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

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Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Under the Radar podcast #7

Podcast #7It was looking like it might never happen, but finally we have recorded our first podcast of 2010.

Two months away from the microphone has rendered some of our chat slightly nonsensical (what's new?), but the standard of music on this podcast is probably the best so far...

We were fans of The Japanese War Effort from the first time we saw him play at the erstwhile Bowery venue last year, and we open on 'Usain Bolt', taken from his new LP, I Will Leave You Now, And Two Loudspeakers Will Take My Place. The fastest man alive should be proud.

Another act to have graced this blog are The Unwinding Hours, the new band comprising one half of Aereogramme, and from their self-titled debut album we've chosen the spine-tinglingly epic 'Tightrope'.

We also turn our attention to this weekend's main event, the Fence Collective's annual Homegame festival in Anstruther, Fife. In anticipation of three days and nights of crammed pubs, fish suppers and maybe even the odd bit of music, we've got tracks from a trio of acts on this year's bill: Django Django, Findo Gask and Silver Columns.

And that's not all. There's more tuneage from the sickeningly talented Miaoux Miaoux and the ethereal Call To Mind (both of whom have new EPs on the way), as well as the obligatory 6 Music post-match analysis.

Hope you enjoy, and, as ever, let us know what you think below...

Play: Podcast #7

Running order:
00:00: The Japanese War Effort - Usain Bolt
04:04: The Unwinding Hours - Tightrope
08:58: Django Django - Storm
14:59: Findo Gask - Va Va Va
18:42: Silver Columns - Brow Beaten
25:10: Miaoux Miaoux - Dream On
34:02: Call To Mind - Breathe Pt. 1

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Podcast: Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

Previous UtR podcasts

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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...

Little One
There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone
Peaceful Liquid Shell
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

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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Elaine Liddle: My tip for 2010

The Unwinding HoursI find it hard to explain quite how much I loved Aereogramme. But simply put, it was a sad, sad day when they played their last gig.

So when a little item appeared on a Chemikal Underground mailout earlier this year along the lines of "Craig B's been working on some new stuff", it was like a whacking great jolt of excitement.

The Unwinding Hours, as you'll know from their UtR profile in November, is a new project from Craig B and Iain Cook, debuting at Celtic Connections Chemikal showcase on 31 January; just typing those words brings a buzz to my fingers.

I can't pretend to know if they will make it big, but I do feel they fully deserve to.

The Unwinding Hours: Knut

Who is your tip for 2010? Comment now or forever hold your peace...

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Wednesday, 18 November 2009

On the radar: The Unwinding Hours

The Unwinding Hours
[Iain Cook and Craig B in their Aereogramme days]

Play: Knut

Most music fans in Scotland would agree that Aereogramme's end was premature. It was doubly so for me, as I had to leave their farewell gig at the QMU early to catch the last train home.

But their fans - especially the loyal ones who did stay and miss the train - will be buzzing at the news that after a lengthy hiatus two members of the triumphant post-rockers - singer Craig B and guitarist Iain Cook - are returning under the name The Unwinding Hours.

As if to tee up this semi-reformation, the Aereogramme song 'Barriers' soundtracked a recent TV advert, taking the cult Glasgow act to a wider audience than they ever had before. Better late than never?

Singer Craig B thinks it is: "I’m not sure if our record sales have grown at all but what I find interesting is how happy people are that we got used. I think anyone who knew Aereogramme thought we were somehow unlucky to not find success and so to get an advert is a great way for more people to hear what we did. I think the YouTube video has had 241,000 views and that is far more people than we ever played to in our nine-year career."

Far from ending in a blaze of bruised egos and creative differences, Aereogramme broke up after their final album, the presciently titled My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, failed to haul them up to a higher rung of the ladder. So how does it feel to move on?

"I’m not sure about 'moving on' as such but the chance to work with Iain again after Aereogramme has been very enjoyable since our approach was incredibly relaxed," Craig says. "We weren’t aiming for a new band, we just started writing and it slowly developed into a full album."

As he suggests, the new project seems to have arisen naturally after the initial stock-taking period. "I didn’t pick up the guitar for nearly a year after we split up," Craig recalls. "I just felt I had nothing else to write but it slowly came back and so I started to record some demos at Iain’s studio with no clear aim in mind. We started to collaborate more and the songs started to develop but we were never in any rush to get back into another band so we just kept writing by ourselves."

Only two songs have appeared on The Unwinding Hours' MySpace so far - a demo of 'Solstice', and 'Knut', featured here - but already Craig's vocals are unmistakable, set against a backdrop of slow-building guitar and simple piano patterns. It's more progression than reinvention, as Craig confirms: "There were four people writing in Aereogramme so I’m sure there is a difference but the elements that Iain and I brought haven’t changed that much... I think."

Unlike other new bands, the duo's musical CV already runs to several pages, and their former label have confirmed they will release the debut album next year. "Chemikal Underground were supportive from the start," Craig says. "They always said they would be interested in anything we would do and we have had a great relationship with them for years. They just patiently waited on us finishing the album."

With experience also comes a dose of realism for Craig: "I spent years in Aereogramme feeling constantly frustrated at the lack of progress in comparison to the effort everyone was putting into the band. I really don’t want to go down that road again. I’m incredibly proud of this new album and I’m happy for it to find it’s audience whatever size that might be. Obviously I would love as many people as possible to hear it. We had no expectations when we started this and that has always felt incredibly liberating."

The Unwinding Hours play their first show as part of Celtic Connections at the ABC, Glasgow on 31 January, with a tour pencilled in for later in the year. This time round us East-coasters will just have to take the night bus home.

Words: Nick Mitchell

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