Monday, 30 January 2012

Kowalskiy Singles Club #11

Hey folks, it's been a while, but the musical lovedoctor is back.  Back with another batch of recent singles that'll hopefully catch your eye, warm your cockles and maybe, if you're especially lucky, maybe even take you to Heaven and back.  So, let's not waste any more time.  Here's some new singles for the New Year.  Just remember though... No likey? No clicky the artwork to take you to the download page!

Blue Sky Archives - Cosplay The Hard Way
Cosplay The Hard Way by Blue Sky Archives
"Four Glasgow Bears and one Lady-Bear WLTM knights and knight-ettes in shining armour to download their free single, and do romance / dirty sex stuff. Loving, loyal and a big fan of Prince, looking for the same in someone special. Likes: GSOH, GBH, pina coladas, walks in (purple) rain and Primus. Dislikes: people who kick cats, pigeons and other small creatures. And anyone who plays Paul Stanley’s solo material in a public place." - Lauren Mayberry (Blue Sky Archives)
Ooh err missus Mayberry!  Well, if that kinda thing sounds right up your street, then you can get your hands on the latest single from these five Glasgow bears absolutely free... so long as you sign up to their mailing list.  But that's a very small price to pay for something which is pretty damn good!  Pina Coladas not included.

New Town Triptych - Never Again/Simple
Never Again/Simple by New Town Triptych
"Having been misunderstood and burned in the past I am a total contradiction. While I say Never Again, here I am writing a lonely hearts ad. If you are interested enough to see my face, you'll find it hiding behind my silent mouth unable to decide what to do...." - Scott Thomson (New Town Triptych)
This further hammers home their burgeoning reputation as one of the country's most exciting new bands.  Now a 5-piece, this is New Town Triptych's new double A-side funded by Creative Scotland.  If you ask me, there's definite touches of early Broken Records to the A+ side Never Again.  The single will be available to the first 200 downloaders for FREE.  Here's hoping I've not posted this too late!  

The Last September - This City
This City by The Last September
"Grizzly, well travelled character, with perhaps too much life experience seeks harmony and a renewed faith in humanity. Surely there’s sunshine and rainbows out there? Must share a love of a catchy chorus. Can’t we all just get along?" - Pete Deane (The Last September)
Yes, yes we can!  Now this one isn't out to buy until the beginning of March but teasing bastards as they are, The Last September have put it up on their SoundCloud to whet your appetite.  The eagle-eared amongst you might recognise it as a re-working of Tough Love from their As The Crow Flies album which hit the shelves... last September!

So Many Animal Calls - Traps
"Young, overly emotional boy seeks companions to help him dig a hole. It's definitely not for a body.  Ownership of a spade, a penchant for aggressive pop and willingness to accept 6/4 timing a must.  The hole is not for a body. Definitely not." - Sean McKenna (So Many Animal Calls)
Hmmm definitely sounds to me like it's for a body!  This is failpoppers So Many Animal Calls' debut single which is out on the 13th February via the rather lovely Overlook Records.     

My Tiny Robots - Zut Alors
Zut Alors by My Tiny Robots
"Four unconventionally handsome musicians, assorted shapes and sizes, seek the public face of their music. Ideal candidate will have the looks of Thierry Henry, the anger of Eric Cantona and the sexual prowess of Nicolas Sarkozy. Zur Alors, out now on iTunes and Bandcamp." - Gareth Anderson (My Tiny Robots)
Ooh la la!  This is one of my tips for 2012, My Tiny Robots' second appearance on the Singles Club, with this, their second in a set of three singles being released this winter.  Much like the first one (Guild of Defiants) this one is tres bien!

