Friday, 30 April 2010

Peenko's Friday Freebies feat. Kowalskiy! April Roundup

Now for a roundup of my April contributions to Peenko's Friday Freebies.

Week #1 - Wolf Parade/Swan Lake/Sunset Rubdown's Spencer Krug new solo Moonface project has put his 20 minute, 1-track "Dreamland EP: marimba and shit-drums" EP up for free download.

Week #2 - This one is a bit special... a free download of "Emily Rose" from Three Blind Wolves' outstanding debut album.

Week #3 - Shambles' pal, Andrew Lindsay has a bunch of cracking freebies up on his bandcamp page.

Week #4 - Remember Hope Of The States? Remember how amazing they were? Well essentially they're back, although with a new name and a different line-up. The Northwestern have 2 tracks up for grabs if you're willing to trade them your email address. Also, Gogol Bordello return with new album "Trans-Continental Hustle", from which you can download opening track "Pala Tute" for free.

Week #5 - Featured this one on the blog earlier on in the week but its a good 'un! Arran Arctic is giving away an acoustic version of "Tight Lipped Lover" if you sign up to his mailing list.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Ten for 2010 Revisited... Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers

It's been just over a year since I was sat in Bedlam Theatre in Edinburgh mesmerised by Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers. Since then, I've lost track of how many times I've been at one of their gigs, engrossed in their infectious live show. If you then throw in their top-notch singles "Twisted Mile", "Hang The Noose" and "Draw A Line", it's no surprise they were one of my picks for 2010.

So far, Ali and the guys haven't disappointed. They've been up and down the country promoting their debut album, "Home and the Wild Hunt" with a host of cracking radio sessions (which can be found here, here, here and over on the good ship Peenko here and here) as well as a 'hairy' interview with Glasgow PodcART. I've been wracking my brain for a while now trying to think of what I could say to do the album justice. I'll let the music speak for itself though. It really is too good for words!


Woodenbox will be in session for the BBC with Ricky Ross tomorrow, then hitting the road again in the run-up to festival season. Here's the details:

Upcoming Gigs
2nd May - Get A Room @Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow
7th May - Stereo, Glasgow (solo) for The Kays Lavelle album launch
15th May - Platform, Easterhouse
19th May - The Lexington, London
11th June - King Tuts, Glasgow
18th June - Winterwell Festival, Gloustershire
19th June - The Insider Festival, Aviemore
27th June - Brel, Glasgow (West End Festival)
24th July - The Big Tent Festival, Falkland

If you fancy the album (and why wouldn't you!?!), you can get the mp3s at Amazon or eMusic, or for those of you, like me, who still need to have the CD, you can get a copy from Avalanche Records.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Peenko vs. Aye Tunes: This Friday!

By now I'm sure you're all aware of the wee shindig at The Captain's Rest on Friday night. If not, then here's the gist....

Scottish music bloggers Peenko and Aye Tunes have teamed and persuaded three of Scotland's finest up-and-coming bands to play for them for the inaugural Peenko vs. Aye Tunes gig. On the bill are Campfires In Winter, Mitchell Museum and headliners Kid Canaveral.

Tickets are £4 in advance (you may need to be quick though) or £5 on the door.

Head over to Aye Tunes for some info on how you can get your hands on some freebies from the three bands in question.

Best of luck guys!

Friday, 23 April 2010

Glasgowbound: Arran Arctic

Do you remember Arran Arctic? I featured him and his "The Boy In Brown" album back in January. Well, Arran recently announced he is making the trip along the M8 in early May to perform in Glasgow for the first time. I asked him how he was feeling about playing at The 13th Note:

"I'm not feeling too bad about playing Glasgow for the first time. Although I may have a nervous breakdown minutes before I go onstage, only to pull myself back from the precipice of disaster at the last minute!

I'm trying not to worry about it, because I'm not too sure what to expect. Normally I'd check a venue out before I decided to gig there, but I'm plunging head first into this one. At the very least, I'm hoping the audience will be kind. The venue is a vegan / vegetarian restaurant - how could they not be?!"

