New Musical Success Special: SWH! Premieres Blue Tiles’ ‘Never Stand A Chance Alone With You’…

Scots Whay Hae! has a long and loving history with Edinburgh record label Errant Media and their twin driving forces Sean Ormsby and Stephen McLaren. It’s one which goes back to the days of Permawhale Records when Sean was part of Night Noise Team, and Stephen was in the band Collar Up, and it was sealed when the two appeared on the SWH! podcast where they set out the ideas and inspirations behind Errant Media.

Since then the label has become home for their recorded output, producing a small but perfectly formed back catalogue which includes releases from Errant Boy, Locked Hands, Stephen McClaren’s solo work, and Sean and Stephen together as Blue Tiles, an electronic duo who used to be known as Shards and whose music I loved from first listen.

Blue Tiles have an album out, the unusual but aptly named Melancholitronica, and you can hear the latest release from it right here and now as Scots Whay Hae! has the exclusive first play of ‘Never Stand A Chance Alone With You’.

Haunting yet urgent electronica matches the mournful vocals and thoughtful lyrics. Like the very best pop music it hooks you in with its melodies, and then breaks your heart without you realising it. It is sharp, sensual, and soulful, made by two musicians who understand each other perfectly. Put all of that together and it makes for the perfect introduction to the album, and what Blue Tiles do. Listen now and see that I’m right…

Ten years in the making – as long as SWH! has been in existence – with the release of Melancholitronica it feels like a great lost album of the last decade is finally with us just as it comes to a close. I am here to tell you it’s been well worth the wait.

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

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The hope is always that our monthly music reviews offer something of interest to all, but, without wanting to go overboard (although, “Why stop now?”, you may ask), this has been perhaps the most enjoyable to put together due to so much good music being released in the last month. It may be the multivitamins talking, but it feels like this could be the best New Musical Success…ever!

It’s certainly been difficult to reach a final eight. There’s some great tracks which just missed out, but hopefully that makes the final cut all the better. Featuring firm SWH! favourites, and with the warmest of welcomes to old friends and new, if there is a unifying theme to the music featured it is one of hope in these most difficult of times, and that should gladden your heart. But enough of this preamble – let the hyperbole begin!

Regular readers will know that our love for all things L-Space knows no bounds. They are a band who seem incapable of making anything other than magical music – a place where classic electronic pop meets the future. Their sound is as much influenced by movie soundtracks as other bands, lending it an epic, expansive feel which makes them stand out from the crowd. With each new release they give a glimpse of what is promising to be a wonderful bigger picture in the shape of their first album, due to be released on Last Night From Glasgow later in the year.

The latest single ‘Suneaters’ is the perfect example of this. Sci-fi dream pop at its finest, while it stands alone as a great single, when added to what has gone before, and what is surely to come, it only confirms L-Space as a band to see us through tough times. I’m a believer:

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

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This has been a summer of unexpected treats and great new music from the well-kent and the brand new. What you are about to listen to shows this off to full effect, but then we would say that. Suffice to say that it is all killer, no filler, and this list could have been twice the length it is. However, we prefer to keep things short and sweet.

To kick us off, it’s our album of the month, and one of the best of the year. It’s Sister John’s Returned From Sea, and it’s a delight from start to finish – a proper album where each track feeds into and enhances the rest. Comparisons can be made with the albums of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings, but I was also put in mind of Conor Oberst, Micah P Hinson and even Joan Baez. If the music which has become know as Americana is your sort of thing then Sister John are the band for you. But you don’t need to take my word for it as they are undergoing a short tour, with The Braemar Gallery gig promising to be extra special, so get tickets while you can. In the meantime, this is ‘He Came Down’:

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That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2016 Podcast – Part Two (Music)…

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Merry Christmas & Happy New Year From Scots Whay Hae!

In this, Part II of our end of year podcast Ali, Chris and Wesley concentrate on the best music of 2016, both recorded and live. Even our sound-guru, Ian, chips in. It’s been a cracking year for new music. As you may suspect, we start with the best from Scotland before beginning a wide-ranging discussion as to what has been on offer from elsewhere.

