Saturday, 27 February 2010

Radar recommends: 27 Feb - 5 March

Copy Haho
[Copy Haho: gigging across Scotland this week]

Plan your gig-going with our pick of the week's finest live music nights...

The best...

James Yorkston & the Athletes, The Phantom Band, Alasdair Roberts Trio, Remember Remember
Saturday @ Platform, Glasgow / 7.30pm / £5 (£3)
Forget those woolly jumper clad men with acoustic guitars. No, folk music's cool these days. Just look at this line-up, where Fence troubadour Yorkston shares a billing with Rock Action upstart Remember Remember.

Futuristic Retro Champions, Skitten, Ace City Racers
Saturday @ The 13th Note, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
The 'Champs, who also play Edinburgh this week (see below) launch their new EP at this gig. The CDs are apparently designed to look like coloured vinyl, so it's like retro does retro really. Curious? Read an interview with the band here.

White Noise: Dead Boy Robotics, Futuristic Retro Champions
Wednesday @ Electric Circus, Edinburgh / 8pm / £tbc
Chalk and cheese this one, but none the worse for it. Pulsating shards of electronics and drums from duo DBR, while FRC use synths for more poppy pursuits.

The Mill: Stanley Odd, S.Kay
Thursday @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh / 7pm / Free but ticketed
Just this week we lauded Stanley Odd's "thrilling blend of hip hop, indie and funk", and, as if on cue, they appear for a show at The Mill. Are we arbiters of taste or what? (Don't answer that.)

Copy Haho, eagleowl, Debutant
Friday @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
Copy Haho also play The Tunnels, Aberdeen on Thursday
Surely the Holy Grail of gig quests this. Why? Not one, not two, but three UtR-featured bands on one bill. So if you don't enjoy at least one then you'd be well within your rights to advise the PCC to shut us down.

John Knox Sex Club
Thursday @ Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
Thursday's a sexy day, get your best undies on and head to this party. Have a wee read about your saucy hosts here.

Tango in the Attic
Friday @ Harley's Bar, Bathgate / 8pm / £tbc
Tango and Cash + Cash in the Attic = Tango in the Attic. In reality, this Glenrothes band make fun, upbeat indie-pop.

Local Natives, Peggy Sue
Friday @ King Tut's, Glasgow / 8.30pm / £9
Folking rock again (yes, that is a sweary pun - the best sort). Think Fleet Foxes with ADHD, bright and poppy. With Peggy Sue minus the Pirates it seems.

The Unwinding Hours + Holy Mountain, Olympic Swimmers
Friday @ Stereo, Glasgow / 7pm / £7
Amazing Aereogramme offshoot who recently signed to the much admired Chemikal Underground label and featured here a few months ago. A couple of stellar supports including the brilliant Olympic Swimmers, also featured on UtR last year.


The rest...



Words: Aimi Gold, Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to the calendar by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Newsflash: DJs give you wings

Slam
[Slam dunk: Stuart MacMillan and Orde Meikle will reveal their secrets]

It's fair to say that dance music doesn't figure too heavily here on UtR. Although we've covered various electro-leaning acts like Tokyo Knife Attack, Unicorn Kid and Findo Gask, we tend to leave the proper techno to those who know their Tiefschwarzs from their Tigas.

But, with our 'champions of new music in Scotland' cap on, it would be remiss of us not to notify our readers of an event taking place in Glasgow this weekend.

The Red Bull Music Academy, a project which offers free workshops and lectures to aspiring DJs and music bods (while simultaneously advertising a certain energy drink, it has to be said), rolls up in Scotland's biggest city after stints in places like New York, Sao Paolo and current host city London.

SWG3 will host free lectures from 5pm to 9pm today, where dance pioneers including Soma Records and Slam promise to reveal some "secrets of the mixing desk". A special aftershow party runs from 9pm 'til 1am with a DJ set from Slam and DJ Buckley and a live set from Marco Bernardi.

On Saturday the Apple Store will be host a live demonstration masterclass from techno DJ Tony Lionni, and that night the Sub Club hosts another Red Bull Music Academy party in collaboration with Sub Culture, headlined by Kerri Chandler.

Altogether now, reach for the lasers. Or something.

Friday: 5pm–1am: SWG3, Eastvale Place - Free
Saturday: 4pm-5.30pm: Apple Store, Buchanan Street - Free
Saturday: 10pm-3am: Sub Club, Union Street - £9/£12

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Thursday, 25 February 2010

On the radar: Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd

Stanley Odd - Think of a Number


In name alone, there's something brilliantly Dickensian about genre melting sextet Stanley Odd.

But the band could have just as easily been dragged from the imagination of Stanley Kubrick rather than Dickens, with the likes of Solareye (vocals), Rune Dog (guitar) and T Lo (keyboards) representing them on stage, where they deliver a thrilling blend of hip hop, indie and funk.

As late guests on the Waverley Stage at the Hogmanay Street Party, the Edinburgh troupe quite literally had a fantastic start to 2010.

Set to release their second single, ‘Think of a Number’, in March on Circular Records, the follow-up to debut ‘The Numbness’, the group’s blatant disregard for conformity rings loud and true.

Hailing from a diverse musical background, Stanley Odd’s ace card is Airdrie frontman Solareye’s powerful Scottish flow, which contrasts perfectly with fellow band-mate Veronika’s milky tone.



Solareye is emphatically in favour of an eclectic approach to the group’s sound: “It's a good thing, I think, because hip hop has always borrowed whatever it liked from all other genres of music and used it to make something new," he says. "This is just like the sampling ethic of classic hip hop only in a live band."

