The Annual Christmas Song Cattle Call

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We’re a fair way through November, and I’ve spent weeks covered in a thin coating of glitter from working in the Christmas section of my employer, so I think I can get away with this now without being too early.

For years now, both here on Aye Tunes and before that on previous blogs, I’ve ran an advent calendar of sorts on the blog, treating readers to a festive themed song each day of December up until Christmas, because that’s how advent calendars work. I’m going to try it again this year.

Last year the Advent Calendar was a bit of a slog, there wasn’t very much in the way of new stuff for me to post, so a lot was recycled from previous years. If that’s going to happen again this year then it barely seems worth doing. Hence this cattle call.

I turn to any bands and/or artists that might be reading. Are you planning a Christmas song, EP, whatever? Do let me know, I’d like to include it here if you are.
I’m ideally looking for free stuff. I’m not saying I won’t plug your special Christmas release if it costs money, but it won’t be at the top of my list, so don’t bug me if I don’t get to it. At the very least make sure I can embed a stream of the song, EP, whatever.
Lastly, I’m mainly after stuff that can be downloaded here. That video of your band drunkenly ruining something is great, yes, but no, I don’t want to post it.

A couple of years ago there was an awkward turn of events when a band didn’t quite get what I was doing with the advent calendar posts, and completely fell out with me. To avoid that happening again I’ll clear one or two things up.
While I’m always happy to plug something a band is giving away for free, that’s not really the point of the advent calendar. I’m sure the EP you released in March is great, but unless there’s an oddly timed Christmassy song on there that you want me to link to, it isn’t going in the advent calendar.

So if you and/or your band have something up your sleeve, be it new, found in a vault, or a cover you’ve thrown together in rehearsal  get in touch. The sooner the better, as these things start on December 1st and I like to attempt to plan ahead.

Love Letter to The Spook School

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As well as being generally fab and one of my favourite bands in YEARS, The Spook School also have a fine line in love letters. Pop by their website to see what I mean.

At the end of last year they even wrote me one, snuck into the envelope containing their 7″ double A side single Here We Go/Cameraman. With their debut album out this week, and letters to people seemingly being all the rage at the moment, I thought I should finally write back to them.

This is what happened. Click to make bigger.

Shockingly that is both my actual handwriting, and my very best artistic skills.

The Spook School’s debut album Dress Up is out now, you should be able to buy it in record shops and stuff. I’ve not heard it yet, but I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t ace. Other things are available to buy and listen to on Bandcamp.
There’s a launch gig in Edinburgh at Henry’s Cellar Bar. I’ll be making one of my “once every four years” trips through to Edinburgh for it and everything. You can buy tickets for that here.
Glasgow folk can see them at The Glad Cafe on Saturday 19th November. You can go to that one without the risk of meeting me, as I’m busy elsewhere.

Here’s a video for the first single from their album, I’ll Be Honest.

Gig Plugs, Mine and Other People

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As you should know, this Saturday is my latest gig venture.

Taking place at The Art School in Glasgow, I’ve got Cleavers, The Cherry Wave and Mad Nurse playing. It’ll be excellent and you should come. Further details, including songs and stuff, here.

There’s other cool stuff happening over the next week or so too. A lot of it involves bands that have done gigs for me before, so here’s some plugs for their efforts.

Birdhead haven’t done anything with me, but are fab anyway, and one day I’ll get them to say yes to a gig. They play Bloc on Wednesday night with Electric Gardens and Kill Surrrf

Black International have a new single out, released by Electric Company Music, and are off on tour to launch the thing. On Thursday they are at Edinburgh’s Wee Red Bar, joined by the fab Little Anchors and Algernon Doll. Friday has them at Broadcast in Glasgow with Young Philadelphia and Pinact, in a night of entertainment where everyone has played a gig I’ve been involved in. After that they are off to Sheffield and Nottingham, but I doubt anyone reading this is from there. Until midnight on Tuesday you can get a ticket for the Edinburgh or Glasgow gigs and a copy of the 7″ single for just £6, which is a grand deal, here.

