Monday, 16 July 2012

KTSN12: Beerjacket

Beerjacket will be joined by friends to perform his latest album in its entirety
(Photo by Lisa-Marie Ferla)

The horribly clich├ęd term "singer/songwriter" is thrown around all too frequently these days, with every man, woman and child picking up a guitar in hope of becoming the next Bob Dylan, Regina Spektor or, God forbid, Ed Sheeran. Truth be told, there are very few who have the combined musical ability and lyrical dexterity to truly capture the attention, never mind the hearts, of an audience. Then there's Beerjacket.

With seven releases in the past eight years, one man alt-folk troubadour Peter Kelly is no newcomer to the Scottish circuit. Despite an impressive back catalogue of home-recorded material which has saw him share the stage with (and consequently win over) the likes of Feist, The Guillemots, The National and Ron Sexmith, it was his decision to take a step away from his long time lo-fi, DIY approach and finally take a step in to the studio with producer Stuart MacLeod on latest album The White Feather Trail that helped the music of Beerjacket reach a wider audience, resulting in widespread critical acclaim - and it's this latest offering that will be the focus of tomorrow night's headline King Tut's show, his second of this year.

The usually lonesome figure of Peter Kelly will this time be joined by the lovely Julia Doogan on vocals and the aforementioned Stuart MacLeod on various instruments ranging from the mandolin to baritone guitar, to perform The White Feather Trail in its entirety for the first time ever before treating his audience to a selection of favourites both old and new.

When I am asked what Scottish bands or artists I would recommend (and I am asked this question on a near daily basis) Beerjacket, without hesitation, is always my first response. Never have I came across a more impassioned, hard working and truly inspiring musician and human being and after the success of his recent venture in to the world of professional recording, I can confidently say this is only the beginning for one of Scotland, dare I say it Britain's, finest talents.

Support on the night comes from the stunning Glasgow based, atmospheric six-piece Quickbeam and husky, Oban lad Mike Nisbet whilst Scotland's favourite music blogger The Pop Cop will be selecting tracks for your aural delectation in the downstairs bar from 7pm.

Friday, 13 July 2012

KTSN12: Hector Bizerk + Madhat McGore

Louie and Audrey of Hector Bizerk headline the second night of KTSN12

There once was a time when the Scottish accent was frowned upon if it wasn't being performed by two spectacle wearing twin brothers, but with the rise of Biffy Clyro, and more recently Twin Atlantic, the thick Scottish brogue has well and truly found its voice - and guitar driven music isn't the only genre to benefit from the acceptance of foreign ears. You might not realise it but Scottish hip-hop is alive and kicking and tonight's bill firmly cements that fact.

Headlining the second night of King Tut's Summer Nights are Glaswegian two-piece Hector Bizerk. With just a mic and a drum kit, such a minimal set up not only displays the true genius of Louie's lyrics but allows the band to challenge themselves musically, something which they've proved more than capable of achieving. Fresh from their slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at T in the Park last Saturday (which I previewed here and which you can watch here), this dynamic duo are sure to impress even the most cynical of Scottish music fans when they take to the legendary King Tut's stage tonight.

Supporting is an Edinburgh MC who has been tearing up stages the length and breadth of the country with his sharp lyrics and heavy beats. Madhat McGore is no stranger to the Scottish hip-hop scene, having been writing and producing for the past 12 years, and his knack for rhymes and quick beats has helped put Scottish rap on the map. With the backing of MTV, Radio 1 and even the Daily Record, Madhat's unique blend of dubstep, grime and hip-hop reaffirms his status as one of Scotland's leading MCs.

