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Posts Tagged ‘Dropkick’

The discovery of new music has, for me, taken more of a nosedive than usual this year. A combination of ennui and financial paucity has meant gigs and records have been rather carefully selected and this has meant the tried and tested prevailing over anything new and risky. I leave the discovery of the next big things to young whippersnappers like my good friend Scott Hastie, a colleague from my HND in Radio days, who is doing great things in the radio world. This year he’s managed to unearth 365 albums worthy of our attention while my paltry offering numbered seven. (Two of my list actually made his!)

FAVOURITE NEW ALBUMS OF THE YEAR

My keen anticipation for the TeenCanteen album Say It All With a Kiss (Last Night From Glasgow) was previewed in last year’s music review. I hadn’t looked forward to a new/debut album since, I don’t know, the mid-eighties. In the interests of balance I should declare an interest. My daughter Felicity and I were one of a select number who performed handclaps on the track How We Met (Cherry Pie), which was recorded at the wrap party for the album. We also went on to appear in the video for the song. (Everyone was supposed to wear red but Flick went rogue and wore a yellow dress. You can spot her easily in the video).

The album’s heady mix of girl group harmonies, electropop glitter, bombastic glam rock and bloody good tunes was always going to be hard to beat as my album of 2016, even before it was released. Believe the hype kids.

The musical year began and ended for me with two very different offerings from Scottish bands. Dropkick‘s alt-country powerpop Balance the Light (Sound Asleep) continued the great work of their numerous previous albums. One day they’ll get the big break they deserve.  A late contender for my year-end list came from The Laynes, a freakbeat mod band based on the West Coast of Scotland. I’d been aware of their penchant for all things 60s and finally got to see them live in 2012 when they supported Secret Affair. While the headliners disappointed me I found The Laynes to be fabulously tight and energetic. The album Come On Board With The Laynes (KDBS) has been worth the wait and I hope I get to see them live again next year.

My other favoured new releases of the year come from old favourites. Teenage Fanclub continue to plough their own harmonious furrow and release wonderful music as and when their schedules allow. Here (PeMa) was every bit as good as I’d hoped and by the time their UK tour came around many of the tracks had already slotted into the set like old favourites. Another longtime love of mine is The Popguns. Simon and Wendy of the band – Mr and Mrs Pickles, if you’d rather – did their own thing with a side project called The Perfect English Weather. The resulting album Isobar Blues (Matinée) was another joyful pop collection and it continues to get regular airplay chez moi even during the festive period.

Ette, side project of TeenCanteen’s Carla Easton, ably accompanied by Joe Kane, released their Homemade Lemonade album on Olive Grove to much-deserved acclaim.

A special mention to psychedelic funsters The Spooks who released their long overdue second album, The All-Seeing Chelsea Boot, a mere quarter of a century – that’s 25 years in old money – since their fabulous debut With and Without. Never a dull moment with these chaps.

In terms of new singles/downloads, I very much enjoyed Foggy City Orphan‘s Rocket, Linden‘s double A-side Bones/Broken Glass, Jo Mango and FriendsWrack Lines EP on Olive Grove, The Smart Set‘s Together on the Moon, La Bella Luna‘s eponymous EP and, best of all, Ette‘s Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders (parts 1 and 2), also on Olive Grove.

MUSIC REVISITED

friends-again-trapped-and-unwrapped

It’s not really surprising that this list exceeds the one above. I spent more time revisiting old favourites and records that had passed me by originally. Here’s some of them:

Squeeze – East Side Story (A&M 1981)
The Shadows – Greatest Hits (Columbia 1963)
Ultravox – The Collection (Chrysalis 1984)
Easterhouse – Contenders (Rough Trade 1985)
Associates – Sulk (WEA 1982)
Billy Bragg – Must I Paint You a Picture: The Essential Billy Bragg (Elektra 2003)
REM – The Best of REM (IRS 1991)
UB40 – Signing Off (Graduate 1980)
Kraftwerk – The Mix (KlingKlang/EMI 1991)
Simple Minds – New Gold Dream 81-82-83-84 (Virgin 1982)
Julian Cope – Floored Genius: The Best of Julian Cope and the Teardrop Explodes 1979-1991 (Island 1992)
Kate Bush – The Kick Inside (EMI 1978)
The Sundays – Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (Rough Trade 1990)
Prefab Sprout – Swoon (Kitchenware 1984)
Dr Hook – Greatest Hits (Capitol 1980)
Psychedelic Furs – Greatest Hits (Columbia 2001)
Black – Wonderful Life (A&M 1987)
The Lotus Eaters – No Sense of Sin (Arista 1984)
Allo Darlin’ – Allo Darlin’ (Fortuna Pop 2010)
Talk Talk – Natural History: The Very Best of Talk Talk (Parlophone 1990)
The Lemonheads – The Best of the Lemonheads: The Atlantic Years (Atlantic 1998)
Friends Again – Trapped and Unwrapped (Mercury 1984)

There would’ve been others too but these are the ones that stuck in my memory. For the first three months of the year Flick and I listened to nothing but David Bowie to the point where she knows the words better than I do.

COMPILATIONS

I do love a good compilation and here are some of the ones from this year that I really enjoyed.

Love and Affection: More Motown Girls (Ace)
John Savage’s 1966: The Year The Decade Exploded (Ace)
Where The Girls Are Volume 9 (Ace)
Toujours Chic! (Ace)
Love Hit Me: Decca Beat Girls 1962-1970 (Ace)
Scratch My Back!: Pye Beat Girls (Ace)
Here Today!: The Songs of Brian Wilson (Ace)

That’s a lot of Ace records. Literally.

GIGS/EVENTS

The financial constraints brought about by unemployment and no entitlement to any kind of benefits (thanks DWP) meant gigging, as well as record buying, was cut to a minimum this year.

Three trips to see TeenCanteen, including album launches at either end of the M8, brought my tally for seeing them to 16. They now lie third behind One Thousand Violins (21 gigs) and BMX Bandits (18, including Duglas solo). With BMX Bandits and TeenCanteen playing together in Paisley in January there’s a good chance that either or both will overtake the Violins at some point in 2017. They have been top of my gig-going pile since 1989.

My first gig of 2016 was Tom Hingley in the less than salubrious setting of a pub in Cowdenbeath. His two-set offering of Inspiral Carpets favourites proved what a great catalogue they had. He also threw in some blues covers, which seemed a bit out-of-place.

April saw Frightened Rabbit hit Dunfermline. I’m not particularly a fan but a friend had a spare ticket. It was okay and the assembled hordes loved them but it wasn’t really my cup of tea. As mentioned earlier Teenage Fanclub returned with a new album and did two tours in support of it. One small one with a handful of dates and then a larger one later in the year. The Edinburgh gig in September was the perfect time to take Felicity to her first proper sweaty club-type gig, with the Liquid Rooms having the honour. Such a shame it was so unbearably hot. Despite being in an airy part of the balcony it was absolutely boiling. It was an under 14s gig but at 5’6″ Flick enjoyed a rite of passage in getting in underage (my first proper gig was when I was 17). A proud moment. I also saw the Fannies later on in December with my friend Phil. The place was rammed and it was hit after hit after hit. Okay not ‘chart’ hits but you know what I mean. The place was crawling with old friends and you couldn’t move for indie pop stars.

In any other year the Fannies Barrowlands show would’ve been gig of the year. But there was one gig in August that would’ve taken some beating. It was also the first gig of the year that Felicity and I went to together. It was no ordinary gig and in no ordinary venue or country.

Felicity is goalkeeper for Bayside Girls and her team had been invited to take part in the Norway Cup in Oslo, the biggest children’s tournament in the world. As soon as we signed up in October for the tournament I checked the What’s On guides for Oslo to see if any other events were taking place during the week of the Norway Cup in August. There was one stand-out event or should I say eight. Kraftwerk had announced they were playing eight albums, over eight gigs, in four days and all in 3D. The venue was to be the Operahuset, a beautiful building which would be five minutes walk from our chosen hotel. Taking into account the days on which Flick would be playing football, as well as other planned activities and also which albums the band would be playing we plumped for The Mix, which was a kind of greatest hits and a good starting point for Flick to learn about the German electro giants. I was worried that Flick might not enjoy it or be bored or not ‘get it’ but I needn’t have because she said it was “amazing”. Robots was her particular favourite. When we got back to the hotel we FaceTimed my wife, pretending to be robots. I guess you had to be there.