Mainstream coverage on Radio 1 and XFM has blossomed from support by “a bunch of local, underground and internet radio stations,” explains Solareye. “We’re really looking forward to getting out and gigging this year.”

Making these kinds of waves, 2010 could well be the year to catapult Stanley Odd to the forefront of Scotland's music scene.

Words: Dan Moss

Stanley Odd play The Mill @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on 4 March, and King Tut's, Glasgow (supporting Killa Kela) on 8 March.

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Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Mixed Drinks, bacon rashers and Songs of Praise: The return of Frightened Rabbit

Frightened Rabbit

If it were possible to plot the trajectory of a band in graphical form, Frightened Rabbit's would form an upward curve, growing slowly around 2006's Sing The Greys and then rocketing skyward since the follow-up. The Midnight Organ Fight stood out from the pack in 2007; a set of raw, compelling songs that sent the Selkirk natives well on the way to wider recognition.

After two years spent packing out sweaty venues wherever they lay their guitar cases, the newly expanded quintet are set to release the follow-up, The Winter of Mixed Drinks next week. UtR cornered drummer Grant Hutchison for his take on the new cut from 'The Frabbit'...

You recorded the album in Crail. Why this location, and what effect did it have on the end result?

It was actually just the demo-ing of the new tracks that was done in Crail but the location still had a big impact on the songs. There's definitely a nautical theme to a lot of the tracks and a feeling of testing yourself to the limit which the sea plays a big part in. Scott had a daily routine of walking along the beach until an idea came into his head and he would then turn round and develop it on the way home. He would then eat two slices of bacon from the local butcher and record a version of the song. Another reason for Crail was the access to a very kind friend's house in exchange for a bottle of wine!



How does The Winter of Mixed Drinks develop the themes of The Midnight Organ Fight? Do you see it as a continuation or a clean break?

It's definitely not a complete swerve from TMOF but it's by no means a break-up album. Some of the songs are about getting up and dusting yourself off and realising what's left after something like a break-up but it's turned out a lot more positive this time. Still far from happy but more positive! The subject of the record is different. There's no angst directed towards this one scenario and if anything it's even more personal as it's all about one character rather than a relationship involving more than one person.

Where did you take the samples you use on the record from?

We've sampled some bands who shall not be named for fear of being sued eventually! There's no plagiarism there but most of the people who are on the record know they are there so that's fine! The sample at the end of 'Man/Bag of Sand' was taken from a film that was on the TV when Scott was demo-ing in Crail and it just seemed to fit so it made it on to the record! There's also a tiny section of Songs of Praise on there too!

The Winter of Mixed DrinksSince the last album Frightened Rabbit have become one of Scotland's most popular bands. Was there added pressure going into this?

There was pressure this time but it's not the first time we've been under pressure, it just came from a different source this time. When recording TMOF we were restricted by the small amount of time we had in the studio so we worked under pressure to do that too. I think it's more productive to have some kind of pressure whether it's time or consistency or even financial. I think it always brings the best out in a person if there's a bit of fear involved.

Despite the international touring, do you try to stay close to your roots? What do you make of Scotland's music scene since you broke through?

Scotland has always had a strong music scene. I think since we started it's become really strong with bands like The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Tommy Reilly making really good starts to what will hopefully become long careers in music. Also the emergence of Biffy Clyro from Glasgow's favourites to nationwide heroes has been great for Scottish music. We'll always be close to our roots and even now after the short time we've been touring internationally it's still great to come home and find that people here who have seen us maybe ten times are still coming out to shows and supporting us. There are also a lot of bands coming up to continue the current trend of quality like John Knox Sex Club, Three Blind Wolves and Woodenbox with a fistful of Fivers.

What advice would you give to bands starting out?

The best and really only way to gain experience is to get stuck in straight away. It was a long time before we actually said no to the offer of a gig and although you feel bad asking your mates to come and see you week in week out it's the only way to get your name out there. The next step is to find an enthusiatic booking agent who can stick you in a freezing van for four weeks, opening for bands you don't always like and making you wonder why you're in a band! That's the true test of how commited someone is to making something of their band. Not giving up says a lot for a band and spending years to get to where you want is not something we're afraid of and nor should any other band starting out.



You finished third in a recent scotsman.com readers' poll of Scottish bands of the Noughties, behind Biffy Clyro and Franz Ferdinand. How do you feel about that?

Extremely happy. We beat some pretty good bands and although we maybe shouldn't have come out on top of the likes of Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian it feels nice that people felt strongly enough to put us there!

Interview: Nick Mitchell

The Winter of Mixed Drinks is released on 1 March on FatCat Records.

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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Live review: Unicorn Kid

Unicorn Kid
[Photo: Jane Barlow]

Tuesday 16 February
King Tut's, Glasgow

"I threw up twice in my mouth" pants Oli Sabin, AKA Unicorn Kid as he lumbers upstairs following an intense hour-long rave-a-thon; his neon facepaint now fading with the sweat.

Given the sheer effort he puts in tonight - jumping, headbanging and riling up this mashed-up mass of hyperactive fellow teenagers - it's surprising he even makes it to the end, narrowly managing to avoid keeling over or spontaneously combusting under the infamously molten hot King Tut's lights.

The 14+ crowd are putty in his hands from the off - it only takes the slightest glimpse of his now customary lion hat to send this caffeine-riddled crowd into school disco chaos. But the Kid really goes all out to keep up with them, barely standing still long enough to catch his breath, sip some water or, indeed, swallow his own spew.

