Friday, 28 May 2010

Peenko's Friday Freebies feat. Kowalskiy! May Roundup


Now that Peenko has popped up his last Friday Freebies of the month, here's a recap from May's Korner!

Week #1 - A great wee taster from Curators debut album. Find out more about them in their K&A session.

Week #2 - Before the novelty of becoming Dr. Kowalskiy quickly wore off, this weeks freebies came from Philly's finest, Dr. Dog with a load of mp3s from their back catalogue.

Week #3 - One of the early frontrunners for album of 2010 is Get Well Soon and his album "Vexations". There's a free download of track "5 Steps/7 Swords" on his website.

Week #4 - And lastly, today's freebie is a belter from the best-named band around, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. If their previous two albums "Broom" and "Pershing" are anything to go by, their third offering is gonna be great! Here's a freebie to whet your appetite.

Better get hunting for June now....

K&A with Washington Irving

Last year, Glasgow sextet Washington Irving released their debut single "The Magician" to a fair whack of acclaim from those-in-the-know. A few weeks time sees the release of their first EP "Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home" and with it no doubt, plenty more rave reviews. And rightly so. It is a cracking EP!

It's over to them now to tell us a bit more about themselves and their exciting plans for festival season. Take it away...

Kowalskiy: Who are Washington Irving?
Washington Irving: We are five guys and one girl:
Joe Black - Singer
Roslyn Potter - Flute
Chris Mcgarry - Drums
Keiran Heather - Bass
Rory Macdonald - Mandolin
Martin Anfield - Guitar
Martin: Joe and Chris started the band as teenagers. Everyone came together gradually in Glasgow, mainly in and around university, although Joe, Chris, Martin and Keiran are all from Oban. Our first gig was a leap year celebration in a basement flat. That was February 2008, before Roslyn and Keiran had joined and when we had a different bass player. We've had the current lineup since September last year.

Kowalskiy: How did you come to choose the name?
Martin: The name has been around for years, Joe and Chris took on the name when teenagers at Oban High School. The inspiration came from reading Catch 22, in which a character uses the alias Washington Irving.

Kowalskiy: The original Washington Irving is perhaps (so says Wikipedia anyway) best known for his fairy tales "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle". Would you say his work has in any way influenced your songs? What or who are your main influences?
Chris: To be honest I don't think any of us are very familiar with his work. We're frauds! The idea of fairy tales certainly inspired the artwork (by Ryan Hays). It was after Ryan had shown us some of the early work on the artwork that we came up with the name for the EP, it really tied together the ideas and stories on the record for us, so it became quite apt in the end.
Martin: Musically I think we started with the idea of being like The Pogues, then other influences crept in and we strayed further afield, adding a bit of Belle and Sebastian, Arcade Fire etc. We even flirted with Spanish and African sounds for a while. We had a song with a Spanish rock outro that we only ever played at our first gig. It will probably be resurrected one day.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Chris: Any group of people who get together and write some music are constrained and refined by the backgrounds of the musicians involved. You could argue that a bands sound is akin to a soup. So, I suppose we're like a Scotch Broth cooked by Heston Blumenthal. We've got traditional Scottish and Irish folk in us, as well more modern indie-rock bands. It's always hard to describe your own sound, so that's possibly the closest we'll get. Kieran's the lentils.

Kowalskiy: You're about to release your debut EP "Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home". Could you tell us a bit about it?
Chris: The name is from a William Blake poem which Rory discovered while diving through books for his final exams. 'Little Wanderer' was recorded in three productive days at the Diving Bell Lounge in Glasgow. We worked again with producer Marcus Mackay on the EP as we'd really enjoyed working with him on the single "The Magician". Recording can be quite stressful but it's always a lot of fun in the end. Marcus really likes doing certain things live and employing a more natural approach which we always love. The EP isn't an all out live album in any way but we hope it brings out the melodies and instrumentation as well as the energy of our live show.