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RADIO BROADCASTS

sounds_of_the_sixties_to_be_moved_by_radio_2_

The usual domestic commitments mean that I can’t listen to all of these shows every week/month etc but I enjoy them regularly enough to list them as amongst my best of the year.

Sound of the Sixties (Radio 2)
Andrew Collins’ Saturday Night at the Movies (Classic FM)
Lauree McArdle’s Spin Cycle (WERA-LP 97.6 FM Arlington, Virginia)
The Earl Okin Show
John Cavanagh’s Soundwave (Radio Six International)
Pete Paphides on Soho Radio
Forgotten 80s (Absolute 80s)
Paul Brown’s Curiosity Shoppe (Mixcloud)

The year ended with some good news for me in that I’ll be working part-time as a support worker for a blind radio producer/presenter so my foot will be back in the door of radio, albeit a toe at a time so no doubt I’ll be listening to more radio.

The only music televsion I watched regularly this year was the Top of the Pops repeats on BBC Four. Due to the issues surrounding the behaviour of certain presenters ‘back in the day’ many episodes have not been broadcast so the shows can jump leap ahead, missing out weeks. We still get to see messrs Read, Vance, Bates, Jensen and, unfortunately, Peter Powell, who was the Richard Madeley of the day. I dare you to watch one of the shows fronted by him and not shout obscenitites at the screen. Go on, try it. I should add the early broadcast of the show is edited so it’s best to watch the full length repeated edition, which goes out early in the morning. You should also watch them while following the @TOTPFacts on Twitter, which is a wonderful service by Ian Berriman providing all manner of facts about those performing on that week’s show. It isn’t just taken off Wikipedia. The shows also confirm, as if you didn’t know, that Modern Romance were crap.

So that was my musical 2016. A small and perfectly formed selection of where my musical head was at. I’ll have missed out some stuff and may add it in as and when it comes to me.

The main overriding musical talking point in 2016, however, was the loss of so much musical talent. Actually, that’s a major understatement. The list was endless… David Bowie, Glenn Frey (The Eagles), Colin Vearncombe (aka Black), Signe Toly Anderson (Jefferson Airplane), Terry Wogan, Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire), George Martin, Keith Emerson, Merle Haggard, Prince, Billy Paul, Guy Clark, Scotty Moore, Prince Buster, Pete Burns (Dead or Alive), Bobby Vee, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell and Greg Lake amongst others. God bless them all and thank you for the music.

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Fatherson Open Book

Fatherson return with a new album on 3 June 2016. Released on the Easy Life/Sony Red label Open Book is the follow-up to 2014’s I Am An Island and will be available in several formats: signed CD, signed gatefold vinyl LP, signed CD with handwritten lyric book and signed gatefold vinyl LP with handwritten lyric book. You can pre-order the album HERE. You can also preview one of the tracks Little Lost Boys (Radio Edit) HERE.

Dropkick 2

I alluded to the release of this fine new record from Dropkick a couple of weeks ago and here, as if my magic, it now is (thanks guys!). It has, as the kids are wont to say, “dropped” but in my case it means from the letter box to the mat behind it. The most pleasing of sounds as I ingest bran flakes, banana and Homes Under The Hammer – thanks postie! A pleasing sound nonetheless, as is the album itself.

While the likes of Bowie were ever ch-ch-changing, Dropkick are very much a if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t fix-it kind of band and for that I love them. That’s not to say the album sounds like all their others (and there’s plenty of them) because it doesn’t. There’s still plenty of the melodic alt.country powerpop they’re known for while moving hither and thither in other musical directions. Not so much pushing the boundaries as giving them a little tickle under the chin.

I love album opener Save Myself because, rather ironically, it sounds like the kind of epic, leave-you-breathless track that could close an album and, after a brief pause, have you start the whole record again – “start afresh”. Maybe it’ll be a live set closer. It has that kind of feel about it.

It’s a mighty fine album and one I shall be embracing on a daily basis over the coming weeks and months, like a musical hot water bottle keeping me warm as winter bids farewell and ushers in the spring.

