Wednesday, 28 July 2010

mitchell museum - The Peters Port Memorial Service

When mitchell museum released their debut single "Warning Bells" in the middle of June, I broke with tradition and declared it my first (and probably last) single-of-the-week. When your blogging is as sporadic as mine, a weekly commitment like that is not really a good idea. Earlier this month saw the release of their hotly-anticipated first album "The Peters Port Memorial Service". Now, I'm not one for this whole album-of-the-week thing but.....

The album is, as anticipated, pretty amazing! Think of it as a Glaswegian take on Death Cab for Cutie covering Wolf Parade, and you just about scratch the surface. That being said, "The Peters Port Memorial Service" easily trumps anything those two bands have released in recent years!

Three tracks immediately stand out. "Mission 1", last years cassette-single "Tiger Heartbeat" and of course, "Warning Bells". To be honest though, you'd be hard pushed to find a song which doesn't have Potential Hit written all over it. It's a thoroughly addictive wee so-and-so!

The album is available from Amazon MP3, iTunes or for the vinyl lovers out there, on 12" direct from the band here.

Upcoming Gigs
30th July - Pin Up Nights Festival @ The Flying Duck, Glasgow
11th Aug - Edge Festival @ Electric Circus, Edinburgh

K&A with Futuristic Retro Champions

Two K&A's in the space of two days! Yes, I really am spoiling you this week. Today's victims are a band I've featured quite a lot over the last couple of months.... the wonderfully poptastic Futuristic Retro Champions. They are preparing their third release of the year with debut single "Settle Down / May The Forth" set to hit the shelves on the 5th of August. The single comes complete with artwork designed by Turner Prize winning artist Martin Creed, which you can get a sneeky, exclusive peek at below!

Take it away folks...

Kowalskiy: Who are Futuristic Retro Champions?
Futuristic Retro Champions: Sita Pieracinni (vocals and melodica, occassional tambourine), Carla Easton (keys and vocals, very occasional saxophone!), Cecilia Stamp (bass and vocals) and Harry Week (guitar, vocals and synths).

Kowalskiy: How did you all get together, and what's the story behind the name?
Carla: I (Carla) and Ceal shared a flat together in halls at art school in Edinburgh, Sita stayed a few floors down. A few years later Sita and I made a short film with our friend Luke. We made a song for the soundtrack called 'Lullaby'. Harry recorded it for us in his bedroom and played some guitar on it. Our tutor Paul Carter said it made him smile so they decided to make some more songs. In 2008 Luke was replaced by Ceal on bass and the rest is history. I decided at 16 that I would be in a band one day and the band would be called Futuristic Retro Champions. The others agreed with her.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe 'your sound'?
Carla: We are a pop band. We try to incorporate the harmonies of sixties girl groups with the melodies of Kylie Minogue and the attitude of the Vaselines with the sass of Manda Rin. The sound of FRC is the sound of a delicious guilty pleasure.

Kowalskiy: Who/what/where would you say has influenced your music?
Carla: Where will I start?! We all have very varied tastes. Things we agree on include Kylie, The Supremes, The Ronettes, The Vaselines, St Etienne, Blondie, Madonna, Groove Armada, Kelis, Passion Pit. And I'll use this opportunity to say that Harry loves Catatonia! We've written quite a lot of songs about our friends, nights out, travel, life, love, rejection…
Kowalskiy: You're releasing new single "Settle Down / May The Forth" on the 5th August. What are the songs about?
Carla: I wanted to try and write something a bit slower that still sounded like us. Settle Down (have a listen below) is about a couple of my friends who have depression and was my way at trying to understand how they are feeling. May the Forth is about my friend 19yr old Fraser Bone who took me out dancing for my 25th birthday on May 2nd (hence the song title as it was written 2 days after) with my good friend John. His enthusiasm, whilst ridiculous, made us feel like teenagers again. Unfortunately the hangover didn't.

Settle Down - Futuristic Retro Champions

Kowalskiy: The single will be your third release so far this year. Is there a backlog of material you're getting around to releasing or are you churning out new songs like some sort of three-woman-one-man pop-machine?
Carla: Our EP's have been a mix of new and old songs, while these two songs are brand new and we already have some new songs on the go. We may put all our old recordings up for download at the end of the year as there is quite a lot now. But it keeps it fun and interesting for us to keep writing and trying out new things.

Kowalskiy: What else can expect from FRC this year?
Carla: More of the same but with added sparkle.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig? (Era, venue, support, roadies....)
Carla: I like the fact we get to choose roadies! I would definitely have Mutya Buena as my personal bodyguard. Era doesn't really matter. John Waters would be part of my entourage along with Leigh Bowery. Support would be Bananarama (when Siobhan was still in the band), Billy Idol circa 83, Secession and Kylie Minogue on decks.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, is there any weird/wonderful fact about the band, or a bandmember, that we maybe don't know?
Carla: Sita's sister was Kelly Marie in River City, Ceal's dad had his own TV series on Channel 5, Harry was in a choir with Ben Adams from A1 at school, and Carla has no celebrity connections whatsoever but had a pet tortoise called Fang when she was 4.

That's where I know the name Pieracinni from!! Anyhoo, the single is out next week on CD, cunningly packaged as a 7", with that Joy Division-esque artwork above. You can download a copy on their bandcamp page, or if you fancy, you can pick up one of the vinylesque CDs at the launch party on the 5th August at Mono in Glasgow, where they will be joined by Hidden Masters, Drums of Macumba, Martin Creed and his band and the legendary Eugene Kelly of Vaselines fame.

