Tuesday, 19 August 2014

We're Only Here For The Banter - Now Wakes The Sea

Now Wakes The Sea began as an outlet for Alan McCormack to dabble with wonky lo-fi pop experiments, but over the past few years grown into a band capable of molding new and interesting ideas of out wonky instruments, pop culture references and '60's pop influences.  Completing the band line up are Thomas Campbell on bass and Jennifer Hamilton on drums.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

I'm ok right now - we just played a very sweaty show with a fantastic audience in one of my favourite venues.  Beads of sweat slipping down my hair and into my eyes stinging with salt.  Blood on my shirt and on my hands from a cut I can't remember.  CDs sold.  New friends made.

It's the question everyone hates, but could you illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

When I was really young I listened to tapes of '50s and '60s pop in my grandparents car, things like Del Shannon and The Everly Brothers and Helen Shapiro, and that's essentially what Now Wakes the Sea sounds like, but twisted and pressed and reshaped through the filters of memory and nostalgia.  We've been likened to Grizzly Bear and Neutral Milk Hotel and Mount Eerie, which isn't bad.  I still can't get enough of '60s pop these days.  I also like Van Dyke Parks, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Joe Meek, and we all like McCartney more than Lennon.

What's your songwriting / creative process like?

Laborious.  Far more misses than hits.  I stitch together songs from scraps of lyrics and notebook scribbles, pieces of overheard conversation and misheard quotes from TV.  My guitars are in a stupid tuning and I don't really know what any of the chords are, but I like the restriction of not knowing where the common progressions are, or knowing how to play any over-used chord sequences.  When I've written something, I'll give it to the other band members and we'll work out how to play it and find arrangements through instinct.  I trust Jennifer and Thomas and we're all comfortable with our own individual playing styles.  I'm happy to just let them play whatever they want, really.

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Velcro fuzz bass guitar and jazz drums and experimental percussion and faulty guitars and forgotten lyrics.  It can get loud with drones, noise, and loops, but can also be pin-drop quiet, sparse, and empty.  It can be difficult trying to replicate what's on record, so we like to mix things up a bit with instrumentation and arrangements, so you probably won't get a replica of what's been recorded.  I'm trying to sneak the name 'Dusty Rhodes' into as many songs as possible at the moment.

Tell us about your latest album Bildungsroman.

  was released on Edinburgh's Mini50 Records at the end of May.  It's the album where all my stupid ideas about music finally became a reality.  Recorded to cassette tape on an old four track in the latter half of 2013, it's a lofi, ramshackle, psychedelic take on pop music.  I'm quite proud of it, but keen to get started on something different.

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2014?

We're playing a few shows this summer, including gigs with pioneering drone heroes Earth and lofi twee heartthrobs The Wave Pictures.  And an album I recorded with Fife-based Andrew Pearson will be released on Common Records in September to tie in with Cassette Store Day.  And I have to write some new songs for a pretty cool project you'll hear more about sometime soon.

What are you listening to at the moment?

On the Beach
  by Neil Young is great for when a hot summer day becomes a balmy evening and everything is tinted pink and orange from the sunset.  There's a compilation series called Punk 45 by Soul Jazz I've been listening to a lot recently too.  Proto punk and underground psych noise and no wave from the late '60s to early '80s.  And I recently got an album called Black Orchid by someone called Stephen David Heitkotter.  Super druggy and slow and lofi and sounds like it's going to fall apart at any moment, but full of grooves and great bass.  That's great.

Thanks for speaking with us, would you care to share a joke with us?

What's the difference between a sick bee and a dead horse?

One's a seedy beast while the other's a bee, deceased.

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Scottish Fiction Podcast - 19th August 2014

We start off high octane on this week's show with the first cut from Bear Arms' new album.  Actually this week's show is a real musical journey, with a gloriously landscaped track from A Sudden Burst Of Colour, some sweet meloncholy from Skinny Dipper, and the exciting new single from Holy Esque.  All this and more within this very podcast.  Open it up and gorge on the feast of music.

