Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 24th September 2015

Another batch of sweet sweet vibes emanating out of Scottish shores.  Including new music from JR Green and Black International plus a killer Re-Mixing It Up track by way of CHVRCHES

I also run through the Scottish Alternative Music Awards nominees with a track from each category. 

Rudi Zygadlo - Sympathies Scrapbook
Ubre Blanca - Fear of God
JR Green - Nigerian Princess
AROUND THE WORLD - Ryan Adams - Welcome To New York
Shards - Afterwards
Catholic Action - The Real World
Martha Ffion - No Applause
Bdy_Prts - Cold Shoulder
C Duncan - Architect
Errors - Genuflection
Bigg Taj vs Spee Six Nine - The Real
Mountains Under Oceans - Paths
Kapil Seshasayee - Host
#tbt - Blue Rose Code - Acquainted With The Night / Silent Drums (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat - The Greatest Story Ever Told
PLAYLIST - Forever - Loose
PLAYLIST - HQFU - Dust & Dirt
PLAYLIST - Tuff Love - Duke
PLAYLIST - Black International - A Fence To Keep People In
RE-MIXING IT UP - CHVRCHES - Leave A Trace (Four Tet Remix)

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Thursday, 24 September 2015

Be Charlotte - Scottish Fiction Session - Videos

There's not a lot of people with the guts, tenacity, and self-belief to organise themselves a trip over to the world's biggest music conference and festival SXSW.  Which is why we feel confident in saying that Be Charlotte is definitely one to watch because she displays those qualities in abundance.  Joining me in the studio, her brand of hip-hop beats, spoken word/raps, and melodic vocals already have her very much in demand.

Below are videos for the tracks Don't Let It Break,  and Discover  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of the Be Charlotte's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 17th September 2015.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Bella and the Bear - Scottish Fiction Session - Videos

Having started out little over a year ago after meeting in university Stuart and Lauren of Bella and the Bear have got a synchronicity that takes some musicians years to build.  Their music can be hard to pin down; elements of folk, pop, hip-hop and spoken word all play a part.  Joining me in the studio we picked apart their music, influences, and the bold vision of Bella and the Bear, as well as enjoying three excellent live tracks.

Below are videos for the tracks Little Boat,  Sleeping Patterns,  and Magaluf  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of the band's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 10th September 2015.

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 17th September 2015

In session this week was the delightful Be Charlotte.  With her inventive use of production and spoken word, Charlotte is one of the most exciting prospects currently honing her craft in Scotland at the moment.  We got to chatting about influences, observational lyrics, transitioning to a live stage, and how she is working with the brains of Hector Bizerk to push things forward.

And of course as ever the rest of the show is packed with the best new music from Scotland including The Bellybuttons, Smash Williams, Tuff Love, Cherri Fosphate and oh so much more. 

Tongues. - You Never Knew Me
Cherri Fosphate - Auf Wiedersehen
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - This Dark Desire
Be Charlotte - Too Late (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
M^tch - Swimming in a Games Console
Eyes of Others - Dysfunctional
Be Charlotte - Don't Let It Break (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Paolo Nutini - Candy - As chosen by Be Charlotte
PLAYLIST - Tuff Love - Duke
PLAYLIST - WOMPS - Live a Little Less
PLAYLIST - Forever - Loose
PLAYLIST - HQFU - Dust & Dirt
Be Charlotte - Discover (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Blue Lemonade - Leaf Swisher
The Bellybuttons - Play!
Supermoon - Oh, Supermoon
Smash Williams - A Splash Of Colour
Tijuana Bibles - Ghost Dance

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Saturday, 12 September 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 10th September 2015

This week's show takes in another bunch of great new Scottish music including tracks from Bossy Love, The Insomniac Project, CHVRCHES, and Turtle.  Add another track to the Scottish Fiction Playlist, get some Beach House snuck in there too and you've got all the makings of a great show.

Add in the friendly chat and beautiful music of Bella and the Bear live in session too and that's just spoiling you!  With three live tracks, plus chat about the bands forthcoming new EP 'A Girl Called Bella', get stuck in and enjoy!