Dunno about that, I know some pretty ruthless veggies! Anyway, if you're thinking about going, then here's what you can expect according to Arran himself:

"Since I'm testing the Merchant City waters with this gig, I'll be playing solo. For this, there are a couple of reasons:
a) It's logistically easier to transport 1 person, rather than 3 to the venue on time.
b) If it all goes tits up, I'll be able to make a hasty exit!

In seriousness, the audience will hear my songs in their most truthful and direct form. I've also recently been revisiting some older material as well, so there will definitely be some surprises in the set list that new fans may not have come across. The other two acts (Fram, My Lady of Clouds) are both great, so I'll stick my neck out and say it'll be a great night"

Who: Edinburgh-based D.I.Y. musician Arran Arctic
What: 30-minute solo acoustic set
Where: The 13th Note
When: 6th May, 8pm
With: Sandwiched between My Lady Of Clouds and headliners Fram
Worth: £5 (tickets available on the door)

Arran is giving away an acoustic version of "Tight Lipped Lover" free to anyone who signs up to his mailing list. Just head HERE! If you do, and you go to the gig, Arran has another wee freebie for you... your very own, handmade Arctic wristband.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Broken Records @ Cheer Up Charlies - SXSW 2010

Spotted this video online from one of Broken Records many gigs at SXSW earlier this year. In true Broken Records tradition, this song remains unnamed for the time being but you'll no doubt recognise it if you've been to one of their gigs in the last six months or so. Can't wait for the second album!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Peenko's Friday Freebies feat. Kowalskiy! March Roundup

Anyone aware of Peenko and his Friday Freebies, may know that recently he kindly offered me a wee weekly slot. My 'Komplimentary Korner' has been going for a while now so here's a recap of its first month!

Week #1 - Yusuf Azak has two EPs: "Gazelle" and "Light Procession" up on his website for you to download free of charge obviously.

Week #2 - Fanfarlo offered their 3-track US Radio Sessions EP up for download in exchange for your email address.

Week #3 - Former Odeon Beatclub frontman Paul Tierney is now Lonely Tourist down in Bristol. He's offering you 3 free mp3s if you send him a nice email.

Week #4 - A double helping this week with Ohbijou's 8-track Third Floor Session and a live mp3 from Conquering Animal Sound up for grabs.

The first two were strictly before I was officially offered the gig but they are worth repeating anyway. How Peenko manages to get half a dozen (and sometimes more) freebies each week is beyond me. The man is a machine!!

Yes, the acronymisation is unfortunate! Suggestions are welcomed.

K&A with The Dirty Cuts

Glasgow's The Dirty Cuts are a confident bunch if their self proclamation of being "catchier than the clap" is anything to go by. Having listened to their songs, they've every right to be! Think of them as The Rapture's Glaswegian cousins, with a wee bit of The Strokes thrown in too!

Here's what the band had to say when I asked him a few questions.

Kowalskiy: Who are The Dirty Cuts?
The Dirty Cuts: Billy sings and plays synth, Kevin plays guitar, Matt plays bass and Karen drums

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about?
TDC: Matt and Billy were in bands, but craved popularity and success, and the freedom to offend, then Kevin caught it, and then Karen invited herself to play drums so she didn't have to watch them play along to a drum machine.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
TDC: Driven & Sweaty/Catchy & Filthy.

Kowalskiy: Who or what are your main influences?
TDC: Von Sudenfed, Erasure, Boney M, Gang of Four, Lou Reed, OMD, Sex with Girls.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
TDC: Barrowlands, maybe when Bible John was still doing the rounds in the late 60s, supported by Rolf Harris.

Kowalskiy: Who would you like to see make an impact this year?
TDC: The Dirty Cuts, Please, Young Fathers, No Yokos & Panico.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from The Dirty Cuts in the future?
TDC: Next single ‘Yummy Mummy’ is out July 26th.