Regardless of whether you love or hate this kind of thing it doesn't take long to realize why ridiculously intricate, 8-bit dance epics like 'Lion Hat' and 'Wee Monsters', hammered together with Sabin's unwavering enthusiasm and ability to be his own hype-man, keeps these kids on their toes.

Ultimately, tonight's brightly coloured assault offers a perfect excuse to dance, chant and batter glow-sticks in the air like a nutter - and the kids think so too.

Words: Ryan Drever

Unicorn Kid - Lion Hat

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Monday, 22 February 2010

Newsbits: Stag & Dagger, 'quadraphonic' gig, PodcART live and Calvin's new label

We Were Promised Jetpacks
[We Were Promised Jetpacks: playing a Stag night in Glasgow]

Do you ever wonder who sets the news agenda? Have you ever asked yourself when reading the latest update of the Cheryl/Ashley pantomime: "Who the hell decides what the public needs to know about?"

We did once, back in those dark, dark days in journalism school where we suffered the indignity of scouring broadsheets that got ink on our fingers and studied weighty tomes that harped on about the media having 'power and responsibility'.

Anyway, now we're older, wiser and much more enslaved to 'The Man' it's clear news is made up by PR men and women who churn out press releases to lapdog-hacks like yours truly, who subsequently turn it into 100 word filler pieces. So, here you go... another batch of news items spun up from our inbox.

First batch of Stag & Dagger acts announced...
Exciting news on the Stag & Dagger front. Organisers PCL have just announced the first batch of melody makers for this year’s multi-venue festivities and it’s looking pretty tip top thus far. Headlined, we’d presume, by local heroes We Were Promised Jetpacks and, not so local heroes, Wild Beasts and The Antlers, the festival’s booking men and women seems to be earning their bread by cherry picking the cream of UK talent. Hotly tipped crowers Esben & The Witch will mingle with UtR-featured Divorce and The Unwinding Hours. With a shovel load of acts still to be confirmed and early bird tickets going for about twelve quid, we reckon this has the makings of a rather spiffing night out on the West Coast.

A quadraphonic twilight...
Doom-laden noise mongers The Twilight Sad are going quadraphonic. Now, don’t worry, it’s not some debilitating muscular disease, in actual fact they’re bringing a new listening experience to the Glasgow masses at a gig in the city’s ABC. The set-up consists of PAs being placed at both the back and front of the room while a central control module manipulates the output of each speaker.

Those ever informative folk at FatCat elaborate: “There are limitless possibilities with this technology as it incorporates software that allows shapes to be drawn on a screen that are then replicated by the speakers, meaning that a guitar line can fly around the room or a drum roll can begin from the front of the venue and finish at the back. Each song can be mixed in a different way that will only add to the already immersive live experience that The Twilight Sad are famed for.

It all sounds a bit like another madcap invention by the professor in Futurama if you ask us. The gig is on the 2nd of April at the ABC. It’s probably advisable to lay off the mushroom soup before you make your way over.

PodcART live and uncut...
In swearier news... Our expletive espousing pals over at Glasgow PodcART are recording a live podcast this Friday (26 Feb). This nerveless display of audio-tomfoolery will include live performance from Big man/little lass combo Conquering Animal Sound and Scottish Alternative Music Award nominees Make Sparks. Taking place at Creation Studios between 3pm-6pm, it will be the usual high japes played out in a traditional West Coast brogue - only better, because everything’s better when it’s live, right?

Calvin Harris to launch record label – apparently it won’t be “shite”
Extraordinarily awful but very jammy electro-pop Scot Calvin Harris has announced that he’s to launch his own record label, called Fly Eye, in May. The first release will be a single from some fella called Mr Blink, (probably so titled because if you blink you’re gonna miss him... ho ho ho ) called 'Gecko'. Harris declared to some non-interested hacks: "My goal for Fly Eye is to release the most exciting club music I can get my hands on. There will be absolutely no shite". Sure Calvin, sure.

Words: Billy Hamilton

Whiffed a story from the Scottish music scene? Send it to utr.scotsman@gmail.com or tweet us @under_the_radar

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Saturday, 20 February 2010

Live review: Bronto Skylift

Bronto Skylift

Wednesday 17 February 2010
Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow


Spoiling the end of a story is a bad thing right? Like if you’re about to watch a film and some ‘friend’ says, "It’s amazing when the giant octopus kills the mega shark." It makes you want to kick them a little bit.

Well if the same rule applies to a gig review then I’m about to do a bad thing.

Bronto SkyliftBronto Skylift finish their midweek noisefest at Sleazy's by taking things down jazz street and picking up a trumpeter on the way.

Their drummer replaces his usual machine gun snare hits with clever flicks of the wrist and light cymbal taps, giving their final song a completely different sound while retaining the power and emotion of the rest of the set.

And somehow it avoids being gimmicky. If anything it shows that the band are a little more diverse than their reputation would have you believe; they can totally jam.

The rest of the set is tight and loud with the band displaying their Lightning Bolt credentials to full effect, sandblasting away at a wall of sound that has the crowd eager for more. Yet on tracks like 'Lioness' and 'Wolf' a real pop element is audible through the decibels: Lightning Bolt’s jolly little brother, if you will.

As a band they’re definitely a little self indulgent, with thrashing guitars and outrageously heavy drumming that’s not to everyone’s taste. But there’s melody and groove at the heart of their songs, and a passion in their delivery that would put most bands to shame.

I leave the gig totally sure that they’re my favourite double act around at the moment (followed closely by Jay Z and Alicia Keys of course).

Words: Aimi Gold
Photos: Martyn Tramaine


Bronto Skylift play The 13th Note, Glasgow on the 19 Feb and Classic Grand, Glasgow on 24 Feb.