Seconds - When He Calls
The Insomniac Project - In and Out (of My Head)
Bella and the Bear - Little Boat (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Earths - Kangerlussuaq
Flakes - to dine by your side
Bella and the Bear - Sleeping Patterns (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Ben Howard - I Forget Where We Were - As chosen by Bella and the Bear
AROUND THE WORLD - Beach House - Sparks
PLAYLISTED TRACK - Forever - Loose
Bella and the Bear - Magaluf (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
CHVRCHES - Never Ending Circles
Yutani - All's Well That Ends Well
Turtle - Calculate
Bossy Love - Tell You What
Prehistoric Friends - Bermuda Triange

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Scottish Fiction - 10th September 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

NEW VIDEO - Mt. Doubt - Asunder

Scottish Fiction favourite Mt Doubt has a brand new video for their rousing anthem Asunder.  The video, created with the help of Moon Unit Productions, sees frontman Leo Bargery set amidst rollings clouds and crashing waterfalls helping to emphasize the isolation and power the song conveys.

Asunder  itself, taken from the album My Past Is A Quiet Beast,  holds everything I love about Mt. Doubt's music.  The brooding Matt Berninger-esque vocals, the powerful Wars on Drugs tinged melody, and splatterings of M83 style synths and guitars.  If you didn't bag the track first time round, then go get your download just now from Mt. Doubt's Soundcloud page.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The Little Kicks - Scottish Fiction Session - Videos

The opportunity to take tracks, normally layered with guitars and synths, and present them in a stripped back version proved a draw for The Little Kicks Steven Milne.  Which is to our gain, as his session for Scottish Fiction was an absolute delight.  Playing three tracks, including two new ones, and discussing the progress of the band's new album, Steven outlined some of the challenges facing musicians as they get older.

Below are videos for the tracks This Mess We're In,  Don't Get Mad Get Even  and Gone But Not Forgotten  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of the band's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 3rd September 2015.

NEW VIDEO - Kathryn Joseph - the worm

SAY Award winner Kathryn Joseph has a new video for previous Scottish Fiction Playlist track the worm.  

The video was made with help from Creative Video Scotland, and was filmed and created by BAFTA nominated filmmaker Tim Courtney, and BAFTA nominated Director of Photography, Andrew O’Connor, as well as producer Chris Robb.  Utilising a drone mounted camera, the aerial shows of barren landscapes and dark dense forests, in reality the North East of Scotland, provide a harrowing and tortured visual to the beautiful music.

The track itself was released last month, twinned with AA side the bird  and released on 7" vinyl which you can still buy.  With the haunting and textured vocals atop Joseph's skillful mastery of the piano it's amazing to think this track didn't make the album.  We've glad it's been given the full creative treatment here.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 3rd September 2015

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years!  After another extended break over August, it's back to business here on Scottish Fiction with an almighty alignment of the best new music from Scotland and outstanding guests.

In session and playing some brand new tracks is Steven Milne from Aberdeen four piece The Little Kicks, and also joining me on the show is the esteemed Nicola Meighan who helps me review six hot new jams on the Scottish Fiction Roundtable.  It's all popping off.

WHITE - Blush
Wozniak - Wings of Pegasus
The Little Kicks - This Mess We're In (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
HQFU - Dust & Dirt
The Spook School - Burn Masculinity
Breakfast Muff - The Feels
Vasa - Fat Ronaldo
Jutland Songs - Enuff Puff
Delta Mainline - Vultures
Now Wakes The Sea - Rainmaker
The Little Kicks - Don't Get Mad, Get Even (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Mac Demarco - Another One - Chosen by Steven from The Little Kicks
PLAYLIST - CARBS - Life Drawing
PLAYLIST - Tongues - Religion
PLAYLIST - Forever - Loose
PLAYLIST - WOMPS - Live a Little Less
The Little Kicks - Gone But Not Forgotten (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
RE-MIXING IT UP - Miaoux Miaoux - Luxury Discovery (Bdy_Prts Remix)

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Monday, 10 August 2015

Almost Scottish Fiction Volume 5

Another month and another six tracks to indulge in courtesy of Scottish Fiction and our good pals Almost Predictable, Almost.  This month we've got the highest of high fashion as evidenced by our brilliant cover art - again provided by Findlay from burnhouse industries.  So dive in and strut your stuff with tracks from Earths, Poor Frisco, The Maybes, Gus Harrower, YuTaNi and Nothing Universe.

Once again the EP is curated by myself on behalf of Scottish Fiction, and David McElroy from Almost Predictable, Almost and features tracks from our favourite artists over the past four weeks.  To grab your copy head along to the Scottish Fiction Bandcamp, or the Almost Predictable, Almost Bandcamp and download for free.