You can sample poptastic track Slow Down on YouTube.

Balance The Light is released on Sound Asleep/Rock Indiana on 25 March 2016 and available to pre-order NOW.

Contact:
Website: http://www.dropkickmusic.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dropkickmusic
Twitter: @dropkickmusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mrcockroach
Bandcamp: https://dropkickmusic.bandcamp.com/

Tuff Love Resort

My first musical hero was Roddy Frame (still is) and he shares, along with my mother, a birthday on 29 January. Coincidentally it will also be a cause for celebration in the Tuff Love household as they release Resort, a compilation of their first three EPs, on that day.
TYCI are hosting a launch in honour of this great occasion and what a multi-starred evening it promises to be. Not only will headliners Tuff Love be looking to shift some units, they’ll be ably supported by the ever well-groomed pottymouth Vaseline (seriously, mouth like a docker) Frances McKee. Bossy Love will also be putting their best foot forward, with TYCI spinning the platters that matter before and after each set.
The shenanigans take place at Stereo on Glasgow’s Renfield Street on Friday 5 February 2016. Tickets are a measly £10 and available HERE. Bargain!
While it is Tuff Love’s party and they cry if they want to, they’ll actually be on second, following on from Frances and setting a good example to Bossy Love.

Resort collects together the Junk, Dross and Dregs EPs, quite naturally in chronological order, in one handy CD-sized package, with vinyl version available for those who like that sort of thing. These formats are available in good record shops (and maybe some rubbish ones as well) but you can pre-order it HERE.

As well as hanging out in some homegrown haunts Tuff Love will be terrorising, in the nicest possible way, the nightspots of mainland Europe. Check out the order of play:

5th Feb 2016: Stereo, Glasgow (as annotated above) [TICKETS]

22nd Feb 2016: Summerhall, Edinburgh [TICKETS]
24th Feb 2016: Trades Club, Hebdon Bridge [TICKETS]

25th Feb 2016: London Fields Brewery, London [TICKETS]
21st Mar 2016: Berghain, Berlin, Germany [TICKETS]
22nd Mar 2016: Blue Shell, Cologne, Germany [TICKETS]
23rd Mar 2016: Eldorado, Zurich, Switzerland [TICKETS]
25th Mar 2016: La Parenthese, Nyon, Switzerland [FREE ENTRY]
29th Mar 2016: La Salle Du Grand Marais (LSFM Festival), Riorges, France [TICKETS]
1st Apr 2016: Le Divan Du Monde (LSFM Festival), Paris, France [TICKETS]
2nd Apr 2016: Les Trinitaires (LFSM Festival), Metz, France [TICKETS]
19th-21st May 2016: The Great Escape Festival, Brighton [TICKETS]

That’s your lot for now. Go on, shoo, beat it.

 

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ABCQuinn

It’s been a great start to 2016 for Glasgow artpop exponents and Jocknroll favourites A Band Called Quinn. On the back of two Art & Business Scotland nominations they’ve released a new single. The fabulous From The Gutter comes from their equally wonderful Biding Time (remix) album.

Tromolo Productions – for which lead singer/songwriter Louise Quinn is the Artistic Director – has been shortlisted in the International Award category for their collaboration with LaChunky Studios and the pair are also up for the Digital Innovation award. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday 3rd February. Good luck to Louise, Bal, Robert and Steven and the team at LaChunky, who sponsored the multimedia Biding Time (remix)‘s three-week run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2014 as part of the Made in Scoland international showcase.

A Band Called Quinn are Louise Quinn (vocals/songs/guitar), Bal Cooke (drums/bleeps), Robert Henderson (trumpet/keyboards) and Steven Westwater (bass).

Contact:
Website: http://www.abandcalledquinn.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abandcalledquinn
Twitter: @ABCQuinn
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/abandcalledquinn

Dropkick 2

Dropkick return – were they ever away? – with a brand new album Balance The Light released on their own Sound Asleep imprint as well as the Rock Indiana label.

