It’s one of the most worn out football cliches that bad decisions even themselves out over a season. Nonsense, of course, but it does seem that great music releases even themselves out over the year. A fairly fallow month, as February arguably was (small, but beautifully formed, I think you’ll agree), has been followed by a mind blowing March, which has seen some of Scotland’s best bands releasing new material. Hold on to your hats, it’s a long way to the bottom (ahem) if you want to rock ‘n’ roll.
First off; it’s possible album of the year ahoy! Richard Haswell’s Asteroids was one of the best things I heard last year, and he made the end of year round up. He has now released a compilation album; From The Fleet To The Medlock: A Compilation (1997 – 2014) and you have to get yourself a copy as this man’s music deserves a place in your life. You can listen to the album below, and download it for free if you get yer skates on. To put the tin lid on it, the first track is called Third Lanark. Top, top, man:
Next up are the excellent How To Swim, a band who have been around in various forms and sizes for over a decade, and they have just released their latest album, Niagarama, which is a great name for a great record. With bags of harmonies and horns, this is music to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. As well as as a download, you can get a copy on vinyl, which I’m guessing is where it will sound at its very best. This is the video for Small Parts Moving:
Tonight, (Saturday, 12th April) sees the launch of Call To Mind’s debut album The Winter Is White, at Glasgow’s Glad Cafe, and, having seen them play live, I can’t wait to hear it. Signed to the always reliable Olive Grove Records, Call To Mind are one of the most exciting bands around. As a taster for the album, this is Breathe:
Another of the best live bands around are Randolph’s Leap, and their latest album, Clumsy Knot, is out now. This is a band who seem to have been either playing live or releasing something new regularly over last couple of years, and boy has it paid off. They manage to make great musicianship and melody seem effortless, and that’s not easy to do, (if it was, everyone would be doing it), and, as I write this, it turns out it is the perfect music to life the spirits on an overcast Saturday morning. Here’s the video for Foolishness Of Youth:
One of the most eagerly awaited debut’s of 2014 has to be I Am Am Island from Fatherson. It’s got many of things I like in music; driving drums, chiming guitars, soaring vocals, beards and specs, and plenty of heart and soul. From the album, this is Mine For Me:
We are going to finish with three Scots Whay Hae! favourites. First off, we have A Band Called Quinn who continue to innovate as they create. Their latest release is Forget About It from their multimedia show Biding Time, and it a cautionary tale about the perils of chasing fame, and the commercialism of music, and it is just a fabulous piece of pop. This is Forget About It followed by where and when you can catch them live in May:
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 MayThe 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.
Aidan Moffat (see below holding a fine Tom Weir pose) is hitting the road with his latest project, Where You’re Meant To Be, which promises to explore the history and roots of Scottish folk music and the ballad tradition, by updating traditional songs and tunes and playing them live to those who turn up; as they were always meant to be. This is a taster of what to expect, a song called Jock McGraw, and I would suggest that if you have the chance to catch one of these shows, you grab it:
And finally, Mummy Short Arms have made some of the most memorable songs of the decade so far, and their latest release proves they’re not going to stop anytime soon. They are often described as Scotland’s Captain Beefheart, which is a good indicator as to the band’s intrinsic unpredictability, but it doesn’t quite do their music justice. For me, they are the best kind of rock band in that they are impossible to pin down, and will do what you least expect just to keep you on your toes. The best thing to do is to listen to their latest single Face Full Of Sand and make up your own mind, and you can do that right now:
A mad and marvellous March, and April’s inbox is already filling up nicely. See you next month…