Thursday, 29 September 2011

Kowalskiy Singles Club #8

Boy, do I have a cracking bunch of 'singles' for you this time 'round!  If any of them sound your type, and you fancy finding out a wee bit more, then click on the artwork and get downloading.  Your new favourite track may be just a click away...

Tanera Heights - The Arrow's In Flight
Your Control by Tanera Heights
"3 naive earthlings seek a hearty human open to wild flings which inevitably result in totalitarian regimes. Must be willing to share a dellusional world where greco-roman wrestling between Jaunty pirate shanties and outdated emotional electrical storms is a common afrodisiac." - Colin Tarbat (Tanera Heights)
And who wouldn't be willing to share that delusion??  First up this time 'round is a track from Strathpeffer's finest's second EP The Arrow's In Flight.  The EP is out now.  Just click the artwork opposite... or here for FREE.

Miniature Dinosaurs - Alligator
Alligator by Miniature Dinosaurs
"It's not easy being green. Far from home, gorgeous Floridian seeks someone special to stop all this lying low and put some bite back into my life. Let's get together... and make it snappy." - Alban Dickson (Miniature Dinosaurs)
One of my favourite bands have come up trumps once again.  In fact, they're 'scaling' new heights with this track.  So, if you love puns (and who doesn't!) and cracking songs then you'll this!  Snap it up now.

Collar Up Short Term MemoriesShort Term Memories by Collar Up
"Self-proclaimed "Best Dancer in Edinburgh" seeks room full of urban loners for collective experience of ethereal happiness." - Stephen (Collar Up)
A great wee FREE track from Collar Up courtesy of Permwhale Records.  If you wanna share some... short term memories with them, then you can get a preview of the track by watching the video here!  I see very little evidence to back up this 'Best Dancer' label.  I'm dubious to say the least...

Run Lucky Free - The Factory
The Factory by Run Lucky Free
"“Poor little rich girl socialite seeking eccentric male with an eye for unconventional art. Must have a taste for toxic substances, exploitation, and a keen interest in cans of soup. A love of Velvet Underground, bananas and silver lined rooms is essential. Bob Dylan fans need not apply.”" - Rachael Cormack (Run Lucky Free)
Run Lucky Free's The Factory is out on the 3rd of October, the same day they kick off their Scottish tour up in Skye.  You can get all the details from here. Keep an eye on this lot!

Zoey Van Goey - You Told The Drunks I Knew Karate (GRNR Remix)
City Is Exploding (We Were Promised Jetpacks Remix) by Zoey Van Goey
"So-called Indie-pop foursome, all demons in the sack, seek partner(s) age 18-100, height 40-400cm for fiery romance and possible law-breaking. Must be into BSG, ST:TNG, and SW:IV-VI (if you're I-III then don't bother replying). LOVE, ZVG" - Zoey Van Goey
More of a SG man myself.  Anyway, I mentioned their limited-edition remix EP last week, but here's an extra plea from ZVG for all you indie-pop-loving midgets and giants out there.

This Silent Forest - The Fight
The Fight by This Silent Forest
"Very active 20 something(s) with multiple personality disorder. Seeks good listener(s), with open mind and a interests in beards, xbox, outdoor sports, quoting film lines and arguing about all things musical. Must be able to hold their own with witty banter and appreciate easily excitable personalities." - Graeme ' Squirrel' Macdonald (This Silent Forest)
Fresh from their 30 song, Song A Day Challenge, Squirrel and the rest of This Silent Forest have a new single out NOW!  Only those adept at bantering witterally need apply.  I'll rule myself out of that one shall I!?!

Laurence and the Slab Boys - Chinese Burns
"Tall-ish, leftist carnivore seeks likeminded person or persons for long drives, movies and possible self-flagellation. Must like dressing-up and be comfortable with others watching. Previous applicants need not apply. " - Larry Reid (Laurence and the Slab Boys)
Did you know:  'Wee Baz' from Miniature Dinosaurs was once the drummer in one of Larry Reid's bands??  Well now you do.  'Tis a small world!  Anyhoo, Larry has 'tidied' up Chinese Burns and made it available for free download.  That's just the kinda guy he is.  Find out more about him and his efforts to grow a beard over on his blog.

Franc Cinelli - Fortune Teller Song
Fortune Teller Song by Franc Cinelli
"Happy go lucky fortune telling troubadour, seeks smart fun curvy female to dance on top of a moving train...promises harmonica's, booze, and Goodtimes!!" - Franc Cinelli
Goodtimes indeed if you know what I mean!  If not, then I mean that this is a free album teaser from The Artist Formerly Known As Goodtimes Goodtimes.  It's a great track, as I've said before, so go get!  He may also tell your fortune on twitter if you so desire...

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

K&A with Sur Nilsson

I know what you're thinking, and yes, you're right.  Sur Nilsson is not the most Scottish-sounding of bands.  There's a good reason for that mind you... they're not!  But see that guy on the far left?  He is. If you remember back in March, I introduced you to Danny McGuire a.k.a. Two Zebras.  Well, that's him.  He's relocated to Holland and quickly found his feet in a cracking new band which he's quite rightly excited about.  And he's not the only one!  Here's Danny to tell you more...

Kowalskiy:  Who are Sur Nilsson?
Danny:  Sur Nilsson is a four piece indie rock band from Utrecht in Holland.

Kowalskiy:  Many may know you from your Two Zebras moniker. So how'd this new band come about?
Danny:  I'd spent the first half of 2010 in Toronto and the second back home in Glasgow. After a couple months I got pretty bored so I fucked off to Amsterdam with plans to focus on music. About three weeks into my move I met Neil, our singer and guitar player. After a bad breakup, he'd spent a few months driving around the US in an old chevy car and penned some songs on his travels. He wanted to put a band together to play them and enlisted two of his good friends Jan and Matthijs to work on the project. I thought it all sounded very rad and very Kerouac so we had one rehearsal and it felt really special and ever since then, all of our lives have become dedicated to this band.

Kowalskiy:  You're a Scotsman in a band in Holland... with a French/Swedish sounding name? Correct me if I'm wrong! So, what's the story behind the name?
Danny:  I'm definitely the wrong boy to ask about this because I can never remember the exact story. I know it's something to do with a Dutch Kids TV show, a big cat, and the fact that our singer is called Neil. Take from that what you will!