Upcoming Gigs
30th July - Pin Up Nights Festival @ The Flying Duck, Glasgow
5th Aug - Mono, Glasgow

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

K&A with King Post Kitsch

Back in February, the mysterious Charlie, a.k.a. King Post Kitsch released his debut, gem-of-an EP, which I proclaimed "an absolute treat". Five months on, he's back! And he's brought his brand, spanking new EP "Monomaniac" with him. Before we hear from the man himself, and before I start raving on about how good it is, have a listen to the lead track "Walking On Eggshells".

<a href="">Walking On Eggshells by King Post Kitsch</a>

It really doesn't get much better than that! Bear in mind, that's just the first track. Have a listen to the other two songs and it'll be hard not to agree that this is a pretty amazing EP. If his debut didn't already mark King Post Kitsch out as one-to-watch, then "Monomaniac" most definitely will. Outstanding stuff!

Here's what the Charlie had to say when I asked him a few kowestions...

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Charlie: I'm not really sure, I guess others can describe it better. I've always thought it was like folk music without the folk arrangements. I like a bit of noise, I like a bit of pop and I like to occasionally rub people up the wrong way.

Kowalskiy: Who/what/where are your main influences?
Charlie: I think my main influences are probably movies, books and wherever I happen to be living at the time I'm recording. I tend to think more in themes so i guess John Fante, Knut Hamsun, John Cassavetes and Alfred Hitchcock might be influences. Musically some favourites of mine are Tom Waits, Neil Young, Beefheart, Bert Jansch and newer bands like The New Pornographers, St Vincent, Yeasayer, Neutral Milk... I'm not sure I sound like any of these folks though!

Kowalskiy: You recently released your second EP, "Monomaniac" for free! What's the story behind the EP, and what's the idea behind giving it away for nowt?
Charlie: With the first EP I had no band to tour or promote the release, and I didn't pay any money to record it so I thought I'd put it out there for free and get some feedback. I got some kind support from bloggers like your good self and a lot more downloads than I anticipated so I thought I'd do the same again.

Kowalskiy: What can fans expect from a King Post Kitsch gig?
Charlie: Good clean fun.

Kowalskiy: And when can Scottish fans expect to see you up here for some gigs?
Charlie: I've had a few offers, so hopefully soon. I'm gonna try to put together a little tour for a few months time - a few shows in England and Scotland. So if anybody wants to put us on, get in touch.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Charlie: A slot in the Last Waltz line-up would have been nice: Muddy Waters on form and Van the Man in a purple jumpsuit. Magic.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from King Post Kitsch in the future?
Charlie: Another release very soon hopefully. Maybe another EP, maybe an album...

Kowalskiy: What up-and-coming band would you advise people to look out for?
Charlie: There's a band called The Chimeras in Philadelphia I'm a big fan of. They make really concise, scratchy, noisy pop music. A bit of Nuggets, a bit of The Kinks, a bit of everything really, and great vocals. The two albums I've heard are pretty strong.

Cheers Charlie! Just to recap, "Monomaniac", along with the debut King Post Kitsch EP are both available for FREE over on his bandcamp page. If the first was well worth a download, the follow-up is essential download material! The sooner we have the album in our grubby mitts and a Scottish gig (or two) the better.

Monday, 26 July 2010

This Friday... Pin Up Nights Festival!

What you up to this Friday? All festivalled out? If not, then how'd you fancy another night of great music from, amongst others, two bands I'll be reviewing (very favourably) soon, Futuristic Retro Champions and Mitchell Museum? If that's not enough, there's some cracking guest DJ sets too, as well as all the glowsticks and inflatables you can get your hands on!

If that floats your boat, then head on down to The Flying Duck in Glasgow this Friday for the second Pin Up Nights Festival! Tickets are £5 on the door, or £4 in advance from their website or Tickets Scotland.

As the poster says... "expect an entire festival experience in 6 hours". Not bad for 4 quid, eh?

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Trapped in Kansas / Yahweh - Split 7" Single

Trapped in Kansas - Towerblock Yahweh - Make Me Stop

You may remember back in April I told you about Gerry Loves Records, the Edinburgh-based record label which aims to release 7" split singles from some of Scotland's best up-and-coming bands. Back then, Conquering Animal Sound and Debutant got the ball rolling. Second time around, it's the turn of post-rockers Trapped in Kansas and Glasgow's electro-alt-folk Yahweh.

The single is released on the 2nd of August on 7" vinyl with download codes for both songs and an exclusive track from each of the bands. The press release says:

"Towerblock by Trapped in Kansas is an intricate yet anthemic pop song.... Make Me Stop by Yahweh is a burst of Scottish sunshine, love, life and reflection."

Have a wee listen for yourself...

Good isn't it?! The single can be bought over at Gerry Loves Records, as can tickets for the Glasgow and Edinburgh launch gigs (details below).

Upcoming Gigs
29th July - Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh (support TBC)
30th July - Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow (support TBC)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Three Blind Wolves - TBreak Set at T in the Park (11/07/10)

Here's the first of three TBreak sets from one of my Ten for 2010. First up are the amazing Three Blind Wolves with 5 tracks from their "Sound Of The Storm" album, two more (one of which I can't put my finger on), and a BBC Campervan session track thrown in for good measure.

Download: Three Blind Wolves - TBreak Set at T in the Park (11/07/10)

1. Black Bowl Park
2. Emily Rose
3. Three Blind Wolves
4. Hotel
5. Unknown
6. Captain Of A Ship
7. Sex Is For Losers
8. Echo On The Night Train (Campervan Session)

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Aerials Up - T in the Park (11/07/10)

Time to clear the holiday weekend backlog! If you were lucky enough to be knee-deep in mud at T in the Park this year, you might have seen this cracking band on the BBC Introducing Stage on Sunday. I can only echo what everyone else seems to be saying... expect great things from Aerials Up.

