Beat The January Rhythm & Blues: A Preview Of Celtic Connections 2019…

“January, month of empty pockets! Let us endure this evil month…”, to quote the French writer Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (currently appearing at a cinema near you). This may be a touch dramatic, but you know what she’s getting at. For me, a year doesn’t get going properly til Celtic Connections begins. A festival that never fails to deliver, and which continues to grow in terms of number of gigs, breadth of music, and stature.

This year’s headliners and more well-kent attendees include Blue Rose Code, Judy Collins, Mariza, Sharon Shannon, Mull Historical Society, Rachel Sermanni & Jarlath Henderson, Seth Lakeman, and Karine Polwart, Kris Drever & Scottish Chamber Orchestra. There are also nights featuring or celebrating musical legends, including Ronnie Spector & The RonettesVan Morrison, John Martyn, Loudon Wainwright III, and, covering many of your favourite songs, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook.

However, and as ever, we’d like to point you in the direction of lesser known gems which can be found at the festival. 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 2019?

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

GOOSEBUMPS: 25 Years of Marina Records (Krach Auf Wiedersehen!) and Fenella

A Wesley Chung and Caitlin Buchanan

Last Night From Glasgow: The Gracious Losers and L-space (acoustic)

The Sweetheart Revue and Headcloud

Zoe Graham and John Edge & The Kings of Nowhere

Withered Hand

Broken Chanter and Jill O’Sullivan

Henry & Fleetwood

Carla J. Easton and Mark McGowan

Andrew Wasylyk and support

Olive Grove Records Showcase: Chrissy Barnacle, Pocket Knife, Moonsoup, Circle Meets Dot and Jared Celosse

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert with Marry Waterson & Emily Barker

Hope to see you at at least one of the above…

Pop Life: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Carla J. Easton…

a4136536009_10.jpg

For the latest SWH! podcast Ali caught up with musician Carla J. Easton to talk about her new album Impossible Stuff, which is released on the 5th October on Olive Grove Records.

As well as explaining the Canadian roots of the record, and how time spent in residency there changed her life, she also talks about the importance of home, her many collaborations, her musical history, Teen Canteen (right), Ette, and the documentary she is working on with Blair Young about women pioneers of Scottish pop.

Carla is one of the most innovative and interesting musicians working today and it was a pleasure to talk to her and get a better understanding of how and why she does what she does. If you love music you just have to take a listen, but it’s also a fascinating insight as to what is involved in the artistic process. Continue reading

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

dsc_0299-2

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…

The Tracks Of My Year: SWH!’s 10 Best Songs Of 2016…

005145651_500

Looking back, as is everyone’s wont at this time of year, two things in particular are striking about 2016 in music. There was the continued rise and success of the independent record label, especially Last Night From Glasgow, Song, by Toad, Olive Grove Records and Errant Media, and it was a year of classic albums, from the triumphant return of Teenage FanclubMogwai, King Creosote and Kid Canaveral, through the mostly excellent SAY Award nominees, to those released by the artists below.

These are our choices for the 10 best songs reviewed on these pages this year. As ever, it’s a list which focuses on individual tracks, but if you like what you hear you should investigate further as most of them are to be found on equally awesome albums.

If you aren’t sated by what follows you can discover more of the new music we covered on Scots Whay Hae! by listening to our Best of 2016 Spotify list.

But enough preamble, here’s the countdown listed in chronological order and what we thought about them at the time, with a few relevant updates…

Errant Boy – Black Dress, Black Cab

Errant Boy are another who have recently featured on those pages. That’s because we like to be surprised and delighted, and it appears that the ability to do both is in Errants Boy’s DNA. This is their latest single, ‘Black Dress, Black Cab’, and it demands repeated listenings as it takes you to different places every time. The song moves from menace to magic and back again in a single line, with layered acoustics and vocals which seem to pull you in opposite directions. It reminds me of The Woodentops in the sense that what you are listening to is way more complex than you initially believe, and that’s a great thing. I feel I could write a short essay on this song. I’ve been listening to it a lot. Can you tell?

Continue reading

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

cvjoebfxyaalfdb

I’ve never really thought about how the changing seasons affect the music you listen to, but one of the interesting things about following the year through Scots Whay Hae!’s Tracks Of The Year Spotify list has been to see what the 2016 trends have been, and how they change.

It does seem that as the year has progressed the upbeat has slowly been replaced by more reflective and contemplative fair. I could try to come up with a clever reason for this, but the truth is this is the sort of music I like to have accompany me on cold, dark nights. So there’s melancholia as well as melody in this roundup of reviews. There’s even a mention of “mortification”. However, there’s also one tune which will be essential at any self-respecting Christmas night out. You’ve got to have an exception to prove the rule.

We begin with something magical and moving. it is something to have been is the new EP from Olive Grove Records, and features songs from Jo Mango (‘Wisps Of Something’), The State Broadcasters (‘I Am This’), The Son(s) (‘Mississippi’) and Call To Mind (Hole In The Heart’). Available on download and on beautiful green vinyl, it’s a reminder, as if you needed it, that the name Olive Grove has long been a guarantee of quality. They simply refuse to release anything other than the finest music, and, although each track on it is something to have been works individually, together they make one of the most significant and memorable releases of the year. Olive Grove’s Lloyd Meredith has gathered a fine family of artists around him, and it is fitting that this EP honours the memory of his late father as it’s the perfect summation of where Olive Grove have come from, and how strong they stand today.  Buy a copy for someone you love. They’ll thank you for it, perhaps more than you’ll realise:

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=709562230/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/

Continue reading

New Musical Success: The Best New Music From The Last Month…

a3715261681_10To say we live in strange times is understatement veering towards sarcasm. I don’t wish to appear trite, but in the worst of times, for whatever reasons they may be, music in particular brings me comfort like nothing else can.

