• Sauza Kings – ‘The Suaza Kings’ – White Label

    28. Sep. 2012, 4:03

    Fife’s own brooding rock behemoths in waiting, the Sauza kings released their debut album digitally in mid-June with very little fanfare or back-story; all four members are seasoned veterans with experience on the UK live circuit; but until recently S.K. had been nothing but a studio project with lots of latent promise (recorded in consultation with Foo’s engineer Ian Beveridge; and mastered at Adam Smith College state of the art studios). So with little in the way of precedence or hype to cloud the listeners judgement, the music has to speak for itself.

    They wear their influences on their sleeves; effortlessly channelling and blending shades of dessert rock forbearers Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age; the infectious hooks and anthemic elements of The Foo Fighters; with creeping shadowy hints of the gravelly post-grunge musings of former Screaming Tree, Mark Lanegan and a tacit nod to world-weary bar-hopping troubadour Tom Waits, albeit backed by a slab of rock guitar and loaded swagger.

    The Sauza Kings is a tightly wound, super-charged affair; clocking in at approx. 45min, but flying by in an instant; as the heavily layered undertow of baritone intoning and compressed beefy riffs coalesce with a heavy driving rhythm, which grabs and shake you by the lapels, without letting you stop for breath…like a shot of their name sake tequila, the pounding rock anthems served up, will leave you dizzy and intoxicated; and as shot after shot’s keeps flowing in relentless fashion; the worm will rear its ugly head, as the ethanol’s dangerous effect looms large. Perhaps ‘Hidden Ghost’ lands the toxic bite; with its brooding characteristics, warped synth, shifting dynamic riffage and overall nihilistic devil may care attitude that perfectly typifies their brand of dynamic alcohol soaked, psychedelic stoner-rock.

    Although Fife may not have realised they where crying out for a band to shake the firmament of complacency in the rock-sphere, they’ve non the less been given a shot in the arm in shape of Sauza Kings; providing a heady soundtrack for ardent rockers, restlessly calling tequila come closing time...

  • The Twilight Sad, People, Places, Maps and Astrid & Quinn – The Jam Jar –…

    14. Feb. 2012, 6:42

    Sat 4 Feb – The Twilight Sad, People, Places, Maps, Astrid & Quinn

    The Jam Jar (situated upstairs from Sinkys), is Dunfermline’s newest gig venue, with apparent lofty ambitions judging by the eclectic mix of Comedy & Music it’s booked in its nascent period - usually the preserve of venues a hop, skip & a jump across the water. Assumably the Jam Jar is a former function room, decked out with PA & fitting transforming it into a gig venue; which considering the current climate for pubs & venues struggling to keeps their heads above water, it’s a wonder that more establishment owners don’t make their function rooms available to budding promoters looking for a chance to prove themselves.

    So to the music and the opening act, the Dunfermline based Astrid & Quinn come across as a more opaque Glasvegas, with rousing choruses and touches of The National & Broken Records with post-rock elements, their is sound steeped in reverb & delay and awash with atmospheric synth & guitars. Overall they put in a solid performance, save for some ill-advised injection of electronic-keyboard into the mix that doesn’t gel or come across well through the PA.

    Being on home-turf no doubt helped People, Places, Maps put in an energetic crowd-pleasing performance with their front-man leading-the charge for acceptance & giving it his all; however going against the grain of the clearly enthralled P.P.M. contingent, I felt their sound to be in the vein of Snow-Patrol indie-rock by numbers, although they had some original elements & where a dynamo of energy & well timed posturing, it felt like it was missing a vital ingredient & it all wore a bit thin after a-while, as I yearned for the genuine heart-on sleeve raw-emotion that was soon to be upon us, served up as only James Graham and The Twilight Sad could embody.

    It may have been my imagination, but the crowd seemed to have thinned slightly near the front (although still pretty full from front to back) before the ‘Sad take stage in typically sonically-intense fashion, as a lurching malevolent wall of sound descends, the brooding yet understated James Graham seems to be immediately transfixed and caught up in the bands dominant soundscape - delivering his dark enigmatic verse, eyes firmly shut & at times seemingly oblivious to the audience, who’s equally transfixed by him.

    Starting in strong fashion with ‘Kill It in the Morning’ they play large swathes from their new album ‘No One Can Ever Know’ with their new record overseen & anti-produced by Andrew Weatherall; taking cues from the likes of Depeche Mode & NIN not to mention a slew of Post-Punk & electronic pioneers as the band drift into synth inflected waters, without forgoing their signature wall of sound, clashing violent coruscating guitars, and folk-tinged heart.

    The new material which works well in a live-setting & is punctuated by tracks from their last couple of L.P.s such as the heavily paranoid distillation of ‘Reflection of the Television’ & the ever-potent ‘Cold Days from the Birdhouse’ & ‘And She Would Darken the Memory’ where the potent mix of James saturnine demeanour, thickly accented phrasing & pernicious mysteriously dark lyrics come to the fore, as his Scottish raw-rasp scraps, gnaws & gnashes through the thick haar & seemingly impenetrable layers of sound; giving a most emotionally fraught delivery, which can’t fail to move and overpower everyone in the room. As a UK, European & American Tour beckon I fully expect them to leave an equally lasting impression on familiar & uninitiated ears!

