The Cherry Wave

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Your EP cover art reminded me of one of my old favorites, Aorta, (debut LP from a Chicago rock band in 1969) which featured, Michael Been, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club father and sound technician who passed away on tour in 2010. Been more famously formed and fronted San Francisco band, The Call, in the ‘80s. BRMC just released a cover of The Call’s Let The Day Begin as their new single in tribute.

Who created your cover art and what song would you cover and release as a single?

We made it ourselves. We had been throwing ideas around for the artwork for quite a while based around various photos I had taken and between all of us we hadn’t come up with anything we were all really happy with, but there was one particular photo we all really liked and wanted to fit into the finished art somewhere. It’s a photo I had taken out the window of my flat, looking down The River Clyde and onto the shipyards. On the cover that was eventually released that photo is the background image, you’d probably never know that’s what it was unless you were told though, but that’s what the background is. Then Billy (bassist) had the idea of just drenching the entire cover in one colour/tint and we decided we liked the pinkish version best of all the ones we tried. We’re really proud of the finished artwork. As for a cover we’d release, we’re possibly going to be putting out a cover of Blueprint by Fugazi at some point.

Blog founder and guv’nor, Thor, pointed out the nice melodic undercurrent in your songs. Bits of Creation Records forebears of “noise and melody” come to mind when listening. What are some sonic reference points that have influenced the band?

“That’s definitely something we were trying to get across, so we’re happy that it’s been noticed! It’s a repeating theme throughout everything we’re doing with the band. We wanted the artwork to be difficult to really tell what it is, or what’s going on and we wanted the music to be like that too. When Iain (our friend who produced/recorded and mastered it) asked what mood we were trying to convey with the EP, we told him to make it sound hazy and foggy, like a daydream. We wanted it to sound like what it feels like when you’ve been up for 24 hours and you think you’re hearing things and seeing things, but you’re not really sure whether you have or whether it’s the comedown and lack of sleep. We wanted to it to sound like an audio version of that feeling, 6am, sun rising, fuzzy headed, heavy eyelids. We put the melodic undercurrent in there to replicate that feeling.”

Are there any lost/forgotten Scottish shoegaze bands that Alan Mcgee may have overlooked or never quite got the break back in the day?

Nope, if they were there I think he would’ve found them. Although there’s a fantastic Shoegaze band from Glasgow called Ursula Minor that have been going a long time. Definitely a great band that people might not know about.

I LOVE your gear posting and I think you should print it onto a t-shirt for the merch table. How did you come to choose the Jazzmaster? Name a pedal you couldn’t live without?

“I personally chose it when I went out to buy my first ‘real’ guitar with the intention of buying a Red Fender Jaguar with matching red headstock, I was likely drawn to it because I’d seen Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr playing these weird looking guitars that looked melted. I had seen the Jag in a shop in town, but when I went to buy it someone else had gotten to it before me, so I picked up a sunburst Jazzmaster and it had such a warm, mellow sound, I fell in love with it instantly. I could talk all day about Fender ‘offset’ guitars, I’m a ridiculous obsessive in regards to them, and luckily everyone else in the band shares that obsession to some extent in that everyone (Including the drummer) owns at least one offset Fender. The songs we have couldn’t be played on any other type of guitar, because the magnificent tremolo arm that they have is used on almost every song we play. They, to me, are the perfect guitar. 

I’m also ridiculously obsessed with pedals and effects, but if I had to pick, something I couldn’t live without it’d be the Eventide Space, it’s an incredible reverb with lots and lots and LOTS of sounds available. Since I managed to pick up a second hand one It’s become absolutely integral to my guitar sound. I can sit at home and create sounds I like and thanks to the preset feature I can save those sounds and recall them instantly. It’s a great piece of kit. I’d also like to give a mention to the Smallsound/ Bigsound Fuck Overdrive, it’s an overdrive pedal that goes from beautiful low gain overdrive sounds to full on fuzz, but it also has a momentary switch that when you’re standing on it replicates a blown amp. Who would’t want to replicate that?!?!”