Download: Aerials Up - Live at T in the Park (11/07/10)

1. First In The Fire
2. Stay Awake
3. Superglue

Someone doesn't appear to like this post, so the link has been removed!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Steve Mason - Rob da Bank Session (10/07/10)

Almost forgot about this one! Last week Steve Mason stopped by the Maida Vale studios to perform three tracks from his outstanding recent album "Boys Outside" in session for Rob da Bank. As always, 'tis great stuff!

Download: Steve Mason - Rob da Bank session (10/07/10)

1. Boys Outside
2. Lost and Found
3. The Letter

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #1

Mark your calendars folks! The 16th of each month shall forever be known as Kowalskiy's Free 5-track Scottish EP Day. Catchy, eh? From now on, I'll endeavour to bring you a free EP featuring 5 cracking exclusive/rare tracks from some of Scotland's best up-and-coming bands. For the first in what will hopefully be a series of many, I asked 5 of my favourite artists at the moment to contribute. For some reason I'm still trying to suss out, they all said a very enthusiastic yes!

These kind, brave souls, and their tracks appearing on EP #1, are:

1. Curators - "Turn The Lights Down" (from their eagerly-anticipated, as-of-yet untitled, debut album)

"As far as Lights goes, it is relatively straight forward. I suppose you could say that it's about domestic disharmony being overcome by hearing a good song on the radio, but that sounds a bit wanky. Let's call it a love song to the art of the single." - Jon Dick (Curators)

2. Punch & The Apostles - "Wintertime Blues" (from their upcoming "Meat In Summerland" album)

"The song was written during the winter of 08/09 whilst three of the band were living in a small cottage in Ayrshire. We had no heating or hot water because we couldn't afford to buy oil, so would huddle round the fireplace as late as possible. Because of the lack of heating we started developing damp problems, with mould appearing on shoes, jackets and bedding. It was great in some ways to have that seclusion, but the conditions made it pretty unbearable at times. We lasted the winter out and then moved back to the city in April. That's the song." - Rory Haye (Punch & the Apostles)

3. Arran Arctic - "Ask For It" (opening track from his debut album)

"This track appeared on the first Arran Arctic record (By The Sea) way back in 2005. 'Ask For It' was one of my earliest songs, which I'd originally written because a friend of mine at school was quite a prolific songwriter, and I felt guilty because I thought I was somehow stealing his thunder. You can find videos of this track being performed live at I may re-record it in order to perform it live alongside some of the new tracks from the forthcoming album 'In My Hands'." - Arran Southall (Arran Arctic)

4. The Martial Arts - "Empty Out Here (demo)" (which was only recorded and mastered this week.)

"This is the demo for new song 'Empty Out Here' as recorded in my kitchen by myself, though I got Gregor Barclay in to add some handclaps and Nicola West, also of How To Swim, in to play some 'Good Vibrations' cello on the outro - let's face it, you can't do that with Reason. Joe Kane kindly mastered it and I used Jeremy Mills' bass guitar after he left it at mine. The song itself has some Spector-like ambitions with the tiniest hint of Squeeze's 'Maidstone' thrown in for any Record Collector readers to spot." - Paul Kelly (The Martial Arts)

5. Cancel The Astronauts - "Could You Love Me? (live)" (rare live version of a previously unreleased track)

"The inspiration behind Could You Love Me? is, like every CTA song (sadly), an unrequited love song. Awkward boy meets gorgeous girl, chases her around the schoolyard, and years later hides her body in his fridgefreezer. We've all been there. Recorded live at Studio Kay in summer 2009, it will probably be a B-side one day. It has a delightful guitar riff, even if Kieran does say so himself." - Matt Riley (Cancel The Astronauts)
Thanks to each and every one of them for giving up their time, and song, to get this idea off the ground. I can't thank them enough!

Anyway, for those who like the sound of it, the EP is now up for free download on my shiny new bandcamp site. Hope you enjoy it!

As a warning to all you bands out there, I have a shortlist for EP #2 and I'll be in touch soon! Although if you have a mouthwatering exclusive or rare track and fancy appearing on a future EP, feel free to send me a wee email.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Aye Tunes vs. Peenko II

On the 30th of April, Scottish music bloggers Lloyd Peenko and Jim Aye Tunes teamed up to bring you the musical extravaganza that was Peenko vs. Ayetunes at The Captain's Rest. Back then they were joined by Campfires In Winter, Mitchell Museum and Kid Canaveral. By all accounts, it was a fantastic night!

Well, this Saturday, they're back with Aye Tunes vs. Peenko II (seemingly the order has been changed to stop any whinging) at The 13th Note. Three more cracking bands have signed up: We're Only Afraid of NYC and former K&Aers Little Yellow Ukuleles and Randolph's Leap.

If you fancy going, then you have three options:
  1. You can buy tickets from Peenko here for £5,
  2. You can head over to Aye Tunes' bandcamp where you can also download a free song from each of the three bands on the bill. Not bad, eh?
  3. Or you can turn up on the night and chance your arm there's still tickets available
Judging by the first gig, option 3 isn't recommended.... just saying!

...your neighbour the liar!

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Edinburgh indiemo 4-piece your neighbour the liar. They recently released their second EP "Welcome To A Life Of Insecurity And Paralyzing Self-doubt" for free over on their bandcamp. I've had a wee listen, several times actually, and it's pretty damn good!

Here's some info on the band, the EP, and what lies in store for the future, from the band themselves...

Kowalskiy: Who are your neighbour the liar?
yntl: We are four guys in our early twenties who enjoy hanging out and playing music together. Andy & Kyle both sing and play guitar, Jamie plays drums and Dave plays bass.

