Friday Freebies – 15.02.2013

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Hi. I like what you’ve done with your hair today. If you don’t have any hair then I like that too.
“What music can I get off the internet at minimal cost to myself this week Jim?” I hear you say. The doctors tell me this is perfectly normal though, and I shouldn’t worry about it too much. They are getting me a special jacket to wear so I can cuddle myself while I hear voices asking me things on the internet.

Pinact
Pinact have a new EP out now. Or they have a zine out, which comes with an EP. Look, Pinact have a thing out, right? You can buy it here. That’s not free, but their first EP, the quite splendid Spill Your Guts, Let Out Some Noise can be had for whatever price you want to pay for it here. While I’m plugging, I should mention that they’ve got a few tasty looking gigs next week in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen. Go on over to their Facebook for all the details on those.

The Big Nowhere
My old mates The Big Nowhere have been promising a second album for about as long as I can remember. It’s still not ready. They have put together a wee song for Valentine’s Day though, which I bring to you a day late, like a bouquet of petrol station flowers bought in a panic at 5am. I’d never do something like that, my 5am petrol station purchases are far less romantic. Enough about that though, get hold of The Big Nowhere’s cover of Gene Clark’s Through the Morning, Through the Night over here.

Randolph’s Leap
Ahead of their big gig at Edinburgh’s Queens Hall on Saturday night, long time blog favourites Randolph’s Leap have a new single. News is available here as a name your price download. It’s fab.

Hey! Hello!
Somewhat carrying on the day late Valentine theme, we’ve got Hey! Hello! I’ll forgive you if you aren’t familiar with the band name, but once I tell you that one half of the band is one of the major Aye Tunes mancrushes I expect you to pay attention. Hey! Hello! is a side project of sorts, set up by Ginger of The Wildhearts fame – because he doesn’t have quite enough projects on the go at any one time, with Victoria Liedtke. Together they’ve put together an excellent punky pop album, the first single from which is Black Valentine. Get yourself a download of the track here, for whatever price you fancy. If you like the single, you can get hold of the alum right now through Pledge Music.

Andrew Pearson and the Riflebirds
Last time I had Andrew on the blog it was Christmas. Goodness, how time flies. Mr Pearson and his Riflebirds have a new album out on Monday, but you can get yourself a single from the album right now! Ribbons comes with a plethora of remixes, and is a free download here.

Did you all have a nice Valentine’s Day, or did you all ignore it? I went to see A Good Day To Die Hard with my ladyfriend. It was here idea, honest. I don’t advise going to see the film unless you bloody love incoherent direction and plotting or didn’t think Die Hard 4 was quite orange and teal coloured enough for your liking.

Friday Freebies – 08.02.2013

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After a week off to rest my weary head, and because there was hardly anything to post last week, here’s the freebies back again. I fine line-up this week, if you ask me. But then I would say that, since I tend not to post things I think are shite. You may disagree with the quality.

Machines In Heaven
Long term pals of the blog Machines in Heaven have taken their sweet time to finally get round to releasing something, but I can stop badgering them about that for the moment. They have released The Glasgow Jihad EP today, and you can get hold of a copy for whatever you want to pay here. I really quite like it, which means we don’t need to have a sad break-up. Good.

The Plimptons
After 13 years, The Plimptons are going away. I’m quite sad about that, as they are still one of the most fun live bands around. As a parting gift, you can pick up their final release, The Plimptons are Dead! for free here. There’s more freebies on their Bandcamp page too, if you poke around. They’ll be finishing things in style with an all day going away bash on March 30th, split between Stereo and The Old Hairdressers, you can get tickets for that on Bandcamp too. Awkwardly, me Neil and Lloyd have one of our gigs that night, meaning I may need to don a disguise to go see The Plimptons instead…

Song, by Toad
I think in all the time it has been running, Song, by Toad Records has only put out one thing I didn’t really like. That’s either a pretty good track record, or I’m just easy to please. The 2013 label sampler is out now, and available as a free download here. Doesn’t look like there’s going to be anything coming from the label I don’t like any time soon on this evidence, especially with the additions of Adam Stafford and Sparrow and the Workshop to the roster. Add in the next split 12″ with Plastic Animals, Le Thug, Magic Eye and Zed Penguin and you’ve got a handful of folk who have either done gigs for me, or place very high up the wishlist for future. Excellent work toad people.

Jim Bob
We bloody love Carter USM round here. We also bloody love Jim Bob’s solo stuff. So much so that I’ve had this for ages, since it came as a free download with the latest Jim Bob novel (we also like his books, and should stop saying we). I’m so cool. Though not as cool as Last Year’s Girl, who put him on in Glasgow. The Day Job EP is now available to everyone, for whatever you want to pay for it, here. As an added bonus, it has the man behind Thirty Pounds of Bone on it, we like him a lot too.