Bronto Skylift

Bronto Skylift

Bronto Skylift

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Friday, 19 February 2010

Radar recommends: 20 - 26 Feb

Other People
[Other People: supporting Japandroids on Friday]

Plan your gig-going with our pick of the week's finest live music nights...

The best...

Xiu Xiu, Meursault, North Atlantic Oscillation
Sunday @ Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow / 7.30pm / £9
Experimental Californian art-rocker, touring in support of new album Dear God, I Hate Myself. Get there early for support from two of the best new bands in Scotland.
Also at Electric Circus, Edinburgh on Monday, where The Foundling Wheel take NAO's place as support.

Keser
Sunday @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
The capital's favourite home-grown instrumental ambient electro-indie two-piece play the first date of their UK tour in support of album Robo_Ghost.

God Is An Astronaut
Monday @ The Bongo Club, Edinburgh / 7.30pm / £8.50
More instrumental ambient post-rock this week, this time from Irish three-piece God Is An Astronaut. This will be their first time playing the city, so head along and make them feel welcome.
Also at Oran Mor, Glasgow on Tuesday

Nothington
Monday @ Bannermans, Edinburgh / 8pm / £tbc
Gruff San Franciscan melodic punks Nothington hit Bannermans on Monday, in support of latest album Roads, Bridges & Ruins. Extra rock action comes from Aberdeen’s Hijacks, Athens’ Despite Everything and local boys Moonshine Docks.
Also at The 13th Note, Glasgow on Sunday.

The Soft Pack
Wednesday @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh / 7pm / £7.50
Fast-paced garage rock'n'roll from the San Diego four piece, who have been making waves on the other side of the Atlantic with their catchy bursts of pop rock. Also featuring William Douglas and the Wheel and The Set Up.
Also at King Tut's, Glasgow on Tuesday

Golden Ghost
Thursday @ Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
Soulful cat-friendly folk from New York state, with support from George Thomas and the Owls and a likely last Edinburgh gig from Tissø Lake.
Also playing at a venue TBC in Glasgow on Friday

Glasgow PodcART Live ft. Conquering Animal Sound, Make Sparks
Friday @ Creation Studios, Glasgow / 3pm / FREE
Marking its first birthday, the boys and girls of Glasgow’s finest indie music weekly throw open their doors for their first ever live recorded podcast. Featuring sets from east coast sensations Conquering Animal Sound and Scottish Alternative Music Awards nominees Make Sparks, plus the usual eclectic sets and witty banter from the team, this rare afternoon out will make a great start to the weekend.

Japandroids, Other People
Friday @ King Tut’s / 8:30pm / £5
Vancouver noise duo Japandroids left a trail of devastation in their wake on a recent trip to Scotland. Find out what all the fuss is about when they return, with the UtR-featured Other People in tow.


The rest...



Words: Lisa-Marie Ferla, Craig Dickson

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to the calendar by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Tuesday, 16 February 2010

On the radar: Miaoux Miaoux

Miaoux Miaoux

Miaoux Miaoux - Dream On


Miaoux Miaoux - Snow


At the end of our Django Django interview last month we offered some priceless advice to new bands: name yourself twice. And although we can't claim credit for the latest double-barreled music maestro, perhaps it shows there's something in this ludicrous theory after all.

Because Miaoux Miaoux, the nametag for Julian Corrie's creative endeavours, is gaining admirers at a rate roughly twice as fast as could normally be expected (by my estimates).

But Corrie, it seems, had less careerist intentions in his choice of name: "When I thought of the name Miaoux Miaoux it was kind of a catch-all phrase for 'anything that I write with no specific purpose' - offcuts, ideas, beats - but it's definitely taken on its own identity. Plus it's the noise that French cats make, and I like cats!"

Indulging in a boundary-crushing mélange of electronica and post-rock sounds which he describes as "tricky beats, harsh glitches and soft pulses", Miaoux Miaoux is enjoying a return to underground prominence after a couple of years on the sidelines. He recently played warm-up for Geoff "Portishead" Barrow's new band, Beak, at King Tut's, he remixed a song for Zoey Van Goey, and he has a new EP (called Blooms) on the way.

In case you missed him first time around, Miaoux Miaoux put out an album in 2007 called Rainbow Bubbles - although its timing wasn't exactly ideal for Corrie: "I had to leave Glasgow more or less the day after it was released, so didn't get much chance to promote it. People have said some very nice things though. Hopefully with the new EP coming out I can give it a better shot."

Unlike some of his glitchy contemporaries, Corrie, who also plays guitar in indie-pop outfit Maple Leaves (UtR profile), does not shy away from singing duties. "I've been listening to a lot of Apparat and Postal Service recently, and maybe because of that the new record has a lot of vocals on it," he says. "But then I'm a massive fan of Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed etc, and I think my stuff bridges the gap quite well. Oh, and decent dubstep, like Mount Kimbie and Appleblim."

And anyone planning to attend one of his live shows with visions of one-man-and-his-MacBook might have a surprise in store. "I was obsessed with doing an improvisational show for ages, where I go on stage with nothing prepared and program everything live, but it got very stressful and complicated," Corrie says. "Now I've got more song-based stuff it's me, an electric guitar, a synth and an MPC (Music Production Centre). I like to avoid using computers on stage if I can help it - I've been to a few electronica shows that look like a sales conference."

Miaoux Miaoux is the latest in a succession of electro-flavoured artists to set sparks flying in Scotland, and Corrie is upbeat about the current scene. "Scotland's always been amazing for music of all kinds, and electronic music is no exception - producers like Akira Kiteshi and Loops Haunt are doing completely mindblowing things on a regular basis, not to mention the LuckyMe guys. I guess it's that much smaller that you can build communities, and support one another a lot easier."