Upcoming Gigs
24th April - The Dublin Castle, London
13th May - The Roxy, Edinburgh
21st May - The 13th Note, Glasgow

If you like "Lips", then you can also buy the debut single "2 Page Spread" from iTunes.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Stornoway - BBC Radio Scotland (08/04/10)

All credit for this one goes to Mr. Peenko for bringing it to my attention. Stornoway took time out from their Scottish tour to perform "Zorbing" live on BBC Radio Scotland. Be sure to catch them at King Tuts on Tuesday.

mp3: Stornoway - Zorbing (live on BBC Radio Scotland, 08/04/10)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

K&A with Shambles Miller

Glasgow's Campbell Miller, a.k.a Shambles Miller, is someone worth keeping your eye on. His "Shambles vs. The Dragonwizard" EP is a wee folk-pop gem! I caught up with him and asked him a few questions. Take it away Shambles.

Kowalskiy: Who is Shambles Miller?
Campbell: That could be a pretty deep it is though, Shambles Miller is the kind of man who plays folk music, owns a lot of plaid shirts and enjoys a good sandwich.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Campbell: I generally describe it as a collection of shambling folky noises, but I try to be pretty honest and if I feel strongly about something, I don't like to shy away from it in my music.

Kowalskiy: Who (or what) are your influences?
Campbell: I'd like to think i'm influenced by everything around me, but things which make me passionate or angry tend to get my creative juices flowing, hence songs about love and beer as well as the more political side. I think the only reason I haven't written a song about lunch is that I don't think my talents could do justice to my love for it.

Kowalskiy: What's the story behind your cracking "Shambles vs. The Dragonwizard" EP?
Campbell: Well, I recorded it last summer with my friend and lovely producer man, Jamie Hewitt. One of the first things I had in mind was the artwork, and like most of my ideas, once I'd thought of the cover being a scene of me fighting a dragon (ridden by a wizard) I couldn't let it go. I asked my friend Neil Slorance to design for me as he's a brilliant artist, and the rest is history! He also designed my guitar actually, I love it.

Alternative Answer: Last summer as I was on my travels through the countryside, a nasty wizard, jealous of my fine plaid shirt and voluminous/ridiculous haircut, challenged me to a duel. His weapon was a a big fuck-off dragon, mine an old guitar. Luckily I talked the dragon round with a fire-breathing little ditty and we became best pals. Then he ate the wizard. Afterwards, I wrote an EP which chronicled the events leading to the wizard-fight.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Campbell: Ooooh, that is a tough one! I'm still just early in my career, so I wouldn't be playing stadiums or anything like that... I think my ideal gig would be (if the laws of time and space don't count):

Myself with a full band, including Neil Slorance (bass/double bass), Andrew Lindsay (guitars), Florence MacDonald (pretty much every other instrument) supporting 2000-era Red Hot Chili Peppers at the QMU, with Frank Turner also supporting and John Frusciante playing a solo set. I'd get to play with some of my favourite musicians in my home town on a stage where some amazing bands have played. Plus the beer is cheap.

Kowalskiy: Who would you like to see make an impact this year?
Campbell: Well, my friend Andrew Lindsay makes some really great folky pop, I'd love to see him gig more often. I'd also love to see Shirley Valentine play a lot more, she's one of the best singer-songwriters I've heard in a long time. Killing Susan are a really fun band to see, and so are Anavris. They work really hard so it'd be great to see them go even further. Kitty The Lion are already doing pretty well for themselves, but I'm looking forward to eventually hearing a full-length from them. Same goes for Julia and the Doogans. Oh and, of course, ME! That'd be nice.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Shambles Miller in the future?
Campbell: Well, hopefully i'll be recording another E.P during the summer and I'm planning to do a wee Scottish tour too. I just want to keep gigging, taking this as far as I can, meeting lovely new folk, and occasionally eating delicious new sandwiches.

