Friday, 2 July 2010

COMPETITION - Win the new Cancel The Astronauts EP!

As mentioned, and reviewed, earlier in the week, Cancel The Astronauts have a new EP out now, titled Funny For A Girl. You can buy it here.

To celebrate I'm going to give away a CD of it to one of you lucky people.

To be in with a chance of winning simply email your name and something funny* to
Competition closes at 6PM on Wednesday July 7th, at which point I'll pick a winner out of a hat, or other form of answer selecting container.

* Funny ha-ha, funny peculiar, whatever!


It occurs to me that I haven't actually mentioned for a while how you can send me music for review or whatever, so this is just a wee quickie to say the best ways to do it, and what to avoid.
it is hardly a complicated process, so don't be put off by the things below, it is just intended to give you an idea of the best way to stand out in a crowded inbox, or at least avoid going straight in the bin.

Things to do:
The best thing to do is send me an email. If you are only sending a couple of songs go ahead and attach them, if there's more than that then upload them somewhere and email over a download link. There's loads of places you can upload a zip file to without much hassle, personally I like Dropbox, but others are fine too. Please don't attach a zip file to your email though, Gmail eats attached zips. I'll never get it, you'll think I just ignored it.
An alternative is Soundcloud, you can upload tracks to my dropbox there.

If you don't want to give me a download for free (which is of course fair enough) then send me somewhere I can stream the songs easily. Again, Soundcloud is good for this, but even better is Bandcamp, where you can try and sell me something too.

CDs. You can offer to send me a CD, but I usually prefer to hear what is on it first. This reduces the chances of you wasting time and money on sending me a CD I don't like, which just lays in a pile somewhere in my house. If you still want to send me a physical copy go ahead and ask for my address.

If you are sending me something for review it is handy, though not essential, to include a wee bit about yourself or your band. A quick bio, any useful links, that kind of thing. Oh, and do try and include details on the release, most importantly the release date and where it will be available from, what format, etc. Don't leave me guessing, I'll just get it wrong, or not get round to checking! MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, all that kind of thing are handy too.

Things not to do:
Be a dick. That should go without saying, but every now and then someone gets the bright idea that I'll pay more attention if they act like an arsehole to me. I won't.

Show a complete lack of research. Half the stuff that clogs up my inbox comes from American PR firms that have missed the point. Others start off with something along the lines of "Hi Ayetunes". Aye Tunes isn't my name, Jim is. It says so on every post. You might be sending the same form email to every blogger around, but at least do a little checking on things like that first.

Send me straight to MySpace. I really don't like using MySpace, if that is the only option I have for listening to tracks from the EP you want me to review I more than likely won't bother. Apart from anything else, have you ever listened to your music on MySpace? It sounds awful!

Likewise, don't send me to straight to iTunes, I don't buy anything from it. Again, if you want to lure me into paying for your new release right away, Bandcamp is your best bet.

That should cover the main things, any questions go ahead and ask.
I do my best to reply to all my emails, but it takes a while sometimes. If you think I've missed something feel free to remind me after a week or so. I can't review everything I'm sent, there aren't enough hours in the day, but I do listen to it at least.
If I don't like something I likely won't review it, unless I can offer constructive criticism. Don't take it personally. Also bear in mind that a lot of the Scottish bloggers talk to each other, if you bitch about us to the others, there's a good chance we'll hear about it!

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Kid Canaveral: Shouting At Wildlife - Album Review

I've talked enough about Kid Canaveral enough round here that they probably don't need any introduction by now, but just in case, Kid Canaveral are David, Kate, Rose and Scott. After half a dozen singles and EPs, their debut album Shouting At Wildlife is ready for release. After four 7" singles and a couple of releases on cassette this on is, happily, available on CD rather than, say, 8 Track.

Scottish indie pop isn't the trendiest thing in the World at the moment, but that doesn't prevent it from always having a large place in my heart. Besides, when executed well, who cares if it is trendy? I lack the hairstyle to be a hipster anyway.

How well is the execution then? Well, pretty close to flawless really. The album is a mix between the familiar and the new, most of the previous singles put in an appearance but in new forms, while the majority of the songs are new. A fresh lick of paint takes nothing away from the charm of the older songs, and does save from getting a feeling of "I own this already" that might put some off.

If the opening four tracks of this album don't make you feel happy you were either already delighted when you started listening, or you have a heart of stone. Upbeat, uplifting, occasionally raucous but always melodic doesn't just sum up the opening salvo, but it true for most of the album.
Five tracks in the first old favourite pops up, in the shape of debut single Smash Hits. I've listened to Smash Hits more times than I'd care to count, but its wit, storytelling lyrics and melody never, ever gets old. Also; handclaps. Oh how I love those handclaps.

