Saturday, 18 December 2010

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Eighteen - Cancel The Astronauts

Time for our second Christmas song of the day.

All being well as this is posted I'll be getting myself ready to head off to that scary Edinburgh place to see this band playing at Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles gig. In a few hours I'll probably be really quite drunk and attempt to hug at least one member of each band. Apologies in advance then folks.

We had this song last year, but I like it and I like Cancel The Astronauts, so here it is again.

Also, I caught up with the band a few weeks ago when they recorded a session for Pop Goes The Revolution and am happy to report that the fame of having Funny For a Girl used as the theme tune for woodenly acted drama series Being Victor hasn't changed them, and Matthew's Christian Slater anecdote is still a winner.
You can hear that session in full, along with ones from Endor, White Heath and Tango In the Attic here and download a few tracks here.

Cancel The Astronauts: Blog - MySpace - Facebook - Bandcamp

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Eighteen - Dirty Keys

Only a week to go till Christmas! Hope everyone is still enjoying the tunes and has bought all their presents and stuff. No, no, don't tell me what you got for me, make it a surprise.

It is Saturday and I've just about got myself organised in advance again, so two posts today, this one then another at lunchtime.

Our first Christmas offering of the day comes from Dirty Keys. As far as I can remember I was introduced to this band with a line something like "are you ready for some piano led pop/rock?" a question to which my Ben Folds album replied "we most certainly are". Since reviews pretty much fell by the wayside in recent months this is the first time I've managed to squeeze them in on the blog. What can I say? I'm generally a bit rubbish.

As a wee bonus you can also here a demo version of the song and download that too, thanks to Kowalskiy and his monthly free EPs.

Dirty Keys play at The Captain's Rest on Monday, December 20th.

Dirty Keys: Facebook - MySpace - Soundcloud

Friday, 17 December 2010

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Seventeen - Mark McCabe

I'm desperately trying to catch up with myself and my emails today, as well as getting a few posts prepared for next week to cover me through this weekend of many gigs and probably many pints, so I'll keep the chatter to a minimum today.

Two songs today, an original and a cover, from Aberdeen born and Paris residing Mark McCabe.
Both very nice too.

You can find more from Mark McCabe over on Bandcamp.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Sixteen - Otherpeople

Yes, I know, today's Christmas song is very late indeed.
This can be blamed on a number of things: I've ran out of pre-written & scheduled posts, I was out at a gig last night and got home too pished to prepare a post and I was at work all day today. Quite yer grumping and just enjoy the music.

Since the post is late I'm picking something at random. Since it is fresh and new, just put online today, the random selection is otherpeople's festive offering 2 Zero Double 1. Listen & download before.

Otherpeople play Bloc in Glasgow tomorrow (Friday) night, along with Hey Enemy and United Fruit.

Otherpeople: Facebook

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Fifteen - Aidan Moffat & Malcolm Middleton

Day fifteen, doesn't time fly? Only nine more days to go after this - duh - so if you have a Christmas song up your sleeve that you are longing to have included you'd better get a move on.

Today is another three for the price of one day. Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton should need no introductions by now, either individually or as Arab Strap.
One song from each then and one from Arab Strap.

I wrote a bit about this particular song the other day when we had Now Wakes The Sea performing it, so if you want to read me over analyse a cover version you can find that here. This version was recorded for a radio session and features the lovely Lauren Laverne on backing vocals.

From Malcolm we have a live version of Burst Noel, taken from the Long, Dark Night half of his rather excellent double live album that came out recently.

Rounding things off we have Aidan Moffat & The Best-Ofs.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Fourteen - Esperi

Today's song is just lovely.

Snowman comes from the new Esperi single which came out on Monday. It is, basically, three and a bit minutes of pure, sweet bliss.

The other song on the double A side single, Made For Life, is also pretty darn ace, so the whole package is worth a little bit of your money.
You can get the single from all good downloady places, or buy a very limited CD - in a swanky homemade Snowman sleeve no less - over here.

If you like your music with moving pictures you are in luck too, there's a video for the track.