As well as our personal choices we talk about the rise of rise of indie record labels and how important they have become. Names such as Olive Grove Records, Song, by Toad, Errant Media and Last Night From Glasgow are home to a lot of the music and musicians under discussion, which sort of makes our point for us. There is some annual Kanye chat, a tribute to Bowie, and we name Teen Canteen and Ette singer/songwriter Carla J. Easton as our Woman Of The Year for being involved in not one, but two of the best records of 2016. If you want to hear a lot of the music that we talk about, there is a Scots Whay Hay Best of 2016 Spotify Playlist.

In case you missed it, Part I looked back at film and books from the last 12 months, and you can still hear that now, as well as indulge yourself in our extensive back catalogue of over 70 podcasts.

If you aren’t yet a subscriber to the SWH! podcast you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes or by RSS. You can also download it by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on SoundCloud

..or on YouTube:

And that’s all from us in terms of podcasts for the year, although we are crossing the ‘t’s and dotting the ‘i’s on a few exciting ones for the new year. Before then there will be our alternative Hogmanay Hootenanny which will offer something different from the usual TV fare. All the best from Ian, Ali, Chris & Wesley. God bless us, everyone…

New Musical Success: Summer Special…

a0705982930_10Phew, what a scorcher! Not the weather, obviously, but this summer was a season featuring some fine music of varied shapes and hues. Great pop music lead the way, as it should during these months, but the left-field, the quirky, and just plain classy were also in evidence. Great summers have great soundtracks, and this made 2016 unforgettable.

Aside from those you’re about to hear there has been memorable music, as  previously mentioned, from Ette, Starless, The Royal Male, and the Duke, Detroit, and there were also excellent albums by Teenage Fanclub, The Pictish Trail, Kid Canaveral and King Creosote (and what a night round at Jools’ place that line-up would make), as well as the beautiful Lost Songs Of St Kilda  – but the following are the musicians and songs which have soundtracked and summed up our summer of 2016.

Actually, the first album I’m going to mention came out in March, but didn’t reach Scots Whay Hae! until July. Lizabett Russo is an artist who it is almost impossible to pin down, and those are the people who are the most interesting. At times there is the pared down fragility of Kathryn Joseph, at others the vibrant Eastern European folk similar to that of Lorraine & the Borderlands, but then Russo will lead you down somewhere completely unexpected with dark jazz-tinged ballads which bring to mind the Tindersticks, Nick Cave or later PJ Harvey. The album is called The Burning Mountain, and each one of its 14 tracks is a treasure. If you’re like me then one listen will not be enough, and you’ll go back ago the beginning straight away. This is the title track:

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Errant Souls: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks Music & More With Errant Media…

Errant Media logoAfter a short break Spring break the Scots Whay Hae! podcast is back for Series 3 with a whole new line-up of guests and themed specials for your pleasure.

This first episode sees Ali head down Leith Walk to talk with Sean Ormsby and Stephen McLaren from Edinburgh record label Errant Media, on which they release as Sean’s Errant Boy, together as Shards, and, in the near future, Stephen’s new solo material.

The two talk about the pleasure of collaboration, the enduring importance of songs, and why melancholy and euphoria are the perfect musical partners. De Rosa, The Divine Comedy, Pony Club and Young Fathers get a lot of love as influences and inspirations are discussed, as is the best, and possibly only, reason for making music in the first place.

In Scots Whay Hae’s opinion, Sean and Stephen have been involved with some of the best music of the last few years, both together and individually, and if the new material is anything to go by that’s not going to change any time soon. If you are interested in the realities and practicalities of not only writing great songs, but getting them released, then this is a must hear podcast. But then we would say that, wouldn’t we?

This Saturday (23/4) sees the launch of Errant Boy’s album A Wayward Mirror, which is, I promise you, one of the best things you’ll here this year.  It’s at new Edinburgh venue Leith Depot, where Sean and Stephen are planning to hold regular musical events, details of which are on the pod. Continue reading