dance, hip-hop, traditional, indie, and rock influences.  The longlist again expands on that further.  By making this comment, Lyons herself, is exposed as possessing the kind of 'inverse snobbery' she accuses the judges of holding, by classing anything not 'mainstream' as indie or 'weird'. 

What annoyed me about this short programme, other than Lyon's air of entitlement and interruption of the other guests, was the fact that despite this being a celebration of 10 albums nominated for the title of Scottish Album of the Year for 2012, the focus rested on the people who needed it least.  So let's put a full stop at the end of this topic, and finish this post with a track from each of the shortlisted album.  A huge congratulations to each artist, and also to the ten artists who didn't make the shortlist, and I hope that the coming weeks brings increased attention, and sales, to their music.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

The SAY Award - Short List

Announced earlier this evening at a ceremony at the CCA in Glasgow, here are the 10 albums that have been chosen for the short list for The Scottish Album Of The Year Award 2012.  Each short listed artist receives £1,000, and the final winner will be announced during the award ceremony at the Barrowlands on 20th June.  Congratulations to all!

Admiral Fallow - 'Tree Bursts In Snow'
Django Django - 'Django Django'
Human Don't Be Angry - 'Human Don't Be Angry'
Karine Polwart - 'Traces'
Lau - 'Race The Loser'
Meursault - 'Something For The Weakened'
Paul Buchanan - 'Mid Air'
RM Hubbert - 'Thirteen Lost & Found'
Stanley Odd - 'Reject'
The Twilight Sad  - 'No One Can Ever Know' (winner of the public vote)

That's My Jam #19 - Blood Relatives - Dead Hip

Renaming yourself is the in thing right now.  Following on the heels of the Midnight Lion transformation into Prides, Kitty The Lion has transmogrified into Blood Relatives.  Perhaps there may be some sharing of PR tactics going on, both bands have a Detour lad managing them, and share a member in the form of Callum.

Anyway, to celebrate the relaunch, which reflects the changing sounds that Kitty The Lion have been through over the years, Blood Relatives uncovered the stunning 'Dead Hip'.  A pop ditty that swells and soars in all the right places, oozing catchiness and has been marinated in the juices of Kid Canaveral, I challenge you to listen to this once, and NOT be singing it for hours on end.

We're Only Here For The Banter - Atomic League

Proving once again that Glasgow is full of musicians and producers making sweet sounding electronic music is Shaun Canning, a.k.a. Atomic League.  Having done the whole 'band' thing earlier in his musical journey, Shaun now makes gorgeous chilled out grooves, the kind that deserve a sunset and drink in hand to match the vibe.  Have a read at what goes on behind the scenes in Atomic League HQ.

Hello, how are you?

I’m great thanks.  I’m just currently working on my EP at the minute and the sun is shining which is a rarity in Glasgow so all is good.

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

I would describe the music I make as melodic electronica with an emphasis on creating melody on classical instruments such as piano and harps and then merging it in with some bassy synth noises and electronic drums.  It's hard to name influences without forgetting a few because there are so many, but firstly Radiohead played a big part in inspiring me to do something different and more original musically through my teens and up until now . I was lucky enough to go to their gig at Glasgow Green a few years ago and the atmosphere they create just blew my mind and made me realise all I wanted to do was music.  Another major influence for me would be Philip Glass and Yann Tiersen and the intense emotions which they create through melody and its something I strive to achieve on each track I write and produce.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

It tends to involve a lot of late night experimenting with loads of different sounds.  I’ll sometimes sit and write melodies on the piano and then take them to other instruments to find the right sound.  After the melody is created I start to think about percussion and drums and finding the right beat to work with the melody.  I always feel if the melody is strong, its difficult to go wrong with the drums and the other parts tend to fall into place.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

I had my first live show in April with the Finnish band KXP and it was great to finally get the tunes out to a live audience.  The live set up involves a friend of mine Michael on drums and me just tinkering away on the keyboard playing the lead parts and mixing loops.  If you come to a live show in the future you can expect to feel really chilled out and then quite excited and then really chilled out followed finally by a finaly flurry of excitement not to give the show away.

You've got the same management as fellow electronic melody maker Miaoux Miaoux. Is it inspiring to see how his music has grown and is now nominated for The SAY Awards?