Earths - Kangerlussuaq

Kangerlussuaq  demonstrates a new, previously unseen, side to Earths.  Stripped away from the fuzz and lo-fi elements, we see uplifting guitars, crisp percussion and haunting vocals.

Poor Frisco - What's Left of It

Taken from their forthcoming debut album, What's Left of It  showcases Poor Frisco at their best.  With shades of The Shins and Pixies at play, What's Left of It  is a great track from the East Kilbride five piece.

The Maybes - What You Can Remember

The Maybes are a Glasgow based duo whose recent EP Contra Todos  features this track, What You Can Remember,  which displays their melodic indie pop at its best.

Gus Harrower - Mystery

Mystery  is the lead and title track from the debut EP by Edinburgh's Gus Harrower.  At only 17, Gus is already a talented singer/songwriter who brings to mind the likes of Bon Iver.

YuTaNi - Mt. Minakami

YuTaNi is the solo project of Machines In Heaven's Connor Reid.   His album, At The End Of Day,  is a superb mix of downtempo and ambient elctronica.  Mt Minakami  is the album's centrepiece - a beautiful slice of electropop influenced electronica and one of this year's outstanding tracks.

Nothing Universe - Pyre

With a track taken from the band's live EP recorded at King Tut's, this track showcases the direction that Nothing Universe, previously known as Phases, have been taking with their music.  Layered, dense, and intriguing Pyre  builds things up only to tear it all down in an climatic frenzy.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Dec '91 - Scottish Fiction Session Videos

Playing under the pseudonym of Dec '91, Craig Ferrie uses the simplest of ingredients - a guitar, a keyboard and his voice - to craft encapsulating stories of melancholia.  An artist who it was a delight to welcome along for a Scottish Fiction Session, and who embodies real artistic values.

Below are videos for the tracks I'll Try To Let You Know,  Bad Man,  and Catherine  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of the band's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 30th July 2015.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 30th July 2015

There's something pretty special about live music on radio.  It's the aspect of doing this whole Scottish Fiction hoo-la that I enjoy the most.  So it was such a delight to get back to hosting Scottish Fiction Sessions as I welcomed Dec '91 into the studio for a chat and live music.  We spoke about music, travelling, our upcoming Scottish Fiction Presents gig, as well as all sorts of other nonsense.

Making up the rest of the show, there's a new Playlist addition from Tongues, music from Yutani, Turtle, and Holy Esque, and stunning Re-Mixing It Up track from Outblinker via Machines In Heaven. 

Turtle - The Floor
Be Charlotte - Face
Mt. Doubt - Asunder
Dec '91 - I'll Try To Let You Know (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Shona Brown - All I Have
Akela - Past Sunrise
Dec '91 - Bad Man (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
AROUND THE WORLD - Girlpool - Before The World Was Big
PLAYLIST - CARBS - Life Drawing
PLAYLIST - Tongues - Religion
PLAYLIST - Womps - Live A Little Less
Rachel Sermanni - Everything Is OK
Dec '91 - Catherine (Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio)
Holy Esque - Strange
Damn Teeth - I.D.N.F.I.N.M.
RE-MIXING IT UP - Outblinker - Pink (Machines In Heaven Remix)
Yutani - Mt. Minakami

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Scottish Fiction - 30th July 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

T in the Park Diaries - AmatrArt

It might be nearly all gone and forgotten by two weekends ago over 100 artists, 80,000 people, and our good selves descent upon Strathallan Castle for Scotland's biggest music festival; T in the Park!  Once again we recruited some of the finest talent playing across the T Break stage over the weekend to keep a T in the Park Diary for Scottish Fiction.

On Saturday in the T Break stage the job of opening up fell to Glasgow five piece AmatrArt.  The band grabbed the ear of the judges with their pop laced wavey synths, and we caught up with Josh from the band for their T Diary.

Friday 10th July

Our slot was at 12:10pm on the Saturday morning so if we were leaving from Glasgow that would have meant we’d have to leave ridiculously early.  Luckily enough for us Jonathan's folks live in Comrie - about half an hour from the new site - and there was a few acts we wanted to see on the Friday including Jessie Ware, Hot Chip and The War on Drugs.  So we decided to head up on the Friday stopping off there to drop off all the gear.

We sadly missed Jessie Ware as it took some time for us to work out where we were to go to get our artists accreditation.  The rest of the night was pretty good though.  We left before the headliners to get back to Comrie at a decent time where we sat up and had some beers before heading off in the morning.