Kowalskiy: You've recently released new EP "Welcome To A Life Of Insecurity And Paralyzing Self-doubt" on bandcamp for free! What's the story behind it, and how would you describe your music?
yntl: Some of the ideas on the EP include being bored of mundane life and feeling trapped in your hometown, dealing with tragedy in your life and generally being disillusioned that your life isn't as interesting as those portrayed in films. The title comes from a quote I've always liked by the character Seth Cohen in The OC; I felt it fitted in with the overall feeling of the EP. We like releasing our music for free so everyone has easy access to it. Our sound is essentially emotive indie rock but with post punk tendencies.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from yntl in the future?
yntl: We have always tried to be pro-active as a band since we started, writing new songs, recording and playing in new places to new people. Our plan is to continue doing this. We hope to have a 7" single out by the end of the year, whether it is by raising the funds ourselves or being lucky enough to work with a label. We are working towards having a full length out next year.

your neighbour the liar - The Michael Cera Type your neighbour the liar - Welcome To A Life Of Insecurity And Paralyzing  Self-doubt

For your free downloads of the new EP and their debut "That Michael Cera Type", click the cover art above. Their debut (the one on the left) is also available as a limited-edition CD for £3.

Upcoming Gigs
21st July - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh (with Pareto)
1st Aug - The 13th Note, Glasgow (with Good Luck, Bangers & Blue Sky Archives)
11th Aug - 3 Sisters Festival Stage, Edinburgh (acoustic, with Kerrie Lynch)
15th Aug - Negi Dungeon, Glasgow (with What Price, Wonderland? & Twisted)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

K&A with Casino Brag

Having just published my 20th K&A session last week, it's now time for the first one which the featured band have actually volunteered themselves for... silly buggers! Anyone who downloaded their Vic Galloway session I also posted last week, will know that Glasgow's Casino Brag are a band to sit up and take notice of.... if they've not already gotten you up on the dancefloor.

Now here's what they let themselves in for....

Kowalskiy: Who are Casino Brag?
Casino Brag: Casino Brag are myself David, playing guitar and singing. Paul, playing guitar a whole lot better and doing some backing singing. JP, playing bass and doing a wee bit of singing and Ellis playing drums; however he’s a proper good singer and doesn’t sing enough! We all live in Glasgow, although I’m an honorary Glaswegian, from Swindon originally but now in my 9th year of residence in this wonderful city.

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about and what's the story behind the name?
David: I kind of started a daft band at uni, we were awful but I did meet Ellis through one of the guys ‘Graeme’ who originally played guitar in the band. He was a good chap but moved away to work in London but he did think of our name. He liked a flutter and had just returned from a trip to Las Vegas. Casino Brag is the name of one of the card games he played there. The band didn’t really work out but me and Ellis stuck together and kept the name. I then put an ad in a music shop for a new lead guitarist. Paul answered it but then on the day of the first rehearsal the bassist quit. I rang Paul apologising and telling him practice was off. He told me not to worry as he knew a chap John Paul who would step in. They’d been playing in bands together for years and had a great back catalogue of material too.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
David: Post punk/indie I suppose. Although House music and Techno have been pretty influential to us so at present we like to keep it upbeat. Although of course once we’re rock stars we’ll bring it down a notch for the second record and write a ballad. Who doesn’t?

Kowalskiy: Vic Galloway (who you recently did a session for) touched on the fact that your songs often have slightly odd themes. Can you us an example, and describe how you came to write it?
David: Yeah sure. I’ll take our song "Authority Vogue" for example. It’s about witnessing a crime and being put under police protection in a safe house. Whilst there, you start a relationship with a female police officer. The opening line goes ‘Saint of the safe house, she keeps look out’. It goes on to explain encounters in the house with lyrics like ‘I’ve never undone a bullet proof jacket, excuse my fingers as I try to unwrap you’.

I want to write songs with a fictional theme to them, cinematic even. I’m bored of love songs and I hate songs that are ‘I’ ‘I’ ‘I’. The type of songs that sound like the singer is talking to his shrink. I don’t want to pour my heart out into music. Some folk do and are fantastic at doing so. Yeah I still like a good love song but for me at this time this is what works.

Kowalskiy: Who (or what) are your main influences?
David: In regards to lyrics, I take inspiration from Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, Kate Bush, and Eminem, to name but a few. They all write fictional stories and project them in an emotive style. Paul listens to a lot of Radiohead and has been inspired by Jonny Greenwood, especially in terms of using guitar FX. He loves The Bunnymen and Graham Coxon too. Ellis likes Bloc Party a lot and I think again he takes influence from House music. JP’s got his own thing going on though; the funk just runs through that guy and he’d definitely never buy a Toploader record.

Kowalskiy: In March you released debut single "Vienesse Disco/A Fair Escape". Since then you've played Death Disco, headlined Pin Up Nights and recorded a live session for Mr. Galloway. Not a bad few months! Is there anything else I'm missing? Are you surprised how quickly things seem to be taking off?
David: Yeah we sure have had a good time of late. We want the ball to keep rolling and yeah a ‘take off’ would be grand, Death Disco was great and of course the live session was really exciting.

Kowalskiy: What's been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
David: I think live performances still really tick the box better than anything. In January we played an extremely busy show at King Tuts supporting The Neat. It was mobbed and the crowd hadn’t been out the house since Christmas I think. Again Death Disco was ace and we also supported the OK Social Club over in Cabaret Voltaire, again it was rammed and a great atmosphere. Outside of the live thing, we were interviewed by Lamacq last year which was pretty cool. For me personally it was Nick Grimshaw name checking us on Radio 1 before the Vic show went out. I don’t know why this pleased me but it did.