Rounding off this fine exhibition of Scottish hip-hop is one of Glasgow's best kept secrets in the form of
Gasp as well as haunting female vocals with exquisite beats from a personal favourite of mine, Becci Wallace & BilL Breaks. If that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, the girls behind the notoriously awesome MILK Glasgow nights, Aileen and Hannah, will be playing a whole host of tunes from 7pm in the downstairs bar to keep you entertained.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

KTSN12: Pronto Mama

Pronto Mama kick off the first night of King Tut's Summer Nights 2012

Since releasing their debut, home recorded EP back in May last year, Pronto Mama have been turning heads with their self proclaimed brand of polyrhythmic indie-rock and it's easy to see why. Almost a year on from their previous sold out King Tut's show, the boys will be using tonight to celebrate the launch of their latest EP, Lickety Split. Clever lyrics are regularly delivered in stunning harmony like a proud Scottish barbershop quartet to the backing of glorious horn sections in a manner so grand that you simply can't ignore it. These guys aren't just all about the elegant harmonies and instrumentation however, they also know how to write a good old fashioned guitar tune or two. Having already been live session guests on Radio 1's BBC Introducing and with support from the likes of Ally McCrae, Jim Gellatly, Vic Galloway and even comedian Robert Florence who directed their recent music video, it's been a year to remember for Pronto Mama and tonight will no doubt be a night to remember for both band and audience alike.

Support tonight comes in the form of trumpet laden pop from Stirling's Brazil Exists, Aberdonian indie disco kings The Little Kicks and anthemic four-piece Lost City Soul from Dundee. Doors open at 8pm and there are tickets available on the door, but get down early to catch the Detour boys, Ally & Weaver, who'll be spinning some tracks in the bar from 7pm.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

King Tut's Summer Nights 2012

After the success of the previous two years, King Tut's Summer Nights returns bigger and better than ever with another two weeks of some of the best new musical talent Scotland has to offer.

With over 60 up and coming bands and artists appearing at Scotland's most loved music venue over fifteen nights, there's enough diversity to cater for every taste. If that wasn't enough to make you spend a little of your hard earned cash, there will be DJ sets from bloggers and various people involved with supporting Scottish music before the doors to each gig open. So whilst you are enjoying one of Tut's special Summer Nights' offers such as Tacos or an Enchilada plus a bottle of beer or a margarita for £4.50 or a bargain £8 for two, you can also enjoy an array of handpicked tracks from the likes of the Pop Cop, Favourite Son, the MILK girls, Glasgow PodcART and the Detour boys to gear you up for the night ahead. I'll even be spinning some tunes before Midnight Lion so feel free to hurl abuse at me whilst I force some Destiny's Child down your lugs. Each night will also feature a secret midnight guest after the headline act has finished performing so stick around; you never know who you might come across. 

Tickets for each night are available in person from King Tut's Wah Wah Hut but I'd rather you clicked the "Tickets" link below after each listed night where you will find cheap tickets, directly from the artists themselves. DJ Sets will begin at 7pm in the bar and all gigs are over 18s unless otherwise stated. To listen to a selection of the selected artists via a King Tut's Summer Night's playlist on Spotify, click here.


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

TITP: Best of the BBC Introducing Stage 2012

So begins the return of the part-time blogger, and what better way to return than by listing some of this weekends best alternatives to Cher Lloyd. T Break, like every year, is the place to be however there are a few spectacular gems to be found on T in the Park's newly resident BBC Introducing Stage.



If you like your music delivered with a swift, metaphorical punch to the face then look no further than Glasgow four-piece, United Fruit. Be prepared for a perfectly executed cacophony of vicious guitars, fierce vocals and ferocious drumming that will blow your mud soaked wellies off your sodden feet.


Glasgow based, Kilmarnock three-piece Fatherson bring their unashamedly Scottish brand of powerpop back to Balado. Following an impressive performance on the T Break stage last year in front of a packed audience, expect an impassioned set filled with rousing vocals and mass sing-alongs.

Last year, Madhat McGore represented the Edinburgh hip-hop scene. This year it's Glasgow's turn in the form of one of the city's freshest duos, Hector Bizerk. Armed with just a mic, a drum kit and plenty of sharp lyrics in a thick Scottish brogue coming at you faster than a 62 down Union St, the setup is simple but the beats are slick. It's this back to basics take on hip-hop that creates such raw energy that can only be truly appreciated in a live setting. Drums. Rap. Yes.