With his thoughts already turning to a second album, it looks like Miaoux Miaoux could soon rank in reputation alongside such mirror-image names as Django Django, Zombie Zombie, Liquid Liquid, and - dare I say it - Duran Duran.

Words: Nick Mitchell

You can see Miaoux Miaoux live TONIGHT (16 Feb), supporting Unicorn Kid at King Tut's.

The Blooms EP is released on 16 March with a launch party at The 13th Note. As well as a live set from Miaoux Miaoux, the night will feature Firebrand Boy and a DJ set from Errors.

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Friday, 12 February 2010

Radar recommends: 13 - 19 Feb

Unicorn Kid
[Unicorn Kid: giddy techno at Tut's on Tuesday. Photo: Jane Barlow]

Plan your gig-going with our pick of the week's finest live music nights...

The best...

Trampoline: Kid Canaveral, Babygod, Cancel the Astronauts
Saturday @ Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5 (£3)
Trampoline is fast becoming one of the capital's most reliable live music nights. See this month's delectable indie-pop menu, for example, featuring local favourites Kid Canaveral and one of our favourite bands around, Cancel the Astronauts.

Divorce, Bitches
Sunday @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh / £tbc / 7pm
Possibly not the wisest destination for a romantic date on the 14th, but anyone who wants to celebrate their singledom in truly anarchic fashion should check out Glasgow nae-wavers Divorce, here with London duo Bitches. Bitchin.
Also playing The 13th Note, Glasgow on Saturday.

Unicorn Kid
Tuesday @ King Tuts, Glasgow / 8.30pm / £7
Signed just this week to Ministry of Sound, it’s unlikely this Edinburgh wunderkind will be playing venues of this size much longer.

Bronto Skylift, Ex Wives, Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers
Wednesday @ Nice’n’Sleazys, Glasgow /10pm / £4
Two-piece noise act Bronto Skylift headline this fundraiser for Glasgow art school students that includes DJ sets from Optimo’s Twitch and Men and Machines. Call in sick to work/uni/life now.

Yeasayer
Wednesday @ Oran Mor, Glasgow / 7pm / £10
Touring their new, poppier album Odd Blood, these Baltimore-via-Brooklyn boys hit Glasgow mid-week.

Panda Su, Julia and the Doogans, Sophie's Pigeons
Wednesday @ Brel, Glasgow / 7pm / £4
A night of female-fronted talent in the form of UtR-touted Panda and Julia, plus the intriguingly titled Sophie's Pigeons.
Panda Su and Sophie's Pigeons also play Duke's Corner, Dundee on Tuesday.


The rest...



Words: Aimi Gold, Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to the calendar by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Thursday, 11 February 2010

Newsbits: New song from Collins, Twilight falls on Sad bassist, Hinterland bands...

Edwyn Collins• Scots indie-pop legend Edwyn Collins has revealed details of his first new material since the stroke in 2005 which left him barely able to talk, walk, read or write, never mind make music again.

The song is called 'I'm Feeling Lucky' and features on a new compilation album inspired by American gospel singer and civil rights activist Mavis Staples.

The former Orange Juice frontman told BBC6 Music: "It's the first song after my stroke, it was difficult in a way but the lyrics are simple and direct. I like them simple and direct. 'I'm Feeling Lucky' is about positive music, it's inspirational in a way.

The album is out on Monday (15 Feb).

Craig Orzel• Kilsyth noise-mongers The Twilight Sad have parted company with their bass player. Craig Orzel, known for his unusual on-stage headgear (and who also produces music under the guise of Orzelda), posted a typically intriguing letter on the band's blog page, where he explained his decision:

"It's been lots of fun but I feel that this is a good time to end it. Over the last couople of months I have been looking to do different things with my life and the full time commitment that The Sad demands is something I can't satisfy any longer. There has been lots of good times and I leave with no animosity between me and the other three."

We're sure Orzel will be back in some form or another and wish him all the best.

Hinterland• As previously mentioned on UtR, Hinterland will return in 2010, and it has announced the first chunk of its line-up, as follows:

British Sea Power, Jeffrey Lewis, Hot Chip (Joe Goddard) DJ set, Friendly Fires DJ set, Hot Club de Paris, Wave Pictures, Greco-Roman Soundsystem, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Fenech Soler, Johnny Foreigner, Bleech, Make Sparks, The French Wives, Little Yellow Ukuleles, Ambulances, Kitty the Lion, Cooly G, Eclair-Fifi, Konx Om Pax

It's great to see two bands we featured on the blog last year - Ambulances and French Wives - in the mix, and hopefully there will be plenty more native talent on the roster come the event itself on 3 April.

Early bird tickets are a snip at £10.

Django Django• More familiar names have been added to the annual pilgrimage to Austin, Texas for the South By Southwest industry chinwag.

The Scottish Arts Council have named nine acts who have been given funding to attend next month's event. They are: Broken Records, Colin MacIntyre, Fangs, Frightened Rabbit, The Law, St Deluxe, Trembling Bells, Unicorn Kid and Young Fathers.

At the time of writing, other Scots due to fly out are: Twin Atlantic, Tommy Reilly, The View (visas permitting), We Were Promised Jetpacks, Kid Adrift, Hudson Mohwake, Codeine Velvet Club and recent UtR stars Django Django (pictured).

Will this be a fair representation of the best of new Scottish music? Let us know below.