Saturday 11th July

As we were the first on, and you were to arrive a few hours before your slot, we arrived super early.  The site looks quite bizarre at this time as there’s hardly anyone about.  A few security folk and stage crew.  It also confirmed that the new site was indeed much smaller which could mostly be considered a good thing except from the occasional crush we experienced.  We had a few hours to kill before we were scheduled to play so there was quite a lot of waiting around which we mostly filled by drinking the free beer!

The stage was very impressive and was by far the biggest we’ve played on.  At a lot of the gigs we play it’s unusual to have more than one monitor mix between the band but here we had a dedicated sound guy who's job it was to control the monitor mix for us as well as the guy who did the sound out front.  That was really sweet and the gig was the best sounding for us yet.

The boys from Catholic Action informed us that a bigger stage suits our sound which was nice of them.  The gig itself was super fun, we were all pretty much smiling the whole way through it and we hope it will be the first of many festival gigs.

After our set we watched Catholic Action and then headed over to the BBC Introducing tent to catch Pinact.  Both bands were really good and it was cool to see lots of folk at each of their gigs.

By this time we were all already pretty shattered so afterwards we sat behind had the BBC Introducing tent had some beers with the bands and chilled.  The weather was still pretty decent at this point so were able to utilise the fancy beach chairs they had outside.

Later on we went to see St Vincent who was very impressive.  Probably the best guitar player in the world just now and the choreographed dance moves were pretty captivating.  The sound was quite muffled though and there was probably less people there than were at her ABC show last year which was a bit of a let down but nothing to do with her actual performance which was probably the highlight of the day (except for playing of course!)

We then went to see Alt-J who sounded great but no one could really consider it a very energetic or exciting live performance.  We finished the night catching Ded Rabbit at T Break who in contrast to Alt-J were very exciting.  It was a really nice end to the weekend.

Then began the epic that was getting out of the car park.  We left before the majority of folk but were stuck in the car park for well over three hours.  It wasn’t until half 3 in the morning that we eventually got moving.  It wasn’t all bad though, we helped push cars through the mud, told ghost stories and had dance offs with fellow festival goers.  We’re looking forward to hopefully making a return at some point in the future!

That's My Jam #72 - dune witch trails - Goldenrod Cigar

The savvy advice to all guitar based bands in Glasgow (or further afield) must be to pop into Green Door studios.  The lauded studios in Glasgow's West End seem to be behind the desk for almost all of the promising sounds being made in the 'guitar-band' circle at the moment, and this track from Dune Witch Trails joins that bunch.

Goldenrod Cigar  sets its stall out with cranked up slack guitars which create the bedrock of the track.  Atop sit passionate laid back vocals, with delightful pop harmonies chiming in amidst neat little Dinosaur Jr. style guitar bursts.  The band release this track on their new tape EP being released via Draper Street Records.  Go buy it. 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 23rd July 2015

his week's show sees the welcome return of our Cover Lover feature with Robert Smith covering a recently released single from The Twilight Sad.  Oh and there's an interview with James from the band on the show too.  See how everything links together!

Additionally we add a new track from WOMPS to our playlist, plus there's new music from CHVRCHES, Inspector Tapehead, Earths and dune witch trails.

C Duncan - Garden
CHVRCHES - Leave a Trace
Aquafaux - See The Rain
Stillhound - See The Unseen
Inspector Tapehead - Soldier Boy
Apache Sun - The Rain That Never Came
AROUND THE WORLD - Wavves & Cloud Nothings - Come Down
PLAYLIST - Womps - Live A Little Less
PLAYLIST - Pinact - Everybody Says
PLAYLIST - CARBS - Life Drawing
Rob St. John - Young Sun
Earths - Kangerlussuaq
Shambles Miller - Neil's Song
Poor Frisco - Take What You Want
The Deadline Shakes - Phonecalls In the Bath
The Twilight Sad - Sick
T in the Park Interview - The Twilight Sad
COVER LOVER - Robert Smith - There's A Girl In The Corner
dune witch trials - Goldenrod Cigar
ULTRAS - The Path To Getting Paid

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That's My Jam #71 - Tongues - Religion

The solo project of Kill The Waves frontman Tim Kwant, Tongues has had a 100% hit rate with the tracks released online so far.  And with new track Religion  dropping today he makes it three for three.

The lusciousness of the space in the track is the real standout, mixing Jamie xx production vibes with a cathedral chanting and organs; think of Hozier's Take Me To Church  but done well.  Religion  starts off sparse and works its way into a full blown audio masterpiece.  Like a musical paint by numbers, Tongues fills the canvas with bleeps, blips and drums.