Feeling down? Listen to Smokey sing, Johnny play guitar, or Dylan do anything. It never fails me, and it hasn’t this time round. With that in mind, putting together this roundup of the best in new music from the last month has not simply been a pleasure but seriously uplifting. In short – I needed that.

First off, we have what I consider the pop song of the summer. Ette’s album Homemade Lemonade is out on the 22 July – and you really should get your order in now. But you don’t need to take my word for it as listening to ‘The Attack of the Glam Soul Cheerleaders (Parts 1 & 2)‘ will persuade you within the first 10 seconds. This is pop music at its very best, from the opening handclaps and keys, through the guitar riff which drives things alongside Carla J. Easton’s perfect bubblegum vocals, to the false ending and joyous wig-out which follows. It’s a reminder that the best pop music does not need a big production – it can spring from anyone and anywhere when the inspiration strikes. If Phil Spector had lived round our way, this is the sort of wall of sound he’d be making:

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=3452021734/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/track=2148438149/transparent=true/

Ette headlined the Olive Grove Records Review at Oran Mor last month, which is one of the gigs of the year so far. No real surprise as it also featured Call To Mind, The Moth and The Mirror (and what a set that was) and the debut of The Royal Male, the solo venture from Woodenbox’s Ali Downer. The Royal Male’s album is Plastic Throne and the single is ‘Start When It’s Over’. Both have a wonderful mix of eclectic piano, understated horns, and a liberal sprinkling of whip-smart melodies reminiscent of Neil Hannon and Ben Folds. Having heard the whole album I can confirm it’s an absolute joy. The single alone brings a smile to my face every time I play it, which has been a lot. What say you?:

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2539166407/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/

Continue reading

New Musical Success: A Record Store Day 2016 Special…

Randolphs-Leap_Cowardly-Deeds_cover_pinemartin3Tomorrow (Sat 16/4/16) is Record Store Day 2016, and all across the land this evening chairs are being unfolded, sleeping bags zipped and cheap alcohol consumed in a bid to get those through the night who are willing to stand in line for new releases and rarities which the day always brings.

A lot of people have mixed feelings about the now annual event, with many suggesting that it has moved away from its distinctly admirable indie beginnings to become just another way to make music lovers pay through the nose for music they often own already in another form.

However, many independent record stores claim that the day can guarantee their survival for another year, and that can’t be a bad thing, can it? It has also been in no small part responsible for the resurrection of vinyl as a format due to the collect ability of the exclusive releases, as well as being a great day for live music, and you can click here for just a few suggestions as to who to see around Scotland. Continue reading

Marching Power: The Best New Music From Last Month…

March was the month Scots Whay Hae! started a Facebook page dedicated to music alone. This is so we have a handy place to post any music we like, but also so there was a place for the best music that hasn’t quite made the final cut for these monthly roundups, of which there is plenty.

As if to prove the point, March was packed full of great new music, from old friends and new. As you’ll know from January and February, 2015 has got off to a blistering pace in terms of great new music, and it shows no sign of slowing. That is proven as much by those who have been left out of this selection as much as those who are featured, and if you regularly check out Scots Whay Hae’s Music Page you will get an even clearer picture as to what’s on offer (as well as being able to wallow in some comforting nostalgia). Here endeth the self promotion.

We start with the welcome return of Glasgow’s Errors, and if, ‘Slow Rotor’, the single from their new album Lease Of Life (above) is any indication they are at the top of their game. It’s further example of their mastery of melodic electronica. If you like Metronomy or Summer Camp, then you’re in luck as Errors are better than both, incorporating a greater pop sensibility, and melodies which Paddy McAloon, Bernard Summner and Neil Tennant would kill for. It’s also got the best video of the month by a country mile. But don’t take my word for it:

Continue reading

Tales From The Olive Grove: The Scots Whay Hae! Podcast Talks To Olive Grove Records’ Lloyd Meredith…

Ian and Ali have been trying to get Lloyd Meredith on the podcast for some time, and this month they get their man. As music blogger Peenko he was one of Scottish music’s greatest champions, and, alongside Halina Rifai of Podcart fame, he founded Olive Grove Records, who are home to Jo Mango, Woodenbox, The Son(s), Call To Mind, The Moth and The Mirror, and more. He also finds time to manage Randolph’s Leap as well. All of the above are some of Scots Whay Hae!’s favourite bands and musicians, and what unfolds on the pod is basically one fanboy talking to another about Olive Grove and much more.”

But it’s not all chat; there is music from Skinny Dipper, The Son(s) and previous podcast guest, Jo Mango with new tracks from all three, and which ably show the quality that we have come to expect from Olive Grove. It’s become, over a fairly short space of time, a label which guarantees quality and class in a way that the best indie labels, such as Postcard, Factory, Fence or Chemical Underground, do. Unapologetically biased towards Scottish bands, Lloyd and Olive Grove follow a similar mission statement to Scots Whay Hae! in that they want to make people aware of the great things that are happening on your doorstep. We had a great time talking, and I hope you enjoy it too.

You can listen to the Scots Whay Hae! podcast at iTunesor by RSS. Subscribe and you’ll never miss it. Or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen to it below, accompanied by a few visuals:

And as an added extra, and because we can, here is the video to Call To Mind’s Breathe from earlier this year:

That’s it for another pod, but we’ve got some rather interesting guests coming soon. In the meantime, you should have a listen to Scots Whay Hae! regular Chris Ward’s podcast, Seen Your Video, which is always worth your while…