  • 'Elegy for Jackie Leven'-Interview(+LivePerformance)Fife Acoustic Music Club Oct 09

    23. Nov. 2011, 23:33

    The Late, Jackie Leven shares his wise; wonderful & witty words with me, during the interval of his performance at the Fife Acoustic Music Club (Polish Club 22/10/09) - which proved to be a memorable home-coming gig; during our chat he gives a candid insight into his itinerant lifestyle; troubled past & relationship with Fife, his introduction to music in his formative years, touching on his Romany heritage - the colourful reasoning for choosing his first pseudonym John St Field, Doll By Doll’s antagonism relationship with Punk and his respect for his Label Cooking Vinyl.

    He truly was one of Fife’s greatest musical exports; an engaging raconteur, a gentleman & prolific & consummate musician of the highest order. I'm sure he'll be greatly missed by all who met him & were touched by his music.

    Sadly there will be no Encore - RIP Jackie Leven…“Bury me in the Village Square; where I can hear the feet of the children and the drums of the old men”.

    Link to Mixcloud(Harknessian) Interview & Performance
    Jackie Leven Interview
  • FOUD - Martin Johnn Henry - Man Without Machines - The Strangers Almanac - Dexters…

    2. Okt. 2011, 2:17

    Thu 22 Sep – Found, Martin John Henry, The Strangers Almanac, Man Without Machines

    My first impressions of Dundee’s Dexters Bar is a dark but anything but dingy venue, incorporating impeccable sound with a well light & laid out stage; tonight hosting an eclectic bill full of promise - put together by Something Going On & Manic Pop Thrills presents.

    The Strangers Almanac kick of proceeding with a nuanced and understated performance of twee-pop compositions; consisting of Gord Matheson on delicate vocal delivery(reminiscent of fellow Dundonian stalwart Esperi) & acoustic guitar, aided & abetted by associate Avril on a host of rich tonal instruments(comprising of Mandolin; Viola, Accordion etc.) not to mention backing vocals, all of which adds texture and atmospheric elements to their endearing performance. There’s more than a touch of Ballboy influence in their M.O. which is imbued with a typically Scottish undercurrent of humour, typified on ‘People Don’t Go To Nightclubs (till after Midnight)’ - which captures a particular, peculiar observational nod and fleshes it out into fully fledged lament to quiet, come dead-end nights, in less than salubrious surroundings, tapping into a rich heritage, which romanticises the mundane but maintains a wry sense of humour throughout.

    Next in-line for the expectant audience, the long awaited return of former De Rosa front-man Martin John Henry, who over the past few months has collated an impressive array of familiar musicians to bring his debut album (the predominantly solo performed ‘The Other Half of Everything’) to life on a live-platform; bringing in former band-mate Chris Connick on bass - Reindeer from the much missed Mitchell Museum on rhythmic/percussive duties and Paul Mellon(F.O. Machete) completing the line-up on guitar.

    The crowd instantly warm to the newly aired material which is in turn equally well received by Martin & Co. Opening number ‘First Light’ sets the tone, utilizing well-crafted song-writing augmented by taught rhythms, weaved amongst intricate guitar motifs and loud fuzzy guitar tones – ‘Ribbon on a Bough’ takes a slightly different approach with its irresistible upbeat anthemic feel (kudos to Martin’s multitasking dexterity, playing guitar & synth left-handed, eliciting a cheeky accomplished smile) - with one foot firmly in the pop camp it’s sure to set toes tapping; set closer ‘There’s a Phantom Hiding In My Loft’ is probably the pinnacle, a dark brooding song, employing post-rock dynamics and lyrical intrigue – overall their set leaves us with a delectable taste of what to expect from their forthcoming release.

    Man Without Machines are a Dundee 5-piece encompassing a pacey electro-pop sound, drawing heavily on 80’s new-wave influences and sharing a similar odd & sods eclectic vibe with Mitchell Museum and even shades of mid 00’s Welsh waifs The Automatic (although without the over-eager quirkiness). Replete with synths & sequencers but with the a full-throttle rock dynamic, their heavy-bass rumble and insistent groove drives forward their short & sharp tunes with a sparky performance to match, maintaining a relentless rapid rhythm, throughout their enjoyable set.

    Found can be an unpredictable entity in terms of their live approach to performance, waxing and waning between obscure electronic noodling & folktronica indie fusion – tonight’s performance (their debut Dundee gig) sees them on sterling and startling form; having scaled down to a three piece in recent years, they ably make such a big and vibrant sound that truly belies their sparse personnel; Ziggy takes the lead with his distinctive raspy and sonorous vocals and quirky, idiosyncratic writing & compositions style - all driven forward by processed beats and digitised synth, bleeps & glitches; cleverly sewn together by some impeccably steady and engaging bass-lines.

    Tonight’s set features heavy rotation of the bands first Chemikal Underground offering factorycraft – save for a surprising Cate le Bon cover (who recently graced the shores of Anstruther for Homegame) and a heckling history lesson; with Dundee having the dubious honour of being home of the first-noted heckle(although tonight’s timid offering were no doubt sub-par by comparison) – set-highlights include ‘You’re No Vincent Gallo’ which tells the tale of a girl obsessed with the art-house icon, leaving our poor protagonist’s efforts wanting, in light of the impossible perceived shadow he subsists in. ‘Johnny, I Can’t Walk The Line’ which dynamically and stylistically see-saws throughout, providing a fair distillation of FOUND’s oeuvre. ‘Let Fidelity Break’ changes pace again with interweaving house-beats in a Hot-Chip type fashion which could easily fill the empty dance-floor’s which The Strangers Almanac allude to.

