Presenting…q without u

q-without-u

First of all, do not confuse them with a band with a very similar name.

Secondly – no that is not Alex Kapranos in the video, it’s Rik from Squarelips who did the video. But it is definitely Glasgow in the video.

Q without U are an extremely excellent band from Glasgow. They are about to release their second album Do No Harm in September. In the meantime, the single ‘Papercuts’ -the video for which is below, can be bought from their Bandcamp page here. You can download their debut album for free (yes, you did read that right) from their myspace page.

A quirky pop delight -pop is not a bad thing!

The return of The Vaselines!

vaselines-2

Yup, you did read that right.

The Vaselines, the seminal scottish band, much beloved by you know who, and indeed anyone with half an ear for great music are back. The core duo of Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly will be releasing their long-awaited second album Sex With An X on -who else?! – Sub Pop on September 13 (September 14 if you live in the US or Canada, hey you can’t have everything).

The tracklisting is as follows:

Ruined
Sex With An X
The Devil Inside Me
Such a Fool
Turning It On
Overweight But Over You
Poison Pen
I Hate the 80′s
Mouth to Mouth
Whitechapel
My God’s Bigger Than Your God
Exit The Vaselines

Not only that but the Vaselines are touring! See the dates on their website; they include Edinburgh and Glasgow and two dates in Mexico.

And you can download the track ‘I Hate The 80s’ here:

Presenting… Unicorn Kid

unicorn-kid

Still in his teens, Olly Sabin AKA Unicorn Kid has proved that, actually, playing around on computer games can most definitely get you somewhere.

Having released a couple of singles on Scottish label Euphonios, ‘Lion Hat’ and ‘Wee Monsters’, young Master Sabin has done several BBC sessions and is now signed to Ministry of Sound. (And he’s been supported by X-Lion Tamer, lucky lad). He’s also done remixes for the Pet Shop Boys and Gorillaz, amongst others.

His first release for the Ministry of Sound label is this fantastic dubstep track ‘Dreamcatcher.’ Very, very good indeed, and proof that it’s not just pale kids with guitars north of Hadrian’s Wall, y’know…

Unicorn Kid – Dream Catcher by Ministry of Sound

..and if you liked that, go here to download ‘Lion Hat’ for free!

(re) Presenting… Call To Mind

call-to-mind-line-up

I first wrote about Call To Mind back in January 2008, when I stated that I knew next to nothing about them, but I liked what I heard of the highland band. The information on their myspace page was pretty minimal, which meant that the music had to stand on its’ own terms and it certainly does.

Two and a half years have progressed, the band are now mostly based in Glasgow and in March they released their first EP, the five track Call To Mind. I can only apologise for my tardiness in reviewing this EP, or covering it, because it’s phenomenal. Imagine the otherworldliness of Sigur Ros and Joy Division and Mogwai, making a sound that makes you want to cry for joy.

Bizarrely still unsigned, this is a band who deserve to be going (further) places. I cannot see any live dates for Andrew,
Jamie, Martin and Joe, but I hope to see them live before too long.

And this EP definitely merits *****.

Hear the tracks ‘A9′ and ‘All The Happiness In My Head’ from the EP here or go to their Last FM page to hear it all.

Then buy the EP at iTunes or on eMusic. There are physical copies in existence – the band sent me one, bless ‘em -but you may have to search around for them.

Finally, do go and make friends at myspace.

17 Seconds Records update

last-battle-gig-poster

It’s getting busy here at 17 Seconds Records.

Next Thursday will see the launch of the debut single from The Last Battle ‘Ruins’, which takes place at the Wee Red Bar at Edinburgh College of Art, and features not only the band performing, but a solo set by Neil Pennycook of Meursault (who will be fresh back from Glastonbury), Jonnie Common and yours truly on the decks. Tickets are £5 (£3 concessions), and it lasts from 7-10. Which means you can still go home and get a decent night’s kip before work in the morning.
There’s a lovely write up over here at suitcase Orchestra. You can hear ‘Ruins’ on the most recent Song, By Toad podcast and also on Jim Gellatly’s latest podcast. Vic Galloway promised live on air that he would play it this coming Monday. You can bet I will be nudging him to do this…

Meanwhile, you can download the b-side to ‘Ruins’ for free NOW. Because we’re lovely people.

Last Battle -’Ward 119.’ mp3

(NB due to the subject matter of the song, this does contain swearing. If you are easily offended, and God knows why you’re reading this blog, you idiot, DON’T LISTEN. Go and read Grazia or the Daily Mail instead. Fuckwit)

If you’re off to Kelburn Garden Party next weekend, not only will you be able to see excellent artists supported by this blog such as Broken Records, Panda Su, Meursault, Foxgang and Stanley Odd, but you will also be able to see our very own Chris Bradley who was added in the last month. Go Chris!

