Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Buy Expensive Plastic, You Capitalist Pigs! (Or: Record Store Day 2012)

Hey, look, I'm alive! Surprised? I am.

Record Store Day is coming up this Saturday, so I figured I should make some attempt at doing something here, even though I am Scotland's laziest music blogger. Me and RSD don't really get on that much, in part because I don't buy much vinyl, and in part because I call shops shops, not stores. For a more enthusiastic bit about record shops hop over to our pals at Echoes and Dust.
One good thing about Record Store Day is that you can always catch some bands playing for free though. Yes, I'm missing the point, no, I don't really care.

In Edinburgh there's in store activity at Avalanche Records, and VoxBox Music.

Avalanche have:
Withered Hand (2pm)
Gordon McIntyre (Ballboy) (3pm)
Ryan Hannigan (Star Wheel Press) masterclass on how to make album covers
Afterwards the shop is teaming up with The Tidal Wave of Indifference for a gig at The Electric Circus from 7pm, with Star Wheel Press, The Last Battle and Emily Scott.

Over at VoxBox, the line-up is:
PAWS (3pm)
Neil Pennycook (Meursault) (4pm)

Through in Glasgow everyone is getting in on the act.

Insularis Records are bringing their pop up shop to Nice & Sleazy from 12pm, with the following live acts promised:
Call To Mind (2pm)
Any Color Black (3pm)
Withered Hand (5pm)
They'll also be having a raffle for some rarities, including one of the last remaining FOUND chocolate 7" singles, and hint that there'll be some surprises too.
Following their takeover upstairs, Insularis are also hosting a gig downstairs at Sleazy's, with Holy Mountain, What the Blood Revealed, and Adam Stafford, which frankly sounds brilliant.
Here's some Holy Mountain.

Love Music have:

Dolalay (1.30pm)
Cathode Ray (2pm)
White Heath (2.30pm)
French Wives (3pm)
Woodenbox (4pm)
The Murderburgers (4.30pm)
Admiral Fallow (5pm)

Down at Monorail you can catch this lot:

Organs Of Love (4pm)
Gerard Love DJ set (4.30pm)
Human Don’t Be Angry (5.30pm)
Stuart Braithwaite DJ set (6pm)
Snowgoose (7pm)
The Brogues DJ set (7.30pm),
Linden, Edwyn Collins & Dead Flamingos (8.30pm)

As always there's a whole pile of Record Store Day exclusive product available on the day too. Get along to the shops early for those limited edition over priced records from the major labels kids! Or buy them from scalpers on eBay later.
I've dug through the full list to find some RSD exclusive from Scots (and Garbage), so I can carry on pretending to be a Scottish music blog for a little longer.

  • Admiral Fallow: Boots Met My Face LP
  • Belle & Sebastian: Crash 7"
  • Django Django: Storm 7"
  • Edwyn Collins: Tape Box 6x7" box set
  • Emeli Sande: Heaven 12"
  • Garbage: Blood For Poppies/Battle In Me 7"
  • Human Don't Be Angry: Human Don't Be Angry LP
  • Mull Historical Society: Must You Get Low 7"
  • The Wicker Man OST: Willow's Song/Gently Johnny 7"
  • Snowgoose: Harmony Springs LP
  • Twin Atlantic: Make a Beast of Myself 7" picture disc
  • Various Artists (inc. Simple Minds): The Breakfast Club OST LP
  • Finally, and not on the list, Cath Records have a pair of releases, a tape from Bronto Skylift and Sean Armstrong cassette/DVD. No idea where they'll be on sale right enough, but if you keep an eye on their Facebook I'm sure they'll tell us.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Track By Track: Black International - In Debt

One of my favourite albums of last year, Black International's In Debt, has been picked up by Spiralchords Records, and was re-released on Friday. For those that missed it first time round here's a repeat from last year, when Black International's Stewart Allen shared some behinds the scenes secrets about the songs on the album.

Thanks to the magic of Bandcamp embeds you can listen to the whole album as you read. If you like it, buy it. Now, read on to learn about the mysteries of the Brazilian Trilogy, and other things.