The new record of alt.country, powerpop gems comes out on 25 March 2016 and will be available as a download, 180 gram vinyl and CD and will feature the mighty fine artwork of Edinburgh artist/designer Alan Lennon. Balance The Light will also be available via the usual online retailers. It can also be pre-ordered through the band’s shop with every pre-order receiving an immediate download of the album track Slow Down and you’ll also be emailed a link to download a bonus EP featuring 3 non-album tracks. Nice!

To celebrate the release the band are heading off to mainland Europe for their debut appearances in Germany, before returning homeward for shows in Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

8th April 2016: Raumfahrtzentrum Saarner Kuppe, Mulheim, Germany
9th April 2016: Music Star, Norderstedt, Germany
21st April 2016: Clark’s, Dundee, Scotland
22nd April 2016: The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Scotland
(double-bill show with the capital’s The Wynntown Marshals)
23rd April 2016: 13th Note, Glasgow, Scotland

Andy Tucker will support Dropkick at the three Scottish gigs with The Chinaskis joining the party at the 13th Note show.

The current line-up is: Andrew Taylor, Ian Grier, Scott Tobin, Mike Foy and Roy Taylor.

Contact:
Website: http://www.dropkickmusic.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dropkickmusic
Twitter: @dropkickmusic
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/mrcockroach
Bandcamp: https://dropkickmusic.bandcamp.com/

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Let's Take the Day Off cover art

Lenzie Moss‘s wonderful new single “Let’s Take The Day Off” is out today. The sound of summer has arrived early in the shape of the latest sunshine single from the later ego of Finlay MacDonald.
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Scottish cult-pop raconteur Aidan Moffat and award-winning film-maker Paul Fegan embark on their tour of Scotland later this month, on a road trip whose footage will provide the cornerstone of a feature documentary. Entitled Where You’re Meant To Be, the project is an exploration and celebration of Scotland’s musical and storytelling traditions. It will see the acclaimed Glasgow-based artists traverse the length and breadth of the country, encountering locals, gathering tales and collaborating along their way.

Where You’re Meant To Be is part of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Cultural Programme, and the ensuing film is set to premiere after the close of the Games, in late August.

Their spring tour (details below) will see Moffat debut a new body of work (some original songs; some traditional re-workings) as inspired by our oral tradition – from folk sagas to drinking songs; from bawdy ballads to bruised laments – and as defined by contemporary Scotland. Moffat will perform these stories and songs at free concerts (replete with free drams) in villages, cities and towns, backed by an all-star band comprising The Twilight Sad’s James Graham (vocals), Bdy_Prts’ Jenny Reeve (violin, vocals) and Stevie Jones (double-bass, guitar).

A song from the project, ‘Jock McGraw’, is available to hear below. It features the above musical cast, and sees Moffat update a traditional Scottish ballad of a wounded soldier.

https://soundcloud.com/aidan-john-moffat/jock-mcgraw

The upcoming live shows, which are all sold out, will be loosely based around traditional ceilidh gatherings, with poems recited, tales recounted, songs sung and carousal had. Along with local musicians and storytellers, the tour welcomes the likes of championship bothy balladeers Geordie Murison and Joe Aitken, folk-punk dissident Wounded Knee, and national folk treasure Sheila Stewart, who has been enticed out of retirement to duet with Moffat.

Exploring themes of community, travel, culture and sense of place, Where You’re Meant To Be promises an entertaining, life-affirming, intimate and irreverent tribute to Scotland, its stories, its songs and its people – and it offers a modern, vital take on an oral tradition that has endured for centuries, and which continues to influence our national identity. Moffat and Fegan’s folkloric pop voyage also pays homage to some of the country’s most resonant spaces – from Glasgow Barrowland to Faslane Peace Camp; from Edinburgh catacombs to Loch Ness.

Aidan Moffat is one of Scotland’s most distinctive musical and literary voices. A compelling performer, lyricist and storyteller, the former Arab Strap singer won 2012’s Scottish Album of the Year Award for his collaboration with Bill Wells, Everything’s Getting Older.

Paul Fegan’s debut short documentary, Pouters (2012), won countless awards including Best Documentary (Jury Award) at London Short Film Festival, Best Film (Audience Award) at Hamburg International Short Film Festival and Best Scottish Short Film (Jury Award) at the Glasgow Short Film Festival. He also directed Moffat and Wells’ promo video for The Copper Top.

