Monday, 19 July 2010

Exposure: Blue Sky Archives

(L-R: Ross, Lauren, Matt, Paul, Pete)

Blue Sky Archives
seem to be the words on everyones lips at the moment and, as usual, I'm behind the rest of the blogosphere in featuring this cracking post-rock/pop five piece from Glasgow. Peenko, Kowalskiy and the lovely Wull Swales of Define Pop have all featured the band at some point or another as have For Folk's Sake where someone lazily compared BSA to Paramore. So I'll avoid a long winded introduction and any dodgy comparisons and let the band introduce themself.

"I croon, play percussion and synth." says Lauren. "Paul croons and plays guitar. Pete plays bass and acts as the 'producer' type person (hello, free recording!). Ross plays kit, percussion and bits of synth but refuses to croon. Ever. Under any circumstances. Matt plays guitar and croons in the background, but has just run off to Japan for six months, so a very lovely man called Dave is pretending to be him in the meantime. Thanks, Dave."

While I can safely say they sound nothing like Paramore, I wondered how the band them self would describe their music. "It can be pretty tough to describe your own music without the usual genre-centric jargon and cloying comparisons" explains Paul. "I would just say that we write really simple soulful pop songs, and then play them in as raucous and rousing a way as possible. Loads of percussion, loads of vocals, loads of guitars, and loads of fun." Lauren isn't entirely sure either, "Whenever people ask that question, we always give the stock answer 'post-rock pop' but it's been described in a bunch of ways. Whether it's indie or folky or whatever else, there's definitely a melodic base to it, with lots of harmonies and rhythms because that's what we're good at".

With a lot of experience and an impressive list of previous bands such as Dance Lazarus Dance, Titus Gein, Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Dead or American and Holy Mountain, Blue Sky Archives are by no means newcomers to the music scene. However, Lauren felt she needed a change, "I used to play drums in a band that died a death and wanted to try something new" she tells me. "Paul and Matt were also bandless and Pete and Ross wanted to try playing something different to the other bands they're in, so we all stumbled together at the end of last year."

Paul elaborates, "
Each of us within the band have a very definite need to be musically creative. We must have collectively been involved in enough musical projects to start a scene in itself, so we were pretty familiar with each other as friends and peers before starting BSA." he explains. "The band was born out of a few initial songs and the process of finding the right people to do them justice. The line-up was finalised around December last year and we haven't looked back since then. It feels very natural making music together, like we've been at it for years."

As far as influences go, each band member's personal taste helps keep the band grounded and accesible and combines to form a healthy and refreshing mix. "
The things that influence each of us in terms of how we write or play our instruments probably sound horrifying when all put together, but I suppose that's part of the fun." says Lauren. "I'm a big fan of people like Sleater-Kinney, Dirty Projectors and Broken Social Scene but the others never let me go full-on girl rock, which is probably a good thing, if only to preserve their manliness."

"Don't let Lauren fool you, she's more of a man than any of us." adds Paul. "She's right though, our influences are pretty diverse as musicians and as people, and I suppose we're all a product of our influences separately. I reckon that's the biggest strength of this band. If we were all brought up on the same music we'd be pretty one-dimensional but it's quite the contrary and it shows in our music. I've been pretty much steeped in a combination of Scandinavian ambiance (Sigur Ros, Efterklang, Album Leaf, etc.) and American indie (Cursive, Rilo Kiley, Elliott Smith) for my whole adult life and I unavoidably play and write in that style. The rest of the gang have their own individual musical heritage though and it only adds to the mix"

Having released their impressive, self-titled, debut EP back in April, Blue Sky Acrhives have already proved they have a knack for writing beautiful, melodic pop/rock. So how does a wealth of experience and such an eclectic mix of influences combine during the song writing process? "It's developed a bit as time has gone on." explains Lauren. "Paul had written a bunch of material before the band which made up much of the early tunes in the set. But since we became a full band everyone has been bringing ideas to the table, writing songs in different ways and finding different formats." Lauren explains further, "Usually we'll come up with a basic soundscape, then add some vocals to see where the emphasis is going to go. With 'Crash Your Face', it was only really once we found the gang vocal hook that we knew where we wanted it to go. That was a nice moment."

As with all my other Exposure artists, I asked Lauren if there were any unsigned or unknown Scottish artists she had been enjoying recently.
"I'm dead keen on Meursault (what pipes) and Young Fathers (what beats) but they're both becoming more reknowned, and rightly so! More locally, Stomachs have some pretty sweet guitar jams."

So what does the rest of 2010 have in store for Blue Sky Archives? "We've just finished recording another EP (thanks, Pete) so will be putting that out after summer. We've got some Scottish shows lined up over the next couple of months and are playing at a festival in Belgium in October too with some English/European dates round about, so are brushing up on our languages."

Blue Sky Archives' debut EP
is available now from Bandcamp.

<a href="http://blueskyarchives.bandcamp.com/album/blue-sky-archives-ep">Crash Your Face by Blue Sky Archives</a>

You can also find BSA on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and LastFM.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Cardboard Ships - Campfires In Winter

North Lanarkshire trio Campfires in Winter are set to release their debut EP, Cardboard Ships, and it's certainly worth the wait. For two years the band have been piecing together and perfecting their sound and their hard work has definitely paid off.