It really is and I have to say I’m glad I finally managed to catch one his live shows a few weeks back as it was brilliant.  He is definitely one I can see becoming huge this year as, although he has had some recognition, he definitely deserves more on a massive scale for the talent he possesses.

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

I think so far being played on Radio 1 for me was fantastic and gave me a lot of confidence that I’m doing something right and making progress.

What have you got planned for 2013?

I just intend to keep progressing in terms of my producing and my music and I’m planning my first release very very soon, which I’m buzzing about.  I’m always looking to improve though with every song I do, I work really hard to make it better than the last.

Who would win in a fight? Atomic League or Atomic Kitten?

I think if it was the original trio with Kerry Katona involved they'd win all day long as she just seems a bit mental.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

I heard a band the other week called Le Thug and they’ve got a great sound.  They were playing with my mates in Machines In Heaven who are also on the Piggyback management roster.  Machines In Heaven are another band who deserve greatness.  Great EP and a brilliant live band, and they're playing T In The Park this year as well.  Plus they’ve got that synth-y magician Magic Daddy playing with them, who is rumoured to be a distant relative of Puff.  What more could you ask for!

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

I like this joke because it reminds me of my current situation:

“I have enough money to last me the rest of my life… Unless I buy something" - Jackie Mason

Check out more from Atomic League

Facebook          Twitter          Wesbite 


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

That's My Jam #17 - Giant Fang - Aqualung

Aaaaaaah it's a Giant Fang!  Oh wait, it's not some kind of monstrous tooth, it's Glasgow musician and producer Douglas Wilson.  And rather than being big and bloodsucking, this Giant Fang sticks bloody great sounds like 'Aqualung' on the internet.  Although this track has been about for a few months, it's getting a release on 23rd June via POP unLTD

Wailing guitars and soaring synths punctuate the extended intro.  Wilson's vocal are at their strongest during the emphatic chorus and you can picture him wailing "the sun" over and over again, whilst spinning round in open field with the sun belting down.  The track has that 'freedom-of-the-summer' vibe and flavoured by the influence of M83.  Result!

Monday, 27 May 2013

That's My Jam #16 - CHVRCHES - Gun

Yes yes oh yah!  I'll spare the intro as you all know who the 'U' hating trio are.  CHVRCHES have dropped another new track 'Gun' which is due for release on 15th July, digitally and as a 12" vinyl complete with remixes.  Pushing forward with the big '80's sound, heavy drum machines, lush synth melodies, and some darker than usual lyrics; "and it's you I'll come for"; made dreamy by Lauren's vocals.  There's actually quite a shift in the feel and pace of this track from the bass-tastic start to the euphoric pop fade out.  Way to put more daylight between yourselves and all the other pedallers of synth-pop guys.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

That's My Jam #15 - Quickbeam - Grace

Ahead of the launch of their self titled début album Quickbeam have made this track, 'Grace', available to download for free.  The track is a piano led lesson in how to make stunning atmospheric music.  Soft vocals are woven into the wonderfully arranged track, which swells up and bursts like a balloon as the song goes on.  Quickbeam have dispelled the myth that to make music like this you have to be Icelandic and sing in made up languages.  Have a listen, it'll probably be the must beautiful thing you hear all day.

Quickbeam's debut album 'Quickbeam' is released via Comets & Cartwheels on 3rd June.  The album launch takes place at Govanhill Baths on 31st May.  Full details here.

Friday, 24 May 2013

King Tut's Summer Nights 2013 - Line Up Announced!

Returning again to colour the summer months with music is Summer Nights, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut's annual run of gigs during July, and it's packed with some enticing line-ups.  Particular Scottish Fiction favourites already are the singer-songwriter love in on 25th July, with Michael Cassidy headlining, Fake Major, Campfires In Winter and Kevin Harper make the gig on 29th July unmissable, and there's an electro-pop stramash on 30th July where you can see Prides.  There's also some 'TBC' spots to be filled so things can always get more exciting! 

And some joker called Scottish Fiction is doing a Bar DJ set on 24th July.  Sounds ominous.