• And finally... The NME takes a fair amount of flak for its editorial focus on haircuts, skinny jeans and generally bad music, but you've got to give them credit for publishing this letter, from Scott Longmuir (of Edinburgh band The Last Battle):

NME letter

Can you tell the real bands from the fakes?

Words: Nick Mitchell

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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

On the radar: Over The Wall

Over The Wall
[Picture: David Forcier]

Over The Wall - Settle Down


Over The Wall - Thurso


Once you’ve lived in Glasgow for a certain amount of time, you start to believe the place is bleeding bands.

Funny thing is, even though everyone suddenly seems to be in one, it still feels like you’ve heard them all before. Are you getting old? Or is the neverending conveyor belt of Pavement pastiches and Next Animal Collectives just getting tiresome?

If this is what you ask yourself, then don’t fret- it might be time to go Over The Wall.

Ben Hillman and Gavin Prentice are, by day, two friends who met eight years ago in student halls. By night, they create uplifting, playful pop injected with positivity and lyrical witticism - and they're being increasingly noted by those searching for something a little left of the local band norm.

Both members sing, milk beats from laptops and play a plethora of instruments, including guitar, keyboard, harmonica, stylophone and mandolin.

“Ben plays trumpet too - can't forget that as it's where a lot of the euphoria comes from,” Prentice says. “Off the back of our first EP a lot of people seemed to think that we were ‘folktronica’ but that label tends to mislead people. They get a wee surprise when they see us throwing shapes in our live show.”



Named after an Albion Rovers fanzine from the 80s, there's a decidedly vintage element to the Casio-littered duo. As Prentice tells it, their exact influences are difficult to pinpoint. “Ben and I first bonded over classic pop songwriting. Stuff like Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, early Tom Waits and The Beatles were the things that brought us together.”

But Over The Wall sound like all and none of these artists, all at once. “We don't necessarily sound like that but that's because we were born in the 80s and live in Glasgow,” says Prentice. “You can hear where we're from.”

For Prentice, that place is Bathgate, these roots informing much of the lyrical content: “It was a big deal for me, growing up, to have a narrative as to why where I lived was like it was and that it was once different, and where it was going. If there's a common thread in our lyrics, it's anxiety over finding your place,” he says. “Basically, it's Thatcher's fault that I feel like I don't fit in anywhere!”

Still, humour is an important brick in the proverbial Wall, originally concocted out of necessity when numerous wires from keys and computers led to technical problems and horrendously long gaps during their early sets. “I suppose we just got used to having a chat,” Prentice says. Although the duo would balk at the idea of being pigeon-holed as some kind of novelty act, one of their main priorities is to provide entertainment: "We're not there to look cool."

Following positive critical response to EP The Rise and Fall of Over the Wall, packed out gigs in the central belt and appearances at a fistful of festivals, Prentice and Hillman are currently finishing their debut album, due out in May, with single 'Settle Down' poised for release on 5 April.

“I suppose this is the calm before the storm. Hopefully it'll be a storm, anyway,” Prentice ponders. With so many fans hungering for something different, and Over The Wall meticulously placing each beat and raucous chorus hook, it’s hard to see how the weather won’t get a good bit windier.

Words: Lauren Mayberry

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Sunday, 7 February 2010

Newsbits: EMI losses, Japanese War Effort and Unwinding Hours album releases, plus TITP

If today’s news is tomorrow’s chip paper, god knows what that makes our music news. Either way, we’ve been scraping our barrel of press releases to bring you the latest news, gossip and conjecture from the world of the music industry.

Blame it on the Moog, eh...
UtR’s favourite ambient-pop minimalist Japanese War Effort will release his second album ‘I Will Leave You Now, And Two Loudspeakers Will Take My Place’ on 8 March. The follow up to his 2008 debut 'Snowbird' contains, what the press release says are, “some of Martin Moog’s strongest and most interesting work to date”. On first impressions, ‘I Will Leave You’ is certainly more dense in texture than its predecessor while continuing Moog’s liking for complex, star-chasing slinks. No doubt you’ll hear a lot more of said record on these pages in the months to come.

‘Gramme pair to unwind...
Aerogramme fans rejoice, The Unwinding Hours album is scheduled to launch into your lugholes in less than two week, on 15 February to be precise. The debut LP of Ex-‘grammers Craig B and Iain Cook will be released through Chemikal Underground and, if early reviews are anything to go by, looks set to be one of the Scottish records of the year. Can’t wait to hear it? We’ll here’s the track listing for you...

Knut
Tightrope
Little One
There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone
Solstice
Peaceful Liquid Shell
Child
Traces
Annie Jane
The Final Hour

Frightened Rabbit pour another one...
To celebrate the impending release of their third studio album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, the next Snow Patrol, aka Frightened Rabbit, want you to make a diddy of yourself on the web. All their asking you to do is post a video of you making your favourite mixed beverage, no doubt in a particularly foolish manner, and you’ll be in with a shout of winning two tickets to an upcoming gig and have a drink with the band afterwards. If you fancy putting yourself up for undeletable, everlasting internet ignominy then click here. If you’d just prefer to watch the band’s latest video, press play on the video below:


Frightened Rabbit on MUZU

A £1.75 billion dEMIse...
Hands up if you know what £1.75 billion looks like? No-one. Okay, hands up if you know what minus £1.75 billion looks like? Come on EMI don't be bashful, raise those paws.

That’s right, one quarter of the ‘Big Four’ in the music industry announced a pre-tax loss of close to 2 billion smackers (what's £0.25bn?) for the financial year to the end of March 2009. Following the news that owners Terra Firma were asking financial backers for £100m to meet loan repayment commitments, you’d be forgiven for thinking the London-based major was spluttering its way to a long overdue box in the ground. Y’know, with the maggots, worms and other such icky stuff.