Having played BBC Introducing Stage back in 2010 before going on to sell out venues such as Glasgow's ABC, I think it's safe to say there were a few surprises when Admiral Fallow were announced as one of the twenty chosen "Introducing" bands, not least because of the marvellous reception their second album, Tree Bursts in Snow, received from critics and fans alike on release earlier this year. Nevertheless, whether they deserve to play a bigger stage or not is irrelevant. What is relevant however is the stunning performances Louis Abbot and co deliver time and time again. One of the highlights of the weekend, guaranteed.


Multi-instrumentalist and producer Julian Corrie, aka Miaoux Miaoux, has been creating, producing and performing colourful, synth-infused, dance-pop for a number of years. Already a much loved talent among Scottish music aficionados, Miaoux Miaoux has taken 2012 by storm with the release of his latest album, Light of the North, on Chemikal Underground Records. Now with the backing of a full band, this is truly a performance you don't want to miss. Even if it is just to witness some mesmerising dancing by his (rightly) adoring fans.

I confess, I broke the first rule of my blog. Well, probably the only rule. "Thou shall not feature non-Scottish musicians on thy blog"... or something like that. But I am more than happy to ignore that for a moment to honour one of many fine talents that Northern Ireland continue to breed. Catchier than a STD from a wee dirty in the toilets of the Savoy, let Belfast's own More Than Conquerors win you over with their charm, passion and bucket loads of talent. Normal service will resume shortly.

Monday, 13 February 2012

So Many Animal Calls - TRAPS

Glaswegian "Fail-pop" four-piece's debut single TRAPS

I featured this delightful Glasgow quartet on the blog almost a couple of years ago upon the release of their demo EP, Your House Is A Hospice, describing them as "one of the most new, exciting and promising Scottish bands of 2010". It's now 2012 and after the release of their debut full-length EP, Eulogy, and having been signed to Glasgow label Overlook Records, that opinion has only been reinforced by their latest release.

TRAPS, released today on Overlook Records, is a whirlwind of infectious guitar pop. Delivering angular, jittery but finely crafted guitar melodies along with fervent vocals and heartfelt harmonies, this latest effort from So Many Animal Calls exudes a naturally youthful energy that's as charming as it is raucous. The B-Side, The Best Way To Be Broken, is far more refined as the pace slows and the vocals are beautifully complimented by delicate piano melodies before the guitar and drums gradually rise to perfectly layer the vocals for a rousing finish.

So Many Animal Calls will be launching their single at MILK in Flat 0/1 this Wednesday along with Paisley riff kings Carnivores. So until then, here's the video of the single (filmed, directed and edited by Emily Wylde) to whet your appetite.

You can purchase the single by clicking here and visit So Many Animal Calls official website here.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Scottish Alternative Music Awards

Now in its third year, the Scottish Alternative Music Awards are growing from strength to strength. Giving well deserved recognition to the dedicated, talented and hard working musicians across the length and breadth of Scotland, the awards also provide a platform to showcase the best of what the Scottish music industry has to offer.

Having recently been commended by the Scottish Parliament for his creativity and passion for Scottish music, founder and creative director Richy Muirhead has been hard at work to make this years awards bigger and better than ever. With the introduction of a new category, Best Hip Hop, the awards are striving to represent the diversity of a booming Scottish music industry. This year the awards will be run in association with retro clothing store Vintage Guru with various sponsors including Bar Bloc, Ignite Records and the Cathouse Rock Club having been secured for each of the seven categories.

Official Launch Night @ Bar Bloc

To celebrate its much anticipated return, Bar Bloc will be hosting the official launch party on Wednesday night featuring performances from some of this years nominees including Brown Bear & the Bandits, Athos and A Fight You Can't Win. As always with Bloc, the event is free from 9pm but it's set to be a busy one so get down early to avoid disappointment.