2014 Tour Dates (NB: all are sold out)

19 April Port of Ness (Lewis) Ness Social Club 9pm
23 April Faslane Peace Camp 7pm
25 April Aberdeen Blue Lamp 8pm
26 April Cullerlie Farm Park 7.30pm
27 April Edinburgh Caves 7.30pm
9 May Drumnadrochit Village Hall 7.30pm
10 May Lerags Kilbride Church Yard 7.30pm
17 May Glasgow Barrowland 7pm

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Doune The Rabbit Hole

August 22-24 2014

The Cardross Estate, Port of Menteith, Stirlingshire, FK8 3JY

http://dounetherabbithole.co.uk/

The Peatbog Faeries are set to headline Friday night at Doune the Rabbit Hole festival which is back in Stirlingshire for 2014! Held at the beautiful Cardross Estate near Doune it returns for the 5th year running on August 22-24th.

Doune the Rabbit Hole is a small-scale music and art festival that aims to offer a friendlier alternative to larger events by creating a fantastically unique atmosphere and offering visitors the chance to take part in a variety of activities and workshops that will appeal to the whole family.

This year the festival is excited to welcome the Scottish folk-electro players; Peatbog Faeries; Japanese Psych-Rockers Acid Mother’s Temple and American DIY hero Jeffrey Lewis, as well as the massively popular Balkanarama Klub who will present several hours of arts and crafts workshops followed by the kind of party that only the Balkans can produce!

With RockNess, The Insider and The Big Tent Festivals all being cancelled; Doune The Rabbit Hole offers a chance to relax, have fun and discover some amazing new music whilst basking in the glorious Stirlingshire countryside for a whole weekend.

Many of the artists will be hosting workshops or master-classes at the event with the focus of the festival angled towards getting people involved. From weird and wonderful instruments including Synths, Theremins and The Musical Saw, through to more traditional Fiddle, Keyboard and Drums; there will be a chance for everyone to pick up a new skill. It’s not all music: pottery, knitting, crocheting and a variety of other workshops will be on offer. Not to mention the Spoken Word tent which will host poetry, stand-up and storytelling and the Cinema which will show a range of films from family friendly flicks through to life-changing documentaries and even a late-night horror session.

The festival organisers say there are still more acts to be announced so keep your ears to the ground for the next few weeks!

Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival takes place at Cardross Estate near Port of Menteith not too far from its original home in Doune on the weekend of August 22-24 2014. Tickets are £90 for full weekend adult camping but significant early-bird discounts are available until June 1st! Under 12s go free.

Tickets from dounetherabbithole.co.uk

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Camera Obscura are heading back onto the roads of the UK and USA in May and June ths year.

They’re also releasing an exclusive session EP, recorded in Glasgow, on 4AD in time for Record Store Day.

May

25th – The Empire, Belfast
26th – Vicar Street, Dublin
28th – Leadmill, Sheffield
29th – The Forum, London
30th – The Library, Birmingham
31st – ABC, Glasgow

July

15th – Le Poisson Rouge, New York NY*
16th – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY*
18th – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC*
19th – World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, PA*
20th – Paradise Rock Club, Boston, MA*
22nd – The Opera House, Toronto ON*
23rd – Mr Smalls Theatre, Millvale PA*
24th – The Loving Touch, Ferndale MI*
25th – TBA, Chicago IL*
26th – First Avenue, Minneapolis MN*

*Laura Cantrell opens all North American dates

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A Band Called Quinn - Forget About It

A Band Called Quinn release a new single, Forget About it, on Tremelo Records to celebrate their forthcoming tour of Biding Time (remix), details of which can be found at http://www.bidingtimeremix.com

The tour is as follows:
7th May – CCA (Glasgow) 
Buy tickets here.
8th May – CCA (Glasgow)  Buy tickets here.

9th May – Eden Court (Inverness) Buy tickets here.
12th May – The Beacon (Greenock) Buy tickets here.
14th May – Arcola Tent (London)
 Buy tickets here.
15th May – The Warren (Brighton Fringe)

Buy tickets here.
17th May – Woodend Barn (Banchory) Buy tickets here.
22nd May – Adam Smith (Kirkcaldy)
 Buy tickets here.
24th May – Summerhall (Edinburgh)
Buy tickets here.