But there appears to be some semblance of hope for the fading giant. A billion of the losses were caused by Terra Firma’s accountants insisting on an 'impairment charge'. A what? Well, the perceived value of the EMI catalogues and the company's corporate reputation was cut which impacted on the firm's ‘bottom line’. Also, ongoing restructuring costs used up over £100 million and interest payments on the loan Terra Firma took out to buy EMI in 2007 cost the company several hundred million more.

All in all, it means that, although EMI’s record labels sunk lower than an ex-England football captain on a night out with his mates missus, a boost in music publishing revenues has made the company itself just about operational. But hey, that doesn’t mean they’re not drifting paddle-less up a creek of defacation. Rumours are abound that EMI is on the brink of collapse and that Terra Firma are looking to cut their losses. Some even talk of mergers with Warners *shudder*.

Desperate times, eh? Funny thing is, we can’t decide whether a collapsing big gun is a good or a bad thing.

Balado go for another three years...
Good news for those who prefer their camping trips on the more hedonistic side. Perth and Kinross Council has agreed to keep T In the Park in Balado for another three years.

Now in it’s twelfth year of holding Scotland’s biggest outdoor festival on the disused airfield, DF Concerts had its licence application approved by the Council’s licensing committee.

Capacity on the campsite was also bumped up to allow 5,000 more inebriated punters to spend the night, rather than attempting to stagger their way through a sea of plastic cups to the night bus home. The campsite will now cater for 25,000 people on the Thursday evening and 70,000 on both Friday and Saturday nights.

This year’s T in the Park runs from Friday 9 July through to Sunday 11 July at Balado. Kasabian are headalining but there’ll be many more worthy acts for you to get your lugs around, no doubt.

Words: Billy Hamilton

Got news you want to share? Let us know by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Friday, 5 February 2010

Radar recommends: 6 - 12 Feb

The Low Miffs
[The Low Miffs: appearing in Stereo-sound on Thursday]

Plan your gig-going with our pick of the week's finest live music nights...

The best...

Live at the Beach
Saturday @ The Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen / 7.30pm / £7.50
Some of Aberdeen's brightest bands play a rare live music night at the famous Beach Ballroom: The Little Kicks, Indian Red Lopez, Cast of the Capital and The Underkills.

Louise McVey and Cracks in the Concrete, Hitlist Youth, Skinny Villains
Saturday @ 13th Note / 9pm / £tbc
The gorgeous, gothic voice of Louise McVey has already turned our heads here at UtR, and Saturday night at the Note is definitely one to watch.

Sisqo
Tuesday @ Fat Sam's, Dundee / 10.30pm / £7-£10
Sorry, but the prospect of the man behind 'The Thong Song' coming to play Dundee just seemed too good to pass over.

Beach House, Lawrence Arabia, Washington Irving
Wednesday @ King Tut’s / £9 / 8.30pm
Baltimore duo Beach House are the new indie darlings, although their watercolour dream pop stylings won't appeal to everyone. Get there early for Washington Irving too.

The Low Miffs, Hidden Masters, Foxgang
Thursday @ Stereo / 7pm / £1
In troubled economic times, you’ll struggle to find a better-value line-up than Ten Tracks’ monthly night at Stereo. Three top-notch bands plus a ten-track download compilation (this month from Hijack), for the princely sum of £1 – bargain!

The Leith Tape Club
Thursday @ The ISO Lounge, Leith / 8.15pm / £tbc
Space is always limited at this low-key monthly night, but this instalment - with eagleowl, Hailey Beavis and The Stormy Seas - is the last until May, so it could well be packed to the rafters.

Limbo: Found, Three Blind Wolves, Over The Wall
Friday @ Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh / 8.30pm - 1.30am / £tbc
A three-pronged prognosis of the state of new music in Scotland, with local favourites Found and the Glasgow pairing of Three Blind Wolves and the infectious Over the Wall.

The Late Call, The Last Battle, Emily Scott
Friday @ Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
The Late Call is Stockholm troubador Johannes Mayer, supported on this date by Edinburgh regulars The Last Battle and Emily Scott, who we profiled last year.


The rest...



Words: Lisa-Marie Ferla, Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to the calendar by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Thursday, 4 February 2010

On the radar: Divorce

DivorceFor the last half-century the numbers of married couples in Scotland separating has been on the increase. While the end of a marriage is not normally a cause for celebration, it can allow the partners a release to move on.

Similarly in the ascendant, but providing a release of a different kind (how's that for a link?), are Glaswegian five-piece Divorce.

With dates all over the UK under their belts since late 2008, they have earned a serious reputation for their blistering, cathartic live sets. In that time they have also released their debut EP to a warm reception from critics and fans alike, their ‘pop songs for burn victims’ finding many an appreciative ear.

Consisting of Hillary Van Scoy and Vickie McDonald on guitars, VSO on bass, Andy Browntown on drums and Sinead Youth on vocals, the band are currently putting the finishing touches to a couple of new releases for this year.

Although formed out of a frustration that there were precious few bands in Glasgow making a really filthy noise, nominated band spokesman Andy tells UtR there was no clear agenda in mind: “All we wanted to do was 'make a noise', not 'do a punk band' or 'do a metal band', if we had tried to make it that specific we probably would've sounded rubbish!”

Divorce - Early Christianity


Occupying territory between noise rock and no-wave (or 'nae wave', as they call it) with a nod to 80s punk, this is not music for the faint of heart. The tight rhythm section holds everything together while the guitars are manhandled into emitting all manner of pained shrieks. Over all this Sinead’s vocals are strident and angry with an underlying tunefulness.