I hate to use such lazy comparisons but it's hard not to compare this band to The Twilight Sad. Both share a love for powerful vocals, combining heavy emotions with rousing choruses and blazing guitars and both do it exceptionally well. Even when listening to the title track, you would be forgiven for thinking someone had leaked a rare TS song.

However, comparisons aside, Campfires in Winter are more than capable of standing on their own two feet as the rest of their epic EP shows. The word epic may be over used nowadays but for a three track EP at almost twenty minutes long, epic seems to be the most appropriate word. As an introduction to a band, I would usually expect the EP to be short and snappy, a teaser if you like of what a band is capable of. Yet, despite two of the three tracks exceeding seven minutes in duration, this EP never loses my attention. It's a risky move but they might just have got away with it.

To celebrate the release of the EP the band will be embarking on a mini 'Flat Tour', seeing the guys play intimate acoustic sets in people's living rooms. The tour kicks off on the 26th of July to coincide with the release of Cardboard Ships and will end with an appearance at the Pin Ups Festival on Friday 30th July at The Flying Duck. The dates and locations are as follows:

Mon 26th - Halina's flat
Tue 27th - Steven and Jenny's flat
Wed 28th - Sean's flat
Thu 29th - Lloyd's back garden
Fri 30th - Pin Up Festival @ The Flying Duck

For more information contact Lloyd Meredith (who has now turned his hand to band management) at peenkoblog@gmail.com


Cardboard Ships is avilable as a free download from 26th July or at gigs in the form of 50 hand-made, limited edition CDs.

You can find Campfires in Winter on Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and Bandcamp.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Gig: Aye Tunes Vs Peenko II


After the success of the first collaboration, two of Scotland's finest bloggers have teamed up once again to bring you another night of fine music. Tomorrow night, The 13th Note will play host to Aye Tunes Vs Peenko II and what a night it's going to be.



<a href="http://ayetunes.bandcamp.com/track/lost-at-sea">Lost At Sea by Aye Tunes</a>

On the bill are an incredibly young, Glasgwegian four piece by the name of Little Yellow Ukuleles. The Yooks have been kicking up a storm over the past year, gigging the length and breadth of the country as well as being Introduced by 6Music's Tom Robinson. I'm not the biggest fan of Little Yellow Ukuleles but they are a much loved and well supported band who I'm sure will more than entertain the crowd at the 13th Note tomorrow night.



<a href="http://ayetunes.bandcamp.com/track/squeamish">Squeamish by Aye Tunes</a>

Also taking to the stage will be my personal favourites, Randolph's Leap. These guys make cheery, alt-folk nonsense with the odd Scottish ballad thrown in for good measure. Humourous lyrics, infectious melodies and lots of fun, their set (just like their songs) is sure to raise a smile.



<a href="http://ayetunes.bandcamp.com/track/with-bullets">With Bullets by Aye Tunes</a>

Last but not least are We're Only Afraid of NYC. I only recently discovered this band and gradually fell in love with their dark, loud/quiet, melodic rock. They are an exciting band with massive potential and it's easy to see why both Jim and Lloyd rate them so highly.


Tickets are a steal at only £5 but make sure you get down early as it's sure to be a busy night.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

mitchell museum

What with taking a break from blogging and catching up on a backlog of emails, I've yet to find time to declare my love for Mitchell Museum - and what better time to do so than now.

Mitchell Museum are a breath of fresh air in the Scottish music scene, combining the oddities of The Flaming Lips and Animal Collective with spirited harmonies to create wonderfully wacky power-pop anthems. Don't let the comparison to the Lips put you off though, what Wayne Coyne and co have been lacking in the past few years, Mitchell Museum duly deliver in abundance. Regularly crossing the border between genius and downright madness, the only way to experience their music is to let it take you on a weird and wonderful journey. I guarantee it won't disappoint.

Since I've been playing catch up in the world of music blogging, this provides me with the perfect opportunity to whore out some free MM downloads and tie it in with their debut album release.

Mitchell Museum released their debut single Warning Bells early last month and to celebrate the release the band gave (and are still giving) away not one, not two but six free downloads. These unoffical B-sides are a selection of remixes of the band's debut single by We Were Promised Jetpacks and Coach-a-Cola to name but a few. You can purchase the debut single at iTunes or Amazon as well as downloading the free Warning Bells Remixes from Bandcamp. Whilst on Bandcamp, why not download We Lost 1st Prize, a collection of older recordings, B-sides and demos, for free? Cannae complain about that.

Yesterday saw the release of the much anticipated debut album, The Peters Port Memorial Service. A lack of pennies means I've yet to get my hands on a copy but I'll stick my neck out and say, I'll be surprised if it isn't a strong contender for my album of the year. Already picking up numerous favourable reviews, this release is set to propel Mitchell Museum into the limelight where they belong.

The band will be playing an instore gig at Glasgow FOPP (Union Street) tomorrow afternoon before their "Semi-secret album launch party" later that night. For more information on the launch party email mitchellmuseum@gmail.com and you might be lucky enough to recieve a 'secret free entry passcode'.

2010 is definitely the year of Mitchell Museum.

The Peters Port Memorial Service is available now from iTunes, Amazon and all good record shops.