My Best Friend Is An Outsider

Bandcamp (digital) Big Cartel (CD)

Also if you get a chance, check out his blog too! Shambles will be playing a couple of gigs in the coming weeks. Here's the details:

Upcoming Gigs
14th April - MacSorely's, Glasgow
20th April - The Liquid Ship, Glasgow

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Ten for 2010 Revisited... and K&A with Three Blind Wolves

Let's go back and see how another of my tips for 2010 are getting on. Three Blind Wolves, fronted by "Scotland's 3rd best singer-songwriter" (according to the 2008 Jock Rock poll) Ross Clark, have been busy. In February, their song "Sex Is For Losers" featured on the Haiti fundraiser album "Make The Load Lighter" released by Dromedary Records.

Last Monday saw the release of their outstanding debut mini-album "The Sound Of The Storm". It might only be 25 minutes long, but it's the best damn 25 minutes I've heard all year. Each of the 6 cracking songs offers something a bit different, and they add up to make something pretty amazing!

Ross Clark made my day/week by agreeing to answer a few questions.

Kowalskiy: Who are Three Blind Wolves?
Ross: Three Blind Wolves are.......David Cleary, Fheargas Lyon, Kevin Mackay and myself Ross Clark.

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about?
Ross: I started playing solo shows a few years ago, I always had the drive to get a band together. I met Davie and Kev through their band Rainbowsheep which I loved! I asked them to be in the band and if they knew a drummer, thats when I met Fhearg. We grew as musicians together and named the band Three Blind Wolves after a year and a bit of jamming and playing shows together. Haven't looked back.

Kowalskiy: You've just released one of my favourite albums of the year so far
in "The Sound of the Storm". What's the story behind the album?
Ross: The story behind the record? ....Its all about friendship and how the low points in life are appeased by the love and support of your friends. There are some songs about having fun too, summer nights filled with wine, smoke, food and laughter. I absolutely loved recording the record, especially with our friend and guru Marcus Mackay. It felt good to get our songs recorded the way we wanted, it opened my eyes to how much I want to record more records with larger more adventurous arrangements. We got drunk and recorded till 2am a few times, the chat got a bit wild ha. Oh! Kevin and I were talking to each other whilst sleeping apparently.

Kowalskiy: You were one of my tips for 2010. Who are you tipping, or who would you like to see do well?
Ross: Thanks for tipping us! How much will that be out of interest? We are skint! Ha. There a lot of great things coming from our label Instinctive Racoon Records, French Wives and Washington Irving have new records out and Bear Bones have theirs coming out too. I would tip John Knox Sex Club to either be praised nationwide or to be imprisoned for obscenity, their new record is fucking unbelievable.

Kowalskiy: This one's free! So, what does the future hold for Three Blind Wolves?
Ross: The future? Its all fucked! Hahahahahaha the end is nigh! We are going to tour the arse out this record and hopefully play some festivals. I really want to play T in the Park and Rockness. Those festivals are a lot of fun. We will be touring for a week in Holland at the end of May, that will no doubt be an amazing riot.

Kowalskiy: And lastly, who's the 'hopeless romantic' among you?
Ross: I'm the hopeless romantic in the band. I'm a sap! My Best Friends Wedding over Scarface any day! Ha ; )

Ross left me with a bit of a dilemma... to put up my favourite track for you to listen to. Ended up going for the stunning "Three Blind Wolves" - perhaps the best album closer you'll hear all year.

Three Blind Wolves

Three Blind Wolves will be out and about over the next few days 'touring the arse out of the album'. Here's the dates:

Upcoming Gigs
8th April - Avalanche Instore, Glasgow (5pm)
9th April - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh (with French Wives and John Knox Sex Club)
10th April - Stereo, Glasgow (with French Wives and John Knox Sex Club)
25th April - West Of The Moon, Ayr
1st May - Live @ Leeds

and if I haven't stressed this enough, "The Sound of the Storm" is amazing! All you gotta do is click one of the links below!

