Sunday, 27 May 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v11.0

'Tis a wee bit sunny outside, with not a cloud in the sky, so I'll make this week's not-strictly-a-podcast-but-not-far-off-it a quickie.  Here's six more Scottish tracks from everyone's favourite German-based Swedish music-hosting site...

It's been 5 years since NYPD's John McClane, fought off fire-selling cyber-terrorists.  Well, apparently he's back, this time with a debut album out on Halleluwah Hits.  Strangely, he's developed something of a Glaswegian accent.  Weird...

I'm of course joking!  This is the debut album by Glasgow's Die Hard.  Scotland's answer to the Animal Collective... except with an album you can actually listen to and enjoy without thinking "what the fuck is this pish!?"... I think that's fair.  Right, onto one of my favourite bands in Scotland at the moment, PET.  They're due to release their fourth single TOGETHER APART at the start of next month.  It's up streaming on Bandcamp just now, but sadly, not SoundCloud.  So you'll have to make do with their previous offering, the equally-great WEAR BLACK.  Those guys and gal love their CAPITALS.
   WEAR BLACK by PET

Which nicely leads us onto Capitals themselves.  Smooooth!  Their new single All These Years is out on June 4th.  Is it any good I hear you cry?  Yes.  Yes, it is.  But don't take my word for it.  Have a listen below.

Now we move onto a track from CafĂ© Disco which tips the scales at a whopping 9-and-a-half Awesomes... an Awesome being a unit I just came up with having had a bit too much sun and coffee.  The scale is however, analogous to the standard 'out of 10' scale.  Time to stop typing...

Next one is from The Winter Tradition... slightly unseasonable choice maybe given the searing ball of heat in the sky at the moment.  But, it's a great track.  It's out now, so if you like it, get buying!  Incidentally, I was in San Diego a few years back.  Pished it down!  In June as well.  What a shitehole!  And what's with people calling each other 'homes' all the time!? 

I feel now like I should have been picking nice summery songs.  Maybe something like this, or this.  But no.  I'll end with this from Dundee's An Echo because I like it.  Not that I don't like those others mind you.  I do.  I'm just drawn to this one that wee bit more today.  Plus, it's free!  Right, factor 30 on.  I'm offski...



Friday, 25 May 2012

Older Motion Pictures - Letters' Kommentary

What is it with Edinburgh bands releasing outstanding EPs this year?!  We're not even finished with May and already I could name at least four.  Five if you include the debut from 'dark cello pop noiseniks' Letters which was finally released on Monday.  I've spent a bit of time already on here banging on about how special this bunch are, so any attempts at reviewing Older Motion Pictures would just end up with me Googling for synonyms of 'spectacular'.  So, with that in mind, I asked Mikey Ferguson to run through each of the four tracks on this stu-pen-dous [stoo-pen-duhs] EP.  Here's what he had to say... along with my tuppenceworth.

Explosions
This has been kicking around for a while. We recorded it during our Aviemore sessions at the same time as Flash! Lights and The Halfway House. I think it might technically be the third song we ever wrote together but we've harnessed and polished it. We usually open our set with it and didn't want it to go to waste. It works well with the other songs and thought it would be a good EP opener. We used to joke about the first ever version sounding like explosions in the sky, (which of course it doesn't now) and so the working title kinda stuck. I think its apt given the dynamics between 'light and shade' and then it suddenly exploding into life.
Kowalskiy verdict:  After their debut double A-side Grand National/Pipe Dreams last year, this was one of the next tracks of theirs that I heard.  At the time I wasn't sure whether it'd remain as an instrumental or not.  I'm glad they kept it this way.  It's the most atmospheric piece on the EP, a dark 4-minute pop symphony if you will.  