Bear Arms - Courage
We Were Hunted - Safe And Sound
Roxy Agogo - Crocodiles
Holy Esque - Sovereign
A Sudden Burst Of Colour - Yume
Lilac Pin - Easy
Broken Records - So Long, So Late
Skinny Dipper - Hospital Bed
Eliza Shaddad & Turtle - Driftwood
Best Girl Athlete - Best Girl Athlete In School
The Great Albatross - Roots

Subscribe/listen to the podcast via iTunes.

Scottish Fiction - 19th August 2014 by Scottish Fiction on Mixcloud

Monday, 18 August 2014

Doune The Rabbit Hole - Preview

Doune The Rabbit hole returns for another bout of independent and alternative music over the weekend of Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th August.  Now into it's fourth year on the Scottish festival circuit, the festival has grown a reputation for offering up an eclectic mix of music, arts and breathtaking scenary.

Scottish Fiction have had a great time at the festival over the last three years, and we are pleased to say we'll be there again this year to cover the goings on.  The line-up this year is as packed and diverse as always, so while there'll be plently to suit everyone, we've picked out a few of our tips should you be heading to the Cardross Estate next weekend.

The festival kicks off on Friday, with Hector Bizerk the standout highlight.  2014 has been a stellar year for Louie, Audrey, Fraser and Jen, playing incredible shows at Belladrum and GoNorth, supporting Public Enemy and seeing their album Noboby Seen Nothing  on the shortlist for The Scottish Album of the Year Awards.  The good times keep on coming, and the band have a new EP, The Fish That Never Swam  out next month which they will support with the now annual Hectember Weekend.  Catch them play Doune The Rabbit Hole to find out why they danewhattheywant.

Into Saturday and there is an array of talent to choose from.  Fresh from playing with RM Hubbert in Rutherglen a few days back, Richard Dawson offers a great choice for those who love some stripped back acoustic guitar playing.  If you are looking for a trippy, mind expanding way to spend your Saturday, then pop along for Grumbling Fur's set, where I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.  SambaYaBamba are always up for a party, as are local ska legends The Amphetameanies.  Towards the business end of the line-up for Saturday and PAWS return to Doune for another evening of high octane, no regrets, garage-rock fun.  Pulling on tracks from their amazing sophmore album Youth Culture Forever  and mixing them with the classics from debut Cokefloat!  don't miss one of the best live acts about.  Rounding off our tips for Saturday are electro-wizards Errors with whom you can bring in the wee hours and dance like there's no tomorrow.

Except their is a tomorrow and it brings with it sets from Blochestra and Let's Talk About Space to get things going.  Both acts offer something slighty different, with Blochestra packing the stage with an ensemble of musicians and Let's Talk About Space brining knowledge and science along with melodies and harmonies.  Elsewhere are The Yawns with their summery shoegaze tinged rock, Woodenbox playing tracks from their forthcoming album Foreign Organ  which should be out sometime in November, and one man extravaganza Adam Stafford who'll be looping and jamming with his usual enthusiasm and vigour.  Top of the shop though is SAY Award winner RM Hubbert, who always plays a blinder.  His blend of meloncholic guitar picking and healing music is the perfect end to a Sunday packed full of great music.

Tickets for the festival can still be purchased in advance online saving you some money.  For full prices and to buy tickets head here.

That's My Jam #36 - Bear Arms - Courage

Courage,  the latest track from Bear Arms, is one fucker of a wake up call on a Monday morning.  The track is the opener on their forthcoming debut album Strength and Conviction,  out 20th October via Struggletown Records, and the first peek at what the Glasgow foursome have been up to.

Weaving together post-hardcore and math rock, Courage  takes delight in the loud/quiet dyad, whilst overlaying screaming vocals atop a catchy melodic chorus.  The track's explosive drumming brings the raw appeal and energy of the band's live performance into the fray, creating an appetite whetting first taste of what the album has to offer.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

That's My Jam #35 - A Sudden Burst Of Colour - Yume

Atmospheric and soundscaped instrumental music is the order of the day today.  And at present in the Scottish music community, Motherwell quartet A Sudden Burst Of Colour make some of the finest music of this ilk.