Full line up is below, and tickets are already available here

Thursday 18th July - The Recovery! + Press To Meco + Bear Arms + Shores Of Attica *over 14s
Bar DJ: Diamond and Anchor /// Midnight Guest: What The Blood Revealed

Friday 19th July - Sunshine Social + Cherri Fosphate + Johnny Jack + Tujuana Bibles
Bar DJ: Last Year's Girl /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Saturday 20th July - TeKlo + Roman Nose + The Mighty Cream + Darc
Bar DJ: Milk /// Midnight Guest: Temazo

Sunday 21st July - Alarm Bells + Axes + Vasa + Below Bellow
Bar DJ: TBC/// Midnight Guest: Carnivores

Monday 22nd July - Taffy + The Modests + The Clock
Bar DJ: TYCI /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Tuesday 24rd July - Sienna + The Youth and the Young + Critters
Bar DJ: Scottish Fiction /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Wednesday 24th July - So Many Animal Calls + Wolves at Heart + Baltimore League *over 14's
Bar DJ: Fish In A Sub /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Thursday 25th July - Michael Cassidy + Sam Fender + Little Fire + Ryan Joseph Burns
Bar DJ: Pop Cop /// Midnight Guest: Honeyblood

Friday 26th July - The OK Social Club + A Plastic Rose + Model Jet Pilot + Huevo and the Giant
Bar DJ: TBC /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Saturday 27th July - SOS + The Little Illusions + The Moon Kids + The Holy Ghosts
Bar DJ: TBC /// Midnight Guest: Father Sculptor

Sunday 28th July - Departures + Salo + Owls In Antarctica
Bar DJ: TBC /// Midnight Guest: Citagazi

Monday 29th July - Fake Major + Campfires In Winter + Kevin Harper
Bar DJ: Scottish Scribbler /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Tuesday 30th July - Prides + Discopolis + Plum
Bar DJ: Fantastic Man /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Wednesday 31st July - Waiting For Go + + The Streams + Model Aeroplanes + Redolent *over 14s Bar
DJ: Tenement TV /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Thursday 1st August - Arches + Finding Albert + Minor Delilah
Bar DJ: Tenement TV /// Midnight Guest: TBC

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The SAY Awards - Calvin & Emeli: Too Big To Care?

"I want as many people as possible to hear about as many of these albums as possible ... so getting a plug from artists with their following would be a real bonus."  The words of SAY Awards organiser Stewart Henderson when speaking with The Pop Cop upon the unveiling of The SAY Award 2012 long list.  The artists he is referring to are global stars Emeli Sande and Calvin Harris, both of whom have an album, 'Our Version Of Events' and '18 Months' respectively, nominated for the overall prize of £20,000 and honour of being crowned the best Scottish album of 2012.

Stewart does go on to state that any decision to plug the awards is the choice of the artist, a very diplomatic statement indeed.  Yet I think it's fair to say that Stewart, along with those who support, fund and organise the awards, were hoping for some positive coverage and some acknowledgement from two of pop musics biggest stars.  Indeed I commented on a previous Scottish Fiction radio show, that were even a fraction of Calvin Harris' and Emeli Sande's fanbase to discover some of the other artists on the long list simply through curiosity of what the awards are all about, it would be a major success for promoting Scottish music.

For that to happen though, the two artists in question would need to mention it to their fans.

Now I'm willing to be corrected on this, but after spending some considerable time trawling through both artists Facebook, Twitter and official websites, there's not a single mention from either, or their management/PR, that their albums have been included for this award.

Perhaps they don't like to boast?  Modesty, after all can be very becoming of a music superstar.  Yet with mentions of Ivor Novello success from both, plus endless plugs regarding recent Brit Awards won (Sande) and the amount of number ones from the album (Harris), it appears that's not the case.

Could it perhaps be, that both artists, either intentionally or otherwise, don't see this as something important enough to devote even a Facebook or Twitter post to?  Again, the publicity that the awards could gain out of it is huge.  Calvin Harris' Facebook account has 2.25 million 'Likes', and his Twitter account has 2.3 million followers.  Emeli Sande clocks in at a very impressive 816,000 Facebook 'Likes' and 991,000 followers on Twitter.  Given that there's bound to be a high amount of crossover between the artists Facebook and Twitter fans, plus shared fans too, you'd be looking at potentially 3 million plus people WORLDWIDE seeing a post, perhaps with link to the website, acknowledging The SAY Award nomination.  Considering that the next biggest online fanbase for any of the remaining 18 artists is Django Django, who have 81,000 Facebook 'Likes' and 21,000 Twitter followers, this should illustrate how small some of the other artists, all of whom as far as I can tell have mentioned the awards, are.

