Saturday, 31 January 2015

Michael Cassidy - Scottish Fiction Session Videos


Blog favourite Michael Cassidy returns to Scottish Fiction as our session guest for a record 4th time, ahead of the release of his debut album My Electric Heart  on Monday 2nd February, a sentence which gives me a great deal of delight having waited for it's release to close on two and a half years. 
Below are videos for the tracks Real Love,  Everybody's Scare,  and 15 Years  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of Michael Cassidy's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 26th January 2015.





And check out these EXCLUSIVE video of Montpellier  and My Electric Heart  recorded for the Scottish Fiction blog.



Friday, 30 January 2015

EP Review - Atom Tree - Clouds


Music can be thought of in terms of spectrography, the visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in a sound, with colour and substance being directly proportional.  At one end of the continuum are dream-pop-heavy de nos jours who band together as part of an increasingly amplified contemporary post-rock subculture.  They attempt to distance themselves from the traditional musical palette by adding new ‘textures’ and ‘bright colours’ to create homogenised subterfuge.  The end result is more often than not an aimless swing from the wonted sublime to the breathlessly inane ridiculous.  Sitting uncomfortably at the top of the spectral waterfall, they look faded and discoloured.

Atom Tree are wavelengths apart in this sense.  The accession of the Glasgow three-piece, led by producer Shaun Canning, has been duly noted by the BBC and fashion brands alike.  They have been sharing stages with a string of established artists in recent times and have been labelled as ‘ones for the future’.

Clouds is their second offering and heralds a more vocal sound in comparison to their debut EP, Tide of Thorns.  The cover features the group’s logo atop a monochromatic negative of a cumuliform cloud.  Canning opens with Sinner and a tape-effect inspired introduction.  This leads onto a bright piano driven-melody, accompanied in verse by Julie Knox.  The track is fresh and complimented by an intelligent pause half way through.  The subsequent crescendo is memorable and the final chorus is augmented by a heavy two-step beat and breathy synth.

Hearts follows.  The track begins abruptly and Canning employs a mix of arpeggiated piano and cut-up vocals from Knox.  Similar to the opening track, the listener is treated to a further piano breakdown and heavy bass-driven final chorus.  The vocals of Knox are worth a mention as they feature heavily in this track and throughout the rest of the EP.  Never over-bearing, her voice lends a human touch to the otherwise synthetic production.

Hold On is probably the most obvious track on this extended play and immediately shouts Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and Sohn.  Echoing vocals, a squelchy synth and a high pitched arpeggiated reso-lead act as the catalyst for a further reverberated build-up, crash cymbal fanfare and double-backed chip tune melody – this is simple but ultimately effective.

The title track is the highlight. Measuring over six minutes, Canning leads in with a slow cymbal rush and inverted ethnic-style rhythm before adding a tripping hi-hat loop.  The piano melody is intricate and bright and only gets better as the track progresses.  A muffled looping vocal acts as a gentle reminder of Canning’s apparent shift in emphasis.  The distorted tape-driven outro brings the EP to a pleasant conclusion.

Clouds is vocal electronica done well and unlike many of their contemporaries, Atom Tree stay true to their primary colours.  In a world of pale spectrograms, they are well located at the foot of the spectral waterfall, where colours are intense and vivid.

- Andrew Kidd

Atom Tree - Clouds is out now via Hot Gem Records and is available on digital download from Boomkat and iTunes. Hearts is free to download from the band's Soundcloud page for a limited time. Get it below.

Track by track review: Michael Cassidy - My Electric Heart


P
aisley singer songwriter Michael Cassidy has been a long term favourite here at Scottish Fiction.  He was my first ever live guest on the radio show, the headliner of our first ever Scottish Fiction Presents gig, and more importantly he has been a crafter of wonderfully rich and captivating music for the last few years. 

Which is why it is an absolute delight to be able to say his debut album My Electric Heart  is out now!  An album which brings together many of Michael's well known songs, combining his award winning song-writing with the warming sounds of his band.  Michael kindly put pen to paper to give us a little insight about each of the tracks on the album.

1) Running Water

An upbeat poppy number about drunken stumbles home. This is a fun song to play live and we usually open gigs with it so it had to go first on the album.

2) Battleships

Battleships  deals with heartache and longing that could be considered in a negative light but I've decided to put a positive, and more hopeful, spin on things.  I feel the song has a really uplifting message in it which comes through whenever I sing it and it is definitely one of my favourites from the album to play.

3) 15 Years

This track is my latest single to coincide with the release of the album and I also shot a video in and around Glasgow, showing of some of its most famous sites.  The video will be put up online a couple of days before the album launch.  The lyrics are basically about me asking myself the question how long would I wait for someone who has rejected me, and instead of responding that I would wait 'forever', like quite a lot of other songs, I thought I would put an exact value on it!  And I guess the answer is 15 years haha!  This is big foot stomper though and I always close my set with it, which always seems to be well received by the crowd.

4) The Men Who Stood Beside Me in the War

This short song was written after reading about the experiences of a group of soldiers in war.  I've written the lyrics from the perspective of an old soldier thinking back to the comrades he lost and their different experiences.  I am really very fond of this song and the simplicity of it.  It's also the song that won me the inaugural Gerry Rafferty songwriting prize, which is undoubtedly my biggest achievement to date.

5) Real Love

Real Love  is a really upbeat song that has been described to me as a Glasgow fairytale, which made me laugh.  The title of it is tongue in cheek as it's really a song about a fleeting one night drunken romance and the different feelings that at the time might feel like 'real love' but are different when you wake up.  These are universal feelings that I know a lot of people can connect with.  The track is basically a song about being single, going out, and enjoying yourself.

6) Breath on my Window

A more serious ballad, which is about loss, and the questions you ask yourself in the aftermath of that event.  This song was definitely an important one for me because it helped me address certain issues.  I am really proud of the music and lyric in this song and I think they really complimented each other nicely, helping me get across what I was really trying to say, which is that things will be alright.

7) Dancing at the Devil's Door

A heavy rolling blues number, where the lyrics are about addressing a time in my life where I felt I was maybe going out and drinking a little too much.  In the song I am questioning myself and the different choices I make. Musically, I love the guitar line that runs throughout the song.

8) My Electric Heart

This is the title track from the album and for me it sums up a constant theme running throughout the album.  It's a story of falling for someone quickly and then changing your mind just as quickly.  I remember writing the words to this after swimming in a lake in Vienna.  I’m really proud of the outro section of this song and the strings.

9) Guy Fawkes

My attempt at condensing the story of Guy Fawkes into two long verses and keeping it factually accurate whilst still hummable!  I like to think I achieved that and stayed factual!  Maybe you could play it in schools!  The track also has a canon at the end, which was fun to record and something I have always wanted to have in one of my songs.