Smart - Smart E.P.
Smart E.P. by Smart
"Three young men seeking like-minded individuals to share a love of deep-pocket grooving and hook-laden pop. Must possess ears, a funky disposition and at least one suit which isn’t for court. Open to men and women of all ages. We just want someone to hold us…" - Graeme Macdonald (Smart)
Ah so nothing to do with Mark Speight and Kirsten Whatseherface... oh well. Still, this is a great debut from newcomers Smart.  They just want someone to hold them... is that too much to ask??

Friday, 27 January 2012

...The King Hats!

Photo taken by Ashley Baxter
For the latest Introducing... feature, we venture across the Firth of Clyde to the quiet, sleepy town of Dunoon... which has spawned a young band who are anything but that!  Now based in Glasgow, post-punk foursome The King Hats have just released their debut EP First Light completely off their own backs, and all that blood, sweat and tears have really paid off big-time.  As debuts go, it's difficult to fault.  Yeah it's a wee bit rough around the edges here and there, but that's exactly why I like it.  So sit up and take note all you aspiring, like-minded bands, First Light is how it should be done!

Now I've said my piece, here's the guys to tell you a wee bit more...

Kowalskiy:  Who are The King Hats?
The King Hats:  Just four guys that really enjoy making and performing music together.  We’re all originally from a wee town called Dunoon, so we all knew each other growing up.  We were always playing in different bands; I guess music’s just always been a massive thing in each of our lives (and it still is). So when putting this band together it just seemed to be the line-up that made sense.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
The King Hats:  I guess we originally had quite a big punk influence. We’ve always wanted to maintain that aggression and intensity. However, at the same time we’ve always wanted nice melodies, but nothing as whiny as emo (not dissing emo, but they whine a bit).  Our biggest influences were Blink 182, the first 2 Idlewild albums, Biffy, Radiohead, Deftones, and just partying. That’s really where we’re coming from.  Now we’ve developed that in to something bigger, more epic; maybe a bit slower, but still with that energetic, and aggressive, punkiness at heart. That’s allowed us to really focus on, and develop, the melody-side of things too.

Lyrically it’s all Alan. He’s a big, romantic, softie at heart; and most of the songs are at least semi-autobiographical.  And live? Well, we just love to go mental on stage; like four thrashing balls of hyperactivity. There is no better feeling.

Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
The King Hats:  So, we’ve just released our first EP. It’s called First Light. It’s our first release since we released Riot on Tut’s label. We’re quite proud of it; especially as we recorded it in out flat. Bert knows his way around Pro Tools, so we realised we could just do it all ourselves. It ended up being a bit of a hard slog; but that mentality of doing it ourselves has made us realise we should just do everything ourselves.


I guess what we’re most pleased about with the EP is finally having a set of songs on record that we feel does us a bit of justice. Our shows are always mental, and people always say some very nice things, but we never really had something other than Riot that we were proud to have out there for people to hear.  So all that’s out now; Bandcamp, BigCartel, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, you can get it at all these good places. However, only the physical CD has a couple bonus tracks.

Kowalskiy:  What else can we expect from The King Hats in the future?
The King Hats:  Gigs. Lots of gigs. It’s been far too long since we were gigging frequently, and we really miss it. Hopefully some nice festival slots too. Other than that, we’re building a studio at the moment, so we’ll potentially have another EP out later in the year. And since we’re releasing the stuff ourselves, there’s been talk of maybe starting a label, but we’ll see. So quite a lot hopefully. 2012 is looking to be a very exciting year.

Want my advice??  Get on over to their BigCartel page and get your hands on the CD, which as the band says, comes with two bonus tracks, Time In Japan and the cracking Brand New.  So yeah, off you go!

Monday, 23 January 2012

K&A with Chris Tenz

And so we come to the end of, what I shall forever affectionately dub, my 'Two-Post Tour Of Canada'.  As with the first post of my virtual tour, this time 'round, the artist in question, the incredibly-talented Chris Tenz (him what is above), also has strong Scottish ties.  At the tail-end of 2011, Chris released his brilliant album Frozen Arms through the Edinburgh label mini50 Records, and even popped over to launch it.  While he was here, he took time out to record this stunning wee gem.   

