Friday, 26 March 2010

Radar recommends: 27 March - 2 April

We Were Promised Jetpacks
[We Were Promised Jetpacks: descending on Edinburgh on Sunday]

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

Ten Tracks presents... The Verden Whistle Test
Saturday @ Verden Studios, Portobello, Edinburgh / 6pm / £10
You're probably too young to know what The Old Grey Whistle Test was... So, this is a special, intimate studio gig that's all being filmed, featuring the likes of UtR faves Over The Wall, Dead Boy Robotics, Esperi, Fur Hood and John B McKenna. There are only 100 tickets on offer and everyone gets a free DVD. More info here.

La La Vasques, Golden Grrrls, Girls Names
Sunday @ The 13th Note, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
What do you get when you mix cool girls with fuzzed out shoegazy style? Perhaps something like these bands. And that's something pretty good.

Haddow Fest
Sunday @ various venues, Edinburgh / 1pm - 12am / £20 (£15 in advance)
Glasgow may have Hinterland and Stag and Dagger, but now Edinburgh has its own multi-venue gig sprawl. Haddow Fest has rounded up a batch of indie-rock bands to entertain the masses, including the likes of Idlewild, My Latest Novel and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Check the website for more information and stage times.

RM Hubbert
Sunday @ Slow Club, The Flying Duck, Glasgow / 8pm / Free
Ex-El Hombre Trajeado man RM shows off his fingerpicking skills with an instrumental guitar set, hopefully with a few pieces from his stunning First&Last album. What a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening.

The Besnard Lakes, Wolf People, Olympic Swimmers
Sunday @ Captain's Rest / 8pm / £8
Proving that matrimony and work can mix, Montreal's The Besnard Lakes have won over many fans with their sweeping indie rock. Get there early for UtR-featured Olympic Swimmers.

Benni Hemm Hemm, Rachel Sermanni, Graham McGeoch
Tuesday @ Bloc, Glasgow / 9pm / Free
Benedikt Hermann Hermannsson, going by the altogether easier to pronounce name of Benni Hemm Hemm, has brought the gift of excellent folksy pop from Iceland to his adoptive home of Glasgow. Get a free taste tonight as he plus band launch the Retaliate EP.
Also playing The Roxy Art House, Edinburgh on Monday

Dam Mantle, Fox Gut Daata
Friday @ Glasgow Social Centre, Osborne Street / 8pm / £5
Dam Mantle launches a new EP with suitable support from Fox Gut Daata. If you like your beats and blips on the interesting side you should head along. Plus DJ sets from Cry Parrot and Halleluwah Hits.

The Twilight Sad, The Unwinding Hours
Friday @ ABC, Glasgow / 7pm / £10
Just in case you thought The Twilight Sad's live show was lacking a few decibels (you fool!), the Kilsyth band will play this gig with an extra PA, achieving so-called "quadraphonic" sound. Hold on to your hats, and make sure you check out the sublime Unwinding Hours.
Also playing The Warehouse, Aberdeen on Thursday

Conquering Animal Sound, Debutant, Wounded Knee
Friday @ Roxy Art House, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
Hardly a week goes by where we don't mention a gig by one of these hard-working tunesmiths. Maybe tunesmith is the wrong word, because all three acts like to break conventions however and whenever they can.


Words: Elaine Liddle, 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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Monday, 1 March 2010

Newsbits: Scottish Alt. Awards, Aberdeen protest album, Haiti appeal and more...

handbags at dawnIf ducking a handshake constitutes a front page splash, then god knows where that puts our weekly round-up of press releases and music related titbits. At a guess, we’d say page four. You know, just behind that elegant snap of a scantily clad female who’s putting the world to rights in the shape of two mountainous mammary glands.

Anyway, as this is a website there’s no need to concern ourselves with trivial matters like page numbers or, sadly, topless models. Instead, you can rest assured that what you’re reading right now will probably stay at the top of the page for the next 24 hours without subjecting you to nudity of any form.