Chris Bradley -’Golden Girl.’ mp3

If you aren’t going to Kelburn, you could catch the Dirty Cuts at the 13th note in Glasgow on Saturday July 3, ahead of their single launch for ‘Yummy Mummy’ on July 23, with a gig in Bristol and two in London coming up.

Dirty Cuts -’Lips.’ mp3

X-Lion Tamer will be releassing another four track EP with us in the next few months, and will be playing at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, alongside the fabulous Deserters Deserve Death on July 31.

X-Lion Tamer -’Life Support Machine.’ mp3

There will be more to come…watch this space!

Fifteen Years Ago this weekend

I had a conversation with some former students this afternoon about Glastonbury ’95.

Can’t believe it’s fifteen years ago -because it was a truly awesome weekend, I’d just finished my A-Levels, and after years of being couped up in school I was free.

…and you know why people keep talking about Pulp at Glastonbury in 1995, and Radiohead in 1997?

Because it really was that special. I was there -and it made all the angst of my teenage years almost worth it.

I went home from the fest and passed my driving test, first time ‘n’ all…no mean feat for a dyspraxic.

Presenting…Veronica Falls

veronica-falls-001

Veronica Falls are a Glasgow-formed, London-based band, reportedly formed out of the ashes of the much-missed The Royal We. They are Roxanne (vocals, guitar), Marion (bass), Patrick (drums), and James (guitar). They have released two singles so far ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’ and ‘Beachy Head.’

Much has been made of the fact that they owe a lot to the legendary c86 movement -so much so that Roxanne apparently once worked at Monorail, the record shop cum coffee shop where Stephen McRobbie of the Pastels works to this day (True: I have been served by no less than the great man himself when trying to get him to stock 7″s by acts on my own label. To his credit – he has!).

There’s also a gothic underlying to proceedings. Just as the Jesus and Mary Chain appealed to both goths and the shambling crowd in ’86; so too did the Velvet Underground at the same time -though their lineage can be traced back nearly a decade before punk happened in the UK. And the two singles so far ‘Found Love In A Graveyard’ and ‘Beachy Head’ both have a gorgeous air of the gothic about them. Beachy Head is, after all, a notorious suicide spot (which is also referenced in the Cure’s video for ‘Just Like Heaven’ and the cover of Throbbing Gristle’s 20 Jazz Funk Greats).

Check out these two videos for the singles -then go and buy them. I was so chuffed when I heard ‘Beachy Head’ on Vic galloway’s show last night that I went and bought whatever I could find to legally download.

…and pop along and makes friends at their myspace.

Interview – Kid Canaveral

shouting1

When I go to meet Kid Canaveral, all we have agreed is a time and a place, a pub in Edinburgh’s Stockbridge district. They’re going to grab tea before heading off to a rehearsal and in the intervening time we’ve arranged a chat. I needn’t have worried, though; you couldn’t possible miss them: they are the only group of people in the pub who could possibly be in a band. Kid Canaveral do what the best bands do: the exude an air of being a gang. It always bodes well.

Kid Canaveral in 2010 are David MacGregor, Kate Lazda, Rose McConnachie and Scott McMaster. One of Scotland’s finest bands, they have steadily released a stream of excellent singles over the past few years, and July will see the release of their long-awaited debut release, entitled Shouting at Wildlife.

The first thing the band would like to clear up is that -despite popular conception – they aren’t actually from Fife. They formed at St. Andrew’s University in 2004 and in 2007 they got serious, with the release of their debut single ‘Smash Hits.’ Putting their releases out on their own, excellently titled label Straight To Video label, they are proudly independent, in the best sense of the word. They’re all quick to give thanks to Rose’s sister who they name as the ‘very talented and quite affordable Eve McConnachie.’ Amongst those bands they are matey with are Come On Gang!, Cancel the Astronauts and The Pictish Trail’s Johnny Lynch. Their connections have helped them to produce a record that’s shaped how they want with assistance from creative friends. Kenny Anderson AKA King Creosote has done an excellent remix of the ‘You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night’ single.

Sessions for the album started in May 2009, and it was recorded over thirty days. Says David about the album. ‘It sounds how we want it.’ He clarifies that the money going into the record is their own and no label racking up debts. At the beginning of this year a track from the sessions entitled ‘Good Morning’ started circulating, and it was clear that things had stepped up a gear. I wrote a piece on the band and they were good enough to refer to me as their new best friend.