<a href="http://mitchellmuseum.bandcamp.com/album/we-lost-1st-prize">Take The Tongue Out by mitchell museum</a>

As well as their official site, you can also find the band on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Exclusive: Come Home EP - Julia and the Doogans


Folk fever has swept across Britain with the folk scene in Glasgow gradually blossoming into a beautiful flower. This, however, makes it harder to get yourself noticed with such a wealth of talented musicians (and some not so) vying to be heard. It's just as well then that Julia and the Doogans debut EP is simply stunning.

Despite being released at the tail end of May, this is already a strong contender for my EP of the year. Julia's voice is truly beautiful. Her dulcet, soothing tones help to wash away your troubles as she tells tales of love, loss and longing. Subtle melodies and exquisite instrumentation flow around honest and beautifully poetic lyrics as Julia wears her heart firmly on her sleeve. Trust me when I say, it's hard not to fall in love with this EP.

Julia kindly agreed to give us a little insight into each track.

---------------------

Come Home

<a href="http://juliaandthedoogans.bandcamp.com/track/come-home">Come Home by Julia and the Doogans</a>

"This song is basically about losing someone close. When they're gone life goes on as normal but even though everything looks the same, everything has changed. And for a long time after, everything reminds you of the person."

---------------------

Hummingbird

<a href="http://juliaandthedoogans.bandcamp.com/track/hummingbird">Hummingbird by Julia and the Doogans</a>

"I wont say who this song is about but the idea was someone doing loads for you and meaning a lot. So much so that they become so special to you that you'll never be as giving as them. If tables were turned, you would be selfish. Something like that."

---------------------

Borderline

<a href="http://juliaandthedoogans.bandcamp.com/track/borderline">Borderline by Julia and the Doogans</a>

"No one writes about that stage in the middle, it's either being in love or falling out of love. When you're in between it can go either way; you can progress to love, or go seperate ways. After a while a decision has to be made."

---------------------

New York City

<a href="http://juliaandthedoogans.bandcamp.com/track/new-york-city">New York City by Julia and the Doogans</a>

"This is a song about someone leaving for bigger and better things. Quite simply, you wish them success and know that they will prove you wrong and do well."

---------------------

"But that's what they mean to me. They can mean anything to anyone."

...and that's the beauty of it.


Come Home EP is available now from the Julia and the Doogans' Bandcamp.

You can also buy tickets (at a slightly cheaper price) for Julia's King Tuts gig with Kitty the Lion. Just follow the link to her Bandcamp page.

Find Julia and the Doogans on Myspace, Twitter and Facebook.

Leave If You Want To - The Cinnamons


To kick start what is set to be a busy week, The Cinnamons' second single of their 5 Songs of Summer EP is released today.

Leave If You Want To is a throwback to the electronic 80s, choosing a more synth-driven approach as opposed to the guitar pop of the previous single. Even as I write this at 03:06 am in preparation for later on in the day (it's not like me to be organised) I've had it on repeat for the past fifteen minutes. It's a lovely wee track, pure synthy goodness.

Just as a reminder, or for any one who hasn't read my previous post, The Cinnamons will be releasing five singles at various dates throughout Summer 2010 each of which will gradually form the band's next EP set for release in mid August.

So far the band have released two singles, both of which are available as a free download from the band's Bandcamp. Here is a list of the three remaining tracks and their release dates:


July 26th - Where we're Going

August 9th - Soul for Sale

August 16th - Analog Man


Two down, three to go.

Leave If You Want To is available to download now from Bandcamp.

<a href="http://thecinnamons.bandcamp.com/track/leave-if-you-want-to-2">Leave If You Want To by the cinnamons</a>

You can also find The Cinnamons on MySpace, Facebook, LastFM, Twitter, and Youtube.

Friday, 9 July 2010

Your House Is A Hospice - So Many Animal Calls


It's Friday and what better way to start the weekend than with a free download, courtesy of one of the most new, exciting and promising Scottish bands of 2010?

So Many Animal Calls have made available Your House Is A Hospice for free download from their Bandcamp. This three track EP acts as a teaser for their full debut EP which will be released soon. It has certainly got me excited about their forthcoming release and if this download is anything to go by, the full EP is going to be huge.

Go get your free copy here.

<a href="http://somanyanimalcalls.bandcamp.com/album/your-house-is-a-hospice">The Smoke / ...And All The Things On Fire by So Many Animal Calls</a>

You can catch So Many Animal Calls live at The Captain's Rest with 100 Paper Boats and Queen Jane on the 14th July. I'll post where to buy tickets when I actually find out.

For all you Twitter fiends, you can follow the band by clicking here.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

TITP: Best of the BBC Introducing Stage


It's T time! Sadly, I won't be taking to the fields of Balado this year however that doesn't stop me offering a few reccomendations of the best of the bands on the smaller stages.

The BBC Introducing Stage makes only its second appearance at T in the Park, last year featuring the likes of Dananananaykroyd, The Twilight Sad, Broken Records and Findo Gask. Here are some artists you should think about catching over the weekend.


SATURDAY


LOU HICKEY



Co-writer and vocalist of Codeine Velvet Club, Lou Hickey is now focusing on her solo career. Her music is described as 'Bitchy Jazz Caberet Pop' and I don't think I could sum it up any better than that. Sitting with a whisky in one hand and a cigarette in the other is the best way to soak up her atmospheric music. (Disclaimer - I would like to point out I am in no way advocating the consumption of alcohol or the smoking of tobacco)


ADMIRAL FALLOW



Admiral Fallow (formerly the Brother Louis Collective) are a wondefully talented six-piece folk band. Beautiful melodies, soaring harmonies and stunning instrumentation will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. This is one band you don't want to miss.


