Sunday, 29 April 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v8.0

Time for me to share what's been floating my Cloud of Sound over the last week. For my 8th notcast (just to recap, Kowalskiy doesn't do podcasts), I shan't be featuring a certain male-offspring(s)-named band for fear of this feature turning into a weekly forum revolving around how prolifically-amazing they are. Other than to say, they've done it again! We will start off, as always, with my Apology Of The Week.  Something I've been struggling with on the blog is, with my reviewing hiatus in full swing, how can I help plug releases if I've already interviewed the band?  It's something these notcasts were set up to help address if truth be told.  Rest assured, more new features are being developed as you read this.  Anyway, why's this relevant?  Well, Thula Borah fall into this category... and I've still not gotten back to them.  Sorry guys!  Their new release, Live Secretly, is out now as a name-your-price download here.   It's big on melody... in fact, it's big on everything.  Here goes...

Get that price named!  Right, from a band on their second release, to one who, if their SoundCloud is anything to go by, have two tracks.  Both I'm told, are self-recorded demos.  Both, are brilliant.  Lost Ghosts could be one to keep an eye or two on.     

Next up, is Collar Up. I first had the pleasure of featuring this delightful Edinburgh bunch when they poured their lonely hearts out back in September.   They're back with their follow-up called The Fear Of Love.  I don't know about 'fear' really.  Curious maybe.  I mean, it can make one man weep, and another man sing.  I guess that's just the power of love though.  Here's their song.

And that's out now for FREE courtesy of Permwhale Recordings by clicking the wee arrow to the right of the stream above.   WARNING!!  God-awful link coming!!  From one track out now to an album out next week... Two Wings.  Again, you may know them from their recent Singles Club ad for Eikon

You can get hold of the album over here as of tomorrow from Tin Angel Records.  Righty-oh, before we get to the final two tracks, as next week will be the tenth, we'll have our second guest notcast.  As I always say, if the notcast divides by five, we'll have a special guest in to ...[incoherent mumble]...ive.  You'll find out who that is next week.  Anyway, the penultimate track now from The Machine Room.  Seems like every week there's a new demo being uploaded.  So to celebrate their brilliant new video for their single-of-olde Camino de Soda (viewable here), here's the stream of their latest demo Feed Me To The Ocean.

And to finish things off this week, we have a band I've been experiencing something of a obsessive renaissance with lately.  Sadly, they're no longer with us, but in albums Sleeping Spoons and one of my favourites of all time, ...Welcomes Careful Drivers (not forgetting all their other stuff!), Won Mississippi have left us quite a legacy!  So I'll leave you with a phenomenal track from their debut.  And on that note, I won't see you next week, but I know a lovely bunch of guys who will.  So long!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v7.0

Shall we have another half-a-dozen tracks that have been tickling my fancy on SoundCloud over the last week?  Apology Korner is slightly different this week, in that I've never actually promised the artist anything and never delivered.  More like I've just never made an effort to feature them.  Which is a bit strange given that everytime I've heard Julia and the Doogans I've been bowled over with sheer delight!  She bakes a kick-ass cupcake too!

Those Things takes pride of place on their new Diamonds EP which is out now over here with optional posters, fridge magnets and tote bags.  No cupcakes though.  I suppose they don't post that well.  Right, from one mesmerising voice to another.  It's the lovely Louise Connell a.k.a. Reverieme.  She should be no stranger to you, dear readers.  She too has some equally lovely music you can buy in the form of her Melodies album.  Alas, there's no tote bags (Huh... that's just lazy Louise!  Get your finger out!), but the download itself is a bargain.   It features the stunning Water In My Eyes, which is below in live form.

I will never tire of hearing that song!  Moving onto track three now, we have another artist earning a long-overdue first mention on Kowalskiy... esperi.  Here's a track which popped up on SoundCloud recently, and it's brilliant.  Have a listen, then head on over here to hear/buy some more. 

Now onto the band who produced my album of 2011, Happy Particles.  Turns out, they're one of the longlisted bands for the inaugural SAY (Scottish Album of the Year) Award.  Fingers crossed!  I had a wee look, and the two album tracks they once had up are no longer there.  Fear not though, they still have this gem.

