Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas Songs

I am fully aware that is still November, but if I wait until December to ask about this I'll be too late. Besides, once the Coke advert has been on telly it is fair game.

If you were around here last year (and my visitor stats suggest you probably weren't, so hi! Thanks for joining us this year) you might remember that I ran a wee advert calendar type deal, with a Christmassy song every day of December until Christmas Day.
Well, I want to do it again this December, but I don't want to just re-use everything posted last year, this is where I turn to you lot.

Readers, leave any suggestions down in the comments, ideally something I can post without getting sued, by a Scottish band/artist, with some kind of Christmas type theme.

Bands, anyone fancy donating something? I can set things to stream instead of download if it is something you want to sell instead of letting me give away and if you have it on Bandcamp that'll be even better. If you have something up your sleeve you don't mind sharing send a wee email to and I'll be delighted to include you. Err, just songs though, no links to YouTube of you doing Slade at karaoke, please.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Spotlight: Let's Talk About Trees

After not running any interviews in ages we have two in a week. I'm as surprised as you dear reader.

A while back I received an email from a band called Let's Talk About Trees, asking me to have a listen to a couple of their songs and possibly do a wee something about them for Aye Tunes. I listened to the songs, loved them, then waited around three months to answer the email. I am not a good blogger.
On the eve of the release of their self titled debut album I finally got around to asking Let's Talk About Trees some questions, which they kindly took time out of hand making those albums to answer.

Who are Let's Talk About Trees?

We are Chris McGarry and Kieran Heather - two men from many bands with a particular fondness for the ridiculous.

What do you sound like?

We WANTED to sound like trees, but I suppose Magnetic Fields, Adam Green and the Beta Band is somewhere to start. Bit of Arab Strap as well.

How did the album come about?

Well, we were in the pub (Captain's Rest, to be precise) and were discussing trees for some reason and we'd been recording music just for fun - thought that trees and music might mix. They did! I suppose it was a bet, but no money has passed hands and in any case if we were betting against each other - we both won.

Are making concept albums after a pub bet the future of the music industry then?

I think the way we do things is made easier by having a concept - we're big fans of Brian Eno and he's well into this kind of voodoo. He made that thing Oblique Strategies, didn't he? Heloves concepts. At least I hope he does, I don't know the man and I don't want to make too many assumptions on his part. Anyway, the answer is probably no.

The album launch is coming up soon, what do you have planned for it, or is it a surprise?

I think the surprise is going to be that it actually happened - a lot of our friends are very angry that we're going ahead with it. It's a very cheeky thing to do - make a silly bet in the pub, have a laugh: "hur hur, we're gonna make an album about trees", then show up one day with CDs filled with songs that are actually about trees - people don't expect you to actually do it. When they see the show it'll be the final straw and we will be lynched.

Any plans to talk about more trees in the future, or perhaps other subjects, or is this a one off?

I think the awareness we have raised with this record will suffice. We do genuinely like trees but you'd really have to try to make a career out of it. Instead, we're hopefully going to move on to make a meta-educational album in the spirit of Look Around You (LOOK IT UP!) (Jim: Look Around You is excellent, if you've never seen it you really should try to watch it) - a television series we did not know about until we made the music video for Lumberjack's Lament and somebody commented on it giving reference to the aforementioned television program which I am clearly not going to repeat the name of. It's a pretty marvelous show.

All I can tell you about it is that we will try to break down the taboos of racism, highlight the dangers of (certain) drugs and that there might be a 'bubble moon octopus' involved. The octopus used to be a knight in Malaysia, apparently.

Let's Talk About Trees release their self titled album with a launch gig at Stereo in Glasgow tomorrow night (that's Saturday 20th November). It is a late starter, with doors at 11pm.
You can watch the lovely video for Lumberjack's Lament down below, and to hear an interview with the band and download a couple of session tracks head over to Pop Goes The Revolution.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

French Wives - The Home Fires

I kinda meant to plug this last week, but as is not uncommon with me, I forgot.

Every Monday for the forseeable future* French Wives will be giving away a wee something over on their MySpace. [Insert squeals of fanboyish glee from your French Wives loving writer here] Each download is to be accompanied by a blog and a little video.

The first download is available now, a recording of Your Friends and Mine, taken from the band's first "proper" recording session. Go get it from the French Wives MySpace, and keep checking back in there every Monday for more free songs from a fab wee band.

*Unless you are some kind of soothsayer, or know when the World is going to explode, I suppose.