YOUNG FATHERS



After playing BBC Introducing last year, this Edinburgh based hip-hop trio are back again to headline the stage. More pop than gangster, they'll have you dancing all the way back to your tent.


SUNDAY


NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION



Hailing from both Glasgow and Edinburgh and after countless favourable reviews, North Atlantic Oscialltion are set to take festival goers on a weird and wonderful journey with their electronic, undoubtedly trippy, space rock. Let them warm your hearts and souls, you won't be disappointed.


SILVER COLUMNS



AWESOME. That is all.



AERIALS UP



After supporting the likes of Snowpatrol and Paolo Nutini and playing a live session for Vic Galloway, Aerials Up more than deserve the hype that surrounds them. They are bringing their folk tinged pop/rock to Balado, headlining the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday. This is just the beginning.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Exposure: Jack James


The list of my favourite Scottish singer/songwriters is as long as my arm - and I have very long arms. From Beerjacket to Panda Su, Shambles Miller to Anna Meldrum and many more in between, there's now another addition to that list - Jack James.

Armed with powerful, impassioned lyrics, a knack for storytelling and a surprisingly mature voice which never fails to strike an emotional chord, his brand of lo-fi, folk music is one that evokes a smile as much as it tugs at the heart strings.

"I think the songs I've written are pretty much lyrically-driven with quite simple arrangements" explains Jack. "For example, a lot of songs are just vocals and guitar. In the description of the latest album there's a part that says it's not party music, I think that's a fair description."

It may not be music to swing your cat to but it's certainly music that's able to resonate with its listeners.

"It’s great if people can relate to my songs, although I got one comment recently from someone who listened to the first two songs of the new album but couldn’t listen to any more. He said I was talking about things that were from a totally different life from his and that it was dark, disturbing and he couldn’t relate to it."

I wondered if Jack saw this as criticism. "I took that as a compliment actually because I like to read and listen to stuff like that, from different perspectives from your own. Music should be able to connect with people regardless of their backgrounds or perspectives."

With such an educated and open-minded outlook on life, it'll come as no surprise that Jack has a way with words that most people could only wish for. "I’m not sure if everyone actually listens to lyrics these days, but the people that do probably want to hear interesting stories or phrases and not cliché-ridden shit that’s thrown together just because it rhymes; at least that’s the kind of music I like listening to."

As far as his influences go, a mix of young and old help to inspire his music. "I listen to a variety of music, but in terms of what influences my songwriting I'd say contemporary artists like Damien Jurado, Elliott Smith and Bon Iver would rank near the top. I'm also a huge fan of Neil Young, he's probably my main influence if I was naming names, and of course Bob Dylan, who I just seen live a few days ago which was fantastic."

"Generally I'll get an idea on the guitar for a chord progression or a melody and lyrics will enter my head at that stage." says Jack on his method of songwriting. "I like to finish the song and record it as quickly as possible, though some songs will take a few months to write and others will be completed and recorded in a day or two, it varies. I also record live takes and try to capture the song when it's still fresh and newly written because I think there's a noticeably different feel to that."

"I try to be unique in what I write." Jack explains. "Occasionally I'll get an idea and I'll get excited because I think it will be a good song, then realise half-way through writing it that it's actually the same chords and melody to a Neil Young song or something. I try and avoid clichéd lyrics as I really cringe at a lot of the lyrics in a lot of songs these days. I also try and avoid choruses for the sake of choruses whilst not strictly following any structures; I just try and write how I think the song should sound and flow."

Jack released his second album, Quarter-life Crisis, back in May and it appears to be a step in the right direction following his impressive and well recieved debut, Lights off, headphones on. "Well the biggest change for the new album has got to be the additional instrumentation. I also think the songs are a bit more melodic. When I was writing and recording the first album I was getting into a lot of musicians that were new to me and discovering what type of music it was that I wanted to write, so I think those influences show. I also learned a lot more about singing from the first to second album and seem to have resolved to a certain accent now that feels quite natural to me."

I noticed Jack had been pretty quiet on the gig front of late. "I played at King Tuts a couple of weeks ago but you’re right, before that there wasn’t much. When I’m writing and recording I tend not to book gigs because I’m occupied with everything involved in that."

So, any plans for gigging soon? "Nothing is scheduled at the moment but I think I’ll be playing some shows around Glasgow in a month or so."

As an independent musician from Glasgow, I wondered what Jack made of the Scottish music scene. "The Scottish music scene is quite strange to me sometimes" he explains. "Even the artists that are huge within it, the average guy on the street has no idea who they are. So I’m a big fan of artists like Malcolm Middleton and De Rosa and I listen to them quite a lot, I think more people should."

I couldn't agree more.

"I think a lot of people are realising that they don’t need a record label to release music these days, so I admire guys like Beerjacket who self-release. I guess you could call him unsigned, but that term may be irrelevant in the future."

Any plans for the rest of the year?

"Well 2010 is half-way through but at the same time, it’s a bit early to tell. I released the first album in May 2009 and Quarter-life Crisis in May 2010 so if someone was extrapolating this then they might say there’s a very good chance of an album in May 2011."