Older Motion Pictures
More miserable post uni stuff. I say post uni but the misery seemed to drag on for a couple years after. The opening line is 'I left my home to watch the unions go to bed'. Summed up the time I guess, probably still does. Hardly anything prophetic. More pathetically polemic. Here...I should use that as a lyric! Basically...OK...People's lives more often than not don't turn out they way they envisaged. The idea to the central lyric ...'I'll watch the platform rain and the electric light flicker like a picture, older motion picture' revolves around too much time spent on trains, dreaming of things to be/that could have been and playing it out in your head like a film. Everyone plays their own cinematic experience out in their head. HOW MANY FUCKING WAYS DO I EXPLAIN...OK? Musically...Me and Ed spent one night listening to Annie Lennox and Sinead O'Connor. I FUCKING love Annie Lennox. This is the product.
Kowalskiy verdict:  Mind you, this isn't short on atmosphere either!  The title track is possibly their finest song to date.  Mikey's echoing vocals alone gave me goosebumps when I watched the EP recording session videos they had up a while back.  Now the gorgeous, yet almost mournful, cello has been added, and all the other components have come together, it's difficult to find the words to describe how brilliant this song is.

Torren
SO...Daddy wasn't there. Wee Mikey's a Daddy now. Daddy's gonnae be there. He promises. OK?
Kowalskiy verdict:  This appeared on their SoundCloud at the same time as Older Motion Pictures.  Mood-wise, it's a more sprightly affair in comparison, more in keeping with their previous singles Flash! Lights and The Halfway House... and every bit as amazing. 

From Time to Time
You know those lyrics in the Waterboys song 'Whole of the Moon' where he writes about his relationship from the perspective of his wife? About his delusions of grandeur? 'I saw the rain dirty valley you saw Brigadoon, I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon.' One of the most perfectly formed songs lyrically that I think I'll ever hear. I think we should get round to covering that. Anyway...this is our version...albeit with a completely self indulgent post rock ending. Perfect way to end our set. Perfect way to end our EP.

Kowalskiy verdict:  Perfect just about cuts it!  This was the last song from the EP which surfaced online, so my expectations were pretty high.  I remember listening to it first time 'round thinking "Yeah, this is good... I liked that... still good... good... oh f**k!!  That's brilliant!".  Or something along those lines.  As the song builds up and with every one of Mikey's umpteen repeated chant of "from time to time" the anticipation of something special builds also.  Just have a listen.  It never fails to disappoint.  Then cue the aforementioned self-indulgence... to be honest though, when you've just made an EP of this calibre, who can blame them!

Older Motion Pictures is out now via God Is In The TV Records.  You can download it over on their Bandcamp or you can get your hands on a CD here.  Letters will be playing a few gigs in support of the EP.  Details below:


26th May - Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh
31st May - Bar Bloc, Glasgow

Thursday, 24 May 2012

...Plastic Animals!

Right!  It's been longer than usual since I gave you a wee nudge in the direction of an exciting, new band.  There's quite a few on my To-Introduce list, but right at the top we have Edinburgh's Plastic Animals.  In just over a weeks time, they'll be self-releasing their latest EP Automaton.  In the meantime, you can listen to, and download for free, one of the five tracks from it.  Here's Ghosts...


And here's what they had to say about the EP as well as what else they have coming up.  Straight from the llama's mouth...

Kowalskiy:  Who are Plastic Animals?
Dave:  Mario plays guitar and sings, James plays drums, Dave plays bass and Ben plays guitar. We started in Edinburgh as a 3 piece about 6 years ago, playing occasional gigs filled with short, messy punk songs. After a bit of a break we released an EP last year called "A Dark Spring", which was a step in a more ambient, harmonious direction. The addition of Ben (aka "The Panther") at the start of 2012 has allowed us to further refine and expand our sound, and now we are hell-bent on sharing it with more people!

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
Dave:  Without sounding like a wanker? With great difficulty! Layers of guitar and atmospheric noisiness, held together by a solid, driving rhythm section, with a melody buried somewhere underneath. Terms like "shoe-gaze" and "dream-pop" have been bandied about recently, but we can't really escape our grunge-y, alt-rock roots.