Where did the name, The Cherry Wave, originate?

I wanted something that sounded like it could’ve been the name of a 60’s U.S. drug cult haha. Like The Soft Parade and The Velvet Underground. Those names always make me think of groups of hippies that have dropped out and are living in a commune in California, getting wasted and talking about how the government are poisoning the drinking water.”

Any local bands we should tune into?

Lots yeah, but in particular I’d mention a band called The Yawns. They’re a sort of Guitar Pop band, a bit like Orange Juice. 

Any plans to hit the states?

“As soon as someone wants to pay to get us there. We’d struggle to afford to get the train through to Edinburgh right now. We’d absolutely love to play everywhere, but until we have a label that wants to pay for it or we win the lottery, it’s unlikely. :'(“

Pedro (end of part 1)

I keep accidentally typing ‘Cheery Wave’ – perhaps that is just me subconsciously channeling Mogwai’s  ‘A Cheery Wave to Stranded Youngsters”. That actually captures 2 of my thoughts about the EP.  The first is that the nice melodic bits sounds like this amalgamation of Mogwai/Gothenburg Address with a swirling Chapterhouse gloss. Why do you think no one has come along yet to knock Mogwai from their perch? After all, isn’t that what we expect our musical youngsters to do?

Well, we’ll take those references as a compliment, thank you! I primarily think no one has knocked Mogwai off ‘their perch’ because most of Glasgow’s ‘musical youngsters’ are too busy trying to sound exactly like early Mogwai., and it’s become tiresome and dreary to hear yet another Post-Rock band. It’s understandable because Mogwai have done amazing things and made incredible music, but you can go and see what is effectively a Mogwai tribute band playing practically every night in Scotland if you want. I’d quite happily never hear or see another dull Post-Rock by numbers quiet/louder/crescendo/quiet band ever again. Step away from the delay pedals folks, Post-Rock is dead.”

One the first concerts, Pedro and I attended together was a Chapterhouse reunion. We both left somewhat puzzled as to why it left such a bitter aftertaste. It wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t seem to be necessary. We happened to take in a show where this by the numbers (slow melodic constant vapid vocal drone) young LA opening act stupefied us.  We decided then and there that anyone stranded in that era should be outlawed. So when I suggested that Pedro handle this one he, at first, mistakenly assumed I was mocking his love of the 90’s. He kept sending links of bands that he felt sounded like The Cherry Wave and I kept writing back on why you actually sounded so much better.  What sorts of bands did you listen to ‘growing up’?

“I listened to lots of Hardcore growing up, lots of Black Flag, Void, Bad Brains, but the main soundtrack to my teenage years was Anarcho/Crust Punk music, bands like Crass, Anti-Sect, Flux Of Pink Indians and Rudimentary Peni were pretty much all I was interested in listening to/playing for a long time. Crass had a huge impact on everything in my life and I doubt I’d approach life or making music in the same way had I never discovered them. I suppose coming from a background like that, when I started The Cherry Wave I was maybe coming at it from a different angle than most people who start Shoegaze bands, who I’m assuming probably come from a more ‘Indie’ background.”

What’s your musical vision for the future?

“All we want is to create and to be productive, we want to keep releasing music and playing gigs, we don’t want to sit around waiting on anything. We recently added a third guitarist, and he’s bringing another texture to the sound, which is something we really focus on. We want all the instruments together to create a pleasing texture, a vast and dense one. A sound that you almost feel like you could reach out and touch. We’ll likely keep releasing short run EPs because we can only really afford to get into a recording studio in short bursts, but in an ideal scenario we’d have a label that would say “Right, we believe you can make something worthwhile, here’s the money for recording time, go and make an album”, but that’s highly unlikely.”

I am loving ‘Melt’ and its marriage of the vocals and melody. I like that you really have to struggle to hear the words and they work equally as a form of chant. Additionally, there is that bouncing effects wave toward the middle. I’ve never progressed past noodling with my ME70 and  M13, but I’ve spent enough time with them to sense that the musical effect waves are relatively easy to create – but controlling them and reigning them into something approaching structure is another matter altogether. Could you divulge a bit of your recording technique?