Anyway, a few words from me about Frozen Arms before I hand the floor over to Mr. Tenz...  It's good.  Very good actually!  The cold, dark connotations of the titles aside, it's difficult to escape the all-encompassing winteriness of this album, be it from the atmospheric soundscapes created by a delicate blend of guitars, piano and synths which give an unerring sense of isolation, or the icy distant lo-fi hisses and occasional tape crackles.  All of which add up to something incredibly impressive indeed.   There's no escaping that it's an unashamedly forlorn affair, full of "loss, regret and impending death" but throughout, you'll be hanging on Chris' every hushed vocal, you'll be taken in every time things drift off, more often than not in fact, into minutes of some of the most serene instrumentals you're likely to hear.  It's not quite tenz out of tenz mind you, but it's not too far off it!

Probably best I just get on with the interview now.  Take it away Chris...

Kowalskiy:  Who is Chris Tenz?
Chris:  I will admit, that is a difficult question to answer! A strange, coffee addicted man from Calgary, Canada, I suppose.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe your music?
Chris:  I have found that describing it is rather difficult. I tend to avoid trying lately, and rather allow people to hear it as they like. I love the idea of music that sort of soundtracks itself, songs with their own "score", if you will... so I have tried to accomplish that effect. Whether or not I have done so successfully, I am not entirely certain.

Kowalskiy:  Your debut album Frozen Arms came out at the end of 2011. There's a definite cold, dark, wintery theme going on if you ask me.  What can you tell us about it?
Chris:  Most of the songs were written and produced throughout the autumn/winter of 2010/2011. Winter inspires me very heavily, and all of the fictional "stories" of the album also take place in late autumn or through the winter. So a cold, winter mood was intentional, but I am sure it was partially influenced by when it was made.


Kowalskiy:  Correct me if I'm wrong, but you wrote, performed, produced and mastered the album all on your lonesome. BUT! If you had the chance to collaborate with anyone, dead or alive, who'd it be and why?
Chris:  Yes, the album was a solo effort indeed. It is an interesting time you should raise this question, actually, as I am (nervously) working on rounding up a few of my favorite artists to contribute to an album concept I'm slowly working at. As for narrowing this down to one person, however, that is difficult to do! I recently saw a Max Richter concert in Lisbon, Portugal. Like a babbling fool, when I bought an album from him, I told him it would be amazing to collaborate. I doubt that would ever be a reality, but he would certainly be up there on the list!

Kowalskiy:  You're signed up to Edinburgh's mini50 Records. You're all the way over in Canada, they're over here... so how'd it all come about?
Chris:  It's actually by large coincidence, as I recall. Fraser from Small Town Boredom and Caught in the Wake Forever somehow found an old net-label release of mine, and shared it with Euan (McMeeken from mini50). I think it was through that which he eventually discovered the former ambient duo that I was a part of, Language of Landscape. On his blog, he wrote some kind words about one of our releases, and we contacted him to thank him for writing about us. He proceeded to ask us to join mini50, and expressed an interest in my solo works. He's been immensely supportive since. I think I got those details right. Anyways, I was always quite drawn to Edinburgh, so it somehow felt right to release music out of the city.

Kowalskiy:  So, does that mean there are plans afoot to visit Scotland at any point soon?
Chris:  I just returned from a short visit back in October/November, actually. My plan is (fingers crossed!) to return for the duration winter, next year. To finally visit was quite amazing, as I always felt an unexplained connection with the area.


