Monday, 29 March 2010

Newsbits: End o' Findo, Fanclub return, Astros freebie, Swimmer One album

Findo Gask
[Findo Gask at T in the Park '09 - photo by Su Anderson]

Findo Gask call it a day
We heard a rumour about this from one of our Glasgow writers a few weeks ago but we didn't want to believe it. Alas, it turns out to be true: Findo Gask, purveyors of perfect electro-pop, have turned off their synths for the last time. A blog on their MySpace reads: "It has come to an end, or at least it will have done pretty soon. The tyres were shot out a while ago, the engine is kaput, and we're slowly coasting to a stand still. Before that happens, we will finish the album we should have finished ages ago." Findo were real highlights at Homegame recently (twice), so it's surprising and sad to see them go. Awrabest.

Fannies plot their return
They might have outgrown their own name, but perennial indie favourites Teenage Fanclub have announced details and tracklisting of their long-awaited ninth album. It's called Shadows and is released on 31 May. A preview of the track 'Baby Lee' is streaming on their official website. Let us know what you think below...

Astronauts re-launch Fanclub EP
Fresh from their showing at yesterday’s Haddow Fest, indie-urchins Cancel The Astronauts have announced that last year’s superlative-inducing EP, I Am The President Of Your Fanclub (And Last Night I Followed You Home) is available as a free download. The band’s joyful philanthropy whets our already eager palate in anticipation of their soon to be released follow-up EP, which if recent shows are anything to go by is bound to be a another glorious slab of hip-swivelling pop-picking. Get your paws on said EP here.

Swimmer One front crawl into fore
Esoteric synth-poppers Swimmer One are set to return with a new record, the chirpily titled Dead Orchestras. The follow-up to 2008’s persuasive Regional Variations – a record one UtR hack described as “captivating to the point of hypnosis” - is released through local label Biophonic Records and enters the musical stratosphere on 31May. According to the press release it’s an album that “finds room for both a 12-minute, three-part pop symphony and a simple, two-minute acoustic lament. It is even a concept album, of sorts, a collection of songs about the things we leave behind when we're gone - as parents, as lovers, and as a species". Now that's what we call avant-garde.

And finally...
Last week we forewarned you of some news of our own. Check back here tomorrow and all will be revealed.

Got news for us? Let us know at or tweet us @under_the_radar

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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

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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.

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

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Under the Radar podcast #6

Podcast #6Christmas. It might be chilly outside but it's hardly the coolest time of the year is it? We over-indulge in party snacks, strange, once-yearly liqueurs (eggnog?!) and belt-busting meals, before battening down the hatches on our little cocoons of reliable family customs, TV drowse-athons and enough lighting effects to melt Greenland. In short, the carving knife is all that's cutting edge about Yule-tide.

So it pleases us at UtR to know that the young hipsters and hipstresses of the Scottish music scene are equally predictable at this time of the year. Don't believe us?

Well, Billy caught up with a quintet of his favourite music makers for some festive banter, and was treated along the way to a poorly executed version of The Waitresses' Christmas Wrapping, a shameless plug for Terry's Chocolate Orange and the earth-shatteringly weird coincidence that two separate musos both long for one of those tiny screwdriver sets in their Christmas cracker.

Panda Su, French Wives, Conquering Animal Sound, Dead Boy Robotics and Cancel the Astronauts... we're looking at you.

We also asked a few more of our favourite acts of 2009 to contribute either Christmas-themed - or just plain new - songs, and eagleowl, The Last Battle, There Will Be Fireworks and Tokyo Knife Attack duly obliged.

Again, the sound quality isn't perfect, but rest assured that top of our list for Santa this year is some professional recording gear. Hope you enjoy it anyway...

Play: Podcast #6

Running order:
00:54: There Will Be Fireworks: In Excelius Deo
07:10: Interview: Panda Su
10:32: Panda Su - Eric Is Dead
15:44: Tokyo Knife Attack - Invisible Sister
20:15: Interview: French Wives
23:30: French Wives - Me vs Me
28:04: eagleowl - Sleep the Winter
34:09: Interview: Conquering Animal Sound
37:48: Conquering Animal Sound - Where The Wild Things Are
42:22: Interview: Dead Boy Robotics
44:31: Death Ohh Eff - Me and Fift (Dead Boy Robotics remix)
48:22: The Last Battle - Once Upon A Boxing Day
54:14: Interview: Cancel The Astronauts
57:27: Cancel the Astronauts - Funny For A Girl

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Podcast: Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

Previous UtR podcasts

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Sunday, 27 September 2009

Radar recommends: 27 Sep - 3 Oct

[Kochka: launching their second EP at Mono on Thursday]

It's Sunday. Perhaps you're still in bed nursing a hangover. Or maybe you're surrounded by the papers and coffee. Or idly browsing your friends' Facebook updates.

Whatever you're doing, it can't be that important. So go and grab your diary and take note of which gigs to attend this week...