    FOUND must be enjoying the set as much as tonight’s crowd, as we’re greeted to an impromptu encore in the shape of ‘Lowlandless’ which goes down a storm, sealing the deal in the eyes of the Dundee audience. All in all, a resounding success for all concerned parties, as the venue; promoters, bands and audience synergistically coalesce, having each partaken in a memorable gig.


  • Limbo – Voodoo Rooms 1-6-11 – Eagleowl – The Scottish Enlightenment – Silver Fox

    11. Jun. 2011, 22:25

    Wed 1 Jun – Limbo

    I’m embarrassed to say, this is the first of me venturing on the comparably short journey from Fife to the ‘burgh, to experience the now established and highly respected Limbo at The Voodoo Rooms; with an assured quality controlled and consistent line-up - tonight was to prove no exception, as the amusingly self proclaimed “Anti-Drumcore” stalwarts Eagleowltake the well earned headline slot supported by an ensemble cast of bands and musicians.

    Opening the bill are an act who’s name belies their charming youthful vigour; not to mention gender – Newcastle’s Silver Fox grace the stage with a lo-fi setup and charmingly intricate, intertwining melodies; set against a befittingly rudimentary garage-rock clatter, they surf a new-wave of garage meets bubble-gum pop; taking their cues from the female-punk mould such as The Raincoats, The Slits and the likes of Shonen Knife and Electrolane …with a tinge of The Velvet Underground not to mention more contemporary acts such as The Pipettes through to The Lovely Eggs.

    ‘Waves on in’ however bucks their noisnik trend with use of an ocarina and micro-keyboard, probably owing more to the slow-core brethren that may well have played on overwhelming influence on tonight’s headliners: Low. Over-all an impressive showing for the bands first gig, out with their Tyneside locality.

    Having not seenThe Scottish Enlightenment since the Fife four-piece enriched the eclectic Tigerfest 08 (Carnegie Hall shows), where their songs owed a fair debt to Steven Malkmus et al. (albeit, augmented by a string quartet at the time…) – but now their sound has matured into a languid sprawling sonic wonderland (more akin to Day Dream Nation era Sonic Youth, than spiky Pavement motifs). David Moyes song-writing relies heavily on Biblical imagery and religious associations and the disaffection thereof; he intones on ‘Bible in Hand’: “I changed my plans and it fell on the floor, I still went to church with anger and mirth, I taught Sunday school and my cup was full, my spirit is blackening fast” from the aptly titled album St.Thomas.

    Without any doubt the enlightened quartet set the mood of the night nicely, with a textured sound aided by their 5-String bass maestro; who throws in a few interesting chords amongst the understated but engaging squall of guitars and David’s dark drawl.

    As the headliners creep on stage and ease into their set; the room falls into a hush as we fall into a hypnotic gaze with the band enshrouded in shadows and psychedelic fractals cast by the video backdrop helping to augmenting the enchanting sounds.

    Tonight’s incarnation of Eagleowlare made up of a Cellist; Double-Bassist, Violinist/guitarist, Drummer (shock-horror) and flanked by the unassuming but inimitable Bart-Owl on guitar/lead vocals who subtly leads the line; helping to creating a lattice work of sound and interchanging nuanced elements, as the percussionist makes deft use of brushes and beaters; the Double-Bass, Cello and violin gently weave in and out, and Bart and D’ Bassist Clarisse’s voice meld perfectly, all adding to a beguiling effect on the enraptured audience.

    Were greeted with a string of new songs tonight (or at least a few songs I fail to recognise), so when they break out the likes of ‘Blanket’ and ‘Into the Fold’ from the EP of the same name, they’re greeted with hearty applause - as we reach the finale of the set and the final as yet unnamed song, they dispense with their staple slow-core form, suddenly metamorphosing into a post-rock juggernaut as the drums finally come to the fore, astride an ever building crescendo of guitar and strings; surprisingly raising the roof of The Voodoo Rooms; leaving some patrons somewhat shell-shocked but ultimately satisfied at this fitting turn of pace and tone.

    With that rushing wave of sound - I’m carried into the crisp Edinburgh night running; the last-train looming and time ticking - only to be thwarted by the ever-present and much maligned tram-works…I end up ruing the unwanted obstruction but relishing the lasting impression Limbo has left on me and surely all those in attendance.

    Harky – 11/06/11

    ITM Review

    Silver Fox - Interview

  • 'Back To The Future ' - The Vaselines - Interview(Eugene Kelly)

    20. Jul. 2010, 1:06

    As the Vaselines reconvene with their ridiculously long-awaited second album ‘Sex With an X’ (20 years in the making); rekindling their preoccupations with sex and religion, a fully fledged UK tour awaiting - I thought it’d be a good time to reflect back on 2008 as Frances McKee and Eugene Kelly (with a little help from a cross-section of Belle & Sebastian members) had just completed their second gig in approx. 20 years as part of Tigerfest ‘07 at Dunfermline’s Carnegie Hall…heralding their triumphant return to the Scottish music scene, and beyond.

    Eugene candidly takes me through the details of their reformation while touching on The Vaselines and their peers’ kinship with America’s alt.rock misfits and bearers of the grunge movement, the nature of their longevity and why they thought the time was right to re-launch The Vaselines in their present form.

    itm? - How did the performance go?

    E.K. - It was pretty good…I think, I enjoyed it; we all enjoyed it…don’t know if they enjoyed it?

    itm? - Is it good to be back after all these years as a proper entity?