Kowalskiy: What'd be your ideal gig and what can we expect from a typical Casino Brag gig?
David: That’s a great question; I think maybe to have played that night when The Sex Pistols played the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. We did play infamous punk rock pub The Hope and Anchor in Islington, again I just wish It had have been 30 years earlier. We’ve lots of heroes we would love to support though. Blur, The Bunnymen, Radiohead. I think our shows are pretty lively; you could dance through most of the set. Sometimes JP tells a quick story and sometimes me and Paul fall out and look like we might start scrapping. Yeah so, energetic and fun I’d like to think.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Casino Brag in the future?
David: There’s a second single planned for release in the autumn and a couple of local labels that have displayed an interest. It was great doing the first release ourselves but we wouldn’t mind a hand this time. Do things bigger and better. We’ve just bagged ourselves a great manager too so he’s got lots of plans up his sleeves. A big part of the next few months will be playing across the central belt more. We’ve just booked shows in Stirling and Edinburgh and also got some dates for the Camden Barfly. So a return to London is imminent too. More radio too we hope, we’d love to do a live session down with big Robbo on BBC6.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, anything you fancy adding?
David: Its true John Paul did buy the Toploader record. But I often claim "Jollification" (The Lightning Seeds) was the best album of the 90’s. I also own a Jamie Oliver frying pan.

It begs the question was it "Onka's Big Moka" or the other one? Anyhoo, keep your eyes peeled for their second single some time in the not-so-distant future. In the meantime, here's a belter of a track for you to download and play to your heart's content...

mp3: Casino Brag - Apparitions

...and some upcoming gigs, including a potential cracker at King Tuts.

Upcoming Gigs
24th July - Summer Nights Festival @ King Tuts, Glasgow (with Astral Planes, Galleries and Cancel The Astronauts)
21st Aug - Nice 'N Sleazy, Glasgow
27th Aug - Cape, Stirling
24th Sept - RIOT ANYONE? Festival @ Maggies Chamber, Edinburgh

Monday, 12 July 2010

...The Son(s)

I first became aware of The Son(s), like an increasing amount of bands these days, through Peenko's Friday Freebies. I downloaded their three-track "Radar EP" a while ago, listened to it, liked it, then in true Kowalskiy fashion, I was sidetracked. Now that normal service has resumed, just who are these guys?

Who better to ask than an unnamed acquaintance of theirs...

"The Son(s) were three men, in a band, in Edinburgh, and I knew them then.
One Son went to London and made his fortune in the movies.
Another Son went to Oxford and lives in a small commune there.
The last Son eventually went back to the North East of Scotland and wrote and recorded these songs.

So, the movie maker plays drums and the commune-ist the bass, but neither plays on or writes these songs. But you know, life is long, and one day the movie business will dry up and the commune will disperse, although not - I'd guess - soon. Still, I'm told there will be some new Son(s) songs released later this year, for download, on CD, perhaps even on vinyl."

Until then, you can get your hands on their "Radar EP" over on their bandcamp. Three songs, three good ones at that, for absolutely no pennies at all. Here's the pick of the bunch, "Dogs, Boys and Men". It's a cracking track. If you ask me, it's a lot like a Scottish indie TV On The Radio, what with its messy-in-a-good-way vocal harmonies, a lot of wooing (be it electric guitars or vocals), but with the great addition of some acoustic guitars. It's hard not to like. Get it downloaded!

<a href="">Dogs, Boys & Men by The Son(s)</a>

Friday, 9 July 2010

Ten for 2010 Revisited... and K&A with The Kays Lavelle

It's been a few months since one of my tips for 2010, The Kays Lavelle released their debut album "Be Still This Gentle Morning" and like the three Revisited... bands that have gone before them, with its release, they've more than lived up to expectation.

That's largely down to "Be Still This Gentle Morning" being as close to perfect as you can get. From the dark, haunting piano and strings on opener "The Hours", to the heartwrenchingly beautiful "The Life And Death Of A Moment" and the Sigur Ros inspired epic "Aftermath", it is breathtaking.

Those of you familiar with the The Steinberg Principle blog may know that the ├╝bertalented mastermind behind it, is The Kays frontman Euan McMeeken. For a change, he's agreed to be on the other end of some questions. Want to know about their future plans, which bandmember is also a ninja breakdancer, and the definitive truth behind the band's name? Read on...

Kowalskiy: Who are The Kays Lavelle?
Euan: The Kays Lavelle are 6 guys. Some live in Edinburgh. One lives in Dundee. One lives in Carnoustie. We play instruments. Some of us can play more than one instrument. Some cannot. We mainly have beards, where possible. One of us has 2 dogs. One of us likes Wilco (a little too much). One of us is a primary teacher. Sometimes we like to get together and play songs. Our debut record "Be Still This Gentle Morning" was released on Wiseblood Industries in May this year. The Skinny did not like it. However, many others do.

Kowalskiy: Including me! So, how did you all meet and what's the story behind the name?
Euan: Graeme and I are school friends. We met our violin/voila player Russell and guitarist Chris through friends. We knew drummer Chris from back home in Dundee and then Michael used to be in a band with Chris called The A Forest. I guess that’s how it all came together.

As for the name, The Kays Lavelle is a type of Peruvian llama that you can only find living in Bolivia and is therefore very rarely spotted in Peru by the Peruvian llama spotters. This in turn has had a pretty drastic impact on the Peruvian economy, as they were pretty dependent on the llama’s to increase tourism…

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Euan: I’d say at the beginning of the process, when it’s just me, it is heavily steeped in minimal classicism. Then the others get their hands on the tunes and they become something different. A different beast altogether. I like the description that we make midnight music though, that made me smile. It’s the kind of time that I like to write songs. When the sun has set and the zombies, vampires and werewolves are out for the night.

Kowalskiy: Who/what are your main influences?
Euan: Well, as I mentioned above, the obvious starting point for me is minimal classical. Olafur Arnalds, Max Richter, Goldmund, Einaudi. Those kind of artists tend to be where I find initial inspiration. However, my biggest influences in terms of more mainstream artists would definitely be the likes of Wilco, Elbow, Sparklehorse, The National, The Notwist, Sigur Ros and many more. At the same time, I’m influenced by people passionate about anything. People inspire me all the time. Without ever knowing it. Passion is infectious I think.

