Saturday, 28 August 2010

K&A with Punch & the Apostles

Punch & the Apostles - Meat In Summerland Punch & the Apostles - Hymn To Death

How does that old cliché go? You wait ages for a bus and then three albums come along in the space of six months? Something like that anyway..

Well, as the title of the post and that warbled intro suggest, Punch & the Apostles are back next week with two more amazing albums, the 35-minute continuous piece Hymn To Death, and the slightly more conventional Meat In Summerland, from which they were kind enough to donate Wintertime Blues to the first Kowalskiy EP.

Wintertime Blues (from Meat in Summerland) by Punch & the Apostles

I've featured them a few times already, so it's a bit time I got around to doing a K&A session with them. Here's what they had to say for themselves....

Kowalskiy: Who are Punch & the Apostles?
P&tA: Punch & the Apostles are 5 elements of the creation of an imperfect god, the Demiurge, who - created by his mother, a partial aspect of the Divine 'Fullness' as an act of defiance, and in her shame, and in an attempt to hide him from the 'Fullness', concealed him in a cloud within which he was unaware of anything but himself - created this imperfect world in reflection of his imperfection.

Kowalskiy: Okaaaayyyy... How did you all get together, and what's the story behind the name?
P&tA: We all met at an amateur astronomy night which we saw advertised in the back of the Herald. It was around the time of the Perseids in 2007. The rate of the shower was quite low so we were chatting whilst keeping an eye on the sky. The Perseids has been visible for the last 2000 years or so, so we were talking about the New Testament and the various possible stars that could have been the Star of Bethlehem. It's interesting because of course in the Gospels there are various historical pointers that raise questions of the exact date of Jesus' birth given what was seen in the sky. There are various hypotheses, some more convincing than others, though various other problems are posed by the time of the reign of Herod (who was meant to have been ruling when Jesus was born), and the execution of boys aged two and under that he ordered before his death shortly after a lunar eclipse (usually thought to have been the eclipse of March 13th, 4BC (though no record of a census during that time exists, perhaps just a mistake on Luke's part)). Anyway, we were watching the Perseids and talking, and for whatever reason had a job lot of 'Weinachts-Punch' from Lidl, really cheap, warming, like mulled-wine, and someone, we can't remember who, though we all have claims to it, said, "ahh, Punch & the Apostles", and we all thought that sounded like a good band name, and in the course of the evening we decided to form the band.

Kowalskiy: You're a difficult band to pigeonhole into a genre. How would you describe your sound?
P&tA: Usually a series of unconnected words, pauses, gurning and gesticulation, then resignation.
Kowalskiy: I always though 'Carnival-atmosphere Screamo Indie-Jazz' wasn't far off after seeing you support Get Well Soon at Sleazy's all them years ago.
P&tA: Certainly one way of describing it.
Kowalskiy: Was also quite surprised how your sax player managed not to do himself an injury or burst a blood vessel.
P&tA: We always had the same fear, though he seemed to survive the experience remarkably well.

Kowalskiy: You released your debut album a while back. What was the general reaction to it?
P&tA: The people who heard it were very positive.

Kowalskiy: You are releasing two new albums on Monday. What's the story behind them?
P&tA: Both were conceived and realised more than a year ago. At the time, during the winter, three of us were living in a cottage without heating in the Ayrshire countryside. It was both a difficult and productive time. The pieces themselves tell the story.

Kowalskiy: Before the release of your first album, the band relocated to Berlin. What was the reason for that?
P&tA: We all, for various reasons, wanted to leave Scotland. Berlin is a city with a fascinating history and an environment which currently makes being an artist feasible in a way that would not be possible in any other European capital city.
Kowalskiy: Are there similarities between the music 'scenes' over there and in Glasgow?
P&tA: 'Scenes' were one of the things we hoped to avoid in moving. Berlin has a lot of punks, and of course, is famous for techno, though outside of that, so far, we've found people are pretty open to most things. But sure, no doubt people will always group together to create environments within which they can thrive.