King Tut’s Summer Nights starts this week. I made a pie chart about the bands playing.

I probably won’t bother.

Saturday is all about me, so while other gigs are available, I’m not telling you what.

Sunday has Miaoux Miaoux, now with a new full band, playing at Stereo in Glasgow. Support comes from Jonnie Common and Atom Tree. Cheaper than door price tickets are available in advance here.

Into next week and our best friends forever The Spook School are back in Glasgow, playing at The Glad Cafe on Tuesday the 23rd. They are supporting Tunabunny, who I’d have endorsed on their name alone. Then I heard their album and they are now one of my new favourite things.

Next Gig, Cheap Tickets!

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Time waits for no man, so I’d better get on with plugging the next Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes Vs Peenko shindig eh?

I’ve been left in charge for July, so you get a very loud line up of bands I like, a bit more like my solo efforts than the group ones so far.

Mad Nurse have only made a brief appearance on the blog before in Friday Freebies, ages ago. You can still get hold of a free EP from them here, and I also fully encourage spending a couple of quid on their recently released The Rip EP here. They should be getting things off to a suitably raucous start.

The Rip by Mad Nurse

The Cherry Wave have been pleasing my ears for about a year now, since the release of their first self titled EP. Both that and their second EP, Blush, released earlier this year can be yours over here. I asked them to play mostly because I like them lots, but also in part because they’ve been causing trouble recently, and I always enjoy that kind of thing. Wear your best shoes for them, to enhance your gazing fun.

Blush EP by The Cherry Wave

I asked Cleavers to do a gig for me a full year ago, having decided they were my favourite new band in ages. They couldn’t do it then, but this July they can, and although they aren’t so new anymore, they are still one of my favourite bands in the country. They also cost me a decent chunk of cash, since they seem to put out something new for me to buy with alarming regularity. Noisy, brash, fast, but packed with melodies, I’m really delighted to finally be putting Cleavers on. If we ask them nicely they may even bring pyrotechnics.
There’s loads of stuff available over here, a lot of it can be had for free, but as the band were recently robbed in London I’ll urge you to pay for the music if you like it and have a few extra quid, they’d really appreciate the cash.

Broken Birthday Teeth by Cleavers

The gig takes place at The Art School on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow on Saturday July 20th, probably starting about 8. Entry will cost you a mere six pounds.

BUT if you buy a ticket in advance this week, you can get in for just £4. Bargain, eh? Tickets are available here. After Saturday the price goes up again, so act fast for big savings now, as people say in annoying adverts.

Friday Freebies – 10.05.2013

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What, no six week gap between freebies? Shocker.

Adam Stafford
There’s a new album from long term blog fave Adam Stafford coming up in a couple of months. Smugly I’ll now tell you that I’ve already heard it. It’s brilliant. It’ll be released by Song, by Toad Records in July, which is good, since it keeps up Adam’s recent track record of releasing things with labels I really like, what with his last single having been on Gerry Loves Records and all. You can get a wee taster for yourself now, with the first single from the album, Please, available as a free download here.

Sparrow and the Workshop
Carrying on the “really good bands with albums out from Song, by Toad” theme, here’s a new single from the always ace Sparrow and the Workshop. The Faster You Spin is the second single to be taken from their new album Murderopolis, and you can download it for free here. If you like the sound of that – and why wouldn’t you? – then you can buy yourself a copy of Murderopilis here.

Kellar
Cash always tend to be pretty tight around Aye Tunes towers, so it’s a compliment and accomplishment that every time Kellar stick out a new album I happily pay money for it at the earliest possible opportunity. Their last album Fulminant was no different. The band have made some stuff available for free now, so I’m off to grab them post haste. Get your paws on four out takes from Fulminant for free here.You can get some free remixes here too.

Cuddly Shark
I love Cuddly Shark. Great band, fab name, swell songs. They’ve got a new single out this week, which I also, unsurprisingly, really like. Out of Sight, Out of Mind is a pay what you want download, available here.