What would be the end of side 1 and the beginning of side 2 slows things down a bit with Quiet Things Are Quiet Now and And Another Thing!! The slower, less cheery songs provide a nice breather halfway through, and leave no doubt that while Kid Canaveral do upbeat and happy brilliantly, they don't just do that.

From there on the rest of the album does a fine job mixing the unlifting and the melancholy, with Couldn't Dance - the title of which I live up to whenever it is played live and I'm there - popping up amongst the less familiar songs like an old friend, before the tender and reflective Her Hair Hangs Down and a reprise of Good Morning round things off on a beautiful, gentle note.

My hopes for this album were high, and happily they weren't just met, but exceeded.

Kid Canaveral serve up more aces than that really long tennis match did in a fraction of the time, and with far more smiles. Or if you want a different tortured metaphor, Shouting At Wildlife doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it does remind you why you liked the wheel in the first place.

Need more convincing? Have a little listen to Smash Hits below.

05 Smash Hits by StraightToVideoRecords

Kid Canaveral: Website - Bandcamp - MySpace

Shouting At Wildlife is released on CD and download by Straight To Video Records on July 5th. However, if you pre-order the album you'll get some extra goodies. Get it direct from the band here. Kid Canaveral play an album launch gig at The Roxy Art House on July 3rd, tickets for that can be bought from the same place as the album pre-order. I'm even making a rare Edinburgh trip for it and everything, so I can annoy folk in a whole different city than usual.

Cancel The Astronauts: Funny For A Girl - EP Review

A bit over a year since I babbled incoherently (seriously, you think I'm bad now? Go read posts from a year ago, I made no sense) about their first EP Cancel The Astronauts have finally gone and released another one. What's it like? I'm glad you asked, I'll try and babble a bit more coherently about this one.

Title track Funny For A Girl bubbles along nicely enough, but has its upbeat indie pop rump shaking thunder stolen a bit by the track that follows it, She Said She Loves Somebody Else. Where Funny For A Girl inspires head bobbing She Said... notches things up to full on arm flailing and shape throwing.
So far so good, although the neighbours might confuse the dodgy dancing with some kind of fit, so draw the curtains first. I like a Korg as much as the next man, but there is only so much I can take, so it is no bad thing that it mostly slips into the background for Things I Shouldn't Tell You. The song itself goes through a few changes of pace too, with fast bits, slower bits, and a bit of tenderness all taking turns at the forefront.

Standing Still keeps things slow and tender for the most part, right up until everything kicks off briefly towards the end. Probably my favourite thing on here. What it lacks in sing along and catchiness value it more than makes up for in heart, and goes a long way to showing that Cancel The Astronauts don't just do bubbly indie pop.
Listen rounds out the package by bringing back the catchy melodies and inspiring more shoogling of body parts in a vague impression of dancing, and finishes off the EP nicely.

All good stuff, hopefully we don't have another year for more new material either!

Cancel The Astronauts: Website - MySpace - Facebook - Bandcamp

Cancel The Astronauts - Funny For A Girl is available on CD and download now from Bandcamp.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Storm The Charts

From the people behind Rage Against The Machine for Christmas Number 1 comes Storm The Charts, another Facebook campaign to get certain songs in the charts.
Now, if anyone has ever heard me on the subject they'll know that I can rant for hours about my dislike of these stunts, and of Facebook campaigns in general. Why am I bothering to mention this one then? Well, there's bands I like involved this time round, so I've flipped the hypocrite switch.

All the details can be found here, but what it all boils down to is that 40 independent artists have been picked, 20 by a panel, 20 by public voting, and the plan is to get as many as possible into the charts on Sunday, July 4th, what with it being Independence Day and all.

You can find the full 40 artists selected here, I'll just be concentrating on the Scots.

The ones that interest me, along with a link to buy the relevant song, are:

This Week's Records (and some from last week)

I half forgot to do one of these last week. I saw half forgot, because by the time I got round to checking I couldn't find much to mention, so I didn't bother.
There's a bit more this week though, so lets have a look.

