Wednesday, 24 March 2010

On the radar: Silver Columns

Silver Columns

Silver Columns - Cavalier


Scotland’s burgeoning musical future has two crucial components: the talented emerging artists, and the forward-thinking independent record labels which nurture them. The Pictish Trail, rigorously maintained pseudonym of entrepreneurial Fifer Johnny Lynch, is of that rare breed who can claim to have a foot in both camps.

In his capacity as musician, Lynch now also comprises one half of electronic duo Silver Columns, who attracted early attention late last year thanks to their anonymity and a trickle of enigmatic tracks that whipped bloggers into a frenzy of excitable speculation.

Meanwhile, along with fellow alibi enthusiast King Creosote, Lynch helps manage the much-loved Fence Records, coordinators of the recent Homegame festival (where Silver Columns made a triumphant live debut) and champions of the likes of UtR favourites Withered Hand, eagleowl and Meursault.

“When I joined Fence Records full time, in 2003, my main objective was to promote my own music,” says Lynch, when asked about the relationship between label boss and musician. “Each member of the Collective has their own solo project, and their respective success is entirely dependent on how much effort they, as individuals, put into it.”

Early glimpses into Silver Columns’ repertoire are indicative of such an effort. Pulsating space organs and breathy call-and-response vocals, respectively recalling the Klaxons and Talking Heads, characterise new single ‘Cavalier’, while the deliciously over-produced drum rolls that feature prominently on acclaimed debut cut ‘Brow Beaten’ are reminiscent of early arcade racing games.

Although Lynch's other unmasked band mate Adem is “a massive fan of the mid/late nineties UK garage sound”, the duo’s inspiration derives largely from sources closer to home: “I’d say our music has been informed by the music our friends make," says Lynch. "That’s always a predominant influence on any musician whether they care to admit it or not.”

Beyond the fraternity of the Fence Collective, Silver Columns certainly have the connections to expand outside the Scottish perimeter that can often smother domestic talent: “Down in London we’ve a network of friends – Caribou, Hot Chip, Four Tet, The Memory Band – who have been supportive of our music.”

We’ll have to wait until the release of their first album Yes, and Dance in May to see if Silver Columns can fulfil their early promise and join the ranks of such esteemed company. But the odds are getting shorter by the day.

Words: Dan Moss



‘Yes, and Dance’ is released on the Moshi Moshi label on 24 May. The first track, ‘Cavalier’, is available to buy from 19 Apr.

To date, all upcoming Silver Columns shows are in London. Check their MySpace for details.

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

Bringing it all back Home

As the Fence Collective's much-loved musical jamboree takes over Anstruther for a sixth year, dedicated fan Milo McLaughlin tells us what to expect

Anstruther

Anstruther is a tiny fishing village in Fife which is renowned both for the best fish suppers in Scotland and for being the unlikely HQ of Fence Records. Alternately described as a record label and a collective, Fence’s ‘forget the music industry, let’s just make great music and let people come to us’ ethos comes to a head this weekend when around 700 fans descend on the area for their annual Homegame Festival. In fact this will be the biggest year of the festival since it began in 2004, when it started off with the capacity for only 115 people (and has promptly sold out ever since).

The Fence community is headed up by King Creosote, The Pictish Trail and their pal James Yorkston, all of whom are outstanding songwriters and performers who will be amongst the must-see acts this weekend. But the wider collective includes bands on other labels and from wide and far, so expect a massive variety of musical styles on the line-up – it’s not all chin-stroking folk you know.

Play: The Pictish Trail - I Don't Know Where To Begin


As well as the Fence head honchos, some of the expected highlights of this year include sets by Found, David Thomas Broughton, Malcolm Middleton, Chemikal Underground’s latest signing the Phantom Band and a solo acoustic performance by Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. There will also be a special set of Daniel Johnston covers by James Yorkston and Adrian Crowley, who have recorded an EP together especially for the occasion. And of course let’s not forget the lesser known but no less essential Fence acts who include Rozi Plain, HMS Ginafore and Gummi Bako amongst their number.

Play: Rob St John - Like Alchemy


It’s also great to see UtR favourites Withered Hand, Meursault, Eagleowl and Rob St. John representing Edinburgh’s burgeoning music scene, and some brilliant musicians we’ve only just discovered like Men Diamler, Animal Magic Tricks and Panda Su. Phew!

It may be short notice, but we like to keep you on your toes – so if you’re a spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type person there are still last-minute tickets available (and details of the full line-up) over at www.fencerecords.com. Accommodation may be thin on the ground at this point but hey, surely a line-up this good is worth sleeping on the beach for? Your intrepid UtR correspondent hopes to see you there.

Play: Panda Su - Moviegoer


The Homegame takes place in Anstruther, Fife, 17 - 19 April.

Are you planning to go? Who are you looking forward to seeing?
Reading this after the event? Have fun?

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