Saturday, 8 January 2011

The Seventeenth Century (Part One)

Haven't done a review in ages. Let's make the first one of the year a band which I can be accused of bias towards on several levels then, shall we?

On second thoughts... I can't write an impartial review of The Seventeenth Century, really. I've long been a fan of the band, and that fact along with the similar feelings of good old Peenko meant that we somehow managed to talk them into bringing down the curtain on the first run of Aye Tunes Vs Peenko gigs back in November, a task they achieved in some style, leaving us with massive grins on our faces.

The Seventeenth Century finally release something this Monday, January 10th, after ages of me having to dig around for random mp3s , radio sessions and live recordings on the internet.
The Seventeenth Century (Part One) EP is released by Electra French Records (strike two for my impartiality) on limited edition - and pretty, I've already got one - 10" vinyl, with a free download included.

The EP really is excellent though, drawing together live favourites Young Francis, Roses In The Park and Countryside along with the short instrumental Amongst Other Things. If you haven't had a chance to hear the band before the EP serves as a perfect introduction, the only problem might be that you'll be like me, and want more. If so, then make a note that The Seventeenth Century (Part Two) is promised to follow in April, and I can barely wait already.

To celebrate the release The Seventeenth Century play The Captain's Rest on Tuesday night, with support from former De Rosa man Martin John Henry.

You can order the EP online here.

The Seventeenth Century: Website - MySpace - Facebook

COMPETITION: Win tickets to Penguins Kill Polar Bears - Carnivores - .Scores - Flood of Red

As part of the New Year's Revolution series of gigs King Tut's plays host to Aye Tunes favourites Penguins Kill Polar Bears and Carnivores, along with .Scores and Flood of Red on Wednesday.

We have a pair of tickets to give away, courtesy of Penguins Kill Polar Bears, so you get a question roughly related to them.

To have a chance of winning, email the answer to this simple question (if you find it difficult, Google is your friend) to
Question: Penguins don't really kill polar bears, why?

Competition closed, winner picked! The correct answer is that penguins and polar bears live in different hemispheres, so they don't bump in to each other often. I know, children's books lied to me about them hanging out together too.

Aye Tunes Presents - Free Download - Ticket Info

Just under two weeks to go until this, the first gig I've put on myself since I was about 18, so time to start gentle nudging you, my dear readers, into coming along. Give it another week or so and nudging will turn into begging, no doubt.

The gig takes place on Friday, January 21st in Stereo Cafe Bar, with doors opening at 7pm.

Playing on the night, and giving us an animal theme, are Boygirlanimalcolour, Kochka and Trapped Mice. Three bands I love and three bands that deserve to be heard.

Boygirlanimalcolour are an energetic bunch of youngsters hailing from Whitburn - so pretty much the polar opposites of my old, lazy self - with a fine line in infectious punky power pop. Perfect to get the head and feet moving on a Friday night.

Kochka are a band who I've long admired who after being quiet for a while started to kick it up a gear towards the end of 2011. They've been working on their debut album recently, so get yourself along to see them for a taster of what you can expect from that. Kochka describe themselves as "fucking art rock weirdness" and who am I to argue? Also, their cat related name, and song Black Cat, endeared them to The Tidal Wave of Indifference, who said "[Kochka] may well be the feline-loving Tidal Wave of Indifference’s favourite band of all time, just edging out Pussy Galore" which is good enough for me.

Trapped Mice hail from Edinburgh, and I think this is their first Glasgow gig. The fools, trusting me with their d├ębut. Unusually I've asked Trapped Mice to play without having ever seen them live for myself, so I'm every bit as curious about what they have up their sleeves as everyone else is. Trapped Mice have a quite folky influence, but don't be fooled, they are more than comfortable with bringing the noise too.

All the bands offer something a bit different from each other. Not so much that your head will spin in confusion, but certainly enough that you won't get bored by hearing the same style of song from every band playing.

To help with the "being heard" aspect in the run up to the gig I've put together a free three song sampler, which you can listen to down at the bottom of this post and download from Bandcamp.

Tickets are now on sale too. £3 in advance will get you a little something made by my own fair hand. Paying on the door will cost you a wee bit more, £5, so if you are a fan of saving some of that money for a beer go buy yourself tickets here.

Facebook users can find an event page here, while users have one here, let us know if you are coming!

Beyond Scotland - On Volcano

I get as many emails about bands from outside Scotland as I do ones hailing from our wee country, which more often than not tend to get ignored as far as the blog goes. Some fairly, some a bit harshly.
Without losing focus on what I'm here for - Aye Tunes does sort of have a point, and that is dealing with bands in or from Scotland - one of the things I'd like to do this year is pay a bit more attention to some of the bands that get in touch with me, even if just quickly.

First up is On Volcano. The email they sent me was pretty much the exact opposite of the best way to get my attention, since it simply told me that On Volcano are from Tampere, Finland and gave a one line summing up of their sound. Short and to the point, I'll give them that.

They describe themselves as "embracing modern indie-pop with shoegaze and post-rock", which regardless of country of origin appeals to my tastes enough that they were worth a quick listen. What do you know, their new EP is actually pretty swell. That short, one line description does a pretty good job of summing up how it sounds too.

