Friday 28 January 2011

Your New Favourite Band - Sneaky Pete's Edinburgh 8 Jan 2011

Although Tam’s Railways (photo by Evan Wilson Photography) have played several shows since they lost their lead guitarist, Bainbridge’s 'Your New Favourite Band' marked their official relaunch as a three-piece, with new songs and reworkings of old songs to accommodate the power trio line-up.

Opening the night was Seneka, who have supported Biffy Clyro and the Bluetones with their confident widescreen rock sound. It is certainly difficult to doubt the ambitious four-piece's commitment to their songs- almost everything they played felt fully-formed and well-written, with three-part harmonies and big choruses all over the place. However, after a few numbers, the absence of a distinct, core sound started to become seriously apparent. Being a chameleon band can work (Primal Scream or Blur, for instance), but in Seneka's case it was slightly to the detriment of the songs themselves. At times aiming for Biffy Clyro aggression, at times an almost Wilco-like sensitivity, at others just aiming for flat-out Nickelback-sized rock, the result was a sound that fully attained none of these different goals. There were still many enjoyable songs in the set though, with ‘Humble & The Frauds’ and [what I think was called] ‘Salisbury Heights’ providing swooning, epic heights. Seneka aren't quite there yet, but some day they're going to be a very good rock band- check out their Myspace for some tracks.

Next up were Montrose-based blues rock duo Ghosts Of Progress, who were interviewed last year for Taking to the stage with a faintly intimidating quietness, they wasted no time in launching into a brutal ‘Bitch In Heat’, the opening track of their recent LP Exchange Your Problems For Dope And Whiskey, released on Motor Sound records. Vocalist Lew Palgrave's floor drum-kit instantly turned heads, as did his howling, brutal vocal performance on the electric ‘Free Dumb’. The band held together a violent, chaotic and yet mercilessly tight set, with minimal stage banter but maximum presence, pulling no punches in showing the crowd what makes them such a unique and blistering live act. Their album is thoroughly recommended.

The evening’s headliners proved worthy successors. Tam’s Railways’ cheeky playground-punk was augmented by the use of a new band uniform (black skinny jeans all round) and their abundance of stage presence. Bassist Gordon’s fingers hop-scotched across the fret-board with grace and ease, even while singing backing vocals. Save for a few salvaged fan favourites like ‘Stay Wise’ and set-opener ‘Man Up The Stairs’, the band have written an all new set. The new tunes incorporate the use of three-part vocals, a harmonica headset used by either Gordon or lead singer/guitarist Leigh, and in one song a highly technical approach to alternative solo sections – taping a kazoo to the side of the microphone. The new songs created mixed reactions from the audience, the highlight being smile-a-long jingle ‘Cream of the Crop’, with drummer Innes providing skilful and precise use of the kit, even with a microphone in his face. Unfortunately not all of the new tunes were quite as well-defined and listenable, and some of them fell a little flat. But the band have enough technical skill and originality to continue to write great songs until their set turns a nice golden brown.

Stewart McLachlan and Myke Hall

Monday 24 January 2011

News: Jan 2011 is proud to have participated in the 2010 Scottish Blog And Music Site award (BAMS), where bloggers, contributors and webmasters vote for their favourite albums of the year. The BAMS award is coordinated by Lloyd Meredith of the notable Scottish music blog Peenko. The top fifteen albums of 2010, as voted by Scotland’s online reviewers, are:
  1. The National - High Violet
  2. Admiral Fallow - Boots Met My Face
  3. Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry
  4. Frightened Rabbit - The Winter of Mixed Drinks
  5. Kid Canaveral - Shouting at Wildlife
  6. The Phantom Band - The Wants
  7. The Arcade Fire - The Suburbs
  8. The Last Battle - Heart of the Land, Soul of the Sea
  9. Broken Records - Let Me Come Home
  10. Bronto Skylift - The White Crow
  11. Beach House - Teen Dream
  12. The Fire & I - Stampede Finale
  13. Sufjan Stevens - Age Of Adz
  14. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
  15. Best Coast - Crazy For You
The top 30 are available from the Peenko blog and the logo was designed by Struan Teague.

Privilege Promotions have organised an acoustic gig at Wee Red Bar on Fri 28th Jan 2011. The gig will be free entry and include acoustic performances from Ratson, The Aspect, Jason Kyrone, Paul Harthill, Sweep Across Horizons and My Electric Love Affair.

Edinburgh businessman Keith Easton and his company Identity Parade Arts Limited are “well underway” with plans to open a new “creative hub” in Edinburgh, combining a rehearsal space, recording studio, cafĂ©/bar, photography studio, music shop and a CD duplication and printing facility into one convenient location. Easton said “having lived in ‘The Festival City’ of Edinburgh all my life, I want to create a facility that will complement the vibrant and eclectic social scene of Scotland’s Capital City.” The company is working with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and approaching Voluntary Arts Scotland, Creative Scotland and The Cultural Enterprise Office to help with funding. For more information or to offer advice for funding options visit Identity Parade Arts.

The newly formed Olive Grove Records have announced the release of the debut album by The Son(s). The Sons were a three piece band from Edinburgh, who split up and moved to different places. The Son(s) – with added parentheses, is the recording name of the band’s one remaining member, Karl, who now lives in the North East of Scotland. The self-titled album will be available from 7th March 2011 on CD and for download. The debut single ‘Radar’ is available now on iTunes, and the lead track ‘Dogs, Boys & Men’ is available for free download via Bandcamp.

Edinburgh prog-rock group Midas Fall will soon be releasing a new EP, and are asking their fans to decide which song from their debut album Eleven Return & Revert to remix for the album. You can vote in their online poll or leave a comment on their Facebook page. Voters will also be submitted into a prize draw to win a Midas Fall t-shirt.

Myke Hall