Main Event @ The Garage

The main event will see an upgrade in venue as the SAMAs 2012 take over The Garage on Thursday 1st March. The show will be hosted by stand-up comedian Billy Kirkwood with tickets priced at £10 via Tickets Scotland. There is also the addition of an exclusive VIP Experience for a mere £20 giving you the chance to experience the buzz of backstage with access to the balcony, complimentary drinks and an exclusive "Meet 'n' Greet".

The nominees across each of the seven categories for the SAMAs 2012 are as follows:

Best Rock/Alternative
(sponsored by Ignite Records)

Aerials Up
Little Eye
Lady North
Iain McLaughlin and the Outsiders
Johnny and the Giros

Best Newcomer
(sponsored by Cathouse Glasgow)

Forest Fires
Bwani Junction
Oskar Empire
Davey Horne

Best Live Act
(sponsored by Messer Schmitt)

Admiral Fallow
Song Of Return
We Were Promised Jetpacks
The Little Kicks
Miniature Dinosaurs

Best Acoustic
(sponsored by JamHut Studios)

Brown Bear & The Bandits
Amber Wilson
Colin James Murphy
Mike Nisbet
I Build Collapsible Mountains

Best Metal
(sponsored by Departed Apparel)

The Recovery!
Autumn In Disguise
A Fight You Can't Win
Ten Tonne Dozer
Lost In Echoes

Best Hip Hop
(sponsored by Young Scot)

Madhat McGore
Hector Bizerk
Bigg Taj
Stanley Odd
Team Kapowski

Best Electronic
(sponsored by Bar Bloc)

Miaoux Miaoux
Fridge Magnets

You can visit the Official SAMAs site here or visit the Facebook page here.
The event page for the Official Launch Party at Bloc can be viewed here and tickets for the Main Event at the Garage can be purchased online here.
To download the Official SAMAs iPhone and Android app, click here.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Introducing: Holy Childhood

Formed in early 2011 and fusing members of the now defunct Think:Fire and All My Logic, Holy Childhood are an alternative five piece from Glasgow. Bursting with melodic hooks that gently caress the eardrums, the gentle Scottish lull of vocalist Bruce McKenzie lends to an earthly sound that floats effortlessly into beautifully constructed instrumentation. With haunting melodies and poignant lyrics wonderfully complimented by piano et al, Holy Childhood are set to make their mark on 2012 beginning with their debut show tonight at Classic Grand. Having sold out of their original batch, the gig has been moved upstairs to the larger hall to accommodate the demand for tickets providing you with a chance to snap up one of the few remaining. Tickets for tonight's show are selling very fast with only a limited amount remaining on the door, so get down early to avoid disappointment. I predict we'll be hearing a lot more of Holy Childhood as the year progresses, and I for one can't wait.

You can find out more about Holy Childhood here where you can also stream some tracks, or visit their Soundcloud page here.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

New releases: RM Hubbert, Django Django and Errors

Yesterday was a special day for music, Scottish music in particular. January's never been a month jam packed with musical excitement what with everyone being skint and miserable and hungover, but yesterday broke the tradition in spectacular fashion. Despite not even a month of 2012 having passed, three albums were released that are already strong contenders for my album of the year.

Thirteen Lost & Found - RM Hubbert

RM Hubbert's debut album, First & Last, was an emotional masterpiece of flamenco inspired, finger picking mastery. Thirteen Lost & Found (Chemikal Underground) however is a whole different masterpiece entirely. By using music as a way of reconnecting with old friends and acquaintances, RM Hubbert has shown the diversity of his song writing talents and in turn widening his musical reach and accessibility without reduction in quality. Accompanied by the likes of Aidan Moffat, Emma Pollock, Alisdair Roberts, Hanna Tuulikki and Alex Kapranos (who produced the record) to name but a few, Hubby takes the listener on an exquisite musical journey that simply takes the breath away.

Buy Thirteen Lost & Found here.