Kowalskiy:  How does the band's 'sound' compare with what we've come to expect from Two Zebras?
Danny:  It's definitely a lot bigger and more energetic. The boys are really exciting musicians and they surprise me every week in rehearsals with some of the cool stuff they come out with. You gotta listen!

Kowalskiy:  You recently let slip a few free tracks on your Bandcamp, Oh No (It's Done) and Lights. Can we expect any more anytime soon? What's the plans for a formal release?
Danny:  Yeah definitely, our debut EP is out at the end of October. We're doing an invitation only show in a couple weeks then a big party at Db’s in Utrecht on the 27th October to celebrate the launch. Our website is up next week at and we’re on twitter @surnilsson for all other news!

Kowalskiy:  Any plans for a wee jaunt over for a Scottish gig or two in the future?
Danny:  Yeah absolutely!! As well as Holland we’re hoping to hit Germany and Belgium this year and we're definitely going to tour in the UK early 2012, can't wait to bring it home.

Kowalskiy:  What would be your ideal gig?
Danny:  Hmmm a good question. Im gonna say right now, any club, any place, packed sweaty venue, plenty of babes and good geezers in the audience, and lots of partying afterwards. If I had to choose other bands on the bill I’d go for Broken Social Scene, An Horse, and Jay Z just to bring some extra swag.

Kowalskiy:  Always interested to know... what Scottish bands (if any) are currently kicking up something of a storm over in Utrecht?
Danny:  I can safely say that there are no Scottish bands in Utrecht!

Kowalskiy:  Hmmm, I was meaning, are there any Scottish bands, from Scotland, popular over in Holland!  Ah well, Sur Nilsson aside, are you able to dispel the myth that Dutch music is all trance and techno?
Danny:  Hardcore forever – how can you diss those banging beats? Nah seriously, bands like The Medics, John Coffey, and Houses are all pretty decent evidence that there's a really healthy indie scene here in Holland.

Kowalskiy:  Lastly, what does all this mean for Two Zebras??
Danny:  There'll be another record sometime - I have no idea what it will sound like but I know it'll be loud. For now, I'm really just focused on Sur Nilsson and excited to see where it takes us!

As am I! You can get your hands on a few free EP preview tracks over here. They should whet the appetite nicely until the EP is out at the end of next month.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Happy Particles - Under Sleeping Waves

In my experience, particles are miserable wee bastards.  They never do what you want, and there's never enough of them when you need them, something my thesis can attest to.  And now, if folk are to be believed, they've only gone and disproved Einstein.  What a belligerent bunch of subatomic f**ks they truly are!  So you can understand my scepticism when a Glasgow sextet claiming to be 'Happy Particles' got in touch with their debut album Under Sleeping Waves.   By the end of my first listen I'd been forced to rethink those particular views engrained in me in recent years.  And by the end of the many subsequent listens, I've been completely swept away by what is surely one of the, if not thee, most uplifting albums of the year.

So what does this album sound like!?  Well, there's shoegazey shades of Asobi Seksu and at times, the fuzziness of fellow Scots Penguins Kill Polar Bears can be heard coming through.  For the most part though, their sound is a stunning coming together of Death Cab For Cutie and Sigur Rós.   And Under Sleeping Waves does not pale in comparison.  Not a jot.  Take Slowness as a prime example.   What starts as a dreamy vocal and simple, repeated melody builds up into 2-and-a-half minutes of something quite spectacular, awash with delicate percussion and stunning strings in perfect, beautiful harmony.

As standout tracks go, pretty much every one fits the bill here, with Empty Circles (streaming below) showing glimpses of a more intense side to the band, and the warming atmosphere of Offline Contact fully justifying their 'ambient pop, contemporary classical' tag.   But as very few bands seem to do, they save the best for last with A.M. Sky (Bleary).  Sublime does not even cut it, and that's just the vocals.  You won't hear a better song this year!

Under Sleeping Waves is an album which will simultaneously break your heart and gently piece it back together again.  It's an album that appeals to both the music lover, and physics geek inside me.  But above all, it's a album which is just absolutely stunning!

The album is out on Christmas Day! Keep your eyes peeled here for updates.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Zoey Van Goey - Sexy Rave Eye Zooming EP

As EP covers go, this one's a wee bit on the weird side.  'Tis not every day you see a 4-headed indie-pop spider-like.. thing!  But then again, as EPs go, the latest from one of Scotland's finest bands is not your normal sort of release.  With two critically-acclaimed albums (The Cage Was Unlocked All Along and this years' Propeller Versus Wings) under their belt, Zoey Van Goey have decided to recruit some musical friends to remix a selection of their tracks for the fantastically-named Sexy Rave Eye Zooming EP.

Stamping their mark on ZVG's songs are We Were Promised Jetpacks, FOUND, Jonnie Common, GRNR (a.k.a. Gav of Findo Gask), K-Projekt, Gareth Griffiths, OnTheFly, and the electromaestro himself, Miaoux Miaoux.

There's a free download of WWPJ's remix of City Is Exploding up for grabs below!

Before you get too excited though, this limited-edition EP itself will only be available at Zoey Van Goey's special gig on October 1st at Stereo in Glasgow.  Though, the good news is, that the CD is free, and you'll also have Kid Canaveral on the bill that night, with ZVG's set being remixed live by GRNR.  Tickets are available to buy from here and if you're planning on 'Zoey-van-going' you can signal your intent on Facebook by clicking the poster opposite.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

K&A with This Silent Forest

You've gotta take your hat off to some folk.  Earlier this month, This Silent Forest completed their Song A Day Challenge, recording 30 new tracks in the process.  Now it's over to you!  The band have put all their videos from the last month up on their YouTube site for you to watch and pick your favourites for their new EP.  There's some great songs in there, so have a wee listen and let them know what you think! 

I spoke to Graeme 'Squirrel' Macdonald a few days after it all ended.  Here's what he had to say for himself...

Kowalskiy: Who are This Silent Forest?
Graeme: We are a collection of two main writers who change their set depending on the line up, going from classical to post rock and covering acoustic and folk in between.