Kowalskiy: Having witnessed one of your live shows, it's definitely one of the liveliest and best gig experiences I've seen.
P&tA: Thank you.
Kowalskiy: You're welcome! When can we expect more Scottish gigs?
P&tA: We're currently figuring out a return from the end of October until some point in November. This should include some premieres and potentially some collaboration with certain bands that we would like to work with. Since details aren't yet clear to us we can't really elaborate further, but we'll certainly let you know when we can.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
P&tA: Perhaps an event in the Paris Opera House, us curating, with, in no particular order or era: Ivo Papasov and his Wedding Band; Astor Piazzolla; Cardiacs; The Lounge Lizards; The Minutemen; Cannibal Corpse; Woody Guthrie; The Blue Sky Boys; The Mothers of Invention; Raymond Scott; Charles Mingus playing The Saint and the Black Sinner Lady; Rachmaninov; Scriabin; Liszt; Bartok; Harry Partch; Conlon Nancarrow; The Shaggs; Tom Waits; The Cramps; Secret Chiefs 3; Shostakovich; The Boss; Can; Naked City; Boredoms; Roy Orbison; Gene Pitney; Angelo Badalamenti; Tôru Takemitsu; The Blue Comets; Esther Rancid & the Dickheads; Zombie Morrison; Cher(only playing 'Do You Believe in Life After Love'); Parliament; Art Ensemble of Chicago; and so on and so on...
Kowalskiy: I'd say that's do-able...
P&tA: Roadies: W.C. Fields; Buster Keaton; Charlie Chaplin; Daffy Duck; Porky Pig; Yosemite Sam; Foghorn Leghorn; Elmer Fudd; Ren & Stimpy.
Kowalskiy: And the entourage?
P&tA: The '87 Detroit Redwings.

Kowalskiy: I tipped you as one of my bands to watch in 2010. So far, with 3 albums you're not disappointing. What bands would you recommend we look out for in the rest of the year?
P&tA: Esther Rancid & the Dickheads, Zombie Morrison and Champagne & the 2B Pencils are all ones to watch.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from Punch & the Apostles this year?
P&tA: Hopefully at least one more album, perhaps two; a TenTracks bundle of older songs and rarities; bread-baking tips; any number of other things yet to be decided.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, any interesting, exciting, or just plain embarrassing facts about the a fellow bandmember you'd like to share?
P&tA: Is nothing sacred?

Both albums are released on Monday. Until then you can have a listen over on their SoundCloud page. The press release says Hymn to Death "merely hints at what is yet to come". If that's the case, it can't come soon enough!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Miaoux Miaoux - Knitted

"Maple Leaves announce new line-up"

Not quite! Although, that is bandmember Julian Corrie in his solo guise as Miaoux Miaoux. Back in March, Julian brought out his Blooms EP to widespread acclaim. Next week sees the release of his gorgeous follow-up single Knitted, complete with a remix by The Japanese War Effort and an exclusive live track. It'll be available from here on 1st September. Here's a mini K&A with Julian with some more information:

Kowalskiy: What's the story behind the name Miaoux Miaoux?
Julian: I heard a little girl on a train singing it to herself, and thought it was cool, especially as her mum was getting annoyed. Also it's cat-related, and cats are awesome.

Kowalskiy: People may know you best from Maples Leaves. How does Miaoux Miaoux's sound differ?
Julian: It's much more electronic, and strictly a one-man operation. I guess since I started adding vocals it's become a bit more 'pop', but noise-pop rather than twee-pop.

Kowalskiy: You are about to release new single Knitted with a fair whack of the proceeds going to a great cause. Would you mind telling us more about the single?
Julian: Yes! It's a song I've been playing live for a while, mainly because I get to pull some New Order style guitar shapes. I wrote most of the instrumental sometime last year, then started singing the vocal melody to myself over breakfast one morning. That's how things tend to be written these days. It'll be released on CD and download, with these great knitted covers made by the ladies from Maggie's Cancer Care. So we're donating the proceeds to them, as well as to Cancer Research.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from you in the future?
Julian: I'm working on a new album that will be out at the beginning of the year. I say 'working' but I haven't written any of it yet. There are various ideas building and increasing pressure in my head, so when I'm ready I'll record them. I'm finishing up a few remixes for people - She's Hit, Zoey Van Goey, and Futuristic Retro Champions. I'm also playing quite a few shows in the next couple of months, including a small tour to support the Knitted single, and the Rock Chic charity bash in SWG3, which looks like it's going to be amazing, and for a great charity too.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, what ghastly (and presumably itchy) knitwear were you forced to wear as a child?
Julian: Actually I had some awesome knitwear as a kid. My favourite was a jumper with dinosaurs on it. I tried it on again recently and was kind of annoyed it didn't fit.

Shame! That would've been a great look for your live shows. Speaking of which...