“That’s cool that you picked up on it sounding like a chant. That’s how Shoegaze should sound to us, like a branch of Psychedelia, a fuzzy wash of guitars and someone mumbling a chant in a cave haha, but the thing that makes it more interesting than just a trance inducing drone is the melody. All my favourite Shoegaze/Psych/Drone bands were masters of it, making songs super catchy, but at first listen you might not notice, it might just sound like a load of noise. The most beautiful things are sometimes the hardest things to find and we’ve hidden the beautiful things in amongst there, in the oblivion of the fuzz canyons and reverberated chants there are little pearls of beauty haha. As for the use of effects, we’re all pretty obsessed with gear and pedals, that particular sound you’re referring to in Melt is made with a Lovetone Meatball Envelope Filter, it’s like a triggered wah sound. So every time I’m playing a chord it’s making a weird, really short and quick wavy sound. It’s on almost all the way through the song, but it’s buried deep in the mix until that moment. Sadly, that will never be recreated live as the pedal belonged to the studio and I can’t afford to shell out £500 to make a weird noise (although I would if I could).”

I just came across the Deftones’ song ‘Cherry Waves’. Personally, I managed to ignore them pretty effectively myself so I would fully believe you if you said you’ve never seen this song.  On the other hand, perhaps saying this is the origin for your name will help you get a foothold in California one day.

 “Well, you’re not the first person to think we’re named after that song and if saying that’s where we got it means we get to play California then YES THAT’S WHERE WE GOT IT!!!! But, in the spirit of honesty, no we aren’t  named after the Deftones song. I had no idea they had a song called that, and with that, there goes our only opportunity of ever playing in America.”

Thor (end of part 2)

Hop on The Cherry Wave

 

 

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The Lost Church and the missing audience

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I’ve been meaning to go to San Francisco’s best kept secret for a few months now. Being the musical nit pick that I am, it took until last night. A mere 10 blocks or so away, this could well prove to become my second home. That is very much what it is – a lovingly crafted performance space that feels just like it was someone’s production oriented living room. I went to see Dominic East -1/3 of our very own Churches, with the idea of working that into our Chvrches coverage. Instead, I came away with a whole new respect and perspective on the power of the local indie scene. I’ve left the stage empty for now and will come back to the actual performance later. I’ve been disconcerted with my inability to see most of any of the bands that I’ve been covering and discovering (on a weekly basis). Part of the venue’s ethos is to provide “music good for the soul’. Walking back home down the 16th Street and Castro night club corridor put into perspective just how badly I needed to go. I’ve decided to continue to venture forth locally to uncover and share the ‘hidden’ talent right at my door step. Technically, we’ll create a separate section, page or even a twin blog. As I venture forth I will, of course, become known as the Scottish music guy and that leads to the second part of the post.

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While cleaning up the blog (adding tags and categories) I realized I had never posted an intended live review for Admiral Fallow who came to town back in October. This is the point to stop me from dredging forth knowing them since they were called … I was so excited about finally getting to see them,I didn’t give a second thought to matters like attendance. It never occurred to me that I could have an impact. Obviously, there is a reason all my photos were taken from the side of the stage – there couldn’t have been 20 people behind me. I realized, to my shame that night, that it could have been within my power to do something about that. I imagine that the other reason it never went up was that I was waiting for some question answers that never did show up. It really is a foolish thing to hope that time could be found to write responses during a tour. Perhaps the just coined adage ‘ask not what your band can do for our blog but what can our blog do for your band’ is best kept in mind. Realistically, the answer right now is – not much. We don’t need to worry about Frightened Rabbit’s success at filling up the Fillmore. Even though compared to New York, the Chvrches ticket sales seem sluggish, I’m pretty confident that it won’t end up being like the last Aereogramme show there. Writing that is my tacit admission that we won’t likely get through their press publicity storm – let alone get a response back.