Kowalskiy: Let's cut to the chase, you've just finished a 30 day, Song A Day Challenge. Fancy filling us in on the ins and outs of it?
Graeme: We were put to the challenger by a friend who runs a marketing agency called Boyd Digital with the guise of "heres a great promo tool" and "think of the crap you could create". At first the idea was to play a gig in front of every BBC building (which i might still do). Then we changed it to write 30 songs one a day for 30 days invited loads of collaborators and random locations. The songs and the locations worked, the collaborators did to an extent however I have discovered that Jamie and I write our best stuff on the cuff in little flashes, planning tracks doesn't work the same.

Kowalskiy: What's been the reaction so far? Any feel yet for which songs will feature on the EP?
Graeme: The reaction so far has been mixed, Glasgow hasn't really taken to it but the video views are all over the place, once again Indonesia seem to be watching and so do the states. I know people come up to me stating that they have watched a few but not many reposts on it. Oh well I have 30 odd songs, ha plus the one we wrote yesterday as though it was habit. Also the people who have messaged and chatted about the tracks have picked ones I thought were not my most accurate musically pieces, just shows.

Kowalskiy: I know it's like asking a parent which child is their favourite, but which of the 30 songs are your own personal favourites? We all know 'I love all my children the same' is a cop-out!
Graeme: My favourite "Fire At The End Of The Road" the song came to me in a dream where my sister was chatting to me and then burst into the chorus and its sat in my head until that day, I couldn't think of what to do with it. Also I love our WW1 song "Lovers Come Home"

Kowalskiy: Any funny stories from the 30 days? I seem to recall one video of you recording on the side of 'Scotland's Deadliest Road', the A9. Not many bands would put their lives on the line like that in the pursuit of great music.
Graeme: The song on the A9 was amazing, it was a perfect clear night. The police followed us for about 20 mins after that wee pitstop. I think the most fun I had was filming our wee Noir short film. Creeping about well lit places in Glasgow late at night, people thinking we were perverts. Also everyone outside the BBC building chatting to us during takes, I think I left one of them in.

Kowalskiy: Mind if I share with you my Top 5?? What's the chances of this being your EP tracklisting?
  1. Day #13. Scrub You Out
  2. Day #5. Untitled #2
  3. Day #22. Piano Untitled
  4. Day #8. Keep Your Tongue In Your Mouth
  5. Day #16. Untitled #4
Graeme: Wow! I think that's mad, I would never have though my piano ones would be in there. Keep your tongue in your mouth was writen on the spot. No idea what I was going to sing or what key it was in. I hit record and then played. Number 5 is a whole new beast now, much heavier and you can hear it on the 23rd at the single launch "Entrophy". Cant really say whats going to be in. We need to have a listen through after the single launch and decide what we can use.

Kowalskiy: What happens to the 20-odd tracks that don't get selected? Any plans to contribute ones to other good causes, say, one of a long-running series of monthly Scottish EPs of the free variety...
Graeme: You know that could be a great idea. We should probably record them all live and see what happens.

Kowalskiy: Watch this space them folks!  So, how did these songs come about? Were they mostly ones that you'd penned prior to the Song A Day Challenge, or ones that you made up on the spot?
Graeme: Well a few days before i started trying to write (not whole songs just ideas for tracks) I think i did about nine and used about three. Most of them were written that evening or day and some where forced out of me. Those forced tracks were not enjoyable at all, but I was happy with the result. Because of this writing method we couldnt collaborate as much as we wanted.

Kowalskiy: Were there any days that you were at a loss for what to record?
Graeme: Yeah tracks 21, 23 and 24.  I was exhausted and had no idea what to do. track 23 was finished at 4am and was started around 12:30 it was a long night and I couldn't focus or stay awake.

Kowalskiy: Last one... how do you feel now its done? Would you ever do it again??
Graeme: I'm so happy its over, it was getting sore to write. Also I missed out on sleep as I worked the equivalent of two full time jobs. Yeah we would do it again.

Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from This Silent Forest in the future?
Graeme: Well there is a few things happening, firstly our second single is being launched on Friday 23rd September in Nice & Sleazy, Glasgow doors 8pm.  Then we are doing a few solo shows around Scotland with Matt Norris and the Moon and James Mackenzie. Then October we will be doing the EP for song a day. We also are working on about 12 acoustic tracks and are currently recording them.  We are recording our third single.  Recording our live Album.  Finishing our Remix (Oh You Dancer EP).   And we were in a film called Diamonds in the Rough which we soundtracked and are acting in which will be release at the end of the year.  Hopefully we can play loads of shows too.

So not much then?!!  Once again, get yourselves over to This Silent Forest's YouTube site and have a listen, and if you're free this Friday in Glasgow, pop along to Nice 'N' Sleazy to grab a copy of their new single The Fight, and hear some of the new tracks live too.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Goodbye from your hosts, CTA

Ey up. It's the last CTA takeover thingimy, in which we have returned from tour back to Edinburgh and rubbish normal stuff like work and washing machines and having to feel guilty about eating four brambly apple pies in a day.
We wont keep you long -- Mr Kowalskiy is waiting in the wings (likely preparing to wield a large comedy walking stick at this point, to be honest) eager to come back and restore a bit of quality and sanity and real interviewees and whatnot to his blog -- but we thought it was important to take this last moment and have a proper moan about the weather in Edinburgh: it's stupidly cold! Also overcast! It's so bad I've quite literally had to put the heating on. What's that about? This is nothing at all like in London, where we were, on tour -- did we mention? -- where it was so warm folks were all drinking in the streets, getting all tanned and suchforth, at, like, midnight. And we thought it was our jobs, as mostly Scotsmen, do to all the drinking in the streets in London.
Also, we'll should say massive thank yous to loads of folks, not least Mr Kowalskiy for patiently letting us fill up his blog with our nonsense, but also to the fantastic, handsome bands who played our launch shows -- Over The Wall, Poor Things, My Tiny Robots, The Bad Books -- the promoters who agreed to put us on, the generous folks who gave us the use of their beds and sofas and floors and boozes, and everyone who came to our shows and made them such fun. Thanks yous!
Finally massive big thanks to mosaiclawns who recorded most of our set at The Wilminton Arms and uploaded it to the internets. Thanks! Here's it:

Thanks for watching and reading! We're off to finish our album now.