Friday, 24 July 2015

That's My Jam #70 - Stillhound - Think This Way

There's something to be said for mountain retreats when the results they produce are gorgeous electro-pop like Think This Way by Stillhound.  The track is available online now as a free download, and is the second to come from the Stillhound stable. 

Structured synths and match up perfectly with layered vocals as the quartet - Fergus Cook, Laurie Corlett-Donald, Dave Lloyd and  Cat Myers - provide a slice of dreamy electronica which captures the spirit of M83, the vastness of Boards of Canada, and the pop sensibilities of CHVRCHES.  The track is no drab imitation however, and worms into your subconscious like an old friend.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

That's My Jam #69 - Be Charlotte - Face

One of the most exciting things I find about the music of Dundee's Charlotte Brimner, released under the stage name Be Charlotte, is the potential.  Listening to Face,  and other tracks on her Soundcloud page,  I can't help but hear how this could sound in six months to a year's time.  There's room for so much expansion, development, and experimenting, partially due to Charlotte's natural talent - she raps, sings, plays, and writes - and also due to the creative input of other musicians, notably Hector Bizerk's Louie and Audrey.

None of this is to say that Face  is not already an incredible tune.  It is.  It really is.  A funky intro, sharp drumming, relate-able lyrics telling the stories of rail travel, a warm and welcoming chorus, and Kate Tempest-esque raps layered over each other, it's got so much going for it.  It's already one of my favourite new tracks, and Be Charlotte is a name to keep a sharp eye on. 

T in the Park 2015 Review - Friday

With this year being the first in 18 that T in the Park has not been held at the beloved Balado site, I think it's far to say that the question on everyone's mind as they set off for Strathallan Castle is what would the new site be like?

And it's a question with many nuances, for example what will the drive up (and later home) be like, how will parking be, what will the layout of the stages be?  It's also a question that will provide different answers to different people, so for the purposes of our T in the Park reviews of each day, I'm going to focus on the music on offer, while saving my observations on the new site for a separate blog post later on.

Which means heading straight to the Main Stage to catch the band opening the festival and at the same time bagging the ceremonious honour of being the first band to officially play Strathallan Castle.  It's perhaps no surprise to see the polished synth-pop trio Prides adorning the Main Stage.  It's a trajectory they have been on for a while, and what with their debut album The Way Back Up  also released today (10th July) it feels like the stars are aligning for the band.

The crowd who have gathered at the front of the Main Stage get it.  Prides are here for a party.  And you know what, despite the early slot, despite the light drizzle, and despite the distinct lack of festival atmosphere, that's exactly what they achieve.  With tracks like Higher Love,  opener Out of the Blue,  and set closer Messiah  getting the full sing-a-long treatment, the obligatory balloons, and the crowd jumping and clapping along, it's a great start to the festivities.  What I particularly liked about Prides billing was that it was a Scottish act opening the Main Stage (something which was repeated with The LaFontaines on Saturday).  For the three guys on stage, who have collectively been to T in the Park 22 times between them, to open Scotland's biggest music festival, whether you like Prides or not, it shows the festival recognising the talent on it's own doorstep.

Next up it's over to the King Tut's Tent to see The Twilight Sad play practically the same booking they had last year.  With the success and rejuvenation that Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave  has had for the band, it's perhaps a no-brainer to bring them back for another run at the festival crowd. 

Opening with There's A Girl In The Corner  lead singer James Graham is deep into his focused on-stage performance.  Throwing himself about with the belief of a man who knows his band and his music were built for stages like these and bigger.  Much of the set comes from the aforementioned album, but there's always a special place reserved for the ear-splitting I Became A Prostitute,  and the anthemic Cold Days From The Birdhouse,  which closes the set. 

Perhaps ear-splitting isn't the best description in this particular case, as the noise levels do seem - perhaps forcibly - reduced compared with past Sad gigs I've been to.  Such is the case with festivals slots however, and in all honesty it doesn't take away from what is a impassioned performance.  I had the pleasure of speaking with James afterwards and he extolled the virtues of letting your music do the talking.  As the tent got busier and busier during each track it's clear a lot of people are listening to what The Twilight Sad have to say.