Trapped in Kansas scoop alternative gong
UtR favourites Trapped in Kansas scooped the ‘Best Rock/Alternative’ prize at last week’s Scottish Alternatve Music Awards (SAMA). The Glasgow based quartet fought off fierce competition from Make Sparks and This Familiar Smile to be crowned the most rocking alternative act in the land (or something). Other winners included As Darkness Falls (Best Newcomer), Promised Only Lies (Best Metal) and The LaFontaines (Best Live Act). Bronto Skylift bafflingly walked away with nada, but that’s that nature of open-vote awards for you.

SAMA organiser Richy Muirhead said: “The past seven months have been an amazing and great learning experience for myself. The music scene in Scotland is forever growing, and I hope everyone involved can now appreciate it more from this event. It's been a real blast, and I've already started brainstorming for next years festival.”

A heartfelt protest
Remember the (often abysmal) vehicle for social change that was the protest song? We don't, but that's mainly because we were born in a time when Thatcher’s Conservatives crushed the voice of opposition. But up in Aberdeen a collective of local musicians do. To voice their disdain towards the City Square Project – a planned £50m facelift of Aberdeen’s city centre which includes the uprooting of Union Terrace Gardens (UTG) – 20 Aberdeen acts have come together to produce the ‘We heart UTG’ record. Encompassing a spectrum of genres from modern bluegrass to funky house, the download-only record can be acquired on a ‘pay what you like’ basis, with all proceeds going to the UTG campaign. To get your mitts on it, click here.

Scots bands put out for Haiti
Four Scottish acts have donned their philanthropist capes and donated tracks to a Haiti benefit compilation. There Will Be Fireworks, Lions.Chase.Tigers, Farewell Singapore and Three Blind Wolves have forwarded cuts to New Jersey-based Dromedary Records for inclusion in the digitial-only release of Make The Load Lighter - Indie Rock for Haiti. All proceeds for the record will benefit the victims of the Haitian earthquake through an all-volunteer organisation called Vwa Ayiti (Voice Of Haiti). Label owner Al Crisafulli said of each band’s input: “It’s been great communicating with all four bands - this collection really has been a ton of fun, and it’s awesome to be able to do something quickly to raise money.” You can download the album here or, in a move which seems to be against the point of the record, you can listen to it here for free.

Selling out has never been so easy
Last week’s announcement of ‘the best T in the Park line up ever’ resulted in the festival selling out in less time than it takes Inverness Caley Thistle to put four goals past Raith Rovers (less of that please - ed). Unable to resist a roll call of Eminem, Muse, Jay-Z and The Black Eyed ‘why don’t they split’ Peas, Scottish punters snapped up 85,000 tickets in 90 minutes. We’d like to think this record breaking frenzy was in some way aided by the inclusion of Dirty Projectors and Broken Social Scene but, let’s face it, we’d just be deluding ourselves. For the latest line-up news all you need to do is click here.

Chewing the festival cud
In harder-than-it-looks news, chewing gum company Trident are seeking to exchange £30,000 for someone to visit 30 music festivals over 30 weeks. Taking in festivals around the globe, all you need to do is document the experience via Trident's festival website, through tweets, blogs, photos and videos, with reviews, gossip and celebrity interviews. Sounds easy, huh? Well, the challenge is actually getting the job, which will involve an online application, a face to face interview and, if you get that far, an all-day assessment in front of a panel that includes having to meet the insanely irritating George Lamb. See, told you it was tough. More info can be found here.

Twilights get a room
The Twilight Sad get back to the campaign trail for last year's still-growing-on-us album Forget the Night Ahead by releasing new single 'The Room'. Rife with the usual clash of miserabilism and voluptuous arrangement, the track offers the added bonus of My Latest Novel's Laura McFarlance guesting on violin. And for you for your aural/visual enjoyment, you can watch the fancy new video of said track below:



Got news for us? Let us know at utr.scotsman@gmail.com or tweet us @under_the_radar

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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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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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Thursday, 17 December 2009

My Christmas: James Graham

James GrahamJames Graham is singer and lyricist in Kilsyth band The Twilight Sad, who released their second album Forget the Night Ahead this year to wide acclaim. He's also a big fan of Christmas apparently...