So is there? "If you were to ask me I’d say that’s a bit unrealistic but we’ll see what happens. I’ve had my longest break in writing for quite a while so it may be good to get back to it soon, though I’m not going to force or rush anything. Hopefully there will be a few more gigs too."


Quarter-life Crisis is available now as a 'name your price' download from Bandcamp.

<a href="http://jackjames.bandcamp.com/album/quarter-life-crisis">Gathering Dust by Jack James</a>

You can also download Jack's debut album from his Bandcamp page.

<a href="http://jackjames.bandcamp.com/album/lights-off-headphones-on">West End Blues Waltz by Jack James</a>


As well as Bandcamp, you can find Jack James on MySpace, Twitter and Last.fm.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Single: Rest and Be Thankful - The Recovery Club


The independent, Glasgow-based record label Antimatter today release the debut single by one of their most recent signings, The Recovery Club.

Rest and Be Thankful is a delicate yet wholly absorbing track. The enchanting vocals backed with beautiful harmonies make for a touching and heart-warming listen. The single is supported by two demo tracks, Weird Weather and DNA, and if these are anything to go by, The Recovery Club are destined for bigger and better things.

Overall, a stunning debut.

Work is already underway on the band's debut album, with another single set for release later in the year.

Join them tomorrow night at The Liquid Ship for their single launch where you can buy a copy of the three track, limited edition numbered CD. Free entry, so no excuses! If however you can't make it down to Great Western Road tomorrow, you can catch them at Bar Ten (located halfway down Mitchell Lane) on the 15th July.


Rest and Be Thankful is available now from Antimatter, iTunes and Amazon.

<a href="http://antimatter.bandcamp.com/album/rest-and-be-thankful">Rest and Be Thankful by www.antimattermusic.co.uk</a>


You can find The Recovery Club on Myspace and Antimatter.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Exhibition - We Sink Ships: Elements


For those of you who aren't familiar with the wonderful work of We Sink Ships, it's a collaboration between Heidi Kuisma, a Finnish born, Glasgow-based photographer and Neil Milton, a Warsaw based Scottish musician, photographer and record label owner who I featured in an Exposure article a while back on his musical project beneath us, the waves. As well as creating stunning online photo exhibitions they also present We Sink Ships Radio, a series of weekly music podcasts hosted on Radio Magnetic. All round, an incredibly talented pair.

Last night, I received an email from Heidi regarding an event she is organising as part of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2010. The event will feature a screening of We Sink Ships' short film, Elements and those attending will be treated to music from eagleowl and Conquering Animal Sound, two of my personal favourites. Heidi has summed the event up far better than I ever could so I'll let her explain the rest:

"We Sink Ships is delighted to announce the screening of “We Sink Ships: Elements” short film at Wee Red Bar on 31 July as part of Edinburgh Art Festival 2010, Scotland’s largest annual festival of visual art.

The screening will be accompanied by music from beautiful, atmospheric lo-fi folk ensemble eagleowl and Conquering Animal Sound whose unusual song structures and melodic beats and loops create awe-inspiring sounds.

The doors are at 7pm and entry costs £5.


'We Sink Ships: Elements' contains material from cross-disciplined body of work split across five separate exhibitions. Each exhibition is themed around one of the classical medieval elements and contains images created by layering photographs to create surreal, abstract and sometimes ethereal interpretations of the chosen element, a poem written by Rhys Baker from Wild Dogs in Winter and a piece of music written by Neil Milton.


The film is made by Sleepysoul, a Scottish independent filmmaker, using Elements materials together with his own and archive footage creating an evocative film with classical elements and technology at its core."

I'll be doing my best to make it through to Edinburgh at the end of July and I hope you will too. For more on all the artists featured and other information, just follow the links in the above text.

Tickets are priced at £5 and you can buy them here.

You can also find We Sink Ships on Twitter, Myspace, Facebook and Wordpress as well as their podcast on Radio Magnetic.

You can view Heidi's photography on Flickr as well as follow Heidi on Twitter where I'm sure she'll be more than happy to respond to any questions about the event.

As well as a Facebook page, Sleepysoul also has Twitter.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

EP: 5 Songs of Summer - The Cinnamons


They say they began as a bedroom recording project but The Cinnamons have progressed far and beyond messing around in the front room of a house in Castlemilk. This is synth-pop at its finest complete with awesome hooks and catchy melodies, all of which provide the perfect soundtrack to Summer - and that's exactly what The Cinnamons will be providing.

The band will release five singles at various dates throughout Summer 2010 each of which will gradually form the band's next EP, 5 Songs of Summer, set for release in mid August. Interestingly, each song was performed, recorded, mixed and mastered by the band in a bedroom. No fancy studios or expensive sound producers involved in the making of this EP, yet you would never guess otherwise.

Each track will be available as a free download from the band's Bandcamp with the first, Welcome to the Business, available now. Here is a full list of the tracks and their release dates:

June 28th - Welcome to the Business

July 12th - Leave if you want to

July 26th - Where we're Going

August 9th - Soul for Sale

August 16th - Analog Man


I'll be posting reminders each time a new track is released, so don't worry about missing a date.

The end of Summer will see a Cinnamons hosted party and EP launch which, if you're fans of the band, you won't want to miss. So what are you waiting for? Get downloading!