Strike the Colours, Zoey Van Goey
Sunday @ Electric Circus / 7pm / £4
The twee-meter will probably self-combust at this leg of these two bands' joint UK tour. Also playing Stereo, Glasgow on Friday.

Trapped in Kansas - CANCELLED, Glasgow gig still on
Wednesday @ Sneaky Pete's / 7pm / £tbc
One of the most talked about bands in Scotland at the moment, and rightly so. Also playing Stirling Uni on Thursday and the Flying Duck, Glasgow on Friday.

The Mill: Be A Familiar, Cancel the Astronauts
Thursday @ Cabaret Voltaire / 7pm / Free but ticketed
We were wondering if straight-up indie-pop bands still existed. This gig may be the proof.

Stanley Odd
Friday @ The GRV / 7pm / £5
The latest act to come off Scotland's small but diverse hip hop production line.

Bloc Party, Grammatics
Saturday @ HMV Picture House / 7pm / £22.50
Never heard of 'em. Much kop?

The Low Miffs & Malcolm Ross
Sunday @ Nice N Sleazy's / 7.30pm / £tbc
Killer kitsch guitar pop - 80s indie legend joins forces with the energetic Miffs.

**UtR's gig of the week**
Kochka (EP launch)
Thursday @ Mono / 8pm / £tbc
The Glasgow/Falkirk/Stirling/Perth/York band (how the heck do they rehearse?) launch their Dacha/Summerhouse EP, with help from Idlewild guitarist Rod Jones (his first ever solo gig), The John Langan Band and Errors' Stephen Livingstone on the decks.

Any Color Black, RBRBR, Fridge Magnets, Skitten
Friday @ Captain's Rest / 8pm / £tbc
Pull some shapes (the more angular the better) at this Friday night electro-frazzled party.

Three Blind Wolves, The John Knox Sex Club, Martin John Henry
Saturday @ Captain's Rest / 7.30pm / £4
Three Blind Wolves used to be Ross Clark & the Scarves Go Missing but have opted for a more equalitarian name now. Support from the enigmatically brilliant John Knox Sex Club and former De Rosa frontman Martin John Henry.

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to our gig guide by emailing

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Friday, 14 August 2009

This week we have been mostly listening to...

BeerjacketYou can't accuse us of being narrow in our tastes here at UtR. The first of our 'office stereo' blogs takes in a Springsteen cover, noisy post-rock, sweet girl-pop and star-gazing indie.

We may have our private little disagreements over which music to showcase, but this feature is an anything-goes platform where we'll all be talking individually about our favourite bands, must-hear tracks and guilty pleasures.

The question is, are you old enough to get the Fast Show reference in the headline? (Clue)

'Dancing in the Dark'

MySpace / UtR profile

Having featured Beerjacket in an On The Radar article a few months back, I've kept an ear out for him ever since. It turns out Rolling Stone were rather excited about this track of his, which certainly got my attention. A Springsteen cover by a Scottish solo artist sounds a potentially hazardous combination, but by keeping it simple and letting the quality of the song shine through, Mr Beerjacket has created something wonderfully infectious.

Stevie Kearney

What The Blood Revealed
'The Corporation As We Know It Is Dead, Dead, Dead


What The Blood RevealedDespite loving the band, I wasn't entirely convinced that What The Blood Revealed were the 'post-metal' act they labelled themselves. Post-rock with a bit of noise, maybe. Then I heard this riff-laden beast of a track.

It's got that slow lead up to a massive crescendo thing going on but with thumping bass and crashing drums and this monster guitar riff that just builds and builds. It's more Red Sparrowes or recent Pelican than Isis but that's no bad thing. Who knows, given time we might just see WTBR pop up on Southern Lord themselves.

Jodi Mullen

Pearl and the Puppets
'Because I Do'


Pearl and the PuppetsThere's something alluring about a singing voice that sounds like Jodie Foster's accent - and all week I've found myself humming and bopping along on the subway to this catchy upbeat yet chilled out tune. The innocent sound of Pearl’s voice combined with the sweet yet meaningful lyrics make this my tune of the week, and I can’t stop myself from pressing the repeat button.

Clare Sinclair

Cancel the Astronauts
'Love Somebody'

MySpace / UtR profile

Cancel the AstronautsWith noggin pounding and fingers twitching, my over-worked aches have this week been soothed by the sound of Cancel the Astronauts’ massaging jangles. Already regulars on our blog, the Edinburgh quartet effortlessly fashion out a soar-away pop opulence reminiscent of Gold Mother-era James. My chosen track, the synth riddled ‘Love Somebody’, finds the quartet at their most dextrous; initially passing off as a hand-holding melee of strum and percussion, this ebullient sheen soon fades away for a tragic tale of heartbroken rejection. Quite simply, magnificent.