What's good about Xmas?????

The answer to that is what's not good about Xmas????!!!

Over the past four years Xmas has been my favourite time of the year. When you're younger birthdays, school holidays, Easter and Xmas are your favourite times of the year for three reasons: presents, chocolate and no school!

As you get older things change, the presents get shitter, chocolate makes you fatter and you wish you were back at school so you could try harder and get better qualifications so you don't find yourself travelling round the world with five other guys in the back of a splitter van :P

Although I say that I have found a new appreciation for Xmas as it's the only time that I get to see all of my family and catch up on all of the shite TV and films that I love so much. It also lets me buy all of the music that I have illegally downloaded and like, due to the HMV vouchers that I have instructed all my family to get me instead of the Lynx Africa deodorant/shower gel combo that I always seem to get.

As a band we have a Xmas ritual, we all go to the Swann Inn which is located in my home town Banton on Xmas eve with all our friends and get absolutely out our tights. This year will be no different. You would think after spending four years solid on the road with each other we would be sick of the sight of each other and that's mostly true. But no matter what, on the eve of Xmas in 50 years time you will find four haggered old alkies talking about the time they played Sleazy's for the first time and nae c*** turned up.

My favourite Xmas song is by Chris de Burgh and is called 'A Spaceman Came Travelling'.

BAAAA HUMBUG!

James' list for Santa:

HD TV
Box of Malteasers
A tour bus
Tickets to Pavement at the Barras
Warp20 box set
Wagamama cook book
Trip to Buckfast abbey

Twilight Sad: Reflection of the Television


Twilight Sad: I Became a Prostitute

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Friday, 11 December 2009

Radar recommends: 12 - 18 Dec

The Twilight Sad
[The Twilight Sad: bringing the festive decibels to Edinburgh and Glasgow]

Status Quo are rocking all over Scotland this week (well, Aberdeen and Glasgow to be precise), so surely there's nothing more to be said for live music over the next seven days? What can possibly survive in the wake of the ponytailed rock gods, you ask?

Well, if Francis Rossi & co don't satisfy your cultural appetite (and what's wrong with you?), then you can at least take your pick from this lot...


Aberdeen
Luke Leighfield
Wednesday @ The Tunnels / 8pm / £5
Piano-based pop from the globe-trotting 22-year-old, in support of his recently release pay-what-you-like download album Have You Got Heart?
Also playing Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on Thursday


Dundee
Findo Gask, Popolo
Saturday @ Dukes Corner / 8pm / £5
Glasgow's deranged electronic pop purveyors ply their trade at the Dukes on Saturday, with support from highly rated Popolo. Bring your dancing shoes.

Dividing the Line, Proceed, Paradian
Sunday @ Dexters / 8pm / £6
A night of screamo-emo action at Dexter's as part of the 'Fezant is Present Tour'. There will be shredding riffs (and shredded fringes).


Edinburgh
Trampoline All Day Event: Mitchell Museum, Lyons, Jonnie Common, Debutant, The Scottish Enlightenment, Jill Leighton, Esperi, Lady North, Conquering Animal Sound
Saturday @ Wee Red Bar / 2pm / £5 (£3)
Over the past few months we have recommended no fewer than six of the acts on this all-dayer from Trampoline, so all that's left to say is get down there if you want to hear some of the best new music in Scotland. Simple really.

Hey Enemy, Gatechien, The Fatalists
Monday @ Sneaky Petes / 7pm / £4
Post-punk beats from London's Hey Enemy on tour with twisted French duo Gatechien. Support from local noiseniks The Fatalists
Also at The Tunnels, Aberdeen on Sunday

The Pineapple Chunks, The Leg
Tuesday @ Wee Red Bar / 7pm / free
You'd be hard pressed to find a more gloriously ramshackle, insane gig than this eccentric pairing of Edinburgh bands.