10) The Gulf Between

This song deals with the difference between humans and animals and I always pictured the video to this would be me walking through Noah's ark but I'm not sure if I would have the budget to achieve that.

11) Montpellier

I wrote this song on Christmas day and it is a happy song about the start of a new relationship that brings with it a lot of joy but also reveals some darker sides.  I would best describe it as a bittersweet love song because although although the lyrics are happy, they also are wary of the future.

12) Everybody's Scared

I owe a lot to Everybody's Scared  as it's the first track of mine that was picked up by people  It's a song about the ending of a relationship and the lyrics were written the day before I knew it was going to end.  It's a pretty sad song, but does however still have an uplifting feel to it which is something I have been very interested in thematically; having upbeat songs with a sad subject matter.


Michael Cassidy - My Electric Heart  is out on 2nd February via D Set Records and can be purchased all good online music retailers or directly from Michael Cassidy's Bandcamp

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Scottish Fiction IPA - Idlewild announce craft beer


Ahead of the release of their eight album, Everything Ever Written,  Scottish Fiction favourites Idlewild have joined forces with Edinburgh based Barney’s Beer to release a brand new craft beer called... Scottish Fiction!

Some readers may recall Barney's Beer as the brewer behind the Beer vs Records Record Store Day release with Song, By Toad Records, so this is not the brewers first dabble into indie music.  “When the band approached me to collaborate on a beer I invited them down to the brewery to have a taste of some beers and throw around some ideas" stated Barney, the man behind the brewery.

The beer will be available in Scotland as part of a limited edition batch; 1250 bottles sold at independent beer and wine shops, as well as available on cask for a limited time; to coincide with the launch.  To mark the launch, the band are having a party on Friday 6th Feb in Summerhall, Edinburgh where the beer will be available, plus an exclusive playback of Everything Ever Written  followed by a DJ set from the band. Tickets are free and available here.

The bottles will also feature a QR code that will provide access to a free download of a special acoustic performance of one of the band’s earliest and best loved tracks A Film For The Future  from their album Hope Is Important.

Without doubt Idlewild are one of my favourite ever Scottish bands, and clearly the blog/radio show/podcast owe a debt to the band for the name Scottish Fiction which is also one of my favourite songs.  Keep an eye on the blog for a review of the band's new album popping up, and you can check out the band's lasted single below.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

EXCLUSIVE - Michael Cassidy - Scottish Fiction Session Tracks - My Electric Heart / Montpelier


B
log favourite Michael Cassidy returns to Scottish Fiction as our session guest for a record 4th time, ahead of the release of his debut album My Electric Heart  on Monday 2nd February, a sentence which gives me a great deal of delight having waited for it's release to close on two and a half years. 

These two tracks, My Electric Heart  and Montpelier,  were recorded at Pulse 98.4, exclusively for the Scottish Fiction blog.  To hear further session tracks and an interview listen back to the full radio show here.

Enjoy!

Michael Cassidy plays The Griffin, Glasgow on 31st January 2015, launching his debut album My Electric Heart.  Tickets are still available here.


Single Review - Turtle - Lavender


In a style quite befitting of his title, Glasgow-based producer Turtle (aka Jon Cooper) has surfed into 2015 atop a wave of growing interest.

Last year's Who Knows  EP, a curiously compelling marriage of ambient electronica and oddball chamber-pop, whilst turning the collective head in his direction asked more questions than it gave answers.  If anything, current release Lavender  serves to bolster this mercurial stock.  By the end of the opening minute Cooper has reasserted his adeptness in the art of subtle misdirection, as grandiose organ-based bellowing is gradually undercut by shuffling percussion and a soft but serpentine bass groove.  The introduction, with equal guile, of a cyclical vocal refrain means that by its conclusion Lavender  has flirted with the anthemic, without losing any grip of an enigmatic restraint which by now appears to be a Turtle trademark.

Amidst a parochial preference for the overwrought and the earnest it is perhaps unsurprising that Cooper cites influences from far and wide – Iceland's Olof Arnolds and Mum among them.  For those less familiar with esoteric Scandinavian electronica this reviewer is inclined to reference the more ethereal elements harnessed by early day Moby's blending of traditional and digital instrumentation.  Whilst it is of course only right to apologise to Mr Cooper if such a comparison is deemed unflattering, it is also salient to remind him that Moby is  doing really rather well for himself.

- Jack Wilson

Turtle - Lavender  is out now via Beatnik Creative and can be purchased here or via all good online music retailers.

EP Review - Mogwai - Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1


There is no doubt that the most recent album by Mogwai, 2014's Rave Tapes,  was a success on a lot of different levels.  It was an interesting turn from a band who continue to make constantly great records.  It also continued a great run of releases by the band, from their 2012 album Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will,  the Earth Division  EP, and the Les Revenants  OST.  Completing a year that will rank as one of the band's most important, they releasing this six track EP, Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1, at the tail end of 2014..

The immediate issue with this however, being a companion to Rave Tapes, is that it's split directly down the middle - six tracks, three brand new, three remixes.  This causes a thematic issue - whilst the three all new tracks are certainly worth the time of any casual fan, the remixes are primarily for fans of the band that take apart each vocoder and bass line to find meaning.

Your mileage will vary depending on which group of fan you fall into.  The Blanck Mass remix of Remurdered,  titled Re-Remurdered,  is pulsing, bassy and certainly different, but it hollows out the dramatic tension that the original track manages to conjure, and in doing undoes the denouement that occurs later in the far superior Mogwai original.  It throws almost all that is recognisable out and barrels in bleeps and ravaging basslines that makes for a strong track on the face of it but it's hard for it to reach above that of the perfect original.

The Pye Corner Audio remix of No Medicine for Regret  however is pretty wonderful - and the best remix on the EP.  The ethereal vibes and the time stretched production turns the original into an all new composition, reborn as what starts as a droney ambient journey, with a pulsing Field-esque sawbass coming in at the 3 minute mark, giving way to the shimmery guitar of the original track.  And lastly the Nils Frahm remix of The Lord is Out of Control  strips the entire song back to Frahm's signature piano lament and whilst it's pretty and fragile, like the best of Frahm's work, it sadly doesn't really make any statement.

The strength in the EP comes from the three all-new tracks.  Lead single Teenage Exorcists  is the kind of exciting thing that Mogwai don't do very often - vocals and a 'normal' structure.  It's short, sweet, pointed, and rushes around being as loud as it ends right from the start, and you can see why it was left off Rave Tapes.  It is worth the price of admission alone.  I'd like to hear more Mogwai like this, but perhaps an album of it might wear me out.  History Day  however sounds like Mogwai doing their recent Mogwai thing, appearing more like a Hardcore...  composition rather than Rave Tapes.