Plastic Animals - Automaton EP (out June 2nd)Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Dave:  We've got a new EP called "Automaton" coming out on 2nd June! It's the first time all four of us have recorded together and we're really happy with the way the songs have turned out. One of the tracks called "Ghosts" can be downloaded for free at the minute from our bandcamp page, and we've also made our first video for it. The celebratory Queen's Jubil-EP launch gig is on Sunday 3rd June at Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh with support from Glasgow garage-rock gals Honeyblood and indie-pop darlings The Spook School. It's only £5 and we'll be playing some tunes afterwards into the small hours. We're also playing the launch gig for a new compilation CD "2x6" by Touch Sensitive, featuring 6 Scottish and 6 Spanish bands. That's on Friday 8th June at The Old Hairdresser's in Glasgow with Randolph's Leap and If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now.

Kowalskiy:  That's how to plug!  Last of all, what can we expect from Plastic Animals in future?
Dave:  We're keen to play a lot more gigs, especially outside Edinburgh, so we’re planning a wee tour later in the year. Things are sounding good in the practice room with lots of new ideas, so it won’t be long until we’re recording again, maybe for a full-length album this time? Maybe.

So, if you liked the sound of Ghosts above (and why wouldn't you!), then you'll be in for a treat when Automaton is released on the 2nd of June... even more so, if you make it along to their launch in Edinburgh the day after.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v10.0

So... who have I been listening to this week on SoundCloud?  Well, if you follow me on twitter, most of these will come as no surprise but here goes anyway.   Let's get my grovelling apology out of the way first of all.  There's been so many e-mails of late and despite my intentions to reply to them all, it's just not possible.  I do however, try my best to listen to everything I've been sent for fear of missing out on something special.  With Light of the North though, the debut album by Miaoux Miaoux, I already knew it would be.  It's fair to say that electronic(a) isn't my most-loved or most-listened-to genre, so I'd have no idea where to begin reviewing it.   Too often I find that kinda music very hit and miss, but Mr. Corrie very rarely falls into the latter category.  It's out on the 11th June via Chemikal Underground, and here's my stand-out track.

Next up, is a band described as "At The Drive-In except more hardcore".  Intrigued by that comparison, I had a listen to a free track (available here) put out by Overlook Records to promote their latest band... Crusades.  Boy, they're shouty ones!  But bugger-me-sideways, is this track good or what!?!

Slight change of direction now, but again, it's a band I've only discovered this week.  Well... they found me if truth be told.  Thank God they did though.  They're called Ravena.  They're a four-piece from Glasgow.  They've got their debut single out this week, for free no less, and they have excited this blogger no end!  Make sure you download the single from SoundCloud.  The piano-led B-side Do Try is below for your listening pleasure.

Let's follow that up with a double helping of mystery and intrigue.  Both these bands recently uploaded their first tracks.  Both sound very familiar...

Now for my best Rolf Harris impression... can you tell who it is yet??  I'll keep you guessing while you hear the second band...

...and fuck it, I'll just keep you guessing.  So if you know who they are, answers on a postcard!  That latter one by CHURCHES you can download for free here.  I'm sure we'll be hearing more from them both in the future.  Right, I'm offski now.  I'll leave you with this, the new, re-recorded, full band version of A Life Worth Living from Saint Max.  Out.  Stand.  Ingggg!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

K&A with Stanley

Aberdeen tea-loving quintet Stanley have recently released their debut album Animals With Amazing Disguises... and it's not just those animals that have rummaged together something amazing.  It may be slightly lazy blogging, but listening to the album, it's difficult to escape the major influence from The Divine Comedy, from the eclectic subject matter and musical styles to singer Stephen Podlesny's Hannonesque vocal delivery.   All of which is none more evident than on Made For TV and the brilliant Sandwiches & Tea.  If you scratch the surface a bit though, there's much more to be heard across the album.  Take my own personal favourite, Hollywood Endings as a prime example.  It has elements of Morrissey's (finest work in my opinion) You Are The Quarry about it, in terms of the intensity it has bubbling under this scratched surface, and the sheer quality of arrangement and production.  This last point can be said for every track on the album to be fair.  It's one of the most impressively thought-out and put-together albums I've heard in a while.