    E.K. – Yeah it’s great to play the songs - Frances and I haven’t played the songs, as a band for 20 years so it’s good to go back, and a lot of the songs we didn’t play live as they were recorded for the album and we didn’t get the chance and never really played them like the album version, were doing the album version of the songs rather than the pared-down Vaselines sound that we used to have.

    itm? - You played recently in Glasgow…

    E.K. - Yeah, we played recently at a sort of charity show for an orphan support group in Malawi which Frances’ sister had organised; she asked us to play separately, but we thought we’d play some songs as The Vaselines, but I said I’d only want to do it if we could get a big band together and really wanted to ‘rock-out’ and make it sound as good as possible.

    itm? - Was that gig the catalyst for how you ended up getting back together?

    It was, that and the fact that Sub Pop asked us to play their 20th birthday party (they put out our records in the USA) - we weren’t sure we were going to do it… then it just all fell into place at the same time, then we said we might be able to do it…then we played the charity gig, and thought “we can play, we’ve got a band now” – it’s all just luck and chance and things fell into place.

    itm? - How did the collaboration with members of Belle and Sebastian come about?

    E.K. - I’ve know them for over 10 years; I know them as friends, I just thought they’re the perfect people to do it - they’re really professional, they can learn songs really quickly and they know what they’re doing - they were the first people I thought of.

    itm? - Did they ever mention if your music had been an influence on them?

    E.K. I’ve no idea, I just thought it be really painless, we’ll just get in the room and play the songs –that’s the way it was, they’re really good players – we didn’t have to take a long time learning them, we just played them.

    itm? – Can you tell me a bit about your lyrical content?

    E.K. - A lot of the songs are just us being really childish and juvenile, we’re sort of like the kid that stands at the party shouting rude words instead of eating the jelly - a lot of the songs are about smutty things and influenced by ‘Carry On’ and comedians, it might be a bit odd to play them now… I mean they’re not that childish, a couple of them are sort of anti-religious songs as well, which I’ve been into for years.

    itm? - Are there any parallels between yourself and bands the like the Pixies, making quite odd leftfield pop tunes?

    E.K. – Not in terms of sound, I think we’re sort of the dark undercurrent to the humour; I like to think we’re doing our thing - we’re doing our own thing much like the Pixies…

    itm? – Can you tell me about your relationship (along with your West Coast peers) with the American alt.rock scene and your close link to Nirvana especially - what were your thoughts at the time?

    E.K. – I think ‘cause we all grew up together (we all met in our early twenties in Glasgow) a lot of the music we were interested in the 80’s was America music (a lot of the interesting stuff: Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Nirvana, Mudhoney, Pavement). There was a kind of meeting of minds from people – people in Seattle and New York and Glasgow all seemed to have a connection, understanding what we were trying to do, trying to be different, not trying to follow the status quo… I think that was the connection, it wasn’t even so much musical - it was more cultural; you just knew you were outsiders, you just wanted to make your own music and not be affected by what was going on in the charts.

    itm? - Do you think it had a knock-on effect, your songs’ inclusion on the Nirvana albums in terms of people seeking you out - did that make a big difference to your longevity and listenership?

    E.K. – Of course, if Nirvana hadn’t recorded Vaselines songs, I wouldn’t be here; I wouldn’t be doing shows later in the year in Seattle and New York - The Vaselines would just be another indie band from the 80s who put out a couple of records and disappeared. We wouldn’t be getting back together -Nirvana’s support and patronage has kept the band in the public eye, kept attention on us for years and years… there’s fans throughout the world who would never have heard us otherwise, a lot of people have heard their versions then went to investigate the Vaselines songs (to differing reactions). It’s definitely expanded our fanbase.

    itm? - What about the advent of the internet and digital music forms of music? Has this bolstered older and more obscure bands’ status, allowing them to be discover/re-discovered helping their fan-base to grow and grow?

    E.K. - It must have, before if you were some obscure band that split up 20 years ago, you’d have to track down them on vinyl in some record shop and maybe it’d be released on CD if you were lucky…but now you can go online and listen to some tracks and download them if your want or go out and buy them (jocular reiteration – Go out and buy them…)

    itm? - What about your collaborations with your peers (BMX Bandits,Teenage Fanclub, The Pastels etc.) at the time, can you tell me a bit about that?

    E.K. - We didn’t grow up in the same place, I met up with Norman from T.F.C. and Douglas from the ‘Bandits, in my early 20’s - I grew up in Glasgow and they grew up in Bellshill and we met through Francis. I ended up playing in the BMX Bandits and the Pastels for a while after The Vaselines split up… it’s good to be in bands with friends.

    itm? - It must have been good to have such influential peers, you’ve all gone on and done interesting stuff.

    E.K. – We’ve all kept going, lots of people can’t continue doing music; but do other stuff, but a lot of us have just kept going, purely by luck and a bit of good fortune, being able to make a living out of it and forge a career - I think we’re the lucky ones cause we’re the ones things happened for us, that allowed us to keeping on doing it for the last 20 years.

    itm? - Do you see yourself recording again, or keeping on the moniker of The Vaselines as something that could continue in the future?

    E.K. - I don’t know, all we’re going to do now is look forward to playing Seattle and New York in July, we haven’t talked about it, so I can’t say - we’ll see what happens after we play Seattle and see what we feel like.

    Thankfully two years down the line a decisive Vaselines have a new album that has been primed and full-tour booked - and not a moment too soon.