HMP Shaun William Ryder,  which continues the tradition of instant classic Mogwai track titles, is another strong cut from the band, rising into the fuzz of distortion that was actually missing from the majority of Rave Tapes.  It actually calls back to early Mogwai too, with it's quiet-loud dynamic, with the final stretch of the track sounding like a condensed version of Mogwai Fear Satan,  which is absolutely no bad thing.

As a standalone release Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1  is uneven to say the least.  Front heavy with two great and one good Mogwai track, with one interesting remix and two slightly curious but ultimately unnecessary ones. 

- Mark Shields


Mogwai - Music Industry 3, Fitness Industry 1  is out now via Rock Action Records and is available here.

Monday, 26 January 2015

BAMS Award 2014 - Full Interview with James Graham


Ahead of the official announcement of the Scottish BAMS Award 2014 winner (full BAMS Award post here), I caught up with James Graham from The Twilight Sad in Mono, Glasgow to present the band's award and chat about the year the band have just had.   Here is that interview in full.

Congratulations, Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave  is this years' winners of the Scottish BAMS award!  How does it feel?

James – Really good. I think I found out last week, and I told my Dad right away.  He was like, “well done son!”

No it’s great.  I’ve said a few times that last year was a big year for us, and to have released the record that we’ve released and to have got the reception that it’s got has been a massive thing for us.   I don’t want to be melodramatic and say it’s saved the band, but it kind of has in a way.  When you release something you don’t really know [how it will be received].  You can like it as much as you want, but ultimately in the long run, people have got to like it to have any sort of success or be able to make another one.  So to be voted number one for the BAMS is pretty mental for a miserable bunch of guys from Kilsyth.  It’s great though.  We really appreciate it, and things like this don’t happen to us all the time, so it’s really cool.

Previous winners of course include The National, The Phantom Band, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, and last year CHVRCHES. Good company to be amongst?

James – Aye I’m a fan of every single one of those bands and the records that won.  Bill and Aidan’s record [Everything’s Getting Older] is one of my favourite albums of all time.  I’ve actually heard the new one.  It could be, I don’t want to say but, it might be as good if not better.  He’s a dick.  I text him when I was listening to it, and I was like, “it’s amazing, you’re a prick, I hate you, you’re a genius.”

It’s great though, those bands are bands we aspire to be like.  And to be in that company is phenomenal.  To be in the position where we are mentioned in the same breath as those artists; 16-year old James would have told you to fuck off!  So aye it’s nice.  It’s been a good year for once.  Don’t worry we’re not going to write a happy album after it!

2014 seems to have been a pretty exciting year for the band, what's been your personal highlights of the year?

James – The first thing would be in January, we put out The Twilight Sad Live at Paisley Abbey with The Royal Scottish National Orchestra.   We released that for free in January whilst we were recording, and it showed the band in a different light.  I don’t think anyone ever expected to hear any of our songs with an 80-piece orchestra.   The complaint that we got from that was that people didn’t have to pay for it!   It would be really nice if we could release it [as a physical release] at some point, but as far as royalties go, if you are selling a record and having to pay 83 musicians, it is pretty impossible!

And then we re-issued our first record [Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters], and we toured that as well.   Just because it wasn’t available on vinyl anymore, and we had the demos as well.  We just wanted to make a package of that.  I think it was a nice way to remind people about the band and that record, maybe reintroduce the band to people and introduce that record to people who had never heard it before.  I think it’s still a pretty special record.

And then there was Primavera, which was probably one of the best weekend we’ve ever had as a band.  We played two gigs.  One at the festival as the sun was going down looking over the sea.   And then one at the park in Barcalona the next day, which was maybe just as good if not better.  It was a free gig and we played a stripped back set.  And there were rainclouds above us, and it looked like it was going to rain, and there was no cover over the stage so we couldn’t have played if it rained.  But it just held off and the park was full of people. That will be a thing we’ll never forget.  It was a great moment for the band.  And T in the Park was really good for us this year.

And then it was the record release and touring America.   Then the ABC show at the end of the year. That was a big highlight.   Just seeing that many people in the one room that wanted to see us.   I never expected those kind of things to happen for our band, so for it to happen, that’s twice now we’ve done it, I think it was a pretty overwhelming at points.  Oh aye and Hogmanay.  That was a good way to end off the year, playing with fireworks going off in the background.

So it’s been busy.  And if you are busy then things are going alright.  We are a band that works, and as a band we want to work as long as we can.  So they were the highlights, but there was loads of wee things that happened in between that were great as well.  I think just getting to release our fourth record. I never thought we’d get to four records, so that is an accomplishment in itself.

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

James - It’s just another stage, it’s who we were in our lives, that’s what it was.  I’m enjoying playing them [the new songs] live.  It’s now a case of what do we leave out, instead of in the past we’ve not got enough songs.  Now we have to leave songs out and we want to play the full record, which shows you how much we like the record.  I think we can all look back on it and say we did a good job.

Are you now looking at how you can re-interpret the new songs for live shows?


James – We perform the songs differently and there’s different ways of doing it.  I mean you’ve got the live full band which is the main focus of what we do.  And that will be like the album in some ways, but I think it’s a little more intense, and a bit noisier than it is on records.  But that’s been the same with all of our albums to be honest.  As far as Andy, Mark and I, playing the acoustic, stripped back, three piece sets, we’ve adapted most of the songs on the record to be played like that as well.  We had a Tour EP  out last year which was only available on tour, and that’s songs from the new record, just stripped completely back.  And I think for anyone who likes the record it’s a nice side release to see how the songs started out to going to what they are after that.  And we are possibly looking to put that together in some sort of package with the record as well.  We like to show different sides to the songs, but even though we are about to do an acoustic in-store tour, the main focus at this point is the five piece full band.

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

James – I think it’s been, and I’m not just saying this, it’s probably been one of the most important things for our band.  When we started out, it was blogs and things like that that helped spread the word about our music.  And through every release we’ve had we’ve constantly had that support.  We’re not a band that is on the front of magazines or in big features, and in some ways I like that.  I mean if that comes along, then that comes along and that’s great.  But the best thing about it, is that it’s the actual real genuine people who are writing about music because they give a fuck about it, that are actually writing about our band and spreading the word about our band.  And I think that’s a pretty cool thing to have that kind of support.