**UtR's gig of the week**
The Twilight Sad
Tuesday @ Voodoo Rooms / 7.30pm / SOLD OUT
Fresh from taking on the USA yet again, the strangely uplifting home-grown miserablists play a pre-Christmas show. If you have a ticket, enjoy, if you don't, too bad.
Also playing Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow on Wednesday

Little Comets
Wednesday @ Cab Vol / 7pm / £7
Recent Columbia signings Little Comets bring their major label alt-pop up the road from Newcastle, with support from local indie-rockers The Debuts.

Pulled Apart By Horses, Taking Chase
Wednesday @ Sneaky Pete's / 7pm / £6
Energetic and highly-rated hardcore from Leeds' Pulled Apart By Horses with support from Edinburgh's own melodic rockers Taking Chase. Lots of ruckus in one very small room.

Hardcore Christmas Party: The Colour Pink Is Gay, Corpses, Shields Up, Hey Vampires, Fights & Fires
Friday @ Bannermans / 8pm / £6
Good value hardcore punk rock christmas bonanza featuring some of Scotland's freshest talent, plus Worcester's Fights and Fires.
Also at Nice N Sleazy in Glasgow on Thursday 17th


Glasgow
The Phantom Band, Lord Cutglass, Sparrow and the Workshop
Saturday @ The Arches / 7pm / £10
Chemikal Underground double whammy as the Phantom Band celebrate having one of the albums of 2009 in Checkmate Savage.

Remember Remember, Happy Particles, Cheer
Saturday @ CCA / 8pm / £4
The lovely Remember Remember wants to say Merry Christmas - and how better than to share beautiful looping tinkly tunes in a party with the equally pretty Happy Particles.

eagleowl, Woodenbox, Withered Hand
Monday @ 13th Note / 9pm / £tbc
E(e)agleowl have a very nice new single called 'Sleep the Winter' which they are launching in Glasgow on Monday. Dan of Withered Hand and Ali of Woodenbox are both keeping it solo in their support slots.

Paper Planes, Peter Parker, Symbolics
Thursday @ Pollokshields Burgh Hall / 8pm / £3
Lucky Number Nine and Say Dirty records team up for a Christmas piss-up in the southside - with UtR-loved Paper Planes and added DJ action from Chris 'Beans' Geddes and Andrew 'Divine' Symington.

Panda Su, Kid Canaveral, The Darien Venture, Tokyo Knife Attack
Thursday @ 13th Note / 9pm / £tbc
Those Glasgow PodcART chaps have good taste, eh? And not just because it's similar to ours. Proceeds from this festive frenzy go to the Yorkhill hospital Christmas fund - which should give you a warm seasonal glow.

Big Ned, Nacional, Black Jash, If You Lived Here You'd Be Home By Now
Friday @ Captain's Rest / 8pm / £1
"Doom'n'roll" Stooges-esque topless cowboy fun from Big Ned, for the Green Door studios birthday bash.

Words: Craig Dickson, Elaine Liddle

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

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Thursday, 19 November 2009

Take part in our survey for a chance to win Twilight Sad tickets...

We're trying to learn a bit more about the Scottish music scene, what our readers think of our coverage and who reads our blog, and we would be grateful if you could spare a couple of minutes to take part in our survey.

We have a pair of tickets to give away for The Twilight Sad's pre-Christmas show at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms on 15 December courtesy of Synergy Concerts.

One reader will be chosen at random to receive the prize from those who complete the survey.

If you're reading this blog then you probably know how good they are, and this is an unmissable chance to experience their explosive live show at close quarters.

To enter the competition, take part in the survey here »

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Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Guest blogger: James Graham previews the new Twilight Sad LP

James GrahamSo pervasive have The Twilight Sad been over the past few years it's difficult to think of them as a one album band. Yet that's exactly what the Kilsyth quartet are - well, for the next three weeks anyway.

So, before the October release of the bleakly entitled Forget the Night Ahead, band frontman James Graham takes us through a track-by-track account of that 'difficult' second album....