The album was officially released a month ago (available here from the band).  I caught up with guitarist Ramsay Clark shortly afterwards.  Here's what he had to say...  
Kowalskiy:  Who are Stanley?
Ramsay: Stanley are a Aberdeen-based group of 5 musicians, fronted by founder member and song-writer Stephen Podlesny. We’ve been going for a few years now, however the last few months have been a bit of a whirlwind of activity, what with the release of our debut album last month as well as two singles the previous year. We play all the usual instruments associated with bands, however we supplement and blend our sound with carefully put together orchestral sections and instruments such as the vibraphone and trombone.

Kowalskiy:  Before we get to the music, who's your favourite Stanley?
Ramsay: The band is named after the legend that is Stan Laurel because of Steve’s love of movies and music from the 20s and 30s, however my own personal favourite Stanley would be Stanley Kubrick. Great films, great visuals and equally great film soundtracks.

Kowalskiy:  From listening to your debut album Animals With Amazing Disguises (it's very good by the way!), it's clear you've got a lot of diverse influences, Who'd you say has had the biggest influence on your music?
Ramsay:  Every member of the band will most likely give you their own unique musical influence, and they’ll have probably changed their mind before they answer the next question! I’d say that the biggest influence on our music would probably be a musical style rather than a group or individual – song-stylists like Sinatra and Scott Walker, for example. Tough question! It’s in the nature of a musician to take inspiration from a patchwork quilt of influences. How’s that for a vague answer!

Kowalskiy:  Quite vague!  So, with all these different influences and styles in your songs, how do you go about making your music?
Ramsay: It’s probably no different to any other band, to be honest – as boring as that sounds! Steve will let us hear an idea for a song – sometimes is embryonic, other times it’s already got arms and legs on it. The band will jam on the idea, and quite often we’ll have the semblance of a song by the end of the practice session. That’s about it really – there are still lots of fragments of tunes that haven’t been used yet, so we may go down the route of finishing them off some day. Maybe we could sell them as downloads or give them away for free via our website – www.stanleytheband.com?

Kowalskiy:  Or even contribute one to your friendly neighbourhood blogger's series of free monthly EPs?  How'd you describe your album? Is there a story behind it?
Ramsay:  Ah, the dreaded “CONCEPT ALBUM” question! You’ll have to ask Steve that! Now that the album’s finally out there, it’s been great fun reading the reviews to see how other people have perceived it, and some of the stuff that’s been written is fascinating! It’s funny – today was the first day that I was able to really appreciate listening to it as an album proper and not as the album that our band recorded. I’m really proud of it – to me it looks and sounds great and every song has it’s own distinct character.

Kowalskiy:  What would class as an amazing disguise for an animal?
Ramsay: You’d have to ask Charles Darwin! At the end of the day, we’re all animals, however some of us would like to make out that they’re something else and maybe hide behind a mask.  Did I get it right, Steve?
Steve:  No Ramsay, you’re sacked!

Kowalskiy:  Are there plans afoot to tour the album?
Ramsay: Chance would be a fine thing! We’re working on it at the moment – right now, we’re really desperate to play in as many new places and in front of as many new audiences as possible, so promoters, if you’re reading this!

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your ideal gig?
Ramsay: Ach, that also changes from day to day – for me it’s currently the old Aberdeen Capitol (complete with pop-up, lighted cinema organ), supporting Roxy Music in the early 70s. We’re going through a bit of a Roxy-listening phase right now!

Kowalskiy:  What'd be your dream sandwich and tea combo?
Ramsay: Again, this changes all the time. Currently, it’d be a Tuna Mayo and Highlander Sea Salt and Vinegar crisp sandwich, made with old-school Mighty White bread – cup of Builders on the side.

Kowalskiy:  Last of all, what can we expect from Stanley in the future?
Ramsay: Publishing deal, sign up with a booking agency, Radio 6 airplay, national tour supporting Richard Hawley, performance on Jools Holland, give up day job, new album out in Spring 2013, who knows? Music industry types – again, if you’re listening…

All seem perfectly reasonable to me!  So, to recap, Animals With Amazing Disguises is out now.  It's very impressive indeed.  And you can get your hands on it over here.   Cheers Ramsay!