Kowalskiy: You're about to start touring the EP, but what would be your ideal gig?
Martin: T in the Park would be pretty high on the list. We've just found out we're playing T Break along with lots of our friends, Three Blind Wolves, French Wives, The Seventeenth Century, Kitty the Lion so that seems pretty ideal. I'd love to play at an ATP show, curated by one of your favourite bands, like Belle and Sebastian.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Washington Irving in the future?
Chris: We're playing loads of gigs over the summer including the T Break stage at T in the Park, which was just announced. We're heading to Ireland for the first time in June for the Happy Valley Festival - June 4th, 5th and 6th. Also the Insider Festival on 18th June. It's a beautiful wee festival near Aviemore. We played there last year and had a great time. You can check it all out over on the MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/washingtonirvingband.

We've been writing and rehearsing new songs for the upcoming tour and we're really excited to finally air them out and show them off. We're going to keep recording stuff over the next few months also - keep ourselves busy!

Kowalskiy: Lastly, who or what is "Phantom Buck"?
Martin: I think it's a ghost deer or a metaphor for a girl maybe. Joe might tell you if you're lucky.

Kowalskiy: Any weird or interesting facts about the band before we go?
Martin: Keiran our bass player recorded an album of ambient singing saw music. He also used to play with the disco/funk band O.B.E. Chris also plays drums with Glasgow band The John Knox Sex Club. We're being featured on a compilation CD of up and coming bands called Festival Harvest. It will be released on the 7th June (the same date as our EP funnily enough) by 'A Greener Festival'.

As Martin says (nice extra plug there!) the "Little Wanderer, Head Thee Home" EP will be released on the 7th June. It's hard not to fall in love with it! Especially the opening song "SiSi". Have a wee listen for yourself.


SiSi

Tracklisting
1. SiSi
2. Phantom Buck
3. Islands
4. The Glebe
5. Dear Liza

Live versions of some of these EP tracks can be found in their Subcity Radio Session from November. If you fancy seeing them live, then there's plenty of opportunities over the next few months. Here's the dates for your diary:

Upcoming Gigs

28th May (TONIGHT) - Hootenanny, Inverness
29th May - The Jager Room (Launch Party), Stornoway
30th May - Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore
3rd June - Mono (EP Launch), Glasgow
13th June - West End Festival, Glasgow (Vintage Guru Bandstand)
18th June - Insider Festival, Aviemore
23rd June - West End Festival, Glasgow (Brel)
9th July - T in the Park, Balado
15th July - Snafu, Aberdeen (Dirty Hearts Club)
16th July - The Jager Room, Stornoway

Sunday, 23 May 2010

...dems!


Meet 23 year old south-Londoner Dan Moss*, a.k.a. dems, a self-described "new Edinburgh-based-but-not-really-Scottish-one-man outfit". Armed with his trusty MacBook Pro and oversized Roland GrooveBox he's recorded his first track "Jarndyce vs. Jarndyce" and has very kindly put it up on his bandcamp site for free download.

It's a delightfully dreamy slice of lo-fi eletropop which will no doubt draw a lot of comparisons to The Postal Service. Its a stunning little track and if its a taste of what's to come, then I can't wait!

<a href="http://dems.bandcamp.com/track/jarndyce-vs-jarndyce">Jarndyce vs Jarndyce by dems</a>

For anyone, like me, not into their Dickens, here's what Dan has to say about the track:

"Jarndyce vs Jarndyce is actually a legal case in Charles Dickens' Bleak House. It goes on forever in the story and ruins the lives of everyone involved. The refrain in the track "It's ruined better men than you" is a saying that's coincidentally repeated throughout the book."

Well worth a download folks and keep your eye out for more to come in the future. Watch this space....

* that may well be his hand

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Aerials Up - Vic Galloway Session (20/05/10)

Last night was a pretty special one for music! As I was making my way back from Wolf Parade's gig at Oran Mor, elsewhere in Glasgow, countless others would have been at Mono listening to the mighty Meursault play at the Song, by Toad Records Showcase event, or The Seventeenth Century playing Nice'n' Sleazy's. Over in Edinburgh, my new favourites Curators were playing Cabaret Voltaire, and tucked away in the BBC Radio 1 Scotland studio, Glasgow 10-piece Aerials Up were recording a stunning live session for the one-and-only Vic Galloway.

If you've not heard them before, they really are pretty special!