Now clearly neither Sande or Harris need £20,000.  Nor are they I imagine particularly bothered about whether they can add SAY Award winner to the list of accolades both albums already have.  (Although the cynic in me thinks should either win, they won't be shy in letting people know).  And further to that I don't think either album will win, or is expected to win.  Quite frankly there are much better albums on the long list, and I wouldn't be surprised to see both dropped from the final shortlist of 10.  (The public vote may decide otherwise.)  What is disappointing is that neither have taken the slightest opportunity to acknowledge the nomination or promote grass roots music in the country they have their roots in. 

It's a sad affair, and perhaps highlights all too well, the problems facing Scottish musicians as a whole.  Outside of our very supportive own bubble of labels, funding bodies, blogs, press, and DJ's, hardly anyone cares.  And when those from within do become big enough for people to care about, they seem to adopt the same attitude.  Ah well, while Emeli tweets from LA, and Calvin Instagrams from London, I'll be happy to shake the hands of RM Hubbert, Julian Corrie, Dave Hook a.k.a Solareye, Philip, Matt and Josh from PAWS, Louis Abbot from Admiral Fallow.  They, and their fellow musicians who struggle against a London-centric industry, yet still create such varied and wonderful music and art are the real heroes of Scottish music.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Gig Plug, Gig Plug, Gig Plug

This Saturday, Lloyd, Jim and I gather once more for a blogger's gig, which this time round will be in Broadcast on Sauchiehall Street.

It'd be really good of you to come along, and as well as giving the three of us a feel good glow, you'll also let yourself be treated to these delights!

Colin's Godson are an entity all on to themselves.  Fabulous fun, great sense of humour and not bad at the old music malarky either.

Garden Of Elks released a new EP.  Today.  It's so good that Fleetwood Mac are ripping it off.  Saturday's gig is the official launching of said EP, and you can buy it straight from their hands.

The last gig The Spook School played a Scottish Fiction gig they sported some rather fetching football tops.  Maybe they'll do that again on Saturday.  You'll only know if you come along.  One thing they'll definety do is play quirky, C86 styled jangly pop.  Lots of it.

Tickets are £6 and available online here or purchased at the door.  Doors are from 8pm.

Incidently you can also grab a bundle ticket package for this gig and our June gig right here.

Gig Review - Stag & Dagger 2013

Returning for its fifth year in Glasgow, Stag & Dagger 2013 boasted all the bravado and swagger of a really well run festival that knows how to have a good time.  Perhaps there wasn’t the same calibre of international artists, which have played in previous years, (think Warpaint, White Denim, Milk Music) but don’t let that fool you into thinking the standards were anything other than outstanding.

As usual the festival spread its wares out over multiple venues in the city centre, and with the owners of the now defunct Captain’s Rest moving to the recently opened Broadcast, you could easily have re-branded the day ‘The Sauchiehall Street Festival’.  Along side Broadcast, it’s neighbours Nice N Sleazy’s, The Art School, ABC1 & 2 and CCA, the Renfield Lane based Stereo completed the venue line up.   Big tick for saving me walking great distances.  Shame about the rain though.

Opening up proceedings at the ABC2 were the endearing Kitty The Lion, who drew an impressive crowd eager to check out their brass laden set.  At the core of Kitty’s appeal is the feel good folk music that is given a pop reboot, creating insanely catchy melodies and leaving the crowd warmed in spirit and momentarily forgetting the dreich downpour outside.

With a bit of downtime before Fake Major took to the stage at the CCA, and with no desire to go back outside, there was time to check out South Londoners Filthy Boy.  It’s a tell-tale sign of my ageing that the first, and lasting, thought I had was how young these lads looked.  Lead singer Paraic Morrissey, growled Nick Cave baked vocals, whilst the band strained at the leash, treading that line between keeping in check the dark ‘60’s rock and roll vibe and the feeling that at any point they were going to let loose in a orgy of noise.