The thing I was reminded of last night is that it doesn’t matter. I was reacquainted to a brand of American indie that I’ve unfairly been dismissive of due to my preference to the music of the U.K. I was also blown away by a local singer songwriter whose almost implausibly clever and beautiful turn of phrase should have him opening for Withered Hand’s next show.

It is time to start working on making the flow of music go both ways and,as an additional consequence, I might just be able to make a difference for the next band that somehow manages to make it over here. The Scottish coverage, by necessity, will primarily be about recorded music. For the sake of my musical soul, the coverage of the local scene will be center about live performances and the performance space itself.

For those readers who happen to find themselves in San Francisco, be sure to check out the calendar. Should something catch your eye, I can’t think of a single place that would provide a better evening out than the Lost Church.

Thor

Midge Ure Live (Jan 23rd)

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The Venue advertised it as “Midge Ure: the voice of Ultravox”.  While technically true, the set was a fairly representative slice of a 30 plus year career. One of my musical regrets was never having had the opportunity to see Ultravox perform live.

I imagine my first exposure would have been around the age of 17. Having only recently started a part time job after school, I was finally able to buy my first proper turntable and the records to go along with it. I distinctly remember being in the shop trying to choose between U2’s Boy and Rage in Eden. At the time, during the pre-internet dark ages, I knew nothing about either band. For some reason I decided to go with the Ultravox record. Naturally, this meant that the first song I ever heard was ‘The Voice’ and at that age one can well imagine what a profound, and as it turns out life long, impression that LP made. I did go back and pick up the U2 soon after, but that passion began to fade with Joshua Tree. Not so with Midge Ure. Those solo records continued to be a regular part of my life. Naturally, back catalogue and ‘side’ projects found their way into my collection

Coincidentally, I picked up a copy of Ure’s biography a few months ago but had not begun to read it until the show was announced a few weeks back.  It was interesting to read the behind the scenes information on all those releases that I had just dutifully purchased. It is rather astonishing just how much both artist and fan were at the mercy of the labels back then.  The occasional unarticulated misgivings  that I remember having at the time with a few of the releases make a good deal more  sense after the curtain was opened a little and some of the inner workings were revealed.

Midge was quite chatty in between songs, providing snippets of history spanning his entire career. While tuning, in between songs, he joked about the indignity of having to drive up in a van from Los Angeles. “I am a Rock star! I was in LIVEAID.”  Apparently the tour seems to have been a trial run, of sorts, for a potential full Ultravox tour. As Ure noted the band should be the recipient of an award for having unsuccessfully attempted to crack the North American market for the longest period of time.

In a way, the fact that the backing band wasn’t Ultravox and Ure used his guitar for every song turned what might have been an exercise in nostalgia into something unique and powerful. The guitar driven version of ‘Fade to Grey’ was a pleasant surprise. The rousing rendition of ‘The Voice’ toward the end followed by the single song encore of ‘Dancing with Tears in my Eyes’ was far more satisfying than I could have expected.

I hadn’t finished the book’s last few chapters until this evening. The positive, energetic experience that I had squares well with Ure’s expressed realization of the power of a more intimate connection with his fans. The reaction I witnessed to ‘Vienna’ was no different than the reaction to Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Keep Yourself Warm’. Personally, I don’t understand how either one makes for a very good sing along but the point is the deep emotional connection of the fans, for all intents and purposes, was the same.

Walking into the venue I was greeted with the Thompson Twin’s ‘Hold Me Now’.  I have this love– hate relationship with most of the decade. While waiting for the show, people around me are reminiscing about having recently seen the Human League and New Order and I’m thinking about how much I’m looking forward to seeing Chvrches in a few weeks time. Don’t get me wrong – my first CD was ‘Crash’ and I have a very vivid memory of listening and waiting for an American college radio station to play something from ‘Power Corruption and Lies’ in the summer of 1983. I just don’t understand how those of my generation stopped looking for new bands in 1989.