The Lonely Oatcake
I went to a Lonely Oatcake gig years ago, really enjoyed it, but could never get anything to listen to afterwards. Lots of patience has apparently paid off though, as along comes an EP at last. A free one at that, meaning I get to plug it here. A Portrait of the Oatcake as a Young Man is available as a free download here. I rather enjoyed it.

Book Group
Rounding off this week is one of my favourite new bands. One of your favourite new bands too, if the last set of Readers’ Poll results are to be believed, though there’s been a name change since then, with The Bad Books moniker being dropped in favour of Book Group. Their debut EP Homeward Sound is out at the end of this month, but the lovely Book Group gentlemen will let you have one song, Year of the Cat, from it right now for absolutely free, over here. Edinburgh dwellers can thank them and buy a copy of the EP at the launch gig on May 18th, tickets for that are available here.

Friday Freebies – 03.05.2013

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I knew I’d been lazy recently, but I didn’t realise quite how long it had been since the last Friday Freebies.

Oops.

There’s probably millions of things have come out since the last time I wrote one of these, but I’ll likely miss out loads of them or else this will go on forever. Here’s a handful of things that are either free or name your price to keep you going.

Royal Edinburgh Music
Derek from Evil Hand shared a couple of songs from this band with me a while ago, as they’d been recorded at the EH Studios. The stuff I heard then was great. I was really rather pleased then when a few weeks ago Royal Edinburgh Music offered up a full album of goodies for whatever anyone fancied to pay. Even more pleased when the album was pretty bloody ace, so much so that I even *gasp* paid money for it! Get your paws on a copy of the self titled album here.

Little Anchors
Former Pensioner fella Ross Middlemiss has a new thing going, that being Little Anchors. A Searing Analysis of Pretty Much Everything is a fab five track slice of rock, available for whatever price you fancy here. Any money raised is going to the Scottish Association for Mental Health, so don’t be afraid to chuck in some money for it.

GUMS!
Ooh ace, a new GUMS! EP! (Well, it was new a few weeks ago anyway) Antipathy is splendid, go get it for free here.

Thirty Pounds of Bone
New anything from Thirty Pounds of Bone is cause for celebration round here (and probably at Elba Sessions too, I assume), so it’s party central at the moment as the fine Mr Lamb has a new album out next week, a long awaited follow up to 2010’s brilliant Method. You can pre-order that here, and having had a sneaky advance listen I can assure you that doing so wouldn’t be a bad move. A free single from the album, The Truth of the Matter, is available to download here.

Nevada Base
Good news for those of you that prefer to shimmy and shake rather than jump around, Nevada Base have a new single out, and you can certainly wiggle your arse to it. Foresight is available here, name your price.

Baby Godzilla
Baby Godzilla are a band to whom a stage is treated more like a serving suggestion. Their on and mostly offstage carnage could easily, as is the case with many other bands, be used to mask them being not actually very good, but it isn’t. Best played at a volume that is likely to cause hearing damage* most recent single A Good Idea Realised can be had in return for your email address here, there’s older stuff for free download here.

Eureka Machines
Pretty much my favourite pop band on the planet, after about a four year wait I recently got to see Eureka Machines twice in the space of a few weeks. That was most enjoyable. I also saw the aforementioned Baby Godzilla at both those gigs too, enhancing the enjoyment. With three swell albums now under their belts, Eureka Machines have a sort of Best Of available for free here, go have a listen.

You Already Know
Aye, I still miss them. One from under the floorboards here, as you can download YAK’s Test the Pie for free here. It features the best use of the Take the High Road theme tune ever if you ask me. Identifying that theme tune in there took me ages, but helped me win a big bag of swag a few years ago.

*Aye Tunes do not condone causing yourself lasting hearing damage. Listen responsibly kids!

Friday Freebies – 08.03.2013

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It’s another one of those weeks where I’ve came across very little I’ve liked enough to stick in the freebies, believe it or not there is some element of quality control in here.

Edinburgh Man had some good stuff on his podcast this week though, so I’ve nicked some of that.