Upcoming Gigs
31st Aug - Captain's Rest, Glasgow
2nd Sept - Club Fandango at The Monarch, London
6th Sept - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh

So folks, remember to get your knitted copy of Knitted next week. I'm not spinning you a yarn when I say it's a sublime slice of electronica, and it's for a thoroughly worthwhile cause.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Foxgang Presents: Festival Special

The wonderful Foxgang would like to invite you to their fantastic Festival Special this Tuesday at Bristo Hall (above The Forest Cafe) in Edinburgh for a great night of music, dancing and shenanigans! They've assembled a cracking line-up, with five of their favourite Scottish bands joining them on stage. The stellar cast for what is shaping up to be a pretty special night, is White Heath, French Wives, Sebastian Dangerfield, Fiction Faction (formerly Casino Brag), Washington Irving and, of course, your hosts, Foxgang.

It takes place on Tuesday 24th August from 9pm until 3am. "It's a festival-sized Rock N' Roll Dance Party and it's all FREE!". Facebook users can read more about it here.

Speaking of free things, to mark the occasion, Foxgang, Kowalskiy (but mainly Foxgang) and the other bands on the bill, have teamed up to bring you Kowalskiy's Foxgang Presents: Festival Special EP. Six cracking tracks, one from each of the bands, and like I said, it's 100% free! You can download it from here. Hope you enjoy!

1. White Heath - Election Day
2. French Wives - Deaf
3. Sebastian Dangerfield - Morris
4. Fiction Faction - Stop/Go
5. Washington Irving - Parts (demo)
6. Foxgang - We Can Be Twins (live)

Friday, 20 August 2010

...Come On Gang!

Time now for my second Introducing... post this week. Let's face it, I was always going to like Edinburgh's Come On Gang!. They share my fondness of exclamation, their songs are infectious wee buggers, and you just can't help but be impressed with their resumé - two critically acclaimed singles, "Wheels" (which you can hear on their MySpace) and "Start The Sound", have been backed up by starring at T in the Park, Rockness and SXSW, and supporting the likes of Mumford & Sons and White Lies.

If that's not all, new single "Fortune Favours The Brave" which will be released for free on 10th September is, quite possibly, the best single I've heard all year!

It too, like previous singles, ticks the infectious indie-pop box with its "doo doo doo, doo doo doo, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo" burying itself deep into your subconscious and creeping up on you when you least expect it to brighten up your day. The single will be the first from their upcoming debut album and if its anything to go by, the album will be a belter.

As I said, the single will be out on 10th September and will be launched that night at The Caves in Edinburgh with support from FOUND and Jesus H. Foxx. All details can be found on the Facebook events page., and details on the rest of their Scottish tour can be found below.

Upcoming Gigs
3rd Sept - Z1 Bar, Girvan
9th Sept - Snafu, Aberdeen
10th Sept - The Caves, Edinburgh
11th Sept - Duke's Corner, Dundee
14th Sept - Captain's Rest, Glasgow
17th Sept - Hootananny, Inverness
18th Sept - The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore
19th Sept - The Attic, Bathgate
25th Sept - Isle of Eigg

Thursday, 19 August 2010

The Ray Summers - BBC Campervan Session at TITP 2010

Thought I'd posted this a while ago! Anyway here's another of my Ten for 2010 at T in the Park.... The Ray Summers. They performed three tracks in the BBC Campervan, two we'd expect to hear on their upcoming debut, and one cheeky cover.

Download: The Ray Summers - BBC Campervan session at TITP 2010

1. Beautiful Nightmare (Beyonce cover)
2. Oh No
3. The Rush

The Ray Summers just released their great new single "Heshka Rashka" at the beginning of August and have a few gigs coming up...

Upcoming Gigs
4th Sept - The Attic, Bathgate
11th Sept - McQ's, Stirling
16th Sept - Oran Mor, Glasgow
25th Sept - Grangemouth Stadium, Falkirk*
22nd Oct - Dexters, Dundee

* gig for Cancer Research - Race For Life

Monday, 16 August 2010

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #2

It's the 16th (at least that's what this post will forever say) of the month, so it's time for another Kowalskiy's Free 5-track Scottish EP. Once again I've batted my eyelids at some of my favourite Scottish bands around to bring you 5 more rare and/or exclusive tracks. This month, on EP #2, we have these super-talented souls:

1. Beerjacket - "VCR" (a cover of The Xx's debut album track)

"The Xx album is darkly romantic and epic in its intimacy. VCR is a pretty succinct portrayal of this. I hope your readers enjoy the countrified Beerjacket version, recorded one night on 4-track" - Peter Kelly (Beerjacket)

2. The Fusiliers - "Out Here In The Rain (live)" (recorded live, on minidisc, at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh in February 2009)

"Out Here In The Rain is what happens when you ask a heavy metal drummer to put a disco beat to a heartfelt acoustic break up ballad" - Jonny Wilson (The Fusiliers)

3. Evil Hand - "Returned In Time" (exclusive demo from his upcoming EP)

"It's pretty heavily effects laden, once again, but I do enjoy the walls of fx surrounding the acoustic & vocals, which were the original parts of the song. It's the first track I've written for an EP I plan to release in a couple of months, and I'm spending more time perfecting this Evil Hand release than I have done in the past. There's 3 tracks finished now and a couple more in the works so hopefully it'll all work well together." - Derek Bates (Evil Hand)

4. The Little Kicks - "I Know It's Over (live)" (recorded live at The Mill before its revamp)

"It's the second track off of the Little Kicks album Boxing Clever and is basically a punchy upbeat melodic guitar led pop song which is usually a live favorite. It was originally a slower subdued song but then I re-wrote it with influences in mind like Jetpacks, Mystery Jets and early Strokes. It's about a guy I know who has things much better than he realizes but still complains all the time - I guess everyone knows someone like that - the message in the chorus is if things are bad they can only get better If you just keep on trying. It's a good example of the band making a song better as when I took it to the band it changed shape massively. I initially wanted to ditch the chorus completely thinking it was weak but they said it was good and between us we made it work. It's really fun to sing live and I like the album version a lot because it has double tracked tambourines and synths on it which were fun to record." - Steven Milne (The Little Kicks)

5. Washington Irving - "Parts (demo)" (demo recorded live on a pier! )

"I am afraid I'm at a bit of a loss about how to describe the track. It's a song Joe has written that we've been trying to make into a full band effort but keep ballsing it up so we just ended up doing a wee acoustic recording anyway. Joe plays it on a pier!" - Chris McGarry (Washington Irving)

Thanks to each and every one of them for giving up their time, and of course, their song. I can't thank you enough!

Anyway, for those who like the sound of it, the EP is now up for free download on my shiny bandcamp page along with last month's EP #1. Hope you enjoy it!

Time now to get cracking on EP #3. So far, it's looking pretty good and might just be the first one where I'm not rushing about last minute! Once again though, if you have a mouthwatering exclusive or rare track and fancy appearing on a future EP, then send me a wee email.

...Invisible Elephant!

I don't know much about Invisible Elephant to be honest. His MySpace doesn't reveal much other than his Blackpool links. Whether he's just jumping on the recent footballing bandwagon, who knows!?! I'm not usually one to feature non-Scottish bands either, but he has assured me that his family are all Scottish, hailing from Wick, he's on a Scottish records label label (Sonic Reverie) and he has once, "only once mind", drank some Buckfast. The rest is still shrouded in mystery. What is clear though from listening to his album "The Lights Go Out" is that he is one talented so-and-so!

The music comes across as easy-listening post-rock, at times like a stripped-back My Bloody Valentine. With each listen though, you come to realise there's a lot going on in his music. What we have is a perfectly balanced mix of styles that is tricky to pigeon-hole. Take "Wind-Up Bird" for example. The MBV comparisons can be thrown out the window here as the reverbing guitars and dreamlike hushed vocals of opening track "Communication (Part II)" and "Lost In The Woods" make way to eerie creaking, distant tribal chanting and the plasticky rap of a preschool drum kit! At first listen, sheer simplicity. Delve back into it, and its so much more. Either way you look at it, its a cracking listen, which pretty much goes for the rest of the album too!

<a href="">Wind-Up Bird by Invisible Elephant</a>

The album is up on Invisible Elephant's bandcamp page for FREE download, or available on CD from Sonic Reverie with two added bonus tracks. Well worth having a listen!

Friday, 13 August 2010

too many fireworks and the 2mfcast!

Next month sees the relaunch of the independent record label too many fireworks. The Glasgow-founded label has upped sticks and move to Warsaw along with founder Neil Milton (Beneath Us, the Waves). The relaunch will see the entire back catalogue (including Flying Matchstick Men, Laeto, Titus Gein, Errors, Findo Gask....) re-released as digital downloads. As well as that, we're also promised new releases in the form of The Kays Lavelle frontman Euan McMeeken's EP and music written by Neil for the We Sink Ships: Elements exhibition.

