Fringe Benefits: Scots Whay Hae!’s Top 10 Picks Of The Edinburgh Fringe…

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For many of us August means Edinburgh and its attendant festivals. As ever, the Fringe in particular has so much on offer that it can be tough to see past the big names, sort through the plethora of posters, and separate the wheat from the cultural chaff. To help you do so here are Scots Whay Hae!’s Top Ten picks of the Fringe. There’s comedy, poetry, theatre, music and more – hopefully, something for everyone.

2018THISSCR_T4This Script and Other Drafts (Jenny Lindsay), Aug 13-14, 21-22 – Scottish Storytelling Centre
At a time of schisms within feminism, ongoing revelations of #MeToo, endless discussions about womanhood, and sirens being the soundtrack to our newsfeeds, Jenny Lindsay found herself getting a bit angry in 2017… Putting that anger to work she wrote a series of univocal poems, invented a superhero on her period, explored the rifts within feminism, set up a date with capitalism and penned some poems based on comments on PornHub videos. Amongst other drafts… Come join an award-winning poet for an evening exploring sex, gender and feminism. Can she rewrite this script? Can you? Continue reading

New Musical Success: A Review Of The Best In New Music…

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If this summer was defined by great singles from the likes of L-Space, Half-Formed Things, Errant Boy, and Radiophonic Tuckshop, to name just a few, then it looks as if Autumn is going to spoil us with some special albums. With the nights fair drawing in, the music featured this month shares a suitably reflective sensibility as some of our finest songwriters sing their songs accompanied by, and often collaborating with, like-minded musicians – warming hearts, firing minds and nourishing the soul as they do so.

We start with Annie Booth, who may be familiar to you for her work with Mt Doubt (more of whom later). Her solo album, An Unforgiving Light, is released in collaboration with Scottish Fiction and Last Night From Glasgow. It’s a wonderful collections of songs which work on their own but which make much more sense heard together, each feeding into the next. The songs are self-reflective in a manner similar to Elliot Smith and Cat Power, with Booth’s vocals carrying more than a hint of Jenny Lewis and even Beth Gibbons. Mournful, moving and magical, An Unforgiving Light is a record to treasure. This is the first single, ‘Chasm’:

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January Rhythm & Blues: A Preview Of Celtic Connections 2017…

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“January…let us endure this evil month”, to paraphrase the French writer Colette. You may think this overly dramatic, but you know what she’s getting at. For me, a year doesn’t get going properly til Celtic Connections begins. A festival which never fails to deliver, and which continues to grow in terms of number of gigs, breadth of music, and international stature – deep, and wide and tall.

As always, we’d like to point you in the direction of lesser known gems which can be found at the festival alongside the headliners and more well-kent attendees, which this year include Laura Marling, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Fairport Convention, Mary Chapin Carpenter with Altan & Julie Fowlis, and Eliza Carthy. Some of the names below you may recognise from our regular music reviews, and they all are deserving of your attention. Each one promises an unforgettable night, and what more can you ask for in these early days of 2017?

You can peruse the full programme at your leisure at Celtic Connections, and receive all the up-to-date news by following on Twitter, and Facebook.  But before you rush away, here is the Scots Whay Hae! guide, (complete with links to further details), to what we’re calling ‘the best of the rest of the fest’.

Mark W. Georgsson – 19th Jan, Hug & Pint

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The Tracks Of My Year: The Best 10 Songs Of 2015 (+1)…

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If you’re sick of end of year lists, look away now. Right, if you’re still with us we have the 10 best tracks reviewed on these pages this year, plus one bonus track which I’ll explain later, but, if you want to know why you should bother with this Top Ten, to quote Nigel Tufnel, “Well, it’s one better, isn’t it?”

2015 was a cracking year for new music, with certain themes emerging, and some memorable one-offs. The summer was one of glorious electronic-pop, then the nights got longer and the music more reflective, but along the way there was some old school indie, classic pop tunes, intriguing lo-fi electronica and a welcome slice of rock.

This list is more about individual tracks rather than albums (although you can hear a discussion on those on our forthcoming End of Year Podcast), and you can discover much more of the new music we covered on Scots Whay Hae! by listening to our Best of 2015 Spotify list.

Enough yacking, here’s the countdown, in chronological order, and what we thought about them at the time.

The Duke Detroit – Iconic

More classy sounds from the indie disco in the shape of The Duke, Detroit and their latest single, ‘Iconic’, which is not out till March but is too good not to mention right now. Drum machines, snare, handclaps, bass-lines to die for, and a guitar break that could have come from Nile Rodgers himself; what’s not to like? They’ve been good before, but this is the best thing I have heard from The Duke, Detroit yet and they are quickly becoming one of those bands whose new music you can’t wait for. You won’t be able to listen to this and not have something move when you least expect it:

https://soundcloud.com/thedukedetroit/iconic-2

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It’s The Not Quite The End Of The Year Show (Part 2): The Best New Music Of Recent Times (The Singles)…

0005399701_10Welcome to part two of the roundup of the best new music of the last couple of months. If you missed it, we had a look at the best of the albums in Part 1, but here we are going to be concentrating on the best songs and singles that have found their way to Scots Whay Hae’s inbox in October and November.

December is going to be full of those ‘Best Of 2015’ lists, so this will be the last roundup of new music before the Bells, but luckily it is a fitting finale for the year. There’s art-rock, folk, pop, singers singing songs and bands at the peak of their powers. In some ways it is an accurate summary of the musical genres that ruled the year, or, at least, the best ones.

First off is ‘Chirology’ by The Color Waves, a single which was released earlier in the year but which only reached these ears in October and it is too good not to mention it. It opens with the sort of chiming guitars that graced many of Sarah Records best releases, and then the understated  and evocative vocals come in to gently carry you through as the music remains respectively restrained; vocals reminiscent of Tracey Thorn, Isobel Campbell and Hope Sandoval, and at least their equal. For those who are connoisseurs of indie-pop, (and you know what that means, and you know who you are), this is all your Christmases come at once as it reminds you why you fell in love with this music in the first place. Simply enchanting:

We have featured his work many times on these pages but Blue Rose Code refuses to be ignored, in the most charming manner possible. He simply makes moving and memorable music which is, like the best things in life, deceptively simple. If it was that easy, we’d all be doing it – but only a few can. This is the new single ‘Grateful’, which you can buy here, and if you are a fan of the sort of Americana as played by the likes of Gillian Welch, Conor Oberst or Micah P Hinson or, closer to home, the music of The Bathers, then look no further for your new favourite song. A beautiful piece of music that will stay with you – and a video to match. This is ‘Grateful’:

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