Kowalskiy:  What Scottish bands are making waves over in Canada? How 'bout you, any Scots on your iPod?
Chris:  As for bands that are making an impact over here, I can't really say. I don't tend to keep up with "current" things very well. I do know there's loads of talent there, so it would not surprise me to know that there's lots finding it's way to Canadian ears. As for myself, yes, definitely some Scots gracing my headphones frequently. Last Days has always been one of my favorite solo artists. He has operated out of Edinburgh over the past few years. Aforementioned Small Town Boredom has also been in my ears for many repeated listens. Euan from mini50 is a moany bastard, but he has made some absolutely stunning music over the years as well (K:  The Kays Lavelle, his solo stuff, and more recently, Graveyard Tapes). Also, since visiting, a few kind people there have put me on to some other lovely artists. I look forward to exploring the scene more extensively when I return. I think there is a lot to be discovered!

Kowalskiy:  What else can we expect from Chris Tenz in 2012?
Chris:  I committed myself to slowing down and patiently exploring ideas this year, as I want to avoid the temptation to rush anything creatively. I am working on a couple of projects, but I cannot say when they will be ready yet. Maybe this year, perhaps later. I suppose they are simply "sketches", at this point. Otherwise, my music will be appearing in a couple of feature films this year, as well as a couple of short films. Later last year, I produced an album for Nicolas Field, an absurdly good artist here in Calgary. I think that is to also make an appearance sometime in the next few months.

Kowalskiy:  Last one, any New Year resolutions?
Chris:  No "resolutions", exactly, but over the past few months I've committed myself to really stripping down any ideas I have of what creativity means to me personally. It is a bit difficult to explain, but I really want to produce sounds without any preconceptions or self-doubt/criticism to confuse the process. I don't know what the end result will be, and have no expectations for it, and somehow, in itself, I find that to be quite refreshing. I want it to all be as genuine and honest as possible. Whether or not it is any good. Whether or not it ever gets heard.

Cheers Chris!  You can get your copy of Frozen Arms over here.  Can't stress enough how great the album is.  Plus, 'tis a bargain!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #19

The eagle-eyed among you will no doubt have noticed I've not posted my tips for 2012 yet.  Well, I'm gonna level with you.  More and more lately, I'm finding less and less time to blog.  So this year, I figured I may as well kill two birds with the one stone and combine those tips with this years first EP. I thought long and hard about which five bands to pester for a track, and ended up going for the five bands responsible for my favourite singles of 2011.   Thankfully they all said yes!  One of them even allowed me to give away said favourite single for gratis in this month's EP!

So here they are, my five tips for all-round-musical greatness (in the order they appear on the EP)...

1.  My Tiny Robots - Other People Matter (Anyone who has heard last years' epic single Rock Bossa Nova Fourbeat Black will understand why these guys have been tipped.)

"This track is taken from the 'Rock Bossa Nova' EP that we released last year and recorded with the good people of Tape studios Edinburgh. The session's for the EP took place in a little cottage near Aviemore and some how ended up with six grown squeezed into a four man Hot Tub, I'll leave the rest to your imagination!!! Once enough time had past after this incident we went back up north and recorded the three tracks we are currently releasing as a series of singles, which can be purchased through our band camp or on iTunes, Spotify etc." - Gareth Anderson (My Tiny Robots)

2.  The Machine Room - Broken Love Game (demo) (First caught my attention with their single Girly and I'll happily go on record as saying these are one of the most exciting bands in the country at the moment!)

"I tired to meld some sugary shoegazy guitar sounds with a more disco rhythm, telling a tale of a broken love game." - John Bryden (The Machine Room)

3.  PET - Anchor (Now a three-piece, Singles Club favourites PET blew me away with their single Middle Child Syndrome.  There's just nothing else quite like it around these parts!  Here's a great demo Bj√∂rk cover.)

"Bjork is quite a woman. This PET cover of 'The Anchor Song' from her debut 'Debut', came out of a love of her playful, simple repeating melody. Stripped of all of the free time joining horns bits it seems to leave more of a Song - duly we called our demo Anchor." - PET



4.  Wolves Of Winter - The Art Of Temptation (My favourite single of 2011 was in fact, this very song.  New single The Thaw is out soon.   If it's even half as good as this, then I can't wait!)