Download: Aerials Up - Vic Galloway session (20/05/10)

Tracklisting
1. Stay Awake
2. First In The Fire
3. Broken Wing
4. Superglue

If you like what you hear then here's some dates for you:

Upcoming Gigs
22nd May - Stag and Dagger @ Nice 'n' Sleazy, Glasgow (5pm)
22nd June - West End Festival @ The Captain's Rest, Glasgow

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

...Futuristic Retro Champions!

....and now for something a wee bit different to what I normally feature!

With a name like Futuristic Retro Champions, you'd be forgiven for expecting some 80's influenced electro, and for the band in question to be pretty damn good. That's if you were taking the name literally. Add to that some insanely-catchy pop and the undeniably Scottish twang of singer Sita Pieraccini, and that's essentially what you have!

At the end of February, they released their debut EP - the "FRC EP". Despite being acutely aware of the band (their name at least), they had somehow managed to slip under my radar. Until last week that is when this wee 4-track gem popped up in my inbox!

The opening, and standout, track "You Make My Heart" is 3 and a half minutes of pure pop perfection! It's an absolute joy but should really carry a warning... once its in there, it ain't coming out! The comparison has already been made, but just think New Order as done by Belle and Sebastian and you get the lovely, sugarcoated gist of it.

As for the other three tracks, they're pretty damn good too. If you don't believe me then download and have a listen to "DIY Lovesong", then decide for yourself.

Tracklisting
1. You Make My Heart
2. DIY Lovesong
3. Let's Make Out
4. Told Ya

The EP is available from their bandcamp site for £2 as a digital download or £3 for a CD "cunningly disguised as vinyl" in a colour of your choosing (so long as its either green, orange, red, black or blue). If you like what you hear, then here are a few dates for your diary.

Upcoming Gigs
14th June - West End Festival @ Bar Brel, Glasgow
17th June - Leith Festival, Edinburgh
30th July - PINUP Nights Summer Festival @ The Flying Duck, Glasgow

Monday, 17 May 2010

Stornoway - Live Lounge Session (15/05/10)

For all you Stornoway fans out there, here's yet another session. The band paid Jo Whiley a visit on Saturday at the Radio 1 Live Lounge and performed a track off their debut album "Beachcomber's Windowsill" and a belter of a cover!

Download: Stornoway - Live Lounge session (15/05/10)

Tracklisting
1. Zorbing
2. Wearing My Rolex/Casio (Wiley cover)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

K&A with Stornoway

Every now-and-again a band comes along that quickly become an unhealthy obsession of mine. In recent years a lot of bands have come close but really only Broken Records have ticked all the necessary boxes. Well, they have some company now!

It's no secret that I have a bit of a soft spot for Oxford's Stornoway. In fact, going by my umpteen posts and sessions involving them, it's safe to say I can't get enough. It would appear I'm not the only one though if the amount of downloads these have had are anything to go by.

So, with this in mind, and with memories of their amazing King Tuts gig fresh in my mind, I decided to chance my arm and contact the guys to see if they fancied answering some questions about themselves, the Outer Hebrides, and their upcoming debut album "Beachcomber's Windowsill". I'm still pinching myself that they agreed! Take it away guys....

Kowalskiy: Hi guys! First of all, who are Stornoway?
Stornoway: Brian, Jon, Oli and Rob. One ornithologist, one linguist, one pseudo-vegetarian chemist, and one gap year student.

Kowalskiy: How did you all get together, and what's the story behind the name?
Stornoway: Brian and Jon met at Oxford Uni and started playing music together, Brian had already written and recorded a few tracks, all that was needed for a live outfit was bass and drums. The two advertised for these on a local website and within a few days got a response from Oli who had only recently started teaching himself the bass. Armed with a screw driver, fearing he might be walking into the clutches of serial killers, Oli went off to the first practice. After a few weeks of pleading from his younger brother Rob, Oli introduced Brian and Jon to him and the four musicians were united.
The search for a name began shortly afterwards and the first port of call was nautical charts and maps which were in tune with Brian’s obsession with the outdoors. One night whilst listening to the shipping forecast of the British Isles the name came up and just seemed to fit. A few months later, Brian attempted a treacherous journey by sail boat to the Hebridean town but had to turn back due to gails.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe yourselves and your music? Are those "posh twats" jibes Brian mentioned at King Tuts justified?
Stornoway: We’re all quite quiet people and I reckon the music reflects that somewhat, it’s not in your face and spitting but more subdued with more meaning than a lot of thrash out there these days. The twat jibes are understandable but not justified, I can see how people could see us as posh but we’re really not, we promise.

