Wednesday 24 April 2013

‘Love Music’ Glasgow Record Store day 20 April 2013 –

 We had great fun with rock Viking metal band Viking Galaxy who launched their album First Contact at a packed out Independent Record store day at Love Music Record shop Glasgow.  Indie bands performing were -Young Aviators, Viking galaxy, French Wives, Fake Major, Wooden Box, Three Blind Wolves, Washington Irvine, Glasvagas, 

‘Record Store Day’ was started in the States in 2007 by record store employee Chris Brown as a backlash to the cheap and low quality sound sent out over the internet. The compression of MP3s only carry percent of the music. Online is a good means of discovery these days but – as with those hardback books - the hard copy vinyl or CD has that something collectable and to treasure.  They also offer the artist’s artwork, lyrics and more. Some of us can remember the booths with the headsets in the record shops in town where we could check out new albums. The joy of discovering new music.
This yearly event celebrated physical records, counter-culture, grassroots labels and local community. The record shops offered special limited editions and exclusives. This year's Scottish Record Store Day highlights included vinyl, tapes and treats from Orange Juice, Biffy Clyro, King Creosote, Admiral Fallow, Adam Stafford, Randolph's Leap, Frightened Rabbit, Mogwai/Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells, The Twilight Sad and more.  

Scottish Independent Record Store Day
Up North - Groucho's in Dundee (Nethergate) had performances from Silent Nothing, Colour Coded and General Judgement. Inverness's fab Imperial (Academy Street) from Sara Bills and the Hasbeens and Willie and Tabs Macaskill.  Stirling, Europa Music (Friars Street) houses Scotland's largest vinyl collection and they hosted live in-store appearances including local indie tearaways FRANK and Miniature Dinosaurs along with James Grant of Love and Money.  

GLASGOW. Love Music (Dundas Street, Glasgow) had live sets from Glasvegas, Woodenbox, French Wives, Three Blind Wolves, Washington Irving, Fake Major, Viking Galaxy and Young Aviators, and also a tea stall, classic rock cake and a pinball AC/DC pinball machine.  Monorail (King's Court, Glasgow) hosted Subway Sect's punk renegade Vic Godard with Davey Henderson's art-pop firebrands The Sexual Objects. Other live highlights include Ela Orleans and alt-rock radicals World Peace.
Oxfam Music (Byres Road, Glasgow) held a Record Store Day party helmed by pop collective TYCI. Rubadub (Howard Street, Glasgow) stocked danceable exclusives and deals on vinyl, while guest DJs and live acts included electronic diviner Dam Mantle, Trevino and Silk Cut. 

EDINBURGH. Underground Solu'shn (Cockburn Street, Edinburgh), had dance and electronic action with a day-long vinyl DJ sets from Fryer, House of Traps, Colvin Cruikshank, Fudge Fingas, G-Mac and EH1. Folk wonderland Coda (The Mound) held live in-stores from songstress Karine Polwart and Jenna Reid, Elvis Shakespeare (Leith Walk) welcomed Saint Max and the Fanatics and Oi Polloi, and Avalanche (Grassmarket) had in-stores from Glasvegas and Admiral Fallow. The Bow Bar (West Bow, Edinburgh) had special cask ale, Sid 'n' Nancy IPA. 
VoxBox Music and Last Word Saloon (St Stephen Street, Edinburgh) celebrated Auld Reekie's thriving grassroots community and teamed up with local labels Gerry Loves Records and Song, By Toad that featured Magic Eye, Mike Heron Band, Rob St John, Adam Stafford and Honeyblood, and Fence Records alt-pop Kid Canaveral (aka Kid Canaverowl).

There was also Song By Toad's inspired Beer vs Records  ‘Why do we resent paying £12 for a record, when we'll happily fork that out for a round of drinks?’
Support your local artists and record shops/ We all pay far too much to the giant Apple Empire, who give nothing back to the artists!  

Record Store Day album sales soared by 60 percent compared with last year, official figures have shown. Read more:

Sunday 21 April 2013

Edwyn Collins and his band at the O2 ABC

Still rockin in his soul, even if his body has failed him at times.

Edwyn Collins, Scottish musician, best known for his song A Girl Like You and also for the song Rip It Up with his band Orange Juice, rocked a gig ABC Glasgow 18th April 2013. 