Bianca
Sneaking in late, after I’d already drafter up this post, so missing out on an cough illustrious position on the wee reciept, are the first freely available from Bianca. They are fairly recent additions to the Good Grief family, a family who haven’t disappointed me yet. Mellower than their label mates, the two free tracks from Bianca available here are still rather fine.

Joshua Burnside
This being the first of stuff heard on Edinburgh Man. I’ve only listened to half of the Black Dog Sin EP as I’m writing this, but I’ve enjoyed that half, and don’t expect it to go wildly off the rails from here on. Grab the EP for whatever you want to pay here.

Baffin Island
Our second “you lazy bugger, you swiped that from a podcast” freebie of the week comes from transatlantic collaboration Baffin Island. Idaho and Glasgow combine for some lovely indie pop, free download here.

Mad Nurse
Aaaaand here’s the “shocking lack of research” selection. The self titled Mad Nurse EP seems to be pretty old, the release date is listed as 2011, but I’ve only just found it on Bandcamp today. Look, shut up and stop complaining and just go get it here, right?

Let’s Talk About Space
They used to talk about trees, now they’ve gone off planet, grab the latest song from Let’s Talk About Space here, for free!

HCBP
I’m sure someone from HCBP is in another band I like, and they’d tweeted the link to this album. I now have no idea who it was though, since I’m too dim to keep notes. I can tell you that HCMP’s album, Charger, is a fun little rocky bluesy romp though, and you can pay what you want for it here.

That’s your lot for this week. Good luck to Neil from Scottish Fiction in finding something in there to stick on his Friday Freebies slot on the radio show.

Friday Freebies – 01.03.2013

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It’s a small but perfectly formed selection of freebies this week. Dig in and see if anything floats your boat.

Walker Smith Jr.
I really like two piece bands. Joining the list of bands I like who happen to only have two members are Walker Smith Jr. Kyle of Lovers Turn To Monsters was talking about this lot last week over on Scottish Fiction and it seemed like they’d be up my street. I didn’t have to wait long, as they’ve stuck three songs up on Bandcamp to download for whatever you want to pay. I was right though, they are right up my street. They pretty much sound like approximately 14 of my favourite bands crammed in a washing machine. That’s a compliment.

Cleavers
Cleavers have only been together a bit over a year, but in that time have been busy wee beavers. A steady stream of gigs have been accompanied by a nice wee bunch of releases, and they’ve pretty rapidly become one of my favourite new(ish) bands from these shores in ages. At some point I’ll trick them into an Aye Tunes gig if I have my way. This week they’ve flung out a cover version of Joy Division’s Transmission, which manages to dodge the usual results of a Joy Division cover by being not shit. You can grab that here. For their own songs just delve into their Bandcamp, where everything is available as name your price downloads. I’d especially suggest giving their most recent single, Life Is Shit, a listen. Good art too.

Flutes
Like an idiot, I keep forgetting to include this freebie from Flutes. In fact, I geenrally just keep forgetting to say nice things about Flutes on here. Their self titled album from last year was fab, but due to my continued inability to review anything I never got round to saying so. Flutes have a new single, Kilburn, out at the start of next month which you can listen to here. The b-side is a cover of Haddaway’s What Is Love? and you can get your paws of that for free right now here.

Slutever
Great name, ace scuzzy pop songs, shouty girls and references to Josie and the Pussycats, it’s like Slutever tapped into my brain for stuff that will make me pine after them. There’s lots of stuff to grab for whatever you want to pay for it here.

Friday Freebies – 22.02.2013

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Everyone’s band name is too long this week.

The Earth has revolved the sun enough times that freebies are due again, so here are some.

Lovers Turn To Monsters
Heaven forbid I miss the chance for a gig plug. Ahead of Saturday’s gig, Lovers Turn To Monsters staged a takeover of Scottish Fiction. Included in that was a free EP of Lovers Turn Top Monsters covering songs by Paws, So Many Animal Calls, Honeyblood and Chvrches. Get that here.