You can buy their amazing Under Sleeping Waves album from their Bandcamp, from iTunes and I see from various Music Shop Day tweets yesterday that there's physical copies doing the rounds now.  OK, two more then I'm off.  I know virtually nothing about Naked Strangers other than they're from Ullapool and have an EP out called Social Lubricant which I can't seem to find any links too.  Anyhoo, the three tracks from it that are on SoundCloud are really good.  Here's one of them!

You have no ideas what sites I came across when I Googled "Naked Strangers Social Lubricant".  Some people are just sick!  Some now have an extra follower... right, last track!  Yusuf Azak is awesome.   Here's his cover of PJ and Duncan's Stepping Stone.  Only joking.  Disappointingly, it's not, but this is every bit as impressive! As are these... and this.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

...Greyhound Out Of Mainline!

I quite like the imagery conjured up by the phrase 'Greyhound Out Of Mainline'.   A long, and sometimes bumpy, journey into the unknown.  Getting away from the norm.  Going with the flow and seeing where life takes you.   Anyway, as far as music is concerned, I also love the sounds conjured up by Greyhound Out Of Mainline, or Ally Winford as he's also known.   To be honest, those images and his music both go hand-in-hand.   Ally has just released Quirky, a self-made album recorded whilst travelling through Europe.  It's an unashamedly lo-fi affair which fleets between grand and often quite sinister soundscapes, and delicate, shoegazy compositions... and in the case of Arkhangelsk below, even combines the two to stunning effect.  

I wouldn't consider myself to be a particularly miserable guy, more of a moany bastard at times if truth be told, but when it comes to this kind of lo-fi miserablism, I can't get enough. 


Here's what Ally had to say when I asked him my usual Introducing... questions.

Kowalskiy:  Who is Greyhound Out Of Mainline?
Ally:  Greyhound Out Of Mainline is me, Ally, in my bedroom in Edinburgh, playing around with cheap, plastic, nasty recording equipment and free, nasty recording software. I did, however, manage to bully a couple of brilliant people into collaborating on my new record, 'Quirky' - Chris Tenz from Calgary (Frozen Arms was one of my favourite records from last year) and Alyssa Bicoy, a writer-slash-singer-slash-poet from New York. Both are maddeningly talented and it was nice to bring different ideas and points of view into what is usually quite a solitary project. As I type this, I've just realised what a horrible cliché the 'recording lo-fi music in the bedroom' thing sounds like...

Kowalskiy:  How'd you describe 'your sound'?
Ally:  My sound is a sort of sludgey lo-fi miserablist mess, although if people wanted to label it 'shoegaze' I'd be more than happy with that. There are a lot of layers and a lot of textures in the new tunes - part of the idea is to test if it's possible to record quite ambitious ideas on crap equipment with no finesse whatsoever (I still have no idea what the answer is, mind). I also like the idea of a record being a patchwork of conflicting styles and influences, rather than production and mastering giving an album a sonic uniformity. On 'Quirky' there's all sorts going on - a cover of an old jazz standard, field recordings, spoken word, loads of shoegaze guitar. I was basically just trying to rip off as many people as possible that I truly love - Amusement Parks On Fire, Bark Psychosis, Galaxie 500, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Adam Gnade and countless others. If someone described the sound as 'confused' I'd probably take that as a compliment - obnoxious, much?

Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Ally:  I released 'Quirky' in March this year, which can be downloaded for free on Bandcamp.   It's based on a short story I was writing over a year's worth of adventuring in central Europe and needless to say, I lost any kind of objective sense of if it was any good or not and eventually just cut it loose at a certain point after tinkering with it for what seemed like forever. A few people have said nice things about it though, which is rather lovely.

Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from you in the future?
Ally:  Greyhound Out Of Mainline is something that exists only as a recording identity; God knows if any of the tunes could be done live in the way I'd want them to sound. 'Quirky' is done and released now which just feels like a relief at the moment, so who knows when I'll start thinking about new ideas for tunes. In more practical news, I just played the first gig with another project called Convex Mancave, which is incredibly noisy sonic mangling with Matthew Collings. Hopefully the first of many!