I'm sure we'll hear from Wolves Of Winter in due time.  Until then though, let's just let their music do the talking for them...

5.  French Wives - Blue Boy (Orange Juice cover) (Last but by no means least, are this fantastic Glasgow bunch.  Numbers burnt itself firmly into my brain last year, as did this.  With any luck, 2012 will be their year.)

"Blue Boy is one of only 3 covers we've ever done as a band, the other 2 being Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses and You Give A Little Love from Bugsy Malone, so it's easily the most credible! We first worked on it to play live for "one night only" as part of a single launch at the Glasgow School of Art in order to pay homage somewhat to the musical legacy of its alumni. However, we quite liked the version in the end, and when asked to do a cover version for Vic Galloway's BBC Scotland show it was an easy choice." - Scott Macpherson (French Wives)

Here's hoping we hear a lot more from these five bands in 2012.  Each have singles, EPs and/or albums already in the pipeline, so there's plenty to look forward to!   Anyway, I hope you enjoy this months EP... and the 18 others over on my bandcamp page.  That's your lot 'til February 16th.  If you fancy appearing on a future EP, fire me over a wee email (kowalskiy2@gmail.com) and we'll go from there.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Exception To The Rule #5 - The Jon Cohen Experimental

The Jon Cohen Experimental's very own Jon Cohen!
It's been a while, but I've dusted off the ol' 'Exception' tag to bring you another artist from far afield, one of Canada's finest solo artists no less...  The Jon Cohen Experimental.  And with imminent tour dates this side of The Atlantic, three in our very own central belt, what better time, eh?!  I can safely say, as interviews go on Kowalskiy, this is perhaps one of the most insightful ones.  Jon's clearly a guy with a lot of refreshing things to say about his music, and the artform in general.   So, here's his thoughts on his latest album Behold, his upcoming Scottish gigs, and his involvement with a little-known Canadian outfit called The Dears.  Nope, I've never heard of them either...

Before all that though, here's the title track from his album.  Behold...


Kowalskiy: Hey Jon, how's tricks? How'd you fancy telling the Kowalskiy readers who The Jon Cohen Experimental are? 
Jon:  The JCEX, is my band plain and simple. It takes on many forms. It was a three piece, it was a full band, it is a meeting amongst friends to make music, It is a solo project, one unifying theme is that I am in it though! Otherwise it would be The (insert name) Experimental. The band started out as a natural result of mass outflow of music coming out of my brain. When we started to awaken these songs into a live context everything changed. I realized that I had some skill at performance and also that the music gave me a stage to express my feelings, my thoughts and to maybe help people and entertain them in the process. in 2007 I recorded my first record (self titled) in an analog studio in Montreal called The Treatment Room which is where bands like Plants and Animals, Katie Moore and many others recorded their seminal records.) I loved the vibe, the analog stuff you know? The record didn't really go anywhere in terms of promotion or sales as it was my first go but with it, I had something tangible, some proof of my legitimacy as an artist. So I kept going, I realized it was too late to turn back. Two records, several tours later, here I am, still chugging away, but this time, I’ve dropped the band and am experimenting with being a one man band, which is so beautiful in many ways because it is really pushing my full potential as an artist, I feel like there are literally no limits to the kinds of sounds and songs I can write, I have become a victim of my own ambition in a way because I can no longer see myself doing much else than this for a living. Its simply too rewarding spiritually. Today, I'm embarking on the ultimate spiritual and musical adventure, this tour which is called The Passenger Tour, is throughout all of Europe and spans 2 full months on the road, all by bus, train and ferry, I want to see the land, I want to discover the people, the music, the cultures and scenes, the foods, architecture and myself in all of it, I want to bring this music on the other side of the pond. The Passenger Tour is the ultimate experiment for me.