Zombie Girlfriend
I’d call Zombie Girlfriend my favourite lo-fi band from Hungary, but they are pretty much the only band I know from Hungary, so I won’t. I do really like the band though. Nab yourself a free download of Aglaope here, it’s quite lovely. Gentler, more restrained and quite different to most of their stuff, all of which is worth investigating here.

Laurence and the Slab Boys
Last year Laurence and the Slab Boys put out their debut album, Lo-Fi Disgrace. It was good. I completely neglected to mention this fact on the blog. The description on Bandcamp for the just released Songs For B-Movies EP says it is a secret, but I’m going to stick it in here and hope Larry doesn’t batter me. Name your price for the EP here, and check out the album here.

It Girl
The one thing I did want to post last week, but it had to wait. It Girl’s debut album Neon Signs is out now, available to download for whatever price you want here. Particularly worth looking at if you like Interpol.

Gig Tomorrow, Plug Plug Plug

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We didn’t have time to change the poster

It’s time, once again, to remind you that I’m doing stuff. Tomorrow (Saturday Jan 26th, in case you aren’t reading this on the day it was written) is the third of the gigs put on by myself, Neil from Scottish Fiction and Lloyd from Peenko, with the witty and creative Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes Vs Peenko title. Suggestions for snappier promotional titles welcome. I suggested SPAFT, since it includes the initials from all our blogs. This suggestion was, correctly, dismissed.

We’re moving to The 13th note for this one, with the fun kicking off from around 8pm. It’ll only cost you six pounds to get in.

Here’s what you’ll get for your money.

Black International – stepping in at the last minute for the sadly unable to appear King Post Kitsch, the Edinburgh two piece gathered rave reviews for their recent King Tuts gig, so come catch them before they get huge egos and demand a rider that would bankrupt me! They also happen to be a huge favourite of mine, so I’m happy to have them back.

In Debt by Black International
Plastic Animals – another big favourite round here, and another band who I apparently haven’t robbed blind or offended, since this will be their second gig with me involved. This lot make lovely noise.

Automaton by Plastic Animals
The Yawns – and a band I’ve not put on before! Their debut album caught a fair bit of attention when released last year, and this gig is the last on The Yawns’s UK tour to promote the launch of the album on lovely, shiny vinyl. You’ll be able to hear lots of songs and buy a record if you wish.

The Yawns by The Yawns

Hugs – lurk near Neil, Lloyd or myself and chances are you’ll get hugged. Especially later in the night when we’ve been drinking. Don’t let that put you off though.

The Skinny said “go find a new favourite band” about the gig, and who am I to disagree? Well, these bands are already amongst my favourites, but that’s not the point.

So that’s Saturday the 26th, at The 13th Note, doors open at 8, and six quid in.

Friday Freebies – 25.01.2013

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I was rather hoping to get away without writing the freebies this week. There hadn’t been much around, and the blog is going to be even more neglected than normal for the next wee while due to personal issues, so I was taking a week off, with a gig plug going up instead. A few things worth mentioning have popped up though, so rather than skip them for now and inevitably forget about them, here’s a hastily assembled freebies.

There’ll still be a gig plug later too.

Disclaimer: increasingly the freebies are actually name your price downloads, but Friday Pay What You Want is a terrible title for a blog post. If you’ve got some spare cash I encourage you to pay for the things you like.

Now Wakes the Sea
Once again I get to refer to the Best Albums of 2012 list that I never published. The Now Wakes the Sea album from early last year, Fluoxetine Morning, had a spot in the top five on the list. That’s not what the freebie is, but you should go have a listen to that album sometimes, I bloody loved it. New from Now Wakes the Sea is a collection of Burns songs – my, how timely! – called Addressing the Haggis. The album is a name your price download here. I can take or leave Burns in general, but this album is a swell listen.

The Cherry Wave
It barely seems like any time since I was talking about The Cherry Wave’s first EP, yet here they come with their second one already. I do enjoy speedy service. I also enjoy The Cherry Wave, so this all works out nicely for me. Blush is available for whatever price you pick here.

Good Grief
Ooh, I like it when things tie together! Good Grief put out the first Cherry Wave EP. They also put out downloadable compilations to go with their Hey Man fanzine. The third compilation is available now, for free, here. It includes songs from Bianca, Sun Dogs, Owls In Antarctica, TIDINGS and Black International. Black International are playing tomorrow night’s Scottish Fiction/Aye Tunes/Peenko gig as late substitutes for King Post Kitsch. In your fucking face Kevin Bacon.