You can download Quirky over on Ally's Bandcamp for free, or as a limited-edition CD-R "with lyrics booklet, a bonus CD-R of extra tracks and alternative takes, 3 vintage Soviet-era postcards, vintage Soviet stamps and 'Quirky' short story".  But sadly no cuddly toy.  If you fancy something that wee bit different then it comes highly recommended!
 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #22

Ready for your free EP fix for the month?   Good, 'cos here it is.  As ever, we have five of the finest Scottish up-and-coming bands around at the moment.  I'm chuffed to bits to have each of them involved.  Anyway, it's time you heard who's on board this month and what they each have to say about their track...

1.  Father Sculptor - Blue (Risen from the ashes of former Kowalskiy EPers Johnny Reb, say hello to Father Sculptor.  This is one of the tracks from their debut double A-Side out today.  Get it here.  One of my favourites of the year so far.)

"Blue demonstrates the George Osborne side to Father Sculptor; that of privilege, smut & utter (g)utter evil..   Ember / Blue is released on Monday 16th April via www.fathersculptor.com/" - Father Sculptor

2.  Miniature Dinosaurs - Lightspeed (You have no idea how long I've been trying to get this lot involved.  Finally worn them down though!  I'm honoured to give this track a second home.)

"This is the only track from our last EP, Off The Radio, that wasn't picked up and released by a label, so it never quite got the same attention. It's nice to get it out there via this free download and, for us, helps round up the Off The Radio release (still available via our online shop!)" - Barry Maclean (Miniature Dinosaurs)

3.  Kill The Waves - The Oak Tree (demo) (This band are a wee bit of alright aren't they!?  Can't wait to hear more from them... and you will at the end of April.)

"The Oak Tree is quite an old song for us, relatively speaking; in fact it is the oldest song that we play as part of our live set. It still features in our live set because it is also one of our favourites and tends to be a bit of a crowd pleaser. For those reasons we have decided to release it as part of our double A-side single 'The Oak Tree/Friend' at the end of April." - Rob Williams (Kill The Waves)

4.  Zefs Chasing Cara - Cracker Deelosay (It was actually Chris from Favourite Son who introduced me to this chap during some super-mixtape-fun we shared.  It was actually this song too.  It's actually brilliant!)

"Hmm. That's one of the few songs from the EP that has more singing. The lyrics are about going on holiday and swimming and stuff. I wrote it like half a year before all the other songs so its got a different sense to it than all the other songs." - Dominic Kesterton a.k.a. Zefs Chasing Cara

5.  Toy Machene - Radio 182 (This track will feature on the Edinburghians upcoming EP.  I've heard it all, and it's fantastic.  An endorsement also shared by Skeletor apparently.)

"Toy Machene have a combined height of 18'4" - that's pretty damn tall, so listen to our music: Skeletor likes it so, for your safety, we recommend you do too.  We wanted our first Toy Machene EP to be fun so we chose the loudest, chorusiest songs we have (and a song about Tom Cruise's sexual preferences). 'Radio 182' is super bouncy and a lot of fun to play live; like a lot of our music, it's about loss and doubt and regret but those lyrics are set against this very perky, punky, slightly ska music which is totally made to dance and singalong to. We love it, we hope you do too!" - Leo Burke (Toy Machene)

Let me just say a huge thank you to all 5 for contributing this month.  I'm obviously pretty biased, but I think it sounds great!  Hope you agree.  OK, so you can get your free copy by clicking on the artwork above, and while you're there, there's another 21 for you to get your grubby mitts on by heading over here.   The 23rd KEP will be out one month today on a certain free-EP-releasing blogger's birthday.  Presents are of course welcomed, but if you're a band and have something you'd like to offer up for submission, then that'd be nice too...  what was that?!  You wanna record a special version of something for me?!  That's lovely!  In that case, you can send me a wee email (kowalskiy2@gmail.com) and we'll go from there. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v6.0

Shall we have another half-a-dozen tracks that have been tickling my fancy on SoundCloud over the last week?  Yes we shall.  I'll kick things off this week with a welcome return for Kowalskiy's Apology Korner.  So who have I completely forgotten about recently?  To be fair, there's a few but I'm getting better I think... maybe.  Try telling that to the lovely Coat Hooks though.   They've released their first EP with their shortened name and rejigged line-up, but have lost none of their charm and appeal as a result.  To The Waters And The Wild is out now over here, and it is a pure bargain!

