Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Where they are now: Super Adventure Club

Super Adventure ClubZombies seem to be everywhere at the moment, from the Left for Dead series of video games to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel. Perhaps that’s why the advice from UtR’s favourite hyper melodic uber spazz triumvirate Super Adventure Club on their latest album seems so timely.

Avoid Zombies, the follow-up to their self-released debut Chalk Horror, is unveiled on 5 April. In anticipation of this event we caught up with bassist Mandy Clarke to see what they’ve been up to since they were last featured on UtR a whole year ago.

“We've had a lot of fun the last year touring and writing the new album. We went over to Ireland for a mini tour with Adebisi Shank which was awesome, then we supported Dananananaykroyd on a few dates of their 'Hugtober' tour at the exact time we became horribly aware that swine flu does actually exist.”

On top of this there have been shows with the likes of Future of the Left and a tour of England. Somewhere in the midst of that the band also found time to make the new album.

Recorded by Laurie Irvine in their rehearsal space using his portable studio (described as looking like “something out of a sci-fi film”), the new album will be put out by Glasgow-based indie Armellodie Records, home to the likes of Le Reno Amps, Cuddly Shark and Kill The Captains.

“We recorded Avoid Zombies over two days, starting at 4pm and finishing around 8am. It was really cool being able to just stay all night and not have to worry about getting kicked out. It sounds like it might be quite intense but it was actually a lot of fun!’”

If you’re not familiar with SAC, try to imagine Melt Banana channeling Primus. The Glasgow-based trio mix styles and sounds in a way that initially seems confusing, even distressing. Give the songs a chance though and you’ll find each one has some sneaky earworms hidden inside, and you’ll find yourself humming them in the shower days later. To see what we mean, have a listen to 'Nosferatu' from Avoid Zombies:

SAC - Nosferatu

With a number of shows coming up to promote the new album, what else is lined up for SAC?

"We're planning on doing a Scotland tour because we've not done that yet, then back to Ireland, England and hopefully France again … a tour of Europe would be amazing but we'll see. We made a video for Hip-Hop-Hot-Pot-Pot-Noodle which will be ready in the summer, probably get a BAFTA for that. Kanye West is still hassling us to collaborate with him but we're a bit busy right now. Maybe next year."

Words: Craig Dickson

Super Adventure Club play the Captain’s Rest, Glasgow (album launch show) on Thursday (25 Mar) with United Fruit and The Banana Sessions, and Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh on Sunday (28 Mar) with Pneu and Shield Your Eyes.

Avoid Zombies is released on Armellodie Records April 5th, and the single 'Pick Up Sticks / SAC Attack' is out now.

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Friday, 27 November 2009

eagleowl: No time to hibernate

[Poster artwork by Ola Rek]

Unlike their feared namesake, eagleowl the band are attracting more and more admirers around their neck of the woods. Within a few days of releasing new single 'Sleep the Winter' last week, practically every Scottish blogger and music scribe worth his / her salt had picked up on it with studied words of praise.

And rightly so. It's another wonderfully evocative release from the band, with mournful cello and languid guitar combining to conjure a cold, foreboding atmosphere, until a change of chord and the hushed words of the title gently add a layer of much needed warmth. Like the best alt-folk, it sounds timeless, permanent, but not dated.

So with the hype still feathering the Edinburgh group's nest, we thought we'd catch up with Bart 'The hardest working man in post-folk' Owl to find out what's new since Billy spoke to him in May...

Play: Sleep the Winter

Where did the idea for Sleep the Winter come from?

In some ways it came from an argument I had with Dan from Withered Hand. I had suggested that we both write Christmas songs, so that we could then do a show together at Christmas time. He said it would be "a waste of a song". I think we both have a rather laborious approach to songwriting - definitely aiming for quality over quantity. Dan thought spending ages writing a song you could only play at one time of the year would be a waste. So this was an attempt to write a song that "felt Christmas-y", but wouldn't sound too weird when played at other times of the year.

It's going to be the first release for Kilter - a new Edinburgh-based label. The people behind it were previously responsible for the Tracer Trails shows in Edinburgh, and have brought some amazing names to the city in the past (Viking Moses, Tiger Saw, Jeffrey Lewis, Woodpigeon, etc). They're friends, and we have quite a close working relationship, but I just really respect their approach to promotion, and the effort they put into every conceivable detail.