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Benthic Lines cover art

Dan Lyth (and the Euphrates) returns after a long absence.

“For the last few years my band and I have been lugging instruments from place to place across four continents, recording an album entirely outdoors.

I’m delighted to announce that this album, entitled ‘Benthic Lines’ will be released by Armellodie Records on the 12th of May.

It’s available to pre-order right now and those who do so will receive a copy of the album before the official release date and will also get an immediate download of the song, ‘Earth Broke Its Vow’ to whet their appetite.

We decided to make a book rather than a regular CD and if you fancy reading more about that head over to danlyth.com. There’s also this lovely album trailer that my friend Fraser put together.”

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Homeward Cover Art

Dropkick return with Homeward, their umpteenth album of wonderful alt. country powerpop.

The songs were recorded in late 2013 and featured a line up of Alastair Taylor, Andrew Taylor, Scott Tobin, Ian grier and Mike Foy, with a guest appearance on pedal steel by Attic Light’s Tim Davidson.

To promote the band are playing a number of gigs around Scotland in April.
Fri 11th – 8.30pm – Twa Tams, Perth – www.twatamsmusic.co.uk
Thu 17th – 8.00pm – Clarks, Dundee – www.clarksonlindsaystreet.com
Fri 18th – 7.00pm- Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – www.sneakypetes.co.uk
Sat 19th – 1pm – The Tea Posy, Dingwall – www.thegreenhousedingwall.co.uk
Sat 19th – 9.30pm – Mad Hatters at Hootananny, Inverness – www.hootanannyinverness.co.uk

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Scotland Recommends

On 18 April 2007 The Scotsman newspaper began a weekly supplement entitled Recommends. The purpose was to give readers the opportunity to tell other readers of their favourite places and things to do in Scotland. These recommendations generally took the form of Top 5s.

Under the auspices of then Assistant Editor David Lee, the feature flourished and in 2008 it was released into the world in book form, courtesy of Edinburgh’s Luath Press. Recommends took many weird and wonderful turns from its original remit. Originally the feature served as a handy guide for visitors and tourists as to the best delicatessens, birdwatching sites and hidden shopping gems and topics that might of interest to staycationers and incomers alike. However, as the weeks and months passed some of the lists submitted took a more surreal route and, indeed, in my own case, some of these contributions were somewhat off-topic and had nothing to do with Scotland at all. Guilty as charged.

I’ve decided to republish some of the contributions I made during the lifetime of the much-loved feature. Sadly, none of my many Top 5s made the book, which concentrated on the more useful and practical. The top 5 Horse Songs, which merited a special mention at the book launch, wouldn’t have been use to anyone looking for the best chip shop or best places to fly a kite in Caledonia. Although one contribution, made in March 2008, did win me a weekly prize of a meal for two at The Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry. I forget which one it was but I shall investigate my records further as I’m sure I have the cutting somewhere.

There’s no set order for the lists I’ll publish again here. I’ll add explanatory notes as and when needed but otherwise the pieces will be as I originally submitted them. I’ll begin with my five bands for 2009, which only serves to show what I know about music…hee-haw!

Attic Lights
TOP 5 SCOTTISH BANDS FOR 2009

1. Attic Lights

Technically, with several plays of their last two singles on no less a show than Sir Terry Wogan’s (only the most listened to radio show in the UK), one might think that Attic Lights have already “made it”. But the sky’s the limit for this powerpop quintet who should end the year striding the pop world like colossi. See them at Celtic Connections before everyone else catches on. Top Tune: “God”. http://www.atticlights.co.uk

2. We See Lights

The jockmopolitan We See Lights, who hail from Bo’ness, Airth, Corstorphine and Milngavie, with a bit of Granton and Leith thrown in for good measure, fit nicely into the Aberfeldy mould and that’s no bad thing by any manner of means. Their debut album is imminent. Buy it for someone you love and see them smile. Top Tune: “Parachute”. http://www.myspace.com/weseelights