Monday, 15 November 2010

This Week's Gigs: 16th - 21st November

So very late. That's likely to be a repeating refrain for the next wee while, but this time I have an excuse, as I've had to kiss goodbye to a large slice of my free time to be an underpaid under trained shop monkey for a while. Anyone out there want to employ me? I can count, don't nick stuff, speak in sentences, know lots of useless stuff and deal with customers ranging from pleasant to utter arsehole. I'm from Paisley after all, so I have a lot of experience with the latter types. Anyway, enough about me, on with the gigs.

Slow Club: Lovers Turn To Monsters, Turning Plates. Bloc, free entry.
Gold Panda, Yahweh. King Tut's. (Tickets)

Detour 1st Birthday. Bloc, free entry
Shamefully I've only ever made it along to the very first Detour and now here they are a year on, having a birthday. As usual these days the line up is secret, but it is unlikely to disappoint.

Oh Thursday, you sneaky bugger...

Randolph's Leap, Inspector Tapehead, Blochestra. Captain's Rest, free entry.
Aye Tunes Vs peenko II co-stars launch their new EP, Battleships and Kettle Chips, with a free gig in The Captain's Rest. The EP is the first release by Olive Grove Records, a new label set up by pals of mine. All of which gives me a good reason to dodge actually writing an EP review under conflict of interests grounds, but the EP is very very good nonetheless and available to buy here.
Now for the sneaky bit...
The Scottish Enlightenment bring their debut album St Thomas to Glasgow. The album is an absolute stunner. A bit of a slow burn maybe, but once it gets its hooks in? Oh boy. The album is available here now, and my gig going on Thursday may have to be settled with a coin toss.

Chasing Owls, The Last Battle, Micah Vincent. Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh.
No one has really told me what is happening in Edinburgh this week, so don't blame me for that side of the country being under represented in the gig guide, I'm not a bloody mind reader. This one looks good though.
Ex Libras. Maggie Mays (Tickets)
Londoners Ex Libras are in Glasgow on Friday. Initially didn't quite see what the fuss was over this band, but their most recent EP Cut(s) is a wee bit good, so I may be forced to backpedal.

On Saturday I attempt to do my own multi venue festival thing again, kicking off with Endor and Cancel The Astronauts doing something for Pop Goes The Revolution early on. I think that is technically secret though, so if you want to know more you'll need to ask me, or the bands.
Over The Wall, Kasule. Captain's Rest. (Tickets)
Continuing a pretty flipping good for launches Over The Wall play The Captain's Rest to launch their debut album. I talked a bit about that just the other day, so go here to catch up.
Let's Talk About Trees. Stereo.
Rounding off a busy day and also with their own debut album to launch are Let's Talk About Trees. This is a late kick off, starting around 11pm with the band on about midnight. Hopefully we'll be having a few words with Let's Talk About Trees this week and might be able to tell you a little more about what to expect of the album launch.
I suspect there might be a quite tipsy Jim on the night bus home on Saturday.
Kid Canaveral, The Last Battle. Avalanche, Edinburgh.
Cheeky wee instore gig at the newly reopened Avalanche with a pair of splendid bands.
Oops, forgot this one on the first draft. ANOTHER album launch, this time for The Plimptons. Also a very good album. One day I'll get through the pile and actually review these things instead of just saying they are good. Anyway, in addition to four bands your £6 entry fee will also get you a copy of the album in question, 00s Nostalgia With the Plimptons. Bargain.

It took me well over a year to get round to seeing Kochka play live and since then I seem to have seen them every few weeks. I'm quite happy to make up for lost time, they are a band well worth seeing.
Rachel Sermanni, Luke Cairns. The Captain's Rest
The Riot Before, Mondegreen. The Universal.

And So I Watch You From Afar - Straight Through The Sun

I'd be cheating if I called this a review, because I only have a few words to say about the actual single. Nonetheless it is more than worthy of a mention, so...

Northern Ireland's And So I Watch You From Afar have a new single out, which is available as a free download in return for a Tweet or a Facebook post. Go here to find out how to get Straight Through the Sun. As is to be expected from the band it is a lush little slice of instrumental rock, well worth clicking a wee button on your computer screen for.

The single is also available on 7" vinyl, backed with the B-Side Without A Fuckin' Scratch. If you own a record player you should by this, because that b-side is excellent. Close to six minutes of peaks and troughs, with an almighty ear blistering meltdown that sneaks up on you from nowhere.

The two tracks have made my day a whole lot more bearable, which is as good a recommendation as you can get.

The 7" is available on And So I Want You From Afar's upcoming tour and from the Small Town America website.

And So I Watch You From Afar only have one stop in Scotland on their tour, you can catch them at King Tut's on November 26th, supported by the also loud and lovely Tubelord and Carnivores. You did want tinnitus for Christmas, aye? You can buy tickets for that here.

And So I Watch You From Afar: MySpace