Understated, the title of his new album suits him well. Here's man who rocks deep inside with a generosity of spirit and soul. He's unassuming and sincere and there was a lot of love in the room for him at this gig and some nostalgia for a few no doubt. He performed songs from his 2013 album Understated as well as some of his back catalogue songs. Collins had a band of quality musicians who seemed to enjoy playing with him.

Songs: Ghost of a Chance; Understated; I Never Met a Girl Like you Before.  

For an encore he sang Home Again, searching for my soul again, and Simple Lifesimple choice makes the world a better place. Seven years after his two strokes the indie veteran has produced another excellent album. 

Thursday 11 April 2013

Viking Galaxy rocked Bannermans

On March 30th VG played their first gig this year for Dougie's birthday. Bannermans is a cloistered stone venue directly down in the Cowgate from Edinburgh’s High Street and proved a intense venue for new bands. 
Lead by the tall and charismatic William Hill on lead vocals, energetic Matt Brown on keys, full of character Mike Parkin on guitar, Ross Keightley providing strong bass lines, and new drummer Alasdair Gunn playing tight thundering drums.
In the summer they recorded their debut album First Contact. They performed songs form the album – Raid & Pillage; Sickle of Hate; Galactic Plunder; Lost Forever’ Shaft of Agony’ Hall the Slain; Space Chariots.

On 20th April Viking Galaxy play their debut Album launch gig at Love Music Glasgow.
While Viking Galaxy list themselves as a metal music band they are also influenced by 70s soul and by bands such as Mastodon and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Songbird Eva Cassidy

For me my best loved music is often about the perfect song, perfectly sung. One of the loveliest female voices is Eva Cassidy. She became known for her voice four years after her early death in 1996.
She had a naturally unaffected voice and beautifully interpreted and expressed the song. She never ‘over sang’ or over killed as some singers do and her voice is both soothing and heartbreaking. You can feel her honesty of emotion and hunger for a better world. She has the most expressive and sad eyes.
She chose top quality songs to sing. In those days not every singer also worked with co-writers to do their own songs. Songs such as Over the Rainbow, Songbird, Kathy’s Song, Danny Boy, What a Wonderful World, Imagine, Early Morning Rain, Ain't No Sunshine.  
One of my favourites sung by Eva – You Take My Breath Away -

Eva Marie Cassidy (1963-1996) was an American vocalist and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country and pop classics. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album entitled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington DC, when she died of melanoma in 1996.  Cassidy's music was brought to the attention of British audiences when her version of "Over the Rainbow" was played by Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of "Over the Rainbow", taken at Blues Alley in Washington, was shown on BBC Two's Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Charts, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide; her posthumously released recordings, including three UK number 1s, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted top 10 positions in Australia, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Iain Banks illness

Sad news about Iain Banks illness, one of Scotlands best loved authors. Iain Banks in Edinburgh 2012. Iain Banks, Scottish novelist and science fiction writer, at The Edinburgh International Book Festival. Credit Pauline Keightley. Copyright: 

Iain Banks (born on 16 February 1954 in Fife) is a Scottish writer. He writes mainstream fiction under the name Iain Banks, and science fiction as Iain M. Banks, including the initial of his adopted middle name Menzies. In 2008, The Times named Banks in their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

Songwriter Nile Rodgers

Check out respected songwriter Nile Rodgers BBC4 Interview (photo Edinburgh book festival 2012) - Le Freak, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Bowie.

Nile gave a fun informal chat at the Edinburgh Book Festival's Speigel tent in August, with many impromptu plays of the guitar when the audience enthusiastically sang along. Nile talked about his music. He said when he wrote songs – first came the words and he always started with the chorus or hook. He likes to use the jazziest chords and fuse concepts together. He talked about the level of pop culture and that Bowie was ‘disruptive’ and therefore stood out in the charts. He believed in the ‘artistic powers’ of music itself. He said that the people made Good Times a No 1 which he said was his favourite song.  

Nile talked about his music. He said when he wrote songs – first came the words and he always started with the chorus or hook. He likes to use the jazziest chords and fuse concepts together. He talked about the level of pop culture and that Bowie was ‘disruptive’ and therefore stood out in the charts. He believed in the ‘artistic powers’ of music itself. He said that the people made Good Times a No 1 which he said was his favourite song.  

