Thursday, 20 February 2014

Album Review - Mogwai - Rave Tapes

The concept of growing old gracefully has clearly passed Mogwai by.  Whilst they may not be as fierce as they once were, eight studio album Rave Tapes shows that Mogwai have lost none of their power and indeed contains some of their most awe inspiring music yet.

When Remurdered first appeared last year as the first glimpse at the band's new material they sounded like they'd invaded Kraftwerk's Kling Klang studios and forced the synths to mate with their guitars.  That song sets out the stall nicely for the whole album.

There are many Krautrock influences apparent here from the brilliant opener Heard About You Last Night through to Deesh's drones and beats and the album overall mixes the band's trademark power with analogue electronics and almost ambient parts to create a marvellous piece of work.  Amongst the intensity there are glimpses of light too be it in the Simple Simon like intro Simon Ferocious which surely is a computer somewhere saying the track's name or in the uplifting and beautiful closer The Lord Is Out Of Control.

Long may Mogwai reign.

- David McElroy

Mogwai - Rave Tapes is out now on Rock Action Records.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

TeenCanteen - Scottish Fiction Session - Videos

If you are a lover of sweet female harmonies, sunshine coated pop, and sugar sweet melodies then TeenCanteen are right up your street.  Joining me in the Pulse 98.4 studio just before Christmas, the band performed some wonderful session tracks and shared their love of all things pop. 

Below are videos for session tracks, 'How We Met (Cherry Pie)', 'Honey' and 'Friends'.  Enjoy, and check out YouTube page for all session video

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 12th February 2013

e-he-he-ell!  What a show lies in store for you here!  Live session guests in the shape of Audrey and Louie from Hector Bizerk, who played some amazing acoustic versions of tracks from the latest album Nobody Seen Nothing.  Plus new music from the likes of Call To Mind, Poor Things, IndianRedLopez, Wecamefromwolves and more!  It's a party, and you're all invited!

Call To Mind - Breathe

Hector Bizerk - Espange In The Works (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)

The Police - Message In A Bottle - As chosen by Hector Bizerk

Hector Bizerk - Colombus (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)

Immortal Technique - You Never Know (feat. Jean Grae)

Hector Bizerk - Party At A&E (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)

Wecamefromwolves - Paradise Place
Forest Fires - Patterns
Poor Things - Halcyon Days!
IndianRedLopez - No Longer Dying
The Strange Blue Dreams - Reverberatin' Love
Miasma - Goldberg
Two Wings - Peace Fear

#tweetatrack - Quickbeam - Seven Hundred Birds - As chosen by @distortion736

Le Thug - Pals
Blood Of The Bull - Bend Over
Bis - Rulers And The States
Young Fathers - I've Arrived

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Scottish BAMS 2013

The polls are closed, all the votes are counted and the winner of the 2013 Scottish BAMS (Bloggers and Music Sites) can now be revealed.  Voted for by 40 writers from 29 different blogs and music sites. your top 10 albums for 2013 looks a little like this...

1. CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe (Virgin)

2. Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)
3. Adam Stafford - Imaginary Walls Collapse (Sony, By Toad)
4. Rick Redbeard - No Selfish Heart (Chemikal Underground)
5. Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest (Warp)
6. The Pastels - Slow Summits (Domino)
7. The National - Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)
8. Steve Mason - Monkey Minds In The Devil's Time (Domino)
9. Kid Canaveral - Now That You Are A Dancer (Fence)
10. Fuck Buttons - Slow Focus (ATP Recordings)

Congratulations to Lauren, Iain and Doc for scooping the now legendary BAMS Buckfast trophy (intact with Buckfast Tonic Wine for celebration purposes!).  Also tip of the hat to Adam Stafford and Song, By Toad for the highest placed 'indie' release.

Head BAMS Mike (Manic Pop Thrills), Lloyd (Peenko) and Stuart (Is This Music?) managed to track the band down to Australia to get a few words:

Congratulations , you are this years' winners of the Scottish BAMS award, how does it feel?  

Thanks, guys.  We are not normally ones for prizes / shiny things, but it's dead nice to know the bloggers enjoyed the record.  You can all get a blast of the buckie.

2013 seems to have been a pretty exciting year for the band, what's been your personal highlights of the year? 