Over in the cultured setting of the CCA, Fake Major, duo Richard Ferguson and David McGinty were justifying just why they had been named on the 16 strong list for this year’s T-Break stage at T in the Park.  Their PR material bills them as a four armed singer-songwriter, and it’s the most apt description one can give when trying to explain how linked and connected their performance is.  Every string strummed, every harmony sung, is completely synced and complements the other perfectly.  My companion for the evening remarked they possessed the kind of musical synchronicity last seen by a certain Messrs Simon and Garfunkel.  New tracks, such as ‘Little Researcher’, sit side by side with Endor favourites such as ‘Chapel Doors’.  “I said I loved you and isn’t that enough?” muse the duo on the latter of those tracks, displaying the kind of emotional yearning that sweep the crowd along, hanging on each and every word.

‘Technical difficulties’ meant a much latter than billed stage time for electro-pop trio Prides at The Art School.  Hopefully that didn’t lead to people missing them as along with Fake Major, they were the undoubted standouts of the day.  It’s not often that a band comes along and so early on is able to deliver a complete package.  Live show, tightly worked instrumentation, and blistering vocal delivery wrapped up in so much heart and belief, it was impossible not to be in awe.   Now some will rightly point out that Prides are themselves a rebirth of the band Midnight Lion, so technically aren’t brand new.  Fair enough, but with this being only their third live set, and with most of the packed venue singing back the choral hooks of set closure ‘Out Of The Blue’, it’s evident that Prides have gone about things in the right way.  With a tip from CHVRCHES, and airplay across several BBC Radio One shows already, (plus a certain community radio station too), you’ll be hearing a lot more of their striking drums, shimmering synths and anthemic electronica.

Returning to the venue they headlined back in December 2011, and also back in 2010 as part of that year’s Stag & Dagger festival, We Were Promised Jetpacks strode onto the stage at ABC1 hell bent on enjoying themselves.   I’ve seen the band four times previously, witnessing their always impressive live set grow in stature.  With no new material since last 2011’s sophomore effort ‘In The Pit Of The Stomach’ their set consisted of fan favourites played with unyielding fury and intensity.  Mixing nerve-endingly raw emotions with maxed up guitars, it’s the perfect end to what has been a wonderful opportunity to revel in what Scotland does best.  Music.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

We're Only Here For The Banter - Luca

Having spent much of 2012 rehearsing, gigging and honing their sound, 2013 has seen Luca kick on from that point with the release of a mini album, 'Sectioned' showcasing a fine tuned alternative/post-punk sound.  I grabbed the a quick chat with the Glasgow four piece.  Have a read below.

Hello, how are you?

We're very well, thank you.

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

We make music that we would want to hear, taking little bits of inspiration from everywhere.  We're big fans of bands like Brand New, Interpol and The Twilight Sad, they're probably amongst the biggest indicators of our sound.  We try not to narrow ourselves to alt rock inspirations, everyone loves a meaty riff or a great synth line so we'll probably experiment with different sounds soon as well.

What's your song writing process like?

It's a nightmare a lot of the time!  Often one person will start with a small part, a chord progression or riff, and then we just go from there and add in parts until we're satisfied.  Unfortunately with us, that can take an awful long time.  Other times everything will come together extremely quickly.  We've had songs done in a week and then songs still sitting about unfinished months later, but we get there in the end.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

We try to create an atmosphere that matches our music, punctuated with flurries of activity.  We're not big talkers on stage, really.  We'd rather play an extra song than have 4 or 5 minutes of banter, let our music do the talking for us.

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

Finally releasing our mini album after it being a year in the making was a great feeling.  To actually have a physical product out there (along with our 3 video story arc) that we can all be proud of and show off to people feels great.

What have you got planned for 2013?

Our mini album 'Sectioned' came out on May 1st and we played a few dates around that around the country.  Next up for us is supporting Chapel Club on June 4th in The Art School and then continuing work on new material.  We have other things lined up as well, but we've been sworn to secrecy so that's as much as I can say.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

We all love Childish Gambino, anything Donald Glover is involved in is just fantastic.  In terms of newer bands, Mono Six, Blindfolds and the Cairn String Quartet are all Scottish acts to look out for and New York's MS MR have really caught our ear too.

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

Q: How do you turn a duck into a soul singer?
A: Put it in the microwave until it's Bill Withers

Check out more from Luca

Facebook          Twitter         Website

That's My Jam #14 - We're Only Afraid Of NYC - Blood

There's something quite special about seeing a band progress from that giddy stage of writing and recording songs and instantly sticking them up on Bandcamp for people to hear, to the precise and calculated move of recording their début album.  We're Only Afraid Of NYC have made that step, and after four EP's worth of material, the are releasing their album 'Patterns' on 24th May.  Leading the charge for that album is 'Blood'.  Emphatic alternative rock, the blowout towards the end of the track is up there with anything Biffy have written.  Head-bangingly good.