A Million Mouths
This song probably had the longest gestation period of anything we’ve written, as I was terrified that I couldn't think of any lyrics for it, and always felt ill whenever I contemplated doing them. I think we started rehearsing this in 2008 before temporarily abandoning it, but the general chord sequence may have been kicking around for two or three years before that. We finished it a week before recording started. Nail biting, etc.

I can’t remember much about the process of writing this one, but the basic structure was finished before I took it to the rest of the band, which is quite unusual for us these days. Believe it or not, we had a sort of Sly & the Family Stone thing in mind when we were arranging it, which I think shows in the rhythm section. Imagine there are trumpets and grunts on it and you’ll see what I mean.

Dread (Excerpt)
The ‘excerpt’ in the title refers to the introduction, which was originally a complete song but wasn't very good, so we binned most of it and bolted it onto another song. The first of what I’ll call the Brazilian Trilogy, as it was written on a little Spanish classical guitar I got from a charity shop while I sat around trying to copy Jorge Ben.

The lyric idea owes a little bit to McCarthy’s Charles Windsor, but doesn’t have quite the same level of joyous nose thumbing. I’d say it was supposed to be ‘darkly comic’, if I were a bit more of a twat.

Word Virus
Imagine my disappointment upon finding out that the title was subconsciously pinched from a William Burroughs book. I thought I’d struck gold, but alas, he’d beaten me to it. Still, at least it was Burroughs and not Enid fucking Blyton.

This one was written extremely quickly in rehearsal, and I finished off the lyrics at work the next day when I was supposed to be doing some dull task or other. If my former boss is reading (doubtful), I’m sure he’ll be pleased.

Know You Exist
Originally this had the somewhat childish working title of ‘Sonic Urethra’ when I first started it, as it sounded a bit like… actually, do I even have to explain that? It doesn't sound like Sonic Youth anymore. Musically it was very much a collaborative effort, if it’d been left up to me it would have been a shapeless twenty-minute drone. Luckily Craig has a good ear for structuring stuff.

I can’t say for sure, but the “Here’s your hair shirt, son” line was probably cribbed from the title of a Birthday Party song, called (strangely enough) The Hair Shirt. I was in a bit of an odd place when I wrote these lyrics, but it’s ALL FUCKING FINE NOW OK?

Does what it says in the title. We just fancied having a bit of breathing space and dividing the album in two, so did this one evening near the end of mixing. I could give a proper in-depth description of how it was made, but nobody wants to read that shit.

The City Is Dead
This song dates back to around 2007 along with Monument and You Can Trust Me, so I can’t really remember much about its inception. It’s supposed to be a rockabilly type thing, but has been put through our patented ‘bombastic washing machine’ and the colours have run a little bit.

Lyrically it’s a bit of a jumble, but I suppose it’s about dropping out of repetitive cycles of living and doing something fun instead. We’re deep, man, what can I say?

Again, it was written a while ago and my memory is hazy… I remember doing some of the lyrics in a bar on George IV Bridge in Edinburgh one Saturday afternoon. Spot the deliberate mistake, metallurgy fans.

Idle Worship
The second of the Brazilian Trilogy, I’d have thought it was quite obvious in this instance. Close your eyes, visualise it slowed down, samba rhythm, acoustic guitar, singing in Portuguese… You could almost be mugging tourists in São Paolo!

Feed Me Rhetoric
Brazilian #3 (sounds like a humiliating waxing routine). I’m doing my best Jim Morrison croon on this one. Should I buy a pair of leather trousers, hmm? Call myself ‘The Crocodile Baron’ or something? Anyway, Lovely Latin drumming from Craig I must proclaim, and it seems to be a firm live favourite with audiences, so we hardly ever play it.

And yes, I know how ‘rhetoric’ should be pronounced, but it doesn’t fit in that way. So fuck off.

You Can Trust Me
This started out as a little folky number but when we began working on it properly we focussed it through a Birthday Party-esque prism and noised it up a bit. Are you still reading this? If I were you I’d have gone home ages ago. You really are a glutton for punishment.

Black International: Website - Facebook -  Bandcamp