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #23

Oooft!  Hard to believe that these Kowalskiy EPs are 23 already.  How time flies!  Kowalskiy though, is a wee bit older than that unfortunately.  More so today, for 'tis my birthday.  Awww... look at him with his wee hat!  So, with that in mind, I spent the last month hand-picking five of my favourite Scottish artists to make this EP all the more special.  In one case, I had specialness thrust upon me as a band volunteered a belter of a track, and in another, my pestering led to me receiving a rare gem from one of Scottish music's gone-but-not-forgotten favourites....    

1.  Northern Alliance - Casiopolis (...and here is said favourites.  I'd urge anyone to hunt down their albums, as well as getting a hold of Doug Johnstone's own solo EP over here.)

"This is an old Northern Alliance instrumental that never seemed to fit on an album, but we kind of liked it. It's called 'Casiopolis' because it was recorded entirely using old Casiotone keyboards, putting them through guitar pedals and such like, I seem to recall. It sounds quite creepy and soundtracky, so when I came to make a trailer for my latest novel, Hit & Run, it was an obvious choice for the music. It was released on a Fence compilation as 'Xmas on the Ocean Floor', I think." - Doug Johnstone (Northern Alliance)

Speaking of Doug's new novel, you can download it over here on the Kindle Store.

2.  Fiction Faction - Turquoise Noise (I was convinced I'd featured Fiction Faction before for some reason.  So they got fed up waiting to be asked and sent me this brilliant taster from their upcoming album.)

"Turquoise Noise was recorded pretty quickly, everything was one take. It was only a b-side to our last single but already many folk have said its one of their favourite tracks of ours. Its picked up some radio play too by BBC Introducing and will be included on our debut album which is being recorded this summer. The song comes courtesy of Saraseto Records who released the some earlier in the year." - David Richards (Fiction Faction)

3.  Letters - Older Motion Pictures (acoustic for Fresh Air) (Letters, I had featured before.  But, since they're one of my favourite bands around, I managed to sweet talk them into parting with this acoustic version of the title track from their upcoming debut EP.)

"I chose this mainly so the rest of the band can laugh at me. We're quite strict with each other in practice and I'm always the first to throw my tuppence worth in when someone makes a mistake. As you'll note from the second line here, I fluff the words, much to everyone's amusement!  We're not really into the acoustic thing, but we think this sounds quite nice stripped down, it's a fairly simple song anyway so it lends itself well to this setting. The people at Fresh Air (Jude Dryden and Brian Pokora) were liking it so hopefully everyone else does." - Mikey Ferguson (Letters)
 
Letters are busy bees gearing up for the release of their absolutely stunning, mind-blowingly brilliant, superlative-dripping EP on the 19th of May.

4.  Foxhunting - Damocles (EP version) (Here's a unsettlingly-talented young 'un from Aberdeen with a track from his early EP.  It was reworked for his brilliant debut album last year.)

"Damocles is probably the most consistently visceral song I've ever written. It's based on a hypothetical situation with young lovers not being able to express themselves for fear of persecution, but to be honest I wrote it because I liked the strumming patterns I came up with ;) It appears on Come On Sweetheart, Take My Hand, an album you can pour money onto over at foxhunting.bandcamp.com" - Joe Sutherland a.k.a. Foxhunting

5.  The Beautiful Lies - For Far Too Long (Only came across this Glasgow bunch recently, but already I'm finding it hard to stop listening to their demos online.  Here's one they re-recorded last week for this EP.)

"We've had this song for a while but we always keep coming back to it. Feels like the perfect song to close a gig, and we always seem to get completely lost in it whenever we play it live." - Paul Duncan (The Beautiful Lies)

And speaking of playing it live...  The Beautiful Lies will be playing The Berkeley Suite in Glasgow this very night, and The 13th Note on the 6th of June.

Let me just say a huge thank you to all 5 for contributing this month.   I really hope you all like it as much as I do.  All you have to do to get your free copy is to click on the artwork above, or here for that matter.  While you're there, help yourself to the other 22.   The next KEP will be out one month today.  As ever, if you wanna record a special version of something for me, or contribute something else you think might tickle my fancy, then you can send me a wee email (kowalskiy2@gmail.com) and we'll go from there.  I shall be pestering bands in due course though!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v9.0

Welcome folks, to my ninth notcast, where I'll share with you some of my favourite new tracks on SoundCloud .  Before that though, I'd like to say a huge thanks to John Bryden from The Machine Room for stepping in for me last week, and for introducing me to some cracking bands.  Here's a token of my appreciation...