More apologies next week!  For now we move on.  Onto something and someone(s) quintessentially SoundCloudish.  Now, I know I've already featured one of their tracks, and I know we've even had K. P. Son do a special guest notcast for us, but...  Fuck it, I don't have to explain myself to anyone... especially YOU!

How smooth does that sound!?!  Very, I think you'll find.  It's "track 1, side 1" of their Leviathan release on the 7th May.  From the smooth to the sublime.  It's Chasing Owls.  If you remember, I loved their We Began EP (available from all good online stockists) all those months ago.  Well, be it a T Break 2012 entry, or part of some form of future release called Quell, or both... or all three,  this is a cracking song which will do little to 'quell' the need for more.  Ha, brilliant!

Who's next... I lose track.  We shall mix things up a bit with this one by Le Thug, who don't really do folk, more like shoegazey, synthy electro.  Which in my book is just as good.  There's a bunch of freebies up on their SoundCloud, so get over there.

Now, we'll end with a track which I have no shame in admitting I've been know to murder in the car on the drive home at night.  My dulcet tones are no match for Mr. Sutherland.   Yet another reason why I'll spare you having to listen to me podcast stylee.  I asked Joseph a.k.a. Foxhunting a few questions about his brilliant debut album Come On Sweetheart, Take My Hand (which you can buy here with a free copy of his earlier EP) a while back.   Here's the original, 'EP version' of one of my tracks of the year thus far, La Chasse

Stunning doesn't quite cut it.  Right, I'm offski now!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

K&A with Behold, the Old Bear

If you've been reading the blog recently you'll have seen me feature Behold, the Old Bear a few times already.   You may even have heard his brilliant cover of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill on my last free monthly EP.   Well, the man behind it all is Raindeer of Mitchell Museum drumming fame.  I interviewed him last week, during which I probed him on his debut album plans, his favourite old bear, and what affect MM's reform will have on BTOB.  Before we get to that, here's one of the reason's he's gotten this blogger a wee bit excited!


Are you sitting comfortably?  Good... 'cos this may take a while!

Kowalskiy:  Who are Behold, the Old Bear?
Raindeer:  This question has baffled both scientifical and musictifcal brains since records began. Some say BTOB are nothing more than figments of someone else's imagination, some say they are the memory of your dead dog in physical form. I think Behold the Old Bear are an idea made possible by fellow humans and home recording technologies.

Kowalskiy:  Some may know you as Raindeer from Mitchell Museum. First up, what's with the animal monikers?  And secondly, how did Behold, the Old Bear come about in the first place?
Raindeer:  Hmmmmm, well... Firstly, I have been living with the understanding that Raindeer is my name since a family holiday when I was 15 I think. So that would be for the last 12 years of my life. I don't really think about it being an odd name until it comes to meeting new people. It is quite interesting seeing how people react to it. But its not a test or anything like that. There is no pass or fail system attached to people learning my name. I just judge them terribly if they react badly to it. KIDDING! No, some people make a big thing out of it, and some people are lust like, "oh hey Raindeer, nice to meet you" I like that the best.

And I felt like I couldn't really escape the Bear thing, tho I sometimes wish I did as there are already too many bear related bands out there. But there has been a progression to this bear business. I wasn't always the drummer in a band. When I first properly started getting into music, like many before me, I decided it would be cool to learn guitar. I did this and started writing really rubbish songs. I got a bit better at rubbish song writing and guitar and went to college when I was 16 to get even betterer. We needed to put a band together and the band needed a name. My brother Cameron came up with Digital Bear. I decided it was perfect and wrote and recorded and performed live wannabe Pavement songs under that moniker for the rest of college.

