Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Winter Tradition - secret show

Secret shows seem to be becoming more of a thing these days. Edinburgh band The Winter Tradition chose this as a way of playing some new material that they have been working on after confirming a second album is in the works.

The Mash House on the Cowgate was sold out on the night but didn't really fill up for opening act (half of) GoodCopGreatCop - an indie/alt rock band from Perth. They played an acoustic set full of catchy chorus, definitely a band I'd want to see again at full strength.

The people at the bar then made their way downstairs and packed out the venue as The Winter Tradition played a long set, making their way through new tracks and old favourites like Nightscape and Gradients.

There is clearly a lot of love for the local band who started their set behind what looked like a bed sheet. The effect of the white light behind the band made for a cool silhouette on our side before it dropped at the start if the second track to cheers from the crowd.

They played for around an hour before finishing with Nightscape as part of the much appreciated encore.

Now just to wait for news on the new album - the bands debut Gradients is still available in the meantime and it comes highly recommended (from me)!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel and Belle and Sebastian - Edinburgh Corn Exchange

So I had a bit of a hipster weekend at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange:

On Thursday, indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel followed up their recent Glasgow gig with a night in Edinburgh, playing songs (among others) from one of the most influential albums of the last 20 years. The album which gained the band so much fame, yet the same on that almost tore them apart - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. NMH were one of those bands I never thought I would get to see. Due to me being 2 when the album was released, I missed their initial success, but years later after falling in love with ITAOTS many times over, I was as excited as anyone about this show. Anyone except maybe Scott Hutchison (Owl John) who got to support one of his all time favourite bands along with his brother - both had to cover up their aeroplane-phonograph tattoo's...

Also, on Saturday night, I went to the first screening of God Help the Girl, a musical, written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. It was beamed to 80 cinemas across the UK from an uncomfortably packed Corn Exchange as we sat on the floor for all 111 minutes. To be honest, the film wasn't to my own liking but I have seen a lot of positive feedback on Twitter. However, I think the main draw of the night was the gig B&S put on afterwards, mixing their own songs with tracks from God Help the Girl, a random bit of Motown and an even more random David Bowie cover sang by Stevie Jackson at the request of Murdoch! Another brilliant performance from the band, who had people up dancing on-stage with them to Boy With the Arab Strap.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

New Music

There has been a good few new releases over the Summer, and I've been doing my best to keep up to date with them. Here are some of my picks:

Owl John

It's probably no surprise to hear that Frightened Rabbit are one of my favourite bands, and when we heard last year that front man Scott Hutchison was off to live an LA and release a solo album, I wasn't quite sure what to think. However, under the pseudonym Owl John, he release the self titled debut last week and it is safe to say that it is some of his very best work. Many of the songs are about moving State-side and starting life again, while others are about music itself - both his own and others. I caught Owl John in Edinburgh a few weeks back where he played a mix of his solo and FR songs; I think Red Hand could be a contender for his best song, even though the video is disturbing!

Flood of Red

The second full length release from Airdrie band Flood of Red has definitely built on their impressive debut 'Leave Everything Behind'. If the artwork itself isn't enough for you to want to listen, songs like 'Lashes', 'Whispers and Choirs' and 'Cutting Limes' stand out of the 9 tracks. The band have put their post-hardcore days well behind them, their music has evolved and matured and they are now one of the most impressive and original Scottish bands at this time. 

Slow Club

The progress of Slow Club from their 2009 debut 'Yeah, So' is actually quite amazing. 'Paradise' saw a change in the music from happy indie pop to an upbeat, atmospheric and slightly more serious record, and 'Complete Surrender' has gone even further to, dare I say, soul music!? Whatever it is, I like it a lot. The production level is huge in the new songs and they've really made an effort with videos as well. Definitely a band who get better with every record. 


Elsewhere, PAWS released their second album Youth Culture Forever to massive support from big names like Blink 182 and, of course, Simon Pegg... Strengthening live performances will see the band go back to America for a second time. The band even brought friends We are Scientists to Glasgow for a very sweaty, very mental secret show in the tiny venue of Bloc. A night to remember!

King Creosote

Lastly, a joint project of King Creosote and film-maker Virginia Heath, 'From Scotland With Love' was set to mark the opening of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, providing the antidote from shortbread, whisky and Nessie. It is a heartfelt documentary of Scotland's past, from Glasgow shipyards to days out to the beach, and King Creosote produced the music which he also used to release a new album of the same name. It is a very sentimental documentary, showing Scotland at its best with no spoken word, just the music to back the old footage. It might be hard to imagine, but you can see from the below video exactly why you need to buy 'From Scotland with Love'. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Augustines | Liquid Rooms | 15/5/14

So this happened last night...
Augustines took the packed Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh by storm last night as they fired through song after song from their two albums in a two hour set. About 6 songs into the set, the band disappeared for a couple of minutes, appearing on the upper level balcony for a bit of an acoustic session. Billy's distinctly powerful voice echoed throughout the venue for one of those hair standing on end moments. And fair play to the crowd for staying so quiet. 

The Brooklyners played hard, full of love for the crowd and treated everyone to a special encore. The four of them made their way into the middle of the crowd to round off their set with 4 acoustic songs, one of them being a song from Billy's teenage years. The Twittersphere was going crazy with tweets to the band telling them how special a night it was, and I'd have to agree. 

If more bands treated their fans like Augustines, the music industry would be a much better place. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Second Hand Marching Band.

Everyone loves a bit of DIY, right? Well The Second Hand Marching Band do. It has taken them 4 years, 20 instruments and 17 people to compile 13 songs, thus creating A Hurricane, a Thunderstorm.

The album opens calmly with the soft trumpets and accordion of Bypass (my favourite song from their previous demos). There aren't many songs about motorway signs, but this is the best out of what I've heard! The album picks up pace with tracks This is the Story, then We Will Convince You. The band want to convince you that you're not sad, and who would be with the quick beat of the drum making this a dance-able song when played live.

Female vocals lead the shortest song on the album Climbing Up the Walls before the band remind you that Love is a Fragile Thing in one of the standout tracks on the album. Signpost is a completely acoustic, minimal and quite lovely a song, while You Will/My Body is a Mess is clearly a song about an ex lover who liked to cause arguments.

The complimenting male and female vocals make Mull a very emotional song as it touches on a  personal loss for the singer. Another fairly short track Spark comes just before title track A Hurricane, A Thunderstorm, the chorus of which tells it how it is, 'Something will interfere with plans that you've made.' Annoying, but true!

You Said You Were a Broken Person is another slow, acoustic song, whilst Wrench of My Hand bursts open with the familiar sound of the accordion that is always at the forefront of the music. The album closes just as gently as it opened with Paper Year, rounding off a brilliant album with excellent melodies and evocative lyrics. You know what they say: If you want something done right, then do it yourself!