Lots of Love,

Cancel The Astronauts

CT&A with The Bad Books

Morning. We'll be gone soon. Just time though to tell you a bit about one of our favourite new bands, Edinburgh's The Bad Books, a band so new they've only played four gigs and they've only got a Facebook page. They were nice enough to play our single launch the other week. Matthew asked Bad Books' lead singer, Graeme Anderson, some 'hilarious' questions and some real ones.

Your band name is The Bad Books, but what's the worst film you've ever seen?

I am a bad film specialist! I have a knack of choosing dreadful films - Chopper
Chicks in Zombie Town and Spawn are two that spring to mind. The Cameo late
night double bills have a lot to answer for.

Who are The Bad Books and how did you form?

The Bad Books are Scott, Michael, Andrew and myself. I've known Scott for quite
a bit through him playing with The Kays and cutting my hair (plug - Muse
Hairdresser on Ferry Road!). Got to know Michael really well over the last year
and a bit though, our paths have crossed in that Edinburgh goldfish bowl a few
times though. Michael has known Andrew for some time and he got him involved.
They are all stars!

Who was better- Come On Gang! or The Kays Lavelle?

You git! That's a mean question. Come on Gang! rocks the socks off most bands and
The Kays did have a few lovely moments. I'd say Come On Gang! by a rock pose!

What sort of music do you make?

We have a fair amount of influences but I think we all come from a melodic
approach whether that be by a vocal line, guitar riff or synth hook. On top of
that we like to add our own touch of madness but I think most of all we want to
create music that we enjoy playing and people enjoy listening too! Get the fun
element back. I think some bands miss out on that just now.

The last song you play, Victory Lap, features the lyrical refrain "Don't You
Ever Change" repeated over and over again. Isn't that a bit similar to the line
"Don't Ever Change" in the song 'Change' by The Lightning Seeds? Do you worry
about plagiarism?

Ha ha! I mentioned on Sunday about our joint Lightning Seeds
fondness. Ian Broudie was a bit of a legend to me when I was younger but apart
from the use of three words I think we will escape his law suit.

Any plans to release a single or album or anything?

We would love to. We are hoping to get our heads down fairly soon and do some
rough Demos. I am going to try the home recording approach though am hoping to
pick your Chris's brain about a few approaches. We are thinking early December
and would love to see something surfacing early next year.

What's your favourite Cancel the Astronauts song and why?

Honestly I have loads, I am the President. . . . . . and Funny for a Girl are
always ones that I love to hear but I'd say Intervention is my favourite. Why? -
great melody, catchy chorus and you can dance your socks off to it. Fab stuff!!!

Any more gigs coming up?

Nothing booked but keen to get a couple more before the year is out. Trying to
fit gigs and recording together might be difficult though.

Anything else you'd like to tell us?

Not really, i think you've covered all the main things. Worst film? Which one of
our previous bands was better? and Which one of your songs is my favourite?
Surely that hits all the marks. ;)

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Not Quite Done

We've not been near a computer recently, which is probably a blessing to be honest.

We were in London, where they don't really have computers, and we played some gigs, which surely can't come as any surprise to you now.

Big thanks to the venerable fellows and chapesses at Death2Disco and Oddbox Records for giving us the opportunity to go down and play in front of such polite, clean and sizeable audiences.

In London we drank outside of pubs on the street A LOT and IN THE SUNSHINE which felt very continental. We also had a curry in Soho. Yum.

In Liverpool we met these folks:

They were pretty much the only people that bothered to come and see us.

CTA: big in Florence and Malmo, but not in Liverpool.

Tonight, in what the press have been quick to label the last night of our tour, is the last night of our tour. It's in Newcastle at the Tyne Bar. COME!

Tomorrow the tour is finished and I'll make Kieran do a final farewell post on Monday, so Kowalskiy knows we're done.

You know he sent us an email the other day which said something like, "Thanks for blogging on my blog! Are you finsihed yet?". We said, "NO."

So a big thanks to Kowalskiy for letting us borrow his internet for thr week: we are neeaarly finished with it.


CTA xxx

Friday, 16 September 2011

CT&A with Neil from CTA

In the first of what will become a regular feature here on our blog Kowalskiy, I ask Neil (the bassist from Cancel the Astronauts) some questions about being in Cancel the Astronauts.

CTA: Hello Neil.

Neil: Hello CTA.

CTA: Neil, what's it like being in Cancel the Astronauts.

Neil: It's like a dream that you never wake up from. A good dream though, like the ones when you get to be the boyfriend of the girl that you like but that in real life doesn't like you.

CTA: Uh-huh, and what's it like to work with Matt Riley, lead singer of Cancel the Astronauts.

Neil: No one really works with Matt Riley, lead singer of Cancel the Astronauts. Firstly, because it doesn't ever feel like work. It's a pleasure just to be associated with such a talented, and, frankly very handsome, man. Secondly, you don't work with him because work suggests some sort of effort on the part of the person that isn't Matt Riley, when in fact Matt Riley does all the work, such is the drive and ambition of the (frankly very handsome) man.

CTA: If you could describe him in three words then what would it be?

Neil: Three words isn't enough. It would take a Proustian number of words, as well as handy diagrams by Da Vinci and a nice cake by Delia Smith, to even get close to describing him. Still that would be but a shadow of the man himself.

CTA: Someone once said he was quite short. Is that true?

Neil: No. Not at all. No. He's average sized at the very least, and was once described by the police as '6ft'. Think of him as bigger than Jesus, if Jesus had been in The Beatles.

CTA: Has he ever performed any miracles?

Neil: I haven't seen him perform any miracles no, but I know people who have.

CTA: Thanks Neil, this has been very illuminating. Any last words?

Neil: Before I die?

CTA: No, before we finish the interview.

Neil: If I did die then Matt Riley could quite possibly bring me back to life.

CTA: Okay Neil, that's quite enough now thank you very much.

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #15

Don't ask... it just looked good! So once again, the cover art doesn't exactly match any of this months five brilliant tracks, which are once again, supplied by five of the country's best up-and-coming bands.  You know what to do by now, but if not, just click the cover art to get your free download.  Here's the five cracking bands on KEP#15... 