The last Digital Bear gig was in the old Stereo when I was 19, and that was the last time until January that I performed with a band as the front guy. So that would be 8 years, yes. I got heavily involved in playing drums with my brothers band, which turned into Mitchell Museum. I struggled to write songs for a long time. The problem was that I couldn't find anything that sounded like me. Later I decided I would call my imaginary band The Old Bear, after the CITV show of the same name. I liked that show a lot when I was small. A few years later, an old friend of mine brought a Spanish classical guitar into my flat. I fell in love with it and discovered that it gave me the power to write songs again. The first song I wrote is called 7 maybe 8. It was the first of the songs that would make up "the album" and its one of my favorites to play live.

Thanks to that guitar, some home recording equipment and some sad times, I was able to find a coherent sound and wrote and recorded 11 songs I decided could be an album. I then just needed a band to play them live. Meanwhile, due to some sort of technical issue whilst trying to set up a MySpace account, the band became Behold The Old Bear, and after a while I found the correct combination of humans, and that is that... Jesus, that is a long answer. I also really like animals tonnes. Dogs are my best.

Kowalskiy:  Anything else you'd like to add to that?!  I can't not touch again on Mitchell Museum. How would you say this new project compares?
Raindeer:  That's fair. Well, I would say that there are definite similarities that cant really be avoided. Me and Cameron are brothers, who have similar sounding voices and grew up listening to pretty much the same music. So we have taken influences from a lot of the same stuff. To be honest, Cameron is probably my biggest influence, as if it were not for him, I would maybe still be listening to Metallica all day. I still love Metallica tho. I owe much of my initial guitar stylings to them and The Smashing Pumpkins. Perhaps that is where the main differences between MM and BTOB lie. My songs are very much guitar orientated, at least at the point of writing and Cameron, well, to be honest I am not entirely sure what happens when he writes for MM. He locks himself in a cupboard with a pot, a pan, a beaten up keyboard and an MPC sampler and comes back out with something quite lovely. Also, my lyrics are usually very much to the point. I don't like a thing, and I write it down, stopping short of using peoples names. MM lyrics are hidden in metaphors and mysteries. Does that help? I don't know....

Kowalskiy:  You've got a handful of tracks up on SoundCloud at the mo, but what's the plans for some sort of release?
Raindeer:  Well I am currently working with a label towards the album getting a release. I can tell you that the album is called Some Kind Of Dark and that is the title track on the album. We are using a lot of my original recordings from my demos but adding overdubs and such like. I think we are quite keen to keep the bedroom recording sound but tidied up a bit. There are also plans to release a single with a music video in the summer. I am also working on a two minute song to be released at some point. The concept behind that is really cool. But I'm not sure I can say much else about that. oooohh the mysterious mystery!

Kowalskiy:  Perhaps the most important question... Who is your favourite old bear: Paddington, Pooh, Rupert, Bungle, Superted or other? There is no wrong answer, other than non bear-related ones.
Raindeer:  That's easy. Fozzie Bear is well the bestest bear

Kowalskiy:  As well as some form of release, are there any gigs on the horizon?
Raindeer:  Yes, We are next playing in Bar Bloc on May 10th. I believe it is for a new student radio night that will be happening quite regularly. Other than that, We are being allowed to play The Kelburn Garden at the end of June and Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival in August. Hopefully we will find more gigs to play soon.

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your ideal gig?
Raindeer:  That is a hard one. well, I think I would like it to be like Latitude. It is an amazing festival. So I would have all the nice funny people too being funny in a funny people tent. But as for musics. I think I would have Randy Newman with a full band, then the pAper chAse would reform, I would defiantly like to resurrect Harry Nilsson and to finish it all, I would have Pink Floyd transported through time from their 1980 tour of The Wall.