He learned flute and clarinet at school and later taught himself guitar. At 18 he auditioned for the children’s tv show Sesame Street for which he wore a crazy green wig!. He then worked at the Apollo theatre in New York with Screaming J Hawkings. 
On a trip to London he saw Roxy Music at the Roxy theatre!  Which he thought was so unique. He thought they should be the black version of Roxy Music and be a ‘totally immersive experience in music’ and they called themselves the Big Apple Band

They played sophisticated funk and their track ‘Everybody Dance’ was a big success in the dance clubs but there was little interest in a black rock band at that time. Jazz bands often went to France to make it then (Nina Simone and others) so they pretended that they were from France! Chic was born and they had a hit with ‘Le Freak’ – which has been the biggest selling song for Atlantic Records and has such an awesome guitar riff!  
They then wrote hit songs for Sister Sledge – We are Family and Lost in Music. He wrote for Diana Ross – who he interviewed for three days firstly – Michael Jackson, Madonna, David Bowie and many more. He has jammed with Hendrix. Madonna's Like Virgin sold more than 20m records and Nile wrote David's Bowie's best-selling album Let's Dance in just 17 days.

Blog on Nile's highly entertaining talk in Edinburgh last year-

Nile Rodger, American musician, producer, composer, arranger and guitarist, discussed his autobiography Le Freak – An Upside Down Story of Family, Disco and Destiny at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. 

Monday 1 April 2013

Christopher Brookmyre and Billy Franks Edinburgh

Christopher Brookmyre, respected Scottish crime writer, performed an evening show at the Edinburgh Book festival evening Unbound in the speigel tent, along with long time friend Londoner Billy Franks. Brookmyre is one of Billy's biggest fans. 

Billy asked me to watch the filming of them which he had set up on a table. He was clearly excited about the gig and good kudos for him.  I first met Billy Franks when he played some lovely fun singing sessions at the Troubadour London.  Brookmyre told some stories and he also sang and strangely Billy's first song was about corporate 'Reality Tv' - which he sang has the personality of a bully! and was entitled 'TV Brutal'
This proved a highly entertaining gig!

Scottish band Biffy Clyro

Scottish band from Ayrshire, Biffy Clyro, like Frightened Rabbit who are selling out big venues over America, have not needed to travel to London to make it in the big time in music the way it used to be. This Scottish band has done so by building their fanbase through gigs and albums and online networking. 

I heard Biffy on Jools Holland tv show last year and they are the first band in ages I’ve been impressed over. Biffy won NME 2013 Best British Band 2013.

Biffy Clyro play the SECC Glasgow 1st April 2013.
Quotes from Biffy’s Bio -  United by a love of underground, experimental rock and post-hardcore bands such as Braid and Karate, along with the starrier likes of Guns N’Roses and Metallica, they quickly honed their own unique sound, a mind boggling mix of off-kilter tempos, itchy, unpredictable guitars, soulful choruses and feral screams, sewn together into a strange tapestry of sound that sat resolutely apart anything else being made at the time, both in spirit and - thanks to their admirable refusal to uproot from their hometown for the dog eat dog music community of London - geographically too.  Their first three albums – ‘Blackened Sky’, ‘The Vertigo Of Bliss’ and ‘Infinity Land’ – arrived in a barrage of creativity, a record released every year and relentless touring building up a small but devoted army of followers. Team Biffy’s ranks grew exponentially when ‘Puzzle’ came along and stunned listeners with its achingly personal, rich and complex take on rock anthems, and Simon, James and Ben found themselves playing Wembley Stadium with Muse, headlining the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury while being unmistakably a Biffy album, is something brand new again, perfectly crafted, produced and polished without ever once losing the heart, soul and strangeness that means so much to those who have been faithful from the start. And most of all, it means everything to Simon Neil and James and Ben Johnston.
Biffy Clyro are a Scottish rock band that formed in Kilmarnock with Simon Neil  (guitar, lead vocals), James Johnstone (bass, vocals) and Ben Johnston (drums, vocals). Currently signed to, they have released six studio albums, three of which,  Puzzle , Only Revolutions and Opposites reached the top five in UK Album Chart. They also claimed their first number one album in the UK Albums Chart with their sixth studio album, Opposites. Puzzle(2007) made No. 2  UK album; Only Revolutions (2009) No. 3 UK chart and  platinum in 2010 and nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Ps One band I have never understood – Oasis. They are often hyped by NME and Noel Gallagher now has his flying birds …but really what is their appeal. I find their songs and sound very meaningless.