David’s the principal songwriter in the band. When asked about the forthcoming album he states that ‘most of the stuff on the album I wrotemost of the stuff on the album I wrote’ and adds ‘But Kate wrote 3 of the 12 songs outright and we’ve been collaborating more than ever before.’Kate says that they’re definitely part of the DIY ethic. Things have evolved and they are very much a band. Rose comments that ’What we start off with is often not what we end up with.’ ‘You Only Went Out To get Drunk Last Night’ started out as a vocal riff, for example.

The band are clear that they didn’t want the album to be largely made up of songs that had appeared across the earlier singles releases. ‘We’d be ripping off people who’d bought them before,’ says Dave, firmly. So although their excellent call to arms ‘SmasH hits’ does make an appearance, songs like ‘I Don’t have The Heart For This’ and ‘Second Time Around’ -the latter also appearing on the Limbo Live compilation, which compiled bands who’d appeared at the legendary Edinburgh Indie night -are not there. So while you’re waiting for the album -and I’ve heard it, and it’s awesome! -make sure you gets your hands on the singles which are still available digitally. One of the best songs of theirs that’s been relegated to a b-side is ‘Teenage Fanclub Song’ the b-side to the ‘Couldn’t Dance’ single. ’What You Do To Me’ from 1991’s Bandwagonesque had a big impact on Dave. They are also keen to state the importance of The Fire Engines.

Speaking of singles, the band would love to be involved in putting out singles on that most maligned of formats, the cassette single. ‘We like tactile releases,’ announces Rose. ‘The artwork doesn’t work in electronic formats.’

Having played the album several time since it arrived subsequent to our meeting, it deserves to be a breakthrough for them. They’ve been supported by the likes of Vic Galloway and this record deserves to break them through to a wider audience. They’re all still doing day jobs. They’re oddly shy about revealing their day jobs -until I point out that I’ve been a door to door salesman, an RE teacher and a call centre worker. David’s a Geologist, Rose works as an engineering scheduler, Kate runs a website and Scott is a trainee Solicitor. Hopefully it will be time for them to give up the day jobs soon.

‘You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night’ is out now. Shouting At Wildlife will be released on July 5. Both releases on Straight To Video.

To celebrate the release of the album, there will be a special night in Edinburgh at the Roxy Art House on Saturday 3rd of July 2010. This will feature live performances from Kid Canaveral, fellow power pop, Come On Gang! and The Scottish Enlightenment with DJ sets from Cancel The Astronauts and Award Winning Blogger, Peenko.

Kid Canaveral -’Good Morning.’ mp3

Song By Toad Rules!

song

I have enjoyed Song, By Toad the blog and latterly the record label for several years now.

The latest podcast features great music (as ever); this time including from the Arcade Fire, an earlier project of King Creosote and the new single from the Last Battle, which Matthew says some very nice things about.

So please point your browsers here:

Song, By Toad

Oh, and Jim Gellatly’s going to play it on the radio tonight, too. I feel like a little kid…

Presenting…Penguins Kill Polar Bears

penguins-kill-polar-bears

Bizarre fact: There is enough Iron in a Polar Bear’s liver to kill a human.

Crap joke: Why don’t Polar Bears eat penguins?
Cos they can’t get the wrappers off!

…look, it’s early Saturday morning, and I’m still waiting for the caffeine to hit my bloodtsream and make me resemble some sorta human. But I have dragged myself outta bed, because I want to tell you about an excellent new Scottish band, by the name of Penguins Kill Polar Bears. Hailing from Linlithgow (just west of Edinburgh, and not far from grangemouth which is where the Cocteau twins were originally from), Penguins Kill Polar Bears are four lads by the names of Benjamin Proudlock, Gavin Cormack, Kieran McGuckian and John Irvine. They specialise in an excellent sort of glacial rock and they deserve to go far.

They have just released their debut EP, entitled Dawn. This five track EP kicks off their career in style and I believe is step one to what should be an impressive career. I met them and their manager briefly last night at Avalanche Records in Edinburgh (the only thing more important to me than seeing them was picking Mrs. 17 Seconds up from work on time) and they seem like lovely folks in addition to being a great band.

They are touring Scotland to promote the EP: They play Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh tonight; followed by Westport Bar, Dundee, June 23; Cafe Drummonds, Aberdeen, June 24; Cape, Stirling, June 25; King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, June 26; and Harley’s, Bathgate, June 27. They then head to London for three dates: The Watershed w/ The Bookhouse Boys, July 16;
Nice Haircut! @ The Enterprise, July 17; Wimbledon Calling w/ The Xcerts, July 18 before heading back to God’s own country for a Glasgow date at King Tut’s again on July 23, w/Lightguides & Make Sparks Single launch.

Check this out from the EP. Go and buy it, preferably from Avalanche Records, if you live in Edinburgh…

<a href="http://penguinskillpolarbears.bandcamp.com/album/dawn">Homebound by Penguins Kill Polar Bears</a>