And it’s something that I hope people see that we appreciate and don’t take for granted, because I’d like to keep that relationship going.   If people keep liking our music, then we’d like to move forward with everyone and at the same time promote the blogs.  And if we do that then maybe someone discovers a blog through our music.  It’s a two way thing.  If we promote the blogs, you get more readers who will then can discover another new band who you are promoting.  And it’s all about getting people to listen to new music and music that’s good instead of the usual shite.  We are really appreciative that we have that support, because the main goal for us is to reach as many people as we can and without that support we wouldn’t have reached as many people as we have at this point.

And finally, what has been your favourite album of 2014?

James – I had quite a few actually.  I’m obviously a massive Mogwai fan, so Rave Tapes  was always going to be on that list.   I really liked Perfume Genius’ album, Too Bright, I found that really interesting.  Angel Olson, her record with the long song title [Burn Your Fire for No Witness], which is ironic because I can’t slag anyone for that as we have the longest going.  I liked Alvvays.   I only got into the Alvvays record at the end of the year.   It was one of those ones where people had been talking about it, and I saw their name about, but I purposely avoided it, but then I listened to it and it was great.

The Phantom Band’s record [Strange Friend] was really good.  Remember Remember’s record, Forgetting The Present, that was really good record.  There was quite a lot last year.  I saw a few people saying it wasn’t that great a year for music, but I probably listened to more than I had in a while.  I listened to The War on Drugs [Lost In the Dream] that was great record. Sharon Van Etten, I like that.

As for the rest of the band, Andy doesn’t listen to new music at all!   He’s going back the way.  He’s listening to old ‘60’s bands and stuff like that.  Which is pretty cool, it’s a good contrast.   He still does listen out for the new stuff, but he is neither here nor there about it.  Although Andy really liked the Shellac record [Dude Incredible].  He’s really likes going back the way and finding old songs.  We meet in the middle and he always recommends stuff and I usually like what he likes.  That’s how I got introduced to most of the bands I like.   I went to school with Andy and he kept on giving me albums, and that’s how we’re pals and that’s how I am where I am.  Thanks to that prick!   He’s got much better taste in music than I have, I fully admit that.

Devine listens to Britpop I’m pretty sure all the time!  If there was a quiz subject and Britpop came up, Devine would win it hands down.   But Devine does have good taste in music as well.  I actually don’t know what he listened to last year.  Think we were too busy having our headphones on and not talking to each other!

Johnny,who plays bass, he’s into some of the same stuff as I’m into it.  But then I can hear him in the van and it just sounds like it’s pure death metal that’s just coming through his headphones.  He’s one of these guys who looks so chilled out, but it’s like ‘drrrrrrrrrrr’ double kicks going in his head, and he’s just staring out the window.  And Brendan, who plays keys, he’s kind of the same as me.  He and I talk about new releases more than probably anyone in the band.


BAMS Award 2014 - And the winner is...


The Scottish Blogs and Music Site Awards return for another year with the polls closed and all the votes counted.  Voted for by 37 writers from 26 different blogs and music sites, there were an incredible 192 different albums nominated, with each BAM asked to nominate their favourite ten albums; 20 points assigned to the number 1 choice and downwards in a descending nature until only 2 points are assigned to the number 10 choice.  There can, however, only be one winner. 

The Twilight Sad’s fourth album, Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave  has emerged as the winner of the sixth annual poll pipping Rave Tapes  by Scottish indie veterans Mogwai in a straight head to head shoot-out between the top two albums.  The Sad's cause was helped by the fact that 16 BAMS selected  Nobody Wants To Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave  in their top 10.  Inaugural winners The Phantom Band again had a strong showing with third LP Strange Friend  finishing in third spot ahead of the fast closing Withered Hand, whose New Gods  squeezed into fourth ahead of the self-titled debut from Honeyblood in fifth.  Scottish acts filled the BAMS’ top 7 slots; Young Father's Dead  in 6th spot and Jonnie Common Trapped in Amber  at number 7; with St Vincent the top international act in eighth place ahead of Caribou in 9th.  The Amazing Snakeheads filled the top ten in 10th position.  Here's the full BAMS Top 30 list:

1. The Twilight Sad - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave  - 239 points
2. Mogwai - Rave Tapes  - 222 points
3. The Phantom Band - Strange Friend   - 166 points
4. Withered Hand - New Gods  - 157 points
5. Honeyblood - Honeyblood   - 150 points
6. Young Fathers - DEAD  - 140 points
7. Jonnie Common - Trapped in Amber  - 132 points
8. St. Vincent - St Vincent  - 104 points
9. Caribou - Our Love  - 102 points
10. The Amazing Snakeheads - Amphetamine Ballads  -  94 points
11. The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream  - 90 points
12. King Creosote - From Scotland with Love  - 87 points
13. Bastard Mountain - Farewell, Bastard Mountain  - 83 points
14. We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling  - 78 points
15. Fatherson - I Am An Island  - 75 points
16. PAWS - Youth Culture Forever - 70 points
17. Randolph's Leap - Clumsy Knot  - 64 points
18. Stanley Odd - A Thing Brand New  - 60 points
19. Call To Mind - The Winter Is White  - 59 points
20. Swans - To Be Kind  - 48 points
21. Run The Jewels - Run The Jewels 2  - 46 points
22. Machines In Heaven - bordersbreakdown  - 44 points
23. Ought - More Than Any Other Day  - 43 points
24. The Last Battle - Lay Your Burden Down  - 42 points
25. Sun Kil Moon - Benji  - 40 points
26. Aphex Twin - Syro  - 37 points
=27. Beerjacket - Darling Darkness  - 36 points
=27. Martha - Courting Strong  - 36 points
29. Taylor Swift - 1989  - 35 points
30. Warpaint - Warpaint  - 32 points



The Twilight Sad frontman, James Graham reflected on the band’s success, when I caught up with him earlier last week at Mono in Glasgow.

Congratulations, Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave  is this years' winner of the Scottish BAMS Award!  How does it feel?

James - "Really good. I think I found out last week, and I told my Dad right away.  He was like, "well done son!'"

"I've said a few times that last year was a big year for us, and to have released the record that we've released and to have got the reception that it’s got has been a massive thing for us."

"I don’t want to be melodramatic and say it’s saved the band, but it kind of has in a way.  When you release something you don’t really know [how it will be received].  You can like it as much as you want, but ultimately in the long run, people have got to like it to have any sort of success or be able to make another one.  So to be voted number one for the BAMS is pretty mental for a miserable bunch of guys from Kilsyth.  It’s great though.  We really appreciate it, and things like this don’t happen to us all the time, so it’s really cool."

Previous winners of course include The National, The Phantom Band, Bill Wells and Aidan Moffat, and last year's winner CHVRCHES.  Good company to be amongst.