Reflection Of The Television







This song wasn’t fully formed until we went into the studio. We had the vocal melody and a basic guitar line. It was one of those songs where you take it into the studio and you don’t really know what’s going to happen with it, which is pretty exciting and scary at the same time. Fortunately for us it turned out pretty good and as soon as it all came together we knew it was going to be at the start of the album. The drums are pretty huge and lyrically it revolves around the lyric "There's people downstairs, I’m more than a fighter you know" - take from that what you will.

I Became A Prostitute







This song was pretty much fully formed when we took it into the studio. We knew it would be the first single taken from the album. It was probably not a great idea to call it 'I Became A Prostitute' for stuff like radio, press etc. To be honest I don’t see what the fuss is, it is the politically correct term for a lady of the night. The title has no sexual connotations, it’s a metaphor for becoming something that you don’t want to become and there is nothing you can do about it.

Seven Years Of Letters
This was one of the first songs we wrote for the album and is the second single (19 October). It’s got our first guitar solo I think, well as close as we can get to having a guitar solo in a song. The lyrics in the song revolve around running away from things and people. It’s a song that we have played live for about a year now and always seemed to go down well at gigs, especially on our tour of America with Mogwai.

Made To Disappear
This song has the album title in the lyrics and really came together in the studio. I don’t really remember writing it, but it was always going to be on the record. This song probably has the darkest lyrics on the album.

Scissors
Scissors is an instrumental. Don’t really know what instruments are on it, it’s pretty intense and one of my favourites on the album, as I don’t sing on it. We felt it was important to have instrumentals that helped the album flow and so it was more than just a collection of songs.

The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night AheadThe Room
This was originally untitled '27' from our The Twilight Sad Killed My Parents And Hit The Road EP for the two Mogwai tours we did. It was the first song written for this record and has taken many forms over its two years of existence. We knew it was a good song but it took us some time to realize that we just had to let the song speak for itself instead of trying to complicate it. It was written during a particularly dark time as well.

That Birthday Present
It’s the fastest song we have ever written and will probably ever write. It features Laura from My Latest Novel on violin. It’s the complete opposite to ‘The Room’ as it hits you between the eyes straight away with the noise. It’s probably one of my favourite songs to play live.

Floorboards Under The Bed
This started off as two separate songs. We decided to piece them together and it turned out to be one of the most claustrophobic songs we have. It starts of with me walking about the studio singing on my own and closes with a piano instrumental and noise. Laura also helps out again on the violin.

Interrupted
This was probably the last song we wrote for the album. It has overlapping vocal melodies and again was just an idea before it became its fully formed self in the studio. Again the lyrics are pretty dark, with lines about "burying people" and "feeding them to dogs". The main lyric is "you and I".

The Neighbours Can’t Breathe
This song was again taken from The Twilight Sad Killed My Parents And Hit The Road EP. On that it was a live version, it’s one of the first songs that we played live from this record and hasn’t really changed too much since then. We added some keys and changed the drum pattern a little. The song title is a lyric from the song and I think it’s the first time we have done that. The vocals have a different affect on this song to the rest of the album as well.

At The Burnside
This song was always going to finish the album. The lyrics revolve around a story that my dad told me and I related that back to my situation at the time. The drums are heavily distorted and I am pretty sure that Mark is hitting some fire extinguishers in the background. It opens and closes with a dark piano line. It was the perfect way to end this album in my eyes.

Words: James Graham
Photograph: Su Anderson

The Twilight Sad's second album Forget the Night Ahead is released on 5 October through Fatcat.

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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

T in the Park review: Sunday


[Sunday in pictures, by Su Anderson; music by Findo Gask]

Saturday was a hard act to follow with great shows from Broken Records, Bronto Skylift and Young Fathers, but Sunday did not disappoint as UtR returned to an over-populated airfield in Balado. If only we could work the waterproof poncho look...

Findo Gask
BBC Introducing Stage, 12.30pm

Findo GaskSunday’s opening act on the BBC Introducing stage is a sight for sore eyes and a sound for cold ears. Led to the fore by luminously attired frontman Gerard Black, Findo Gask’s melody-stained motifs brilliantly shake away the day’s rain-sopped inception.