Kowalskiy: You recently finished your Scottish and Irish tour with a cracking gig at King Tuts. How did you find it? And what was it like playing Stornoway for the first time?
Stornoway: It was incredible. We were given a different bottle of the local whisky every night and so had a great time! The venue was awesome as well, really nice rowdy crowd. The gig in Stornoway was a very special one for us, we really wanted to experience the town and impress the people too, which was quite easy when you consider that we gave each member of the crowd a dram before going on for an encore and all said “slĂ inte” together which is “cheers” in Gaelic.

Kowalskiy: You're releasing debut album "Beachcomber's Windowsill" in May. What's the story behind the album?
Stornoway: The album is a body of work that’s been in the making for around 10 years. The writing, arranging and recording of all the songs has always been a constant thing, when we’re not gigging, we’re doing that stuff. We’ve tried to lay it out in such a way so as to allow the listener to follow a few strings of connected stories and to create their own ideas and images with those strings.

Kowalskiy: Everyone seems to know what zorbing is these days. What was the inspiration for writing a song about it? Guessing you've all had a shot of it too. Any interesting zorbing-related stories?
Stornoway: The song isn’t exactly about zorbing as such. It was meant to be a metaphor for going about your daily routine but with your head and heart in a different place altogether. We actually went zorbing in Dorset (at Zorbing South) last summer and had a…ball. There are three types you can try: the harness zorb (the ultra-speedy one which gets faster with every turn); the hydro zorb (like being trapped in a malevolent washing machine); the hydra zorb (filled with nine-headed serpents – that’s the best one).

Kowalskiy: What would Stornoway's ideal gig be?
Stornoway: It would be a one-day festival on the Isle of Lewis, featuring Euros Childs, Horace Andy, Sam Cooke, Wild Beasts, Of Montreal, The Human League, U. Srinivas, Beach House, Spacemen 3, Nico Muhly, Blink 182, Jackson C. Frank, Ry Cooder, Guillemots, John Tavener and Yoko Ono.

Kowalskiy: You were one of my tips for this year. Who would you like to see do well?
Stornoway: Thanks! Well, we’d heartily recommend Foxes! (from Brighton) and Race Horses (from Wales).

Kowalskiy: Lastly, what can we expect from Stornoway in the future? Looking forward to coming back to Scotland for Belladrum?
Stornoway: Our album "Beachcomber's Windowsill" will be released on 24th May via 4AD, which we're very very very excited about! We’re on tour and will be heading to London ULU on the 20th May. And yes, we had a whale of time during our recent Scottish tour, so we’re already looking forward to Belladrum!

Kowalskiy: Anything you'd like to add?
Stornoway: Rob used to be a professional tap-dancer as a child.

As the guys said, their debut album "Beachcomber's Windowsill" is out a week tomorrow. Can't wait! It promises to be one of the best this year.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Get The Pop Cop Back On The Beat!

Hi folks! It's likely by now you know that last night Blogger took down one of the most influential Scottish music blogs around, The Pop Cop, for 'code violations'. If you have a few minutes to spare, please head over here for all the details from the man himself.

Blogs in the past have been reinstated and this is certainly the hope here. I can't even begin to imagine how it would feel to lose three years of something you have worked passionately on, especially in this manner!

If you want to have your say and add your voice to the growing list of emails being sent to reinstate The Pop Cop then I'd encourage you to do so. Email support@blogger.com and hopefully this wrong will be righted soon.

Scottish music needs The Pop Cop.

Cheers,

Kowalskiy

Friday, 14 May 2010

French Wives - Me vs. Me


On Monday, Glasgow's French Wives bring out their second single "Me vs. Me" following on from their acclaimed debut "Halloween". The band have already won the hearts of some other bloggers out there with Jim Aye Tunes even confessing to singing their stuff aloud on the train! I've yet to feature the band on this blog... so what's my verdict?