Kowalskiy:  So, now that Mitchell Museum have risen from the ashes of the band formerly known as Mitchell Museum, what does this mean for Behold, the Old Bear?
Raindeer:  All it means is that we sometimes have a bit of difficulty finding time for both bands to practice. That's what it means at the moment. I have been asked a few times if with the new and improved Mitchell Museum being back in action will effect Behold The Old Bear. I hope it won't. I have just got this thing going after years of trying, so I don't intend on putting it down anytime soon. Hopefully both bands can happily exist together in harmony.

Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from Behold the Old Bear in the future?
Raindeer:  More Gigs, A Single. A music video. More Gigs, another Album? I have already written about half of the next album. But we need to get the first one out the way first.

Kowalskiy:  A topical question now... Where were you when Titanic sunk?
Raindeer:  What do you mean the Titanic sunk?.....I was on it just the other day. had a grand old time hangin' out at the Captains table. Silly Kowalskiy.

Silly me!  And Silly Raindeer too.  Everyone knows the bestest bear is in fact Yogi.  He'd wipe the floor with Fozzie any day of the week!  Anyway, more importantly, remember to mark those dates above in your diary if you fancy beholding this particular old bear in his natural giggy habitat, starting with the 10th May in Bar Bloc, Glasgow.  To tide you over 'til then, here's another cracking song.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Kowalskiy Singles Club #13

Welcome to the 13th meeting of the Kowalskiy Singles Club.  Once again, I've been beavering away trying to find the country's most recent singles to help make some matches.   Loads to choose from again so have a listen to what they've each had to say for themselves, let their dulcet tones fill your ears, then click on the artwork and get downloading!  Here we go...

Mickey 9s - Mickey 999
Mickey 999 by Mickey 9s 
"Sport nut seeks funk raisin for a muesli-and-sex themed relationship. No 69 position. Preferred posish: the 999 (threesome doggystyle). Must enjoy threesomes. Call "Mickey-999" if interested." - Dougie O'Neil (Mickey 9s)
It's guys like you Mickey... Right so, this is the new single by the Glasgow-foursome-seeking-threesome Mickey 9s.  If you're up for being the 9 in their '9 sandwich' then get clicking on the cover art pronto!

Aggi Doom - Bring Me The Head
Bring Me The Head by Aggi Doom
"Intergalactic siren from the dark planet seeks primitive love, hot voodoo and ritual sacrifice. An interest in vore is essential. Meet you at the third pyramid wearing a black carnation, come copulate while Earth fries." - Aggi Doom
A release from indie label Soft Power Records based in "the hinterland between Glasgow and Edinburgh" now.  Anyone mailing me with the phrase "ex-Remember Remember, The Royal We" is guaranteed a mention on here, especially when the track is this darn good!  It's out on the 21st May on 7" vinyl.

Lonely Tourist - I Live Where You Are
I Live Where You Are by Lonely Tourist
"Are you bubbly, outgoing, successful and one of life's winners? If so then Lonely Tourist WnotLTM you. GTF!" - Paul Tierney (Lonely Tourist)
You can take the boy out of Glasgow... and relocate him to the South of England, but you most certainly can't take Glasgow outta the boy!  This is the latest from the ex-Odeon Beatclub singer and promises A LOT from the upcoming album.  Oh, and it's FREE, well... name your price!  Just click the artwork.

Brazil Exists - Happy New Year
Happy New Year by Brazil Exists
"Lonely guy experiencing a tough time who enjoys listening to Teenage Fanclub and Idlewild while eating burritos. Seeking a companion who enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic dinners and public urination at midnight. Must have a GSOH (good sense of heartbreak) and be willing to listen to sad sad songs." - Craig Ferrie (Brazil Exists)
That's me... other than the pissing in public.  Anyway, Brazil Exists are fast-becoming an obsession of mine.  The Hermit EP, from which this track originates, is brilliant!  You can get your hands on the track by clicking the usual place, and if it floats your boat, the EP can be bought here.