It was a busy year for us but we were really lucky to get the amount of support we did from people, and to play as many different gigs in as many different places as we did.  Supporting Depeche Mode and releasing the record were probably the pinnacles.

When you'd finished recording the album, how did it match up to your expectations?

Since we self-record and self-produce everything, we didn't sign off on anything until we were 100% happy with it, so I guess that means the album meets our expectations completely.

How important do you feel that the support of music blogs has been to the band? 

Without blogs and social networks, it is really unlikely that people would have heard of our band so quickly, and that is definitely one of the reasons we have been able to play so many different shows so early on in our career.  Thanks, bloggers - see you for Album Two.

Each BAM is asked to nominate their 10 favourite albums from 2013.  The lists are then compiled and ranked to produce the final top 10.  For a looksie at who Scottish Fiction nominated, check out our Top 20 Scottish Albums of 2013 post.  You might notice some similarity...

We at BAMS HQ like to think that the BAMS is to the Scottish Album of the Year Award as the Golden Globes is to the Oscars.  A casual glance at this year's Top 10 is enough to indicate that the creativity of the Scottish music scene will ensure that the SAY judges have a tough time in picking a final winner this year.  But few will bet against CHVRCHES repeating the success of Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat who won first the BAMS in 2011 then the inaugural SAY Award.  Will history repeat itself?  Only time will tell...

BAMS 2013 Facts

- 40 writers from 29 blogs and music sites voted for 164 different LPs as part of this year's voting.
- 66 of those LPs received 2 or more votes.
- The CHVRCHES LP featured in the Top 10 of 14 voters, compared to 12 for the runners-up Frightened Rabbit.
- 28 different LPs were given 1st preference votes.
- Only 5 LPs received more than 1 first preference - Frightened Rabbit, Adam Stafford, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Waxahatchee and Jason Isbell.
- The highest number of first preferences was 3 - for both Frightened Rabbit and Adam Stafford.
- 8 of the LPs which received first preference votes received no other votes!

Previous BAMS winners:

2009 - The Phantom Band – The Wants
2010 - The National – High Violet

2011 - Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – Everyone’s Getting Older
2012 - Meursault - Something for the Weakened

The 2013 BAMS:

Almost Predictable, Almost, Avalanche Records, Detour, Elba Sessions, Everything Flows, For Malcontents, Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly, Podcart, The Herald (Alan Morrison), Houdi, Is This Music?, Jock'n'roll, Jockrock, La Terrasse, Last Year's Girl, Manic Pop Thrills, Net Sounds Unsigned, The Pop Cop, Radar, Rave Child, Marion Scott, Scottish Fiction, The Skinny, Song, By Toad, The Spill, Tenement TV, The Tidal Wave of Indifference, TYCI

Monday, 10 February 2014

That's My Jam #30 - Algernon Doll - Spilt Milk Perfume

Responsible for one of my favourite albums of last year, Algernon Doll returns with a brand new single and in doing so takes one more giant leap ahead of the pack.

Spilt Milk Perfume bursts to life with a volley of drums over melodic guitars.  Ewan Grant's slightly distorted vocals ache with the passion that has become his trademark, whilst the notable influences of Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins tumble out, at no point does this track sound jaded or dated.

It's fresh, it's new and it's driven.  Things get more fuzzy and messy towards the end, invoking the image of Grant sprawling about on stage, guitar in throe, lost in the moment.

Spilt Milk Perfume is available as a free download here from Struggletown Records ahead of Algernon Doll's third album 'Omphalic'

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 5th February 2014

On this week's show; Campfires In Winter get all arty, Kid Canaveral get loved up, Prides, LAW and Model Aeroplanes all hit out with excellent new tracks and we run through music from our forthcoming session guests, including Beerjacket.  Throw in a Franz Ferdinand cover version, a request for the Blue Nile and a Belle And Sebastian remix and you're talking about a pretty full on two hours.