    * The band also come full circle and open for Mudhoneyat Edinburgh’s Picturehouse, on August 9th.
    By Harky
  • Tigerfest – Carnegie Hall 21/05/2010 – Fence Collective Night

    14. Jun. 2010, 5:47

    Fri 21 May – Tigerfest-Dunfermline-Friday

    Tonight’s Tigerfest - Carnegie Hall showcase; follows neatly on from last nights Focus on Fife 2010 line-up (headlined by Fence inspired sextet - Ambulances), as the East Neuk ensconced, inspirational and pioneering DIY proponents The Fence Collective (who are known to encompass musicians from far beyond the confines of Fife’s borders…) present three of their most industrious troubadours, including Fence head-honcho and most prolific and renowned standard bearer - King Creosote himself.

    Taking stage first, the unassuming Rozi Plain; hailing from Bristol, where Fence’s musical tentacles have reached out to a fellow collective of musicians founded by Rozi - Cleaner Records collective. Rozi Plain’s minimalist elegance is enriched by her beautifully poignant warm vocal intones and subtle guitar picking and progressions; occasionally backed by an even shyer cohort on violin. Her warmth and mellifluent influence, issues a soothed and subdued; but no less appreciative response from the attentive audience, as we’re all lulled by Rozi’s spellbinding ballads.

    Having been privileged enough to have recently attended Fence’s jewel in the crown - the incomparable [event=]Homegame[/event], I caught amongst a slew of great acts, the outstanding and unique Withered Hand - enrapturing a packed out Town Hall; bolstered by his sonorous and equally distinctive comrade - Neil Pennycook from Meursault. First and foremost, what grabs you about WH is Dan Wilson's fragile and fraught voice, juxtaposed to his lyrics which contain real bite and are loaded with pain, dark-humour and irony in equal measures. With religion playing such a huge part in shaping the nature of his songs, it's no surprise that 'Religious Songs' proves a set highlight, epitomising Dan's troubled relationship with his former creed – with Neil P. absent from proceedings tonight, WH distinctly brilliant percussionist Alun Thomas provides a wonderful job of augmenting his soaring vocals alongside Cello player Hannah Shepherd’s sweet whispers and Dan’s rasp, as it all converges in poignant and powerful fashion. The set stand-out proves a close call between the near revered 'No Cigarettes' and ‘Beautiful Lie’ (A song that’s clearly not just for Christmas...) which proves to be the closing piece and perhaps the peak – though they both elicit genuine shivers of delight - surely raising hairs on the back of necks all around the hall, with pure and heartfelt sincerity coming to the fore. Tonight’s performance leaves me completely enthralled; cementing Dan’s place as one of the most talented songwriters amongst Fence’s ranks.

    KC’s arrival on Carnegie Hall’s grand and spacious stage, accompanied only by an accordion; may seem an ostensibly audacious move, but armed as he is with an abundance of unquestionably endearing songs and a crystal clear, velvet like voice, imbued with distinctive character, your soon transfixed and overcome by the intimacy of the performance - as if he’s playing in your front room, regaling you with anecdotes and disarming humour. The 1st quarter of the set, sees Kenny’s accordion centred set-list include the likes of ‘Leslie’ - ‘Missionary’ - ‘Home in A Sentence’ then were treated to a humorous homage to Greece (Kenny’s relates his favourite films of which Greece and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang rate above all else) lines such as “I’ve seen Greece maybe 8, maybe 9 times…” and the refrain “Your Not the one that I want, Your not the one that I want…” are greeted with much hilarity – in sharp contrast, the beautifully melancholic ‘My Favourite girl’ with its plaintive and heart-wrenching overture, exposes Kenny’s song-writing at its most poignant. As the accordion makes way for the guitar, the eclectic feel continues as ‘Counselling’ flows into ‘Beautiful Mistakes’ then a new song rears its head - ‘We’re fae’ Fife’ a slightly acerbic nudge and wink to all Fifers who’ve had the sincere misfortune of seeing the misguided and misrepresentative ‘We’re For Fife’ viral advert early this year. Then a surprising Associates cover emerges, taking the 80’s histrionics and vocal gymnastic of ‘Party Fears Two’ and striping it down to a plaintive hymn like ode, albeit with little humorous sung flourishes of that famous melody “doo’da’de’dadoo…” and an ad-libbed lyrical miss foot, accentuating the humour. KC’s old percussive cohort; Captain Geeko joins proceedings on percussion; at this point the set continues with career highlights, ‘Camel Swapped for Wives’ another highly personal and poignant ode, while ‘not one bit ashamed’ perhaps takes the crown as set pinnacle. ‘Admiral’ and ‘Spystick’ bring the night to a close in wonderfully striped down fashion. King Creosote’s multi-faceted performance and eclectic range, manages to encapsulate Fence’s inimitable outlook and ethos perfectly, as has tonight’s Fence showcase.