Homework - Thoughts
Thoughts by Homework
"Free and Single WLTM downloader with valid email address for NSA purchase" - Oli Kass (Homework)
Now that is witty.  The band have clearly being doing their... Homework, when it comes to music-related-singles ads!  This is their follow-up single to last years All That Glitters EP (available here).  It's predictably great, and that cover art (which incidentally, you can click to download the track for free) is freaky as fuck.  Good freaky though.

Now for something a wee bit different. It seems we have a shy single in our ranks. So, I've taken it upon myself, with said shy singleton's permission of course, to write one for them in an attempt to send some love their way. They're really nice you see, and sound f**king hot! Besides, you know what they say about the shy ones...

Cancel The Astronauts - Intervention
Intervention by Cancel The Astronauts
"Five shy and lovably-odd musicians seek companionship, maybe more, in the nation's Capital. Must appreciate facial hair and love tight-fitting red sportswear. GSOH, CTA, KFC a must, in return for any two from the following: brilliantly crafted pop songs, facial hair, many an eyeful of tight-fitting red sportswear, life-size Cheryl Cole nee Tweedy cut-outs, a shop-soiled cuddly toy, Intervention singles (please be aware this requires payment in full beforehand)." - Kowalskiy (Official Cancel The Astronauts groupie)
I believe Cancel The Astronauts would have said something similar to be honest. OK, onto the single itself. It's the fourth release from the CTA lads and once again, they've outdone themselves. Great to see a band still doing the 'proper' single thing and releasing two new B-sides, in this case the equally-brilliant Echoes of Love and The Hardest Thing. I take my hat off to you CTA. Sorry I said you were odd. I did say lovably-so though.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v5.0

Happy Easter folks!  Hope you enjoyed the tracks chosen last week by the wonderful Mr. K. P. Son. Since I've had almost two weeks off from doing this notcast lark, there's been a load of new songs on SoundCloud that I'm itching to share with you. As has become the norm, here's half-a-dozen for you with some textual babble thrown in for good measure.

Kicking things off this week is a song which I've played on loop since it was uploaded. Like many Scottish bands, Edinburgh's Letters have been busy over the last few weeks uploading their trio of T Break entries. If they're not on the bill this summer on the back of their three tracks, then the world will have officially gone doolally! Here's one of them, the title track from their upcoming debut EP, Older Motion Pictures.

Now, don't tell me you're not impressed.  Seriously... don't!  This band is supoib!  It's funny how things turn out sometimes.  After I'd favourited that track, and said favouritation was sent around twitter, I got chatting to another band who, up 'til then, had flown under my radar.  But no more thanks to their impressive early demos.  A name to take note of folks... The Beautiful Lies.

And this next chap ain't half bad either.  Nice chap too.  All those months/years ago, Paul Kelly was one of the five artists I emailed asking if they'd like to road test an idea I had - to be on the first of my free monthly 5-track Scottish EPs.  He, or rather, The Martial Arts, said yes and kindly allowed me to help unleash the demo of Empty Out Here on the world.  Well, it's been almost 2 years but he's now got two more for us.  It's a toughie, but here's my favourite of the pair.  Both are free by the way!

Right, not wanting to sound like a miserable bastard, but it's no coincidence that if you say T in the Park backwards, it kinda sound like Crap, innit?  The only reason you'd get me anywhere near Balado these days is for T Break.  Especially given one of the other sets I've been listening to.  I assume it's for T Break submission anyway.   Why Trapped Mice still fulfill the 'unsigned' criterion to enter is a fucking travesty!  Still, they are, so for now lets just be thankful that we're getting to hear their three new tracks.  You have no idea how tempted I was to finish off the notcast with all three, but I resisted.  

That's yer Trapped Mice lot!  The other two tracks can be heard over here.  Two more then that's your notcast lot for the week too.  I should probably stop favouriting tracks to be honest since it probably gives you an idea what I'm gonna include here.  So it may come as no surprise, but I love the latest single from Aerials UpThe Old and the Innocent is out now and you can get your grubby mitts on it over here.   