Kowalskiy: Your debut album "Be Still This Gentle Morning" was released earlier this year. What's the story behind it?
Euan: I guess ultimately it’s quite observational as a record. It’s about society mainly. Things I’ve noticed. Things I’ve heard. Things I’ve done. We had all these songs sitting and felt like we were treading water, missing out on a lot of opportunities. So we just got our fingers out and made the record that we wanted to. Hopefully people like it and hopefully we’ll get the chances we were not getting when there was no record. Lovely people like you, for example, writing about us.

<a href="">First Light by The Kays Lavelle</a>

Kowalskiy: Sook! Now for a more personal one, not only are you in The Kays Lavelle, there's Trampoline, mini50 Records, your solo stuff and you're the man behind The Steinberg Principle. Is there time for much else? And if you had to choose one (or-your-dog-would-get-it kinda scenario), which would you choose?
Euan: I think there’s always time. Since the birth of my son I’ve had to put going to watch gigs and my social life to one side, and I’ve been happy to do so. The blog and label can be run from my home and Trampoline has pretty much come to an end, due to time restraints and a lack of financial security to keep it going. That said, I’m always keen to be involved in promotion and musical projects. I have a really exciting one in the pipeline for October as we speak.

If I had to choose one thing though it would be The Kays. Without a shadow of a doubt. Because creating my own music is far more important to me than any of the other things.

Kowalskiy: I see you're busy looking for some venues for the upcoming tour. What can we expect from this tour? Any support acts in mind?
Euan: I have no idea what to expect myself to be honest! I’m assuming a touch of drunkenness. An interesting tour diary perhaps. Some live recordings for sure. Possibly a badger hunting expedition. Definitely some good gigs. And hopefully we’ll make a lot of new friends and fans along the way.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Euan: My ideal gig? Well I’d really like to see a line up featuring Tom Waits, Radiohead, Wilco, The National, Olafur Arnalds and The Kays Lavelle...

Kowalskiy: Sounds pretty good! What can we expect from you and The Kays Lavelle in the future?
Euan: Well, I’ve started writing new tunes for the Kays. I have about 12 or 13 ideas in various states of assembly. So it’s time for me to take them to the band, flesh out the bones and see if we’ve got something to work with. It’s the beginnings of the follow up to BSTGM I guess.

In terms of myself. I have the solo EP entitled ‘Memorials’ coming out on Too Many Fireworks later this year. No confirmed date as yet. I also have a solo project called ‘Lost Again On Waking’, which is a project by myself and Heidi Kuisma of We Sink Ships, exploring music and photography. It will take the form of 4 sets of 6 photos, each with an accompanying piece of music. I’m not sure when this will be out but Heidi finished the photos ages ago and I’ve just finished writing the music for it. So later this year or early next year I’d imagine. I’d love a nice label to take it forward, but at the moment I guess it will be mini50.

Finally, I’m working on songs with Chantal Acda, better known as Sleepingdog. That project is called Nine Threads and we’re just writing songs together and seeing where it leads us. There may well be a mini album or EP at some point.

Kowalskiy: Anything you'd like to add?
Euan: Our guitarist Graeme completed the London Marathon a few years ago. Chris our other guitarist looks like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. Michael our bass player supports St Johnstone FC. Russell our violin player got 3 out of 5 in Uncut magazine for his solo record. Chris our drummer is a ninja, break dancer in his spare time. And I am good with capital cities of the world.

The Kays Lavelle - The Hours The Kays Lavelle - Ten Times

The Kays Lavelle are giving away the first two singles ("The Hours" and "Ten Times") from their outstanding album "Be Still This Gentle Morning" for free over at their bandcamp site.... just click the cover art above. The album itself can is available in CD form here (£7) from the band or digitally from bandcamp (£5) and iTunes (£7.99)*. If you've not gotten the hint already, it's a stunning album. Well worth a listen to say the very least.

Upcoming Gigs
October Tour - Keep your eyes on their MySpace for details

*prices at time of posting

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Kid Canaveral - Shouting At Wildlife

Messrs. Peenko and Aye Tunes have been banging on about Kid Canaveral for quite a while now. At first, I thought "it'll just be another guy with a guitar". Then 'he' released a free single a while back called "Good Morning", which I downloaded but never got around to listening to. Guess who then goes and headlines the first Peenko vs. Aye Tunes night which I was otherwise engaged to go to? That's right, this Kid Canaveral 'chap'.

OK, so by that time I had at least done a bit of sleuthing and discovered 'he' was in fact, a 'they'. David, Scott, Rose and Kate to be exact. By this time I was knee deep in revision to pay them more than a fleeting interest. Last week though, after the sheer amount of great reviews and tweets regarding their debut album "Shouting At Wildlife", the peer pressure got too much and I succumbed to buying one of the special pre-order CDs (which incidentally can be bought here and come with some freebies including a cassette of their previous single and links to download the mp3s online).

We'll get to my thoughts on the album soon after some more rambling and even more coffee. First, it must be said that these days £12 for an album (plus postage mind you), especially from a relatively new-kid-on-the-block may be considered a tad steep. So, out of fear of disliking the album and cursing my foolishness for spending that on a band I'd yet to properly listen to, I decided to give the free streaming on their bandcamp site a miss, and instead wait patiently for my CD.

If anyone's still reading this half-review-half-ramble, then let me just say it popped through my letterbox yesterday and I finally got around to having a listen. So, what be the verdict?

/****** Review Starts Here ******/

Truth be told, it's very, very good... and incredibly infectious. It's by no means an album of twelve, sure-fire "Smash Hits". The majority of songs most definitely are though, or at least should be, like the one I shamelessly used in the previous sentence, and singles "Good Morning" and "You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night".