While I'm here, I'd also like to congratulate The Machine Room on their spot at T Break this year.  I won't go into the full line-up - you can find that elsewhere.  There's a few great bands on there showcasing the best up-and-coming Scottish music, but from my own point of view, there's a couple of disappointing exceptions.  Ho hum!  Anyhoo, onto the other tracks.  This week, I've done something shocking... I've been listening to non-Scottish bands quite a lot.  I feel awfy dirty.

First up, we have one of the finest musicians I have ever seen.  Get Well Soon a.k.a. Konstantin Gropper is responsible for not one, but two of my favourite albums.  Number three, The Scarlet Beast O' Seven Heads is out soon via City Slang.  Here's the stunning lead track for you to download free.     

The album's out on the 28th August.  I can't wait!  The wait's a wee bit shorter for this next release.  Remember my K&A with K&A a few years ago?  Well, Sweden's Kate and After are back with another slice of sumptuous Scandinavian indie-pop that'll haunt your every, waking minute!  The Game is out on Tuesday for you to download, but you can hear it here already.

It's one of the most addictive tracks I've heard all year... and this one isn't far off.  Now, years before I started this blog, I did have something of a soft spot for all things emo-power-pop-ish.  I never dressed in black or wore eye-liner or anything freaky like that though.  So when I was contacted by Life & Death Records from Atlantic City, New Jersey (possibly the only time I've been asked if I want to join a PR mailing list rather than just being added - take note folks... ask first!), I took a punt on one of their free EPs by Life Without A Jacket, and was completely bowled over!  You can get your hands on their Use Your Words EP here, with my pick of the tracks below. 

Now, since I'm in danger of getting a nose bleed, it's time to ease slowly back into Scottish music.  If you remember Kowalskiy EP#8 back in February last year, I had Oslo-based I See Horses featured.  Well, after their demise, Scottish frontman David Coyle and bandmate Arvid started Misha Non Penguin... incidentally named after a character in one of my favourite books.  They have a new single out on the 1st June via Lazy Acre Records called Drifters.  You can hear that here, but here's another of their tracks for you to feast your ears on.  It's FREE, but more importantly than that, it's a cracker! 

Last up, we've got former Odeon Beatclub singer Paul Tierney a.k.a. Lonely Tourist.  I raved about his debut album when it came out last year.  His follow-up I Live Where You Are is out soon.  The title track and lead single is the perfect taster for what to expect. Enjoy!

Monday, 7 May 2012

The Son(s) - Leviathan EP

I'd like to think I know a thing or two about being an online, musical enigma.  But The Son(s) really do take the clandestine biscuit(s)... if there were such a thing.  With only the solitary besuited character on their releases and the mysterious initials 'K. P.' to go by, it's anyone's guess who we have to thank for not only one of the most impressive presences, but also one of the finest collections of tracks on SoundCloud.   If anything though, this anonymity only adds to their ever-growing appeal.    You'd be hard pushed to find another artist in the land with the same levels of prolificacy in their output, let alone one with the same deftness of touch when it comes to layering and building up their tracks, and a persistent knack for crafting sublime pieces of music.
 
Take their new Leviathan EP which has just surfaced today, as a prime example.   The title of the release itself (if you ignore the artwork for now), which conjures up images of the giant sea creature from folklore, seemingly mirrors the almost mythical existence of the artist...  that's as far as I can stretch that analogy to be honest.  For the sound here isn't as big as the name or the artwork suggests.  But it doesn't have to be, to be awe-inspiring, which this 6-track EP most certainly is.   For the most part, it's a gorgeous layering of instruments and harmonies with oh-so-smoooooooth vocals.  