1.  Will Hanson - Hope On Top (A great track from Mr. Hanson's archives.)

"This is the closer from my previous album, and was recorded in my friend's bedroom in London. The lyrics are quite simple and are about the moment when boredom can turn into excitement. Production-wise it was all about making as much noise as possible with just voices and guitars...It started life as a kind of hymn with a droning atmosphere in the background, and ends up as an optimistic chant. It was really different to the rest of that record and really set the tone for alot of the tunes on Moving A Body..." - Will Hanson

2.  Adopted As Holograph - The Animal Man (An exclusive track from their upcoming, debut EP.)

"The Animal Man' is from the forthcoming debut EP by Glasgow based band, 'Adopted as Holograph' due for release later this year." - Dave Philp (Adopted As Holograph)

3.  Capitals - Hello World (I'll never tire of their cracking debut single!)

"Hello World was the first in a series of a few songs where we tried to do everything as naturally as possible. About 95% of this song was written, recorded and mixed in 24 hours. It was a bloody tiring 24 hours, but this process was the antithesis of the way we’d written earlier demos like Coastlines and Waking Life. I think this song is also responsible for the now staple routine we use when writing which is 'write, record, play, de-stress with FIFA'. Earlier in the year we also made a video for this song with our friend Ian Webster, a true gent who did a great job getting the feel of the song into film." - Keir MacCulloch (Capitals)

4.  Hold The Suspect - 1324 (another exclusive, this time from Hold The Suspect's latest EP.)

"1324 is the first track from our new EP 'what might happen'. 1324 is a song about struggling through a relationship but remembering that your friends have always got your back." - Hold The Suspect

5.  Trapped Mice - Dance While Winter Cries (This is just stunning!  It bodes very well for the album.)

"This is the first track to see the light of day from our forthcoming (we're still recording it) debut album. It's a love song (simple as that). It will probably be the happiest song on the album, and definitely the most depressing. I started with the first line and the rest followed from there, which is always a nice way of doing things." - Ian Tilling (Trapped Mice)

So there you go!  Let me know what you think of this months collection.  As always, it's FREE, so head on over to my bandcamp page now to get your download.  Have a wee look and listen to the other 14 while you're at it!

Next month there'll be more of the same, five great free tracks from Scotland's finest!  If any bands out there fancy making my life that wee bit easier by volunteering a track for one of these EPs, then send me a wee email too and see if it tickles my fancy.  Enjoy... and let the Cancel The Astronauts Takeover! continue.

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Hello. We are still Cancel The Astronauts, we've still taken over Kowalskiy in mostly non-violent revolution, and -- in between shouting silly things through megaphones from the Kowalskiy palace balcony -- we've still mostly been on tour. This is what being on tour looks like:

It's thursday. That means we're in London. This is what London looks like:

It's been ace, especially now Michael has stopped vomiting in the tour bus.

Last night we played our first ever show outside of Scotland, expected just about no one to turn up, and were surprised and delighted to find that the exact opposite of no one turned up: everyone! It was loud and sweaty and some of everyone danced and one of Cancel The Astronauts was wearing a sweet t-shirt to do with astronauts.

We've also been trying out some of the cool things bands are supposed to do on tour, like having and manning a merch stand. That's cool. It is hard though. Here is Matty's first attempt at writing a pound sign:

He is a rubbish brain. Here's our eventual merch stall:

Thrilling! Although T-shirts! We've now got t-shirts. Hurrah! Some people have asked for them. We'll probably sell them through some online means when we get back off tour.

Okay, that's enough of the hard sell. Back to the photos.

We played with The Saw Doctors on Troon on Saturday.

It was tremendous. I think we might have mentioned it before on theses pages, but there were 74,000 people there. Afterwards, our bass player Neil managed to forget to put his bass back in the van, and blithely drove off to Edinburgh without it. The next night was a bit like that bit in Superman 2 where Superman lost his powers, only Neil didn't know he'd lost his powers, and spent ages looking in the back of his van for his powers. By the end of the night he was just a man. Just a man. A powerless, bassless man.

Luckily one of the volunteers for Live@Troon, Katie, in an act of extraordinary kindness for which we are forever grateful, went several miles above and beyond the call of duty and brought through to our Glasgow gig. Thanks Katie!

Neil and his bass. Balance restored to the universe. Hurrah!

Okay, apparently it is breakfast time, and the rhythm section have scouted out a suitable breakfasting experience out in That London, so More Later! and that.

Here is one more picture, of Matthew, who insisted I posted it because he thinks he looks handsome in it:

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

The Cat With Its Head In The Clouds

It was a wet Wednesday morning in January, 19-, when Officer Harry Kowalskiy came across the cat with its head in the clouds. How it got there he didn't know, and if you ask him today, thirty years on, how that ragged ball of fluff had managed to climb 176 stories (that's well over 2000ft folks) through pounding rain and winds that reach up to 100mph, to the very peak of Hughes' Heights, he'll give you this answer: "Beat's me!"

"It was just another day. I was on foot patrol. I turned a corner, and there she was," recalls Harry. "Just standing there, as close to me as you are now, but still I could barely see her because of the mist up there. She didn't seem scared or frightened but the little girl was covered in mud and dirt, and soaking wet. She was so thin! I picked her up and she was freezing cold. There was always a strong wind blowing that high up and in winter, with the wind chill factor and all, it never got above freezing."

Harry remembers putting the cat inside his thick woollen jacket (he had to wear two when he was outside of an insulated building or vehicle, as well as gore-tex gloves, a specially designed balaclava and goggles), turning up his collar against the fierce January gales, and hurrying back to the small block of crumbling buildings which acted as 'District' headquarters half a mile up in the New York sky.

"I got back inside," says Harry, "and rushed to show my partner Marge just what I'd found." Officer Margery Scott had been Harry's partner up there for five years - there was not a hint of romance between them Marge assured me with a shy smile (I had to ask!) - and never in their time working together had they seen an animal. Pets were forbidden and birds still keep away; some say because of toxic materials, but the state governor will never admit to it.

In fact, it was because of state law that Harry and Marge were up there in the first place. Every tourist spot of "exceptional value to the nation" must be properly policed, and due to its sheer size (you could fit a football pitch on the roof and its designers did- along with a theme park, a hotel and a mall complex!) it was necessary to station a permanent police presence. Accommodation was built for the live-in policemen and women of 'District 13', and most rarely left their sky-top homes. They soon became tourist attractions themselves.