To mark the return, the label are giving away an 8-track sampler of what you can expect from them. It can be downloaded by signing up to their mailing list here. Here's a sampler of said sampler:

Elegy for Tramway - beneath us, the waves by toomanyfireworks

Also, as the photo and the post heading suggest, Neil has also started the 2mfcast on Radio Magnetic. The podcast, in his own words, "is a semi-regular stab at creating a decent music show playing the best in modern classical, ambient, electronic and post-rock music. It features DJ sets, interviews and other chat as well as the odd surprise thrown in". You can listen to 2mfcast #1 here for some background on the record label, and subscribe to the podcast over here on iTunes.

I'm off for a wee listen now!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Ten for 2010 Revisited... and K&A with Admiral Fallow

Time to have a look at how another of my Ten for 2010 have been getting on. This time, it's the turn of Brother Louis Collective Admiral Fallow. So far this year has been pretty amazing for the band with widespread acclaim for their stunning debut album "Boots Met My Face", a radio session for Vic Galloway, TV appearances and a trip to T in the Park. As well as all that, they joined King Creosote, The Pictish Trail and Kenny McCluskey of The Bluebells on stage at Oran Mor for what was quite easily the best gig I've been to in ages. It won't be topped for a while!

Brother Louis himself was kind enough to answer a few of my questions one drunken night. Here's what he had to say about the band, that name change and his happy life in Canada. Here goes...

Kowalskiy: How did the band meet?
Louis: Most of us met at university in Glasgow 5 years ago. Myself and Joe knew each other from years back when we met and formed a funk band for a day in Dundee. Said funk band also featured Robs from Luva Anna on guitar.

Kowalskiy: Before the release of your album you changed your name from Brother Louis Collective, how come?
Louis: When we put out our album in April this year the band had been around for a few years under the name Brother Louis Collective – a moniker we issued ourselves when booked for a fairly high profile gig at short notice. At that time we were wary of changing it as we were worried too many people had heard of it already. Having never been too keen on this name, when it came to putting out an album that would hopefully be a bit of a legacy in our lives we wanted to be happy with all aspects of it. So we changed our name to Admiral Fallow.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe your music (without using the word "bittersweet")?
Louis: Our music has always had an acoustic root. It’s always the bases of how we put songs together from their birth and so there will always be a so called ‘folk’ element to what we do. Even a song like "Bomb Through The Town" – the recorded version of which is anything but a folk song – was born from a very simple guitar line and melody. I suppose I like to describe the songs on this record as orchestral folk-pop.

Kowalskiy: You're starting to gather a lot of attention with your appearance on STV's The Hour Show and your Vic Galloway session (which fellow blogger Peenko called "possibly the best I have heard all year"), as well as numerous blogs singing your praises. Are you surprised at how things have taken off?
Louis: We’re pleasantly surprised that people are enjoying the record. Off the back of our Vic Galloway session and being asked to play the BBC Introducing stage at T in the Park, it led to some radio play which has, in turn, led to a whole new bunch of people hearing our music. This is a great thing. And after all, you bloggers are the people who are genuinely interested in music so it feels good when we have nice words written about the music we make. We’re very proud of the record. It was made on a fairly small budget (with the help of the arts council, Paul Savage at Chem. 19 and some talented friends who played on the record) and I’m glad that people are giving it a proper listen. We’re amazed when people get in touch from all sorts of weird corners of the world asking us to come and play in their town.

Kowalskiy: You recently released your stunning debut album "Boots Met My Face". Whats the story behind it?
Louis: ‘Boots Met My Face’ is a record of my upbringing in Edinburgh. Documenting the years from as early as 11 up to the present time, it’s about the great and the shitty things that happened to me and that no doubt happen to a lot of kids at that age. People think it’s a really bleak outlook but there are happy moments in there too. It’s about discovering the opposite sex and that you’re not immortal. There are also a lot of football references. Everyone can relate to that stuff.

Kowalskiy: I'm intrigued about the front cover too, whats that all about?
Louis: The cover and artwork feature the incredible photos of Luke Joyce. There are some beautiful inlay pictures of boats taken on mull which tie in nicely with the admiral theme. When I first saw the photo we used for the cover I called everyone straight away. It’s a total belter.