What have you been up to since we last spoke?

Sleep the WinterSince we last spoke we finished the recording and mixing of the single. There's also an EP recorded and ready for release next year, and we've recorded a track for a Jonathan Richman tribute album, which is due out on Fortuna Pop at some point next year too. We've not been playing that many shows recently, but we did do a few nice support shows in October - with ballboy, Bowerbirds, and Trespassers William. We also did the Playing with the Past event - both during the Film Festival and again in August. For this we composed and performed a live soundtrack to two short films from the Scottish National archive.

Any other plans afoot?

We're playing the Versus night on 21 January at the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh. This is a relatively new night and not a conventional gig - three acts set up at once so that they can collaborate with each other. It's a really interesting idea and gives us scope to try out new things and work with some great acts that we really respect. The full line-up's not been confirmed yet, but it's shaping up rather nicely. We're also hoping to do more shows outside of Edinburgh, and outside of Scotland, next year.

Words: Nick Mitchell

Sleep the Winter is released on 14 Dec.

The launch night is at the Bowery, Edinburgh on Friday 11 Dec, with support from Jill of Sparrow & the Workshop and Dan of Withered Hand. There's also a Glasgow launch at the 13th Note on Monday 14 Dec, with Dan again and Ali from Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers.

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Where they are now: Galchen

GalchenOf all the acts we've featured on the blog to date (and that's 66 and counting), Galchen are definitely one of my personal favourites.

While their complex, warped post-rock compositions are unlikely to make them the next chart-surfing sensations, it's the kind of music you can listen to on repeat and barely tire of it. Like the best instrumental rock, it just sounds good.

When we profiled them before their set at the Hinterland festival in May, they said they were in the process of writing and recording, but that the daily work grind was getting in the way.

With a headline show at the Tapped clubnight this week (billing: "for those who like their music innovative, forward thinking and vital"), we thought the time was ripe for an update.

Simon (no surname provided - they're a mysterious sort) explains their work pattern: "Writing the album has been and still is the priority for this year. Writing pieces of music tends to be a long process, not having a record label looking over our shoulder means there is no pressure to rush things."

And there is an interesting piece of news to report: "We have also added to our ranks in the past couple of months. Ged, who is a long time friend of the band has come onboard to look after live keyboards, samples and all things electronic. It's exciting to hear and will give us an extra dimension during live shows."

Are the band looking forward to playing live after a short hiatus?

"With regards to the gig itself, it gives us an opportunity to road test new songs - and member!" says Simon. "Plus Gail has been busy creating a new set of visuals which look bloody brilliant as ever. We have fond memories of the venue having played one of our favourite ever gigs at last year's Sauchiehall Crawl."

Words: Nick Mitchell

Galchen play Tapped @ The V Club, Glasgow this Thursday (3 Sep). The night runs from 11pm until 3am with Galchen on stage at 12.30am.

Play: Track Nine

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Where they are now: The Second Hand Marching Band

The Second Hand Marching Band

Play: A Dance to Half Death

One of the suggestions which arose in the comments thread that followed our first editorial 'the sharp end of the hatchet job' a couple of weeks ago was that it's fine to introduce new bands, but wouldn't it be better to have a status check further down the line to find out which stage of world domination they've actually reached.

With this in mind we thought it was a good time to report on the current success of The Second Hand Marching Band. Billy profiled the fluid 22-piece ensemble (comprised of members of bands like Danananaykroyd, How to Swim and Eagleowl) back at the beginning of April, paying hommage to their "swaying, earthy orchestration and climatic post-rock".

Now it seems like everyone's talking about them. Last night they performed a live session on Vic Galloway's BBC Introducing radio show which included a cover of the At the Drive-in song 'One Armed Scissor'. The collective are gaining a bit of a reputation for their discerning indie covers after performing a version of 'Atlas' by Battles at the All Tomorrow's Parties film premiere in Edinburgh last month.

They have now sold all 150 copies of their excellent debut EP A Dance to Half Death, so the generous souls are giving it away as a free download.

You can watch the full spectacle of The Second Hand Marching Band live at the 13th Note, Glasgow this Saturday (15 Aug) and keep up-to-date with all their movements via Twitter.

World domination score: 5.5

Words: Nick Mitchell

Play: TSHMB - We Walk in the Room

Debate: tell us what you think of one of Scotland's biggest bands below...

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