Django Django - Django Django

Edinburgh four-piece Django Django have been creating gentle waves across Scotland for the past year or so but you may be wondering whether or not you've heard them before. 2009 single Storm was an instant hit with music fans and reviewers alike, creating much hype, before the band simply disappeared and the reviewers who hailed them as the "next big thing" began to look rather silly, or so it may have seemed.  That initial hype has been firmly backed up by the release of their self-titled debut album (Because Music) almost three years later. It's quirky, it's silly, it's ludicrous but it's always perfectly crafted, pop tinged, electronic goodness. After already receiving widespread critical acclaim and judging by the reaction of a lot of the reviewers, I think it's perfectly acceptable to make the bold claim that Django Django have invented the wondrous new genre of tropical psychedelia. You heard it here first. [EDIT: It's apparently already been used to describe various artists, but none are as good as Django Django.]

Buy Django Django here.

 Have Some Faith In Magic - Errors

After an E.P. and two albums spanning six years, Errors seem to have finally discovered themselves by combining all of their greatest elements in to one mammoth sound and boy is it huge. Imagine floating through the atmosphere whilst a chorus of angels lull you in to a state of serenity before smacking you across the face with a glowstick the size of a garden spade and then gently laying you to rest amongst a bed of rose petals. Complete with the odd burst of hauntingly ethereal vocals, Have Some Faith In Magic (Rock Action Records) is exhaustingly excellent. I suggest you experience it for yourself.

Buy Have Some Faith In Magic here.

Gig review: RM Hubbert (and friends) @ Stereo, Glasgow (27/01/12)

Alex Kapranos and Aidan Moffat join RM Hubbert on stage at Stereo

First & Last was RM Hubbert’s debut album, and I’m glad the title only rang half true. I hailed that album as my favourite of 2010 and barely a month in to 2012, Hubby’s latest is already a strong contender for my album of this year with his brand new release, Thirteen Lost & Found.

Tonight was always set to be a special show. Not only because it was the album launch but because it might just have been, well and truly, the first and last live performance of the album in (almost) its entirety. As the gig title suggests, Hubby wasn’t to be alone in this celebration of fine talent, of which was in abundance. Instead, he showcased a whole new side to his music accompanied by various musicians ranging from the wonderful Emma Pollock and Alasdair Roberts to the ever-impressive and utterly captivating Aidan Moffat and producer of the album, Alex Kapranos.

From the outset, RM Hubbert captivated the audience with his trademark fingerpicking as he was joined by Marion Kenny on the Chinese harp and Hanna Tuulikki who gave a beautifully ethereal vocal performance reminiscent of Joanna Newsom. Another highlight was the performance of Gus Am Bris An Latha (which I’ve just discovered translates from Gaelic as Until the day breaks and is a common inscription on gravestones) with John Ferguson on banjo wonderfully complimenting Hubby’s intricate guitar picking. Despite all the collaborations on the album, there was still room for a few solo efforts from the man himself with For Joe being a particular highlight as I, and much of the rest of the sold-out audience, looked on in awe, eyes transfixed on the hands of a master at work. The finale before the rousing encore was definitely a special moment that I’ll treasure for a long time to come. This time joining RM Hubbert was Aidan Moffat who grasped the microphone and told us all a story with a haunting melody in the only way he knows how, performed to the backing of Alex Kapranos on melodica and RM Hubbert’s melodic guitar picking. If the reception after that was enough to take the roof off and shock the punters in the upstairs cafe, the following before, during and after the encore was enough to shake the whole foundations of the building to the ground.

To some, dealing with such depressing topics and depicting it in what may be deemed as melancholic music may be utterly depressing. Like he said, “It usually takes until you’ve died before I dedicate a song to you”. But to me, creating such extraordinary and awe-inspiring music during a time of deep, dark depression not only signifies hope in a world full of misery but shows the remarkable strength that some people possess in the face of adversity. And to me, along with RM Hubbert’s music, that is truly phenomenal.

RM Hubbert's website can be found here and you can buy a copy of the album in various formats here.

This review was originally posted here on the 28th January.