James - "Aye I’m a fan of every single one of those bands and the records that won.  Bill and Aidan's record [Everything’s Getting Older] is one of my favourite albums of all time."

"It's great though, those bands are bands we aspire to be like.  And to be in that company is phenomenal.   To be in the position where we are mentioned in the same breath as those artists; 16-year old James would have told you to fuck off.   So aye it’s nice.  It’s been a good year for once.  Don’t worry we’re not going to write a happy album after it!"

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

James - "It's just another stage, it's who we were in our lives, that’s what it was.   I'm enjoying playing them [the new songs] live.  It's now a case of what do we leave out, instead of in the past we’ve not got enough songs.  Now we have to leave songs out and we want to play the full record, which shows you how much we like the record.  I think we can all look back on it and say we did a good job."

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


James - "I think it's been, and I’m not just saying this, it's probably been one of the most important things for our band.  When we started out, it was blogs and things like that that helped spread the word about our music.  And through every release we've had we’ve constantly had that support.  We're not a band that is on the front of magazines or in big features, and in some ways I like that.  I mean if that comes along, then that comes along and that’s great.  But the best thing about it, is that it's the actual real genuine people who are writing about music because they give a fuck about it, that are actually writing about our band and spreading the word about our band.   And I think that’s a pretty cool thing to have that kind of support."

And finally, what has been your favourite album of 2014?

James - "I had quite a few actually.  I'm obviously a massive Mogwai fan, so Rave Tapes  was always going to be on that list.  I really liked Perfume Genius' album, Too Bright,  I found that really interesting.  Angel Olson, her record with the long song title [Burn Your Fire for No Witness], which is ironic because I can’t slag anyone for that as we have the longest going.  I liked Alvvays.  I only got into the Alvvays record at the end of the year.   It was one of those ones where people had been talking about it, and I saw their name about, but I purposely avoided it, but then I listened to it and it was great."

"The Phantom Band's record [Strange Friend] was really good.   Remember Remember's record, Forgetting The Present,  that was really good record.   I listened to The War on Drugs [Lost In the Dream] that was great record.  Sharon Van Etten, I like that."

"There was quite a lot last year.  I saw a few people saying it wasn’t that great a year for music, but I probably listened to more than I had in a while."

- For the full interview with James, check out our post here.


So congratulations to The Twilight Sad for winning this year's Scottish BAMS Award.  As always the BAMS Award captures the pulse of music in Scotland during the previous year, and I'm sure you can count on the forthcoming SAY Award long list nominations to include many of the albums listed above.  Most importantly though, the BAMS Award is about promoting and showcasing the music that bloggers and music writers have been loving, so please go and listen to; and buy; as many of the above albums as you can.  They are all fantastic in their own way.  If you are interested in such things you can see how Scottish Fiction voted by checking out our Top 20 Scottish Albums of 2014.

BAMS facts in 2014:

37 writers voted for 192 albums (3 less voters than 2013 but 28 extra albums!)
53 albums received more than 1 vote (66 in 2013).
27 different albums received first preference votes (28 in 2013)
Ten albums received multiple first preference votes in 2014 (compared to 5 in 2013).
The bands who received more than 1 first preference vote were: The Twilight Sad, Withered Hand (3), The Phantom Band, Caribou, The Amazing Snakeheads, Bastard Mountain, Randolph’s Leap, Sun Kil Moon (2)
The highest placed album without a first preference vote was #7 - Jonnie Common – Trapped In Amber.
11 albums with first preference votes didn’t receive any other votes (8 in 2013) although Sun Kil Moon received only 2 votes – both first preferences!

Previous BAMS winners:

2009 - The Phantom Band - The Wants
2010 - The National - High Violet
2011 - Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat - Everything's Getting Older
2012 - Meursault - Something for the Weakened
2013 – CHVRCHES - The Bones Of What You Believe

The 2014 BAMS were:

Honorary Head BAM - Lloyd (Peenko)

Chief BAMS - Neil (Scottish Fiction), Mike (Manic Pop Thrills), Jamie (Netsounds Unsigned), Stuart (Is This Music?), and Al (Houdi)

Contributing BAMS - Bluesbunny, Jim Gellatly, Almost Predictable. Almost, Vic Galloway, Detour Scotland, The Spill, The Steinberg Principle, Haiver, For Malcontents, Last Year’s Girl, Tenement TV, Dear Scotland, Marion Scott, 17 Seconds, Alan Morrison (The Herald), Through The Wire, Post Nothing, Podcart, Everything Flows, Avalanche, Elba Sessions, La Terrasse, Edinburgh Man, The Skinny, Alive & Amplified, Song, By Toad, The Pop Cop

EP Review - Tuff Love - Dross


Tuff Love's debut EP Junk,  released back in May last year, was a riotous blast of guitar pop that was simply fantastic.  Now, rather splendidly, the band have followed that up with a new EP which goes one step further.  Dross  is released via Lost Map Records on 9th February and the title is happily no pointer at all to how the EP sounds.

Kicking off with Slammer,  as good a guitar pop song as I’ve heard in years, which mixes wonderful 'butter-wouldn't-melt' harmonies with guitars lines that remain tense and almost threatening during the verses before exploding into life in the chorus.  Slammer  combines the best parts of Nirvana and Pixies before signing off with a Peter Buck-esque guitar line reminiscent of R.E.M. at their Document  era peak.   It’s a tremendous track that is impossible not to fall in love with.

That's Right  follows and shows an intriguing, spikier, almost post-punk side to the band that has a more sinister edge than Slammer  but one that still retains the band's innate ear for a ridiculously catchy melody.  Sebastian  and Doberman  follow, both slices of Throwing Muses or Belly like loveliness, the former containing some beautifully ethereal harmonies that are a highlight of the EP.  Cum  rounds proceedings off, swaying along in a beautiful way, underpinned by lyrics speaking of regret and loss.

It perhaps seems unfair to previous EP Junk,  but Dross is a significant step forward for Tuff Love as it showcases the full range of their talents perfectly.  What is most impressive is the stupendously catchy opener Slammer  and if that song points the way forward for Tuff Love, there are exciting times ahead.

Tuff Love – Dross  is released on Monday 9th February via Lost Map Records on download and 10" pink vinyl available here.  Pre-orders give you automatic membership of the Tuff Love Friend Club.  The band are also hosting a release party on Friday 6th February at Nice 'N' Sleazy's, Glasgow.

That's My Jam #44 - Tuff Love - That's Right


The second track to be lifted from Tuff Love's forthcoming second EP Dross  (out on 9th February via Lost Map Records), That's Right  is a fuzzy, slightly distorted track with the beating heart of a pop melody. 