<a href="">You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night by Kid Canaveral</a>

My advice... get yourself the free download of "Good Morning", actually listen to it, then there's a good chance you'll be dancing yourself silly over here to listen to the rest of the album and place your order! £12 well spent and worth every penny!

It's not too late to hop onto their bandwagon now... is it?

Upcoming Gigs
10th July - Half My Heartbeats @ The Flying Duck, Glasgow
15th July - Club Fandango @ Camden Monarch, London
16th July - Mother's Ruin, Bristol
17th July - The Soundhouse, Leicester
21st Aug - Anstruther Easter Town Hall, Anstruther
11th Sept - Teviot Students Union - Edinburgh

Monday, 5 July 2010

Casino Brag - Vic Galloway Session (01/07/10)

Last week Glasgow's Casino Brag brought their dancefloor-filling brand of post-punk indie to Vic Galloway's BBC Radio 1 Introducing... in Scotland show and performed 4 tracks. Stay tuned for a K&A session featuring these guys in the not-too-distant-future.

Download: Casino Brag - Vic Galloway session (01/07/10)

1. A Fair Escape
2. Apparitions
3. A Lot Can Happen On A Summer's Day
4. Stop Go

That K&A session can now be read here, with a free download to boot. Enjoy!

Saturday, 3 July 2010

K&A with Bottle Of Evil

Every once in a while a band comes along that strike a chord with us bloggers, and from all the chatter I've heard, Lanarkshire duo Bottle of Evil is certainly one of them. Their recently-released, self-titled debut album draws together loads of influences with "elements of electro-acoustic, shoegaze, folk, ambient, soundtrack and alternative indie". Be it one of their gorgeous shoegazey moments ("Kilmartin Valley") or one of their rousing folk numbers ("Holding Up The Bar"), the album is nothing short of stunning. Bottle of Evil have delivered one of the unexpected, stand-out albums of the year!

Over to the band now to tell us more about themselves...

Kowalskiy: Who are Bottle of Evil?
Bottle of Evil: We are a duo, Derek Bates and Steven McGilvary, from Lanarkshire, who record experimental music, mainly along the lines of shoegaze, folk and electro. Its mainly inspired by small town boredom and crap weather. We've both been writing and recording with our solo projects for many years, and myself with a previous group, shoegaze noisters Genaro.

Kowalskiy: How did the band come about?
Derek: I met Steven about 3 years ago when i recorded some of his solo material and realised he was someone I worked well with creatively, we got together for a few random recording sessions where we experimented with structures and a collection of instruments to write and record a few songs. The first song we completed, around a year ago, was Seize The Day. It was lucky enough to receive play from Glasgow PodcART and Subcity Radio so we decided to work on a few more songs and it has grown into the full album we have now.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music?
Derek: I'd say it always comes back to a love of things heavily FX driven, but it does vary quite a lot on the album. There's songs that could be considered folk, shoegaze, dream-pop, industrial or ambient, but they all share a similar trend of vocal harmonies and layered instruments. Experimenting with instruments through an unusual combination of amps, FX pedals, patched hardware units and studio outboard usually helped us create some interesting parts and allowed us to sculpt the songs in different ways. We've been told so far that there's elements of Animal Collective, Brian Eno, The Beach Boys, Spacemen 3 and Arab Strap, which are all artists we love to so we're more than happy to agree with those comparisons.

Kowalskiy: Who or what are your main influences?
Derek: Our main influences would be very varied but we both draw together on artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Slowdive, The Beach Boys/Dennis Wilson, The Foals, The Phantom Band, The XX, Malcolm Middleton and The Associates. We also listen to a lot of 60s/70s psychedelia, 80s/90s experimental music, post-punk, electronic and shoegaze which probably comes through quite a lot in the production of the album.

Kowalskiy: Your album was released earlier this year. For those who haven't heard it yet, what can they expect from it?
Derek: The album has been released digitally on iTunes and eMusic, and we have a CD release coming in two weeks. The album moves from otherworldly scores - to stripped acoustics - to layers of harmony, all whilst maintaining a cohesive sense of melody. Heavily FX driven at points, the music drifts back and forth between walls of swirling noise and the underpinning beats and emotive harmonies. That's the promotional spiel anyway. I'd recommend people just to take the time, have a listen and decide for themselves.

Kowalskiy: When can we expect to see some live shows?
Derek: We've recently pulled together a live troup and are rehearsing at the moment, hopefully we'll be gigging in a couple of months. We'll be playing a couple of tracks from the album but we're also concentrating on putting together new material. We've not played much in the last couple of years so we're looking forward to having some more musicians on board to add ideas and help create some great music and make a lot of noise.

Kowalskiy: What would your ideal gig be?
Derek: To be honest we're probably very easily pleased. A decent small venue such as Sleazies, Mono or 13th Note with a great live engineer and a packed crowd that are there to get pished and enjoy music would be perfect. If we were looking at large shows I'd love to play somewhere like Primavera, or in Scotland it would probably be the Barrowlands supported by a reformed Slowdive, although we'd be more likely to support them. Of all time it would probably have to be the Monterey Pop Festival.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Bottle of Evil in the future?
Derek: We're hoping to get a couple of months rehearsing and writing with the new line-up, and will be gigging for a couple of months before doing some more recording, just to get the live songs worked into the right shape. We're looking at getting an EP of this material put together towards the end of the year. Then we'll just see how things go from there.

Kowalskiy: Any interesting or embarrassing facts about any of you?
Derek: Nothing that I can think of that would be printable I'm afraid:)
Kowalskiy: The mind boggles.....

As I've said up top, Bottle of Evil's debut is nothing short of stunning. I can't wait for some live shows. Until then, here's one of the many album highlights "Holding Up The Bar" courtesy of the band.

mp3: Bottle Of Evil - Holding Up The Bar

Also, if you're quick, have a listen below then head over to their for a free download of the brilliant "Seize The Day".

