Saturday, 16 April 2011

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #10

This month, as far as the EPs go, we're into double figures!  As a thank you to all those out there who've been downloading these 5-tracked beauties over the last year, for EP #10, I've given you the chance to get involved.  A few weeks ago, I asked you to design the front cover in exchange for, well, not very much in return.  Personal pride maybe.  There's been a few cracking entries but the winner is... drumroll please... Ed 'Bear' Sellek for that brilliant piece above!  Take a bow Mr. Sellek.  One face in particular swung the decision in his favour.  Anyway, congratulations Ed, and to everyone else out there, you should all pay Ed a visit over here.

On to the music now.  Here's the five acts on EP #10 and what they had to say about their track...

1. Bottle Of Evil - I Can See Your Face (an exclusive new track from the Kowalskiy favourites!)

"It's the first completed track since we released our debut last summer, and will be on a new EP we're looking to put out in a couple of months. It's possibly a bit darker than most of the debut, with plenty of distorted bass, reverbed/delayed guitars, distorted xylophone, melodica and ambient screams. It also has our mate Dave playing some drums on it, moving away slightly from the sampled approach we've used before. A Glasgow based film-maker Benjamin Cottin from superB productions has also put together a video for the track which is available as an additional delight on this Bandcamp EP download." - Derek Bates (Bottle Of Evil)

That video is neatly packaged inside your Bandcamp download of the EP.  And it isn't half bad!  It's really good actually.  Prepare to be taken on a shoegazey tour of Glasgow...

2. The Last of Barrett's Privateers - Harbour Wall (a cracking demo from Edinburgh's folky four-piece.)

"Harbour Wall is a sea shanty telling the story of a man who is sent to work at sea, separated from his love back on shore. Although the song itself is a metaphor, the instruments and, especially, the vocals are played to reflect the physical imagery within the lyrics." - Toby Cooke (TLOBP)

3. Jump: Press A - Only The Brave Deserve The Fair (an 'angry pop' track from their debut EP.)

"Only The Brave is probably our most immediately accessible song as it is so overtly poppy. It's also our only really political song, but we've kept a healthy dose of Jump: Press A rage in there. 'Angry Pop!'   It is the opening track of our bedroom recorded 3-track EP 'In Case of Emergency.' It can be downloaded for free in full at We'll also be putting this one on our studio album that we will be recording towards the end of the year.   If you like it, catch up with us on Twitter and Facebook to find out about shows near you. We spend an unhealthy amount of time online between the 6 of us, so be sure to say Hello!" - Kelagh (Jump: Press A)

4. Loch Awe - Lips (a brand-spanking new demo recorded earlier this week!)

"A quick demo recording of a new song 'Lips'. Well, we say new, it's actually been around since before most of the songs on our mini-album, but still. Enjoy." - Matthew Healy (Loch Awe)

5. Pooch - Putsch (an electro 'beast' from Team Pooch)

"The idea of 'Putsch' basically grew from one single bassline that I had in my head to an almighty beast of an electro/techno track. It lasts over 6 minutes so perhaps a radio edit is needed as it doesn’t properly kick in until somewhere over the 4 minute threshold, but for those who stay until the end and like it dirty and filthy will be in for a treat. We had always wanted to use putsch as a song title (because of the obvious) and think the song represents the word quite well – at the end at least anyway!" - Team Pooch

The EP is now up for free download over on my bandcamp page, along with EPs #1-9 and a couple of extras.  Go, go, go!

Right, my mini-break continues now!  I'll be back soon though and in plenty of time for EP #11 on the 16th of May.  In the meantime, get your cover art entries in again.  You've got a full month this time, so no excuses!  All you need to do is email me your masterpiece before noon on the 15th of May.  Only requirements are that it's square, at least 350px wide, and better than the usual half-arsed attempts I've come up with in the past.  And as always, if any bands out there who fancy making my life that wee bit easier and want to volunteer a track for one of these EPs, then send me a wee email too.