None of that has anything to do with my appreciation of the show. It’s my blog and that means I can vent whenever I want. I’ve never stopped being a fan of Midge Ure. Watching a few Slik videos for the first time  before the show, I was struck with how powerful the voice was even then. Finally hearing an artist whose songs have been inside my head most of my life was a moving experience. It was long overdue.

Even better– I’ve now got a fair bit of his soaring guitar to accompany it.

And, one day, I might just get to see Ultravox afterall.

Thor

The Deep Red Sky

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The blog has crossed some sort of threshold. We seem to have worked our way onto a list(s) of sorts and are starting to get some submissions. Yours was a very pleasant surprise. My initial reaction to listening to the first single ‘Zombies’ was fairly atypical – at 11 seconds in it was “Wow” and by the 20th second it was incontrovertible that I had to get the record and do a blog post. Usually I need to search for stuff this good and there it was in my inbox. I’m curious, how did you find glasGOwest?

 “Well first of all thanks. We’re glad you enjoyed the track. We always try to do something a bit different and unexpected with our songs so we’re glad it caught your ear.

We came across your blog a few months ago after searching for some blogs on the internet, but haven’t had anything to send to you until now! This has changed now though as we have a lot of releases planned over the rest of the year.

I then discovered that the pledge process was still ongoing. I just managed to get in on the top floor the day the project reached its goal. I wish one of the pledge music categories was Scottish indie. As a new and proud sponsor at the Ultimate Deep Red Sky Fan Pack level, I’m really looking forward to the vinyl. I sort of feel that there must be a net loss involved in that package somehow. Was the pledge drive mostly intended to help with the promotion?

“No, actually the Pledge Music campaign has been a valuable source of funding for us. The promotional advantages of the campaign were kind of a second thought. One of the main advantages of this type of campaign is that it allows us to get money from our fans up front so we can bulk buy all these lovely bits of merch everyone is waiting for. Pretty soon all these pieces of merch that we usually can’t afford will arrive and they will have already paid for themselves, which is quite a nice thought.”

‘Zombies’, on the surface is about, well zombies. I’m probably the most literal person in the world, so deconstructing these things proves difficult. Could you explain some of the subtext and intentions behind the song?

“The verses are about the bad things that can happen to you in life. Be it things people say to you or things just not going your way.  The “zombies” are the people and the things that keep you down.  This song is about two people looking out for each other through hard times and fighting against the “zombies”.

When is the official album release date? How much sooner might the pledgers be able to expect theirs?

“The album comes out on the 25th March. There, we said it. That means we have to stick to it. Up until now we have been deliberately keeping it vague so you kinda just landed an exclusive there. The pledgers are expected to get their stuff a week before that but we really want to show our appreciation to everyone who supported us so we’ll probably start sending things out the moment they arrive with us.”

I often ask about them, and certainly like reading about them, but what would you say is the real value in knowing a band’s musical influences? I’ve read, presumably penned by your selves, that they include Frightened Rabbit, Biffy Clyro and The Twilight Sad.

Influences are a bit of an arbitrary thing bands always seem to put in their bio’s but it gives people who come across you an idea of what your aiming for with your music.”

I have to confess that Frightened Rabbit did come to mind on the initial listen. However, I would characterize you as more laid back, focused and disciplined. Your use of the sound space is very subtle and effective. I’m really looking forward to the record. What other Scottish bands do you think helped shape your musical sensibilities?

“As we said, Twilight Sad are definitely up there! We played with them when we were under a different name a number of years back. They had this huge, spacious sound. I think we manage to do this at least a little in our own way now.

Biffy Clyro and Glasvegas are there as well, as their songs are so well-crafted. We spend a lot of time making sure we are happy with the structures of our songs, a lot of tinkering definitely goes on before we are happy putting something out there.”

I’m still getting used to the idea of ‘east’ and ‘west’ coast Scottish bands. Somewhere you are labeled as the former. Where is everyone from? Did geographic origin play any significant part in the band’s development?

