Getting ready for August in Edinburgh


As you are probably aware, Edinburgh is host during August to an unbelievable amount of music, comedy, theatre etc.. under the heading of the Edinburgh International Festival and the even bigger Fringe festival.

Many, many wonderful things will be taking place – but if you fancied checking out the local music scene (and why wouldn’t you?) then you should be checking out the Pale Imitation Festival put together by Matthew Young, AKA Song, By Toad.

All the gigs, bar one, take place at Henry’s Cellar Bar on Morrison St, just off Lothian Rd, except for the Supermoon and Rob St. John one, which takes place at Summerhall (a block away from the south-east end of the Meadows). A number of the acts I have featured on this here blog over the years (including eagleowl, who topped the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty back in 2010),

Saturday 1st August – Numbers Are Futile, Beam, DTHPDL
Thursday 6th – Garden of Elks, Bat Bike, Passion Pusher
Saturday 8th – Sharptooth, Lush Purr, Breakfast Muff
Thursday 13th – Spinning Coin, Min Diesel, Dune Witch Trails
Saturday 15th – Save As Collective (featuring Jonnie Common, Glamour Muscle, River of Slime & MC Almond Milk)
Thursday 20th – eagleowl, Now Wakes the Sea, Faith Eliott
Saturday 22nd – Adam Stafford, Wolf, Tryptamines
Thursday 27th (at Summerhall) – Supermoon & Rob St. John
Saturday 29th – Happy Meals, Apostille, Clip Art

All the gigs start at half seven and are £5, with a season ticket available for £25. As Toad puts it ‘As the cherry on the top, the awesome Kitchen Disco will be DJing and providing free cakes for everyone on each and every night.’

You can get tickets online here

And Matthew has even put together this very handy playlist of all the bands playing.

What are you waiting for?

Single Review: Rob St. John


Rob St. John -‘Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey’/’Shallow Grey.’ (Song, By Toad Records)

I’ve long been a supporter of Rob St. John and his album Weald in 2011 was a fine thing indeed.

This is his first release since that debut album (though he also performs as part of eagleowl, who are about to drop their utterly brilliant debut on Fence any day now). It’s two rather fine folk songs, both of them now over a hundred years old, on one slab of 7″ vinyl, and they are utterly beautiful. ‘Charcoal Black and the Bonny Grey’ is a Lancastrian song originally sung to Cecil Sharp (a man to whom English folk music owes more than possibly be imagined) in 1905. It’s described as being ‘a song of the Industrial Revolution: crumbling mill towns butting up against moorland and trees growing out of chimneys.’ Meanwhile, the b-side (or is that AA? It’s hard to know in the digital age, and I may be the only person left who still cares about such things), ‘Shallow Grey’ is a West Indian sea shanty collected by H.E. Piggott and Percy Grainger from the singing of John Perring in Dartmouth, Devon in 1908. Whether these songs are a century plus old or not, even at face value the package is a thing of beauty.

Limited to 250 copies (I have Rob St. John singles limited to 100!) track it down and check it out. You may not hear something so beautiful and heartbreaking this year.


Album Review – Rob St. John


Rob St. John -‘Weald’ (Song, By Toad)

Having been very impressed by his two earlier EPs, it is a pleasure to have the debut album by Rob St. John. I would have been looking forward to hearing it in any case, though the fact that it is released on the painfully cool Song, By Toad label, features contributions from the likes of Neil Pennycook of Meursault and Malcolm Benzie of eagleowl (amongst others), and I have met him, briefly, all put several additional cherries on the top.

According to the press release, a ‘weald’ is an Old English word from which the concept of a ‘wild’, a ‘wooded’, and a ‘dark, dangerous’ place in the landscape has emerged. This sums up the mood of the record beautifully, though to describe it as an Olde Worlde Folkie record would be off the mark spectacularly. I do hear nods to the likes of Bert Jansch, but also to the likes of Australia’s Dirty Three, and of course, it almost certainly will appeal to those who like the aforementioned eagleowl and Meursault.

Thus far, ‘Sargasso Sea’ has been doing the rounds as a free mp3 and album opener ‘Your Phantom Limb’ (no, nothing to do with The Shins) was released as one side of a split 7″ earlier this year. These two tracks certainly lure you in, although for my money the album highlight is the devastingly beautiful ‘Domino’, the most amazing track on an album full of devastatingly beautiful (or should that be beautifully devastating) songs.

Each time I have played this album, it has showed more and more of its vcharms. Trust me, it will do the same for you.


Weald is out now on Song, By Toad.

Rob St. John -‘Sargasso Sea.’ mp3

Rob St. John – Your Phantom Limb by Song, by Toad

Rob St John

For once, some music that is nothing to do with Christmas.

Rob St John is an edinburgh-based musician who has just released his debut EP and it’s gorgeous and sublime.

There are three songs on it, which can be heard at his MySpace site, along with other tracks. This is the title track, which is just beautiful. It can be bought at Avalanche records in Edinburgh and Glasgow and should soon be available at Rough Trade in London. It’s a limited edition of 100, so act quickly.

Don’t just take my word for it -check it out! Beautiful melodies to lose yourself in (and quite possibly find yourself, too).

Rob St. John ‘Tipping In.’ mp3