Monday, 5 April 2010

K&A with Miniature Dinosaurs

I first heard of Stirling's indie-pop 4-piece Miniature Dinosaurs thanks to fellow Scottish music blogger Have Fun At Dinner who's Scottish Compilation Volume 1 album featured their cracking debut single "(I Want To Watch) Top Gear". It's hard not to be impressed by these guys. They've only been kicking about for just over a year. In which time their debut single was played on Radio 1 long before they played their first gig and they've gone on to support the likes of Twin Atlantic and The Xcerts. Not only that but they've done everything off their own back. It goes without saying then that they're pretty damn good!

Recently, they released their new 4-track "Chatterbox" EP. So I thought I'd ask lead-singer Barry a few questions. Here's what he had to say...

Kowalskiy: So how did the band come about?
Barry: In horrible conditions! It was a cold night in Arbroath, I remember, when Alban and I first met; both supporting our local football team, Stirling Albion. We just went home and jammed away the misery of another defeat! Some months later Sam moved up from Huddersfield to attend Stirling University, and after a chance meeting we made it happen. We met Craig at the Tolbooth venue up the top of our here town... the same place we played our very first gig actually.

Kowalskiy: Who (or what) are your musical influences?
Barry: We like anything that makes us want to listen to it again, for whatever reason. The likes of Bowie, Weezer and Pulp have been a favourite of ours for a long time, so they would definitely all fall into this category. A lot of current music could also be included in this. We like to mix it up and our own songwriting seems to come naturally from these places.

Kowalskiy: You've only been together for just over a year, supported some cracking bands, released an acclaimed single and EP. Are you surprised with how well things have gone so far?
Barry: It has to be said that Alban and I spent a few months putting down the foundations of the band beforehand. We prepared a heap of songs that were ready to be played and we just got to it when Sam and Craig joined. None of us come from any bands that have been around the block; so we are all pretty fresh, and as a result we like to go at things in super speed! We always notice when someone says something nice about us though, and it's always appreciated. It's definitely what inspires us to keep going, whether that be a promoter putting us on a great bill, a blogger (like yourself) saying nice things, or someone at a show saying that they liked the performance.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect to hear from you in the rest of 2010?
Barry: We really want to get the Chatterbox material out to more people and pick up some more fans. This will mean playing more live dates and hopefully getting into some more media. We're doing everything by ourselves at the moment; it's hard work but it's very rewarding when it comes together.

Kowalskiy: What bands are you tipping for this year?
Barry: I guess since we're not from the main musical cities we should tell you about some of the other acts from the Stirling area. We've got Stevie and the Moon, Mopp, Little Eskimos and Jack Butler, amongst others. All are regulars on our playlist and would be more than worth checking out.

Kowalskiy: Anything else you fancy adding?
Barry: We'd love it if people gave us a chance by checking out Chatterbox. We'd also really love to see more people at our shows. We are playing two Glasgow dates; Maggie Mays on 8th April and King Tuts on 17th May, with our first Aberdeen date just before that on 15th April.

Here's the first track from Chatterbox for you to get yours ears around. If you like what you hear, check out the links below to buy their EP. It's rather good!

Write Back

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Conquering Animal Sound / Debutant - Split 7" Single

From one half of the people behind Off The Beaten Tracks comes Gerry Loves Records (well, one half of this too), a brand new Edinburgh record label. Their debut release, a split 7" single from Conquering Animal Sound and Debutant, is out this Monday. You can hear the tracks below:

The 7" can be bought from the Gerry Loves Records website. With it, you'll get links to both mp3s along with a bonus track from each artist. To celebrate the launch of the label and its first release, a series of gigs will be taking place, kicking off tonight in Aberdeen:

Upcoming Gigs
1st April, 10pm - Dirty Hearts Club @ Snafu, Aberdeen
Debutant + Conquering Animal Sound with support from Admiral Fallow
Tickets on the door

2nd April, 7pm - The Roxy Room, Edinburgh 

Conquering Animal Sound + Debutant with support from Wounded Knee

3rd April - Classic Grand 2, Glasgow 

Conquering Animal Sound + Debutant
with support from The Seventeenth Century and F*X G*T D**TA