Friday, 17 May 2013

T-Break Lineup 2013

Cue industry bitching, sniping, and moaning, side by side with actual anticipation to what is generally the best stage at T In The Park.  Yes folks it's the T-Break stage!

The 16 acts playing across the stage on Saturday and Sunday at this year's 20th T In The Park have been announced.  Further details regarding day splits and times will be announced in due time, right now, let's just salivate at the prospect of some good music on the T bill.

My tuppence worth... Machines In Heaven and Poor Things are two of the most exciting bands about, Vasa, and Honeyblood will rip your ears and hearts open with wonderful noise, Hector Bizerck are making some of Scotland's finest hip-hop beats and Michael Cassidy and Fake Major are not to be missed for some brilliantly crafted indie with folk leanings.


Fake Major
Hector Bizerk
Machines In Heaven
Michael Cassidy
Poor Things
Pronto Mama
Sunshine Social
The Merrylees
The Velveteen Saints
Waiting For Go

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 15th May 2013

Kicking off another packed show this week was the charming Charlie and Charlotte of King Post Kitsch, who very kindly joined me in the studio.  And with the three tracks they chose to play during the session, they are welcome back any time!  There's nothing quite like an intimate acousitc session, and the three tracks the pair performed live in the studio were simply magnificent.  In between discovering them during the show, there's chat about an upcoming new album too.

I also continued down The SAY Award rabbit hole, with another five tracks taken from long listed albums.  The Aye Tune Friday Freebie track this week comes from Cuddly Shark, while it's a Fence Records extravaganza with the Re-Mixing It Up track.  All that and plenty of chat and tunes about this Saturday's Stag & Dagger festival in Glasgow.  Ta-ra.

David Bowie - Always Crashing In The Same Car - As chosen by King Post Kitsch

King Post Kitsch - Fante's Last Stand - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

Can - Vitamin C - As chosen by King Post Kitsch

King Post Kitsch - Blood And Glitter - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

King Post Kitsch - Walking On Eggshells - Live in Pulse 98.4 FM Studio

John Cale - Fear Is A Man's Best Friend - As chosen by King Post Kitsch

Rachel Sermanni - The Fog

Re-Mixing It Up - The Pictish Trail - Wait Until (Kate Canaveral Remix)

Duncan Chisholm - Big Archie
RM Hubbert feat. Aidan Moffat & Alex Kapranos - Car Song
Meursault - Flittin'
The Unwinding Hours - Wayward
Dam Mantle - Canterbury Pt. 1
Prides - Out Of The Blue

Aye Tunes Friday Freebie - Cuddly Shark - Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind

United Fruit - Taste I Can't Give Up
We Were Promised Jetpacks - It's Thunder And It's Lightning

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction - 15th May 2013 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Thursday, 9 May 2013

That's My Jam #13 - Adam Stafford - Please

On Wednesday 26th June the live guest on the Scottish Fiction radio show will be one of the finest Scottish musicians and one of my favourite artists of past couple of years, Adam Stafford.  He's on the cusp of releasing a new album on the Song By Toad Records label in July this year, and preceding that is the first single 'Please' which is out now.

Effortless combining elements of soul and Motown into laid back rock, it's so gloriously pleasing it beggars belief at how easy it seems.  The little inflections in Stafford's strained refrains of 'please' relay passion and the soul coated guitar solo towards the end of the track just kills me. 

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 8th May 2013

Another week, another dose of new Scottish music... Scottish Fiction style.  Might actually try come up with a dance for that and become a YouTube sensation.  Or not.  Anyway, back to the music, and this week you'll hear some stunning tracks from Discopolis, Hector Bizerk, Finn LeMarinel, Sparrow And The Workshop and more.  Aye Tunes Friday Freebie returns after a few weeks away, and Cover Lover, Re-Mixing It Up and Tweet-a-track all pop up too.

Week two of looking at The SAY Award Long List means another five albums, with a track from each.  This week it's the turn of Emeli Sande - 'Our Version Of Events', Errors - 'Have Some Faith In Magic', Paul Buchanan - 'Mid Air', Django Django - 'Django Django' and Human Don't Be Angry - 'Human Don't Be Angry'.