Kowalskiy: What would be your ideal gig?
Louis: Earlier this year we opened for King Creosote in Glasgow which was a personal treat for me. So maybe Elbow next, then Tom Waits. After that I could die happy. As for fictitious roadie’s – maybe some Swedish girl guitar techs? I don’t know. A gig at Buckfast Abbey would be fun.

Kowalskiy: That was a great gig! As one of my tips for this year, who would you like to see do well?
Louis: Bands that work hard and have great songs deserve to do well. Forget a set of braces and cravat or hanging out with the ‘right’ people. But then again, it’s all about what a band wants for themselves isn’t it. Not to hark on about him but I would say Kenny Anderson (King Creosote) is very successful - what him and Jonny (Pictish Trail) have achieved up in Anstruther with fence records is an incredible thing. But has Willy Wanker Big Wig down in Shoreditch ever heard of them? Probably not. As a wise Irishman once said, "you’ve got to love what you do".

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Admiral Fallow in the future?
Louis: We tour as of Wed 11th Aug in Scotland for a week or so with the beautiful Rachel Sermanni and into England in September with some shows with The Felice Brothers. all listings on our MySpace (and below).

Kowalskiy: Any interesting facts about the band or a bandmember you'd like to 'exclusively' share with me?
Louis: Clarinet player Kevin has only 9 toes and is a quarter Portuguese. no one knows where he was born. Drummer Philip was on the cusp of becoming a semi-professional badminton player before he opted for a career in music. He still plays to this day. Bass player Joe once stage dived into a crowd after performing with a metal band called Abortion Of Chips. Nobody caught him. Geordie chanteuse Sarah has a secret lady crush on sporty spice Mel C. She wept like a lost boy the day said Spice got married. Guitarist Tom speaks 7 different languages including Mandarin and English. He owns and rides a chopper bicycle even though he’s just turned 23. I had to get 52 staples in my head after a hand gliding accident at age 9. I’ll show you the scar one day if you don’t believe me. I now live in Winnipeg with my wife and 5 children.

Their album can be bought from Amazon MP3 and you can catch Admiral Fallow on their tour tonight in Gourock before they set off all over the country. Details below...

Upcoming Gigs
12th Aug - Continental Cafe, Gourock
13th Aug - Duke's Corner, Dundee
14th Aug - Hootananny, Inverness
16th Aug - Haarfest (with Adem and Silver Columns), Anstruther
17th Aug - Paisley Town Hall (with Paolo Nutini), Paisley
9th Sept - Oran Mor, Glasgow
11th Sept - TJ's Woodhouse, Leeds
13th Sept - Thekla, Bristol
15th Sept - The Lexington, London

Thursday, 5 August 2010

K&A with Campfires In Winter

Those three bearded fellas above are Glasgow 3-piece Campfires In Winter. Regular readers of the Peenko blog may recognise them as one third of the first Peenko vs. Aye Tunes line-up, and also Boab (on the left), from his '62 Word Review'. At the end of July they released their brilliant debut EP "Cardboard Ships" for free before embarking on an intimate 'Flat Tour'.

For the lowdown on the band, what they have in store for the future, and their disturbing findings during their recent tour, read on...

Kowalskiy: Who are Campfires in Winter?
Campfires In Winter: We are Scott, Wullie and Boab. And for the next few months we'll also have Denny from Macabre Scene with us too filling in on drums until we get someone permanent.

Kowalskiy: How did the band get together, and what's the story behind the name?
Campfires In Winter: We came about as the result of a failed experiment by a 3rd year Standard Grade chemistry class in St Maurice's High, Cumbernauld. One young Dexter tried to perform a litmus paper test and BAM! We appeared instead. It's a common occurence if the pH of a solution is perfectly neutral.

We actually used to have another name but it was crap and a bit juvenile. You could tell it was a couple of 15 year olds that had come with it 'cos it sounded 'cool'. Anyway, it was getting to the point where every time we told someone about us they went ''aww, so you're a metal/emo/screamo band then?''. So we changed it. There were a number of ideas but I really like the image that Campfires In Winter conjures in my head. The rest of the guys liked it too so it stuck.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe 'your sound'?
Campfires In Winter: Oooh a tough one. Some noisy bits, some quiet bits, wee twinkly bits on the piano but a strong sense of melody always takes precedence. We always get Twilight Sad comparisons but I think that's mainly because of the similar accent (understandable, seeing they come from about a mile down the road from us) and loud, expansive guitars, which we were doing before any of us had even heard of them.