The zig-zagging splendour of Korg and percussion emanating from this nerdish quartet has a bulging crowd jigging from the off; with tracks like 'Go Faster Stripe' and 'Va Va Va' revisiting the gleeful slurps of jangle-friendly vanguards Orange Juice.

But where Edwyn and co glossed up a distinctly New Pop finish, Findo Gask fashion out demented sonic lightning bolts that sound equally at home on the moshpit of a muddy field as they do an indiekid’s darkened bedroom.

Pirouetting across the stage one final time, Black bows his head to a bluster of clapped hands. If they maintain this heady momentum, there’ll be much, much more to follow. [BH]

Barn Owl
T Break Stage, 12.50pm

Barn Owl's shimmering, melancholic indie rock is the perfect accompaniment to a dreary and hungover Sunday afternoon at T in the Park. That said, with the heavens pouring down outside, it's not entirely clear which is the bigger draw: the band themselves or the sheltered confines of the T Break Tent.

Either way, Barn Owl take it in their stride, delivering a dreamy and gentle set to a chilled out crowd. Occasionally, the Glasgow five-piece meander into a soaring chorus, slightly reminiscent of latter-day Idlewild, but calm is soon restored and we return to emotive minor chord progressions, accompanied by rich and resonant percussion.

Indeed, Barn Owl's elaborate percussion ensemble is one the more intriguing aspects of the performance, a collection of bells, chimes and xylophones adding a wistful, ethereal dimension to their sound. As the set draws to a close, the clouds outside finally break, revealing a thin crack of blue sky.

But, even as the sun makes a fleeting appearance, still the punters try to push their way inside the packed tent. It seems Barn Owl don't need the Scottish weather's help to fill the canvas arena after all. [JM]


Tango in the Attic
T Break Stage, 1.30pm

Tango in the AtticEvery year there is one T Break band who do the pre-show legwork to ensure they're not playing to a wind-whipped, half-empty tent. Judging by the discarded flyers that litter the ground, the makeshift banners held aloft and the fans clad in branded t-shirts, this year that band is Tango in the Attic.

But at least the chirpy Fifers repay the sizeable crowd they have amassed with an energetic performance of their sun-flecked guitar pop grooves. Embellishing the standard garage rock set-up with an antique organ and sax, the smiling quintet belie their band-next-door image with tightly-coiled, sonically distinctive jams.

When they kick into the double-speed, Vampire Weekend-esque beat of 'Blunderground', their branded fans go wild with the kind of enthusiasm that no exhaustive marketing could inspire. [NM]


The Twilight Sad
BBC Introducing Stage, 2pm

DananananaykroydIt's slightly ironic that the sun breaks out over Balado and the rain finally stops as The Twilight Sad begin their show at the BBC's Introducing stage. The hyped Kilsyth band make the kind of brooding rock that's more apt to soundtrack rolling thunderclouds than blazing sunrays.

But any contextual niggles are soon rendered irrelevant as the band launch into one of their best, albeit briefest, live shows in recent memory.

In a half-hour set it seems daft to select highlights, but 'I Became a Prostitute', the disturbingly primal new single from their upcoming album, is undoubtedly it, closely followed by traditional set-closer 'And She Would Darken the Memory'.

Before they leave singer James Graham jokes, "What the f*** are ye daein' here? The Saturdays are on!" Evidently some T in the Parkers still value good music over good looks. [NM]


We Were Promised Jetpacks
T Break Stage, 6.40pm

It can be a challenge for bands in the T Break tent to do anything more than give the audience a taster of their burgeoning opus in the alloted 30 minute slot. But when fast-rising Edinburgh-via-Glasgow band We Were Promised Jetpacks inspire a mass of sweaty kineticism and unprovoked clapping, it feels like an occasion.

It's not that the cherub-faced four-piece do anything special to rouse the 1,000-odd folk in attendance. But then they don't need to, because their rough-edged, propulsive indie-rock is performed with such effortless gusto and untamed aggression that you can't help but be taken along for the ride.