Then there's If I Hear You Talk Apostrophe's Again, whose throbbing bass and electric guitar solos seems to be out-of-keeping with the rest of this dreamy EP, and harks back to Dogs, Boys And Men from their debut.  I stand by what I said donkeys ago, about its TV On The Radio likeness.  That's evident again here with If I Hear...'s bolder sound and the contrasting vocal styles in the harmonies.  Both of which go hand-in-hand to produce my favourite track on Leviathan.  Regardless of which facet of their sound it is though, it's absolutely faultless.


Leviathan is out now on limited edition cassette and digital download available from the 21st May via Olive Grove Records.  Get yours here.  The only issue I have with the EP, and it is only minor, is that I gave my Walkman away to a charity shop back in 1999... and I do tend to hold onto things a bit longer than I should.

Kowalskiy Singles Club #14

It's been just over a month since I last played matchmaker to some of Scotland's most eligible singles.  So, it's about time we heard from some more!  Have a read of what they all have to say for themselves, click the artwork and let them whisper sweet nothings into your ear, and if you're smitten... make your move!  Don't leave them sitting on the cybershelves for too long!  Take it away singletons...

Fatherson - Gone Fission
Gone Fission by Fatherson
"Three boys seek confirmation of the existence of fairytales. Having spent many years in each others company they are looking for someone with good sense of humour and an appetite for Scottish Indie Rock." - Marc Strain (Fatherson)
It's criminal that I'm only just featuring Killie's Fatherson.  Their brilliant, eponymous EP last year fell foul of another of my reviewing hiatuses, but was still up there with the years' best.  This FREE single, as well as appealing to the nuclear physics geek in me with it's title, is just amazing.  Which is probably why it's on BBC Introducing's playlist at the moment!

Kate and After - The Game
The Game by Kate and After
"After love, there is more love to come. So are you looking for a long term commitment with lots of passion and fun experiences. Make sure to wear your heart on your sleeve and give Kate & After a chance." - Micke Rydbeck (Kate and After)
"Fuck me!  They're not Scottish".   While that's outburst is very true, I absolutely love Sweden's Kate and After.  Ever since my K&A with K&A I've been itching for some new material, and with The Game (out on May 15th), they've pulled out all the stops.  Don't know what the Swedish for 'superb' is, but this would be it!

M A D I S O N - Armbands
Armbands by M A D I S O N
"Four athletic, strong and muscular males are searching for a party of small and chubby women who can swim well. Must be willing to vogue dance on cue and be available for long, tearful and full hearted conversations whenever needed. Bingo wings are a bonus, willingness to play Nintendo games is an essential. Let us be your knights in shining armour.  (P.S. we are not athletic...)" - Russell Ferguson (M A D I S O N)
I R E A L L Y L I K E T H I S M O B!  I am reliably informed that this is "as honest as possible".  This is the debut single from the latest cracking band from... "What's It Called?".... Cumbernauld!   So, regardless if you're a larger lady or not, keep your eyes and ears on them.  It's quality!

Collar Up - The Fear Of Love
The Fear Of Love by Collar Up
"A bunch of excitable egomaniacs seek a bunch of equally egotistical drama queens for short, beautiful, stormy, unfulfilling, damaging, and bad tempered good times." - Stephen McLaren (Collar Up)
The second outing for Collar Up who it seems are still very much on the shelf.  You should all be ashamed of yourselves!  This FREE track is again out courtesy of the brilliant Permwhale Recordings so get it snapped up.  After all, good times are good times no matter how unfulfilling and damaging they may turn out to be. 

Kitty the Lion - Duck!
Duck! by Kitty the Lion
"Pun-loving twitcher seeks companion to dip toes into the ocean of love, although may settle for pond of love. Webbed feet and feathered breast preferred, and wingspan does matter. Will provide one loaf of stale bread (mould scraped off)." - Anna Meldrum (Kitty the Lion)
Funny how things turn out.  Just this week I hear this glorious wee song from Kitty the Lion, not really knowing what this 'Duck, Duck, Duck, Goose' this was all about, and then in an unrelated conversation, the same childhood game crops up!  Must be a sign.  It's out on the 16th May for FREE.  That's a bargain to hear the dulcet, sugarsweet tones of Miss Meldrum.