Any Color Black - Answer EP. Available from all the usual download stores, and Bandcamp.
Ghost Pants - Static Heart. One I should have mentioned last week. Ghost Pants is Paul Carlin, this is his second Ghost Pants EP, and it is available for free, as is the first one, from Bandcamp.
Super Adventure Club - Hip Hop Hot Pot Pot Noodle. Another that never got a mention last week, though I did plug the launch gig for the single. Available at all good records shops, download sites and, you guessed it, Bandcamp.
Paws - Violent Vicky Violet. This came out in the middle of last week, is lovely, and can be had for free from Wiseblood Industries. The Wiseblood site might set off Malware alarms in your browser, it does in mine, but don't worry, it is safe.
Penguins Kill Polar Bears - Dawn EP. CDs available here, downloads from Bandcamp once again. I should get paid to advertise Bandcamp.
Cancel The Astronauts - Funny For A Girl. Long awaited new release from the first band that ever sent me something to review. Obviously, Bandcamp is the place to go to get the new EP.
Julia and the Doogans - Come Home EP. This came out a few weeks ago, I think I gave it a little mention at the time. Anyway, it is now available from iTunes, eMusic et al, in addition to that bloody Bandcamp.
The A Forest - Polar White. And finally, a new single from The A Forest. Available free, from guess where.

Kid Canaveral don't release Shouting At Wildlife, their debut album, until next week, but if you pre-order it from their website you get a bunch of extra swag that you won't get elsewhere. So, y'know, go do that.
Mitchell Museum are a couple of weeks away from releasing their debut album, The Peters Port Memorial Service, but you can get a pre-order in for that too. The album is released on vinyl, the gatefold sleeve looks very pretty, and you'll get a code to download it too.

I think that covers about everything from the last week or two that should have been mentioned. Plenty of stuff around for you to spend your pocket money on then, and I've had to type Bandcamp more times than is strictly healthy.

This Week's Gigs 28th June - 4th July

There seems to be hardly anything on this week, so as well as being a bit later than usual the gig guide will be pretty short this week too. If you've got a gig on this week that you think I should have mentioned but I haven't then you should have told me, I'm not telepathic.

Folk The System - Julia Doogan, Shambles Miller, Andrew Lindsay, Martin Docherty and Linky Gray. 13th Note, £5.
The 13th Note plays host to a whole bunch of folkers.

Pablo Eskimo, probably some others but I'll be buggered if I can find details. Pivo Pivo.

Elba Sessions Presents - Campfires In Winter, Yusuf Azak and RM Hubbert. The Liquid Ship, free.
The Elba Sessions gigs do always tend to have good line ups, but this one is particularly eye catching. Campfires In Winter played Peenko Vs Aye Tunes for us, and are pals of the blog, so obviously I'm biased there, but they wouldn't have been asked to do our gig if we didn't also like their music. I've not had a proper listen to Yusuf Azak really, but hear lots of encouraging things about him. RM Hubbert is just plain excellent. I saw Hubby on Friday night, playing a gig in an incredibly warm flat, it was tons of fun. All that for the bargain price of free makes this one look very good indeed.

The Last Battle, Meursault (solo), Jonnie Common. The Wee Red Bar, £5.
One for the Edinburgh people, this is the launch gig for The Last Battle's new single, Ruins. The single is out next Monday, but if you go to the launch gig you can pick one up early.

Endor, Over The Wall and Washington Irving. Stereo.
Launch gig for Endor's new album. A good album it is too, I really have to get round to doing a write up on it. Top notch support too.

Ace City Racers. Summer Pool Party, Gourock Outdoor Pool.
I haven't checked, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time that either Gourock or an outdoor pool have featured on Aye Tunes in any way. Anyway, Ace City Racers are playing live, the action kicks off at 6pm, and it is dead cheap.

Kid Canaveral, The Scottish Enlightenment and Come On Gang! plus DJs. The Roxy Room, £5.
It takes something a wee bit special to lure me out of my Glasgow comfort zone to make the road trip to Edinburgh, and this fits the bill. Kid Canaveral are launching their debut album, Shouting At Wildlife, on Saturday. To help they've called in some excellent support acts, and some special guest DJs in the form of Cancel The Astronauts and some guy called Peenko. All of which means I get to make an arse of myself in Edinburgh instead of Glasgow for a nice wee change.
Tickets can be bought in advance at the Kid Canaveral website. While you are there you can pre-order the album, and get all sorts of special extra stuff.

Night Noise Team, Patricia Panther, Digital Dinosaur, 30 Second Wank Line. Box, free.
I've been wanting to see Night Noise Team for a while, so typically they are playing in Glasgow the one time I'm in Edinburgh. If you are in Glasgow in Saturday you should go along though.

It is the first Sunday of the month, that means it is time for Words Per Minute! I'm likely to miss WPM this month, so if some of you can go along in my place for me that would be very nice of you. Performing this month are Simon Sylvester, Jane Flett and Gabriella Bennett, live beatboxing from Bigg Taj, performance poetry from Drew Taylor and his alter ego Markus Makavelian, and a live music from Swimmer One. As usual it takes place at Creation Studios, and all the details and other stuff can be found at the Words Per Minute website.