Saturday, 27 March 2010

Chris Bradley - At the Outpost Album Review

Sometimes Aberfedly member Chris Bradley releases his second solo album on Monday. While Aberfeldy tend towards slightly twee, chirpy indie pop on this album Bradley shows much more of a Country tinged Americana influence.

Chris Bradley knows his way around a catchy tune, and his always excellent voice has an effortless quality to it, but the album as a whole is a bit of a mixed bag. For the most part the songs are pleasant enough, but nothing really stands out and grabs my attention, only Not What It Was leaving any real impression on me.

At times the album is a little too laid back for my liking, and also can feel a little cold. Just my personal tastes being different, but I'd have liked a couple of gear changes and feel some of the songs could benefit from being a bit rougher round the edges.

At the Outpost is a perfectly competent album, it's just not one that really strikes a chord with me.

Chris Bradley: MySpace - Website

At the Outpost is released on March 29, 2010 by 17 Seconds Records, on CD and download.

Music For Maggie's - Here Comes The Sun

A collection of independent Glasgow bands and artists have come together for Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, Love Maggie’s Day on an album entitled Here Comes The Sun. Maggie’s have been encouraging supporters new and old to do something they love, or something for someone they love, to raise funds and awareness for Maggie’s, on or around 26th March for their very first Love Maggie’s Day.

Artists contributing to the compilation are The Moth & The Mirror, Sonny Marvello, Mitchell Museum, Little Eskimos, Futuristic Retro Champions, Madaleine Pritchard, Roddy Hart, Julia & the Doogans, The Ray Summers, The Seventeenth Century, Pooch, The Second Hand Marching Band and more.

Here Comes The Sun will be launched at Maggie's Glasgow, 10 Dumbarton Road on March 28 with acoustic sets from Pooch, Sonny Marvello, Little Eskimos and The Cinnamons. Doors open at 6pm with tickets costing £5. Bring your own drinks.
If you can't make it along you can also buy the CD here.

Deathpodal: Exu__Wow EP Review

Deathpodal is the moniker of Glasgow based multi-instrumentalist Alastair J. Chivers, and Exu__Wow is his debut release. Recorded in various locations across Scotland, as well as the streets of Prague it also features members of Copy Haho, PVH and cellist Rachel Lind.
The EP is, quite frankly, all over the place and a bit mental. In all the best possible ways.

Trying to describe it is a bit like trying to chase smoke. Just when you think you've got a handle on it, there's a swift change of gears, or a sudden change of direction, regularly all within the same song.
One minute things are fairly melodic and mellow, the next thing you know it's like a fistfight in the kitchen between Fugazi and Sonic Youth, with Frank Carter from Gallows on running commentary, then there's another shift and you are hiding in a cupboard in a David Lynch film.

With so much going on and with so many ideas being thrown around this could be a horrible mess, but there's just enough restraint shown that the EP is constantly interesting rather than annoying.

A bloody nightmare to describe, but fantastic to listen to. You can stream the EP on MySpace and, so go and have a listen for yourself. Me? I love it.

Deathpodal: MySpace

Deathpodal's Exu__Wow EP is available now on
Electropapknit Records. Buy the CD
here, or download at Amazon or iTunes.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Pareto - Your Heart is Ready for Home EP Review

I should know better than to prejudge bands based on brief snippets of songs by now, but I must admit I'm occasionally guilty of it. Pareto are a band that have generally fallen in to the camp of bands that I've never particularly wanted to listen to. Not through any real fault of their own, more that most of the Scottish bands at the rockier end of the scale don't really excite me all that much, so it's an area I don't spend much time investigating or listening to. It's probably fair to say that I'm a bit older than the crowd these kind of bands appeal to as well, which is probably a factor.
As much as I like getting submissions for reviews, I wasn't too fussed then when Pareto sent of their upcoming EP Your Heart is Ready for Home then, especially since the "to be reviewed" pile is already stacked pretty high.

All of which is a very long way of saying I'm sorry Pareto, I misjudged you.
There's the crunching guitars, crashing cymbals and meaty chords I expected, along with shouty singalong choruses, start/stop dynamics and call and return vocals that go with them, particularly on the first two tracks, but carried out with enough technique and charisma that rather than hurrying to find the skip button I'm quite happy to go with it. The first two songs might use all the clich├ęs I thought they would, but they manage to put them together better than most.
The second half EP stands out more for me as Pareto shift a gear for a more textured, melodic sound. While the first half was good, the second half is better, and a good bit more diverse.

Your Heart is Ready for Home might have sat on the submissions pile for a wee while, but I'm really glad it found it's way out of there and into my head eventually.
The songs on the EP maybe aren't mindblowing or revolutionary, but they are distinctive enough that they don't come across as yet another copycat band. More importantly the EP is solid, thoroughly enjoyable, and had my old head bobbing along atop my creaky neck. I might have a couple of quibbles with the whole package, but they are very minor ones.