“Well geographically we’re a mixed bunch. Jamie and Scott are Edinburgh (East Coast) born and bred while Jos comes from the borders and John comes from the tiny little village of Crawfordjohn which is lost in the very middle of Scotland but if you ask him he’s west coast and proud, despite having lived in Edinburgh for the past 6 years. Jesse on the other hand is an American from Buffalo NY. It’s hard to say how much geographic origin has influenced our music. There’s no doubt that the recent success of Scottish bands has influenced and inspired the whole music scene in the country so we would be naive to say it’s not had an effect on us. It could be argued that Scottish music has started to influence the rest of the world though. Jesse for example was a massive Frightened Rabbit fan even before she moved to Edinburgh.”

‘The Look on Your Face’ was tucked away on the pledge page. At first I thought it was on new record though now realize that it is in fact on the first EP. The ending on the song is excellent. So many bands seem to have forgotten how important that is. Could you share the TDRS philosophy on how to end a song properly?

“Finishing a song is a lot like making love to a beautiful woman, when it’s going to finish you better let the neighbours know about it. Hmm, can you post that??

We like the builds in our music and having the big pay-off at the end, be that a loud break or a catchy chorus.  Most of our songs then tend to wind down after that, a bit like a storm hitting, I guess. The storm doesn’t immediately end after its biggest bit, it has to wind down too.

“Look On Your Face” does this, but it also pretty much starts and ends at the same place. This goes with the sentiment of the words really. Things might be hard right now, but things aren’t going to stop around you. For good or bad, you have to just keep going and, you know, try make the best of it.

‘Look On Your Face’ will actually be included on the new album too, but it will be an all new recording featuring Jos and Jesse who both hadn’t joined the band when we recorded the first EP.”

What releases (Scottish – of course) are you most looking forward to this year?

” The release we’re actually looking forward to most this year is our friends Hagana’s album. David Chisholm of Hagana has done a massive amount of work producing our album which has sometimes got in the way of him working on his own album so it’s going to be great to see them finally release it. Hagana are a totally different style from us, up tempo riff driven 3 piece rock, but we’re all fans. It always bemuses us why they aren’t already huge.”

Our early posts contained an occasional non-Scot band. In the beginning we had no idea how receptive and open you lot would be and we feared we couldn’t generate enough content. Admittedly, it is a little bit of an angle – a blog daft enough to try and cover the Scottish music scene from abroad. But in reality, it is a reflection of my personal taste. There are so many past, current and up and coming bands to cover that at times it seems overwhelming. What do you think accounts for this prodigious Scottish musical output?

“Two things; the scenery and the weather. Scotland is such a beautiful, inspiring place to live. There is so much space and beautiful things to look at in our country, and I think you can hear this space and beauty in a lot of Scottish music currently. It is seems to be very popular with people across the planet.

The terrible weather adds enough melancholy to the mix, and obviously the time having to be spent in doors so we can get the tunes written!

This was quite a hard question to answer as we’re on the inside looking out. We are a small nation though, and it gives you a sense of pride to see our wee nation mixing it with the rest. Maybe it’s also because we’re so bad at football these days that we’ve focussed our efforts elsewhere?

Apparently, you are ‘big’ in Eastern Europe. Could you share an anecdote or two about your experiences playing there?

“Haha yes, the tour of Eastern Europe was a pretty amazing experience. We had no idea what to expect and that was probably a good thing. Our first night we ended up playing at and sleeping at a venue named Rog which turned out to be a squat set up in a disused factory in the middle of Ljubljana. You haven’t really experienced roughing it on a tour until you’ve woke up on your mattress on the floor to see that it’s started snowing through the window that doesn’t have any glass in it.

We couldn’t mention our Eastern European tour without mentioning Ljutomer in Slovenia though. This place was tiny but the whole town made us feel like super stars. Our posters seemed to be up everywhere and when we arrived at the venue we found they were holding a ‘whiskey night’ to celebrate the fact they had a Scottish band playing. The people there really know how to have a good time and it seems like pretty much everyone owns a vineyard and insists on you drinking their wine for free. We have so many friends in Ljutomer now, we would love to make it back over for a gig sometime.”

