Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Introducing...Rodent Emporium

Rodent Emporium are a four piece alternative punk band that incorporate some of the best and worst aspects of various genres to create both ridiculously catchy album tracks and a unique and energetic live show.

They formed in 2005 and started to get going in 2007. Since their decision to take their madness and music to the people in a more serious manner, Rodent Emporium have found themselves performing back and forwards between Edinburgh and Glasgow, venturing into England's gig circuit before going into the U.S. in the summer of 08.

They will be returning to the U.S. in 09 to build upon their previous success and have a UK tour lined up for April.

Their debut album, 'Music without Fear of Reprimand' was released in April 08 and is available to buy at their live shows, and from www.voidavoidance.com for UK customers. Their second album is set for relase in the United States in June 09, and October in the UK.

Mini-tour dates

1st april - Market Bar, Inverness
2nd april - Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh
3rd april - Dexters Bar, Dundee
4th april - Cassette, Glasgow

Other shows

12th april - The GRV, Edinburgh with OSO (USA) and Super Adventure Club
13th MAY - Bannerman's, Edinburgh - With Kunt and The Gang.


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On the radar: Super Adventure Club

Super Adventure Club
[Photograph by Jack Waddington C/O The Skinny]

A ghoulish tune-wielding trio emanating from the bowels of central Scotland, Super Adventure Club [SAC] make for a spine-chilling proposition.

Their frothing clatter of skeletal guitar and cluster-bomb percussion has been pounding the grey matter of Central Belt crowds for the past 18 months and we here at UtR reckon the Livingston/Glasgow collective of Bruce Wallace [guitars/vocals], Mandy Clark [bass/vocals] and Neil Warrack [drums/vocals] are perfectly poised for a (very apt) stab at the big time.

SAC - Tommy Sheridan

Already an album down after the release of last year's thrilling Chalk Horror!, SAC produce exhilarating horror R&B with a bombast redolent of The Cramps, Sons & Daughters and (sadly defunct) Glasgow outfit, Uncle John & Whitelock.

It's a sound far removed from their dreamy, Enid Blyton-like moniker, but it seems this cheery-cheeked appellation underpins the band’s absolute disdain towards, erm, folk like UTR and you dear reader. Hmmm...

Band frontman Bruce explains: “[SAC] was inspired by an episode of South Park. In the episode, the name Super Adventure Club sounds fun and nice, but actually represents something really offensive. We like things like South Park and Brasseye because they say a lot about how sensationalist the media can be, and how gullible the general public are.”

A part of the hyperbole-spouting ‘mee-ja’ UTR may be, but we know a good thing when it explodes in our eardrums like an airstrike of sound and Super Adventure Club are definitely that.

Sticksman Neil (Waz to his chums) says of the band’s future: “Our main priority is to continue making music that is both challenging and interesting to ourselves, we are not interested in coming and going fashions in music, we believe good music speaks for itself. If our fans still want to hear our new material and are kind enough to let us perform it for them, I think we will have achieved a great deal.”

SAC - Built In Redundancy

Discover Super Adventure Club for yourself at the following shows:

12 Apr @ The GRV, Edinburgh
13 Apr @ Cassette, Glasgow
29 May @ Cassette, Glasgow
30 May @ Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh

By Billy Hamilton

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Monday, 30 March 2009

UtR news: April

Panda Su
[Panda Su - photograph by Portis Wasp]

Our latest track of the month comes from Fife-based artist Panda Su. Her debut is produced by Steve Mason from Beta Band/ King Biscuit Time, and she's set to play at the Fence Homegame festival in Anstruther on 18 April.

Panda Su - Moviegoer

Another act tipped by Under The Radar, We Were Promised Jetpacks, have recently returned from SXSW in the US. The band's showcases were completely sold out, mainly as a result of being played on Seattle-based independent radio station KEXP late last year – exposure which resulted in their song Quiet Little Voices being downloaded by more than one million Americans. The track will be released as a single by Fat Cat on 4 May, and their debut album, These Four Walls, is out on 15 June, ahead of a full UK tour.

Providing a snapshot of the hottest talent in Scotland, the Hinterland Festival will take place in Glasgow from 30 April-1 May across a dozen venues in the city. Acts taking part include We Were Promised Jetpacks, Sons & Daughters, Broken Records, Meursault, Juno, Manda Rin and many more.

Edinburgh College of Art has just announced the release of a live DVD, filmed in the Wee Red Bar, featuring 20 acts with ties to the college.

Bands include St Jude's Infirmary, The Shellsuit Massacre, Futuristic Retro Champions, Action Group and others. The DVD is currently on sale from various independent outlets, including Avalanche Records, The Fruitmarket, Analogue Books and online at www.artschooldance.com

Since its launch in late 2007, Edinburgh's weekly Limbo night has established itself as the place to go to check out new talent and the club played a significant role in its host venue, the Voodoo Rooms, picking up the PRS Music Pub Of The Year award last year.

During the past 18 months many of the gigs have been recorded and 23 April sees the release of the limited edition Limbo Live CD, which includes tracks by Found, Punch and The Apostles, Meursault, Isosceles, Over the Wall, Come On Gang, A-lix and Kid Canaveral.

Record Store Day takes place on 19 April and will see independent record shops throughout the UK celebrating new releases, new formats and all things independent. From 10am there will be free in-store performances and DJ sets in thousands of stores. To celebrate there will be lots of free goodie bags, new releases and an exclusive Record Store Day vinyl and CD release (limited to just 500 copies).

This column appeared in The Scotsman on 30 March 2009

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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Radar recommends: Edinburgh gigs, 29 March – 4 April

Thomas Truax

Greetings music fans! Under the Radar [UTR] welcomes you to our very first foray into the world of gig listings. Now, we know you guys are busier than Madonna in an African adoption agency, so rather than reeling off a succession of shows we’ve done all the hard work for you and extracted the highlights of the next seven days and placed them into one essential feature. Without further ado then, UTR brings to you its top five Edinburgh gigs of the week [and, yes, we know Frightened Rabbit and Meursault are playing The Bowery on Friday but if you’ve not got a ticket by now don’t even bother]...

Duty Free featuring Thomas Truax, Withered Hand, Greg Dodgeson
Friday 3 April, Cabaret Voltaire, doors: FREE(!)
Anyone who’s witnessed the beguiling sight of Thomas Truax (pictured above) in full flow will understand just why this is our gig of the week. A madcap human hurdy-gurdy, Truax and his smorgasbord of self-moulded instrumentation emits tunes like an off-kilter Andrew Bird teetering on the edge of both brilliance and derangement. Supported by the delectable harpsichordal strums of local troubadour Withered Hand, this is shaping up to be quite a showing. Oh, did we mention it will cost you not one penny?

Rob St John, The Wee Rogue, Ben Wetherill
Saturday 4 April, The Bowery, doors:TBC
Think of the sound of silence. Now add to it a tender, corkscrewing vocal and a few pulse-stopping melodies and you’ve done it; you’ve pinned down Rob St John. The once singer/songwriter now fully functioning band is an exquisite aural pleasure that never fails to induce the tingle of goose-flesh across UTR’s oh-so-manly self. Set in the Bowery’s haunting halls and supported by The Wee Rogue’s brittle-boned mews and Hack & A Hacksaw collaborator Ben Wetherill, you’d be a fool to miss this one.

Limbo featuring St Deluxe , Team Turnip, French Wives
Thursday 2 April, Voodoo Rooms, doors £4
A staple on the Edinburgh scene for over a year now, Limbo consistently produces the goods when it comes to gigs. This one’s no exception. St Deluxe are a thrashing romp of Ash-like hooks and swagger; Team Turnip wail out infectious melodies like The Boy Least Likely To in a Lego-less toy shop; while French Wives are the sweet sound of string-laden waves crashing against a shoreline of The Delgados and Arcade Fire. Will we ever stop singing Limbo’s praises? Doubtful.

Manky Bastard Presents: The Gothenburg Address, North Atlantic Oscillation, San Sebastian
Saturday 4 April, Sneaky Pete’s, £5 doors
When someone going by the name of Manky Bastard presents you with anything you’d normally make for the pepper spray. But this time you’re in safe hands because this lovingly-wrapped gift is the oscillating sound of The Gothenburg Address. A clan of indie luminaries, the Edinburgh-dwelling quartet’s voiceless thrust of chord embellishing Post-Rock is picking up plaudits like Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli picks up women, sans the incorrigible catchphrase and finger snapping.

Jesus H. Foxx (Single launch), Y’all Is Fantasy Island, Hindle Wakes
Thursday 2 April, Sneaky Pete’s, £4 doors
We here at UTR make no apologies for our unreserved love of Jesus H. Foxx. The Edinburgh-based quintet’s new-wave, post-punk scuffling has been tickling our sensorial cones for over a year now. This week's gig marks the launch of The Foxx’s brand new single and is supported by infectiously morose mainstays Y’all Is Fantasy Island and Glasgow’s whispered Hindle Wakes. All in all, it’s guaranteed to be a corker.

Disagree with our selection? Wanna tell the world where you 're going this week? Let us know below...

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Thursday, 26 March 2009

On the radar: The Gothenburg Address

The Gothenburg Address

With the demise of Aereogramme and the endless globetrotting of Mogwai, something like a post-rock vacuum has opened up back here in Scotland. And if you go along with that tenuous theory, you won't mind if I finish it by saying that The Gothenburg Address are the latest band to attempt to plug the gap.

The Edinburgh four-piece are more qualified for the role than most, consisting as they do of ex-members of Arab Strap, The Zephyrs and Raising Miss June, and having just soundtracked a short film called Sonnets from Scotland with Mogwai.

Like the 'Gwai, The Gothenburg Address, who only formed last year, are purely instrumental, conveying a late night / early dawn atmosphere through chilly guitars and understated harmonies.

Their debut single ‘The Lesser Coming Home’ will be released on 5th May.

The Gothenburg Address - The Lesser Coming Home

You can catch The Gothenburg Address headlining Sneaky Pete’s on 4th April and supporting Amusement Parks On Fire at Cabaret Voltaire on 6th May.


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Sunday, 22 March 2009

SXSW: The Scottish invasion

SXSWIf you've picked up a music magazine, logged into Twitter or listened to the radio in the past week, chances are you'll have spotted mention of four letters: SXSW.

That's because South by Southwest is, quite simply, the place to be right now. The annual music, film and digital industries showcase takes place in Austin, Texas, where the city becomes one big, amorphous bubble of hype every March.

This weekend a selection of Scottish bands have been trying to make themselves heard in this hubbub, with gigs by new and not-so-new names.

So for those of you (and us) unlucky enough to be missing out, we've trawled YouTube for a round-up of some of the Scottish acts rocking Texas...

We Were Promised Jetpacks

The young Glasgow band have just signed to Fat Cat records, the label that hosts The Twilight Sad and Frightened Rabbit. Expect similar success for these likely lads.


These artful Edinburgh guys are tipped for similar success. Interesting behind-the-band angle for the video.

Camera Obscura

Long-standing Glasgwegian indie favourites who look to have stepped up their game since signing to 4AD recently.


It seems hard to believe that just over a year ago Glasvegas were virtually unknown. They hardly need the exposure now.

Primal Scream

The same can of course be said for Primal Scream, here with a brief snippet of 'Rocks'.

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Thursday, 19 March 2009

Introducing... Yahweh


It's easy to forget that Scotland has produced some of the most influential music of the past decade. While bands all around the world reference Mogwai or Boards of Canada or Belle & Sebastian, there are also fledgling musicians closer to home who owe these trailblazers a debt.

One is Lewis Cook, an 18-year-old singer-songwriter who recently released his first album under stage name Yahweh. Now a student in Glasgow, Cook grew up in the small Dumfriesshire town of Moffat, where his love of music began:

"I think one of the biggest inspirations for me was when I heard Mogwai's EP+6," he says. "It totally opened my mind to a whole new concept of music and was my first introduction to minimalism. Similarly, Boards of Canada's Music Has The Right To Children was a real revelation."

Yahweh's LP, Tug of Love, is, thematically at least, a double-sided work: the first half dedicated to Glasgow and the second to Moffat. For a bedroom recording it's an alt-folk revelation, combining the wry lyricism of Arab Strap with subtle bursts of electronica and sampling.

What's more, if you order a copy from their MySpace it comes in a brown paper package tied with string, surely adding to the likelihood of it becoming a collector's item in the not too distant future.

Yahweh: The Wee Ending

Yahweh: Laps(e)

Yahweh play Mono, Glasgow on 23 March, Stereo, Glasgow on 11 April and Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh (with Meursault) on 20 June.

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Monday, 16 March 2009

Introducing... Pooch


Pooch mix the fun-loving pop-punk of the B-52s with the surging synths of The Bravery, and hone their craft in a "dark warehouse in a forgotten corner of Glasgow."

The four-piece do occasionally emerge to play riotous gigs; so riotous the police pulled the plug on a recent in-store appearance when the decibels grew too plentiful for sensitive ears.

Pooch - Fashionista:

Pooch are two girls and two guys, and their trashy, electroclash gigs have earned them a reputation with the edgier half of Glasgow's party crowd.

Pooch - French Kiss:

Catch them live at Cassette, Glasgow on 20 March, Nice'n'Sleazy's, Glasgow on 18 April and Sloan's Ballroom, Glasgow on 30 April.

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Friday, 13 March 2009

Introducing... Das Contras

Das Contras

One accusation that might be levelled at independent Scottish music is that it's often too inward-looking or parochial: take elements of native folk, plug in the guitars, sing in yer native brogue and hey presto, Scottish indie!

Das Contras are one of the exceptions to this (by no means absolute) rule. The Fifers describe themselves as "a six-headed musical monster with a Latin temperament, an axe to grind, two devilish horns and a rock'n'roll heart."

Since winning the PRS New Music Award in 2006, the "monster" has played hundreds of concerts from Edinburgh to New York, supporting such musical luminaries as Terry Callier, Ozomatli, Acoustic Ladyland, Marlena Shaw and Candi Staton, who said that they "had blown her away".

Lofty praise indeed.

Das Contras - Don't Plant A Seed (live at REC-On, 2008):

Das Contras play the Jazz Bar, Chambers Street, Edinburgh at midnight on Saturday 21st March.

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Scottish bands and musicians on Twitter

Twilight Sad on TwitterI realise you're probably fed up with the constant media coverage of Twitter by now. So Stephen Fry got stuck in a lift? So what.

Rather than be the umpteenth blog to preach about why it's probably so essential that you should sign up right now and start informing the world of your every move, I'm going to offer something a bit more useful (presuming you are indeed interested in Scottish music): a handy list of all the Scottish bands and musicians I could find on Twitter.

Other music blogs have done similar things, but as far as I'm aware no-one has done this for specifically Scottish acts.

There are some great bands in the list, and there's no better way to keep up-to-date with the latest news, announcements and mundane lifestyle details (there is even a Twitter account for Mogwai's latest dietary adventures) than following them.

Alex Cornish - Gifted English singer-songwriter who upped sticks to Edinburgh
Any Color Black - Glaswegian electro-rock duo recently featured on this blog
Attic Lights - Natural heirs to Teenage Fanclub's melodic pop crown
ballboy - Veterans of the capital's indie scene
Briganties, The - Indie rockers from the Borders
Broken Records - Hyped Edinburgh group with debut album on the way
Calvin Harris - Electro-popstar uses Twitter mainly to slag the NME
Camera Obscura - Makers of the finest indie-pop since Belle & Sebastian
Chris Flew - Glaswegian singer-songwriter
Come On Gang - One of the capital's most hyped bands at the moment
Copy Haho - Stonehaven's finest musical exports
Dan Lyth - Dunfemline singer-songwriter
Dananananaykroyd - Multi-syllabic Glaswegians make warp-speed pop-punk
De Rosa - Chemikal Underground-signed earnest indie rock
Dead Boy Robotics (Gregor and Mike) - Electro duo from Edinburgh
Epic 26 - Edinburgh band recently played the city's inaugural Twestival
Errors - Signed to Mogwai's label, adding electronica to their post-rock sound
Francis Macdonald - Ex-Teenage Fanclub man turned producer
FOUND - Quirky, art-school folktronica act signed to Fence Records
Isosceles - Art-pop tunesmithery from Glasgow
Hussys, The - Glasgow girl band and one of the first on Twitter
Jesus H Foxx - Edinburgh's prime exponents of Talking Heads-style punk-funk
Joe McAlinden - West Coast indie stalwart going it solo
Kid Canaveral - Gentle indie from Edinburgh
Luva Anna - Dundee psych-rockers who appeared on Orange Unsigned TV show
Louise Quinn - Singer-songwriter in Glasgow's A Band Called Quinn
Malcolm Middleton - Falkirk native and Arab Strap co-founder Malky Middleton
Manda Rin - Former Bis starlet now doing it solo
Mitchell Museum - Fledgling indie obscurities
Mogwai (Stuart Braithwaite - 'Gwai guitarist delivers band news and setlists.
Norman Blake - Another ex-Teenage Fanclub member
Proclaimers, The - Scotland's finest musical twins
RBRBR - Playful electro pop act from Edinburgh
Scottish Enlightenment, The - Dunfermline band
Twilight Sad, The - Awesome mix of post-rock and folk - with a heavy West Coast accent
Unicorn Kid - Teenage electro-pop prodigy from Leith
We Are The Physics - Manic punk from these Glesgae livewires
Y'All is Fantasy Island - The most prolific band in Scotland hail from Falkirk

And of course, we're on it too: Under the Radar

Have we missed anyone?
Leave your additions to the list in the comments below and I'll add them in.

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Saturday, 7 March 2009

Introducing... Oscar Charlie

Oscar CharlieHailing from the wind-battered, desolate islands of Shetland (which they describe as 'tropical'), Oscar Charlie are kindred spirits John Gair (drums), Reuben Quinn (guitar/vocals) and Jim Bevington (bass), who found an outlet for their rage in playing pop songs to strangers.

In the summer of 2008 the trio relocated to Glasgow, where they fell in with wayward electro soul, Jamie Miller (synths).

Since then, the band formerly known as Black Bic Biro have been gigging extensively, most notably at In The City, the top music industry showcase held in Manchester.

In 2009 the quartet are buckling down to work on a collection of sonic delights with a little help from producer chum George Atkins.

Oscar Charlie - Vandals:

Oscar Charlie on MySpace

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Introducing... A Band Called Quinn

Louise Quinn photographed by Mike HendersonSinger-songwriter Louise Quinn and drummer/producer Bal Cooke met whilst dressed as aliens working for a street theatre company in Glasgow. Both had a love of intergalactic electronic sounds and flopping around to indie music. A Band Called Quinn was born.

Soon added to the line-up were trumpet player Robert Henderson and Steve Westwater, a glam-rock obsessed bass player from the Highlands.

It wasn't long before the spaced-out combo starting getting attention. Parisian superstar DJ Kid loco flew Louise over to Paris to sing on his album and braved the Glasgow climate to produce an album called Luss for the band.

Their new album Sun Moon Stars features the production skills of Kid Loco and guitar skills of Echo and the Bunneymen's Gordy Goudie.

• The Glimmer Song is released today (9 March).

A Band Called Quinn - The Glimmer Song:

A Band Called Quinn - Baby When I See Your Eyes:

A Band Called Quinn play an in-store gig at HMV Glasgow, Argyle Street at 6pm on Monday 16th March and their album launch is at The Buff Club, 142 Bath Lane, Glasgow on 19th March.

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Thursday, 5 March 2009

Introducing... Any Color Black

Any Color Black

The story of how Louise and Andy - two halves of Glaswegian electro-rock duo Any Color Black - came together is quite appropriate: "We met at 4am one morning on Glasgow’s Buchanan Street while in search of some post drink snacks and a taxi home. Somehow we ended up in a shopping trolley and have been tolerating each other ever since."

Appropriate, because the music of Any Color Black is synonymous with a properly debauched night out - a distorted yet focussed musical vision that combines throbbing electro-bass and frenetic guitars (although the shopping trolley doesn't feature in the end product).

Having supported the likes of Goose and Ladyhawke in 2008, as well as releasing their debut EP 'Touch Me' , they kicked off 2009 with an o2 Academy Live tour and an Apple Store performance.

We didn't ask about the spelling of 'color' but we can only guess that they plan to break America some time soon.

Listen to 'As You Are. As You Were' by Any Color Black:

Any Color Black play The GRV, Edinburgh tonight (5 March) and the Captain's Rest, Glasgow on 10 March.

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Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Latest column: Young Fathers, Aidan John Moffat and more

Young Fathers

Olaf and Derick's latest Under the Radar newspaper column (which appears in Scotsman Review every month) last week featured a track from hyped Edinburgh hip-hop act Young Fathers (pictured), as well as news about a musical bottle opener from former Arab Strap man Aidan John Moffat and the usual local gigs round-up.

Read and listen here.

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Monday, 2 March 2009

Versus: A night to prove that 3 really is the magic number

From left: Enfant Bastard, Dead Boy Robotics, The Foundling Wheel
[From left: Enfant Bastard, Dead Boy Robotics, The Foundling Wheel]

There's something depressingly formulaic about gigs these days: you pay your money, the band turns up, plays the standard setlist, follows this with a rehearsed encore (whether they've earned it or not) and then leave for their next port of call.

It poses a question for even the most devoted fan: Why didn't I just listen to the album at home without the £3 pints and that tall bloke standing directly in my line of vision?

A group of Edinburgh artists may just have the answer, by devising a thoroughly different approach to the live music format: three bands, one stage. The trio of like-minded acts behind this unique night, which has been combatively titled 'Versus', are sonic pioneer The Foundling Wheel, synth-punk wizards Dead Boy Robotics and anti-folk master Enfant Bastard.

All three acts are members of the Bear Scotland collective, a prominent strand of Edinburgh's burgeoning music scene which also includes Meursault and Withered Hand.

'Versus' is being billed as "a night where innovative exploration converges with mind-blistering instrumentation."

So if you want to witness a bit of local history in the making, and perhaps even the live formation of Edinburgh's first superband, head along to the Wee Red Bar (at the Edinburgh College of Art) this Saturday, 7th March, from 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, have a listen to some tracks from each act...

Enfant Bastard - Vincent Van Gogh

Dead Boy Robotics - Cloud Sequence Animals

The Foundling Wheel - Out To See

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