Black Books
My favourite Texans ended up rejigging most of their plans last year, but did manage to sneak out a new single at the tail end of 2012. I don’t think I’ve gotten round to mentioning it here before, and it’s really good, so go get double A-side Like You Best/Shipwrecked for your choice of price here.

Aloha Tigers
What happens when a band from Illinois team up with a fella in Edinburgh? You end up with the self titled Aloha Tigers album being released by a Scottish tape label. Cracking album this, it came out away back near the start of last year, but all the tapes are sold out, so you can pick up a download for whatever you want here.

Our Smallest Adventures
Rounding things off this week are Fifers Our Smallest Adventures. Their self titled debut EP is available for free here.

Friday Freebies – 18.01.2013

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You can pay for things too.

What delights has the internet thrown at us this week then? Let’s have a look and find out.

Fashoda Crisis
Kicking us off this week is something blooming ace, from token English entry Fashoda Crisis. It’s always nice to keep the Southerners involved in things. I kid, I kid. Anyway, the new Fashoda Crisis EP, The Jowls of Justic, is available as a pay what you want download here. Somewhere in the art-rock region, packed with dark wit and social commentary, but far far better sounding than what I just wrote, this gets a big thumbs up from me. Go listen and see what you think for yourself, you do have your own ears after all.

From Paris To Prison
A bit alt-rock, a bit grungey, the self titled debut EP from From Paris To Prison is a decent wee listen, and available for whatever you want to pay here.

Secret Motorbikes
Shh. Vroom vroom. I like a bit of scruffy sounding surf pop, therefor I like Secret Motorbikes. You can too, to help you decide if you want to or not you can grab their Demos 2012 collection, which rounds up an EP and a single, for free here. Is it telling tales if I say that Neil keeps asking them to do one of our gigs and they keep saying no? It is? Forget you read that bit then.

Hunt / Gather
Hunt / Gather’s debut album False Monuments was one of my favourites from last year. Noisy, angry, abrasive  and right up my street. If you missed it first time round you can snag a copy now with a pay what you want download here. Play loud.

Lawrence Made Me Cry
Another one of those pesky solo artists with a proper band name, Lawrence Made Me Cry is a lass from Wales, and she has a new single out. Between Destinations is available to download for your choice of price here.

The Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse
Making certain that I can’t fit all the bands included this week into one tweet sized round up comes everyone’s favourite horse with the head of an eagle. I’ve not suddenly had a mental snap, I swear. At least I don’t think I have… Get a free download of Am Twitchin’ here (right click and save as if you have to).

Giant Squids
While Friday Freebies was posted absent for most of December I missed a bunch of stuff, like a new EP thingy from Giant Squidz. Catch up now by getting A Shanty free here.

Bottle of Steven
I missed this out in December, and Steven, he of the the “Bottle of” in the name, personally requested pimping, which is always a good way to get included here. Titbits of Turmoil is a wee collection of previously unreleased Bottle of Steven tracks, and you can pay what you want for it here.

The Strangers Almanac
Get your mitts on Ten Feet Tall, taken from the upcoming The Strangers Almanac album, for free here.

Friday Freebies – 10.10.2013

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Woo, first Friday Freebies of the year, what a momentous occasion! Or not. First one I’ve remembered to do in a while, which is probably more momentous.

Let’s see what we’ve got this week then, along with a few things I’ve missed previously.

The Plimptons
Sadly, The Plimptons have announced their intention to pack it in, with a farewell gig at the end of March being their last outing. Shame that, since they are one of the most fun live bands around, but at least there’s one last chance to catch them on stage. Meanwhile, The Plimptons have made their last – in all senses of the word – album The Plimptons are Cynical and Bloated available to download for whatever price you fancy here.

Gums!
There’s at least one Plimpton involved in Gums! and I didn’t get round to posting their recent freebie when I came out, so here it is, a bit late. New Year is a free download here.

The Paraffins
Another old favourite round this way, The Paraffins have stuck out a live album, Armed Response, as a pay what you want download here. Recorded on phones and ghettoblasters, the results are somewhat rough. If you’d prefer something more polished then the first album from The Paraffins, Snout to the Grindstone, can be had for your choice of price at the moment too, here.

James Clark Jones
Taking a diversion away from our shores to Canada we have James Clark Jones, although his roots are firmly in Scotland, so don’t be afraid of something from elsewhere. James has made his latest album available to download for what you like this week only, so head over here quickly. He’ll be paying another visit to Scotland soon, so if you like what you hear keep an eye out for that.

