Saturday, 7 August 2010

Gig Preview: No Dancing

Coming up in a couple of weeks is a gig night that has a line up bursting with Aye Tunes favourites, plus a cracking wee poster. This combination means it gets a plug in advance, rather than just in the weekly gig guide.

The gig takes place on Friday 27th August in Stereo, and on the bill are Paws, Deathpodal, RM Hubbert and Adam Stafford. You can read a bit about and have a listen to them all below.

RM Hubbert
Website - Bandcamp

If you'd told me this time last year that one of my favourite albums of 2010 would be something roughly akin to post-rock flamenco I'd have nodded, smiled and backed away slowly, assuming you were insane or on fantastic drugs. I'd have been wrong though, RM Hubbert's First & Last is one that has left a real impression on me this year, as you can see from my review of the album.
Hubbert's live show is a sparse, beautifully melodic soundscape that has the ability to reduce entire venues to silent awe. If you aren't silent there's a good chance you'll get a slap too.

MySpace - Bandcamp

Illness made me miss the last outing for Deathpodal live in Glasgow, something I'm still a bit grumpy about. Exu__Wow, the debut EP released earlier this year gathered a fair selection of praise from all quarters, including me, and deservedly so. On record Deathpodal make an exhilarating multi-layered mix of musical styles; everything from lo-fi punk to intricate post-rock, with noise and grunge sensibilities. I look forward to seeing how the full band do live.

Adam Stafford

Adam Stafford is label boss, film maker, and musician both as frontman of Y'all Is Fantasy Island and solo. Recent single Shot Down You Summer Wannabes is my favourite thing Adam has done, and as it is a free download you could do much worse than check it out. Be sure to check out his recent album of covers Music in the Mirabel, also available for free. Much of Adam's recent output has been created using nothing more than his voice and a couple of loop pedals, making for a remarkable and unique sound, not to mention a riveting performance.

PAWS, at least according to their MySpace, consists of a small red panda cub; a polar bear cub and a grizzly bear cub. Relative newcomers, PAWS have already secured a few high profile supports with the likes of Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti and Dum Dum Girls, and will be heading off on tour with No Age in October, as well as enjoying national airplay and a 6Music Session.
Debut single Violent Vicky Violet - another free download - is a catchy as Hell blast of lo-fi rock with hooks most pop bands would kill for. Also: handclaps. I'm a sucker for handclaps.

No Dancing takes place in Stereo on August 27th, entry is £5.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Introducing: The Vitamin Sees

The Vitamin Sees are from Leicester, but they pass the Scottish test enough for me. Singer Stuart Gray is also in Fence Collective band Viva Stereo, while drummer Mick Harrison was a member of Prolapse alongside "Scottish" Mick Derrick. Besides, quoting influences like Suicide, 13th Floor Elevators and Spacemen 3 makes them ok in my book. Plus, I used to really like Prolapse.

A while back I asked them some questions, they answered, and it has taken me ages to get round to posting. Here's the results.

Who are The Vitamin Sees?
The Vitamin Sees are Mick Harrison, Rob Norbury, Sam Walker and Stuart Gray. We are a 4 piece Leicester band who play psychedelic, shoegaze, kraut rock, noise.

You've all been in bands before, or are still in others, what led to forming a new band?
After moving to Leicester in 2006 I was still pretty active with my 'other' band Viva Stereo, we released our third album in 2009. So up until then I was writing and recording, so I wasn’t really looking for a new band in my new hometown…but at the same time I was making mental notes and really just getting to know people who might be able to help in future. On top of that I had a firm idea of what I wanted the band to sound like and the sort of ethos I wanted, that I wasn’t sure a lot of people would go for. I wouldn’t say I’ve ‘been there and done that’ in the music business but I’ve had my own ups and downs after being in Viva Stereo for ten years. To be honest, the thought of starting from scratch and going through all the crap you have to go through as a new band filled me with fear. I just really wanted people who would be up for getting together, playing some music we enjoyed and maybe playing the odd gig here and there. I didn’t want to have to worry about the usual stuff like making sure we practice every week or playing loads of gigs so our name gets known, or making sure we were playing the type of music was ‘cool’ so would get us noticed. I got talking to Rob at a party in July 2009. I’d known him for a few years through a local band he’d been in, The Dirty Backbeats. The Backbeats had disbanded about 6 months previous and I wasn’t sure if Rob had been doing any musical stuff. It’s safe to say we were both quite wasted and we started talking about doing some music together and I had this idea of trying to start a two piece band in a similar vein to Suicide, just with a drum machine, some heavy guitars and a synth. Really primal and basic. We thought about forming a band, doing a couple of gigs and then splitting up. I’d just been made redundant and Rob was also on the dole so we got together a few weeks later at my house one afternoon and tried out some ideas. It was pretty simple stuff. I had a drum loop programme on the pc which I played through my speakers. Rob played along on guitar and I played some synth. It all sounded pretty good…and it was fun, but maybe not something that would transfer to a live environment and I guess it was pretty self-indulgent.
A couple of weeks later I went see a friend’s band called Ambrose Tompkins in Leicester. They announced that night it was their last gig. I knew their bass player Sam to speak to and fuelled by alcohol I cornered him after the gig and asked if he wanted to join the band. At the same time I was texting Rob to tell him my plans so it was pretty much an on the spot decision! Sam was up for it and we were now a three piece.
The next day I sent Sam an email outlining what we planned to do as a band. He replied, mentioning he knew someone who might be up for drumming with us. I had decided that the drum loop approach might not be as easy as first thought and as Viva Stereo use loops and drum machines I wanted to distance myself from them. So I figured it might be a better idea to get a live drummer. Sam mentioned a guy called Mick Harrison whom Sam had spent a bit of time with at a recent local music festival. Mick had played bass with Prolapse who I had been a fan of so I was instantly interested in finding out if he’d be up for it. However despite his past, I think my main thing was to find out if Mick was a decent bloke. I arranged to meet him one afternoon for a pint. I met him in a local boozer and we got on straight away so the band was born.