The first of the five singles is available to download now from the bands Bandcamp.

&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://thecinnamons.bandcamp.com/track/welcome-to-the-business"&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Welcome to the Business by the cinnamons&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

You can also find The Cinnamons on MySpace, Facebook, LastFM, Twitter, and Youtube.

Introducing: Where We Lay Our Heads


I like to try and bring you fresh, new artists as often as I can and how much newer can you get than Where We Lay Our Heads?

Electronic-Folk and yes, it works beautifully. Heartfelt yet harsh lyrics tell enchanting stories with a delightful Scottish accent. The debut single My Major is Your Minor will be available for free download from Have Fun At Dinner in a few weeks but until then you'll have to make do with streaming the tracks from MySpace.

Definitely one to watch.

You can find Where We Lay Our Heads on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Exposure: Sefiros


In terms of modern day music, when I read the words "young", "electronica" and "Scottish" I fear another Unicorn Kid. Thankfully, this is not the case. Sefiros is the moniker of Bryan Henderson, a young electronica artist from North Lanarkshire. A hard-working individual with a burning passion for music and the talent to match.

There is something rather unnerving yet beautiful about Sefiros' music. Large orchestral sounds, ominous tones and beautiful compositions all with the trademark 8-bit bleeps make for a compelling and thought-provoking listen, something which makes it truly unique.

As to the inspiration behind his musical creations, Bryan explains further. "There are a few artists such as Aphex Twin, 65daysofstatic, Ólafur Arnalds, M83, and video game composers like Akira Yamaoka. Trent Reznor is probably my biggest influence though, although my material doesn't sound anything like his musically. I admire what he's done throughout the years, including all his post-label self release of free albums"

His music may not be an echo of Reznor but Bryan has definitely drawn inspiration in other ways. To date, Sefiros has produced various EPs and albums culminating in a total of nine releases, eight of which are free to download.

"I certainly don't think downloading has any sort of the same effect on the industry as the RIAA and co think. I know if I downloaded music by an artist I liked I'd be more likely to buy releases from them, see them live, buy merchandise, etc. We all know artists make more money from the merchandise and concerts than they do from their share of album sales anyway. As long as my music is being heard I don't mind how they get a hold of it. Although I do like money."

It's this positive attitude to music along with his effort and passion that have helped to create a respectable and impressive back catalogue - and he hasn't even turned 25 yet.

So what's a typical songwriting process like for Sefiros?

"I tend to write straight into FLStudio using several free virtual instruments, samples, and effects. Usually I'll start with a beat or a chord progression and just branch off of that. Sometimes I'll come up with ideas away from the computer, but most of my songs just flow onto the screen when I start writing."

If all this has whet your appetite to catch Sefiros performing near you then you may be waiting a while.

"I haven't played live yet, but I am toying with the idea. I recently bought a Novation Launchpad, but I think I'd need another couple of pieces of kit before I could do anything that people would find interesting. Otherwise I'd just be standing on stage pressing the play button." A very fair point I'm sure you will agree.

Being an independent Scottish musician, I wondered if there were any other unsigned Scottish artists out there whom he admires or would consider working with.

"I know of one artist - Gordon McNeil - who is trying to break into the video game industry with his music. We were both working on a rock opera concept album together for a while, but we never got around to finishing it."

So what does 2010 have in store for Sefiros?

"Since I've just released my first album into download stores, I think I'll be trying to promote that for a while. Then I'll probably start working on some more music. I used to release an album or two a year, but I've slowed down considerably since then."

Sefiros first commercially released album Stop Becoming is available now from iTunes, Amazon and the Sefiros official website.

<a href="http://sefiros.co.uk/track/global-virus">Global Virus by Sefiros</a>


As well as his website you can find Sefiros on MySpace, SoundCloud, LastFM, Facebook and Twitter. Phew.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Glasgow PodcART feature

The guys at Glasgow PodcART were kind enough to feature me on their site this morning. I made a radio documentary on the Glasgow music scene in which I interviewed Halina, Sean and Nic podcART. I sent them a copy of the finished doc and they liked it so much they thought they would share it with everyone.





I can't thank them enough for agreeing to take part and for spreading the word about both my blog and my documentary. I'd also like to thank Jim Gellatly, Ashley Leggate (Oxjam Regional Manager for Glasgow), Bruce Rintoul (Lofi Studios) and Doug Summers (SambaYaBamba) for taking time out of their busy schedules to let me rabble on asking question after question. Thanks also to all the people who agreed to interviews that I never had time to arrange.

I know the blog's been quiet recently but only one more week left of College before I'll be back blogging regularly. Keep your eyes peeled for a wee interview and acoustic session within the upcoming weeks.

Cheers for all the support!


To see the full feature and listen to a stream of my documentary, click here.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Blog hiatus

After having problems signing in to my Blogger account, I'm now struggling to regularly post as I'm snowed under with College work. II'll try to post when I can but for the next month or so it will be pretty irregular. I promise as soon as College dies down a little I'll be back posting regularly, you have my word.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Exposure: beneath us, the waves

I am a huge fan of classical music, particularly modern minimalist and ambient. My love for this genre began back in 2005 when I found a copy of Ágætis byrjun in a Woolworths bargain bin. Having never heard of Sigur Rós, I decided to buy the album based on the album artwork and the £3 price tag and I can safely say it was the best choice I have made to date. This opened up so many new doors, leading me to discover artists such as Olafur Arnalds, Ludovico Einaudi, Jonsi & Alex and Seabear to name but a few. But recently (as recent as little over an hour ago) a Warsaw based, Scottish artist was brought to my attention.