Magnetic Island
While we are going round other countries, it’s off to Brooklyn to pay a visit to Magnetic Island. I never did get round to writing up a best albums of 2012 list for the blog, but if I had, and on lists I submitted elsewhere, Magnetic Island’s self titled album from last year took a top five place. You can grab a collection of all their singles for whatever you want to pay here.

Monster Island.
Sticking with bands I really like with Island in their name, time for a quick stop in Manchester. I mentioned the then upcoming new album from Monster Island a few times in the freebies before it came out, but never got back to telling you when the album was actually out. Well, the new album from Monster Island. is currently available. It’s right good, and you should go and get yourself a copy of The Retaining Wall for free here.

Armellodie Records
Armellodie release some of my favourite records. This year shows no sign of that stopping, with new stuff from Cuddly Shark and Galoshins imminent. For a flavour of the label grab their free 2012 sampler here.

Luminous Monsters / Guanoman
Not many people can release a split single with themselves. Since Luminous Monsters and Guanoman are the same person, they (he?) could, and did, and you can get hold of it here.

The New Fabian Society
If you never got around to getting a copy of the first EP from The New Fabian Society then I’ve got good news for you, it’s currently available to download free here. If you’ve missed out in the band in geenral up till now then it’s not to late to get caught up. Have a listen, they are rather ace.

mylittlebrother
After something a bit more laid back and poppy? Then you could do worse than check out mylittlebrother’s new EP. Hey Stethoscope is a name your price download here.

2012 Readers’ Poll – The "Winners"

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If you missed it, the winners of Best album, band, solo artist, single/EP, new band, blog & podcast/radio show are here.

This set of results is for the lucky ones who “won” the new categories added this year. I did consider not posting these to be nice, then remembered that I’m not nice.

This post is sponsored by burning bridges and pissing on chips. I didn’t pick the winners though, so don’t take it out on me.

Worst Album/Single/EP:
Despite not being released last year, the award goes to Bwani Junction – Fully Cocked.
In second place, it’s Mumford & Sons with Babel! They can sob themselves to sleep in their nice bed made of money.

The Sergeant Award for Worst Band/Solo Artist:
We have a tie! The award is shared by Bwani Junction, and Fatherson.

The Peenko Podcast Award for Worst Music Blog/Website/Podcast/Radio Show:
Glasgow Podcart. Second place, The Pop Cop.

That’s my arse booted then. Remember, I just count things, I didn’t do the voting.

Fiiiiiiiiiight!

2012 Readers’ Poll – The Winners

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Sorry, there’s no glitzy results show, no D-list celebs presenting an award, or even a logo.

We’ll a least try and get through this without Emeli Sandé turning up though.

Votes were cast, I applied the same formula I’ve always used to them, got a headache, and wondered again why I don’t use a formula that requires less counting, but now, here, a wee bit late (now there’s a surprise) are the results of the Readers’ Poll for 2012.

Voting was anonymous, which led to some hilarious bitchy answers, some of which I’ll repeat here, others I won’t.

On then to the winners! Later on I’ll come back to the losers, in a separate post covering the “worst” categories that were added this year.

Best Album:
1. Meursault – Something For the Weekend (Buy)
Following up their win in the BAMS result, Meersalt prove to be the favourites of my readers too. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.

2. PAWS – Cokefloat! (Listen)
Meursault were way ahead in 1st place votes, while PAWS were most people’s second choices. This was good, since it meant I didn’t get any weird anomalies of everyone’s third favourite album finishing second because of my points system or anything.
3. BMX Bandits – BMX Bandits In Space (Listen/Buy)
I must admit I didn’t see this one coming. I’d expected someone like Django Django to swan in to the top three, but no, here comes Duglas T. Stewart and friends with a pleasant surprise. Albeit a surprise that will soon cost me money, as I realise I’ve not yet bought a copy of the album.

Also, to the people who voted for The Just Joans and Now Wakes the Seas, you are both anonymous, so I don’t know who you are, but you are welcome to claim a free kiss from me for being my kind of people.

Best Single/EP:
1. Adam Stafford/Rick Redbeard – Split 7″ (Listen/buy)
Hooray! Most votes were for the split single as a whole, but any for Rick or Adam individually were counted in here too, just in case anyone asks. Cracking single, buy one if you haven’t already.
2. Frightened Rabbit – State Hospital
3. Withered Hand – Heart Heart
Nestling in at around number five on the chart would have been Withered Hand’s Inbetweeners EP, but I don’t go down that far. Still, a good innings from Mr Hand, who is always very welcome around here.
Special mention to Randolph’s Leap, whose Hermit EP was only just beaten by fellow Fence release Heart Heart.