Signing us off this week we have someone who just launched her new album last night in Edinburgh.  By all accounts, the night was pretty special, and so too is the album itself.  I am of course talking about The Seed by Plum a.k.a. Shona Maguire.  You can buy the album here.  To whet your appetite in the meantime, have a listen to the title track below.   'Til next week...
   The Seed by Plum

Thursday, 5 April 2012

...Queen Jane!

Time for another exciting, young band to make your acquaintance.  Chances are though, you may already be familiar with Queen Jane thanks to their Confetti EP which they released for free last year.  Either way, you'll be hearing a lot more from this four-piece from the outskirts of Glasgow.  Earlier this year they brought out their follow-up Denver EP which has been racking up acclaim ever since.  I caught up with guitarist Chris Harvie and asked him the usual Introducing... questions.  Here's what he had to say.   

Kowalskiy: Who are Queen Jane?
Chris: We're four mates hailing from the glorious sunshine state of Cumbernauld that are trying to spread the new-town joy upon anyone who's willing to listen.

Kowalskiy: How would you describe 'your sound'?
Chris: People seem to say different things every time we get drunken post-gig feedback, but the most common comparisons seem to be bands like The Maccabees and Bombay Bicycle Club but with a slightly heavier tinge. Generally it's a mix of guitar effects, reverbed vocals, a newly introduced synth and we're working our way up to having a samba-section at our disposal. That's the dream. As it's recently been summery in Cumbernauld of all places, a lot of people were listening to the EP and commenting on its summery connotations especially on the first track, 'Those Summers'.

Kowalskiy: PLUG AWAY!!!
Chris: People can listen to the new EP, Denver, on Bandcamp (and even download it for £2 if you're feeling so generous), and keep up to date with our inane cat-related banter on Facebook. Also, we're playing a few gigs with some lovely people soon on April 7th at The 13th Note as part of a Flowers In The Dustbin showcase and another on the 17th of June at The Captain's Rest hosted by the beautiful Scottish Fiction.


Kowalskiy: What else can we expect from Queen Jane in the future?
Chris: Once the overwhelming response from the new EP dies down a bit then we're hoping to get back into the studio later this year to record a mini-album. We're hoping that it'll be more polished re-recordings of old songs with a few new ones thrown in for good measure. Until then we're taking it as it comes, organising our own gigs with bands we love.

It might take a while for that overwhelming response to die down.  Before it does, have a listen to the EP above and if it tickles your fancy, get your pennies out!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pecans Dots Shots

Guest notcast by K. P. Son
6 songs from SoundCloud... But there are a lot of good songs up there to choose from. Too many. There are now so many songs now on SoundCloud that you can put their waveforms end to end and together they will stretch to Mars and back. I've no doubt I'll immediately get omission regret having only 6 choices or so from Mr Kowalskiy. I'll have to live with that for the rest of my life.

I don't know any of the people below.

GELOW FOSTER
I believe the capitalisation (though not capitalism) is compulsory. From the town of unknow(n) TX yet it sounds like the singer hails from 80's Sheffield. Weird huh?

Jonny Bear vs. Atuin
Each of these guys is worth exploring individually (for example Mr Bear's Underwood Typewriter); this wee song has become a small but growing obsession here.

Daniel Rossen
There are few finer songwriters in the world today; I have never liked Paul Simon.

Tim Weary
Isn't this good? This is slow, drowsy, simple sounding. Delicious, woebegone.

No? You're crazy...
OK, then what about this?

This?

NO?! Well get to buggeryfuck then. Man's a genius.

Tea Leigh
Tea records her songs using a machine assembled live on air during an episode of Blue Peter back in 1978 (designed of course by Margaret Parnell). It utilises toilet roll holders, pipe-cleaners, empty washing up bottles... Tea's machine now hisses along slightly with whatever she records. It is a charming hiss. This is a great cover of a beautiful Sufjan Steven's song.  (Kowalskiy:  Unfortunately, since Mr. Son made his choices, Ms. Leigh has removed this stream.  So here's another...)


John Holligum
I love this tune. This is from Jonny who does the Edinburgh Man podcast. From back in spring '76, just before he started his podcast. I think Tom Verlaine guests on guitar.