Kowalskiy: Who/what/where are your main influences?
Wullie: Main influences for me would be bands like Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions In The Sky, Frightened Rabbit, Arab Strap, Remember Remember and just general experiences that happen to me in every day life.
Scott: I've grown up listening to a lot of Coldplay but Sigur Ros are probably the main influence for me.
Boab: Probably Mogwai, GY!BE, Frightened Rabbit, Idlewild, Broken Social Scene, Daniel Johnston and Radiohead for me.

Kowalskiy: You recently released your debut Cardboard Ships EP for free over on bandcamp. What's the story behind the EP?
Campfires In Winter: We started recording the songs without any real purpose, just for stuff to put on the MySpace etc really. After a while we thought it would be nice to put out an EP rather than just have some songs recorded for no real purpose. We decided to do a limited edition handmade release to go with it (available from

<a href="">Cardboard Ships by campfires in winter</a>

Kowalskiy: To plug it further, you embarked on a "Flat Tour". What was the thinking behind that? and mentioning no names (unless you want to) what was the strangest/most disturbing thing you saw?
Campfires In Winter: Sean McCann ( suggested one night that we should do a tour of people's flats/houses and we loved the idea. So we asked a few pals if they were up for having us round, they said aye and that was that. I think the strangest/most disturbing thing we saw were the large number of books on Satanism in Sean's. Oh, wait!! There were also those pictures of Lloyd Peenko from way back in the day. Those photos were by far the most disturbing things we saw. We now have a photo of a younger Lloyd that we can use as blackmail material...wonder if he'd let us send it to you...?

Kowalskiy: I'm sure he'd be fine with that! We all need some blackmail material..... So, what would be your ideal gig?
Wullie: I'd love to do a gig at Glencoe or at the foot of Ben Nevis but I also wouldn't mind a shot at the Barras with Mogwai, GY!BE, Explosions In The Sky, RM Hubbert, theapplesofenergy, faoilteach mor and Boards Of Canada, taking place over the course a few days with an art/photography/film exhibition running alongside.
Scott: My ideal gig would be in a massive underpass with hunners of echo and hunners of people. I can't think of anyone who's ever done that before so would love to show folk how it's done.
Boab: My ideal gig would be with Mogwai and Radiohead. The stage would be a bouncy castle and all the bands would have to bounce whilst playing or they wouldn't be paid. Thom Yorke would be dressed as a clown and would hand out balloon animals all day, then he would finish the day off by fighting with Stuart Braithewaite. They would only be allowed one weapon each, and that weapon would be a balloon sword.

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from Campfires in Winter in the future?
Campfires In Winter: A few more gigs this year where we'll be back doing our full-on, non-acoustic, eyebrow-singingly loud stuff. We had plans for a joint tour with Macabre Scene this year but it had to be shelved when our drummer left so hopefully we'll get that sorted for next year instead. And an album next year too hopefully. And loads more gigs.

Kowalskiy: Lastly, what's been the highlight of being in Campfires in Winter to date?
Wullie: My favourite part was the Flat Tour which gave us an idea of what it would be like to be playing every night on a full tour.
Scott: My highlight so far has been the last few months as a three-piece finishing the EP and doing the Flat Tour. It feels as though we've gelled more as a band and establishing ourselves a bit more. It feels weird going back to having four members but in a way seems like being a three-piece has made us better as a band.
Boab: Since the others have mentioned the Flat Tour, I'll go with my next top highlight which was playing the Podcart's 1st Birthday in February. Our old drummer badly let us down by leaving two days before the gig so we decided to make do without a bassist and Wullie would fill in on percussion by playing a dinner table whilst using a cardboard box as a kick drum. We had played using this setup once before a few years ago but this time we only had one rehearsal and I was bricking it in case we were shite. It ended up being one of the best gigs we've played. The place was rammed, the crowd were really responsive and got right into it, and we had a great laugh. Cracking night.

Speaking of Glasgow Podcart's 1st Birthday bash, you can download Campfires In Winter's set that night for free here, and once again, you can get your hands on a free download of their "Cardboard Ships" EP here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Peenko's Friday Freebies feat. Kowalskiy! July Roundup

Bit late this one! Here's a recap of my contribution for Peenko's Friday Freebies in July!

Week #1 - Glasgow's best kept secret The Martial Arts are giving their entire album "Your Sinclair" away for free. It fills the Weezer/Shins-shaped void in my life just now.