Friday, 15 April 2011

K&A with Panda Su... again!

Some people are just gluttons for punishment!  Barely 7 months after I last asked Panda Su some probing questions... here, she's back for more.  She's been a busy lady since then recording the gorgeous I Begin, the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed debut Sticks and Bricks.  Without much further ado, here's Su...

Kowalskiy:  Hi Su!  How's tricks?
Su:  Hello Kowalskiy. I’m very well, thank you.

Kowalskiy:  Since the last time we spoke, you've been pretty busy.  Fancy filling us in on what you've been up to?
Su:  I spent the winter in the studio recording the new EP.  It was very cold and snowy, but it was lots of fun.

Kowalskiy:  Your new EP, I Begin, is due for release on April 18th.  Is there a story behind it?  How does it compare to Sticks And Bricks?
Su:  Sticks and Bricks had a very simplistic approach. The four songs that featured were four of the first songs that I had ever written and I will always be proud of what was achieved, but I Begin represents a slight move in direction for me musically. As an artist, I always want to push myself creatively and the songs on I Begin allowed me to experiment with new sounds and different ways of doing things.

Kowalskiy:  Are there any launch night plans afoot, or plans to tour the EP?
Su:  We’ve just finished a ‘preview’ tour for the EP, but the official launch takes place in Dundee on April 21st.

Kowalskiy:  What exactly is it you know that begins with "H"?
Su:  If I told you, I would have to kill you.

Kowalskiy:  Now that just makes me more curious!  What's been your highlight of the past year?
Su:  The last few years have been really busy for me and it was nice to get back into the studio and spend some time writing and recording. I also got the chance to pick up some new instruments and have been trying to learn them in time for the tour. I’ve failed miserably, but it’s a work in progress.

Kowalskiy:  It's not a secret you're close pals with Steve Mason, someone else who knows a thing or two about releasing brilliant EPs.  Can we expect a third EP from Panda Su in the future?
Su:  Definitely. Then I might release them all as a compilation. Not sure I’d get away with calling it ‘The Three EPs’ though.

Kowalskiy:  Any plans to collaborate with Steve?  What would be your ideal collaboration?
Su:  Steve’s a very busy man but we got a chance to catch up briefly over Christmas and spoke about doing some more tracks together in the future.  Boys Outside was incredible and it’s great to see him on top form. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

Time now for a Kowalskiy first... guest questions from one of Su's biggest fans.  Here's Lovers Turn To Monsters, a.k.a., Kyle Wood.
Kyle:  As an artist, you've toured all over Europe and even stretched to gigs in America & Canada yet you only have two short EPs worth of songs.  Is that just the way the chips were played or do
 you feel that touring is infinitely more important to a band than writing and recording?
Su:  Hello Kyle. Good question.. I think writing is incredibly important but I’m very precious about the creative process and need to be in the right frame of mind. I’m also a terrible perfectionist and this means I usually start a song and then decide half way through that it isn’t good enough and throw it out. Touring is great and I really enjoy being on the road, but I’d like to spend some more time in the studio this year.

Kyle:  What do you look for in a guy?  Are you single?
Su:  Thanks for your question, Kyle. Stornoway was definitely one of our favourite places to visit on the tour. All that sea air is great for the skin!

Kowalskiy:  Oooh, how very cryptic Su.  Interpret that how you will folks!  So, is there anything else you'd like to share with us Su?
Su:  Today I learned how to blow up a balloon. It took me 23 years to learn, but worth every minute.

Talented lady!  A big thank you to Kyle for one of the most intelligent sounding questions ever in a K&A session.  As Su says, I Begin is out on Monday, though if you head over to Amazon MP3 you can get a download now.  In the meantime, you can have a wee listen here and if you're in Dundee next week then I'd strongly recommend popping along to the launch night on the 21st at Drouthy's.  There's something quite special about Su live!