Sunday, 30 September 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v22.0

NOTCAST TIME!!  For those not in the know, I don't do podcasts.  I have as much interest in hunching over a microphone for an hour than you do listening to my monotone for that length of time.  So this is my non-vocal, SoundCloud alternative... hence, notcast.  It makes sense in my head!  Anyhoo, on to this week's selections which we'll kick off with this masterpiece from one of my most-anticipated albums of the year.

That is of course the brilliant Trapped Mice.  Their debut album, Winter Sun, isn't out until the 5th of November via Armellodie Records, but you can pre-order it over here.   Speaking of Armellodie... remember they did this for little ol' me??   As well as a wee, free taster from Trapped Mice, there's also one from Cuddly Shark, who as-luck-would-have-it also have a release coming out.  Have a listen to the lead track from their Body Mass Index EP.

This one's a wee belter too, and you don't have to wait too long to get your hands on it.  It's out on the 8th of October but again, you can pre-order it here.  Both those Armellodie tracks are free so knock yourself out.  Right, let's move on to another of Scotland's great, indie labels now... Song, By Toad Records - home of the mighty Meursault.  Their third full-length offering Something For The Weakened is one of the year's finest, and Dull Spark is one of the many highlights.

Dull Spark is the second single from the album and can be bought on vinyl here.  If you haven't already done so though, get your hands on the album itself direct from Mr. Toad.  Now it's time for a blast from the past... who remembers Esmé?  I'll be honest... I don't.  But given this track was re-recorded by founder member and Kowalskiy-favourite Wiredrawn, and they contained members of Won Mississippi, it was always going to pique my interest. 

That one's free too.  Wiredrawn is a lovely man!  We'll have two more then I'm done.  The penultimate track is the latest, and first in a while, from Arran Arctic.  It's the first single to be taken from Arran's new album Like Lovers which will be released later this year.  'Tis a very welcome return!

And it's also FREE!  Last up, and now sporting a 'V' instead of the more-conventional 'U', this is the fantastic second track from the Scottish-music phenomenon that is CHVRCHES.  

The Mother We Share can be bought on 10" vinyl over here.  Even if you don't have a record player, this how much it'll fetch on eBay in 5 years time! 

So that's me done for another week.  Before I go, I'd just like to remind you to remember, remember, the 5th of November when the brilliant Trapped Mice debut hits the shelves. 

Friday, 28 September 2012

Battle Of The Bands: Round 6

A fortnight ago, this epic battle between myself and Neil from Scottish Fiction yo-yoed back into my blogging nemesis' favour. With a little help from The State Broadcasters, he levelled the score at two wins apiece. My lads Cancel The Astronauts ran them close though. You can read the full account of that round over here.  The ball is back in my court this week, so Neil better be ready for the backlash...

To help return Team Kowalskiy to winning ways, I've traveled all the way to the Outer Hebrides to recruit Skye's finest... The Dead Man's Waltz, who as luck may have it, are actually older than I though.  Result!  That 'Z' is a Godsend too.   Doing battle with my folk-noir foursome, turned out to be hip-hoppers Stanley Odd

Before we do battle, as always, let's have a quick recap of the rules.  You can read them in full over here.  This round, it's me to choose which three attributes we'll be dueling with.  For each of the three, the person with the highest value gets one point, with both of us getting a half-point in the event of a draw.  Losers... get hee-haw!  Rather predictably, I went for Band Name Scrabble Score hoping my chaps' impressive array of letters would out-do whoever Neil had chosen.  To complete the set, I plumped for the social media ones - SoundCloud Tracks and Twitter Follow Ratio.  We'll find out in a mo if those were wise choices or not, but first, here's the bandcards.  As ever, all stats were correct at the time of battle, except from Stanley Odd's average age... that was a complete guess, but in the end, it wasn't needed.

Ding ding, Round 6...


The winner of Round 6 is... Team Kowalskiy!  It got off to a great start with my choice of Band Name Scrabble Score.  Turned out I never needed that Z after all... or the W.  I suppose The Dead Man's Alt doesn't have the same ring to it.  So that was an early 1-0 lead to me.  A short-lived lead though when SoundCloud Tracks were compared.  With exactly twice the number of tracks, Stanley Odd drew the score back level, and with only the Twitter Follow Ratio to go, I was feeling a wee bit nervous.  It could've went either way.  I had no idea who Neil had up his sleeve, but in the end, by the slimmest of margins (a mere 0.18 for those without a calculator to hand), the boys did me proud and 2-1 it finished.

And with that, Team Kowalskiy takes a one point lead... again. 

My glorious victory aside, this is all about the bands, and first up are tonight's victors.  Aside from releasing one of my favourite singles of the year in Emmeline with a video which is a work of bloody art, The Dead Man's Waltz have released an album that oozes music of dark, Beirutty quality... which you can of course buy here.


As for Stanley Odd, well they're pretty great too.  As I mentioned at the weekend on my latest notcast, their new album Reject completely took this hiphopaphobe by surprise.  You can buy it over here on CD from the band or download it from Amazon MP3.  Careful now... it's "explicit".


With a fortnight to go until Neil tries to draw himself level in the series, I'm off to bask in my victory before sorting out my next band for Round 7.  Do your worst Neil!


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

...Little Things Like Kiwis!


Geezo... it's been over two-and-a-half months since I last formally 'Introduced...' you to one of the country's most promising young bands.  So it's about time I did exactly that.  I came across Little Things Like Kiwis on one of my routine trawls through SoundCloud.  Their name and photo alone piqued my attention... just as well, 'cos they still don't have any songs up there.  What followed was a bit of Googling and a lot of hoping that they were, at the very least, half decent.

But they're a lot better than that!   They're busy demoing tracks for their first release, so there's not much kicking about online but earlier this year they followed in the footsteps of Kowalskiy-favourites Be Like Pablo and Fatherson, and recorded a track for Nut Sessions.  The video is below, but first, here's what guitarist Michael had to say.

Kowalskiy:  Who are Little Things Like Kiwis?
Michael:  The band is made up of three members right now. Callum on Bass and vocals, Michael on Guitar and Rennie hitting Drums. We went to school in Inverness, but now live in Edinburgh.

Kowalskiy:  How would you describe 'your sound'?
Michael:  This is always a hard question to answer even for ourselves. I guess we are a indie/punk sort of thing haha, taking influences from bands like Bombay Bicycle Club, Born Ruffians and Tokyo Police Club. If you can sort of think of a blend of that. . . you may get the picture. We have loads of wee cool guitar riffs and fast moving bass lines.

Kowalskiy:  PLUG AWAY!!!
Michael:  Well right now we are starting demoing for our first Ep that we are working towards coming out in November/December. No idea yet as to what songs shall be on it or even a name for it. The only idea I have for a name right now is "My Cuban brothers pet bird" but we will just have to see what happens. Come check out our Facebook and listen to our Youtube videos on the page and tell your friends if you like whats going on.


Kowalskiy:  What can we expect from you guys in the future?
Michael:  Hopefully in the future we start gigging down in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We have been taking it slow to make sure we really enjoy the songs that we are making before taking to the stage. Also making our Ep and loads of little secrets that you will just have to look out for.

Tease!  So, other than the videos on there Facebook, you'll just have to wait until the EP arrives.  In the meantime though, make sure to keep an eye on this lot. 


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Coastal Skid Spy Wok v21.0

Thanks to holidays and work, we're long overdue a wee trip through the latest happenings on SoundCloud.  So here goes!  There's been an unusually high amount of great Scottish albums released in the last few weeks, so in this notcast, I'll pay homage to five of my favourites.  Let's kick things off with one I've mentioned a few times already... and my favourite of the bunch if I was forced to pick.  Here's one of the many standout tracks from Animal Love Match, the debut from the lovely Cancel The Astronauts.

The superb album can be bought over here.  While you're off buying that one, you're as well heading over here to buy the stunning debut, Under Mountains, released on the same day by Carrbridge songstress Rachel Sermanni.  

Now, if you're thinking "that's a pretty good day for Scottish albums", you'd be right.  But that's just the half of it!   The same day as those two hit the shelves, the latest from The State Broadcasters was released via Olive Grove Records.  Here's recent single Kittiwake for you to listen to.  If you're suitable impressed (and why wouldn't you be!), you can get your hands on the album Ghosts We Must Carry over here

And... AND!! That wasn't all.  Scottish hip-hoppers Stanley Odd also released their latest album Reject on the very same day... September the 17th if you're interested.  You know me, I'm not really into all that Icy T and Scoopy Scoopy Dogg Dogg kinda thing, but this album surprised me... must be those dulcet Scottish tones that make all the difference! 

Reject can be snapped up over here.   If the last one left me pleasantly surprised, then this one was no surprise at all.  The mini50 label doesn't tend to release anything that doesn't float my boat.  And their latest release The Awkward Hello, Handshake, Kiss by Edinburgh three-piece Hiva Oa is no different.   Badger, streaming below, is a gorgeous, haunting wee number, something which can be said for their debut album as a whole.   It's available over here.  So, yeah... that's pretty much it.  Hope some, if not all, of these float your boats too!
   Badger by Hiva Oa

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Kowalskiy's Free Monthly 5-track Scottish EP #27

I know, I know... I'm late.  Anyhoo, feast your eyes above!  That was my view two weeks ago... isn't it pretty?  As usual though, the artwork has got absolutely nothing to do with the five artists on this month's free EP.   It's another great wee line-up featuring five firm favourites of mine.  Four lo-fi lovelies, and one 'new adventure' in hi-fi.  Here ya go! 

1.  King Post Kitsch - The Party's Over (demo) (A demo version of the title track of KPK's debut album... which isn't even on the album.  Confused?  Don't be.  Just enjoy this lo-fi gem!)

"This track was supposed the close my first album, then I recorded a track called 'Closing Time' which felt more appropriate. I kept the title for the album, but the song has no home. I'll still play it live though, starting with a gig in November, and maybe some new music. Details soon." - Charlie a.k.a. King Post Kitsch

2.  Bottle Of Steven - Just A Glance (A great new track from the bottled half of Bottle Of Evil.  Check out his own FREE EP here.)

"This is my attempt of a new live sound, cheers for the confusion that allowed this to fall out from my brain into binary form ;)" - Steven McGilvary a.k.a. Bottle Of Steven

3.  Be Like Pablo - Between The Lines (The closing track from their great, FREE, debut album The New Adventures.)

"Between the Lines is closing track from our debut album The New Adventures. We describe the song as doo-wop through a fuzz pedal with lyrics about essay writing. The New Adventures is available now as a FREE digital download via belikepablo.com" - Ross Watson (Be Like Pablo)

4.  Greyhound Out Of Mainline - I Can Only Disappoint U (A cracking, miserablist Mansun cover from a man with one of the best stage names going!)

"I Can Only Disappoint U is one of those songs which shouldn't ever have been so good. Mansun were a band falling apart at the time, with Paul about to discover a malignant tumour in his finger, and the resultant album (Little Kix) was mostly a complete mess. It's almost worth it for this track alone, though - the melody is sublime, and it's dripping with all sorts of beauty and sadness and self-loathing. I hope this (even more) miserablist cover does it some justice.  Oh, should have said - the little recording at the end of the Disappoint U cover is me drunk and staggering back up the stairs to my flat, whistling the genius that is 'Cinnamon' by Tripwires. As you do." - Ally Winford a.k.a. Greyhound Out Of Mainline

5.  tom - boy2 (Self confessed "Scottish boy who writes music that nobody listens to".  That's gotta change!  This is the brilliant closer from tom's FREE Ohneiros album.)

"boy² follows the same theme of insomnia that is present throughout Ohneiros; the album from which it comes. It was written after the album was finished and after I had cut someone out of my life for good. It was the last song written and works thus as good closure/album closer. Ohneiros is free btw. Please take it musicbytom.bandcamp.com/album/ohneiros - thanks" - tom

So yeah, sorry again about the slight delay.  Hopefully you'll agree it's been well worth it!  Cheers to all of the above for contributing this month.   If you fancy your free copy, click the artwork above, or here for that matter.  Whichever floats your boat.  While you're there, there's another 26 for you to have a listen to and download for FREE.

I think I'm actually set for October's EP... just have to gently prod those bands who are on my list.  If they're all on board... WOW!  But, there's plenty more EPs, so if you fancy contributing a track to one of them, send me a wee email (kowalskiy2@gmail.com) and I'll see what we can do!  

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Battle Of The Bands: Round 5

And I'm back!  Batteries fully recharged and ready to extend my slender lead over Scottish Fiction in Battle Of The Bands.  If you cast your mind back a month, you'll remember I crept into the lead in the series with a whitewash victory thanks in no small part to fellow Glaswegians, and fellow physicists (maybe... who knows!?) We Are The Physics.  Paisley singer-songwriter Michael Cassidy was the unfortunate man on the end of that trouncing!

Thanks to holiday season, Neil from Scottish Fiction has had twice as long as usual to compose himself and plot his revenge.  He's gonna have to dig deep into his Scottish music reserves though to beat the latest recruits of Team Kowalskiy... Cancel The Astronauts.  With pretty much everything they've ever released, including their brilliant debut album Animal Love Match, on SoundCloud, it's no surprise I'm secretly hoping Neil plumps for SoundCloud Tracks as one of his chosen attributes.  Standing in Team Kowalskiy's way are Neil's choice, The State Broadcasters.  Quick, mental calculations... this could be close!

Before we do battle, as always, let's have a quick recap of the rules.  You can read them in full over here.  This round, it's Neil to choose which three attributes we'll be slugging it out with.  For each of the three, the person with the highest value gets one point, with both of us getting a half-point in the event of a draw.  Losers... well they don't deserve a single thing!  Neil's went for SoundCloud Tracks (yassssss!), Years Since Formation and Band Name Scrabble Score

Ding ding, Round 5...


...baws!  At least it wasn't a whitewash this time.  The result of Round 5, by the narrowest of margins, is a victory for... Team Scottish Fiction.   Having taken an early lead thanks to their superior SoundCloud Tracks, my Edinburgh chaps were pipped at the line by The State Broadcasters.  In the end it came down to TWO measly Scrabble Score points... though if you ask me, if they decide to omit the "The" from their official logo, then they have a bare-faced cheek to claim those 6 points...

...yeah, I'm a sore loser!

So once again, it's all square in the series.  Need to get my thinking cap on for who to rope in for Round 6!

I'll quickly gloss over my defeat and get on to plugging the two bands who ran each other close this round.  First up are my Edinburgh boys, Cancel The Astronauts. What with my prolonged holiday and a hectic return to work (excuses, excuses) I've not gotten around to saying how worth the wait their debut album is.  Not yet anyway!  It's out on Monday but you can pre-order Animal Love Match over here where you can also get your free download of Making Dynamite.  Here's my pick of the lovely bunch... Shapes.


Now on to tonight's victors.  The State Broadcasters also have a pretty impressive album, Ghosts We Must Carry, set for release on Monday.  Ahead of it's release via Olive Grove Records, you can also pre-order it here, and get your hands on their single Kittiwake from here... and below for that matter. 



So, it's neck-and-neck again in the series.  Neil's ass is mine in Round 6 though!