My Tiny Robots - My Tiny Robots
My Tiny Robots by My Tiny Robots
"Mutinous font of ill-defined rage, seeks the ragged trousered philanthropy of a lupine beast. Must enjoy libraries, morris dancing and the cleansing waters of the fifth circle of hell. Oh! And maybe romance?" - Dylan Childs (My Tiny Robots)
The third in a trilogy is supposed to be the worst!  Tell that to My Tiny Robots.  After the joyous, indie-pop wonderment that was previous Singles Club ads Guild of Defiants and Zut Alors, they've saved the best 'til last with this self-titled belter. It's out on May 28th, so there's a wee while to wait.  But you can hear it, in all it's glory by clicking on the artwork opposite.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

An Archdiocese Moth Stomp


Hello, my name is John. Amongst other things, I make music in a group called The Machine Room - this is some of what we do: http://soundcloud.com/themachineroom.

So here are some of the tunes I’ve been listening to on SoundCloud, some more well known that others but good music is good music and so on and so forth.

Pretty heart-wrenching need I say.

Now it gets cheeky but let’s face it…

Now I’m floating.

I like this.

I love this. Shortly after I first heard this track I found out they’d played Glasgow the previous night. Bloody typical.

I came across this song late on a Sunday evening. Seemed to touch a nerve with the weekend’s happenings. Its mood reminded of Neil Young’s Harvest. It’s reflective, silky to my ears and sounds human which is something which is often missing in modern recordings. Note to self.

Cheers and Cheerio.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

...miasma!

Those four guys floating in that slightly creepy photo on the left are Edinburgh's miasma.   Towards the end of last year, they released their self-recorded debut album Feathered Feet (available on CD or digital download here).  I'm sorry to say, I only just cottoned on to it recently when they got in touch with me, but it's already started to make quite an impression here at Kowalskiy HQ.  So, I asked one of the two driving forces behind the band, Alex Auldsmith, a few questions about miasma and their plans for the future... and I even let him get a wee plug or two in while he was at it.  Here's what he had to say...  


Kowalskiy:  Who are miasma?
Alex:  miasma started out as Michael Davidson and myself (Alex Auldsmith). We have been musically cohesive since I can remember but the songs we eventually pulled together seemed like they deserved better than to be played by just two slightly awkward songwriters on acoustic instruments. So (after a huge number of transitory members) the band was completed with 2 more awkward but musically beasting members: first Dominic Hardy on drums and then Rob MacNeacail on bass. Feathered Feet shows the fruits of our writing as a duo and represents our youth as a band but the songs we now play at shows are something different and include the whole band in the writing process and in doing so creates a bigger vision.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
Alex:  I would describe the sound of Feathered Feet as being very grounded in strong chord progressions and grand, integral vocal harmonies. We have always aimed to produce something appealing to ourselves and in doing so cant help but try to give it musical integrity as well as an emotional resonance. Wow I sound pretentious as hell.... the term "music for musicians" doesn't always sit well but I think we would be proud to be described as that. In general we find it hard to fit into any particular scene but also feel like that is a good thing because we don't think genre should be as all encompassing as it is to so many bands out there.


Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Alex:  Well you can hear the whole album on the Bandcamp. You can also buy it there don't forget. We will have an EP to release later this year and a launch date revealed shortly but in the meantime you can watch us play some of our unreleased material on our YouTube thing (here and here). We have a lot of live shows coming up at some really nice venues including a regular slot at The Jazz Bar ... so come find us!

Kowalskiy:  What else can we expect from miasma in the future?  
Alex:  We've got about 2 albums worth of material just waiting to be recorded so will be trying to get that done and released as soon as. We record and produce everything ourselves so it is a massive labour of love getting stuff done but does allow us complete creative control. We're hoping to get a wee tour (or several) on the go so will be travelling round England and Scotland a lot and will definitely get back up to our little house in Tarskavaig to write and record some more songs. All in all we will be keeping busy and trying to raise a bit of a profile. I'm excited.

And Alex has every right to be!  If you are too, then be sure to head on over to their Bandcamp and have a listen to the rest of their great album, and as well as their regular gig at The Jazz Bar, you can catch them live at The Third Door in Edinburgh on the 5th of May with White Heath.  All the details are here.