Like most of the tracks from recent debut album These Four Walls, 'Thunder and Lightning' has added drama today, and when they launch into 'Quiet Little Voices', it really does feel like a T in the Park moment that will live long in the memory. [NM]


Dananananaykroyd
BBC Introducing, 8pm

DananananaykroydScotland's most ridiculously named band need little introduction to native audiences after blazing a path across the country with their anarchic gigs over the past few years. But to anyone stumbling across them for the first time, this was a fitting first encounter.

Boasting two drummers, two guitarists and two singers at various points in their set, the now all-male Glasgow group (having dropped bassist Laura) are an assault on the senses, albeit a non-threatening one.

Because when they ask two halves of the audience to part and run towards each other, the goal is not a 'Wall of Death' but a 'Wall of Cuddles'. Perhaps unaccustomed to trying this out on such a tightly packed crowd, this time it results in half the onlookers falling like dominos before laughingly helping each other up.

While their debut album Hey Everyone can be a trying listen, Dananana... are designed to be experienced up, close and personal, and with their endless crowdsurfing and cuddling, it doesn't get much more personal than this. [NM]

Words: Nick Mitchell, Billy Hamilton, Jodi Mullen

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

T in the Park: 10 essential acts

Findo Gask
[Findo Gask: BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday]

It's that time of year again. The time when 80,000 singing, drinking, welly-booted, fluorescent, sunburnt, hat wearing punters - and perhaps even a few music fans - converge on a disused airstrip near Kinross.

And while it's not everyone's cup of T, Scotland's biggest music festival is so - well - big, that even the most discerning muso can plot an entertaining path through the line-up. You just have to know where to look.

This week we've introduced you to four bands who we'll be watching at Balado: Barn Owl, Tango in the Attic, Trapped in Kansas and Bronto Skylift. But that barely scratches the surface, so while you're dusting down your tent and packing your wet wipes, have a listen to a few more must-see acts...

Dead Boy Robotics
T Break Stage, Friday

"Bound by the idea of making guitars squeal like Gameboys, the duo have rapidly escalated from late night drone to melody laced avant-gardism and cemented themselves as one of the capital's most alluring live spectacles."

Ming Ming & The Ching Chings
T Break Stage, Friday

"Orchestrated by Craig Wilson’s howling shrill, Ming Ming fuse the visceral horror-schlock stomping of The Cramps with Josef K’s iconoclastic rumbling to produce a sound that’s rawer than an acid burn laceration."

Broken Records
BBC Introducing, Saturday

"Bastions of Edinburgh's bulbous music scene, the baroque-swaying Broken Records get back to the nitty gritty of the live domain, tautening up new numbers and bellowing out old faithfuls."

Sucioperro
T Break Stage, Saturday

"Heavy rock with a melodic sensibility, this band are starting to make waves in Scotland's hardcore rock community"

Paper Planes
T Break Stage, Sunday

"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."

Unicorn Kid
BBC Introducing Stage, Saturday

"17-year-old Oliver Sabin is the epitome of the bedroom DJ, except he also has a nationwide and American tour lined up and is fast becoming a worldwide hit with his ringtone-friendly electro-pop."

Findo Gask
BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday

"Formed just two years ago, the band have indented the Scottish music scene with smoulders of zigzagging electronica and Indie-Pop melodies."

The Twilight Sad
BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday

"...chasmal atmospherics reverberating to the shrill of ruminative guitars and James Graham’s strangulating crow."

We Were Promised Jetpacks
T Break Stage, Sunday

"Formed in Edinburgh but switching to Glasgow, they blend post-rock with folk-flecked tendencies and even the jagged angst of Biffy Clyro to create a full-on noise best experienced live."

My Cousin I Bid You Farewell
T Break Stage, Sunday

"Reminiscent of Arcade Fire with undertones of Bruce Springsteen, MCIBYF's haunting darkness adds to these influences and it just works."

A few of us Under the Radar bloggers will be at T in the Park this weekend, trying our best to fit in some live music between all the interview chasing, video editing and bar queueing. You can keep up with all the coverage on the blog or at scotsman.com/tinthepark09.