Seize The Day

Those album buying links again: iTunes and eMusic.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers - BBC Introducing at ABC2 (01/04/08)

Back in the Summer of '08, everyone's favourite Scottish radio DJ and champion of up-and-coming bands, Vic Galloway, hosted a series of BBC Introducing nights at the ABC2 in Glasgow. On April 1st, Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers took centrestage. Here's two tracks which would eventually feature on this years debut album "Home And The Wild Hunt".

Download: Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers - BBC Introducing at ABC2 (01/04/08)

1. Fistful Of Fivers
2. Twisted Mile

K&A with Randolph's Leap

The Glasgow leg of Meursault's album launch back in April was a pretty special night for a number of reasons. First of all, it was my first chance to hear songs from their brilliant new album, as well as seeing them live again. It also meant I finally got the chance to see Yusuf Azak playing songs from his upcoming debut album.

Then, there was the little matter of Randolph's Leap. Fronted by the quirky, surely-a-songwriting-legend-in-the-making Adam Ross, their light-hearted, Belle and Sebastiany songs brought a smile to each and every person's face that night.

I recently asked Adam a few questions. Read on for news on their upcoming Glastonbury gig, Dougie Vipond, and a very special night in a fortnights time....

Kowalskiy: Who are or what is Randolph's Leap?
Randolph's Leap: It was an unbelievable coincidence. Randolph was my great-grandmother’s name and ‘leap’ is my all-time favourite word. So we stuck them together. However, we recently found out that, very spookily, there is a geographic location called Randolph’s Leap, a gorge upon the River Findhorn just half an hour’s drive from Nairn where singer Adam grew up.

Kowalskiy: How did you all get together?
Adam: Gareth got the train up from Ayr. The rest of us walked.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your sound?
Adam: Dressed in a pin-stripe suit and dangling upside-down from the Wallace Monument.

Kowalskiy: Who are your main influences?
Adam: Biffy Clyro. Hence our angst-ridden beards, checked shirts and skinny jeans with our bums hanging out.

Kowalskiy: New single "Squeamish" is out now for free on your bandcamp page. What's the story behind it? And is it true that it features the one-and-only Dougie Vipond's drum kit?
Adam: I (Adam) grew up a fearless young lad when it came to blood and gore but nowadays I can’t sit through an episode of Casualty, Grey’s Anatomy etc. without vomiting violently all over my shoes. Fairly recently (and this is completely true) I had to step outside for fresh air during an Aidan Moffat performance after hearing him sing a line about the female menstrual cycle. I’m a pathetic wimp.

Speaking of pathetic wimps, Dougie V’s kit does indeed feature on "Squeamish". We went on and his was the cheapest to hire.

<a href="">Squeamish by Randolph's Leap</a>

Kowalskiy: Ooh... harsh! A little birdie tells me you're playing the Ayetunes vs. Peenko II gig on 17th July alongside We're Only Afraid of NYC and Little Yellow Ukuleles. How'd you get roped into that one? For anyone who's never seen you live, what is a typical Randolph's Leap gig like?
Adam: A giant yellow Pacman-type blob was at our gig at GoNorth. Turned out this was Peenko. Should’ve recognised him. He rambled drunkenly and aggressively to us after the show. After 3 and a half hours of incomprehensible nonsense he repeatedly asked “so are you in or are you out?”. “In” I replied, hoping to appease him and escape unscathed. It emerged the following day that I had unwittingly agreed to play a gig at The 13th Note. And also to marry his aunt.

Typical Randolph’s Leap gigs are an aural delight for all the family. But it’s the atypical ones that you should look out for.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
Adam: Very kind of you to offer! We’ll go for 1920s, the Amazon, Katherine Jenkins please.

Kowalskiy: Any more plans from Randolph's Leap in the future?
Adam: We’re working on releasing a studio EP in September which should result in a massive cash boost for our main concern, The Randolph’s Leap Naked Retirement Home business fund.
Other than that, we got an email from a lovely fella the other day saying we can play Glastonbury main stage on October 21st and Rockness on December 33rd so that should keep us pretty busy.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, you've just joined the Blogosphere (its a word....). What can we expect to see there --->
Adam: Up-to-the-minute sports reports, all the hottest celeb gossip, tragic true life stories and a glimpse into our own devilish sense of fun as we take a sideways glance at the week’s topical news stories.

Kowalskiy: Anything you want to add?
Adam: Three out of none of us has never been dead for no less than seven months this Tuesday.

Adam and Randolph's Leap have a whole host of freebies up for grabs on their bandcamp site including their recent "Eerie Indie Adam EP" which features the best song ever written about a Macaulay Culkin film. Fact!

<a href="">Home Alone by Randolph's Leap</a>

I'd highly recommend catching them live! Lucky for you they have a few gigs coming up including, as mentioned above, the one the "giant yellow Pacman-type blob" and that guy from Paisley are putting on later this month - the second of their Ayetunes vs. Peenko extravaganzas. For all details, click the poster.

Upcoming Gigs
17th July - Ayetunes vs. Peenko II @ The 13th Note, Glasgow
25th July - Classic Grand, Glasgow (with Mammoeth)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Arran Arctic - The Door

Good news folks! Arran Arctic is back with his new single "The Door", the first from new album "In My Hands". And in true gentlemanly fashion, Arran has put it up as a free download on his website!

It's a bit of a change in direction from his previous material. It's still undeniably Arran but he's only gone and upped the tempo with a nod or two to The Radio Dept. If it's a taste of what to expect from the upcoming album then it could be very, very good indeed. I can't wait!

Have a listen for yourself...

Arran Arctic - The Door from Arran Arctic on Vimeo.

You've got until 1st September to get your hands on it before it's replaced by another single. If that's not enough, you can still get your free acoustic version of "Tight Lipped Lover" if you sign up to his mailing list.