Neil Milton is a name you may recognise, whether it be as one half of the
photographic collaboration We Sink Ships or as founder of record label Too Many Fireworks but what you may not know (you probably will, I fear I'm way behind everyone else on this one) is that he composes music under the moniker beneath us, the sea. Heavily influenced by a variety of Iceland's ambient artists, his music evokes emotion through beautiful arrangements and stunning instrumentation. Each piece fills your head with images of vast landscapes and spectacular scenery, making it the perfect visual music. It's easy to see why he was asked to score music for the Glasgow Tramway theatre to accompany a promo video. He is also working on strings accompaniments for a few Scottish bands, most notably for The Kays Lavelle front man, Euan McMeeken's solo EP which is due to be released later in the Spring.

As I mentioned earlier, Neil currently lives in Warsaw however he is returning to Scotland very soon to make a few live appearances in Glasgow and Edinburgh. beneath us, the sea will be accompanied by a live string quartet and will be playing in Edinburgh at the Wee Red Bar on the 30th of March with Euan McMeeken and The Japanese War Effort. On the 1st of April he'll be moving across to Glasgow to play a show for the Elba Studios folk at their Elba Sessions Presents... event at the Liquid Ship before playing a headline gig at Stereo on the 12th of April which will also feature The Last Battle and Maple Leaves. Neil also tells me there will be a beneath us, the waves and Maple Leaves collaboration that night.

I thank Neil Milton for getting in touch with Scottish Scribbler and introducing me to his wonderful music. I am now very excited for his final Glasgow show at Stereo and urge you all to toddle along before Mr Milton takes beneath us, the waves back to Warsaw.






Elegy For Tramway by beneathusthewaves

Click here to listen to beneath us, the waves. You can also click here to listen on SoundCloud.
Too Many Fireworks is currently on hiatus but Neil is preparing for a re-launch later in the Spring.
We Sink Ships, his photographic collaboration with Glasgow based photographer Heidi Kuisma, can be found here. Their weekly podcasts can be found here.
For tickets and other information, visit the above links.

This week's gigs


Prepare to 'get your groove on' as Make Sparks bring their infectious guitar-pop to The Captain's Rest tonight. Support comes from a promising Aberdonian outfit, Cast of the Capital as well as Glasgow based Little Yellow Ukuleles (or The Yooks for short), a band who are building quite a reputation. Tickets are £5 and can be purchased on the door, doors open at 8pm.
Elsewhere in Glasgow, Johnny and the Giros prepare to squeeze all six members onto Pivo Pivo's tiny stage. A talented bunch of musicians who fuse some funky basslines with catchy hooks and dirty synth. The only downside is the lack of dance floor at Pivo Pivo. Again, tickets can be purchased on the door and are priced at £5.

Thursday is a busy night in Glasgow. Progressive experimentalists Call To Mind launch their EP at Stereo in what is sure to be a stunning night of beautiful music. Support is provided by Diamond Sea and another favourite of mine, Yahweh. £5 on the door. Having received favourable reviews from the likes of Vic Galloway and Nick Grimshaw, Jakil are certainly hot right now. They will play the O2 Academy 2 alongside one of Glasgow's hardest working bands, Tempercalm. A tidy line-up which is definitely worth a look. Tickets are £6 and can be purchased here. As it's Thursday night, the Oran Mor is where I'll be at as The Mill will be showcasing yet another terrific band, Midnight Lion. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm pretty excited for this gig and you can get your hands on a ticket too, free of charge. As with every show at The Mill, the text for tickets system is in place. Just text 'MILL38K' to 82500 or you can register your details here and follow the quick and easy steps. Support comes from another impressive new band, Song Of Return. You'd be daft to miss this gig. If for some strange reason none of these sound appealing, there is an alternative. If it wasn't for Midnight Lion's show at The Mill, this is where I would be. The Captain's Rest will be playing host to the absolutely bonkers but brilliant, Super Adventure Club. Helping them launch their new album 'Avoid Zombies' are United Fruit and The Banana Sessions. Doors are at 8pm and tickets cost £4. Prepare to be scared and amazed.


Friday night sees the delightful Boycotts play The Flying Duck's 'Pin Up Nights' alongside the fantastically folky Washington Irving and the newly formed Male Pattern Band. Tickets are £5 and the club runs from 9pm to 3am. North Atlantic Oscillation's sound is huge and at this rate their popularity may begin to match the sheer size of their sound. You can catch them at Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh on Friday night and at The Captain's Rest in Glasgow the following night. You can buy tickets for the Edinburgh gig here for a mere £4.50. You better be quick though, there aren't a lot of tickets left. Finally, Glasgow's O2 Academy will play host to Future's Fest on Saturday night. Johnny Foreigner will headline along with a whole host of Scottish artists. The stand outs for me being LightGuides (formerly WeHungYourLeader) who appear to have never heard of a space bar and Acrylic Iqon who will no doubt draw comparisons to Paramore, except the major difference being Paramore are shit. Tickets are priced at £10 and can be purchased here.