After a brief bit of downtime, and the severe displeasure of having Duke Dumont attack my senses, I gathered again in the King Tut's Tent for Hot Chip.  I've not seen the band in a good few years - okay since they toured in support of 2008's Made In The Dark - so I was brimming with anticipation for this one.  So were thousands of others as the tent was suitably packed for one of the finest, and most consistent, indietronica bands of the last decade.

Yet while it was busy there was is a noticeable lull in atmosphere.  Personally I find it hard to pin that on the band, as they are flawless in their collective wizardry, and synchronized dance moves, dipping into their hit-laden back catalogue for tracks like Ready For The Floor  and I Feel Better.  No instead it feels like the crowd are - depressingly - gathering in anticipation of Fatboy Slim.  And then it hits me.  Over and Over  came out NINE years ago.  Whereas I was front and centre clubbing when the track dropped, for many 'newbies' in the crowd it was a hit from yesteryear.  God I'm old.  That feeling is forgotten though when the cowbell strikes and we all start to get "laid back".  The track is the band's opus and they use it to ignite the crowd into a frenzy with Joe Goddard shouting the infamous T in the Park chant from the stage.  He knows what he's doing that man.

Finishing their set - as they did at Glastonbury - with an incredible cover of Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark  which almost unnoticeably morphs into All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem is a stroke of genius.  At least to me and the other appreciative fans around me.  For many of the fresh-faced youngsters it's a tribute lost on them.  Cé la vie.

If the crowd at Hot Chip not appreciating the impromptu cover of the Boss annoyed me, then it was only a precursor to the feelings I'd harbour as we moved over to the BBC Three / Radio 1 Stage to catch American troubadours The War On Drugs.

With their album Lost In The Dream  earning plaudits the world over - the band found themselves rather bizarrely nominated for a Brit Award - their booking for the festival is well earned.  But while I applaud the DF Concerts team for snapping up the band, questions have to be asked about their scheduling between David Guetta and Afrojack.

The resulting quandary is a crowd made up of those looking to enjoy Adam Granduciel's tales of American woe, steeped in the traditions of Springsteen, Dylan, and Petty, those leaving from Afrojack, and those looking to get prime placing for headliner David Guetta.

Unlike in Hot Chip where the lack of appreciation seemed more generational than anything else, this setting is a straight up musical mismatch.  The apathy, and in some audible cases outright disdain, of large swathes of the crowd makes the whole set rather unenjoyable.  Which takes nothing away from the musicianship and professionalism of the band, who give it their all, either oblivious to the crowd or in defiance of them.  As much as I can pick them out highlights include Under The Pressure  and Red Eyes  both of which induce in me the vast potential of the open American highway.

Which brings me to headliner time.  A tough choice I'm sure you'll agree.  Guetta, Kasabian or Mark Ronson are the acts the festival organisers have booked for the main stages.  Luckily there's always another way.

I spoke already about how good it was to see Scottish acts open the Main Stage.  It was equally great to see Hector Bizerk being given the opportunity to close the Transmission Stage.  The band don't need any introductions around these parts, and in my mind this was lining up to be a highlight of the weekend.

Never ones to disappoint Hector delivered on expectations plus some.  From the moment Louie swaggered out on stage, casually mentioning to the crowd that this is indeed a headline slot at T in the Park the crowd are with him every beat, rap and bassline of the way.

Let's not pretend the tent was bursting at the seams.  It wasn't.  But Hector Bizerk shouldn't see this as a negative rather than a reality of festival puntery.  What should be more inspiring is those who came into the tent and left dyed in the wool Hector Bizerk followers.  Because on the strength of their set, anyone not already converted to the hip-hop band's music, was singing their praises after.

As for highlights?  Where to start.  Tracks Festival BoyRust Cohle,  and Skin and Bone  from their latest EP are fresh and showcase the band in their current thinking.  Older anthems like Bury The Hatchet  and Colombus  also provoke en masse sing-a-longs making it hard to think when the band can ever drop these tracks from their setlist!  There's an unexpected treat as the band perform a 'festival' cover of Blur's Song 2  to the delight of the crowd.

And that is that.  Day one of T in the Park done.  Hector Bizerk have crowned a day of great music, but questionable crowds.

- Words by Neil Wilson / Pictures by Bill Gray

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

That's My Jam #68 - Carbs - Life Drawing

hat began twelve months ago, perhaps just as an opportunity for two brothers to work together, is on the cusp of becoming the most interesting music coming out of Scotland right now.  Brothers Jonnie (of Jonnie Common and Inspector Tapehead fame) and James (Conquering Animal Sound and The Japanese War Effort) make up Carbs, and have been delighting the ears of those lucky enough to see them perform and hear their limited output so far.