Week #2 - The wunderbar Robocop Kraus have a new album out and are giving away the track "Sometimes I Wonder If You'd Been A Dog In A Previous Life" absolutely free.

Week #3 - The first ever Kowalskiy Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP was released featuring exclusive/rare tracks from Curators, Cancel The Astronauts, Arran Arctic, Punch & the Apostles and The Martial Arts. Head on over to my bandcamp!

Week #4 - Get your free download of "Boy" from Ra Ra Riot's superb new album "The Orchard".

Week #5 - Fancy a free live track from California's Dios?

...Call Me Ishmael!

Six young guys from Glasgow. Loitering. Some wearing hoodies. You'd be forgiven for thinking they were up to no good. You would however, be wrong. Call Me Ishmael have been up to something very, very good indeed! I first came across them back in March when I tuned into their cracking Define Pop session. This week, their debut EP "Game Of Kings" is released, and its every bit as great.

Here's a bit more about the band and the EP...

Kowalskiy: Who are Call Me Ishmael?
Call Me Ishmael: Call Me Ishmael are a 6 piece Punk/Post Hardcore band from Glasgow. Ryan (vocals) and Aiden (guitar) had played a number of acoustic shows together under the title of `Toybox City` - deciding that they wanted to make their music/sound more expansive they sought out Ryans former school mates Marc (guitar) and Del (Bass) in order to start up the full band. After trying out several different drummers Rory gelled with us and played in a style that best suited the band dynamics. We then decided that to give the band some depth and further ambience we would require extra percussion and keys - Rorys brother Paddy was then drafted in and that is the line up of the band to date!

The name of the band was decided upon after some other terrible band names were thrown around, including 'Toybox City' :) On the way to the Leeds Festival Ryan was reading Moby Dick and suggested the opening line of 'Call me Ishmael' would be a good band name, and it has stuck from then on in.

Kowalskiy: What's the story behind your new EP "Game Of Kings"?
Call Me Ishmael: The E.P is 3 brand new songs (Blood and Ashes, We`re So Far From Daylight and Fire The Tank) and fan favourite I Am Stop, You Are Go - It was recorded with Neil Kennedy from the Ranch Production Studios in Southampton (he`s also recorded for Viva Sleep, Burn the Fleet and a host of other excellent bands) and is the first E.P we have recorded. The name Game Of Kings ties into your aspirations as a child when you would make believe you could be anything you wanted, so basically starting with everything and finishing with losing everything including your own beliefs and confidence in yourself, so yeah, death, doubt and youth are major themes of the e.p, happy bunch that we are! i.e. I Am Stop is a conflict in yourself, as in 'I am Stop' is your negative side, the one that lacks confidence and is always doubting and 'You are Go' is the positive side, the facade of always being upbeat so as not to disappoint....

The artwork of our E.P ties into that same idea, and as we`re all big into our comics/movies we played around with homages to film posters/imagery - the static background is our play on the Poltergeist poster, and the little kid with the cape plays into the superman/superhero theme, and the mask kinda references the slasher films that we all like, kind of representing the darker and angrier side of yourself - so we basically wanted all of the E.P to tie in as a whole in terms of imagery and music!

Kowalskiy: What can we expect from you guys in the future?
Call Me Ishmael: In the next few months we will be heading on a tour of Scotland (details below), finishing up with a headline slot at King Tuts for the Rock N Roll Damnation Festival - Glasgow's newest festival. As well as this we are currently in talks about supporting some bigger established acts. We are also aiming to release an acoustic E.P in the next few months as well as film our next video which will be done in one take and involve a risky stunt in Glasgow City Centre, so watch this space as it were!

The guys have been kind enough to offer up my favourite track "I Am Stop, You Are Go" for free download ahead of the digital release next week. Get it while you can!

mp3: Call Me Ishmael - I Am Stop, You Are Go
(limited-time only download: Expires 9th August)

The EP is out this week and physical copies are available from the band's MySpace. If you want a digital copy, it should be up on iTunes on 9th August.

Upcoming Gigs
6th Aug - The Monkey Club, Kilmarnock
7th Aug - Harleys, Bathgate
9th Aug - Cafe Drummonds, Aberdeen
12th Aug - Hunter Halls, Kircaldy
13th Aug - The Cape, Stirling
27th Aug - Rock N Roll Damnation @ King Tuts, Glasgow
9th Sept - Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
23rd Sept - Buff Club, Glasgow (Freshers Week)