Billy Hamilton

There Will Be Fireworks
'We Were A Roman Candle'

MySpace / UtR Profile

There Will Be FireworksProving that an appearance on STV's The Hour show need not spell career suicide, There Will Be Fireworks singer Nicky McManus told me after a recent gig that the band will soon be starting work on their second album. Personally I'm still not tiring of the self-titled debut, and just this morning their impassioned tones greatly improved my weary, rain-drenched walk to work. This song epitomises their boundless ambition, ranging from breathy atmospherics to cacophonous screaming.

Nick Mitchell

What have you been listening to this week? Tell us below...

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Friday, 3 July 2009

On the radar: Cancel the Astronauts

Cancel the AstronautsOf all the trumpet-blowing adjectives marketing departments choose to bestow upon their latest products, sorry, bands, 'ambitious' has to be the most regurgitated. Yet, ironically, ambition’s quite often the one trait missing from the armoury of these media-savvy hipsters.

Aye, the eager young scamps crave a slurp from the garish chalice of celebrity, but can churning out ten-a-penny indie-poppery truly be classed as trophy craving intent? Simply carrying a tune is, surely, not enough when it comes to scaling the music industry's unforgiving, oxygenless peaks; there has to be, no, there needs to be something so much more.

Play: Late In The City

With their sugar-pop ditties and effervescent canters, Cancel the Astronauts [CtA], thankfully, provide the perfect antidote to such contradictory aggrandising: “I think we can one day make over £100 from a gig and sell more than 4 CDs at once,” decrees band vanguard Matthew Riley. “So far the most we have made is £93 in one go and the most CDs we have sold is three. So I will go with that. Step by step, little by little and that's all - as Ocean Colour Scene once sang.”

Riley’s lack of bravado belies CtA’s sweet melodic swoon. Citing “pasty white-boy guitar pop” like wallowing miserablists The Smiths and The Cure as influences, the Edinburgh quintet have been spray-painting the city’s venues with luscious sound swathes for the last six months.

Despite this spring-chicken exterior, CtA are eager to prove they're no fledgling greenhorns: “I have been writing songs for 10 years ever since I first picked up a guitar and it seemed natural to eventually play them to people,” explains Riley. “We all have a passion for music and we are creative people… We all enjoy the thrill of playing live. I can't imagine doing anything else with my time and it's the same for the others too. “

CtA’s debut EP, the magnificently titled 'I Am The President of Your Fanclub (And Last Night I Followed You Home)', is blushed with heavenly drifts of synth and guitar that stretch out into a dreamlike blur of gorgeous retrograde-pop. It’s a sound aimed entirely skywards; bound for a destination that far outruns man’s cosmonautic capacity – not that you’d know by the name, mind.

“We have no actual anti-space agenda, and given the chance I think we would all like to be astronauts - provided we'd get to fight space-aliens and blow up near-earth asteroids,” says Riley. “I think the name was the least offensive we had. We thought we'd keep it until we thought of something better, and now it's too late change. We have since thought of lots of things better.”

Not a band to rest on its laurels, CtA has one foot on the musical ladder and is hellbent on climbing every rung. As Riley puts it: “I don't write songs in a vacuum, and I think my influences are pretty clear. We definitely fit in to a specific musical genre, and I'm not trying to be original, just to be good!”

Now that’s ambition.

Play: Love Somebody

Words: Billy Hamilton

Cancel the Astronauts: stellar talents or a faulty take-off? Discuss...

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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Under the Radar podcast #2

Under the Radar PodcastLast month the famously provocative former NME writer Steven 'Swells' Wells died aged 49 after a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma disease. His passing has led many to comment on the present state of music journalism and lament its apparent lack of authority and credibility, as a legion of bloggers threaten to swipe away the mantle of influence.

For our second podcast we investigate the situation in depth, enlisting viewpoints from both sides of the journos vs bloggers divide.

Billy has spoken to Mike Diver, former Drowned in Sound reviewer-in-chief and now online editor at Clash Magazine, and Matthew Young, the passionate blogger behind the influential, Edinburgh-based Song by Toad. Their answers make for a fascinating dissection of the future of music writing.

What's more, we have tracks by a fine array of UtR-tipped bands, including There Will Be Fireworks and Cancel the Astronauts, and we look forward to T in the Park with music from My Cousin I Bid You Farewell, Dead Boy Robotics and Tango in the Attic.

Enjoy, and let us know where you stand on the journo/blogger debate below...

Play: Podcast #2

Under the Radar podcast #2
(Right click and choose 'Save Target As' to save to your computer)

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

Running order:
01:20: There Will Be Fireworks - Foreign Thoughts
05:49: Cancel the Astronauts - Late in the City
10:34: Special report: music journalism v blogging (Mike Diver / Matthew Young)
20:18: Second Hand Marching Band - A Dance to Half Death
26:37: My Cousin I Bid You Farewell - The Contented Hearts
30:00: Dead Boy Robotics - We Drown Ourselves
32:59: Tango in the Attic - Jackanory

Words and Podcast: Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

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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...
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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Friday, 8 May 2009

On the radar: Sick Kids Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

- Stevie Kearney

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

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