CHVRCHES - Recover
Roman Nose feat. Ruth Lalia - Reminders
Hector Bizerk - Orchestrate
The Shakedown Project - Gone
Riquelme - Year Of Spaghetti

COVER LOVER - Franz Ferdinand - Mis-shapes

Model Aeroplanes - Innocent Love
Campfires In Winter - Greeted By The Storm
Jonnie Common - Binary 101
Carbs - Infinite Ammo
Baby Strange - Pure Evil
Kid Canaveral - Who Would Want To Be Loved?
Sarah J Stanley - Secretly Not
Andrew Pearson & The Riflebirds - Ribbons
LAW - Haters
Algernon Doll - Spilt Milk Perfume

The Blue Nile - A Walk Across The Rooftops - #tweetatrack as chosen by @sheeldz

Beerjacket - Two Travel
Lovers Turn To Monsters - LA Gear (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Prides - The Seeds You Sow

RE-MIXING IT UP - Belle And Sebastian - I Didn't See It Coming (Richard X Edit)

Little Fire - Made Of Stone

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Scottish Fiction Sessions

I've always believed radio is a magical thing. It comes into our lives in a unique and intimate way that TV does.  Equally I've always believed that local, unsigned and undiscovered music should be given as much airtime as possible, allowing the musical champions of tomorrow to flourish.  Live music on radio, well that's just the crème de la crème.

I've been privileged to be able to present Scottish Fiction each week for the last three years.  2013 was particularly special as I welcomed 25 of the finest musicians Scotland has to offer onto the show with me for live music sessions.

Absolutely none of this would be possible without Pulse Community Radio.  From giving Scottish Fiction a weekly slot, to training and assistance, to the equipment and promotion they provide, without Pulse Community Radio there'd be no Scottish Fiction.

Pulse Community Radio is a registered charity and like most community radio stations is run by passionate people giving up their time.  Money for community radio is in short supply, so only by various fund-raising initiatives can they raise the money needed to stay on air, which in turns keeps Scottish Fiction on air, which in turn helps support new Scottish music.

Which is where The Scottish Fiction Sessions compilation album comes in.  We've managed to gather 21 live session tracks from last year, and collected them in the one place for you to own and listen to again and again.  New songs, rarities, exclusives, and stripped back versions, all of which are ONLY available here.

The compilation album will be available to download on Monday for a minimum of £3, every penny of which will go towards supporting local, independent community radio.  Featuring tracks from RM Hubbert, Rick Redbeard, Algernon Doll, Fake Major and more, I think you'll agree it's worth every penny.

To whet your appetite, and as a thank you for designer such great artwork for the album, here's a taster track.  Check out LA Gear from Lovers Turn To Monsters performed live in Pulse 98.4 studio.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Gone Wishing - Scottish Fiction Session - Videos

Gone Wishing is the solo stylings of Owen McLaughlin, member of Dundee bands Bonehouse and The Won Over, as well as Dundee arts collective The Rusty Hip.  A talented musician, it's in the acoustic guise of Gone Wishing that his song-writing comes to the fore, wearing the influences of lo-fi alt-rock acts such as Owen, American Football and Smog.  This session was recorded in the comfy studio of Pulse Community Radio.

Below are videos for session tracks, 'Hands Weigh Heavy', 'The Confidant' and 'The Fires of Future Strangers'.  Enjoy, and check out YouTube page for all session videos.

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 29th January 2014

It's a truly eclectic and ecstatic mix on the latest Scottish Fiction podcast.  Fat Suit bring the ensemble jazz, Mogwai provide the shoe-gaze post rock, Foreignfox are all about the soaring anthemic indie-folk, and Young Fathers do cutting edge hip-hop.  Throw a live track from The Twilight Sad and RSNO into the mix, along with features 'Cover Lover' and '#tweetatrack' then this episode is peaking the tip of the braw-o-meter. 

Franz Ferdinand - Bullet
Deathbells - Money Making Sequel
The Mirror Trap - Killing Time
Copper Lungs - How Long
Hagana - Watch My Step
Mogwai - Heard About You Last Night

COVER LOVER - Lenzie Moss - French Disko

Algernon Doll - Spilt Milk Perfume
Monoganon - Ivory and Tusk
Fat Suit - Late Night
Blood Indians - Cold Caller
Jackson Hall - Drawn to the Water
Jack James - Small Pyramids
The Twilight Sad feat. RSNO - Cold Days From The Birdhouse (Live at Paisley Abbey)
Rachel Sermanni - Everything Changes
Foreignfox - Yoghurt

#tweetatrack - Travis - Sing - As chosen by @scottmcarthur88

Lonely Tourist - The Ballad Of Paul Tierney
Young Fathers - Get Up
Passion Pusher - Benzo
Babe - Aerialist Barbette
Holy Esque - Silences

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.