Now with album Joyous Material Failure  lined up for release via Save As on 11th September, the duo release their new single Life Drawing.  There's a familiarity to the track, mainly due to the Jonnie Common comparisons which are of course inevitable, but it's pulled into a stronger hip-hop direction.  Think of a Scottish Why? and you aren't too far from the mark.  Dry, observational humour atop intelligent electronica.  More please.

Monday, 20 July 2015

That's My Jam #67 - SEØUEL - Fear Party

The impact that this track has had on my ears over the past two weeks is pretty full-on.  Not a day has gone by where I haven't flung my self about to Fear Party's Teutonic shifts and drops, plus it's been added to the Scottish Fiction Playlist for our radio shows.  The track is the lead from the Edinburgh/Berlin/London based producer's new EP Reykjavik  which comes out on Friday 24th.

With it's unsettling stabs, it's intrusive synths, and the dark-techno influences dripping from the fangs of killers bites, there's definitely a warning in the name.  Fear and dancing make for strange bedfellows, but it's a feeling which SEØUEL has captured and bottled perfectly. 

That's My Jam #66 - WOMPS - Live A Little Less

hey went to Chicago to record with the legendary Steve Albini as the trio Algernon Doll.  They've returned as a duo called WOMPS.  And whilst it's a re-birth of sorts for Ewan Grant and Owen Wicksted, for those of us who have followed the growth of Ewan's songwriting and musicianship since the first Algernon Doll record, it's also a huge step forward.

With the new record receiving the finishing touches to it as we speak, there's space in the schedule for a AA-side release on 7" vinyl via Damnably Records.  This track Live A Little Less  retains the raw guitar-heavy sound that was front and centre previously, while Wicksted drums with the fury of a thousand suns.  It's clear that the influence of Albini, who has worked with Cloud Nothings previously, has upped the ante of what was there before.  This isn't overly different, but it's injected with fresh impetus.  As always with Grant's writing, there's pop accessibility, and even with the cries of "wallow wallow wallow wallow" this is track demands to be loved.

Scottish Fiction Radio Show - 16th July 2015

This week's show is packed with interviews from T in the Park as I chatted to Pinact (pictured), Prides, Catholic Action, Monogram and The Van T's.  There's also music from Inuit, Phases, Great Cop and Keeping Dirt Clean who play King Tut's Summer Nights this week. 

Be Charlotte - Discover
Ubre Blanca - Taxed
Phases - Bombs
We Came From Wolves - Am I Useful?
Catholic Action - L.U.V.
T in the Park Interview - Catholic Action
T in the Park Interview - Pinact
PLAYLIST - Pinact - Everybody Says
PLAYLIST - Kathryn Joseph - the worm
PLAYLIST - Carbs - Life Drawing
AROUND THE WORLD - Jungle - Busy Earnin'
Prides - Higher Love
T in the Park Interview - Prides
T in the Park Interview - Monogram
Monogram - ANNO
Keeping Dirt Clean - I Spy
Great Cop - Vacancy
Bunny & The Invalid Singers - Ask The Man Inside Your Head
T in the Park Interview - The Van T's
The Van T's - Trip
RE-MIXING IT UP - Grnr x Miaoux Miaoux - Ghost Pal
Inuit - We Don't Go There In Winter

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Scottish Fiction - 16th July 2015 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

T in the Park Diaries - Schnarff Schnarff

Last weekend saw over 100 artists, 80,000 people, and our good selves descent upon Strathallan Castle for Scotland's biggest music festival; T in the Park!  Once again we recruited some of the finest talent playing across the T Break stage over the weekend to keep a T in the Park Diary for Scottish Fiction.

Sporting perhaps the most unique name of the weekend, not to mention the closest name to Thundercats character, Schnarff Schnarff topped the bill on the T Break stage on Friday night.  Myles Bonner from the Inverness quintet kept track of the weekend for Scottish Fiction.

Thursday 9th July

Tin the Park started a little early for Schnarff Schnarff when Thunder, Turtle and I had to head out to the campsite on the Thursday evening.  We waited in two hours of traffic, picked up our passes at West Gate and headed onto the shuttle bus which took us round twice and dropped us off at the West Gate.  We proceeded to walk for 30 minutes until we eventually found a free spot to set up camp for the band and all our pals.  We weren't going to staff camp when so many of our folk had bought tickets so we trekked until we found the sublime BLUE 1 section which ended up being class.  It was close enough to the atmosphere without having a paralytic person flatten your tent… like many sections.  We set up and then made our way back to Glasgow (half panicking that someone would nick our seven tents and gazebo!)