Hughes' Heights was the frenzied dream of Texan billionaire Howard Hughes; aviator, film director, playboy and famed eccentric. Constructed in 19- from 150,000 tons of steel, there were as many as 5000 men working on it at any one time. 25 workers died in the ten years it took to complete. Financial troubles, bad press, and some say the eccentricity of Hughes (he refused to install elevators, insisting people walk the 3,465 steps from street level to roof) doomed his tower to failure, and it remained largely empty.

Bought by NASA in 19- it was to be used as launchpad for a new generation of future shuttles, but cutbacks derailed the project, and somehow the men and women who served before Harry and Marge were forgotten about. Rumours abound that the roof of Hughes Heights' is now a garbage site for nuclear waste, but this is vehemently denied by the state government, and Harry will not be drawn on the matter. "We're not supposed to talk about that," says Harry, "But tell me this: if there was toxic waste up there, then why would Rube have climbed all that way?"

Rube, of course, is none other than our intrepid explorer and indefatigable cat. After she turned up on that cold January morning, Harry quit the force and moved back down to earth where he got a job as a nightwatchman. He took Rube (newly christened) with him. Every evening he would walk to work at New York Harbour near the mouth of the Hudson River with Rube by his side. "She followed me everywhere, from the day I found her. No matter where I went she was always there. I never married; I suppose I just never found the right person. Rube kept me company I suppose." It almost sounds like she climbed all that way just to find you I say to him. "Beat's me." says Harry, with a shake of his head. "Beat's me."

A Story

"My yoga instructor put me in a difficult position last night," said the man to his friend.

"Crouching Rhino?" replied his friend.

"No. She invited me out for a coffee," said the man.

"Really?!? A coffee?" said his friend, somewhat surprised.

"I know, I was somewhat surprised," said the man, "I didn't think yoga instructors drank coffee."

"Well it's a stimulant isn't it."

"And a depressant."

"Does she seem depressed?" asked the friend of his man.

"Are you saying that's the only reason she'd ask me out for a coffee? Because she's depressed? Frankly, I'm offended."

"Sorry Frank," said his friend, "I didn't mean that at all." He coughed, though he wasn't ill, and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "I actually think you're a very attractive man."

There was a long pause.

"You do?" said the man. "What is it about me that you find attractive?"

"Well," said his friend, "You've got good bone structure for a start. And nice eyes. But it's more than that. You're a good listener. You're kind. You make me feel, er, special."

There was a long pause.

The man coughed, though he wasn''t ill, and said, "Do you want to go for a walk."

"Yes. That'd be lovely."

Sunday, 11 September 2011

It's Something About Cancel the Astronauts Again...

... And it probably will be for quite a long time.


This might end up getting enormously boring for you.

We'll do something different soon we promise.

A story based around a weak pun perhaps.

Or a picture diary with hilarious captions.


Today you get to read about what we did yesterday.

We played Live at Troon with The Saw Doctors. It was tremendous!

The volunteer staff treated us like royalty, or at the very least like a much more successful band. We had a dressing room with sandwiches and juice and water and crisps and beer and chocolate and red wine and white wine and a lovely flower! AND we had to sign lots of t-shirts and lots of flyers and lots of posters and lots of CDs! It's possible that we actually were mistaken for a more successful band. Maybe they all thought we were The Saw Doctors. Ah well... Huge thanks to Alan Frew for asking us to play and to all the helpers who made us feel like a proper band.

We played to more than 600 people, all of whom clapped and cheered, and none of whom booed or heckled. Thanks Troon!

If you can't imagine what it was like, here's a photo:

That's us on the stage there! If you look very closely you can see Michael looking queasy.

Speaking of feeling sick, we're playing our single launch in Edinburgh tonight at Electric Circus, in what is fast being referred to as the third gig of our tour.

Support comes from My Tiny Robots and Bad Books and looking forward to it we are indeed.

Speak to you tomorrow; happy Sunday.

lots of love,


Saturday, 10 September 2011

Our Glasgow Single Launch


Ooh! It seems a bit rude to be writing stuffs on someone else's internet blog.

It's sort of like reading your girlfriend's diary (I have read your girlfriend's diary, and she isn't happy at all- put the toilet seat up when you're peeing please) or staring into a stranger's bathroom window when they're having a shower (I have stared through your bathroom window when you were having a shower- please clean the toilet).

Regardless, here I am to tell you about the first night of our tour.

We played at Captain's Rest with Over the Wall and Poor Things. It was fun! We sold some singles and made some money! This money will go straight into a petrol fund for our tour van, Apollo 7 (Vices), a picture of which I've included below:

What a lovely shade of yellow!

Actually, it's a bit pokey to be honest, and three of us have to sit on the roof, but at least we get a lot of fresh air. This fresh air was most welcome when Michael was sick on the way back from Glasgow. Eugh. Luckily we double bagged just in time, closed our eyes, thought of England, and before we knew it we were in Hurlford at Kieran's parents' house, where Michael had the pleasure of being sick in a real bathroom.

Hopefully he'll be able to play tonight because we've got a gig supporting The Saw Doctors in Troon in what can only be described as the second gig of our tour.

We'll let you know how it goes...

An interesting fact about Hurlford? Alright then.

Brangelina stayed in a big mansion there when Brad Pitt was over filming World War Z in Glasgow.

Here's an artists impression of what it might have looked like:

Sweet van guys!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Cancel The Astronauts Take Over

Hello there. It's all of the band Cancel The Astronauts here, and by Sheer Force of Emails and also Passwords and Prior Arrangement we've done gone taken over Kowalskiy for a bit. Hurray! It's all amicable, don't worry. Mr Kowalskiy is just having an entirely voluntary bit of a sit down this week. He deserves it.