Pareto - MySpace

Pareto launch their Your Heart is Ready for Home EP with a gig at The Courtyard in Glasgow on the 16th of April in association with Detour Scotland where copies of the debut EP will be available for purchase.
The digital release will be shortly after, on the 19th of April via all major download sites.

Pareto - Your Heart Is Ready for Home - EP

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Findo Gask Say Goodbye

Findo Gask have announced they are to split. That's the band by the way, not the Perthshire village, it's status remains the same.

Over on the band's MySpace they say:

It has come to an end, or at least it will have done pretty soon. The tyres were shot out a while ago, the engine is kaput, and we're slowly coasting to a stand still.
Before that happens, we will finish the album we should have finished ages ago.
Then we will do a show at a venue in Glasgow.
Then we're going to have a holiday!

Before they go you can catch Findo Gask, along with members of Remember Remember, Divorce, Findo Gask, Guanoman, The Royal We, Bad Bad Men, Phat Trophies, Prayer Rug, The Paraffins, Splashy The Blame Shifter and more, covering songs by girl groups at The Flying Duck next Thursday - April 1st - for Way of the Womb.

We here at Aye Tunes would like to wish all the members of Findo Gask all the best in their future endeavours, and hope they have a nice holiday.

Shambles Miller: Shambles Vs. The Dragonwizard EP Review

Shambles Miller got in touch with me a wee while ago to ask me to review this, his debut EP. Guess what? If you come to Aye Tunes often you'll know the answer to that question is, of course, that it went into the pile of stuff and didn't get dealt with very promptly. In the meantime Mr Miller has been all over the place, getting plays from Jim Gellatly and doing a wee session for Glasgow PodcART, so chances are you've heard of him by now.

Well, tough luck, because now I'm going to chip in with my thoughts on the EP.
First of all, a guy with a guitar is a pretty hard sell for me. Too many nights of sitting through open mics, not to mention the terrible busker who occasionally takes up residence on Paisley's High Street means my ears have heard a lot of it, of wildy difficult quality, so I'm never really over eager to listen to another man bashing away at his acoustic guitar.

The EP kicks off with Pssst! a ramshackle affair that lives up to the Shambles name, but endearingly so. Simple enough melodies and tongue in cheeks storytelling lyrics, combined with a real sense of warmth make Pssst! a cute, enjoyable little song, which is good enough for me to give the rest of the EP a go and not just stop there.
Robots is a bit more polished, with a bit of a punky folk edge to it, but retains the warmth of Pssst! It's possibly the best song about robots I've heard in ages. Even if it isn't really about robots.
Nothing Unfolding is my least favourite of the bunch, but I'm not really sure why. It may be that being the longest of the songs on the EP it suffered a little from my attention wandering a smidge before the end. It's still a perfectly good song though, I'm just as fond of it as the others.
My Best Friend Is An Outsider is punchy, with some double bass masquerading as cello giving things a bit of a melancholy air, before everything comes to a satisfyingly shouty end.

Shambles Vs. The Dragonwizard is a decent little debut, and there's plenty about both Shambles and his songs to set him aside from the pack.

Shambles Miller: MySpace - Website
Buy Shambles Vs. the Dragonwizard on CD here, or download here.

<a href="">Pssst! by Shambles Miller</a>

Teenage Fanclub Return, Summer Gets Instantly Better

Just because half of the Internet has already beaten me to it is no reason to neglect something new from one of my favourite bands.

When tour dates and a new album from Teenage Fanclub were announced recently there was much excitement round here. The Fannies have been favourites since way back when I was working what my own taste in music was. As I mentioned a few days ago they are a massive reason that I went to see Alex Chilton many years ago.
After a long wait - it's been five years since Man Made - there's a new album almost ready to arrive. Just in time fr the summer too. Summer and Teenage Fanclub go hand in hand for me. When the sun is splitting the sky and temperatures are rising, admittedly not that common in Scotland, it's hard to beat getting a bit of Grand Prix in your ears.

There's a download of new track Baby Lee available at the Merge website here. It's not a wild departure for the past, nor something revolutionary and groundbreaking. It is perfect Teenage Fanclub though, and it is as welcome as a warm hug from a much missed friend.

Shadows will be released on May 31st in the UK and Europe, and in North America on June 8th.
Around the same time the band head off on tour. Confirmed dates so far are:
May 1st – London Koko – Camden Crawl Headline
May 27th – Manchester Academy 2
May 28th – Sheffield Leadmill
May 30th – Dublin The Academy
June 1st – Aberdeen The Warehouse
June 2nd – Glasgow O2 ABC
June 3rd – Edinburgh The Picture House
June 4th – Leeds The Cockpit
June 6th – Bristol Academy
June 7th – Birmingham Academy 2

Teenage Fanclub Website

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Clearing My Head and Conquering Animal Sound

I'm having one of those weeks where I can't seem to get anything done. There are no less than 8 reviews sitting in draft form waiting for me to finish, and every time I look at that list of drafts I feel bad for the bands that sent me something, that I promised to listen to and write about. Then I try and write them and the words won't come. The self loathing increases a stage.