    Harky!The Fence Collective
  • Frightened Rabbit – The Phantom Band – Fat Sams – Dundee 02-12-09

    12. Dez. 2009, 6:11

    Wed 2 Dec – Frightened Rabbit, As Tall as Lions, The Phantom Band

    It’s testament to how the stock of these two outstanding acts continue to rise, as the ticket demand for tonight show has reached near fever pitch, with excitement brimming on the faces of those in possession of their prized ticket and dismay on those who don’t, casting an envious glance at the rest. The Phantom Band flawless Checkmate Savage albums has seen them entrenched amongst Chemikal Underground’s legendary coterie, and as for our headliners, they continue to garner rave reviews and fans in high places, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see the sad sight of dejected fan after fan being turned away by sullen bouncers, with no ken of the fervour in which these kindle of Frabbit follower regard their heroes (no doubt ready to burrow a tunnel underneath just to catch a glimpse…)

    It would be unfair of me to comment on As Tall As Lions as I only caught a fleeting glimpse of their jazz-funk overtones, playing what sounded suspiciously like ‘Moving on Up’ by Curtis Mayfield - so onwards to The Phantom Band, who kick things off in stirring and intensive fashion, it’s as if Fat Sam's has suddenly taken the form of a ominously creaking Route 66 highway pit-stop with an unsettling score to match, as a dark and creeping deep bluesy Americana unfolds and resonates round the venue powered by throbbing bass that shakes you to your very core as we’re surrounded by swirling suggestive synths all put to mesmerizing effect and propelled forcefully forward by commanding yet intricate and exotic percussion.

    To describe them using purely foreboding and dramatic tenor, would be to do them a disservice, as they eschew compartmentalising, having an extraordinary knack of melding psychedelic, avant-garde and esoteric influences with instantly accessible elements of indie-folk-rock, if not sharing a flirting glance with their trenchant pop sensibilities.

    Folk Song Oblivion’ has an impressive bluesy swagger, while ‘Left Hand Wave’ and ‘Crocodile' owes a great debt to our Teutonic Krautrock and Techno pioneers, with a sprinkle of Captain Beef Heart bedlam. No matter what chameleon-esque guise they take, one element remains constant - the bulwark of percussion that lies at The Phantom Band‘s core, proving to underpin the free-form psychedelic expression and experimentalism but never managing to hamper its spirit.

    After a brief scurry back-stage to speak to the aforementioned, aloof chameleons, I end up catching a few moments of Frightened Rabbit thundering through a slew of Midnight Organ Fight’s familiar highlights (‘Modern Leper’-‘I Feel Better’-‘Old Old Fashioned’) from stage-left, but soon I’m inexorably drawn into the thronging masses due to the sheer energy and vehemence of the crowd.

    The sight of a ebullient Scott Hutchinson decked out in flannel, seems to elicit a strong reaction from the female contingent amongst tonight’s Dundonian audience, with more than a few seemingly hankering after the Hutchison seed and gene-pool, although this is no one-man band, Scott’s bolstered by an ever-growing band of brothers and rack of expensive guitars and equipment, with every song sounding fleshed out and amped up a notch or two including the newly aired track ‘Nothing Like You’ and latest single Swim Until You Can’t See Land which goes down a storm.

    It’s amazing to think that that this humble Selkirk quintet, that hold no rock-star pretentious; adept at creating contemplative compositions imbued with dark humour and emotions laid-bare have been embraced on both sides of the Atlantic and further a field. It could well be down to their self-deprecation disposition, universal themes and ability to write emotionally resonant songs without ever sounding maudlin or self-pitying, instead their Scottish character is ingrained in every track, trading clichéd affectations for a national authenticity that holds more in common with Tartan Special than Tartan Shortbread.

    With this in mind the night draws to a close with the melancholic and raw relationship lament ‘Poke’ and as the crowd get evermore more raucous they finish on the rousing ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ complete with it’s crude, ribald lyrics steeped in relatable social-realism - “You won’t find love in a, won’t find love in a hole…it takes more than F–king someone to keep yourself warm” is sung back with such fervour and spirit that it could almost pose as a post-modern, surrogate National Anthem for a more reflective and unified Nation, focusing on inner turmoil and temperament rather than pitched battles and causes of Auld Lang Syne.


    Is This Music Link

    The Phantom Band - Backstage Interview
  • The Pixies – 20th Anniversary Doolittle Tour – Glasgow SECC - 03-10-09 – Support -…

    9. Nov. 2009, 8:55

    While not considered quite the watershed moment ‘Sgt. Pepper…’ - ‘Never Mind the Bollocks…’or indeed ironically ‘Nevermind’ provided, ‘Doolittle’ nevertheless paved the way for the epoch of the alternative-rock scene of the early 90’s, supplanting all in it’s wake, giving the disaffected MTV generation a fitting soundtrack.

    Doolittle’ producer Gil Norton might have smoothed over some of the abrasive and lo-fi edges of their predecessor, but this makes it no less powerful an album, in fact perhaps more so, due to their increased accessibility; they yielded a more subversive power. Compressing themes such as incest, mental instability, self harm, surrealism, violent Biblical imagery, libido and irrational fears of “losing my penis to a whore with diseases”, into the catchiest three minute pop songs you’d never heard. With ingenious song writing imbued in these transgressive and obscure lyrics, brought to life through the Pixies inimitable sound, tethering styles such as surf rock, latino and punk, all rapped up with a sheen of pop sensibility and unbridled raw power and energy, how could it not trailblaze a path for the latent underground to grab the chalice.

    The monumental experience of my first Pixies gig back in 05, could have been tarnished by the makeshift gig venue (Meadowbank stadium & its ramshackle PA) however the performance and the atmosphere transcended the venue, providing the pinnacle of my Pixies pilgrimage; so the utilitarian aircraft-hanger that purports itself as a venue, holds no particular trepidation, nor could it curb the building enthusiasm of the crowd, who like the band themselves cannot be pigeon-holed; defying recognisable demographics and lazy labels.