I think there's plans afoot for other bands take over and 'be Kowalskiy' in the future; this is just the first example of it. Supposing it doesn't go horribly wrong on a technical level, internet-aflame stylee, here is what you can expect from us - the trailblazing Cancel The Astronauts! - while we are 'being Kowalskiy':

- expert semi-colon use
- some manner of tour diary
- other stuff

Who are you to resist? Okay, okay, maybe we've not quite nailed down every detail yet, but it'll still be ace. I imagine it'll be a bit like when those popstars you read about hug a 3am girl or a Bizarre man in the paper, and then 'take over' and fill two page spreads with amusing fluff about other popstars' hair or boyfriends or meatdresses or clinical depression or whatever, peppered with the occasial catty comment 'cos That's How Gossip Columns Work After All and at the end of the day they've got a single to shill.

In other news, we've got a single to shill. Hurrah! It's our first ever one, it's called Seven Vices, and you can listen and maybe even buy it through this portal here. Go on!

We promise not to mention it every seven minutes, but we'd just like to point out that it has been described as 'musical gold' by no less a judge than the currently reclining author of this very blog.

'Musical Gold'.

Ahem. Also Jim from Ayetunes said it was 'probably the best I've heard Cancel the Astronauts on record '. That's nice.

Okay. We've officially stopped talking about our single now. Sorry.

We're going on tour! I've mentioned that. We leave tommorow. It's very exciting. Today, a nice man delivered to us a tour van, which we should probably call Apollo 7 (Vices) or something. He drove all the way from Glasgow on his birthday to drop it off - which proves his niceness - and one of the non-driving 2/5ths of the band made a careful count of its wheels, admired the unexpected microwave, made a mental note of which gear it will agree to go up hills in, promptly forgot which gear it will agree go up hills in, and signed the contract making Apollo 7 (Vices) ours for the next ten days. Later, he even read that contract.

Killer anecdote, I know. I should have put 'killer anecdotes' in the stuff to expect from us section. Hang on.

- Killer anecdotes

Right. More on our tour, from a series of increasing exciting locations, in a series of no doubt increasingly frazzled dispatches, as the week goes on. Tomorrow, we're playing The Captain's Rest in Glasgow, with Over The Wall and Poor Things. Come along!

If you're interested, you can find a full list of our tour dates over on our own blog, which is pink and here.

More Tomorrow!

Monday, 5 September 2011


Now for something rather f**king good.  I've found myself listening to a lot to Glasgow's 'psychedelic instrumental quartet' Redwings recently.  If you like your music dark and atmospheric, grandiose, and above all, utterly captivating, then chances are they'll be right up your street.  They've got three, free tracks (that's 41 minutes worth!) from their gig at Nice 'N' Sleazy back in May up on their SoundCloud.  If you have a spare quarter of an hour, hit the big red button, and immerse yourself in something quite special indeed!

Here's Thom from the band to fill you in on some of the finer details...

Kowalskiy:  Who are Redwings?
Thom:  Redwings are:
  • Thomas Campbell - electric guitar
  • Alan McCormack - electric guitar
  • Jennifer Goldie - bass guitar
  • Andrew Truscott - drum kit
We formed in Glasgow at the beginning of 2010, and spent the majority of the year composing and rehearsing. We began gigging around the city at the beginning of 2011.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
Thom:  Our main influences are Sonic Youth and Ennio Morricone, which I think reflects a lot in our music. The idea with Redwings was to take compositions inspired by Ennio Morricone's more ephemeral, beautiful music, and place them into the context of a four-piece rock band like Sonic Youth. We also draw influence from the minimalism of Gavin Bryars, as well as the music of My Bloody Valentine.

Kowalskiy:  Plug away!!
Thom:  We will be playing live at The Liquid Ship on 9 October as part of a Brain Burner night. We're really looking forward to it; it's going to be a tremendous evening.

Until then, you can find us online at:

Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from Redwings in the future?
Thom:  We are going to endeavour to perform live as much as possible; we love playing live, and try to make every show as memorable as possible for those in attendance. Beyond that, we would like to record an album before the end of the year.

Friday, 2 September 2011

K&A with Prince Edward Island

Say hello to London-based Prince Edward Island.  Not content with releasing one of the years best singles in the recent You look like I need a drink, they followed it up last week with arguably, one of the best albums of the year too.   Hardly surprising though from a band billed as 'a happy Arab Strap'.  What's not to like about that!  Their debut album This day is a good enough day is chock full of upbeat quirky songs (and slightly weird song titles) offset by the dark Scottish humour of frontman Darren Bruce.  It really is a wee bit of an understatement to say this album is a very good album indeed!

I asked Darren a few probing questions.  So here's what he had to say about the band, the unusual circumstances surrounding their big break, and his marketing proposal for Bassetts.  You can take the boy out of Scotland...

Kowalskiy:  Hey folks! Who are Prince Edward Island?
Darren:  A Scot, obviously, and a lass from the debatable lands, and some other riff-raff from around the fringes.

Kowalskiy:  How did the band all get together?
Darren: wasn’t an advert in MNE or through a module at Brit School. The normal way, I guess, through work and social drinking. And then Phil bought some recording equipment and that was that. It’s still just a big excuse for a drink and a natter.

Kowalskiy:  You got your first break in quite unusual circumstances. Do explain!
Darren:  The short version is someone sent our song to Xfm who were running an unsigned band competition at the time. Basically the listeners voted for their favourite song to be played on the radio that week. What we didn’t know was they were running a simultaneous competition for unsigned bands to play at the O2 festival and somehow our CD got added to the bag. For reasons still unknown to us we won both. And we didn’t even bother to rig the voting. In fact we actively dissuaded all our friends from voting, primarily as the song we entered was the only song we had. Hardly enough for a 45 min showcase set. I can still remember the strange feeling of euphoria and panic when they announced the winners.

Kowalskiy:  You're debut album This day is a good enough day is out at the end of the month, and a very impressive album it is too! Is there a story behind it? How'd you describe it for those who haven't heard of you?
Darren:  Well, ta very much. There’s lots of stories behind it none of which I’m going to share with you. Primarily they illustrate our poorly spent and often unsuccessful lives to date. And it’s about sex.  More specifically, it’s a bunch of miserable buggers trying to make sense of their previous mistakes set against a 3 minute pop song melody. And did I mention it’s about failed sex.

Kowalskiy:  There's a lot of influences running through it. Who/what/where have had the biggest impact on your music?
Darren:  Any number of influences (Chemical Underground, punk, childhood, John Peel, Jenny from 3rd Year Chemistry who broke my heart...etc) but music-wise ‘a happy Arab Strap’ is usually the one that’s thrown at us most which frankly we’re more than happy to accept. There are some eclectic ones hidden away in there too that might not be immediately recognisable to the listening public. From a lawyer’s point of view that’s probably a good thing.