There's at least a dozen emails that I should really reply to. There's another few folders of music that I've not even touched yet. There's a bombsite of a bedroom to tidy. There's jobs to be hunted. Add to that the small matter of a gig to promote and tickets to sell and I can feel the walls closing in on me. Yet what do I find myself doing, instead of all those things? Anything but those! Pissing about on Facebook and Twitter. Making endless cups of tea. The slightest distraction is enough to throw me off.

Yes, I think it is one of those times that I need to stop for a little while, take a step back, and let my head clear a bit. Close the email for the night and don't even think about everything that needs done. Get a bit of perspective. I'm meant to be doing this because I enjoy it after all. It's either that or the next time I'm out the house everything could go a bit Falling Down.

So tonight I've been giving myself a bit of time off. I'm listening to music for enjoyment instead of critically. Yet, funnily enough it's an email I got on Tuesday that's helping me relax and stop the mad panic better than anything else.

The email was simple enough, it was from Euan McMeeken, giving me a heads up that Conquering Animal Sounds will be releasing their debut album in September through his label Mini50, teaming up with Gizeh Records. Great stuff, I thought. I've not heard much of them, but what I've heard I liked. I thanked Euan for letting me know and went back to staring in anger and despair at the stuff I wasn't getting done. Hearing Mogwai's Batcat on Hollyoaks was a fun digression though. I don't watch Hollyoaks, honest, I just hadn't changed the channel from The Simpsons.

Fast forward a few hours and Conquering Animal Sound are providing the music I'm losing myself in to save my sanity. They are Anneke Kampman and James Scott, and as it turns out I've heard more of them than I first though. Between their mix tape and a live set from last year's Trampoline all dayer there's a good hour worth of material to just switch off and drift off in. And boy, is it gorgeous.

James and Anneke use a variety of instruments, tools and toys that my non technical mind can't even begin to figure out to make beautiful, dreamy sounds. Loops and layers and beats and samples build up and wash over the listener, while Anneke's vocals evoke Bjork's without trying to copy them. Conquering Animal Sound make music that really is perfect for losing yourself in, Otherworldly even.
After clearing my mind of clutter and just letting myself listen to them I feel much better. Much happier and calmer. Clearly it helped shake off some of that writer's block too, even if they have mostly inspired a post about not writing.

While there won't be a Conquering Animal Sound album until September prior to that there's a split 7" release with Debutant. If you are the kind of person - like I usually am - that will sometimes be resistant to buying a 7" because you don't have a record player you should still consider going for it anyway. Your purchase includes a free download of both tracks, plus an exclusive extra track from each artist which are only available with a vinyl order. I felt particularly flush when ordering my copy and went for the deluxe package, since I'm a sucker for extra stuff.

There's a couple of launch gigs for the single at the start of April, followed by a tour in May, visit the band's MySpace for all the details.

Now for more downloads, streams and links than you'll probably need, but more than enough to keep you busy while I carry on trying to save myself from slipping into madness.

Download: Alice Shoes (Live) - Your Friends, Conquering Animal Sound (Mix Tape)

<a href="">Giant by Gerry Loves Records</a>

Conquering Animal Sound: MySpace - Facebook - Blog

The Conquering Animal Sound/Debutant split 7" single is released 5th April 2010 by Gerry Loves Records. A Conquering Animal Sound album will be jointly released by Mini50 and Gizeh later in the year.

Monday, 22 March 2010

This Week's Records

I've fallen so far behind on reviews it's not funny, so let's get through what's out this week quick. There's a few things that'll be getting more attention paid to them later in the week.

I keep forgetting to plug the free Download that The Girobabies have available, so I'll do that now. You can get Jeremy Kyle rom their Bandcamp page now, while their debut EP is released on May 1st.
The Paraffins single - Something Good - that I reviewed a few weeks ago is out officially from today. It's good.
North Atlantic Oscilation release their debut album, Grappling Hooks, this week.
RBRBR have a new EP out, titled The Bobby Masicks EP, released by Euphonios. It's been on the list of things for me to review for ages, but I've not gotten to it yet. It is good though.
Adam Stafford has a new album out, Miniature Porcelain Horse Emporium. It's available as a free download now from Wiseblood Industries.

I think that's it for the week. There was no popular demand for the gig guide to return, so I'm opting to be lazy and leave it in retirement. There's quite a lot on this week in Glasgow though. Especially on Thursday when there's four gigs on that I want to go to.
Speaking of gigs I do have to plug my own at every opportunity, so go here to catch up on the details.