Plenty to choose from!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

EP Review: Shambles Vs The Dragonwizard



















Someone once told Shambles Miller, "When you sing you sound like Frankie Boyle"
- he doesn't. However, on opening track 'Pssst!', I couldn't help but draw comparisons with Billy Connolly. Why? I have no idea. I would like to point out that this is neither a criticism nor a compliment, it's just an odd thought which was playing on my mind.

With that said, for me 'Pssst!' is the stand out track. The song moves along at a sprightly pace, illustrating Shambles' talent for writing amusing lyrics and uplifting melodies. It's a cheery little number and a pleasant opening to his debut EP.

The rest of the EP doesn't disappoint either. 'Robots' is a relaxing and dreamy track, despite it's punky edge, and 'My Best Friend Is An Outsider' is performed with such passion that it really helps to separate Shambles Miller from the countless other singer/songwriters across the country. However,
it was 'Nothing Unfolding' which really struck a chord with me. This track took me on a melodic journey as I found myself submerged in the music, hanging on Shambles' every word. The song plays like a scrapbook, the imagery created through the heartfelt lyrics and the story progressing as though pages are being turned.

Overall, this is an impressive debut. The only possible problem with the EP is the huge contrast between the likes of the witty, upbeat 'Pssst!' and the more somber 'Nothing Unfolding'. However, bearing in mind that this is a debut EP, the chance to showcase two different sides to his music is not necessarily a bad thing. Shambles Miller's simple approach to songwriting takes acoustic music back to basics, stripping it down to the bare minimum and producing raw, heartfelt and at times humorous songs. It's an excellent beginning for my new favourite soloist and still with lots of room for improvement, things can only get better for Shambles Miller.


You can see Shambles Miller for free at MacSorley's in Glasgow on April 14th.
You can find him here on MySpace, Twitter and WordPress.
Buy the EP here or download the digital version.

Friday, 19 March 2010

New beginnings

I'll start off the blog with my current top five favourites that you should definitely be checking out.














K
ITTY THE LION


Kitty the Lion came to life late
last year when singer/songwriter Anna Meldrum decided to form a band after a couple of years of performing solo. I was first brought to the attention of Miss Meldrum at the beginning of 2009 after stumbling across her MySpace and was immediately drawn in by her beautiful voice. Since forming a band, the charming lyrics and catchy melodies are enhanced by the sounds of a talented bunch of musicians, one of whom is Callum Wiseman. A late addition to the band, former lead singer/guitarist of Jocasta Sleeps (a band who are sadly no more and will be sorely missed) extends his talents to mandolin, which perfectly compliments Anna's voice and makes Kitty the Lion one to watch for 2010.


MySpace



MIDNIGHT LION

Sticking with the theme of Lions, I bring you Midnight Lion. The band is comprised of two former members of Atlas Skye (previously Drive-By Argument) and quite simply, they are explosive. I'm pretty much going to stick my neck out and say this band are destined for big things. I haven't been as excited about a band like this in quite a while and I'm itching for their show next week at The Mill which I urge you all to get along to whilst there's still tickets left. Striking vocals, beautiful harmonies and HUGE sounds - this is electropop perfection.


MySpace





SHAMBLES MILLER

Shambles Miller (real name Campbell Miller) is a singer/songwriter from Glasgow. Armed with a rusty old four track recorder and a tiny little drum machine, Shambles writes songs to rival the best of Glasgow's acoustic soloists. This is folk meets punk on a beaten old guitar and the results are remarkable. Take a deeper look and you'll notice the witty and amusing lyrics that are sure to crack a smile. My personal favourite: "Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder but it never makes your hard-on stronger". It's no surprise really when you consider he is studying English Language at Glasgow University. It's this flair for words and his ability to turn them into beautiful tunes that make Shambles Miller one of my favourite artists in Scotland at the moment. Watch your back Beerjacket, you have fierce competition for the singer/songwriter crown.


MySpace




THE LAFONTAINES

Hailing from the mean streets of Motherwell, The LaFontaines exploded onto the scene in 2008 and took Glasgow by storm. Fusing hip-hop with rock and pop was surely going to attract attention but to do it in such expert manner turned that attention into rave reviews. 2009 saw the band headline a sold-out show at Glasgow's ABC2 where they launched their debut EP as well as support slots with the likes of N-Dubz, The Cool Kids, Mongrel, The Xcerts and Beardyman. They continued gigging the length and breadth of the country before supporting Twin Atlantic at their sold out King Tut's 20th anniversary show. Frontman Kerr Okan's thick Scottish accent and their lyrical wit seperates the band from pretty much every other hip-hop act around and their knack for writing a catchy hook helps secure an evergrowing fanbase. However, where The LaFontaines' really come into their own is on stage. The band continue to deliver an exhilerating performance with Kerr's audience banter usually a highlight. Glaswegian hip-hop just shouldn't work but somehow, it does.


MySpace
















DOTJR


I'll be honest and tell you I don't know all that much about dotjr except that he's from the Isle of Lewis and he writes truly beautiful songs. I only discovered him a couple of weeks ago and I instantly fell in love with his music. I hope to see more of him in the future and hopefully, after supporting The Boy Who Trapped the Sun at The Captain's Rest, another Glasgow gig is on the cards soon.


MySpace

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