Clocking in at just under two and a half minutes the track showcases the two piece's music in a whirlwind manner, with a hugely infectious climbing bassline to boot.  The band are catching the ears of all the right people, with BBC 6Music huge fans, and this track, and parent EP, is another solid footstep in the band's career.  This is my jam and That's Ri... No I can't do it, it's too obvious. 

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 26th January 2015


Blog favourite Michael Cassidy returns to Scottish Fiction as our session guest for a record 4th time, ahead of the release of his debut album My Electric Heart  on Monday 2nd February, a sentence which gives me a great deal of delight having waited for it's release to close on two and a half years.  Chatting about the album, and the launch gigs, it's the three live tracks; all taken from the album; which are the real treat.

The show is also packed out with new music from Kapil Seshasayee, Kathryn Joseph, Monogram, and a Song, By Toad booster pack of Supermoon, Garden of Elks, Numbers Are Futile and digitalanalogue.  Plus there's a Re-Mixing It Up track from a well known artist who I've never played on the show before.

Garden of Elks - This Morning We Are Astronauts
Tuff Love - That's Right
Kapil Seshasayee - Crimes
Eastcoastdefector - The Lonliness of the Lightspeed Astronaut
Michael Cassidy - Real Love - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Supermoon - Klopfgeist
Kathryn Joseph - the bird
Seafieldroad - Don't Let The Winter Freeze Your Heart
CLASSIC TRACK - Teenage Fanclub - Mellow Doubt
Sweethearts of the Prison Rodeo - Vulture People
Michael Cassidy - Everybody's Scared - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Ella Fitzgerald - Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye - As chosen by Michael Cassidy
digitalanalogue - Cafe Royal
Monogram - Anno (mute)
Turtle - Universal Ra
very very small inclusions - Winter Solstice
RE-MIXING IT UP - Paolo Nutini - Iron Sky (Hudson Mohawke Remix)
Numbers Are Futile - Vice Over Reason
Michael Cassidy - 15 Years - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Civil Elegies - The Answer, The Problem
Rollor - Pax Britannica
Poor Frisco - A Tick Ahead


Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Connect with us and submit any submissions via:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/thisisscottishfiction
Twitter - twitter.com/scotfiction984
E-mail - scottishfiction@mail.com


Album Review - The Phantom Band - Fears Trending


At first glance, you may be forgiven for thinking that Fears Trending,  the latest offering from The Phantom Band, is a collection of outtakes picked from the cutting room floor; rejects from the acclaimed 2014 album Strange Friend,  thrown together in a shameless attempt to separate those of you so inclined, from your hard earned cash.  And in one aspect you would be correct.  A package of songs, some of which didn’t make the 2014 album - for various reasons, if you listen to what the band have to say - but nonetheless, this is an album in itself, in the true meaning of the word, with an identity all of its own.

Much like The Fall, with The Phantom Band you never quite know what you will get, and that which you expect is least likely to be delivered.  And that is what makes them so utterly compelling.  The contrast between this and Strange Friend  is best reflected in Rick Antony’s assertion that this is their 'dark side'.  And they do dark so, so well.  

From Checkmate Savage  in 2009 to The Wants  2010, then the seemingly endless wait for last years Strange Friend,  whilst solo projects filled the space for some in the band, their fondness for keeping us in suspense and delivering the unexpected, has now become a trademark for Scotland’s most eclectic and creative ensemble.

This release on Chemikal Underground heralds yet another foray into the unknown for the band, and all the time relying always on the familiar.  A sign of a fermenting and unique creativity.  Seven tracks are offered as an album, short on numbers possibly but brimming with depth and variety.

Tender Castle  is a fine opener and an comfortable transition for those familiar with the populist dalliances of Strange Friend.  Punctuated para-diddle drum patterns lay the foundations for sci-fi score keyboards.  A song which builds, breaks and distorts beautifully as you would expect from the Phantoms, and all the time the constant rhythmic tempo punctuated by those familiar crying vocals.  And always a darkness hiding in undergrowth – “And I’ll be watching as you speak”.

Local Zero  displays more conventional in its layout and structure than we have come to expect from them, and a gentler more apologetic vocal, the offbeat musical hook is interrupted only at times to deviate to pure melody followed by Tardis synth and oscillating bass.  Build, repeat and return to the start and go “from the left to the right and back again”

With a horseback headstrong drum rhythm, Denise Hopper  takes us to The Band’s vision of a spaghetti western set in a post-apocalyptic Dali-esque desert, where dancer tango in the searing heat of a flailing, barely audible haunting melody.  One of the strongest tracks on the album, it doesn’t bear thinking that this is a song which 'didn’t make it' onto the previous offering due any lack of quality.  This is The Phantom Band at their uncompromising best.  Oh yes.

On next track, Black Tape,  the somnambulists among you will welcome the dreamlike landscape.  So too the Poe aficionados, with the gothic horror gargoyles pulling the strings backstage to the beat of the military 'onwards' drum rhythm.  Those same gargoyles providing the offstage cries, accompanying the punctuated story.  Suitably soaked in suspense your attention doesn’t falter, but don’t look behind you

Spectrelegs  requires listeners to be ready for the weight of the metal onslaught riff pounding your chest after the beauty of the soft gentle keys lull the security from you.  It drives so hard you may have to curl your toes and grip your seat to gain purchase.  Again, the structure of build/fade/dark/light is utterly mesmerising.

Penultimate track The Kingfisher,  for me, is the masterpiece of the album.  A fine compliment indeed.  I was fortunate enough to see the live rendition of this recently at the Arches gig in Glasgow, such a powerful track which oozes Nick Cave at his Stagger Lee best.  The pounding rhythm from bass/drums/keyboards, lays a foundation which entraps and ensures that YOU WILL NOT TAKE YOURSELF AWAY FROM THIS.  And you cannot.  Even the beauty of the organ frequency, strains to take you to a kinder place but you’re hypnotised, you are with the vocals to the end.  And in the end, Quint breaks through the fade out and reminds us of the horror of the deep with his tale of those ladies of Spain.

And to end, and as gesture of kindness, we are wakened softly from the darkness with the most melodic and fitting end to this album in the form of Olden Golden.  A vista is opened to us, as the cinema curtains extend to show the feature.  A big sky, a rolling landscape of a song and familiar territory for The Phantom Band as they escort us back home, from a journey to the dark side and back.

- Bobby Motherwell

The Phantom Band - Fears Trending  is out now via Chemikal Underground and can be purchased here.