Sparrow And The Workshop - The Faster You Spin
Mogwai - Special N
Sacred Paws - Falling Over

Aye Tunes Friday Freebie - GUMS! - Luckless Days

The Deep Red Sky - Look On Your Face
Seams - Eight
Sonic Heart Foundation - Northern Lights
Errors - Pleasure Palace
Emeli Sande - Heaven
Human Don't Be Angry - Monologue: River
Django Django - Default
Paul Buchanan - After Dark
Finn LeMarinel - Garden
Adam Stafford - Please
Dead Sea Souls - Brave

Cover Lover - Trapped In Kansas - I'm Not Alone

Hector Bizerk - Orchestrate
Discopolis - Falling (Committed To Sparkle Motion) [Axwell Radio Edit]
Holobeams - Colour Motion

Re-Mixing It Up - Nevada Base - Foresight (Magic Daddy Quantum Enmanglement)

Sharfla - Build A Wall
The 10:04's - Throes

Tweet-a-track - Black International - The Sky's Falling In - As chosen by @ElecCompMusic

Three Blind Wolves - Gold On The Cross
Tijuana Bibles - Howlin' Moon

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We're Only Here For The Banter - Dear Lara

It's a bit of a singer songwriter cliché these days really.  Broken relationship, head to a log cabin/secluded island/hut in the middle of nowhere/delete as appropriate, write some songs.  Yet when it produces music as heartfelt and stripped back as 'Plans', the EP which was born of Dear Lara's recent recordings, then it can be cliched all it wants!

Hello, how are you?

Hi, I’m a little sleepy because I’m just in from work but well thanks.  Hope you’re good.

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

My solo music came about sort of by accident.  I had found myself in some sort of post university crisis, just been laid off from my job, realised that I had to finish my band because I was the only one who cared anymore, and try get over a breakup which ended for the same reason.  This cheery sequence of events made me decide to pack up and go travelling for a few months, just pretending I was a Glasgow uni student finding themselves on their ‘gap year’ around Asia until the money ran out.  One of the first things I did after arriving was buy a little kids classical guitar at a market.  Between reflecting on what I had left back home and my new beach bum lifestyle, I started writing these songs which had a different feel to anything I’d done before.  I get inspired to write songs by listening to great music by other artists, but it’s the things that happen to me, the places I visit and my relationships / experiences with people which influence my music completely.  Really, my songs are just simple, hopefully, relaxing acoustic songs to fall asleep or something to.  You really can’t really dance to them unfortunately.  Sway at most.

What's your song writing process like?

New songs will generally be like a snapshot of whatever I’m going through at that particular time.  I’ll be inspired to write a song by odd things like a view from the top of a mountain, the feeling I get when I’m travelling somewhere alone for the first time, or a scene in a movie which cripples you with nostalgia.  Just anything that makes me feel something.  I’ll normally scribble down a lyric on my hand or a bit of paper and then hopefully it will snowball from there.  I’ll end up with a pile of messy notes with awful handwriting which I’ll decipher into something that reads like a sort of poem.  A singing melody and guitar always seems to work themselves out after that, but the focus is definitely on the lyrics to begin with.  I think it’s important I try and keep things natural.  I never sit down and decide to write a song.  I want it to be from a real moment of inspiration or genuine feeling.

Your recent EP 'Plans' was recorded in a loch side cabin. What was the experience like?

Just brilliant, I had such a good time.  I still can’t really believe it all worked out and went to plan.  I always had the sound I wanted in my head and initially tried recording a demo at a little studio but it just never seemed right to me.  It just seemed to lack the intimacy or character I was looking for.  Home recordings got me closer to the sound I wanted, but it got frustrating when I’d have to keep scrapping takes because of a freight truck going by or a flatmate cooking a pie in the microwave.  I heard how one of my favourite artists, Fionn Regan, went to this log cabin and recorded his newest album by himself with one microphone and that started a little pipe dream in my head.  After a few chats with my friends, Jodie Laird and Steven Forrest, we found a cheap offer and headed up to Loch Awe with a guitar, microphone, and a bunch of fairy lights to see what happened.  The whole experience was a giant learning curve with a lot of trial and error as none of us really knew what we were doing.  The place was incredibly beautiful and it was amazing being able to take a walk through the woods to the loch under moonlight before sitting down and recording a song.  It was just a great, relaxed and comfortable vibe with no pressure and I think that came through in the recordings.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Some old, pretty guitar and someone unworthy playing it.  I have a bad habit filling my set time with silly stories about the songs but apart from that I’ll try my best to play them with feeling and keep it organic by mixing up the setlist depending on how the audience is reacting.  I throw in the odd unexpected cover once in a blue moon too.