Friday 10th July

Full of excitement and some serious fear, I started the van as we set up on a convoy to Strathallan…  Not before getting a team picture obviously.

We arrived after facing a few hours traffic but we were so buzzing that we couldn't care less.  Upon arrival at the staff car park at West Gate we found our crew member, Jamie Fleming, pissed-as-a-newt, sprawled out on a fold out chair and half a crate of ciders (he had arrived a few hours earlier than we planned). 

With everyone meeting up and getting their performer wristbands, we made our way across the mud to the heights of Blue 1 where everyone soon realised how important it was that we had set up camp the night before…  It was rammed! 

We sat down in the gazebo and watched our family and friends get cracked into the festival drink supplies while we watched as tee-totallers in anticipation for our biggest gig to date.  We don't drink before gigs usually so we weren't going to start now, even though I will admit, it was a very trying atmosphere to stay sober!  Class weather, everyone together, we counted down the minutes until we would headline the famous T Break stage!

We went to see Hozier, among other bands, while we counted down the time to stage time and then eventually separated from the TeamSchnarff to the band wagon so we could get our amps, guitars and drum breakables to T Break.

This wasn't an ideal situation as we moved the equipment from the van, trekked across the mud and then clambered onto a shuttle bus which proceeded to take us round the campsite to T Break stage which was, we found out, 200 yards from where we got on in the first place!  

We sat our gear down in the tent, met with John-Paul Mason and Craig Johnston from DF Concerts while downing free Highland Spring to calm the nerves.   The time flew backstage as we had interviews with Clyde 1 and Tenement TV.  We filled out our PRS forms, told the filters what tracks we wanted recorded and then were summoned to set up out stage after a great set from the lads from Dead Man Fall.

The stage was incredible was everything I wanted.  Great equipment, lights and it was big enough to roam about - something I do because I enjoy it and it helps me engage the crowd more.  I like to pick out the whites of people's eyes so I know they are listening!  In a flash, we were on-stage and it was time.

We opened the set with our set Desk  and the crowd who had decided to choose us over David Guetta, Mark Ronson and Kasabian got into it straight away.  The tent was not rammed by any means but it was busier than we can possibly have expected considering being relatively unheard of but competing with the Friday big headliners!   

It was incredible, we did ourselves proud.  Only had a few niggles in our 30 minute set but we all left feeling like we earned some new fans who, less face it, were probably there just because of our random name!  We hugged each other, got a photo with a few new faces who loved the set and then were ushered out of the tent with our gear, still high as kites from playing the amazing T in the Park!

That high that we had worked so hard for was quickly extinguished when some crossed wires led us to a bus stop which was no longer active because the roads are closed each night at 11pm (WE FINISHED OUR SET AT 10.50pm!) 

We weren't allowed to store our amps so stood in the pissing rain with £4,000 worth of equipment.  With no help anywhere, we were blessed to bump into our good pals Hector Bizerk who, along with the legends who work backstage at the BBC Introducing, quickly ran over to help us save our stuff.   Audrey from the Hector Bizerk emptied the back seats of her van and quickly filled her Fiat until everything was protected.  We begged for access to the staff roads and eventually managed to get to our Renault Traffic with our beloved equipment intact!  Audrey, you are a legend!

The feeling of being a T in the Park headliner had quickly dissolved when we were left in the rain BUT the excitement soon grew again once we had loaded our amps and gear, and sat, enjoying a cold beer as a quintet!  It finally sank in; we played FUCKING T IN THE PARK!

We met with the rest of the group, phoned our parents and loved ones and got clean on it into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Saturday 11th July - Monday 13th July

We camped, we drank, we sung, we shouted and we saw the most incredible bands smash T in the Park's first year at Strathallan.  Everyone was so up for it that the weekend was mashed into one big blur of bands, hilarity and fun!  It was just class. 

With the stress of setting up camp, playing such an important gig and then saving our equipment, we could now relax and have a complete blow out.  Wolf Alice, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Everything Everything and Annie Mac were stand-outs for me.  Here a picture of our bassist Thunder, our crew member Jamie, and myself enjoying the rest of our muddy, camping, incredible weekend.  It was that good that I am still coughing!