Sarah J Stanley - Scottish Fiction Session Videos


Joining me in session last week was artist and musician Sarah J Stanley.  Chatting about her music, including most recent album The Earth Is Flat,  Sarah also played three wonderful tracks live in the Pulse 98.4 studio. 

Below are videos for the tracks Farmer,  Secretly Not,  and I Promise Mum  which were recorded at Pulse 98.4 as part of Sarah J Stanley's Scottish Fiction Session.  To hear the full show, including interview, check out the Scottish Fiction Podcast for 19th January 2015.






And check out this EXCLUSIVE video of Stubborn and Cruel  recorded for the Scottish Fiction blog.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

EP Review - A Hopeless Cause - So Far From Fine


Originally from the east coast of Scotland, the emo rock band, A Hopeless Cause prove that there is strength in unity and that, despite their title, not all causes are hopeless.  Indeed, in this, for now, two-member collective, all songs are written by Tommy Smith who is also in charge of the vocals, guitar and bass, while Chris James Marr, the engineer mix master, plays the drums and some additional instruments.

So Far From Fine, the first punk indie rock EP of the band, is both a narrative and heartfelt cry.  The band use a continuous wistful tone, even when they sing about something positive to bring a touching frailty to this EP.  Goodbye, Old Town is a doom and gloom start with a calm guitar melody at the beginning and an intense rumble of drums at the end.  You Will Never Be My Emergency Contact is a rhythmic letter with a simple drum beat, a sweet guitar riff, a backing vocalist and both clear and accurate lyrics.  Lonely Alone is painfully true and unsettling.  Spring Forward, Fall Back is a musical trip with the passing season.  You Wear My Heart On Your Sleeve and Without You I'm Nothing, With You I'm Something are wisps of hope and announce, perhaps, a step into recovery.

A Hopeless Cause put all of their cards on the table, and have found the simple, yet effective, way to make both genuine and engaging music.

- Alexandra Andréoli

A Hopeless Cause – So Far From Fine is out now and is available to download for free via Bandcamp.

The band will be playing their first show at the Cerberus Bar in Dundee on Thursday 12th February.

Album Review - Collapsible Mountains - Ribs On Heart


Recently, the Edinburgh based project I Build Collapsible Mountains has been renamed Collapsible Mountains and moved from an inspiring solo act to an exquisite collaboration.  Indeed, after touring around Germany for his third album, the guitarist and singer Luke G Joyce decided to add another member in Sophie Adams.  Adding extra vocals and piano to the new tracks, they worked together in symbiosis on Ribs On Heart, the new and forth album of the band.

The new strength of Collapsible Mountains lies in the combination of Luke's magnetic voice and Sophie's smooth, yet powerful singing.  As a result, Ribs On Heart has a fresh feeling and is a mesmeric trip into the folk, acoustic and lo-fi ascent.

With Endings, the album plunges directly into the vast wilderness which is Collapsible Mountains.  Luke and Sophie sing powerfully in unison, yet it shows a certain frailty.  This track definitely is not an end, but a new beginning.

Laid Plans pleasantly starts with Sophie's enchanting voice and then progressively leaves room for Luke's – a brilliant track where we tend to long for more of Sophie's intriguing singing.  The back-up voice in My Home is pleasing and Luke's singing is full of nostalgia.  The track brings out a familiar feeling and it is perfect to listen to it when feeling homesick.

Thorns is both a rhythmic and a floating track that knows exactly where to stop to catch a breath.  Lights Have Gone Out is the heart of darkness of this album.  A bit gloomier, the folk guitar and the lo-fi dimension are more present.  It is a deep track where it is easy to get lost.

Ribs On heart is a sweet melody highlighted by a few, but necessary voices in complete harmony.  The picking of guitar and the lo-fi effect unveil an absolute moment of both peace and insouciance.  As mentioned in the title, Wee Bit is a short but compelling track of 55 seconds.  It displays the perfect natural setting to be soothed by a wonderful acoustic guitar.

The pace of Hope has been well-thought of, the guitar is heavier compared to the other tracks which makes it even more compelling.  In addition to that, Sophie's spectral voice in the background puts the both final and gentle touch to the track.

In To A Body Beat, instruments and voices are all three in complete symbiosis.  They are part of one and the same profound motion and, by the time Where We Go Tomorrow starts, it is hard to believe it already marks the end of this spellbinding album.

Although, I Build Collapsible Mountains was a resounding success, this both new and brilliant collaboration which is Collapsible Mountains will surely get itself talked about.

- Alexandra Andréoli

Collapsible Mountains - Ribs On Heart is out now via Ocean Market Records and is available on download via Bandcamp and iTunes.

The band will be playing a free gig at the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh today, Saturday 24th January.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Album Review - Belle and Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance


It could be said that Belle and Sebastian have always threatened to write an electronic album, a dance album, and also descend into self-parody, throughout the course of their career.  It's not surprising that they've flirted with those three either, due their long career and enduring success, but also due to their cult status through the perfection of their three album run right at the start of their career.  The worry was that following the five year break between The Life Pursuit  and Write About Love  the band wouldn't come back at all, or that if they did it would be a return like Write About Love,  an album that featured too many listless tracks and too few great songs.

Write About Love  had a problem, and that was it was oddly unfocused for an album titled “about” something so obvious as love for Belle and Sebastian.  They have almost always tackled love right from the start - love of other people, love of yourself, love of a time, or a place.  Stuart Murdoch's charm always lay in the way relatable characters could be conjured in three or four lines, and then be expanded upon through a single verse, twisted and tangled amongst melodies vocal and instrumental hooks.  The love of the early Belle and Sebastian albums isn't just nostalgia either - they're simply some of the smartest and most beautiful pop music ever written.  Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance  manages to allay those fears very quickly upon first listen.  It also surprises as well, something that Write About Love  was unable to do. 

The lead single The Party Line  worried me at first because it was all syntheses up pop and featured a restrained vocal, but it is actually a bit of a curve ball.  The album does feature other tracks that sound like The Party Line;  like Enter Sylvia Plath;  but the albums real strength is that when the band return to their signature sound it’s still with unique changes and experimental additions - very little here sounds like their earlier work on first listen - it is further listens that reveals the canonical nature of the album.

The opener, Nobody's Empire,  does start sounding a little like montage music at first, but once Murdoch's vocals come in the track becomes a Belle and Sebastian classic, complete with Stevie Jackson harmonies and brass band stabs.  It's in the vocal melody that you can feel yourself falling back into the old ways, as these is just something about that reminds me a lot of the bands best work.  It could be the personal story.  It could be the simple stanzas.  It could just be the confidence in which the song climaxes.  Whatever it is, it is a perfect opening track for the album.