Do you find it helpful that, without wanting to sound unkind, some of you have already been around the block a bit with bands?
Stuart: In helps in so much that theres certain aspects we don't really want to go through again. Mainly getting to the point where its boring or precious or even other people getting involved to try and take us somewhere we don't want to go. Mick especially had some amazing times in Prolapse but by the sound of things they nearly ended up killing each other in the end. Viva Stereo are still going but we really just exist as a recording band. I think The Vitamin Sees is a bit of a release for us all...our current favourite song is a 10 minute kraut rock jam that we are building up the courage to play live..I watch old footage of Can and it looks ace..but I'm just not sure how well that sort of thing would go down at the local venue! So we take things at our own pace and do what we want really.Theres that old shite expression about 'doing what we do and if anyone else likes it its a bonus' but it really does resonate with us!

How would you describe the music you make, and how are The Vitamin Sees different from the previous bands you have all been part of?
We all listen to different stuff but all have common bands we like and probably influence us. We’re all fans of pretty dark guitar music, bit of kraut-rock, psychedelia, drones, shoegaze, that sort of thing. I guess that’s where we are coming from musically.
Its inevitable to be compared to our respective pasts, but well, for a start, Mick is on drums in The Vitamin Sees and not bass like he was in Prolapse so it’s a new environment for him. Obviously with me being Scottish I guess some people might be really lazy and compare us to Prolapse in that respect even though we sound nothing like them. I guess we both have abit of a Kraut rock influence but they were alot more punkier than us with it.
 I sing with Viva Stereo as well so it’s going to sound similar in places, but I think the music is different enough to tell each band apart. Although in saying that Viva Stereo are starting to sound more like a live band again these days after a few years where it was quite electroinic sounding! I can't speak for Mick with Prolapse but obviously they were a band he did full time and they were pretty much touring a lot with a record deal and the pressures that brings etc We differ from Viva Stereo mainly because we all live in the same city!

You only played your first gig in April, how did it go, and and there more planned?
Our first gig went really well..typical first gig really, all your mates turn up, you are pumped with nervous energy and it seems to go ok because you have no reference point. There were a few mistakes but it was a good night. We played our second gig in June and it wasn't really the best. One of the hottest days of the year added with a free local festival on nearby that we'd all been drinking at before we'd even soundchecked. I think it was a good thing because our debut gig had been pretty good but some of the songs probably were rushed through for it. We had decided when we started that we'd only gig when we were ready. But after a couple of months we needed direction and booked a gig for something to aim for. We didn't have a full set so I guess we just rushed some songs through to fill up time. Maybe the excitment of actually playing a gig took over us. Anyway by the second gig, which was, like I said a bit rough, we realised some of the songs weren't that great so they were axed. We decided not to book any gigs for a while until we sorted our set out..which we've been doing at the moment. We are booked to play in August at a festival in Leicester than I'm putting on with some friends called Lose Your Cool  so looking forward to that. (That festival takes place in Leicester from August 27th till the 29th, visit Lose Your Cool for details)

What can we expect to see/hear from you in 2010? Any chance we'll see the band up in Scotland any time?
We're hoping to get back into the studio later in the year and record some more stuff. The tunes on our myspace are really just rough demo's too so we'd like to get them properly mixed and make them sound a bit fuller. Plus a couple of other tunes we really want to record. I definitely want to get upto to Scotland for some gigs as I've still got a lot of mates up there ad its always a good laugh, so any promoters out there give us a shout!
The Vitamin Sees: MySpace - Facebook

Born To Be Wide at The Edinburgh Festival

Forgot to mention this one in the gig guide at the weekend, so here's a little reminder of it now.
I've still not managed to get to one of Born To Be Wide's things, but I've heard nothing but good things about them.