Esperi plays at Petite Noël in Dundee on December 15th, and at the Olive Grove Records Christmas Party at The 13th Note on December 22nd.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Our Favourite Albums of 2010: The Final Three

Numbers 10 to 4 were published yesterday here, along with a few albums that flirted with being in the Top Ten but were eventually left out before I drove myself crazy. The Top Three were notable by their absence. There's a reason for that, other than me wanting to drag things out an extra day.

That reason? I can't decide. Three albums have stood out for me since each of them were released as favourites of the year and it has gotten to the point where I can't put them in order of 1-2-3, so I'm cheating. Or copping out, if you prefer.
It is a three way draw for favourite album. In joint first place, sharing the trophy (there isn't really a trophy, not yet anyway) are...

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Thirteen - Lovers Turn To Monsters

Sometimes good things happen when I'm half joking.
The other week Kyle from Lovers Turns To Monsters mentioned he was recording a Christmassy EP and asked for suggestions for something to cover. I suggested East 17's Stay Another Day, partly because I'd heard it several times at work that day, partly expecting to be told to shove it, but mostly seriously because I thought it could actually work well.
Much to my surprise I wasn't told where I could put my suggestion. I was right, it does work well.
Stay Another Day is below to listen to and download, but please go and get the whole Attack of the Deranged Killer Mutant Snow Goons from Bandcamp here. It has a Calvin & Hobbes title and is a free download, two more fine reasons to check it out.

Lovers Turn To Monsters: MySpace - Bandcamp

Kyle of Lovers Turns To Monsters also plays in Boygirlanimalcolour. I've mentioned they have a gig with me coming up in January, yes?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Our Favourite Albums of 2010: #10 - 4

Five million drafts of lists later I'm forcing myself to publish this before I can change my mind again.
Favourite albums doesn't have the same ring to it as best I know, but makes me feel a bit more comfortable.
The Top Three will follow tomorrow. There's a reason why they are straggling which you'll find out then. In the meantime feel free to guess what they are based on what is missing.
Come back later in the week for a run down of some of my favourite singles and EPs, and another of my favourite songs.

#10: The Unwinding Hours - The Unwinding Hours (Review)

#9: Lamplighter - All Is Vanity (Review)

#8: Admiral Fallow - Boots Met My Face (Listen)

#7: Over The Wall - Treacherous

#6: The Phantom Band - The Wants

#5: Mammoeth - Nascent (Review)

#4: RM Hubbert - First & Last

All fine, fine albums.
Bubbling Under:
As the five million drafts suggest the list could, and has, change at any given time, so in addition to the top ten here's a few that are well worth investigating too, but didn't quite make the cut. I could have extended the list to twenty, but I don't know the difference between my 13th favourite and my 20th favourite, so in no particular order, with handy links to listen to most of them...
Woodenbox With A Fistful of Fivers - Home and the Wild Hunt

These two came just a little too late in the year. Both excellent albums that if I'd had a chance to spend a little more time with would certainly have fought their way into the top ten.

This Week's Gigs: 13th - 19th December

Oh God, it's the week from Hell.
Between bad weather and general poorness I've had a couple of weeks off from going to gigs, looking at everything that is on this week it is probably just as well. I can feel the onset of liver failure just writing this up.
Fun fact: 5 of the 9 bands who have played an AVP gig have a gig this week. Well I thought it was interesting...

Bronto Skylift, Lady North, LightGuides & Departures. Glasgow School of Art. Free entry.
Well, that's a Hell of a way to kick off the week.

There's a VERY tasty gig on in Bloc on Tuesday, but I think it is technically meant to be a secret, so to avoid getting a kicking from anyone I won't list it, you'll just have to go on word of mouth. If you like girls named Rachel, warm coats and scared animals it'll be a good one for you.
Another good looking line up this one, carrying on the theme of "a million and one gigs I want to go to" this week.

Launch event for "The Outsider-Short Stories 2005-2010" by Mark Buckland. The night kicks off at 7pm with free entry and features readings from Allan Wilson, Anneliese Mackintosh, Craig Lamont and Cameron Steel, plus music from Burnt Island. The Outsider is limited to 150 signed and numbered copies, which will be on sale on the night.
The Yummy Fur, Nico's Bike, Astral Planes. Stereo. (Tickets)
Apparently one of The Yummy Fur's last ever gigs. How much you believe that depends on your cynicism levels.
A threesome of bands we love.