    It’s a tough call to precede such a revered act, but the moody Glasgow stalwarts Sons and Daughters can be a live force to be reckoned with, as their dark indie-folk tinged gothic-rockabilly sits with an almost menacingly serious stage presence. It’s just a shame that there’s a pervading and assumed custom of showing support bands the meagerest of response (a sort if anti-etiquette if you will). Any forms of exuberance shown by members of the crowd are viewed with disdain, chagrin or at the very lest baffled curiosity. Untroubled by the lack of energy, Adele and co. cycled through some their best songs from their trilogy of albums, with a new song taking on the sensitive subject of the Bible John murders, exposing elements of the seedy underbelly and darker heritage of Glasgow’s past (albeit probably better Christened a couple of miles across the Clyde at the Barras-considering the crimes heinous association.)

    Quiet - The Pixies influential and signature quite loud, quite loud dynamics were mirrored by the outline of the show and reaction from the crowd. With the band themselves slinking on-stage shrouded in shadows, backs to their adoring audience, taking in the screening of the fabled short film ‘Un Chien Andalou’ (by Luis Buñuel & Salvador Dali) which ‘Debaser’ heavily reverences- complete with slicing up eyeballs. This left some sections of the audience, subdued, bemused and impatience, and there was still an air of ill-ease from the self same sections as the Pixies decided to kick things off with four b-sides - as good as they prove to be, Kim acknowledged that b-sides have become almost an anachronism.

    Loud - At the very moment the first note of the ‘Debaser’ riff rings out, the crowd lap it up and are instantly onside, synchronised as one. The fact that a song utilizing such an obscure art-school reference has become an indie anthem staple, as thousand of fans sing back every line “Slicing up Eyeballs, I want you to know”; makes me think that even Dali himself would testify to this being a surreal turn of events. The synchronised video backdrop, with its related sepia toned Doolittle imagery and artwork compliment the equally surreal shades of their performance perfectly, but for those of us in the throngs of the mosh-pit, trying to synchronise singing the lyrics back, keeping our balance amongst the ensuing melee whilst remembering to take a breath; the chances of appreciating these artistic show-reels are brief.

    Heralding the precise order of the album,‘Tame’ brings the terrifying high-pitched squeal of Black Francis (which is akin to a kitten being violated by a wolf) to the fore, precipitating more frenetic flailing bodies. Renditions of ‘Wave of Mutilation’ and ‘I Bleed’ flawlessly follow, while ‘Here Comes Your Man’ provides one of the heartiest sing-alongs the SECC has surely seen in its history, ‘Dead’s blatant paranoid edge, complete with yelps and shrieks and barks juxtaposes another sing-along anthem in the form of environmentally prophetic, alternative hymn ‘Monkey Gone to Heaven’, complete with equally surreal and bizarre lyrics that resonates decades of on - "Rock me Joseph Alberto Santiago" indeed.

    As we approach ‘Mr Grieves’(containing the lyric album takes its name from), Kim interjects saying“we’re still on side one.”, acknowledging the linear fashion of the show. ‘Crakity Jones’ shatters any moment of respite in fractious fashion, complete with incoherent ranting and visceral riffs that packs a ferocious punch. David Lovering shot in the limelight - ‘La La Love You’ injects a faint whiff of comedy and light-heartedness. ‘No. 13 Baby’ and ‘There Goes My Gun’ are impeccable, but ‘Hey’ still provides the pinnacle of the Pixies cannon, in my opinion; showcasing the finest elements of Joey Santiago’s and David Lovering subtle but sublime lead-work and understated back-beat, while Kim's sugar coated refrain of “Chained…” offsets Black Francis (aka Frank Black aka Charles Michael Kittridge Thompson IV) pleading, harassed howl. ‘Silver’s ominous western whim segues into ‘Gouge Away’ which reinforces that Kim’s simple fluid bass-lines provide the backbone to the anarchic lo-fi pop form of the Pixies compositions. Though there’s a tangible distance between Kim and Frank (a whole stage to be precise), any previous animosity is put to one side as the band coalesce perfectly and Kim’s sweet tones take the edge of Francis abrasive shrieks, providing an affable spokeswoman and foil to our elusive frontman.

    Quiet -1st Encore – ‘Wave Of Mutilation (UK Surf)’, the reprise of our early initiated favourite, garners positive feedback along with the top-trump of b-sides ‘Into the White’ but there’s still an unsaid air of expectancy directed at the stage.

    Loud - 2nd Encore - Knowing the exact set list order, is a strange situation that I’ve only experienced when attending Sonic Youth’s ‘Don’t Look Back’-‘Daydream Nation’ tour, which can at times take away some of the mystique from a performance…so when a surprise second encore is rolled out, all bets are off.

    Supposedly making up for the barrier crash in 1991(which Kim again acknowledges), it’s time for ‘Surfa Rosa/Come On Pilgrim’ - often playing second fiddle to tonight’s revered album, to rear it’s abrasive head; proving a final shot-in-the-arm, with its rawer visceral edge sparking near riotous reaction.

    Firing through ‘The Holiday Song’, ‘Nimrod's Son’ and the deceptively melodious ‘Caribou’ in lightning speed, ‘Isla de Encanta’, ‘Broken Face’, ‘Something Against You’ and ‘Vamos’ provide sheer adrenaline to the whiplash ridden crowd, nut as a flip of a coin signals our parting farewell will be ‘Where Is My Mind’, this now renowned tune (thanks to it’s now intrinsic link with ‘Fight Club’), elicits a mass “Whoo-ooh’s” chorus which reverberates round the venue, transforming our cavernous abode into an epicentre of emotion; clearly there’s not a dry eye in the house as Kim Deal dabs away a tear as the band wave a fond farewell; instead of leaving a wave of mutilation, they leave an awestruck overwhelmed crowd in Seventh heaven.