3. Dropkick

Alt.country meets powerpop as Dropkick continue to hone their melodious art with smashing tunes and fabulous melodies a-plenty. Sure the influences are as plain as the nose on your face but with more hooks than Bob Nudd’s fishing bag, 2009 could well be the year when the world truly knows their name. Remember what happened the last time a band with three Taylors emerged on the UK music scene? Need I say more? Top Tune: “Patchwork”. http://www.dropkickmusic.co.uk

4. Paper Planes

Out of Glasgow via New Jersey, noiseniks Paper Planes promise to explode in 2009 with their special brand of power punk surf pop. If only they can stop lead singer Jennifer popping home to the States for her tea. Rumours that she has a black belt in origami are unfounded at this time. Top Tune: “Diamond Diner”. http://www.myspace.com/glasgowpaperplanes

5. Findo Gask

Glasgow electro-warriors Findo Gask certainly have a way with a tune and, with the wind in the right direction, 2009 promises to be a fruitful year for the former Fifers. Hear last year’s single “One Eight Zero” and think of Kraftwerk playing Frisbee with Lemon Jelly. Raveheart indeed. Top Tune: “Va Va Va”. http://www.myspace.com/findogaskuk

Comments: An update on those I gave the kiss of death to in late 2008. Attic Lights parted company with Island Records before taking some time out. They’ve returned this year with “Super De Luxe”, a new album released on the more pop sympathetic home of Elefant Records. We See Lights are still going strong although they have been quiet of late. Dropkick are still throwing albums as regularly as Zsa Zsa Gabor ordered wedding cakes and the band has undergone some personnel changes. Paper Planes became Astral Planes but called it a day in April 2011. As of March 2010 Findo Gask were also no more. So there’s a warning to any band who has the temerity to play the kind of music I like. It’s a curse I tell you. Run, save yourself, before it’s too late.

You’ll notice that most of the bands then had My Space sites. My research on their current activities was done on their Facebook pages. Oh, how times change.

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Beats To Beat Cancer Charity Gig

The memory of an Arbroath man, Dennis House, who died of cancer, will be honoured at a special charity gig on Friday 21 December at Fat Sam’s in Dundee. The event, organised by his son Lee, will feature sets from Tommy Reilly, Roddy Hart, Emma’s Imagination, Dropkick, The Hazey Janes, Our Little Life (Lee’s own band) and others as well as DJ sets from Tom Simpson (Snow Patrol) and Richard Colburn (Belle and Sebastian). The event is set to raise thousands of pounds for Cancer Research UK and Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres.

Lee also hopes to organise a charity auction in 2013 featuring signed items from Noel Gallagher, KT Tunstall and Calvin Harris amongst others.

Tickets for the gig are priced at £15 plus a £1.50 booking charge.
These can be purchased from Fat Sam’s official website.
Doors open at 7.30pm and there will also be an after show party with DJs ‘Van Damn’, Lance Carter and Ally McCrae (Radio 1).

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An update from those fine Dropkick chaps:

“Hi folks,

It’s been a while, so here’s an update on what your second favourite jangly pop band are up to…

The release of our next album has been put on hold for a while and will probably not be released till springtime next year. So to pass the time, we’ve recorded a Christmas EP and this will be released later this year on Sound Asleep Records. “25th December” features 4 new songs, includes guest vocals on 1 track by Alice Marra Clark (of the excellent Hazey Janes) and will be available on 7″ red vinyl. For those of you too young to know what 7″ vinyl is, more modern formats will also be available.

We’ve also got some Scottish gigs coming up before the end of the year:

Fri 15th Oct @ The Roxy Arthouse, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm and £5 entry. Support from Roy Henderson and Al Shields.
Sat 23rd Oct @ Ceol Mor, Inverness. 9pm. Free entry. Support from Andrew Still (The Galipaygos).
Fri 26th Nov @ The 13th Note, Glasgow. 8.30pm. £5 entry. Support from the Chinaskis + TBC.
Sat 11th Dec @ The Picturehouse, Montrose. 9pm. Free entry. Support from Kit Clark (ex Danny Wilson).

Before I go, just a reminder to all you modern types that you can now keep up to date with Dropkick on Facebook and Twitter:
www.facebook.com/pages/Dropkick/37373050656?ref=ts
twitter.com/dropkickmusic

Ok, that’s all till next time.

Alastair Dropkick.

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