Well, straight from the start "Me vs. Me" sucks you in with its rousing 'Frightened Rabbit meets The Xcerts' intro before settling down into some delightfully catchy, jangly and twee (such a good word) pop with a chorus to sing-a-long to your hearts content. B-side "Hyndland Weather Bear" pays tribute to the wee teddy in the window above Peckhams on Hyndland Road which dresses each day according to the weather outside. It's a much more mellow, lilting little number and is quite simply gorgeous! You're not too late to hop on their bandwagon. I just did!

The single can be ordered here!

For anyone looking for some entertainment tonight, French Wives will be be launching the single with a gig at The Glasgow School of Art with support from Endor (my Scottish A-Z's "E") and Blue Sky. The band reflect on tonight's gig, 50 years on, in this promo video below!



Upcoming Gigs
14th May - The Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow (funnily enough)
17th May - In-store acoustic at LOVEmusic (formerly Avalanche Records), Glasgow (5pm)
23rd May - The Lock Tavern, London
12th June - Rockness, Inverness
19th June - Insider Festival, Aviemore
22nd June - West End Festival @ Brel, Glasgow
16th July - The Tunnels, Aberdeen

And if you fancy hearing more from French Wives, Peenko has yesterdays Vic Galloway session up for download over here.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Stornoway - Marc Riley Session (12/05/10)


Now that I'm officially Dr. Kowalskiy (yay), the blogging can start up again! Couldn't think of a better way to get going again by popping up yesterday's Marc Riley live session featuring the amazing Stornoway. Debut album "Beachcomber's Windowsill" is out on the 24th of May. Here's three tracks to whet your appetite.

Download: Stornoway - Marc Riley Session (12/05/10)
Tracklisting
1. We Are The Battery Human
2. Here Comes The Blackout
3. Boats And Trains

Stay tuned for a wee Stornoway interview going up in the next few days!

Friday, 7 May 2010

K&A with Curators

Edinburgh four piece Curators first came to my attention back in February when Jon from the band sent me a wee email. Thank f**k he did! Having listened to a few live songs on their MySpace, I was instantly hooked by their no-nonsense, anthemic indie-rock!

Curators are Jon Dick, Gary Small, Pete Hopes and Mark Cameron. With this settled line-up, the guys have recorded their debut album and it's currently at the mixing stage. It's safe to say I'm quite excited about this one! From what I've heard so far, I have high hopes for it. To find out a bit more about them, I fired off a few questions to Jon. Here's what he had to say...

Kowalskiy: How did the band name come about?
Jon: I used to work as a Curator at the National War Museum of Scotland, and I'd always thought it'd be a cool band name. Originally, I was going to use it for my solo recordings, but when Gary and I started writing together, it seemed to make sense to use it. We were keen not to be a "the" band too, which is just as well as there's a German punk band called The Curators.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your sound?
Jon: Argh! At a push, I'd say early Idlewild covering Weezer songs on Radiohead's old guitars, but I'm sure the other guys would disagree. Hopefully this album will show that we have our own sound, despite our influences!

Kowalskiy: Who are your musical influences?
Jon: Well, I suppose all three bands I just mentioned. Pete's into hardcore and punk, I like my rock, Gary likes his indie and Mark likes a bit of everything, so hopefully we take a wee bit of influence from a fairly broad range of stuff.

Kowalskiy: What bands do you tip for 2010?
Jon: Us! Hopefully The Xcerts new record will be as good as their first, and hopefully our buddies Taking Chase will make their album this year too. I'm not really into buzz bands as such, because the gimmick tends to wear thin pretty quickly. Give me lasting songs over throwaway contrivance any day of the week.

Kowalskiy: What are your desert island discs?
Jon: Pinkerton, 100 Broken Windows, Earth vs. The Wildhearts.

Kowalskiy: What would your dream gig be?
Jon: I can't speak for the other guys, but I'd love to play with Captain-era Idlewild, The Holy Bible-era Manics, old Radiohead (pre-bleeps), mid-nineties Weezer and a whole load of other bands that I can't even think of just now. As for venues, Pete and I would like to play Tannadice, but I reckon somewhere like King Tuts would be just grand. We're not fussy - just make sure there are monitors!

Kowalskiy: Sounds good! Who knows, might get a capacity crowd there for a change! Lastly, what can we expect from the band in the future?
Jon: There's a question! We'll get the album out in the next couple of months, and see were that takes us. We've had really positive reviews of State of Grace that we're using as a kind of album taster, so we'll see what happens. We're open to offers!