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

I think just finishing the EP.  It’s a collection of all my first songs which always felt like they belonged together.

What have you got planned for 2013?

I just hope to get the chance to play some good gigs to more people, hopefully some outside of Glasgow too.  I have enough new songs to record another little EP… but we’ll see what happens.

What other artists (Scottish or not) would you recommend to the Scottish Fiction readers?

A brilliant singer-songwriter and friend of mine is Michael Timmons who creates beautifully ambient music which is incredible live.  You can’t really believe the wall of sound is coming from one guy.  One of my all time favourite bands who I still can’t believe got dropped by their label were the Irish band The Thrills.  They were the closest thing to a modern Beach Boys for me and the honesty and melodies in Conor Deasy’s lyrics definitely had a huge impact on a 15 year old me hearing their first album.

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

I went to a seaside disco last night.  Pulled a muscle.

Check out more from Dear Lara

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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

That's My Jam #12 - Finn LeMarinel - Garden

Finn LeMarinel's album 'Violence', released last year on RM Hubbert's Ubisano label is getting a dust down a bigger scale release by the brawsome folks over at Glasgow label Comets & Cartwheels.  Ahead of the full scale release, comes lead single 'Garden'.  Flamenco guitar which keeps a hypnotic beat, rhythmic hand clapping, and real depth of feeling in the vocals, 'Garden' is a fine reminder of why this album deserves a bigger audience.

Friday, 3 May 2013

That's My Jam #11 - Electric Gardens - Sparrow

Since their inception a few months ago Glasgow based indie label Electric Company have thrown out some seriously good tunes to us grateful music fans.  The latest comes from Glasgow quartet Electric Gardens (gets confusing this), who have been around gigging Glasgow for a while but haven't put out much music so far.  If this then is the first foray into proper releases it's a most welcome start.  Gritty blues rock, with some serious guitar shredding going down mid way through, and woozy vocals woven over the top.  "Got my eyes on you" they croon.  Which is exactly what you should do to Electric Gardens.

The single will be available for free download on 14th May via

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 1st May 2013

With The SAY Award Long List being announced last Thursday, it's time to start delving into the albums themselves starting with Admiral Fallow, Lau, Stanley Odd, PAWS and The Twilight Sad.  There's a track from each plus chat about the albums in this week's podcast.  There's sunshine promised this weekend, and we run over the line up for Brew At The Bog on Saturday 4th May, with bands such as Fake Major and Cherri Fosphate getting a play during the show.  And there's chat about Boards Of Canada, amidst the announcement we've all been waiting for... NEW ALBUM!

Woven amongst this there's music from Young Fathers, Nevada Base, Baby Strange, The Machine Room, a 'Cover Lover' track from Three Blind Wolves and a 'Re-Mixing It Up' track from Bwani Junction.  Tuck in!

Captains - Lips That Touch Liquor Don't Touch Mine
Cherri Fosphate - Wool
The Spook School - Cameraman
Boards Of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
Nevada Base - Foresight
Electric Gardens - Sparrow

Tweet -a-track - The Aliens - Magic Man - As chosen by @drunkmule

James Yorkston - Spanish Ants
Lau - Throwing Pennies
Admiral Fallow - Guest Of The Government
PAWS - Catherine 1956
The Twilight Sad - Sick
Stanley Odd - Marriage Counselling
Young Fathers - I Heard

Re-Mixing It Up - Bwani Junction - Civil War (Lyer Remix)

His Name Is Codeine - Shoot To Kill
Baby Strange - Pure Evil
Mad Nurse - Violent Dreams
Rainbow Dissolve - False Counsellor
The Machine Room - Sweden
Thirty Pounds Of Bone - The Truth Of The Matter

Cover Lover - Three Blind Wolves - Thrasher

Wake The President - Bill Drummond
Fake Major - Love In The Mundane

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction - 1st May 2013 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud