Saturday, 30 May 2009

Radar recommends: 31 May - 6 Jun

With the sun currently radiating like the unbearably hot spehere of gases it is, being holed up in a sweatbox with scruffy indie kids isn't the most enticing of propositions. But, remember, this is Scotland and tomorrow could well see sub-zero temperatures, so a cavernous pit with booze and bands may well be the only way of keeping warm....

Citizens, Hey Vampires

Sunday 31 May, The Admiral Bar, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, tbc
Glasgow's thriving punk and hardcore scene is fast approaching a critical mass. In that spirit, Citizens and Hey Vampires are taking to the road to spread the good word all the way down the east coast. Before that, the guys are guys are opening their tour with a brace of shows in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Citizens play brash hardcore punk which, though overflowing with abrasive energy, still remains remarkably catchy and melodic. Hey Vampires, meanwhile, are a step closer towards the post-hardcore end of the punk spectrum, adding extra layers of melody and complexity to the energetic chord progressions and crashing drumbeats that define the genre. [JM]

Teitur, Emily Scott
Mon 1 Jun, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £8
Tremulous of tone, Faroese songsmith Teitur Lassen has a knack of juxtaposing grandiose melodies against fey narratives, creating luscious soundscapes that both allure and enliven the solar plexuses. His latest album, pompously entitled The Singer, has fissured critical opinion but live Lassen comes into his own. Supported by the elegiac mew of Edinburgh’s Emily Scott, this evening of musical mastery promises to be uniquely ear-pleassing. [BH]

Jackie Onassis, Suspire
Mon 1 Jun, Captain's Rest, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, tbc
If their namesake was renowned for her style, glamour and elegance, Glasgow-based Jackie Onassis couldn't possibly be further removed from that ideal. The band's dirty, sleazy down-tempo punk is rough and ready, combining thrashing guitars and screaming vocals with hardcore and gothic influences. Their sound isn't a world away from that of the Misfits, though the schlock-horror stage show is conspicuous by its absence. There couldn't be a sharper contrast between the headliners and fellow Glaswegians Suspire. Their smooth, polished indie rock is a world away from gritty hardcore punk but should prove a welcome respite ahead of Jackie O's sonic onslaught. [JM]

Broken Records, Sparrow & the Workshop
Wed 3 Jun, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £7.50
Bastions of Edinburgh's bulbous music scene, the baroque-swaying Broken Records have recently been putting the finishing touches to their debut LP. With said record finally complete, the 4AD-signed septet get back to the nitty gritty of the live domain, tautening up new numbers and bellowing out old faithfuls. Expect the usual swoosh of instrumentation besieging your lugholes, but with Glasgow's magnificent Sparrow & the Workshop playing support, an added dash of finesse will infiltrate the undercard. [BH]

The Northwestern, The French Wives, Palace Ballet
Wed 3 Jun, Captain's Rest, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £7.50
The Northwestern is the project of ex-Hope of the State's frontman Sam Herlihy, which kind of says it all really. What we're more interested in is the eagle swooping soundstack of Glasgow quartent The French Wives - a band who moisten ear canals with their shivering sonic arrangements. Less soothing, Glasgow ensemble Palace Ballet scattergun a swathe of influences, from funk to junkyard punk, through their epileptic retrograde shtick. [BH]

The Mill presents, Cryoverbillionaires
Thur 4 Jun, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7.30pm, free
Proving that failure to grasp proper spelling and punctuation is no obstacle to success, Glaswegians and Cryoverbillionaires make their way over to the capital for a free show at Cabaret Voltaire that's not to be missed.' trademark alternative rock is characterised by intricate clean guitar arrangements which slowly build before giving way to thrashing, violent choruses. Cryoverbillionaires, a product of the same thriving Glasgow indie scene, are perhaps a little more experimental, bringing psychedelic and progressive influences to the party. [JM]

The Last Ever Black Tape: My Latest Novel, Copy Haho, Mitchell Museum
Fri 5 Jun, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 8.30pm, £6.50
Sneaky Pete's has gathered the best of Scotland's indie talent to mark the Black Tape Club's last hurrah, giving the venerable club night a send-off to remember. Sublime Glasgow alt rockers My Latest Novel top the bill, promoting their new album Deaths and Entrances. Meanwhile, Stonehaven's Copy Haho and their dreamy indie pop make a rare Edinburgh appearance ahead of a tour of England which will take them all the way down to London. Glaswegians Mitchell Museum, undoubtedly one of Scotland's most innovative new bands, hardly need an introduction but their avant-garde pop never disappoints. [JM]
Words: Billy Hamilton, Jodi Mullen

Think we've missed anything? Let us know where you're going below...


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Friday, 29 May 2009

On the radar: North Atlantic Oscillation

The modern day musician too often talks the talk without actually having anything interesting to say.

Take The Enemy’s self declared bastion of the working classes Tom Clarke. Quite why this Roland Rat doppelgänger's been accorded a fully functioning set of vocal chords is beyond UtR’s comprehension, but somehow he’s got license shoot his mouth off on any subject matter he deems fit.

And the most depressing thing about this era of loquacious banality? We hacks lap it up; devouring irreverent flippancies as if they were After Eights at the Last Supper and clutching to the words of conceited post-teens who can barely string a succession of chords together, never mind a sentence.

But sometimes a band will come along who prefer to play it straight, keeping their cakeholes shut and letting the music do the work. A band much like Glasgow/Edinburgh trio North Atlantic Oscillation [NAO].

“I really honestly don't have much to say about us or the scene we're in or not in,” explains NAO spearhead Sam Healy. “I'm very boring, basically: the only thing I want to do is make music, not talk about making music. I know that this is a sort of stupid attitude, since the media can actually help a band to get to a position of making more music.”

Admittedly, Healy’s reticence makes for less than newsworthy copy, but there’s no denying his unaccommodating pique and blunt honesty heightens the intrigue in a group already bustling with tune.

Perfectly monikered, NAO sound every bit the climatic phenomenon. Kaleidoscopic keys and a pressure-pot rhythm section explode against Healy's thrusting, affected vocal, culminating in a thrilling sonic maelstrom that swooshes like Flaming Lips in their Soft Bulletin prime.

Not that Healy will confess to influences, mind: “[We’re inspired by] a wide variety of things, not all of them musical,” he deadpans. “Anything that manages to be exciting and unprecedented at the same time.”

With the group’s debut album set to drop in September, the tail-end of 2009 is shaping up nicely for NAO. And an achievement for the band? “Being able to make music all the time,” says Healy with typical brusque.

On second thoughts, it's probably best to let NAO’s music do the talking...

Play: 77 Hours

Drawing Maps from Memory from Brendan Mc Carthy on Vimeo.

Words: Billy Hamilton

Do you want more from your indie idols or do you prefer the strong silent type? Let us know below...

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Thursday, 28 May 2009

On the radar: Eagleowl

Eagleowl are like the soundtrack to a dream.

Insulating in both tone and acoustics, the Edinburgh ensemble sprawl soft melodic sheets across a mattress of achingly pretty arrangements.

Such nocturnal reveries, however, are far from the work of slumberland fancy. Instead, the group’s beatific compositions are meticulously crafted and perfectly formed.

“I find it easier to create a certain mood or atmosphere, rather than communicate a specific idea or tell a story,” says band foreman Bart Owl. “I prefer if the listener gets a glimpse of the story behind the song and then goes on to develop that themselves - to make up their own mind - than to have everything set out in black and white.”

Play: Blanket

Despite appearances, Eagleowl are no bed-wetting lightweights. A stoic determination underpins the quartet’s tear-stained symphonies and, every once in a while, an incongruous sonic boom will bookend their mesmerising live shows.

Bart explains: “When we played at Homegame last month we finished with the most Pop song we have and filled it out with Rob Waters [The Great Bear] on harmonium, Owen Williams [Pineapple Chunks and Rob St. John] on drums, and Neil Pennycook [Meursault] on accordion. It was good fun to make a bigger noise, but I don't think it's something we'll do very often.”

A key component in the burgeoning Auld Reekie scene, Eagleowl’s reputation for resplendent soundscapes has escalated quickly. Not that Bart’s one to blow the band’s trumpet too loudly:

“I'm pretty proud of what we've done so far,” he states reticently. “I kind of assumed early on that world domination isn't really on the cards for Eagleowl. Not that the music's particularly leftfield or confrontational, but I think there's limited appeal there to a 'mainstream' audience. But I'm quite comfortable with that.”

He continues: “I've always thought it's better to have a large impact on a smaller audience - to really mean something, even if it's just to a handful of people - than be on every radio show you can, and have the whole nation tapping its feet, but never really paying attention. It’s better to be loved by one person than liked by a hundred.”

And loved they are. Previous gigs have reduced grown women to tears (in a good way, of course), while the lugs of national DJs are finally beginning to tune into to the band’s harpsichordal lullabies.

So, with their star now firmly in the ascent, what’s the best thing about being in Eagleowl: The women? The acclaim? The riders?

“Clarissa’s [Eagleowl's bassist] a really great cook. Seriously, really great, “ Bart claims, deadpan. “I think everything we do - rehearsal, recording, sound checks, anything - it's all scheduled around regular meals.”

Play: For The Thoughts You Never Had

Want to check out Eagleowl for yourself? Catch them at the following shows:

26 Jun @ Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh
2 Oct @ Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh

Words: Billy Hamilton

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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

On the radar: The Japanese War Effort

The Japanese War EffortWhile some artists allow themselves to be swallowed by their own pompous self-mythologising, others take pleasure in a more light-hearted kind of alter-ego, constructing a public image out of scraps of whatever cultural paraphernalia appeals to them.

One such artist is Martin Moog (not his real name, obviously), who, as The Japanese War Effort, expresses himself through an intriguing gauze of lo-fi electronica, Post-it notes, YouTube sampling, Lothian Buses and Scottish football history (see his ode to Ian St John below).

Appropriately then, The Japanese War Effort began life on April Fools Day two years ago as "an ambient joke band" but has since evolved into a beguiling channel for Moog's sometimes poignant, sometimes witty world view.

It comes as something of a surprise that such a cultivated personality arrived at his musical style through a series of negations: "I like electronic music, but I don't have any fancy equipment, I love hip hop and rap, but I can't rhyme, and I don't want to be a folk singer, because a lot of people have had that idea recently," Moog says. "So making half electronic guitar songs in my bedroom alone seemed like a good idea. It's ideal working at my own pace, on my own terms, and not having the mundanity of weekly band practices or anything like that."

Play: St. John

When UtR saw him play live recently in Edinburgh, the tall, bespectacled Moog looked almost out of place as he stepped on to the stage in front of the capital's most dedicated scenesters. But from the first note he had the crowd hushed in reverential attention as he got on with his dexterously looped compositions, accomplished guitar playing and calm, confident delivery. In short, it was a performance.

"The loop pedal is only used on the live side of things, where I interpret what songs I have recorded on my laptop, and I try to use it sparingly," Moog says. "Using a loop pedal means that songs have to start quite sparsely, and tend to build and build to a climax, so it can be a bit of a challenge creating an interesting song structure within the confines. But I'm a big advocate of playing songs live in a different way from the record, and the loop pedal allows me to do that, so the drawbacks are definitely outweighed by the benefits."

Moog is enthusiastic about the current music scene, but maintains a healthy scepticism: "Obviously there's a real mix of good and bad music," he says. "I've recently played with some great bands in the shape of Meursault and My Kappa Roots and I'm also a big fan of Barn Owl, Plaaydoh - who unfortunately have just split - and Eagleowl. It would be wrong to mention who I dislike - I'd like to avoid the clichés of becoming embroiled in any disputes through the press - but suffice to say, I've had enough of dullard groups who do that seven piece indie with folk instruments thing, which seems pretty over exposed at the moment. But it is certainly a good time to be getting out, playing live and making records."

Heeding his own advice, Moog is a busy boy in the coming months. The Japanese War Effort will be contributing to a couple of compilations, and will be working on a new album over the summer. But Moog says the focus of his musical energies will be his new band Conquering Animal Sound, which is "an expansion of the Jap's live ideas, involving two people playing through one loop pedal". They are releasing their debut mix tape as a free download at the end of May, and will be playing their first show at Henry's Cellar Bar on the 30th of May.

You can download the Snowbird EP by The Japanese War Effort here and buy the latest EP, King of Poland, here.

Play: You Like Dogs LOL

Words: Nick Mitchell

Was the Japanese War Effort a lost cause from the start? Discuss...

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Sign up for Tune Up

Let’s face it, the Scottish Arts Council [SAC]’s dropped a few clangers when it comes to funding (Paolo Nutini at SXSW, anyone?) but by backing the Tune Up project UtR reckons they’re bang on the money.

Aimed at enabling new and established local acts to excavate the nooks and crannies of Scotland’s vast topography, Tune Up is breaching out beyond the Central Belt and into untarnished musical confines like Stornoway, Ullapool and Thurso (well, maybe not).

The current Tune Up jamboree features James Yorkston, Lisa Knapp, Going Across The Sea, De Rosa and The Hebrides Ensemble and is currently sprawling itself across such divine locations as Peebles, Langholm and Ayr.

Plans are already afoot for the next swathe of Tune Up giggage and organisers of the SAC funded project are inviting any local promoters and venues interested in hosting shows to get in touch.

Sound like you? Well, sign up to receive information about how to participate here.

A video diary of James Yorkston's current Tune Up jaunt with Lisa Knapp can be seen below...

- Words by Billy Hamilton

Is Tune Up a victory won for SAC? Did anyone think Paolo Nutini deserved THAT money? Let us know below...


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Monday, 25 May 2009

On the radar:
[ photographed by Calum Forsyth]

Play: Please Warm My Cold Hands

The quiet-loud-quiet dynamic has been a staple of alternative rock since the Pixies first broke out of the college radio ghetto over twenty years ago.

That simple song structure - minimalist verse giving way to crashing chorus - has formed the blueprint for dozens of classic albums over the last two decades, from Surfer Rosa to Pavement's Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain.

Glasgow's can be forgiven for not deviating wildly from the tried-and-tested formula, thanks to the sheer quality of their output. The four-piece are a humble lot but it’s hard not to be impressed by their work ethic, songwriting and gutsy performances.

Guitarist Fraser Sanaghan explains: "We're quite a modest bunch of guys. Any new band that comes along promising to change people's lives and be truly different are obviously delusional. If you think of all the bands you can count as being truly original and different, it took them years to do so. We work hard and we play our hearts out when we're on stage."

Play: That Kid Can Sleep

The band's style strongly emphasises contrast. Delicate, thoughtful guitar and vocal arrangements gradually build to a crescendo before being washed away in a release of sound; choruses descending into a torrent of thrashing riff and guttural screams. This interplay between melody and dissonance underpins each of' songs.

Proudly wearing their influences on their sleeves, the group draws ideas from acts like Death Cab For Cutie, Brand New and Deftones. One of their biggest inspirations, however, lies much closer to home: the sadly defunct Aereogramme. According to Sanaghan, the Glaswegian experimental rock outfit have "probably influenced the sound of the band more than anyone else."

That should pay homage to groundbreaking local acts is hardly a surprise. The band have been playing alongside the likes of I See Shapes, Cryoverbillonaires and There Will Be Fireworks since they first took to the stage over a year and a half ago and have already established firm friendships across the Glasgow scene:

"We all seem to have the same work ethic, write good songs, play hard and we all strive to help one another too," says Sanaghan. "It would be amazing to see these bands recognised a bit further afield."

Play: To Their Blood

The band recently recorded a track with Idlewild bassist Gareth Russell and plan to release an EP by the end of the summer, but for now, one thing features strongly in' immediate plans: "Lots and lots of shows," enthuses Sanaghan. "We'll be looking to play as much as possible over the summer. Any time out we have we'll be using to record another couple of tracks."

Words: Jodi Mullen play live at Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow on 30 May and Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on 4 June PicturesMemories Live @ The Mill from Fraser Sanaghan on Vimeo.

Who would win: A lion or a tiger? Let us know below....

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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Radar recommends: 24 - 30 May

Zoey Van Goey
[Zoey Van Goey: playing The Bowery on Monday]

As sure as a Pope defecates in the woods, the dawning of a new week brings the promise of further ministerial misdemeanours, yet more fall-out from the Pete/Jordan saga and the harrowing realisation that a trip to Stark's Park beckons next season. Oh, and there's a tonne of exquisite gigs across the country to get yer lugs around...

Zoey Van Goey
Mon 25 May, The Bowery, Edinburgh. Doors 7.30pm, £5
Zoey Van Goey create the type of delectable indie-pop ditties a Tigermilk-era Stuart Murdoch would give his corduroy cardigan for. Which is hardly surprising really, given the Belle & Sebasian frontman had a hand in producing the Glasgow-based trio's scrumptious debut single Foxtrot Vandals. Having built up a fervent reputation for their ebullient live shows, The Bowery's warren-like cove is the perfect setting for Zoey Van Goey to finally move in to the spotlight. [BH]

Wed 27 May, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £5
Despite not yet having an album under their belts, Glasgow-based Nacional have already played live at Glastonbury and this year's SxSW festival in Austin, Texas. Though the band's guitar-driven indie pop shows clear nods to a range of acts like Sonic Youth and The Stone Roses, their most obvious influence is The Smiths. Having already attracted the attention of trendsetters down south and with a UK tour lined up early this summer, it's only a matter of time before Nacional go stratospheric. [JM]

Wed 27 May, Bannerman's, Edinburgh. Doors 8pm, £tbc
Wednesday sees the return of Fife drone-pop worshippers Silvermash after a lengthy hiatus. Having toured most of the world with The Wedding Present, drummer Graeme reunites with his former cohorts for a night of both delicate musicality and bone-shuddering walls of guitar, with a doff of the cap to the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. [NM]

Thurs 28 May, Captain's Rest, Glasgow. Doors 7:30pm, £free
The cream of Glasgow's grunge and punk talent lines out on Thursday to celebrate the launch of United Fruit's latest EP, Mistress Reptile Mistress. Guests-of-Honour United Fruit have been favourably compared with Sonic Youth, among others, and the new EP looks set to herald in another gloriously noisy chapter in their increasingly illustrious career. Underground grunge rockers Hey Enemy recently returned to the live circuit after a lengthy hiatus and will be keen to dust off their chops ahead of festival appearances at goNorth and Rockness this summer. Despite being a two-man outfit, Bronto Skylift are one of the most abrasive bands on the bill, with a sound reminiscent of classic Mudhoney, though post-hardcore punks Hey Vampires will give them a run for their money every step of the way in the loudness stakes. [JM]

Live at The Mill: Cryoverbillionaires, Action Group
Thurs 28 May, The Mill @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7:30pm, free
Glaswegian experimental rockers Cryoverbillionaires have established themselves as one of Scotland's premier unsigned acts in recent years. The band's enormous wall of sound goes far beyond what one might reasonably expect a three-piece to produce, with swirling, psychedelic guitars, soaring vocals and superb musicianship the order of the day. Also on the bill are eclectic Edinburgh pop outfit Action Group, winners of Under The Radar's prestigious single of the month award for April. [JM]

Play: Action Group - Look At That Ass

Ablach, Step On It, Black Sister, Gusto Mastivo
Thurs 28 May, The Tunnels, Aberdeen, Doors 7:30pm, £tbc
Local grindcore upstarts Ablach join Hungarian thrashers Step On It for the Aberdeen leg of their ongoing tour of the UK and Ireland. Formed by alumni of the now defunct Filthpact and members of death metal titans Bonesaw, Albach have already established themselves as one of the most brutal acts on the Aberdonian scene. They're joined by half-Scottish, half-Hungarian thrash metal outfit Black Sister and Gusto Mastivo, obnoxiously offensive purveyors of grindcore from the depths of Morayshire. [JM]

**UtR's gig of the week**
The Skinny Dip: St Deluxe, The Gothenburg Address, Bronto Skylift
Thurs 28 May, The Bongo Club, Edinburgh. Doors 7.30pm, £5
These days, it's usually best to ignore anything coming out of Alan McGee’s cakehole, but for once the former Creation Svengali is right on the button. Nae quite the Scottish Nirvana he makes out, Glasgow's St Deluxe are still a blistering scab of slash and burn guitars built around guttural, tight rhythms and fuzz-box vocals. Backed by The Gothenburg Address's magnificent post-rock soundscapes and the aforementioned Bronto Skylift’s lug-blistering racket, this Skinny Mag-associated showing is going to be L.O.U.D. [BH]

Play: The Gothenburg Address - The Lesser Coming Home

Oscar Charlie
Thurs 28 May, Blackfriars Basement, Glasgow. Doors 8.30pm, FREE
Glasgow-based Shetlanders Oscar Charlie, who we featured on the blog back in the early days, kick off the first of three monthly summer shows at the tiny Blackfriar's Basement. The quartet make complex, accomplished math-rock that reels off into epic choruses when you least expect it. DJs will follow the band, it's free entry, and everyone gets a complimentary bottle of Krusovice on arrival. Need any more reasons? [NM]

Play: Oscar Charlie - Vandals:

Meursault, Honey Trap, X-Lion Tamer
Fri 29 May, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £5
Meursault hardly need an introduction for readers of this blog. Defying the unspoken mantra that a laptop and a ukulele should never share a stage, the Camus-inspired Edinburgh outfit are arguably Auld Reekie's pre-eminent 'buzz band', their powerful folktronica and Neil Pennycook's yearning vocals singling them out from the crowd. Support comes from rowdy Londoners Honey Trap and local electro-popsters X-Lion Tamer. [NM]

Words: Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell, Jodi Mullen

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Friday, 22 May 2009

On the Radar: The Seventeenth Century

The Seventeenth Century

Play: Traffic

The Seventeenth Century have created a flurry of interest over the last few months. Their towering songs are reminiscent of acts like Arcade Fire and Devotchka; the choir filled choruses and orchestral paragons lifting hearts with intended joy.

Mike Truscott, the Glasgow-based group's impressive cornet player, explains the origins of this youthful ensemble: “We instantly got the feeling that we were on to something and continued writing songs in this vain. The bottom line is that being in a band is what we love doing as it is a great chance to be expressive and creative.”

UtR’s chosen song, 'Traffic', sets Mark Farmer’s yearning vocals against a backdrop of choral camaraderie, while military percussion and the soaring cry of cornet create an inherent magnetism that’s simply inspirational.

With age on their side, we asked the group what they hope to achieve: “We put a lot of effort in to this band and seem to be making the right amount of progress,” says Mike. “The feedback we have achieved has been largely positive and we still get a lot of enjoyment out of doing the band. If these things continue and we get a bit of luck we're fairly positive that we could go quite far. Our attitude is just to take things one day at a time however as we are still all quite young.”

Poised to win over new listeners, The Seventeenth Century are a band that writes illustrious music whilst their admirable naivety shines through.

Like what you hear? Watch The Seventeenth Century live:

26 May @ The Captain's Rest, Glasgow (with How To Swim)
7 June @ King Tut's, Glasgow (with Teitur)
24 July @ The Wickerman Festival

Words: Halina Rifai
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Thursday, 21 May 2009

In pictures: You Already Know / Anavaris / Holy Mountain

Instrumental rockers You Already Know headed a bill of three local up and comers at Nice N Sleazy on Tuesday night. Up first were Holy Mountain, a two-piece drums and guitar outfit, who worship at the shrine of the riff and play it like the last 30 years never happened, only heavier. Next up were Anavris, whose crunchy rock stylings make them one to look out for for fans of local heroes Biffy Clyro.

Finally, playing to fund forthcoming UK tour plans, You Already Know play an epic brand of heavy, technically-accomplished, instrumental rock, with a potent pop heart beating strongly at its core. They will release their debut album 'Stop Whispering' on 15th June on the local Mister Tramp records.

Pictures and words: Alex Woodward @ Crimson Glow Photography

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Under the Radar podcast #1

Under the Radar PodcastToday we take a tentative first step into the unfamiliar world of the podcast.

It seems like an obvious new direction though. We feature a lot of music, so why not combine it all into a seamless (well, let's not get ahead of ourselves - you might need to adapt your EQ a little), listener-friendly package that you can download and take away with you?

So we've picked some of our favourite tracks from the last few months' blogging and rolled them into what we hope is an entertaining and informative 40-odd minutes of music and chat.

As well as songs from the likes of Mitchell Museum, Yahweh and The Gothenburg Address, Billy caught up with rising Edinburgh electronica artist Dollskabeat for an exclusive interview.

Play: Under the Radar podcast #1
(Right click and choose 'Save Target As' to save to your computer)

You can subscribe to the Under the Radar podcast at this link.

Running order:

00:50: Mitchell Museum - Take the Tongue Out
03:52: Dupec - Snakes & Ladders
08:31: eagleowl - Blanket
13:59: Interview with Dolskabeat
19:34: Dolskabeat - Zodiac Rising
23:28: The Gothenburg Address - The Lesser Coming Home
29:48: Rob St John - Paper Ship
36:43: Stag & Dagger preview
38:38: Yahweh - The Wee Ending
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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Download the new Twilight Sad track - for free!

The Twilight Sad

If you weren't tingling with excitement at the prospect of seeing The Twilight Sad at this weekend’s Stag & Dagger festival, you will be now.

UtR’s got its mitts on the opening cut from the Glasgow quartet’s forthcoming LP Forget The Night Ahead and we can confidently inform you it’s a shuddering work of aural brilliance.

'Reflection of the Television' is everything you’d expect from this misanthropic ensemble: chasmal atmospherics reverberating to the shrill of ruminative guitars and James Graham’s strangulating crow.

Play: The Twilight Sad - Reflection of the Television

But rather than rehashing the sound of 2007’s astonishing debut Fourteen Autums & Fifteen Winters, the Twilights have retuned their focus; thrusting Graham’s foredoomed strains to the fore while a tundra of bombast uncoils behind.

In short, it’s an unhinged, gargantuan track that bodes thrillingly for the release of album number two on 21 September.

And the best thing about it? Well, being the magnanimous chaps we are at UtR, it’s all yours for free. That’s right F-R-E-E.

[Totally legal] MP3 download: The Twilight Sad - Reflection of the Television (Right click and 'Save Target As' to save to your computer)

Catch The Twilight Sad at Glasgow’s Stag & Dagger festival this Saturday [23 May]. They play ABC1 along with Frightened Rabbit and Cold War Kidsat and are on stage at 7.30pm . Tickets for the event are a wallet-friendly £16.50, which includes access to a whole ream of musical delicacies that evening. Further information on said festival can be found here.

Words: Billy Hamilton

What do you think of the track? Share your thoughts below...

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Preview: Stag & Dagger

Stag & DaggerLet's face it, Scotland wasn't exactly tailor-made for outdoor festivals. Even in the height of summer those black rain clouds are never far over the horizon, poised to drench our tents and dilute our beer.

So it's hardly a surprise that indoor, multi-venue festivals have come to the fore of late. We've already had the Sauchiehall Crawl and Hinterland, and now Stag & Dagger stretches its musical tentacles north from the hipster drinking dens of East London to the infamous haunts of the Glasgow gig scene.

While there can be logistical problems with this format (how to be in eight places at once, for instance), the line-up is so packed full of cracking bands that you're virtually guaranteed a great night.

From our 'new music in Scotland' point of view, we're excited by the prospect of live sets from Meursault, Over the Wall, French Wives, Boycotts, and a couple of fine bands we've had on the blog, Paper Planes and Findo Gask.

It goes without saying that shows by the likes of The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit and The Phantom Band are equally appealing.

The festival runs from 6pm till late in Glasgow this Saturday (23 May), and tickets, priced at a very reasonable £16.50, are available here.

Play: Paper Planes - Permanent Marker

Play: Findo Gask - One Eight Zero

And to help you plan your night...

Cold War Kids: 9.00 - 10.00
Twilight Sad: 7.45 - 8.30
Frightened Rabbit: 7.oo - 7.30

Captain's Rest
The Mae Shi: 11.15 - 11.45
Dananananaykroyd: 10.30 - 11.00
Tubelord: 9.45 - 10.15
Paper Planes: 9.00 - 9.30
Miles Benjamin- Anthony Robinson: 8.15 - 8.45
Blue Roses: 7.30 - 8.00
The French Wives: 6.45 - 7.15
Over The Wall: 6.00 - 6.30

Classic Grand
Black Lips: 9.45 - 10.30
Mika Miko: 9.00 - 9.30
Gringo Star: 8.15 - 8.45
The Elvis Suicide: 7.30 - 8.00

Nice 'n' Sleazy
Hot Club DJs: 11.00 - 3.00
Cursive: 9.45 - 10.30
The Gay Blades: 8.45 - 9.15
Findo Gask: 7.45 - 8.15
Boycotts: 7.00 - 7.30

Men & Machines DJs: 2.00 - 3.00
JD Twitch (Optimo): 00.30 - 2.00
Men & Machines DJs: 11.00 - 00.30
The Aliens: 9.45 - 10.30
Bmx Bandits: 8.30 - 9.15
Woodenbox With A Fistful Of Fivers: 7.45 - 8.15
St Deluxe: 7.00 - 7.30

The Art School
Club Art Of Parties: 2.00 - close
Dolby Anol: 1.00 - 2.00
Record Playerz DJs: 11.00 - 1.00

The Art School Downstairs
Dolby Anol: 1.30 - 3.oo
Art of Parties: 00.30 - 1.30
Record Playerz DJs: 11.00 - 00.00
The Joy Formidable: 10.30 - 11.00
Chew Lips: 9.30 - 10.00
Lemonade: 8.30 - 9.00
Everything Everything: 7.30 - 8.00
Record Playerz DJs: 7.00 - 7.30

The Art School Upstairs
Konx-Om-Pax: 2.30 - 3.00
Clark (Warp): 1.30 - 2.30
Konx-Om-Pax: 1.00 - 1.30
Tim Exile: 00.00 - 1.00
Konx-Om-Pax: 11.00 - 00.00
Phantom Band: 10.00 - 10.45
White Denim: 8.45 - 9.30
Jacob Yates & the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers: 7.45 - 8.15
Meursault: 7.00 - 7.30
David Barbarossa DJ: 6.30 - 7.00

Who are you planning to see? Let us know below...
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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

On the radar: Palace Ballet

Palace Ballet

Play: Homework

Over the past week there has been an unintentionally recurring theme on this blog: the pros and cons of a music scene. Glasgow band Palace Ballet are clear where they stand on the issue. Guitarist Gordon Scobie says: "It can be cliquey, protectionist and is most certainly saturated. There are good bands and people out there but you really have to sift through the rubbish to find them."

The quartet, who formed in 2005 after the demise of their previous band Moment Of My Explosion, were never out for instant gratification: "It was over two years before Palace Ballet was debuted live," Gordon says. "We decided to take the time to ensure the line-up and songs felt right before trying to chart a course through the Glasgow music soup."

Palace Ballet make tight, meticulous indie rock with a list of influences that runs from David Byrne to Devendra Banhart, and Gordon claims that they're not too troubled about how they're perceived:

"It’d be difficult to convince anyone that we are different from any other band out there. I know for a fact that our motives are better than a lot of others in Glasgow, but at the end of the day any credibility is only dependent on our artistic output. What we’ve done so far is out in the digital world for anyone to make their own mind up about whether it’s different, original or more importantly whether they simply like it."

Of the future, Gordon is equally pragmatic: "We’re not sure how long Palace Ballet’s legs can grow. At the minute, we’re making plans to record again at Old Mill Studios and we're talking to friends who have been involved in a proper release and touring campaign to get advice on how we can do such a thing ourselves."

Play: And in a bar in Paris

Palace Ballet play a free acoustic show at the Liquid Ship on 28 May, and play support to The Northwestern at the Captain's Rest on 3 June.

Words: Nick Mitchell

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Monday, 18 May 2009

My Latest Novel unveil their latest album

My Latest Novel

Greenock-based band My Latest Novel release their second album, Deaths and Entrances, today on Bella Union, the label that brought you Fleet Foxes amongst many others.

In an interview with The Scotsman on Saturday, violinist/singer Laura McFarlane said that they benefit from not being too caught up in the local scene:

"When we brought out the first album we were pigeonholed into that Glasgow scene thing. We didn't like that and strived pretty hard to get out of it."

Literate and ambitious, Deaths and Entrances could well be the album to catapult My Latest Novel well beyond Glasgow.

The album launch party is at Stereo, Glasgow on Saturday the 6 June. Tickets are £6.50 and available here.

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Newsflash: goNORTH bands revealed

[Yahweh: heading north in June]

When RockNess descends on Inverness next month, it won't all be about ageing dance acts and platinum selling rappers. In the days immediately before the festival proper, goNORTH takes place in various venues throughout the city, with the mantra of exposing the best new musical talent in Scotland to the incoming A&R men, talent scouts and, yes, even the public at large.

We applaud this benevolent initiative (all gigs are free entry) and it's good to see some of our favourite bands in the mix.

Here's the line-up in full:

Abagail Grey, Alex Cornish, Barn Owl, Bronto Skylift, Call To Mind, Casiokids, Cast Of The Capitol, Colour-Coded, Come On Gang!, Daily Bread, DOTJR, French Wives, Hey Enemy, Jack Butler, Keser, Mitchell Museum, Nacional, Our Lunar Activities, Pooch, Robin Lewis Adams, Sean Harrison Band, Strawhouses, Spyamp, St Deluxe, Team William, Theatre Fall, The Breech, The Naked Strangers, The Ray Summers, The Side, Tone, Trapped In Kansas, The Now, United Fruit, Vchecka, We See Lights, Yahweh, Zombie Militia, 28 Jacks

goNORTH takes place on 11 and 12 June in Inverness

What do you think of the line-up? Discuss...

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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Radar recommends: 17 - 23 May

The Phantom Band
[The Phantom Band: playing Stag & Dagger on Saturday]

Ending with the terrific looking Stag & Dagger festival, this week's already guaranteed to be a thrilling sprawl of giggage. But before the Glasgow jamboree kicks off there's plenty of superlative shows to get your lugs around...

Future of the Left, Pulled Apart By Horses and Super Adventure Club
Monday 18 May, Stereo, Glasgow, £tbc
From the ashes of mclusky and Jarcrew rose Wales' best new band, Future of the Left. That was four years ago, but Future of the Left have tightened up and added electronics without curtailing their hardcore lifeblood. Apt support comes in the equally kinetic forms of Leeds fight-pop mentalists Pulled Apart By Horses and Edinburgh' s most eccentrically talented band, Super Adventure Club. [NM]

Super Adventure Club - Tommy Sheridan

Bullet VI, Casino, Kathleen Mary Duff
Tuesday 19 May, The Ark, Edinburgh, Doors 8pm, £4
Bullet VI are a band who simply refuse to be pigeonholed. Their funk-driven rock constantly veers close to hip-hop territory and dual vocalists Ailsa Bates and Andy Wilson complement each other perfectly, adding rich layers of harmony to the groove-driven rhythm section. Casino, from Falkirk, hark back to the glory days of British indie pop while Edinburgh singer/songwriter Kathleen Mary Duff's piano-driven ballads and soaring vocals are reminiscent of Tori Amos's early work. [JM]

Benni Hemm Hemm, Withered Hand
Thursday 21 May, The Bowery, Edinburgh. 7.30pm, £5
Exulting flurries of parping brass and melancholic rhythms, Edinburgh-based Icelanders Benni Hemm Hemm draw inevitable comparisons with Swedish troubador Jens Lekman. But a penchant for harmony and spacious arrangements suggest they're more attuned to the orchestral folk leanings of Sufjan Stevens. For this particular outing the Benni... line-up will be bolstered by Rob St John’s Owen Williams and Emily Scott, rendering this showing almost unmissable. [BH]

Black Rat Death Squad, Unknown Hagana, The Party Program
Friday 22 May, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £tbc
Glasgow's Black Rat Death Squad have already earned a reputation as local legends thanks to their anarchic live shows. With influences ranging from crust punk to Norwegian black metal, the band's sound falls somewhere towards the post-hardcore end of the punk spectrum, with a healthy dose of straight-up rock'n'roll mixed in for good measure. Eclectic Edinburgh indie outfit Unknown Hagata and progressive metal/hardcore act The Party Program support on the night. [JM]

My Electric Love Affair, After Me The Flood, The Stormy Seas, Dave Courtney
Friday 22 May, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, Doors 7pm, FREE
My Electric Love Affair's entrancing blend of drone, punk and experimental pop could be easily mistaken for that of shoegazing stalwarts My Bloody Valentine on first listen. The Edinburgh veterans have been quiet since the limited release of their Blow Me Down EP but look set to re-establish themselves as firm live favourites with a spate of shows lined up over the summer. After Me The Floods' fast and loud indie rock is complemented by The Stormy Seas sedate and thoughtful Celtic-themed modern folk. [JM]

• Update: The Stormy Seas have had to pull out of the above gig, but are playing the following night (23 May) in Edinburgh at Sneaky Pete's, with Anathallo, Sam Amidon and Your Boy Blair.

Duty Free presents Cats In Paris, Mitchell Museum
Saturday 23 May, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 7pm, Doors free
Representing another score for the boys and girls at the wallet-friendly Duty Free, hotly-tipped [is there really any other kind of tipped?] Manchester four-piece Cats In Paris bring their wonky neo-pop to Auld Reekie’s cobbled streets. Of course, UtR’s a tad more excited about the submerged synths and illuminated melodies of Glasgow miscreants Mitchell Museum, but, whatever your predilection, this is shaping up to be a corker.[BH]

Play: Mitchell Museum - Extra Lives

**UtR's gig of the week**
Stag & Dagger
Saturday 23 May, various venues, Glasgow
We're more excited than a politician with a blank expenses form about Stag & Dagger next week. Among the stellar bill are American indie darlings Cold War Kids, the frankly incredible Twilight Sad and Glasgow's finest practitioners of what I'm going to pretentiously call post-pop, The Phantom Band. But enough salivating for now; we'll have a proper preview later in the week. [NM]

Words: Jodi Mullen, Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

Have we missed something? Let us know below, or add it to the gig guide...

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Friday, 15 May 2009

On the radar: Dupec


Play: Snakes & Ladders

Something has to be said for bands who have stuck together since childhood. The three members of Edinburgh band Dupec (James Yuill, Paul Bannon and Jamie Steel), who met "at the height of our footballing careers at Roseburn Primary School" and started along the music path in 2007, know a thing or two about the long haul. We caught up with them for a spot of Q&A on the eve of their support slot for incendiary Californian racket-eers, Crystal Antlers.

Why are you doing what you're doing?
James: For fun basically. It's good for us to be involved with something creative that we enjoy.
Paul: If I didn't have this I'd probably be an alcoholic or dead.
Jamie: Music has always been a major part of our lives so being in a band makes sense. Also, probably, a lack of general direction between the three of us has helped find us here.

Describe your music.

James: I don't know really. Energetic? We only play songs that we like. Sometimes we'll work on a song for a while and if we think its rubbish, it'll get binned without seeing the light of day. But if we like something we're doing, we'll fast-track it into the set. We take influence from a lot of different music.

What do you think makes you different from anything else out there?
James: We're pretty noisy for a three piece. Something we spend a lot of time on is trying to make parts of songs sound big. Creating that dynamic can sometimes be challenging but is something that is consistent in a lot of our stuff. [Listen to the end of 'Snakes & Ladders' for evidence - ed]

What do you think you can achieve?
James: I'd really really like to become an octo-champ on Countdown but don't think the band will help me. Band-wise, anything over and above having a good time is a very welcome bonus.
Jamie: Personally, I always wanted to be in the Wu-Tang Clan so I'm hoping Dupec can act as a platform for that.

What do you make of the current Scottish music scene?
James: Really good. Loads of our favourite bands just now are Scottish and at various stages of their careers: We Were Promised Jetpacks, Endor, Lyons, The Twilight Sad, Errors, Frightened Rabbit, Jesus H. Foxx and Mogwai to name a fraction of them. Venues like Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh and The Captain's Rest in Glasgow have been great for live music recently. There are a lot more of good promoters putting on good shows and a fair deal for the acts these days. Nights like Trampoline, Brown Bear and The Mill are excellent.

Looking forward to playing a show with Crystal Antlers?
James: I'm really excited about this show. Crystal Antlers have been in a few 'tipped for '09' lists and rightly so. Their EP and album are definitely on the most played playlist on my iPod.

Play: I Can Count To Twelve

Dupec play support to Crystal Antlers and Times New Viking at Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh on Monday (18 May). They also play Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on 9 June.

Words: Nick Mitchell

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Thursday, 14 May 2009

Promoter profile: Trampoline

Randan Discotheque
[Randan Discotheque: playing Trampoline on Saturday]

On Tuesday we featured the Glasgow night Don't Make A Scene, and they're not the only ones with a purposeful name. For the past two years in Edinburgh, Trampoline has been doing its best to act as a springboard to success (geddit?) for the capital's best bands, having staged early shows by the likes of Broken Records and Meursault at the indie haven that is the College of Art's Wee Red Bar.

As one half of The Kays Lavelle, Trampoline main man Euan McMeeken understands the challenges faced by local musicians, but stresses that his night isn't another identikit indie party: "We also accommodate touring bands and I think this is where what we do is completely different from other promoters. The touring bands we attract such as Glissando, Trespassers William and Sleepingdog tend to be very much on the darker side of the musical spectrum: simple, atmospheric and bleak. It's this kind of music I particularly love."

But far from shy away from success, the current vitality of the Edinburgh scene (the dreaded s-word strikes again!) is a positive for Euan: "This city's music scene is thriving and fortunately we have a wide variety of like minded people wanting to help maintain and enhance what has become the place in Scotland for good new music."

Much of this excitement has been generated by a handful of acts, but Euan has his own priorities: "From a personal point of view the artists that excite me most in Scotland at the moment are Meursault, Withered Hand, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers, Y'all Is Fantasy Island, eagleowl, Inspector Tapehead and The Japanese War Effort. I'm also getting well into Jesus H Foxx at the moment and am a big fan of Aberdeen artists Debutant and Katerwaul as well."

Before we let you in on this Saturday's Trampoline roster, we need to put a call out on Euan's behalf: he wants visual artists to get in on the act too. "You’d think being at the Art College would help me source artists for the nights, but often the music takes up so much of my time that I can’t get the art organised. It’s something I really want to sort out in 2009 because when it works - like 7VWWVW and the dancing ladies of the Wintergreens, it can add a new dimension to the night. If any artists or musicians want to get in touch about playing they can contact me at or drop me a message via MySpace."

Trampoline takes place this Saturday (16 May) at the Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, featuring Randan Discotheque, White Heath and The Stormy Seas - Doors 7pm. Future confirmed artists include Meursault, Wounded Knee and Glissando.

Words: Nick Mitchell

Play: Randan Discotheque - Daily Record May 18th 1993

Play: White Heath - Wait Forever

Play: The Stormy Seas - Blood On The Carpet

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

On the radar: Paper Planes

Paper Planes

Play: Permanent Marker

The girl-boy band dynamic can reap rich musical rewards. Responsible for some of alternative rock's most beguiling moments, from the demure cool of The Velvet Underground & Nico to the abrasive thrash of Sonic Youth to the melodic tweeness of Glasgow bands like Belle & Sebastian or The Royal We, the addition of a female vocal to the mix can do wonders.

It's a trick not lost on Glasgow's latest likely lads - or should that be lads and lass. Paper Planes consist of three local boys - Craig O'Brien, Fraser McFadzean and Christopher Haddow - and one American girl on vocals, Jennifer Paley. They describe how this atypical dynamic came about: "The boys were previously in male-fronted Glasgow bands without much success. Jen really liked these bands and was at most of the gigs, she had a love for music but had never really had an opportunity to create any. When the latest of these bands disintegrated, Jen was there."

And it would appear that a New Jersey accent wasn't the only thing Jen brought across the Atlantic with her. Their style draws heavily on a wide spectrum of Yankee sounds, from the elemental pop of the 1960s to wild alt-rock via drawling outlaw country, all energised with propulsive rhythms.

Having already garnered a fair smattering of hype among local tastemakers, we ask what's next on the agenda for Paper Planes?

"No releases as of yet. We are busy writing new material and keeping a relatively low profile, but we recently finished filming a video for our song 'The Sway'."

But that's not all:

Watch Paper Planes live at the Captain's Rest, Glasgow (Stag & Dagger festival) on 23 May and Glasgow School of Art on 27 May.

Words: Nick Mitchell

What do you think? Let us know below...
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Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Promoter profile: Don't Make A Scene

Don't Make A SceneIf we were to make a style guide for Under the Radar (which we haven't - it's a blog after all) it would be tempting to ban any mention of the word 'scene'. It's one that's used all too often to describe some kind of musical community where such a common bond or sound barely exists, or to describe professional socialites who spend the bulk of their time involved 'in the scene', thus, 'scenester'. Fair enough perhaps. But doesn't it just make you cringe to read it?

Taking this mindset thoroughly to heart, one new gig night that's just sprung up on Glasgow's fertile musical patch have called themselves Don't Make A Scene. But Matthew Scott and Fraser Lindsay aren't as militantly anti-scene as the name suggests: "We're not fans of making a scene because of the wrong reasons, such as style over substance," they say. "But on the other hand, we want to make a scene where the audience want to return to our shows because they know they will be guaranteed a night with quality music and like-minded people."

The intrepid duo, who have both played in bands since their teens, are aware of some of the exploitative practices that go on in the world of gig promotion: "As fans of the bands that we put on, we want to help promote them in the long run and not solely for our event."

So who's on their wishlist to host?

"It would be nice to host the bands who are on the up, such as Sucioperro and The Xcerts, but as we're quite new to this game we don't really have much reputation and struggle to book them over larger promoters. At the moment we're really liking The Whisky Works, El Dog and The Darien Venture, so hopefully we can sort something out with them soon."

Despite their own mantra, if their night takes off they might just play their own part in establishing that dreaded scene.

The next Don't Make A Scene features former UtR stars Pooch, as well as Little Eskimos and Belgrade. It takes place at The V Club, Glasgow this Friday (15 May) - Doors 8pm, £5.

Play: Pooch - Fashionista

Words: Nick Mitchell

Music scenes: good or bad? Discuss...

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Monday, 11 May 2009

On the radar: Ross Clark & The Scarfs Go Missing

Ross Clark & the Scarfs Go Missing

Ross Clark has been a permanent fixture on the Glasgow indie scene for the last couple of years, performing his eclectic brand of Americana both as a solo artist and with his intrepid band of bluegrass troubadours, the Scarfs Go Missing.

He draws on a wide range of influences from Hank Williams to Jeff Buckley via Regina Spektor and Neil Young. But while traces of Young et al can be heard on tracks like 'Sex is for Losers', Ross Clark & The Scarfs Go Missing are very much their own band, and the sheer variety present in their live sets reveals Clark to be an excellent songwriter.

Play: Chewin On Bones (Jake's Song)

Joined by those misplaced scarfs David Cleary [guitar], Kevin Mackay [bass] and Fhearghas Lyon [drums], Clark has recently returned from touring with fellow Glaswegians Frightened Rabbit.

Soon set to play London and Northern Ireland, as well as maintaining a healthy live presence in the Central Belt over the coming months, the group’s first EP, 'The Anthems in Clams', is available to buy through Avalanche in Edinburgh and Avalanche and West End Records in Glasgow.

With their charismatic frontman and the promise of great things to come, the future looks bright for Ross Clark & The Scarfs Go Missing.

Play: Three Blind Wolves

Catch Ross Clark & The Scarfs Go Missing at the Stag & Dagger festival in Glasgow on 23 May and at Oran Mor in Glasgow on 24 June, and be sure to check out Ross Clark's solo set at Captain's Rest on 15 May.

Words: Jodi Mullen

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Saturday, 9 May 2009

Radar recommends: 10 - 16 May

[FOUND: playing the Carnegie Hall (Dunfermline, not New York) on Thursday]

Another week, another set of gigs to get your lugs around. And, we're glad to say, there's more than just a delectable selection from Glasgow and Edinburgh thanks to Tigerfest's week long stint at Dunfermline's Carnegie Hall. Praise be. So, here you go, this is UtR's choice picks for the next seven days...

Metal 2 the Masses: Alba Gu Brath , Bonesaw , Skinkarver , Syth
Sun 10 May, Classic Grand, Glasgow. Doors 7pm, £6
Taking to the stage in a sea of kilts and long hair, Glasgow's Alba Gu Brath are a bit special. Their brand of folk-tinged battle metal blends traditional instruments and thrashing guitars, with many songs drawing lyrical inspiration from events in Scotland's history. They're joined on the night by Aberdonian death metal veterans Bonesaw, Skinkarver -Paisley's answer to Pantera - and Glaswegian power-metallers Syth. [JM]

The Balky Mule

Mon 11 May, The Bowery, Edinburgh. Doors 7:30pm, £5
If you’re after something a little different this week, then head along to The Bowery on Monday night. Hailing from Bristol but now resident in Melbourne, Australia, Sam Jones has recorded intermittently as The Bulky Mule for over a decade but is now focusing his energies entirely on the project. The sound switches neatly between electronic and acoustic, with some interesting bluesy influences and a vocal that lies between Syd Barrett and Ray Davies. Definitely intriguing. [SK]

The Amorettes
Mon 11 May, Bannerman's, Edinburgh. Doors 9pm, £4
With just one gig under their belts, what The Amorettes lack in experience they more than make up for with enthusiasm. From the rude and raunchy lyrics to the tight denim, the all-female three-piece from West Lothian make it abundantly clear that they're here to RAWK. Fusing a classic rock'n'roll sound with a punk rock attitude, the girls are about as subtle as a slap to the face but no less enjoyable for that. [JM]

Tempercalm , The Kamillas
Wed 13 May, Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £tbc
After the success of last year's debut album True Novella, Glasgow's Tempercalm make a quick stop in their home town to kick off a ten-date tour of Scotland. The band's polished grunge-rock has been compared favourably with the likes of Biffy Clyro and early Foo Fighters and, if the most recent demos are any indication, their upcoming second album is set to be another cracker. Tempercalm are supported by Greenock's The Kamillas, who combine slick alternative rock with bluesier influences. [JM]

Tigerfest presents: James Yorkston, Lisa Knapp
Wed 13 May, Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline. Doors 7.30pm, £10
There are few more mesmerising sights than James Yorkston on stage. A writhing blur of convulsive energy, the ex-Fence luminary shudders like a demon on heat while his heavenly acoustic swathes impregnate the airwaves. Armed with a voice cut from the sweetest larynx and a set of melodies that bleed pious beauty, Yorkston’s Tigerfest showing is sure to hypnotise what few unbelievers remain. [BH]

Sparrow and the Workshop
Thursday 14 May, Captain’s Rest, Glasgow. Doors 8pm
Prior to their UK wide tour alongside Broken Records, Sparrow and the Workshop return to their home city of Glasgow for a gig that marks the launch of their new single ‘Devil Song’. The Scottish/Welsh/American trio have made a name for themselves across Scotland with relaxed harmonies underpinned by a stripped down sound which has the capacity to captivate audiences. With their success taking them increasingly further afield, this is a great chance to catch them on their home turf. [SK]

**UTR's Gig of the Week**
Tigerfest presents: Cruiser, FOUND, Swimmer One
Thu 14 May, Carnegie Hall, Dunfermline. Doors 7.30pm, £6
Synthesisers all round at this invigorating Carnegie Hall billing. Exuding an air of lilting reticence, Cruiser spray coruscating keys across dejected, tear-duct seeping laments; while Swimmer One’s Casiotoned iceberg slowly melts into an ocean of gorgeous melodic poignancy. Of course, it’s FOUND that truly stand out here. More probing than a colonic irrigation, the Edinburgh quartet spew out rhythmic pulses with a throb that could register on the Richter Scale’s upper echelons. All in all, an unsurpassable sonic treat for any gig goer. [BH]

- Words by Billy Hamilton, Jodi Mullen, Stevie Kearney

What gigs are you going to this week? Have we missed anything? Let us know below...

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Friday, 8 May 2009

On the radar: Sick Kids Sunday

This Sunday [10 May] sees a fantastic array of talent come together for ten hours of live music at Edinburgh’s GRV to raise money for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation.

Glasgow based quartet Frightened Rabbit will be along to play an acoustic set, which may well be worth the £8 admission fee alone. Their 2008 album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ was a sensational collection of rousing tunes and a stripped down showing of these dark, and often hilarious, songs promises to be a fascinating listen.

The terrific Jesus H Foxx also join the bill, fresh from the launch of their limited edition EP ‘Matter’, while Edinburgh luminaries Chutes, Come on Gang, Withered Hand, Le Reno Amps and Cancel the Astronauts complete this stellar roster.

Members of Broken Records and FOUND will also be DJing during the event.

If you can’t find something you like in this line up, you may need to consider a trip to the audiologist.

- Stevie Kearney

Sick Kids Sunday runs from 1pm - 11pm on Sun 10 May at Edinburgh's GRV. Tickets are £8 and the full line-up can be found here

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Promoter profile: Power Up

We Are The Physics

It's been a while since Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic played Studio 24, the shadowy, split-level club in that hinterland between the Canongate and Calton Hill.

But one local promoter hopes to return the venue - so often threatened with closure by the encroaching Caltongate (see what they did there?) redevelopment - to its former grungey glory.

Last month Dan Schmitz of Orange Slice Records launched Power Up, a gig showcase with a roster of guitar-wielding talent that featured Hundred Reasons and Johnny Foreigner. This month's bill focuses on Scottish acts, with the verbose Glasgow livewires We Are The Physics leading the charge.

Play: Sucioperro - Don't Change

Unlike many gig nights, the support bands are definitely worth showing up on time for too: Sucioperro make heavy rock with a melodic sensibility, while The Fire And I are a "Bathgate/Mexico City"-based duo (we know, insane) who make polished avant-rock.

And anyone old enough to remember Nirvana first time around might be interested to know that close contemporaries Mudhoney have just confirmed that they'll open their European tour at Power Up in October.

Play: The Fire And I - Revenge To The Bloody Angel

Power Up: Tonight (8 May), Doors 7pm, £8

- Nick Mitchell

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

On the radar: Copy Haho

Copy Haho

As at home in smooth and laidback mode as they are in anthemic and shouty, the range of sounds Copy Haho accommodate is the carefree equivalent of a sleepy Sunday morning with a blast of Saturday night flashback.

Hailing from Stonehaven, these small-town boys do big-time indie pop with an aplomb that belies their modest roots. The four-piece are a welcome boost to Aberdeen's music scene, borne as they are of two current members of project:venhell [PVH].

But where PVH are all screechy axes and electro vocals, Copy Haho tone it down with jangling guitars and a pleasingly dreamlike quality.

Their lilting indie pop draws inevitable comparisons to the scuzz-rock stylings of Pavement, while Joe Hearty's drawling voice rasping out lyrics in unconventional love song 'You Are My Coalmine' (“I'm the dirt on your nails/You're the dirt on mine”) is lyrically reminiscent of The View.

Play: Copy Haho - Pulling Push Ups

New EP 'Bred for Skills & Magic' is out now.

Intrigued? Watch Copy Haho for yourselves at Stereo, Glasgow on 19 May and The Tunnels, Aberdeen on 3 June.

- Kirstyn Smith

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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

UtR's Tigerfest five

Now in its sixth year, Tigerfest is an indie-kid’s wet dream. Sprawled across Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Aberdeen, the month long extravaganza oozes pleasure in every quarter; be it the cubby-hole intimacy of its venues, the obscure white label-like roster or the Credit Crunch busting door prices.

Yep, Tigerfest is a festival that truly shuns the modern era’s cash-money clutching, preferring craft and ingenuity to glitz and glamour. So in tribute to the sterling work by those in Tiger Towers, UtR has assembled its five ‘must see acts’ at this year’s Tigerfest.

Amusement Parks on Fire
An impenetrable swill of feedback and percussion, Nottingham’s Amusement Parks on Fire are the aural equivalent of a fist to the face. Their first two LPs were chiselled slabs of ice cold shoegaze, frothing with passion and, most importantly, decibels and the subsequent live shows were equally as lug-splintering. Back on the road in support of new EP ‘Young Fight’, the towering quintet are certain to pulverise solar plexuses with their battering-ram sonics - just remember to bring your ear-plugs.
Amusement Parks on Fire play Edinburgh’s Cabaret Voltaire on Wed 6 May (7pm, £8)

It’s strange to think that FOUND are only now on the cusp of a breakthrough. In fact, UtR was recently approached by a certain ‘taste-making’ webzine enquiring whether we’d heard of this “new” band. Oh how we chuckled. Now in their fifth year, the Edinburgh based ensemble are beginning to make ripples down south thanks to a stint at this year’s South By South West festival in Texas and the release of the majestic 'Fidelities EP'. The band's live show at Tigerfest will no doubt affirm their oddball eccentricities, but underneath that goofy exterior lies a truly remarkable group waiting to be FOUND
FOUND play Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall on Thu 14 May (7.30pm, £6)

King Creosote
Kenny Anderson doesn’t need much introduction. Head honcho of Scotland’s leading label Fence Records, he also creates sublime swathes of melody under the guise of King Creosote. Anderson’s early work was whimsical in vein, with linear folk strains blushing through rousing melodies, but new record Flick The Vs furrows more experimental pastures where shards of synth pulse like an eager tectonic plate. One thing, however, still remains: that astonishing falsetto crow soaring higher than Scotland’s towering topography.
King Creosote plays Aberdeen’s Lemon Tree on Sun 24 May (7.30pm, £14)

If you haven’t heard of Edinburgh quartet Meursault by now you’re more than likely part of the myopic English media with eyes only for London. Quite simply, this is Scotland’s most spell-binding live band. Frontman Neil Pennycook has an inextinguishable vocal, the sort that excavates ear-canals with emotional piety; while the music is a vacuum of acoustic folk and jitterbug electronica. Almost too sublime for words, Meursault make a mesmerising live proposition that’s sure to hypnotise Tigerfest’s clued-up crowds.
Meursault play Edinburgh’s The Bowery on Thu 7 May (8pm, £5)

Swimmer One
With their sweeping, autumnal melodies and poetic verses, Swimmer One epitomise a modern Scottish band. Yet, there’s more to the Glaswegian duo than terse, melancholic laments. Theirs is a sound strewn with texture and punctuated with intensity; entangling itself in the heartstrings with a slew of 80s synth pop poignancy. Live, the brooding narratives succumb to an instrumental minefield that scuffles from bombast to brittleness with fluid aplomb. Certainly one to keep your ears peeled for at Tigerfest.
Swimmer One play Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall on Thu 14 May (7.30pm, £6)

Tigerfest runs from 6 - 26 May across venues in Aberdeen, Dunfermline and Edinburgh. The full line-up plus ticket details can be found at the
Tigerfest website.

- Billy Hamilton

Who are you going to see at this grrreat festival? Let everybody know below....

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Monday, 4 May 2009

Tigerfest: The UtR interview

A staple on the Scottish festival calendar since 2004, Tigerfest will this month return with another scintillating line-up. The month-long, multi-venue, multi-city festival showcases Scotland’s most dazzling up-and-coming acts (plus a few not so local tune-shifters), providing them with the opportunity to play in a string of fine venues to a savvy crowd of punters.

Before this delicious musical jamboree kicks off, UtR caught up with organisers Neil Colquhoun (Baby Tiger promoter) and Stuart McHugh (editor of Is This Music?) to find out a little more about Tigerfest...

Tigerfest’s been on the go for a number of years, how do you feel it’s improved since the early days?
Neil Colquhoun [NC]: We've diversified since 2004 into a number of different cities from our start in Edinburgh. Dunfermline is now the focal point of the festival, with the Carnegie Hall gigs becoming the flagship event of Tigerfest. Also we've moved from a mainly 'indie' festival to take in a wider spectrum of music, from hip-hop to alt.folk and post-rock this year. Hopefully this will see Tigerfest thrive in years to come - it's more of an idea now than a fixed event, to showcase interesting new music throughout Scotland, be it local or alternative in form.
Stuart McHugh [SM]: Obviously it's gone from an Edinburgh-only affair during the Fringe, to a Scotland-wide festival with its own place on the festival calendar. With that it's got bigger in terms of names booked, but I feel it's kept to its roots by booking some of the best upcoming local talent alongside the big names.

What were the initial reasons for setting Tigerfest up?
NC: It started as a collaboration between Baby Tiger and Fest Magazine, which ran throughout the Fringe. The idea was to set up a series of gigs which featured the kinds of bands who were more alternative or local than the T on the Fringe line-up - the two festivals complemented each other well. Baby Tiger's ethic was always giving new acts a place to get gig experience without having to play at battles of the bands, while offering audiences a varied and interesting line-up at every show. Tigerfest, in effect, became a 'best of' showcase of our favourite acts.

What are the reasons for keeping Tigerfest going in it’s current guise?
SM: The current guise seems to work. I think that competing with the big guns in Edinburgh was always hard and as more and more festivals, boutique ones as well as the regular type, have come along August makes a big demand on music lovers. The May date kicks off the festival season quite nicely.

Is Tigerfest more relevant now than it’s ever been?
NC: I think it's been relevant throughout - we've worked hard to ensure we're putting on the acts who we think deserve the exposure, and not just recycle the same old gigs every year. With Scotland once more facing up to venue closures and a threat to local gigs, it's vital to give bands and promoters a place to put things on.

The quality of the line-up improves year on year. How difficult is it to continually produce a roster of great acts?
NC: It's actually not that difficult. The music is out there and we're fortunate that much of it comes to us through Is This Music?, the rise of the social network on the web and in the form of local shows. We also look for bands we particularly want to put on and try to get at least one or two of them on the line-up - Meursault, through Song, by Toad records this year being a good example of that. The trick is to put together bills which have something for everyone, without losing the musical thread. So we have loosely 'themed' nights - an alt.folk night with Song, by Toad; a hip-hop night featuring the Ordinary All Stars, and so on.

Has Scotland’s recent musical rejuvenation made it easier to pick new bands?
SM: Easy to pick them, though it can actually be harder to book them - some successful acts may be off touring the world during May. But there's always been enough bands to fill five Tigerfests. As I say, actually getting hold of them is another matter.

What are the main challenges that face Tigerfest every year?
SM: I suppose like any promoter ensuring that punters come through the door is the main concern but generally we've done OK. The live music scene is still quite healthy with gigs generally busy, so if you put on a good bill they will come.
NC: The trickiest thing is keeping the festival relevant. We do notice, year on year, that it's more difficult to find a niche in the market for Tigerfest, as so much else goes on around us now. When the first festival started in 2004 the idea of many, many boutique festivals happening all year round was a year or two away from the insanity we have now. It's great that so many people are willing to take a risk and put something on, but it does mean we have to work to keep what we do fresh so that people notice us and come along.

The multi-venue festival is becoming increasingly more popular, why do you think that is?
SM: I'm always surprised by how encompassing the term 'festival' is now, certainly Tigerfest isn't a two-dayer in a muddy field. It's more a collection of shows under a common banner put on by people with a common philosophy .
NC: It's good to diversify, and while we've had good relations with most of our venues in the past, you do limit yourself in a way by putting all of your eggs in one basket. When doing a festival around a number of dates, unless you have your own venue to start with, you have to be flexible and turn the venue uncertainty into an asset.

Would you ever consider making Tigerfest a ‘boutique’ one or two day festival?
NC: We have, in the past, talked about a festival at somewhere like Linlithgow Palace, but as yet it hasn't happened. That's a different set of challenges to the current festival, and while we would never rule it out, it's not something we're looking at just now. Besides, there's hundreds of those festivals around just now - we don't need another.
SM: It could be a fun idea, for sure, but apart from finding some sort of new angle to make it stand out among the one-a-week festival season, the amount of organisation required would be pretty massive - we'd have to take all of our collective of promoters in the various cities and bring them all into the one town or field or lochside or whatever.

Why does Tigerfest 2009 not ‘do’ Glasgow?
NC: Not for any particular reason this year - Glasgow's obviously the epicentre of the Scottish music scene, so maybe it doesn't need as much showcasing as Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Dunfermline. The point of Tigerfest is that a local promoter takes on the organising and co-ordination for their city, and as Stuart knows better than me, Glasgow didn't work out this year. So if anyone in Glasgow wants to get involved... get in touch for 2010.
SM: Well, we do, er, 'do' Glasgow, just not this year. As Neil's pointed out it's reliant on local promoters and our Glasgow man has not had time to get a programme together, having done monthly gigs for the past 2 years. But as Neil has pointed out, Glasgow is in less need of a show so it's not the end of the world - but neither is it the end of Glasgow shows.

What opportunities does Tigerfest offer local music on a holistic level?
NC: This is the Baby Tiger defining ethos in many ways. We want local acts to meet up and play with other bands with whom they can form relationships - gig swapping, collaboration, in many ways the lifeblood of any local scene. Edinburgh suffered for years from cliquedom and a lack of communication, and we've always wanted to bring people together to create more opportunities for bands to expand their horizons and their contact lists. They don't always take it, but many acts have gone on to work with each other elsewhere after a Tigerfest show.

And finally, if there’s one piece of advice you could give UtR readers about how best to enjoy Tigerfest what would it be?
NC: See everything! Don't just go to the gig featuring the music you think you like - go to the ones you've never heard of. You might just surprise yourself.

- Billy Hamilton

Tigerfest runs from 6 - 26 May across venues in Aberdeen, Dunfermline and Edinburgh. The full line-up plus ticket details can be found at the Tigerfest website.

Are you going to Tigerfest? Tell us what bands on this year's bill you're most excited about below...

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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Radar recommends: 3 - 9 May

The Gothenburg Address
[The Gothenburg Address: playing Cabaret Voltaire on Wednesday]

Pheweee...what a seven days for gigs. With Tigerfest swinging into action on the east coast and a plethora of ear-pleasing acts heading west, Scottish punters are a bit spoilt for choice this bank holiday week. But, as a waistline-bulging UtR once said, why settle for just one measly slice when you can have the whole cake, right?

Ross Clark & The Scarfs Go Missing, Rob St John, French Wives
Sun 3 May, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh. Doors 8pm, £5

Once a solo-flying troubadour, Ross Clark has rounded up a herd of instrument-wielding miscreants (aka Ths Scarfs Go Missing) to beef up the bones of his precious, moribund trinkets. Highlighted by various indie-zine bibles as a star of the future, Clark’s live sets are delivered with fervent gusto, crackling with both poignancy and grace. Backed by UtR’s favourite purveyor of simmering folk ditties, Rob St John, and effervescent Glaswegians French Wives, this is going to be one hell of a kickstart to the week. [BH]

Rob St John - Like Alchemy

**UtR's gig of the week**
Tigerfest: Amusement Parks On Fire, The Gothenburg Address, Cryoverbillionaires
Wed 6 May, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £8
Shoegazing superstars (now THAT’S an oxymoron) Amusement Parks on Fire are not just a catch for this year’s Tigerfest, they’re a stick full of dynamite waiting to ignite. To say UtR’s excited about witnessing this mammoth aural eruption would be an understatement - we’re as giddy as a spin-dried 3-year-old high on Haribo - and with Edinburgh’s mighty The Gothenburg Address and the equally beguilling Cryoverbillionaires playing wingmen - we may well need to bring along an extra catheter. Needless to say, this is going to be good. [BH]

The Gothenburg Address - The Lesser Coming Home

The Mill: Palace Ballet, St Deluxe
Thu 7 May, The Mill @ Oran Mor, Glasgow, Doors 7pm, FREE. Tickets here
This week the Glasgow leg of The Mill scores another double-header of quality Scottish music. Palace Ballet, for anyone unfamiliar, are like the hip New York band that no-one told you about, with the singer's Casablancas drawl and their readymade garage rock hits. Except they are indeed Scottish. St Deluxe, meanwhile, are steeped in the hazy alt-rock of the late 80s, and damn good at what they do. [NM]

This Is Music’s 3rd Birthday Party: Broken Records, Mike Bones, Rob St John

Fri 8 May, The Bowery, Edinburgh. 7pm. £10

No longer a toddler, This Is Music [TIM] has played a titanic role in the rejuvenation of Edinburgh’s music scene. And to celebrate their third year, the folk at TIM have once again produced the goods; rolling out a stellar line-up that runs the gambit from soaring baroque rock (Broken Records) to introverted laments (Rob St John). With Vice Records’ latest tune-churner Mike Bones adding transatlantic bite to proceedings, TIM’s birthday bash is the only party to be at this Friday. [BH

• Not content with one party, the TIM gang have staged two: Copy Haho, Tie For Jack, Homework and DJ Vic Galloway will appear on the same night at Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh(Doors 8pm)

The Vivians, The Brogues, Ewan Butler
Fri 8 May, Maggie May's, Glasgow, Doors 8pm, £5
Once familiar sights on Edinburgh streets in their skinnier-than-thou jeans and vertical punk barnets, The Vivians now ply their trade on London's hipster bar circuit. But you can catch them in all their outlandish glory with this Glasgow show where good old confrontational punk is guaranteed. Support comes in the shape of Dundonian lad-rock outfit The Brogues and West Lothian singer-songwriter Ewan Butler. [NM]

Zoey Van Goey, The Second Hand Marching Band, Endor
Sat 9 May, Stereo, Glasgow, Doors 8pm, £TBC
With their crafted, intelligent indie-pop and a freshly pressed debut album, the Glasgow-based, transatlantic trio Zoey Van Goey could well be set to follow in the footsteps of similarly exquisite forebears My Latest Novel and Camera Obscura. For this their album launch party they've recruited none other than UtR faves The Second Marching Band (see 6 April blog) and Endor to share their festivities. Not to be missed. [NM]

Play: TSHMB - A Dance to Half Death

The Elvis Suicide, Four Dead in Ohio
Sat 9 May, The Captain's Rest, Glasgow, Doors 8pm, £TBC
If you're in the mood for something a bit more raucous, head to the Captain's Rest for this show by Glasgow rockers The Elvis Suicide. With scant regard for what's fashionable or cool, they emit short, full-throttle punk songs like jabs to your kidneys. Not enough heid-banging for you? Well there's also Four Dead in Ohio, a London group of Neil Young inspired, BRMC-esque rockers. [NM]

Tigerfest: The Ordinary Allstars, Supersonic Sims, B Burg (DJ Set)
Sat 9 May, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors: 7pm, £7
While never a regular on these here pages, Hip-Hop can still be heard blaring through the halls of UtR’s less-than-stately abode every so often. And Edinburgh outfit the Ordinary Allstars are one of the MC-wielding ensembles who regularly tickle our tape decks. Summertime samples aplenty, the group’s ebullient instrumentation is supplemented by a waterfall of slickly executed rhyme. Supported by Supersonic Sims' grime-riddled Funktronica, this Tigerfest show promises to bring the beat back to Auld Reekie. [BH]

- Billy Hamilton / Nick Mitchell

Have we missed something? Let us know below...

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Friday, 1 May 2009

On the radar: Miss The Occupier

Miss The Occupier

Hinterland Preview

It has been some time since a female as arresting as Kim Gordon of the era-defining Sonic Youth graced a stage. But Roz Davies from innovative Glasgow band Miss The Occupier seems to follow in the same vein as her stylistic peer.

Miss The Occupier are one of the many unsigned acts to be playing this year's Hinterland festival. The three-piece easily master a punk-rock sound that is reminiscent of great acts such as the aforementioned Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and the Riot Grrl scene. These along with Nick Cave are cited as some of their major influences by guitarist Magnus Hughson.

Under The Radar’s featured track, ‘Whilst I Stared’ is a total summation of how mighty this act are. The distortion threaded throughout is as forceful as a tsunami on upsurge, glistening with Davies' curious vocal that somehow tames the wave before it hits the audience.

Play: Miss The Occupier - Whilst I Stared

Magnus also tells us that the rest of 2009 is shaping up to be as exciting as their music. "We've been recording new material with Thomas McNiece who's currently playing bass with Gang of Four. We also hope to play some gigs in the more remote parts of Scotland this year."

Miss The Occupier are undoubtedly one of the must-see acts of Hinterland. True to their name, they easily occupy your attention - soon they'll occupy your senses in Glasgow.

Watch Miss The Occupier at Hinterland: downstairs at the Classic Grand at 7pm tonight (Friday 1 May).

- Halina Rifai

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