Friday, 19 March 2010

Obligatory Alex Chilton Post

Yesterday was an odd day. Before I'd gone to bed news broke that Alex Chilton had died of heart complications, aged 59. Then when I woke up I announced the gig I'm putting on. Lows and highs abound then.
I won't pretend to be an Alex Chilton expert, nor will I write a comprehensive obituary to the man, I'm sure you can find plenty of that elsewhere, but to quote The Replacements I never travel far without a little Big Star. If it wasn't for Alex Chilton and Big Star half my music collection would probably sound very different, as I think he was a huge influence on countless bands I love.
While Chilton isn't the first, and almost certainly won't be the last, musicial to die this year he's the one that's had the greatest effect on me.
Way back when I was a young little thing I went to see Alex Chilton play a gig in Glasgow, with Teenage Fanclub as his backing band at The 13th Note. The old 13th Note, not the one where I spend so much time these days. That was April 1996, which makes me a few months shy of my 17th birthday, and it was one of the first gigs I managed to sneak my way into and manage to get served drink without much hassle. As a result, my memories of it are all very hazy. I do remember it as a gig that - having mostly gone along because of Teenage Fanclub - left me thinking "I must find out more about that Chilton fellow".You youngsters won't remember this, but way back in 1996 we didn't have Wikipedia to tell us everything we needed to know about someone. We couldn't obtain an artist's back catalogue - legally or illegally - with a few mouse clicks. A few months of digging around used record shops and talking to the staff got me pretty well clued up, and left me with armfuls of quite fantastic records.
This post hasn't been very coherent I know, but I elt like I had to do something to mark the passing of a man whose music I loved, and whose influence I respected so much. As a reward for making it through, there's a couple of songs below for you to listen to. This is the first time I'm using Dropbox links on the blog, so let me know how they work.
Big Star - Thirteen (Alternate Mix) (from Keep an Eye on the Sky)
Teenage Fanclub - Jesus Christ (from the Big Star, Small World tribute album)
Alex Chilton & Teenage Fanclub - At the Dark End Of The Street (recorded live at The 13th Note, Glasgow, April 1996)

Alex Chilton

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Special Announcement

If you visit Peenko's Blog today you'll find me answering some questions for him about myself, blogging and generally talking nonsense.
That isn't the special announcement though, that's down at the end of my Q&A.

Remember on Monday I said to keep April 30th free? Well now I can tell you why.
Myself and Lloyd from Peenko are teaming up for the first (and so far only, but if it goes well we hope to do more) Aye Tunes Vs Peenko gig.

It takes place at The Captain's Rest on April 30th, and we've somehow managed to get three of our favourites bands to play for us. On the bill are Campfires in Winter, Mitchell Museum and Kid Canaveral. It's incredible to me that they've all agreed to work with a pair of rank amateurs and we can only hope to do them justice.
We are really quite excited about it, and hope to see lots of you there!

Tickets are £4 in advance, or a fiver on the door if there's any left. You can buy a ticket here with free postage, no booking fee. Alternatively send me an email or catch me out and about and I'll hook you up.

If you use Facebook there's an event page set up over there, and there's one of too.

Oh, and other bloggers? You can expect me to be spamming you in the next couple of days about this too.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Burnt Island - Music and Maths - Album Review

Some weeks you just don't get very far on the "to do" list, last week was one of them. Last Sunday I popped along to Mono for the launch gig of this mini album and picked up a copy with the intention of giving the album a review. Typically for me, it's a bit later than planned. The launch gig was good, but unfortunately a heated argument between the DJs on duty midway through Burnt Island's set was quite a distraction that made it hard to give the band the attention they deserved. Fortunately no one is yelling at anyone during the CD, so listening properly is an awful lot easier, and very worthwhile.

Burnt Island's frontman Rodge Glass is one of those disgustingly talented people. Having gained attention as a novelist Rodge also has a critically acclaimed biography of Alasdair Gray under his belt. As if that wasn't enough he is currently Writer in Residence at Strathclyde University, where he also teaches Creative Writing. Then there's the song that Rodge wrote for Vashti Bunyan that appeared on Ballads of the Book, and now - after a few years of work - comes the Burnt Island mini-album.
Before I make Burnt Island sound like a one man show I should also mention that they are very much a band, with Andy Campbell, Amber Comerford, Rik Evans and Malcolm Jack all making contributions that are far from insignificant.

As for the album itself, as you might expect the lyrics are excellent, more short stories than disposable pop songs, and the music is frequently gorgeous. The songs are subtle and understated, with an air of melancholy. I'm a sucker for a harmony, which is why the stand out tracks for me are the ones where Glass and Amber Comerford share vocals - Man on Fire and the title track in particular- her voice and his work fantastically together. The other songs are every bit as well written, crafted and performed.

The only downside is that at 6 tracks long I'm eager for more, but that's far from a complaint.
I had a mad girlfriend once that came from Burntisland, but with music this fine I can't hold that against the band. Music and Maths is a beautiful little debut.

Burnt Island - MySpace

Burnt Island's Music and Maths mini album is out now. You can buy it directly from the Chaffinch Records website or from some record shops.
Last year's The Moments Before single can be downloaded free from
Wiseblood Industries.

Monday, 15 March 2010

This Week's Records

There's half a dozen things I was meant to do last week that I still haven't finished, so I'll keep this short. No gig guide again, if you want it back then tell me.

Records out this week:
Burnt Island's debut mini-album Music and Maths is released by Chaffinch Records. You can buy it from here now. Reviewing this is one f the things I was meant to do last week but never finished, so look for that some time this week instead.

Miaoux Miaoux releases the Blooms EP. CDs and downloads available directly from Bandcamp. I liked it a lot. Don't forget about the launch gig tomorrow either.

Miss The Occupier have a new EP out, The Heart Is Deceitful (Above All Things). I loved that too.

I keep forgetting to include this one, so at this point it isn't new, but still worth a mention. Findlay Napier and the Bar Room Mountaineers have a new single - Raise A Glass - which is available as a free download. Just go sign up to the mailing list at to get it.

I think that's it for the week. As usual, tell me if I missed anything.

As for gigs, there might be a special announcement later this week if all goes to plan. For now though, try to keep April 30th free.