Could you give us a tip for an upcoming band or two we should keep our ears open for?

“Well we mentioned Hagana earlier on so check them out. The Red Show, a Glasgow band who will be joining us for both our Edinburgh launch night and Glasgow tour date have their own album coming out this year too which isn’t finished yet but from what we’ve heard of it, it’s going to be pretty special.”

Have you established an album release show yet and what is planned after that?

“Yes. The album launch night is going to be at Cabaret Voltaire in Edinburgh on the 23rd of March. After that we are doing a tour that will take us around the UK. We’re hoping to announce the dates at the end of the month once we have all the details ironed out but right now it’s looking like at least a 10 date tour that will see us playing a lot of cities for the first time. So we really can’t wait to get out on the road!”

Listen for yourselves: Not literally about Zombies Afterall

Jackson Hall (Matthew Riley from Cancel the Astronauts)

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On to some new music. I’ve recently been sent a link to check out a solo project from Matthew Riley. Not being able to just buy it, I actually had to listen to it. Any one familiar with the blog can appreciate that we could have called it the ‘Cancel The Astronauts Fanpage’. In a bit of a minimalist twist, I had the time to fire off a single question and got back two answers.

What was the inspiration and motivation to release these solo songs?

“Very quickly: I had lots of piano songs that CTA refused to use and I thought they were too good to let disappear. Hence ‘lost’ love songs!”

“Longer: CTA didn’t want these songs so I thought I’d release them myself. I wanted to make them as un-CTA like as possible, hence the piano and strings. I wanted it to be clear, short, simple and natural. All the songs are really just the same song and all the albums will really just be the same album. I wanted to create a beautiful, elegant collection of songs with a flow and just one theme: love. Without trying to be witty, clever or funny. Just direct and honest. This was the most ‘not cancel the astronauts’ that I could think of making them, without resorting to space jazz. The plan is to release all three of them in 2013 in very low number (maybe 100?) and sell physical copies only through record shops, as I won’t be gigging them. Hope you like them!”

Awaiting my Seafieldroad order, I’ve recently become more open to piano and voice.

Well worth a listen: Jackson Hall

But when will you actually listen to all the music?

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I’ve taken advantage of a few generous bundle sales lately; entire back catalogues at Christmas prices. I’m running into something that’s been bothering me for months now. I’ve become pretty adept at buying but really falling behind at listening and, even worse, enjoying what I have.

The first step of the solution is to ditch itunes and flac all the CDs into the ‘Scotstunes’ folder. I’ve been avoiding this musical restructuring for a long time. Halfway in the results are interesting. Of all the old mp3 files I’ve found lurking about only a small percentage were actually Scottish. Most of it wouldn’t be missed if deleted. While my musical tastes have not really made a seachange, they have become very much aligned with and finely attuned to Scottish indie.

I’ve toyed with the idea of listening to and buying nothing but Scottish music for a year. Rather silly and, in a way, it’s happening naturally anyway. I visited the revamped Avalanche website today and found that I had all but one title from the initial Scots indie selection. Apparently, even though it may be considered blasphemous in certain circles, I’m just not a fan of Paul Buchanan’s voice.

Features have become sporadic partly because the distance is becoming slightly oppressive. The price of Scottish musical knowledge is not really ever getting to see what I’ve come to love. I get to see Frightened Rabbit again in March. I saw them back in November. I’m not begrudging them their success, but I’d really like it if some of it would rub off on a few others.

For me, there is no recourse but to dive even deeper into the music. The hook and the rewards are too deep.

More interviews are certainly forthcoming. Apparently a few people are reading and this year promises to be as good a release year as the last was. Looking back, it was rather phenomenal.

Who else is going to remind people that they still need to listen to Ballboy or that they really should have some Geneva in their collection?