I say new, but New Blood came out way back in November of last year, but I'm only just hearing it now (which may get me kicked, since it was featured by our pals at Ride The Tempo, but I missed it...) and is available as a free download from the On Volcano website. Hop on over there to get it, or listen & download below.

On Volcano: Website - Facebook - MySpace

Monday, 3 January 2011

This Week's Gigs: 3rd - 9th January

Ooh look, it is the return of the gig guide. However did you survive last week without it?
What's that? You managed just fine? Suit yourself then...

The first few weeks of January are likely to be dominated by King Tut's New Year's Revolution gigs. Kicking off tonight and running every night until mid January, this is a follow up to the Summer Nights thing they had back in, funnily enough, the summer. I'll be picking and choosing what ones to stick in the gig guide, but on most nights there's at least one band on that I quite like.
If you plan on going to a lot of them then a Golden Ticket which provides entry to every gig might be worth buying, you can get those here.

If you get down to Tut's for 7pm you can also catch Blochestra playing in the bar for free.


Monsters on Movie Posters. BOX. Free entry.
Ooh look, a gig that isn't at King Tut's! There will probably be other bands playing, but I don't know who.

Probably the pick of the New Year's Revolution bunch for me.

F. U. January - Colour Cells, Phlox, Sleepy Eyes Nelson, Homesick Aldo. Pivo Pivo.
A little something put together by Traffic Cone Records.

When Skies Fell played their debut Glasgow show towards the end of last year it was a pretty impressive affair, so they have a lot to live up to for this gig. Somehow I don't think they'll disappoint.

Spotlight: Loch Awe

Time to get back to the business of blogging, I suppose. Christmas holidays from the blog lasted a wee bit longer than expected, but I'm sure you didn't miss me that much.

Anyway, since it is New Year, we better have a first foot. Enter then Loch Awe's Matthew Healy to tell us a bit about the band.

Who are Loch Awe?

Loch Awe are Jack, Joy, Oliver, Daniel and Matthew; four Edinburgh University students, and one college student, who started a band as a form of procrastination.

What do you sound like?

Imagine the worst band you've ever heard, ever. Good, now that your expectations are suitably lowered, go have a listen to us, and we should definitely sound better than you thought we would.

How did you all get together, and what made you stay together?

Jack and I (Matthew) recorded a few songs together back when I still played solo under the (now-dead) moniker We, the Plural. We asked Joy to sing on a few of the tracks, and Oli to drum and liked the sounds so much we decided to 'make it official'. More recently we added Dan on bass to fatten the sound out nicely.

Debut EP was written and recorded in just two weeks, was the short timescale intentional, or did it just work out that way?

It started out more as a joke than anything. After finishing up 'Lullaby for a Digital Sea' (the first song we recorded) in one afternoon I said to Jack "if we keep going at this rate we'll have an album in two weeks". And lo and behold, we did.

Loch Awe are more popular on Facebook than Keith Chegwin, and the album is amongst the most popular for things tagged Scotland and Edinburgh on Bandcamp. Happy with how things are going then?

Very happy! And, to be honest, surprised. We did the record on my laptop and, as you mentioned, to a very tight deadline, so for so many people to have downloaded it is absoltely fantastic. The Keith Chegwin thing is probably the best part, though.

What or who do you have in your sights to become more popular than next?

Konnie Huq, everybody's favourite ex Blue Peter presenter, only has 434 fans so I think we've got a pretty good shot at being more popular than her within the next few months.

Since we've stumbled into a new year let's go all "year in review" style and ask, although the band was only been around for about half of 2010 what have been Loch Awe's highlights?

Certainly our first (and, until March, only) gig is up there. Reading the reactions to the album so far has been a bit special, too. I think I'll be a bit soppy though, and say the real highlight is the amount of fun we've had hanging out, writing and playing music together

And any moments you'd rather forget about?

Not really, but I guess they've got to come eventually. Maybe we can have a wee update this time next year and I'm certain there'll be something embarassing to go here.

Any other bands around at the moment you'd recommend?

A list of our band-friends: Andrew Lindsay, Reverie, Shambles Miller, So Many Animal Calls. Ooh, alphabetical! (Also, apologies if I missed anyone...)

Any you'd avoid like the plague?

Kings of Leon. I don't know what it is, as there's nothing particularly offensive about their music, but I just get very angry when I hear it...

What do you have planned for the next few months?

We're recording a few demos for our second album within the first week of the new year, and we're doing them IN A STUDIO! We're awfully excited about that. That aside, however, we've got a show with Trapped Mice at Wee Red Bar in Edinburgh on March 5th that I think should be rather good, and we're supporting Andrew Lindsay at his EP launch, although we don't have a date for that yet.

Finally, quirky interview questions, fun and harmless, or generally a bit of a waste of time?

It depends if the interviewee gives interesting answers. Ultimately it's for the reader to decide, though, isn't it?

Thanks Matthew for being the first person through the Aye Tunes door this year. If we have an awful 2011 we know who to blame.
Loch Awe's Artificial Life from a Digital Sea was one of our favourite releases last year. If you haven't heard it yet go and get your ears round it. You can listen below and download it for free here.

Loch Awe: Facebook - Bandcamp - Twitter