Northern Alliance
With an entire discography shoved out for the price of your choice this week Northern Alliance could practically have filled the freebies column on their own. Four Northern Alliance albums, and one under the guise of The Ossians, can be yours here. I’d previously only heard little bits of the band before, so I was particularly happy to get my paws on all this, most of which has been listened to and thoroughly enjoyed this week.

Universal Disappointment Sponge
I had Fashoda Crisis on here a few weeks ago with an EP I really liked. The marvelously names Universal Disappointment Sponge are a side project of one of that band, and it’s their turn to come along with a fab EP. Name your price for Time to Surrender Puny Earthlings here.

In Session
Edinburgh radio show In Session have stuck out their selection of – funnily enough – session tracks recorded for the show. Tons of good stuff on this. It’s a pay what you want download, with any money raised going to charity, here.

DanDanDan
Noisy Edinburgh tykes DanDanDan have a new EP out, available for whatever you want to pay here. Excellent song titles.

Run/Lucky/Free
Indie-pop types Run/Lucky/Free have decided to split up. They are giving away a free download of a four track EP here as a parting gift.

The Girobabies
I always forget to include The Girobabies in the freebies when they have one, no idea why. My mind usually remembers they had something an hour after posting, then shuts down again if I go to do an edit. The freebie they passed on to me to include this week isn’t actually available to download, though you can listen to it here, so instead I’ll mention that you can still get Bus Stop Apocalypse album here for whatever price you want.

Gig Plug: Beerjacket, Shambles Miller, Lovers Turn To Monsters – This Saturday!

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There’s only a few days to go until the next Scottish Fiction/Aye Tunes/Peenko gig, so just in case you’ve missed me blabbing about it all month, here’s a reminder of the details.

Venue wise we’re on the move again. The final Aye Tunes solo gig took place at The Roxy 171 at the tail end of last year, and we’re taking this gig back there.

We’ve roped in a trio of my favourite singing men with guitars for this.

Headlining affairs is the magnificent Beerjacket. I’ve never been short on praise for Beerjacket, having been a fan since before this blog even properly started up. Animosity was an Aye Tunes album of the year, although it was also one of my earliest attempts at reviewing something, the results of which I can’t bear to read it was so badly written.
Beerjacket will be playing songs we know and love, but will also be playing some brand new songs that’ll be on his next album. This gig will be your first chance to hear some of the new stuff, and a rare chance to see Beerjacket in a teeny tiny venue instead of somewhere much bigger.

Shambles Miller is another well known face round here, having popped up on the blog a ton of times, and having played at a previous Aye Tunes gig too. Shambles is never short of a witty remark, but in between those he’ll make you think and perhaps even give the heartstrings a wee yank. Come and see, smile, and marvel at his trusty and long serving flyer introducing himself. I’d say don’t start him talking about Mike Tyson and/or Chris Brown, but he’s got a song about them now, so that’s sorted.

Lovers Turn To Monsters round off both the line up for the night, and my wee list of favourite singer/songwriter types. West Lothian’s answer to Robert Pollard, it seems you can barely go a month without Kyle, he of the lengthy stage name, firing out a new batch of songs. The scary thing is that there’s almost never a duff one. When not knocking out hit after hit of his own he also has a fine knack for doing other people’s songs. I’ve long wanted to have Lovers Turn To Monsters play at one of my gigs, so I’m happy that’s happening at last (although I did have Boygirlanimalcolor play the first Aye Tunes gig). Hmm, I wonder if I can get him to play Batman Forever?

The gig takes place on Saturday 23rd February, at The Roxy 171 on Great Western Road. Things should kick off around 8pm. There’s a Facebook event here, if you are into that kind of thing.

Now, when I see people saying things like “buy tickets quick, there’s not many left!” I usually picture them sitting amidst a pile of unsold tickets. Not when I say it though. The small size of The Roxy, and me essentially being the box office for the gig, means I can honestly tell you we’ve got a single figure number of tickets remaining for this one. Should you want to come then, you should probably get one of those remaining tickets quickly, which you can do here.