Guest Blog: Visiting the Isle of Lewis with Allan Kennedy

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Hello, I’m Allan, I play bass for Mondegreen and Rustic City Fathers and I’m from the Isle Of Lewis.

Coming from an island off the northwest coast of Scotland presents a pretty immediate barrier to success that mainland artists don’t really have to worry about. The largest expanse of water most Glasgow musicians have to worry about is the Clyde. But regardless of this The Boy Who Trapped The Sun and dotjr have both done well for themselves and fairly recently been signed to Geffen and Polydor respectively. I’m looking forward to hearing more teuchtar accents on the tv outside the realms of religious outrage and patronising documentaries!

Anyway, I thought I may be better dedicating the majority of this to three bands and three solo artists from Lewis you’re less likely to have heard of (though do check them both out if you haven’t done so already.)

Can’t Swim

From that sort of Reuben/Pulled Apart By Horses/and such style that we all love so dearly. They’re a fantastic live band who I’ve enjoyed every time I’ve seen them. Orphans is a great tune and they’ve been playing on Introducing… a few times now.

Our Small Capital

Some lush indie folk that sounds a bit like early REM without all the mumbling. Wonderful tunes about dour things, as it should be.

Murderers Of Love

I’ve previously been (to be fair quite rightly) slated for saying they sound like Suede (which they don’t,) so I’ll stick with saying they come from a fine tradition of miserablist Scottish rock with songs about having a terrible time at indie discos and worrying that someone you like has terrible political opinions. Universal stuff!

iglue

A chap from Cromore (indeed he proposed the 2nd best covers band name ever. Faith Cromore, 2nd only to Kroftwork) that plays Low-esque folky tunes about the ocean, the island and other such things.

Ali Murray

He probably won’t thank me for this, but I was in a metal band with him as a teenager (back when I looked like the Dulux dog.) Sounding much different these days, I think the bio on the myspace does a better job of describing his music than I could.

Iain Shaw

In the last year or so he’s released two full albums of acoustic covers of a big variety of songs. You can hear a fair few of these on the myspace (particular favourites being Drunk Girls and Little Boxes) but he also has a whole swatch of great originals. He’s playing a free gig on the 28th in Mono this month as well.

On top of this there’s also the Sounds in the Grounds festival run by the WIN trust which has previously had the likes of The Phantom Band and Malcolm Middleton headling it and hosting various other great bands from across Scotland. A great wee festival in a pretty unusual place (and the weather has ususally, though not always, turned a bit better by the time it starts.)

There’s also Honcho Recordings/Promotions run by Innes Morrison and Jori Kim which released a series of compilations, EPs and albums that really helped to kickstart the music scene on Lewis. If you can track the compilations down they’re well worth a listen for the diversity of stuff that’s appeared on the island (as well as to hear some old tracks from The Boy Who Trapped The Sun and dotjr’s previous band if you’re a fan of themselves.)

There’s a whole load of other folk I haven’t covered here, but hopefully that’s given you interest enough to start clicking through links to other Lewis artists to see what else is going on up there.

Thanks Allan for the guest blog. If anyone else from outside of Glasgow or Edinburgh wants to let us know a bit about what is happening musically in their neck of the woods drop me a line at jim@ayetunes.org.uk, I’d love to know.
Mondegreen play Bloc in Glasgow on Thursday night, I highly recommend going, they are a brilliant band.

Comments

  1. Saw iain shaw in october. He played lost of covers but I really liked the couple of originals he played.