Their debut self-titled 10” is out on Optimo Music in 2009, they have a split 7” with London art-noiseniks Comanechi coming out early this year on Merok Records, and they even have plans to go retro and release a split cassette with fellow Glaswegians and previous tourmates Ultimate Thrush later on. Why the antique format? “Cassettes are great, and it's gonna be fantastic to share one with probably our favourite band in Glasgow right now!”.

With a penchant for chaos and a love of inciting circle pits and human pyramids, Divorce must be witnessed in the flesh. Having notched up gigs with bands like Part Chimp, Deerhoof, HEALTH and Lovvers, they're keen to keep preaching their twisted gospel to everyone who’ll listen and will be taking their violent noise to as many new locales as possible. Having spent 2009 making friends and blowing minds, they plan to keep on doing just that in 2010.

Words: Craig Dickson

Divorce - Juice Of Youth


Divorce play The 13th Note, Glasgow on 13 Feb, Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh on 14 Feb and Glasgow School of Art at midnight on the same date.

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Newsbits: Ballroom, blogs, Biffy and Berliners

Steven Milne
[The Little Kicks - strictly ballroom this weekend. Photo: Nick Mailer]

• We'll be the first to admit that Aberdeen doesn't always get the recognition it deserves from the central belt music meeja. But three bands who graced this blog in 2009 are about to play a special show called Live at the Ballroom - so allow us to take this opportunity to give them a wee plug.

Following in the footsteps of The Beatles and Pink Floyd, local acts The Little Kicks, Indian Red Lopez and Cast of the Capital (along with The Underkills) will grace the stage of the city's Beach Ballroom this Saturday. It's a must for anyone involved in the Granite City scene, and more information can be found here.

• This week Under the Radar came 6th in a vote for the best so-called 'mainstream' blogs. We're quite happy to rub shoulders with political pundits like Brian Taylor and Iain MacWhirter, even if we'd have probably been more at home in the music category. Musn't grumble though, and thanks if you voted for us.

• In other X Factor-esque news, Ayrshire trio Biffy Clyro came out on top in scotsman.com's readers' poll of the best Scottish bands of the Noughties. A result sure to raise a few eyebrows, even if it does reveal a lot about how more adept some bands are at organising their online marketing than others. Good showings for Frightened Rabbit (3rd) and The Twilight Sad (9th) too.

• Teutonic tunage will be the order of the day when Born to Be Wide celebrates its sixth birthday tomorrow (Thursday) at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms. With a promise of "All you need to know about the German music scene", the event boasts a seminar with bookers, journalists and agents, a German music quiz, DJ sets (including Mark Chung of Einstürzende Neubauten) and a performance from Berlin band Jeans Team. More information here.

Got any other Scottish music news tips? Send them to utr.scotsman@gmail.com or get in touch via Twitter

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Monday, 1 February 2010

Live review: The Lava Experiments

The Lava Experiments

Friday 29 January
The 13th Note, Glasgow


“Has everyone got that Friday feeling?” A cry that usually accompanies some upbeat guitar pop. But tonight at the launch of The Lava Experiments’ new EP the focus is instead on three bands who put a new spin on shoegaze.

Glider open with a pounding drum, droning chords and Katherine MacLeod’s sweet voice. The effect is not at all unpleasant – soothing, almost. They follow this with a song that replaces the pounding with a more understated beat and a haunting vocal which sets it apart. The song ends on some jazzy, uptempo flute before drums crescendo to fill the Note’s basement.

Glider

While Glider’s music is heavy, it never descends into muddy or maudlin. You hear Sonic Youth at their most melodic, you hear My Bloody Valentine, although it does mean that the shorter songs take you aback. A sweet cover of Low’s 'Sunflowers' catches the ear and 'Star and Chain' carries on the theme, wringing guitars through some kind of effects pedal before the world comes crashing in. There is beauty in these downtempto pieces, but the band’s strength lies in those moments when frontman Colin Hamilton strums at his guitar so hard you’d think the strings – and his fingers – might break.

Laki Mera are tonight’s unknown quantity, mixing heady electronica with gorgeous pop star vocals from singer/synth queen Laura Donnelly. Their set mixes instrumental portions like the all-night bass beats in some sleazy underground club and dark, whispered passages that hint of unspeakable things. If Saint Etienne was Satan, perhaps.

Laki Mera

And they’re not above the odd spot of guitar too, whether warped into a five-minute piece of thrashy live electronica or played acoustically, in set closer 'Reverberation'. Angelic vocals and understated keyboards make the contrast with what has gone before incredible – a range so breathtaking it’s like a mix CD in minor key.

The Lava ExperimentsOnce the clutter of synths is removed, the stage looks almost empty for the three Lava Experiments. But they needn’t rely on much hardware to make some of the most beautiful and powerful noise to have ever graced the Note: guitar, bass, some samples and a drum kit battered to a membrane. Frontman Fraser Rowan doesn’t say much, but what he does almost doesn’t matter – his voice is another instrument to be bent to his will in the creation of his atmospheric soundscapes, echoing like a scream in a haunted crypt among the clatter of drums and guitars.

'Piecing Memories Together' is of course the reason we are here. The set pivots around its understated, haunting melody, and as the song builds itself into a powerful, desolate frenzy I swear my heart actually hurts. By the end of their allotted half hour, the audience are as emotionally battered as that snare.

Words and photos: Lisa-Marie Ferla

The Lava Experiments

The Lava Experiments' 'Piecing Memories Together' EP - featuring remixes by Dan le Sac, Pumajaw and Betamax Warriors - is available now.

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