Another cracking looking gig - with another Aye Tunes Vs Peenko band - made even more tempting by Night Noise Team playing downstairs in the bar from 7pm.
Jocasta Sleeps. Bloc, free entry.
I think is is possibly meant to be secret too, but they put it on Facebook, so I'm listing it. Jocasta Sleeps reform for one night only for a special gig.
Song, by Toad Christmas Party. Queen Charlotte Rooms, Leith. (Tickets)
If I could, I would. If you are planning on going you'll probably want to buy a ticket in advance.

Shambles Miller. The Liquid Ship, free entry.
Happy Particles, RM Hubbert, No Comet. The Captain's Rest.

Ten Tracks Presents... Stereo.
More details, including a two for one ticket offer, here.
So Many Animal Calls. BOX, free entry.
Stars In Their Eyes Christmas Special. Pilrig St Pauls, Edinburgh. (Tickets)
Another Edinburgh Christmas party, this time masterminded by eagleowl. Again, you'll want to buy a ticket if you plan on going.

Kid Canaveral's Christmas Baubles. The Lot, Edinburgh.
Rounding off the Christmas parties in Edinburgh are Kid Canaveral, with an all day extravaganza. Kicking off at 2pm - oh my this is going to get messy - the day will have sets from Kid Canaveral (obviously), ballboy, a solo set from King Creosote, The Last Battle, Gummi Bako, Cancel The Astronauts and Come on Gang! which all adds up to a superb sounding day. If you don't have a ticket nae luck, it is sold out.
This will be only the second time I've ventured through to Edinburgh for a gig this year, both times for Kid Canaveral. They had their album launch at The Roxy which then closed. This is at The Lot which has announced it will be closing soon. Maybe I should avoid Edinburgh, the venues don't seem to like me.

So after all that can we have a nice quiet, relaxing Sunday? No, no we cannot.
Luz Da Lua, Aviators, Mano Neto. The Forest Cafe, Edinburgh.
Likely to be brilliant.
Almost certain to be brilliant. Live sets from the wonderful Mitchell Museum and The Seventeenth Century, plus superstar DJs.
Anyone fancy buying me a ticket for this? I think I'm skint...

Advent Calendar 2010 - Day Twelve - Paul Vickers Special

Today we have a triple threat of the weird and, hopefully, wonderful. We also have a real rarity - a song that I genuinely hate, but enjoy in this form.

All three songs today feature in one way or another Paul Vickers, as should have been obvious from the title.

Paul Vickers is best known to me as one of Dawn of the Replicants. I was really into them about ten years ago, before losing track of them somewhat. They were a great band, impossible to categorise, and we'll have them down at the end.

Recording The Impossible describe them self as being "inspired by the likes of Ivor Cutler, the Jerky Boys, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Chris Morris and Tom Waits", so you should probably be able to tell you won't be in for something dull and mundane really. Today's Christmas song of choice is there, well, unique, take on good old Silent Night.

Paul Vickers and The Leg are as difficult to describe as Dawn of the Replicants, so I'll cop out by not even trying.
I was sure I'd never heard this song in my life until a couple of years ago, when an American friend included it on a mixtape for me. It's been around for way over 50 years, originally performed by Gayla Peevey. Apparently my brother used to sing it to me when I was young, a memory I'd clearly suppressed.

Finally, Dawn of the Replicants. Round about the time of their debut album One Head, Two Arms, Two Legs. Also, fun fact, I used to talk a bit with co-founder Roger Simian in, of all places, a 2000AD newsgroup, many years ago.
As for the song... Well, this is a song which actually had the ability to make me violent. Years of working in retail, and therefore years of hearing it about a dozen times a day for all of November and December, will do that to you. Oddly enough, all other Christmas songs I'm fine with, even though I've similarly heard them a million times, it's just this one that makes me want to punch people in the throat. Sorry Macca fans, but the song makes The Frog Chorus sound like a work of genius.
Fortunately, the Dawn of the Replicants version doesn't make me want to punch folk. Though it can't quite redeem the song entirely it does make it enjoyable, or at least tolerable.