Kowalskiy:  How'd you describe 'your sound'
Jon:  Sound is one thing, music is another. If you're asking about the sound, I'd say its polished, clear, concise and very well groomed. Much like the way I live my life. Order was everything in the making of this record. It was a process to learn to let go and let the chaos do its job. I'm still learning how to do that, I think its very important and there will be more of that in the future. I was influenced very much by the studio sound for these record, things like music production on records by Alan Parsons, Beach Boys, Elliot Smith, Brian Eno. As for music, I would describe it as a kind of unique but accessible pop sound, it has traces of so many of my influences (which come in the hundreds) that its impossible to pinpoint any defining characteristics, and I think that is its bigger strength, its biggest strength is in the songwriting, in the lyrical content that speaks to so much that troubles the young undisciplined minds of everyone, the monkey mind that swings recklessly from branch to branch. Then there's the production, the catchy melodies, the amazing guests that play on it and the fantastic musicianship as well as the energy it exudes. It’s a big record, a tall order, and lots to chew on. A musical buffet! I still listen to it every once in a while and think, wow, I didn't record this album… this album recorded me!


Kowalskiy:  That's deep Jon!  So, you're over in Glasgow and Edinburgh in a few weeks to tour your album Behold. Is there a story behind the album? 
Jon:  There’s always a story behind every album, the story of my experimental life, the life that I shape not according to what is expected. I never expected to make this album and have it see this kind of success. I saw it as an opportunity to wrap up the last few years of my life into a kind of personal musical document. There were many changes going on, there was lots of transition, and with that came an immense push to give up everything, to drop everything else, and to focus heat soul, money, energy and time into this record. You see "Behold" is my little secular sermon to the world, its my dent in life, its my musical osmosis to the world. It simply had to be made, and I had to make it well! Not half fast. So I decided to record it outside the city, with an amazing record producer named Dave Draves (Little Bullhorn Studios) he recorded bands like Julie Doiron, Kathleen Edwards, Snailhouse, Gentlemen Reg, Octoberman etc etc. Dave is like a hidden secret, a master producer who has incredible pop sensibilities. I quickly realized he was the one man who could turn my vision into reality. He had a keen understanding of how to sculpt music, how to crystallize sound, how to electrify frequencies. I quickly became more his friend than client and moved into his house for the recording, had many friends come by to record their bits (I have a whole cats of characters form the Montreal music scene on the record which I'm really proud to have had a part of this album).  Everyone became excited about the record and joined in to do their bit. It was a thing of beauty. Six months later I was holding the physical copy in my hand with a sigh of relief.  Behold was done, it was a long undertaking, almost a C-section to have this album made but I was happy to turn the page and looked forward to playing it live.

Kowalskiy:  What are you looking forward to most about those three Scottish gigs, and what can we expect from your live show? 
Jon:  I'm most looking forward to connecting with the audience, to share with them a slice of this experimental life, to entertain, to enlighten possibly and of course to have a great time. I look forward to playing in places where I feel the people are kin, where I feel a connection sometimes for reasons I can't even explain. That’s the whole point of this "Passenger Tour” throughout All of the UK, Europe and Scandinavia. I want to let the music be the driver and be the passenger, just watch the scenery go by and live my life. The gigs in Glasgow and Edinburgh are gonna be shows not to be missed!

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your ideal gig? 
Jon:  My ideal gig would involve playing an outdoor show overlooking a beautiful manifestation of Nature, like a lake, a mountain, beautiful ocean, any manifestation of Nature, my greatest influence and most devoted fan. I would be truly myself onstage and feel the electrifying force of connectiveness with my audience.