As Jon said, "State of Grace" is doing the rounds just now and is rightly sparking a bit of interest. Have a listen below. No gimmicks, just a belter of a tune!



State Of Grace (unmastered)

Curators have one gig lined up, next month on the 22nd June at Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh (with Taking Chase). Fingers crossed they arrange a few more in the run up to their album release. If this has gotten you curious, pay Peenko and today's Friday Freebies a wee visit for a free demo download of future album track "Turn The Lights Down".

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Oscar Charlie - Hello Chrono

One of the perks of this blogging lark is the great new bands that are brought to your attention by promoters. One such band is Glasgow-based Oscar Charlie. A few years ago these guys migrated from the likes Aberdeenshire, Penrith and the Shetlands in search of a progressive music scene to call home. Having found one, they've been refining and tinkering with their sound ever since and the fruits of their labour are now starting to show. Their second single "Hello Chrono" will be released to download on the 10th May.

It's a wee bit different from the norm, and is pretty damn good. Bravo guys! Have a wee listen and let me know what you think.


Hello Chrono

The single is taken from their upcoming EP which will be released on 12" vinyl (with CD included) on the 7th of June. It also features debut single "The Do's". All four tracks can be streamed over on their Soundcloud site. You should probably go there!

Tracklisting
1. The Do's
2. Vandals
3. Between the Stirrup & the Ground
4. Hello Chrono

"It’s priced at a meagre £5. All the pennies we save will pay for our next jaunt to Manchester to record the follow-up. Not Rubicon, Xbox games, Black Russians or Subway tickets."
Oscar Charlie (2010)

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The Cinematics - Silent Scream EP

I still stand by what I've been saying since I started this blog 6 months ago - Glasgow-based indie-post-punk-disco-rockers The Cinematics are one of the best live bands around! Just so happens they've not been around much lately. Instead they've been feverishly touring mainland Europe over the last few months and will continue to do so into November. The sad truth of it is, despite some critical acclaim for their first two albums, they're probably bigger over there than here in Scotland. (Or so it seems. Something my feeble attempts at plugging them hasn't changed..... always welcome to get in touch for a wee K&A though guys!)

Anyway, during their tour they have recorded a semi-live EP entitled "Silent Scream" featuring the track "Japanese Snow Queen" which the guys (Scott, Larry, Adam & Ross for those who don't know) gave away free around Christmas-time. The EP should be out to download on May 21st as far as I know. Until then, you can have a wee listen to two of the tracks below, and the other three here... albeit in 30 second snippets. They're damn good snippets though!



Guessing we'll see them at King Tuts again around the 20th of December!?! Certainly hope so anyway.... it just wouldn't feel like Christmas otherwise.

UPDATE - 21st May
The EP is now out to buy from iTunes, Amazon.de and here too!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Arran Arctic - Leith FM Session (03/05/10)

Gearing up for Thursday's gig at The 13th Note, Arran Arctic stopped by the Leith FM studios last night and performed two tracks: one from his 2005 debut album "By The Sea", and another from his recent release "The Boy In Brown". Here you go!

Download: Arran Arctic - Leith FM Session (03/05/10)

Tracklisting
1. Ask For It
2. A Cold Wind

Once again, if you're not looking forward to a night in front of the tele watching Peter Snow and his Swing-o-meter, then pop along to The 13th Note if Arran floats your boat. All details can be found here.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry


Time now for me to bang on about how brilliant Meursault's second album "All Creatures Will Make Merry" is. Their first offering "Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues" was one of a number of reasons that inspired me to start this blog - more people had to know about them!

In the run up to the release, I'd not heard that much from the new album to be honest. "New Ruin", "Song For Martin Kippenberger" and "Crank Resolutions" had become live favourites over the last year. Other than that, there wasn't much to whet the appetite, other than a few acoustic radio sessions and sheer anticipation. At their Captain's Rest album launch gig a month ago though, the band played the new album in its entirety (give or take a song or two).... and it was staggering. No more so than the captivating, stripped back set-closer "One Day This'll All Be Fields".