Allie  sounds like it was cut from the same cloth as almost all of The Life Pursuit,  or even recent career peak Dear Catastrophe Waitress.  I have been humming the central melody for days since I heard it, and despite it's dark subject matter; "the tricks in your head are a lie"; the song features almost everything that was missing from Write About Love - charm, cheek and fun, and when you realise it's followed by The Party Line  you are pulled in - it's got you by track three.

Enter Sylvia Plath  is another standout track, not for it's length or it's split structure, but that it seems to commit wholesale rebooting of one of the band's greatest tracks - Your Cover's Blown,  from the Books  EP - albeit through a four to the floor style disco stomper.  Infact, I wasn't sure what I was listening to when I first heard this track.  Was that the band losing it?  Or was that them getting it? The one-two in the middle of the album of this and Everlasting Muse  with it's jazz and cossack-style schizophrenia reminds me of a band who are trying everything that they might have considered off base before, and it feels brilliant.  It feels like a big shift in their sound, but a natural one that feels right.  If you're this far into your career you might as well give it ago and this just might be Belle and Sebastian's long threatened 'dance' album.

Stevie Jackson takes the reins for one of the funnest tracks on the album, the wonderful Perfect Couples,  which also seems like a cousin of Your Cover's Blown  with similar instrumentation but a wicked sense of humour.  Ever Had a Little Faith  is classic Belle and Sebastian though, and confronts the idea of faith with a sound teleported from the band's early years.  It isn't all sure footed moves that work however.  Sadly, Sarah Martin is saddled with some of the clunkiest lyrics on the album on The Power of Three,  and tries her best to make "Every time I read the horoscopes I read three" sound profound, and "you could be Holmes, I could be Watson / Every hero, yes even me, has their Moriarty" work melodically and rhythmically.  Stretching at just over an hour losing The Power of Three  would have made a leaner and slighter record.  Martin does have one of the album's stand outs later on with The Book Of You  which has a wonderful bouncing sound and a dirty aesthetic that the band have never came across before.

The most brilliant thing about Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance  is that it feels like a sequel of sorts to Push Barman to Open Old Wounds  with it's out-there moments and tracks that don't sound like anything they have done before.  The squelches of synth and the dancier moments are wonderful.  Belle and Sebastian's best work has always been danceable, but now, here, they've embraced it and it's worked remarkably well.  It's 2015 and 19 years since the release of Tigermilk  and this stands up there as one of their best records since then.  They've found new strings to their bow, new sounds and a new verve that was arguably missing from their recently recorded output.

The album ends with Today (This Army’s for Peace),  a slow and down-tempo slice of perfection, and one of the best songs they have ever done, and a perfect way to end an album full of unpredictable shifts, turns, and diversions.  This is 21st Century Belle and Sebastian; not quite 20th Century Belle and Sebastian, but then who could be?

- Mark Shields

Belle and Sebastian - Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance  is out now via Matador Records and is available from all good record shops and online music retailers.

EXCLUSIVE - Sarah J Stanley - Stubborn and Cruel - Scottish Fiction Session Track


Joining me in session this week on Scottish Fiction was artist and musician Sarah J Stanley.  As well as chatting about her music, including most recent album The Earth Is Flat,  Sarah also played three wonderful tracks live in the Pulse 98.4 studio. 

This track, Stubborn and Cruel,  was recorded at Pulse 98.4, exclusive for the Scottish Fiction blog.  To hear further session tracks and an interview listen back to the full radio show here.

Enjoy!


Monday, 19 January 2015

EP Review - Deathcats/New Swears - Split EP


Glasgow's favourite punk outfit Deathcats, married Ottawa's 'ultimate party boys' New Swears with a blessing from Fuzzkill Records.  Their union has resulted in the fuzziest of EPs following on from Deathcats' debut album release in June and New Swears' second record last August.  Like in that Simpson's episode where Ned Flanders meets his Canadian doppelganger, New Swears are basically Deathcats’ Canadian equivalent.  Which is no bad thing of course. 

The EP is a jaunty DIY punk party.  Opener Liquid Gold  is a whirlwind of distortion and energetic longing, while EP closer End Game  follows the same suit with a teasingly slow start but euphoric choruses.

What goes up, must come down, and after Liquid Gold  comes the slow and heartfelt riff coupled with a few "ooh-oohs" which makes Sprint  the EP’s best track.  Throw in a melancholy line like, "I used to be faster/but now I can’t get past the couch", and you’ve got yourself a winner.

For New Swears side of the split EP, Satan Loves You  is simply a cheery reminder for when you’re feeling down while Scru Bar’s House  has the punk’s holy trinity of simple lyrics, shambolic riff and distortion.  Renegade Babes  is reminiscent of Wavves with a bass heavy solo, and closer Sloppy Blackout  is home to the catchiest chorus on the EP.

Following the release of this EP, and some final 'goodbye' shows, Deathcats’ went on hiatus in January.  "Always leave them wanting more" goes the wise saying.  This EP is the perfect parting gift.  And at least, we’ve still got New Swears holding the fort.

- Holly Callender

Deathcats / New Swears - Split EP  is available on Fuzzkill Records now as a cassette and digital download here.

Scottish Fiction Podcast - 19th January 2015


W
e get into 2015 proper the same way we ended 2014; with excellent live music and all the best new music about.  My session guest for this episode is artist and musician Sarah J Stanley, who played three wonderful tracks live in the Pulse 98.4 studio. 

Dotted around the rest of the episode there's new music from stalwarts Idlewild and Belle and Sebastian from both their forthcoming albums, and fresh material from Le Thug, Tongues, Lilac Pin, Mt. Doubt and more.

Idlewild - Come on Ghost
BAD LUCK - F L O A T
The Phantom Band - Local Zero
Collapsible Mountain - Laid Plans
Sarah J Stanley - Farmer - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Best Girl Athlete - Talk
CLASSIC TRACK - Endor - Chapel Doors
Belle & Sebastian - Nobody's Empire
Sarah J Stanley - Secretly Not - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off - As chosen by Sarah J Stanley
Tongues - Colours In The Dark
Mt. Doubt - Feathers
Algernon Doll - Justine
Lenin Death Mask - Tried To Confess
Sarah J Stanley - I Promise Mum - Live in Pulse 98.4 Studio
Django Django - First Light
Redolent - Auburn and Lime
Lilac Pin - Come Inside
RE-MIXING IT UP - Mogwai - The Lord Is Out Of Control (Nils Frahm Remix)
Le Thug - Basketball Land


Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Connect with us and submit any submissions via:
Facebook - www.facebook.com/thisisscottishfiction
Twitter - twitter.com/scotfiction984
E-mail - scottishfiction@mail.com