And if you've not got a ticket and all this preview stuff is driving you mad, we'll have a wee guide of what brave souls have dared to stage a gig elsewhere in Scotland this weekend...

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Saturday, 20 June 2009

Tweet nothings, feat. Camera Obscura, Dananananaykroyd, The Twilight Sad

Tweet Nothings
With the world living in a nutshell of 140 character statements, getting to the good stuff can be a laborious chore - particularly if, like us, your mum has posted her 1000th account of the cat's bowel movements. But never fear dear reader, we here at UtR have sifted through the Twitter tripe to bring to you an essential weekly round-up of your favourite musical miscreants' idle-thumbed tweets....


Camera Obscura get narcissistic regret...
@camera_obscura: "so. watching yourself on telly is like watching yourself on youtube or looking in the mirror. but worse."

A less than explanatory Dananananaykroyd say adios to bassist Laura...
@dananananaykroy: "Eh, aye, so.. yeah."

The mighty Cancel The Astronauts get some overdue media lovin'...
@canceltheastros: "Tom Robinson's playing us on BBC Introducing tonight! And Steve Lamacq's playing a clip of Fanclub on his show. On Radio 1. That's mental."

Debutant slowly fathoms Twitter and all its meaningless glory...
@debutantmusic: "Twitter confuses me. I wish I was more technology savvy. How do I direct a tweet at a particular person? Technology really is wasted on me".

Best web 2.0-speak ramble of the week comes from Findo Gask...
@wearefindogask: "Hey internet ppz, practice today was an "EPIC FAIL". Hilariously graceless reworks of popular rock songs then sausages".

Edinburgh's The Banana Sessions look for some fee-less PR...
@bananasessions: "We need some snappy way to describe what we sound like... Any suggestions? Multi genre hybrids allowed. Answers on a tweet...".

Pooch give us a fascinating insight into to the culinary habits of a disco-punk band:
@poochtheband: "Having pizza before playin sleazys...roddy + steve have used 'my dad rocks' half price vouchers. Not enjoying being a wife!"

We Are The Physics take the tone down...
@wearethephysics:"We're all going round to Michaelguitar's house tonight to record a song about dildonics. We'll let you know the euphoric results".

While The Twilight Sad find themselves pigeonholed in the UK's biggest weekly music rag...
@thetwilightsad: "
the nme describe us as "awe-metal" and say our epic angst comes from "the fear of cocktail parties or of group oral sex."

to which the Twilight boys retort...
@thetwilightsad: "
we're big fans of both "cocktail parties" and "group oral sex."

And finally...

To fuzz, or not to fuzz? That was RBRBR's dilemma of the week...
@RBRBR: "
Sorry, in a band of 5, would a fourth beard be a beard too many?"

Words: Billy Hamilton (and Twitter)

Spotted any other tweeting gems we've missed out on? Share your favourite weekly tweets with us below...

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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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Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Newsflash: The Twilight Sad plot live return, finalise second album

The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad, Kilsyth's finest ear-blasting post-rockers, have announced their live return with a series of shows in May.

James Graham & co are currently putting the finishing touches to the follow-up to their debut LP Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters, one of the standout albums of 2007 and an awesome mix of thundering guitar squalls, plaintive alt-folk and West Coast angst.

The band then jet off to America in support of Mogwai at the end of this month, but will return to our shores in May for what will surely be a thrilling series of dates across the UK.

Their Glasgow show forms part of the excellent mini-fest, Stag & Dagger, which moves north from London for the first time. We'll have more features on this nearer the time.

May dates are as follows:

Wed 13: Birmingham Rainbow
Thur 14: The Great Escape @ Brighton Water Margin
Fri 15: Cardiff Barfly
Sun 17: Oxford Bullingdon Arms
Mon 18: Nottingham Bodega
Tues 19: Southampton Joiners
Wed 20: Bristol Fleece
Thur 21: London Stag & Dagger
Fri 22: Leeds Stag & Dagger
Sat 23: Glasgow Stag & Dagger

Video: The Twilight Sad perform live in Aberdeen last year:

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Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Scottish bands and musicians on Twitter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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