Kowalskiy:  With the Scottish connection in the band, are there any plans afoot to come north of the border and tour?
Darren:  Err..we have done. Where the hell were you?

Kowalskiy:  Kicking myself!  So, for anyone else whose missed out, what's a typical PEI gig like?
Darren:  Usually fun for us but I can’t speak for the audience. I imagine, if nothing else, we provide sufficient visual intrigue to keep people interested beyond the first beer. Then we’ve pretty much got them until they sober up.

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your ideal gig?  Any place, era, venue, support acts, celebrity roadies, entourage, backstage snacks etc etc.....anything you like really!
Darren:  Ah, now there’s a question. Okay, I’m going with –
  • Stornoway, Isle of Lewis
  • Late 70’s (punk, innit)
  • Sounds In The Grounds Festival (look it up...)
  • Aidan & Malcolm obviously
  • Emmanuelle Beart (look her up...)
  • and beer-flavoured Jelly Babies (made it up...)
There’s a definite marketing opportunity there though. Look, if ACDC can release a range of wines for chrissakes...’PEI Piss Babies’. Yep, I like it.  (You could be onto something quite unique!  This is the closest I could find.)

Kowalskiy:  Pardon the Scottish theme again, by are there any new Scottish bands on your iPods at the moment?
Darren:  Not necessarily new but current Scottish fodder includes Broken Records, My Latest Novel, the entire Delgados back catalogue etc, etc.  As for Phil, he doesn’t have an iPod. To be honest he has enough difficulty operating the van door and Faye just prefers to stalk bands. She finds it much more immediate.

Kowalskiy:  What else can we expect from PEI in the near/not-so-near future?
Darren:  The usual amount of laziness and general inability to focus our collective mind. We seem to take a painfully long time to achieve anything. I offer you exhibit A, this album. 5 bloody years. Then again, maybe that’s no bad thing - some things benefit from a bit of fermentation.

Kowalskiy:  Anything else you'd like to add?
Darren:  Nope, I don’t think so unless Bassett’s want to get in touch? Oh, and thanks for not asking where we got our name. Pets will sleep well tonight.

This Is A Good Enough Day is out now via Crocfingers Record.  You can have a listen to it on SoundCloud and get yourself a copy over here.  Here's one more to whet your appetite.


Kowalskiy Singles Club #7

Time to do my bit for all the lovely singles out there.  It's a pretty diverse mix this time 'round, so hopefully you'll find one that's perfect for you.  If any of their pleas 'strike a chord with you', then click on the cover art and get downloading...

The Son(s) - Slow & Easy
Slow & Easy by The Son(s)
"You are a brunette, 5'6", long legs, 25-30, intelligent, articulate and drop dead gorgeous. I, on the other hand, have eyes like Marty Feldman and an odour of foost. No returns and no refunds at box no. 1557 Man 52." - Karl Son(s)
First up is a welcome return for Mr. Son(s).  Still single I see?!?   It's a bit of a beefed-up re-release this one, complete with snazzy new video.  Check it out here. Oh, and yeah, the single is FREE and comes with two more tracks to download.  So snap it up, and have a wee swatch at the video while you're at it.

Scrap Brain - NaI
"Post-ironic female fronted noise-pop trio with a fondness for volume and distortion, and insatiable pan-sexuality seek victims for two and a half minutes of dirty, sweaty, sexual ecstasy and an analogue synth loop." - Myke Hall (Scrap Brain)
If you share their fondness for distortion and volume and don't mind an analogue synth loop or two, then Edinburgh's Scrap Brain should be right up your street.  Click on the covert art to get better acquainted.

Rollor - Jekyll IslandJekyll Island by Rollor
"Proto Industrial/no wave musicians seek to melt faces of bad-tempered, foul-mouthed and grossly overweight smokers/drinkers Must be toilet trained and have own teeth!!" - Matt Harris (Rollor)
Rollor are a wee bit of alright you know!  This belter is out on the 10th September, so you'll just need to be patient.  Until then though, there's three EPs over on their Bandcamp for FREE!  Sweeeeet!

John Wean - Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single)
Desperate Dan (She Told Me She Was Single) by John Wean
"Spunky young male seeks single female for good times and maybe more. Should be perennially unattached with a violent hatred for muscly men and Fiat Puntos. Full health check results would be considered an asset. Negative results preffered." - John Wean
Now, first thing to note, is that that is not the official cover art for this single.  It'll be updated in due course.  Until then, feast your eyes on the John Wean lads' comic strip for their new single.  You can have a proper look over here! The single is also out on the 10th, but you can have a wee preview courtesy of Mr. Gellatly here. 

Cancel The Astronauts - Seven Vices
Seven Vices by Cancel The Astronauts
"Wrinkled, balding singer with slight paunch seeks careful owner for midnight walks in the rain, illicit fondling and awkward conversation. Time wasters need not apply. Must reply by Sunday. (no pets please)." - Matt Riley (Cancel The Astronauts)
Matthew Riley... ooft!  If that's not got you hot under the collar, then wait 'til you hear the track.  As usual, Cancel The Astronauts have struck musical gold.  It's not out 'til the 12th, but you can pre-order the CD and get a download now! It comes with 2 brand, spanking new tracks too. They'll be launching the singe with gigs at The Captains Rest, Glasgow (9th) and Electric Circus, Edinburgh (11th).

Chris Devotion - A Modest Refusal/Tell The Girl
A Modest Refusal/Tell The Girl by Chris Devotion & The Expectations
"Freakishly tall yet devilishly handsome hipster seeks listener for a short term passionate affair, with one eye on the possibility of a long term relationship fraught with anxiety, self loathing, class warfare and catchy tunes. Must like loud guitars. Will also accept a quick knee trembler." - Chris Devotion
Mr. Armellodie may be on sabbatical in The Orient, but his label is still churning out some great music.  The latest offering comes courtesy of the modest Chris Devotion.  By his own reckoning, a feast for the eyes, and by mine, a feast for the ears too.  Now, where are you for that knee trembler...