Having now heard the album, it is every bit as good! It's worth noting that since their debut they've added two new members with Phil Quirie on guitar and Pete Harvey on cello. The end result is the album sounds a bit different from the debut. As Song, By Toad's Mr. Toad says:
"It’s denser in many ways, dirty and noisy, and yet as sad and
heartbreaking as you’d expect from the band.
"
The strings that have been added are nothing short of brilliant, especially on "Sleet" and the album's epic highlight "New Ruin".

Without a doubt, Meursault are one of the most enthralling band in Scotland at the moment. If all creatures will make merry, then this album certainly will too! Expect to see it in a lot of end of year Top 10s come December!

Here's two crackers from the album courtesy of the amazing Mr. Toad.


Upcoming Gigs
19th May - Mono, Glasgow
21st May - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh
29th May - Knockengarroch Festival, Carsphaim
6th June - Old Queens Head, London (Album launch 'all-dayer')
24th Aug - Medina, Edinburgh (Neil solo)

For those of you out there wanting to hear more from Meursault, there's a few options for you.
  1. Pop over to Peenko for a couple of recent radio sessions here and here featuring four tasters from the album.
  2. Viennese videobloggers They Shoot Music Don't They recorded Neil playing a few songs at Inverleith Park in Edinburgh while they were over in Scotland.
  3. Take a wee trip over to Off The Beaten Tracks for Episode #26 where Meursault performed a few tracks at Craigentinny and Portobello Beach in Edinburgh.
That should tide you over until you get your hands on a copy of the album. Before its general release on 24th May you might still be able to get a copy from Song, By Toad, or you can get a digital download from eMusic.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

K&A with Fear The Fives


I'd like to think I have a pretty diverse taste in music, but it's safe to say that lately I've mainly been listening to a lot of indie and folky bands. So, it was a welcome change when the debut EP from Glasgow's Fear The Fives popped up in my Inbox. Three powerful, piano-led songs with a refreshing Eastern European tinge to them. It's a great listen.


Balkan Ekspres

Here's what the band had to say about themselves....

Kowalskiy: Who are Fear The Fives?
Fear The Fives: Three Scots (Tim, Ally and Charlie) and an Icelander (Ragnar)

Kowalskiy: So how did you guys get together?
FT5s: Ally and Charlie went to school together. Tim and Charlie played in Stinky Munchkins and met through Dino from the 1990s - he went to school with Tim. Tim and Ragnar like to play poker.

We spent a week recording demos in Speyside and every evening would end with poker and whisky - 5s seemed to be instrumental in deciding almost all the games so the cry of ‘fear the fives’ ended up getting shouted around the table. It stuck.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
FT5s: There is a lot of freedom for people to try to play what they find interesting and challenging, so the band enjoys itself and everyone is kept on their toes. Charlie wanted to sometime play big piano parts with both hands in the same entertaining exciting way that James Booker and Fats Waller did (without playing jazz) and with Serbian family, Balkan influences leak in. There is also a prog, metal, thrash influence to the rhythm section which is allowed to come out when it works, and we like songs and good lyrics. So we put all the ideas together and see what comes out - I think we're aiming for a musical flea market: messy, lively, colourful, full of tat.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
FT5s: Anywhere outside, on a hot day, with a drunk crowd and the sun going down or a dark wee cabaret type venue, a barge on the Danube, a bothy in the highlands, anything interesting.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Fear The Fivers in the future?
FT5s: We have our Debut E.P. launch on the 6th of May at Bar Bloc – that’s election night. And we really have a huge amount of stuff to try to get recorded – so we will hopefully be going into Chem 19 in the 2nd week of May. We’ve also got quite a lot of gigs coming up and we’ll be trying to expand the sounds we’re using a bit and keep it interesting.

The EP is released tomorrow (3rd May) and can be bought from Amazon, iTunes and all the usual places (links to come!). As the guys said, the launch night will be this Thursday at Bloc in Glasgow. So pop along if you're not interested in watching Peter Snow and his Swing-o-meter all night! Here's the rest of their upcoming gigs:

4th May - Tchai-Ovna, Glasgow (acoustic)
6th May - Bloc, Glasgow (EP launch)
20th May - Stereo, Glasgow
31st May - The Arches, Glasgow (Charlie solo)
18th June - the Captain's Rest, Glasgow