Born To Be Wide’s special Edinburgh Festival party, Thurs 5th August, 8pm at Electric Circus

The latest Born To Be Wide event takes place this Thursday at The Electric Circus, with a Festival theme. Bands who will be appearing at the various musical events throughout the Edinburgh Festival - namely Fueldiva, Steve Heron, Carrie Mac, Haftor Medboe, Hidden Orchestra, Holden, Meursault, Emily Scott, Stanley Odd and Enfant Bastard - will be playing short ten minute taster sets, joined by DJs selecting their four favourite songs by Edinburgh bands.

For more details visit MySpace, or Facebook. Tell the team your favourite four songs by Edinburgh artists on Facebook and you'll even get free entry on Thursday!

Sunday, 1 August 2010

This Week's Gigs 2nd - 8th August

Hello everyone, did you miss me while I was on holiday? Did you even notice I was gone?
Well I'm back now, so it should be business as usual again this week. If anyone pops up with a comment that it is hard to tell business as usual from a holiday I'll be most upset with you.

Now, time for our regular gig guide. For some reason there's a weird split this week, the first half of the week is all Glasgow, but by the end of the week the interesting stuff is all in Edinburgh.

Spangled Cabaret, featuring Bert Finkle & Markee De Saw, Hal Duncan, Jane Faye, Aidan McEoin, Scunner, Glasgow Glam Bangers, Creative Martyrs and more. The Rio Cafe, Partick. Free.

Calvin Johnson, Muscles of Joy. Hyndland Community Hall. £6 (Tickets)
The Ghosties. MacSorley's. Free.


Futuristic Retro Champions, Hidden Masters, Martin Creed, Kings of Macumba, Eugene Kelly. Mono. (Tickets)
Launch gig for the new FRC single May The Forth/Settle Down. They've assembled quite the line up for the launch, haven't they?
Sugar Crisis, Park Circus, DeLarge. Classic Grand.
Dananananaykroyd, RM Hubbert. Nice N Sleazy.
You might want to get down early for this, I imagine it'll be a busy one.
Elba Sessions Presents... Lovers Turn To Monsters, Stephen Cotter, Jennifer Andrew. The Liquid Ship. Free.

Haftor Medb√łe Group. Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh.
If I could afford it I'd be very tempted to do the wee road trip for this. Joining the group will be Anneke Kampman and Eva Malling.

Trapped Mice, The Dark Jokes, Little Egypt. Henry's Cellar Bar, Edinburgh.

Machar Granite. Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh.

Indian Summer Returns?

Back in September of 2006 and July of 2007 Victoria Park in Glasgow was the host of the Indian Summer music festival.
Attracting names like The Fall, Hot Chip and Yeah Yeah Yeahs the first year was, and still is, highly regarded by those in attendance, and was succesful enough to return for a second year. 2007 saw the festival repositioned to July in the calender, Scottish Septembers aren't ideal for an outdoor event after all, and had The Flaming Lips, Wilco and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on the bill. Anecdotal tales say that the second year didn't do so well in terms of ticket sales, possibly due to the first Connect Festival taking place that year, on the first weekend of September that Indian Summer had previously been on.

And that was that. The festival didn't return in 2008, or 2009.

Will it be back in 2010?
Short answer - no idea.
Slightly longer answer based on guesswork, and what passes for investigative journalism from me - it might be.

Two bands currently have Indian Summer Festival - Glasgow, September 4th listed on their upcoming gigs section of MySpace. Swedish band Dag for Dag have it down as their only upcoming UK date, while Zola Jesus are listed as playing Indian Summer before a trip to Edinburgh the next day, then returning to Glasgow on the 6th. Neither band have a link to buy tickets.

The Forte Music Distribution Facebook page lists upcoming tour dates for The Fresh & Onlys, including Indian Summer on September 4th.

Two hours of searching every phrase I can think of hasn't thrown up any more bands with it listed as an upcoming gig.

Update: The Pop Cop pointed me here, which lists The Ruby Suns as playing too. No mention of it on their MySpace though.

The Indian Summer MySpace hasn't been updated since 2007. In fact, it advises signing up to the mailing list on to be the first to learn about Indian Summer 2008. The domain name is still valid and registered, it just doesn't go anywhere.
Tickets Scotland and TicketWeb both draw a blank on tickets, and Gigs in Scotland is no help either.

Since it is now August and there's no sign of any promotion for an event a month away, and there seems to only be three bands that think they are playing, I'll put it down to a wire being crossed somewhere rather than the return of the festival. Of course I could wake up to a full page advert in the Sunday Mail in the morning...
If however anyone knows anything different, give me a shout eh?