Kowalskiy:  The album itself has many impressive musical guests, none more impressive than your former bandmate, The Dears' Murray Lightburn. How'd you set about choosing who to guest on the album? 
Jon:  I basically decided to call on any and every musician whose music I loved and who was writhing my realm of contacts, and simply asked. This record was all about pushing boundaries and by approaching many of the people whom I looked up to and whose careers I admired I did just that. It was a lesson in reaching out; there is something beautiful about being in need of musical companionship, but not for selfish reasons. I think most of the guests on this record saw that and got involved precisely because of that kind of detachment from selfishness. It felt more like revisiting the past ten years of my musical life, dusting off the past, reconnecting and creating something new and fresh.

Kowalskiy:  If you had the choice, which artist, living or dead, would you love to collaborate with?  
Jon:  Lately I’ve been heavily in to Glenn Gould, he's a famous classical pianist, he was also a very eccentric and unique man, the true definition of pure genius, He is the only artist who did experiments with tape splicing, studio trickery, and effects on his classical music. He was a real pusher of boundaries, a master on the piano and he used the studio as an instrument which is rarely heard of in classical music whereas in pop and rock its almost become a given.

Kowalskiy:  OK, back to The Dears. It's no secret they're one of my favorite bands. You were in the band in the early days when they Released their debut, and one of my favorites albums End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story. If it's not too nosy, how come you left the band as they were making their breakthrough? 
Jon:  Over my musical career I’ve played with many, many, many, other musicians, The Dears were just one of many. I understand many people fixate on it, due to their well deserved success but in doing so they miss a larger picture in the artist upbringing. Its like they are only reading one page off of their favorite book, what’s the point? In the same way, I see that band, as well as the Social Register, and all the other artists Ive worked with as just another notch on a belt, no bigger or more special than any of the others. I only leave a project when I've felt I've accomplished what I needed to and move on once my role has been well-played. That was the case with all the other projects I've been a part of as well as all future projects still to come. There are never any hard feelings with me, doors don't get shut, they revolve, bridges don't get burned, they're fireproof. You'd know that right away if you met me!

Kowalskiy:  Last one, what Scottish bands are the good folk of Canada listening to at the moment? 
Jon:  I can't speak for others of course.  Well as you must know there is Teenage Fanclub which has always been not so much an influence as much as a beacon of pop purity, something to strive for. I was a fan of The Jesus and Mary Chain when I was younger. I had Sound Of Speed on tape and I think I literally listened to it so much I wore the tape out, I "de-magnetized" the particles out of wear and tear. I litteraly sucked out the music from that cassette. Lets see ...who else, Glasvegas are great too. I'm most looking forward to seeing what the indie bands and local artists are up to in Glasgow and Edinburgh, so looking forward to these shows, we are gonna rock with the Lovely Scots!

Sook!  Well, you can listen to more of Behold over to SoundCloud, and if you like what you hear, then head over here to get your hands on it.  And if you fancy catching him live whilst he's over in Scotland, then his tour dates are below.  For the full list of European gigs, head over to his website.

Upcoming Gigs
Monday 23rd Jan - Pivo Pivo, Glasgow
Tuesday 31st Jan - Bloc, Glasgow
Wednesday 1st Feb - The Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

Friday, 6 January 2012

...Cameo Colours!

Kicking off the New Year on Kowalskiy is Edinburgh's Cameo Colours. At the tail-end of last year these four guys released their eponymous debut EP.  So, perhaps I'm a wee bit late hopping on the bandwagon, but I finally got around to asking guitarist Daniel Crichton a few questions.  Here's what he had to say about the band, their EP and what they have in store for you all in 2012.

Kowalskiy:  Who are Cameo Colours?
Daniel:  Cameo Colours are an Edinburgh based four-piece band made up of two brothers and a guitarist from Aberdeen and a guy from Canada who plays bass.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
Daniel:  We’re a fairly new band so I don’t think we’ve quite found our ‘sound’ yet and we’re not really looking to hold ourselves down to one particular style or genre at the moment. However, I would say that although we all have varying musical tastes and influences the one thing that we all have in common is a huge passion for guitar-based music. This is where we get the majority of our influence from, whether it be alternative rock, indie, math rock or whatever. Lyrically the songs tend to be an outlet for frustration at personal issues within our day-to-day lives and dissatisfaction in the political systems and our consumer culture.

Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Daniel:  We just released our self-titled debut EP at the end of last year and it is available to download from our Bandcamp page on a pay-what-you-like scheme (basically, just download it for free!). Also, the next gig that we have coming up is supporting Tubelord and Olympians at the Tunnels in Aberdeen on 23rd January. Both of those bands are definitely worth checking out.


Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from Cameo Colours in 2012?
Daniel:  I have to admit that we don’t have anything too ambitious planned as we don’t tend to plan too far in to the future. We can be quite an impulsive band, which can be a good thing, though; it will most likely lead to our inevitable downfall. Basically we want to get back in the studio as soon as possible because we have a bunch of new songs that we’ve been working on. So a new EP is on the cards for some point this year. We’d quite like to get some acoustic recordings done as well. Apart from that, we just wanna gig as much as possible.

So, if you liked the sound of Real Lies above, you can download the EP for FREE over here.  You have express permission from Daniel himself!  Though, I'm sure they wouldn't say no to a few quid if you were offering.  And, if you're the sort to do so, you can signal your intent to attend their Tunnels gig over on Facebook.

Monday, 2 January 2012

2012 on Kowalskiy!

First of all, HAPPY NEW YEAR to anyone out there reading this.  Hope it's a good 'un for you!  Now that Old Grandfather Time has counted down to the end of 2011 and welcomed in the new one, I thought I'd kick off 2012 with a few things you can expect from Kowalskiy in the next twelve months. 

Given one of my last posts was my top albums of last year, it feels a bit weird to start 2012 with me listing three early contenders for this years accolade.  But all three are fairly amazing!  Besides, it wouldn't be right not to give you the heads up on a few of the albums that'll be hitting the shelves in the not-so-distant future.  One that's been burning itself into my subconscious for the last six months is Lo-fi Disgrace, the debut from Laurence & the Slab BoysWord has it that it'll finally see the light of day in 2012 with an outside chance of a "splendid and uplifting" follow-up too.


 
If Larry doesn't end up with a mention in my Top 5 of 2012 then this year is gonna be pretty f**king special!

What else.. well, did you download my last free EP of 2011?  If so, you'll have been treated to the opening track from Now Wakes The Sea's debut album Fluoxetine Morning.  I introduced Glasgow instrumentalists Redwings a while back.  NWTS is guitarist-gone-solo Alan McCormack.  There's a bunch of releases on his bandcamp already, but you can think of this lo-fi Middletonesque one as an unexpected late Christmas pressie. 

Last one is the triumphant return of... wait for it... Mull Historical Society.  When I interviewed Colin back in July he was signed up to PledgeMusic to help fund his follow-up to The Island.  It's now got over the 100% mark and all us lucky pledgers have received our download of City Awakenings.  It's vintage MHS and it is absolutely superb!  It'll be out soon, but I'm sure you can still pledge and get it right away.  Keep your eyes peeled for all three albums!

As for on Kowalskiy.  Cancel The Astronauts have passed the Takeover! baton on to one of my favourite artists on these fair shores.  So you can expect some madness to ensue in the not-so-distant-future.  As well as that, I'll be foregoing the usual 'XX Tips for 20XX'.  Instead, my 5 hotly-tipped bands for all-round-musical greatness in 2012 have all (thankfully) agreed to appear on January's free Kowalskiy EP.  So, until the 16th, you'll just need to be patient, though you do get a sneak preview of the cover art opposite!

Other than that, after a short two-post foray into the best that Canadian music has to offer, you can expect more of the same from me with one wee twist.  As an experiment of sorts, I've decided to keep track of where in Scotland each and every band I feature in 2012 is from in my Grand (Musical) Tour of Scotland.  That first one... that's me!

All the best for 2012 folks!