Yume,  their latest single, trawls vast landscapes in the mind, with layered guitars building towards an almighty climax.  The tentative and vast emptiness of the track starts off quite isolating, but by mid point; the track is over eight minutes long, I'm overwhelmed with feelings of triumph and confidence.  It's amazing what music can do sometimes.  Have a listen and be immersed. 

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

That's My Jam #34 - Roxy Agogo - Crocodiles

Crocodiles  from Glasgow artist Roxy Agogo is a dangerous beast.  Dark, demanding, a little bit off kilter, and infectious, it's one of those tracks that can get an artist hyped up prematurely.  Crocodiles  is, however, the second track to come from Roxy Agogo, following on from when you dress up, therefore a little bit of talking up is allowed.

Clocking in at a mere two and a half minutes, Crocodiles  serves up a bag full of post-rock fun, with hints of PiL at play, along with the empassioned spirit of Alex Harvey trying to  break through the shouty Glasgwegian vocals. 

We're Only Here For The Banter - Bright Side

Surely we all know by now that Scotland has a fledging punk scene.  Bright Side, a four piece from Edinburgh, are another band to count alongside that.  Under the wing of Struggletown records, they have stepped up with their debut EP, out later this month.  I caught up with Ross from the band to find out more.

Hello!  How the devil are you?

Alright!  Very well thanks, I'm actually in Spain right now on holiday so yeah, could be worse.

It's the question everyone hates, but could illuminate our readers with a little bit about your music and your influences?

Totally!  We're a hardcore punk band with a big melodic sound/influence throughout.  When we started off our main influences were like Defeater, Go It Alone, Modern Life is War.  Break Even was a big one.  They still all are.  Apart from that we like bringing in our other sorts of favourite sounds and influences too.  The new EP has some post-rock sounds in places, some emo/poppier stuff as well.  The stuff we're working on now has a big punk rock sound in mind.

What's your song-writing / creative process like?

Usually it'll start off with a riff, chord progression or maybe even a full song idea that any of us have.  We'll then show it to the rest of the guys and we'll work on it from there.  Your standard song writing stuff.  But really most of our songs are written by accident and it's usually just because we're dicking about at a practice and instead of playing Limp Bizkit and nu-metal riffs we'll come up with something that sounds good eventually (not that Limp Bizkit don't, they're amazing).

What could we expect to see from a live show?

Every band says it but we really do love playing live so we put our all into it.  I think the more shows you play you realise what makes up a well thought out, good set and I personally think we're at a point in playing shows that represents us properly well.  We take time to make sure the set flows right and hasn't get any lulls mid-set.  It's fast, to the point, energetic, with awkwardly funny in between songs patter.  All the things you want.  Good times all round.

Tell us about the EP Bright Side.

We recorded it back in January with Paul at 45-a-Side studios in Glasgow.  After that we sent it off to Bob Cooper to master it.  Both the guys did a really great job.  Two of the songs Breaking Even  and Lost Love  are two of the first we ever wrote but never got around to recording them until now.  Wanderer  and The Years  were written a little bit later on.  We've been sitting on the songs for a little while now so it's good to have finally have it out and to have something fresh to show people.  It's coming out through Struggletown and a new label called Fulltone Records. It's out digitally on 25th August and pre-orders for a 7" vinyl are up through Struggletown now!  But yeah we're really chuffed on it.

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2014?

Our next show is at King Tut's, 30th August, that's our 'unofficial release show' for the EP.  We're looking forward to that for sure.  We've got a few more shows to announce soon and Strugglefest in October, which will be a total belter.  We're going to try and head down south again before the year is out too.  We've started writing some new songs also, don't know if that'll be another EP, an album, or a split; we'll have to wait and see!  I think we're definitely going to try and record before this year is over as well though so hopefully something will surface really early on next year.

What are you listening to at the moment?

Right now I'm still listening to the new Paws' album a lot, which is really good.  A lot of Bad Rabbits, Great Cynics, Pup.  I'm really just patiently waiting for the new Gaslight Anthem to come out though!

Thanks for speaking with us.

No worries at all, thanks for asking us!

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