    The Pixies may have boldly stated they’d Sold Out on their reformation, and it’s acknowledged nostalgia tours have the tendency to sully reputations, but on tonight’s showing a good five years after they regrouped, they’ve lost none of their potency, chemistry or edge and as for the sheer quality of the lauded albums songs, they’re as mind bendingly bizarre, unique and influential as when this 38:38 of genius was first committed to vinyl two decades ago. True testament to an enduring artefact and securing its legacy in the pantheon of timeless albums. All in all, the Pixies are still as innovative, eccentric and important as they ever where, providing a fitting soundtrack to a world going steadily off the rails.

  • Bring the Noise’ Fife Wide Battle of the Bands/Fife Music Conference 09 Post Event…

    8. Nov. 2009, 5:00

    Tue 3 Nov – 'Bring The Noise' - Fife Music Conference

    When ‘Bring The Noise’ was initially conceived way back in early 2007 our objectives were to reinvigorate the Local Music scene and give local bands a platform in which to shine. We wanted to create positive links within the local community and with young people from around Fife, while giving bands from further a field who may feel isolated a chance to network with other bands and musicians, hopefully forging links with like minded people and creating a healthy and vibrant music scene. While our Music Conferences main purpose was to enlighten, inform and demystify the inner workings of the Music Industry.

    Since then Fife’s music Scene has gone from strength to strength and continues to flourish, we like to believe we have played a part in nurturing the young talent of Fife, giving them their initial chance to shine and go and on to contribute to the Music Scene here and further a field.

    Music Conference 09

    One of the staples of our annual our vast reaching ‘Bring The Noise’ event, has been our Music Conference which to date has included such luminaries as Bruce Findlay (Aberfeldy ex Simple Minds Manger), Stuart McHugh (Is This Music), Jim Gellatly, Stuart Henderson (Chemikal Underground) and Duncan McCrone (MCPRS) et al.

    Over 70 eager and intrigued budding musicians and future industry movers and shakers attended this years event to heed the wisdom of our illustrious panel, spearheaded by Vic Galloway (BBC R1 Introducing Scotland, Radio Scotland), Johnny Lynch (AKA The Pictish Trail - Fence Collective Co-Runner), Olaf Furniss (The Scotsman - Under The Radar - The Fly), Colin Somerville (Scotland On Sunday, BBC Radio Scotland, Adam Smith College Lecturer - former Mercury Music Prize Panellist), Chris Miezitis (Ambulances - ‘Nee Naw Records’ formerly of 'The Diggers' Creation Records). They gladly shared their vast experiences with the participating crowd, being grilled on all manner of Industry related questions, with the pervading theme of the conference treading a fine-line between providing inspiration, context, know how and background on the industry and opportunities available, while underpinning a need for a realism, reinforcing a grassroots DIY work ethic, and encouraging those in attendance to continuing to develop and maintain their vibrant local music scene and utilizing technology and linking up with like minded individuals to make a difference.

    ‘Bring The Noise’ Fife Wide Battle of The Bands - Final

    With previous winners of our coveted title, including ‘Underling and ‘Rioteers’ who both went on to make great strides in the Industry, a lot hanged on the performance of the six bands who battled for their place at the Final, in heats across the Kingdom(hosted by Glenrothes YM, Towerhouse, Coaltown, KDY YM).

    Over 150 music fans burst into Kitty’s nightclub eager to take in some of Fifes finest young acts and cheer on their favourite band. This years line up was a follows: Atrium - Fire and Affect - The City Ignites - February Stars - The Trix - The Relevants(website links at bottom of page for more info).

    With every band putting in valiant efforts, no one can accuse them of not giving it their all, but with room for only one winner, the judges rated The City Ignites ahead of the pack (although it was a close call due to stiff competition). They lived up to their name, leaving half of the audience shell-shocked due to their brutally loud, heavy chugging-riffs and clatter; while igniting their fervent fan-base into a frenzied mass of excitement and movement as the whirling moshpit sent out apt signs of approval in the shape of raised Rock-Horns, they certainly ignited this town…the city’s await. With our continued patronage of young acts, The City Ignites prize included a 4 track e.p. recorded at Wired for Sound Studios(based at Kirkcaldy YMCA), an official E.P. release through our very own record label, and an officially promoted tour through Teenage Kicks Promotions! The Beaming smile on the face of the band members and the ecstatic response from the crowd ended yet another immensely successful event, which leaves us confident next years event will unearth just as many quality acts amongst the hotbed of talent that Fife continues to dish-up.

    Many Thanks to our Sponsors – …(List of Sponsors Shall be added tomorrow)



    Liz Easton – YMCA General Secretary – (01592) 645530

    Jamie Steele (Battle of the Bands Co-Ordinator)

    Calum Ware(Teenage Kicks Promoter)

    Craig Harkness(Conference Organiser) (aka Harky)

    Kirkcaldy YMCA
    (01592 645534)

    Website Link....

    We shall be updating our page rugulary in the coming weeks, with a multitude of live Music Recording from the event, Interviews with the bands, photos from the Final and Conference and much more!

    Check our Teenage Kicks Promotions Page for update to date info on Gigs and events -

    BOTB Winners - The City Ignites (

    ATRIUM ( )

    Fire and Affect ( )

    February Stars ( )

    The TRiX ( )

    The Relevants ( )