Best Band:
1. PAWS
2. Meursault
3. Kid Canaveral
=3. The Twilight Sad
In a very close category – there was only a few votes between first and third – PAWS gain some measure of revenge for the earlier best album voting, by shoving Meursault into second, while The Twilight Sad and Kid Canaveral were inseparable to claim joint third place. Kid Canaveral won this last year, that’ll teach them to dare going into the studio for ages to make a new record. Meanwhile, one person will not be happy when they check the results for worst band, based on who they voted for in this category.

Best Solo Artist:
1. Withered Hand
2. Adam Stafford
3. RM Hubbert
I swear I did actually count up the votes for this one, and not just write down three solo people I like. Withered Hand has jumped up the charts since last year, moving from his 2011 place of third to displace last year’s winner, Adam Stafford. Again, this was a close one. So much so that Adam could have snuck a victory if I’d been mean enough to discount the vote for “Withered Han”.
To the one person who voted for Randolph’s Leap as both best band and best solo artists, although you are technically fine in doing so, that was cheeky.

Best New Band:
1. Chvrches
Well, I saw that coming a mile off. Ch-five-rches won at a canter.
2. The Bad Books
That one I did not see coming. Impressive work from a band with only a fistful, if you have big hands, of gigs behind them. Either that, or it was just all their pals that voted in this category. Either way, good on them, 2013 should see them actually put out some music, I hope.
3. Plastic Animals
=3. The Spook School
=3. Young Philadelphia
Three way tie! The Spook School won this category last year, so hearty pat on the back to them for still being new 12 months later. Young Philadelphia and Plastic Animals both did gigs for me last year, but again, I promise I really did count the votes. Obviously I do approve of their inclusion though.
In fact, The Bad Books, Plastic Animals, The Spook School and Young Philadelphia have all played either an Aye Tunes gig or an Aye Tunes/Scottish Fiction/Peenko one at some point, so I must be a genius or something.

Advert Break
This looks like a good time to mention the next Scottish Fiction Presents: Aye Tunes Vs Peenko gig, since Plastic Animals are apparently still on speaking terms with me, and are joining us again, along with King Post Kitsch for their first Glasgow outing, and The Yawns (one of my best new bands of 2012) who will be launching the shiny vinyl release of their self titled album. It’ll be dead good. 13th Note, January 26th. Facebook thingy here.

Handsome poster by Bob Rafferty

Best Music Blog/Website:
1. Aye Tunes
Oh for fuck sake, I forgot to tell you not to vote for me this year didn’t I? Let’s pretend this never happened and start over.
1. Song, by Toad (link)
2. Peenko (link)
3. The Pop Cop (link)
As with last year, all horrible humans. That’s every year the poll has been running that Song. by Toad has won. I happen to agree, it’s my favorite blog.

Best Music Radio Show/Podcast
1. The Toadcast (link)
=1. Edinburgh Man (link)
2. Vic Galloway (link)
Last year’s winner The Toadcast this year has to share the trophy with fellow Edinburgh based podcast man, Edinburgh Man. Vic Galloway bounces back up the chart this year.

That concludes the “best” categories. I’ll now take some legal advice before returning later tonight with the votes from the “worst” categories.

Advent Calendar, Door Twenty Four – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

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Oh thank goodness, that’s this thing finished for another year. Now I can get back to the important work of hardly ever posting anything on the blog.

For the final door of the calendar I’ve picked out one of my favourite Christmas songs, with a few different people putting their own spin on it.
The song is Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). Written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Phil Spector for the latter’s A Christmas Gift To You album, still the best Christmas album made if you ask me, singing duties fell to Darlene Love.

Love’s version is properly brilliant, as she belts it out. Hers is the one you here over the opening credits of Gremlins.
Darlene Love – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

As you’d expect with such a well known and popular song, many others have turned their hand to it over the years. I always think there’s two ways you can with a cover version of the song. You can stay faithful to the original, but this needs your singer to go all out. Slow Club took this approach for their version, and it worked out pretty well.
Slow Club – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

The other way to go is to slow things down. For their Christmas Carols radio session many years ago Arab Star took that option, and made everything bloody miserable. How very unlike them. Excellent version though, featuring backing vocals from one Lauren Laverne.
Arab Strap – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Rounding off our collection is a version from a couple of years ago by the excellent Now Wakes the Sea. This one replaces sax and big drums with subdued horns and distorted bass to good effect, and has been a firm favourite of mine since first hearing it.
Now Wakes the Sea – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

That’s it for the advent calendar this year. You can find everything from the past 24 days, and quite a bit from the past few years, by clicking on the handy Christmas tag on any of the advent calendar posts, this one included.

Have a very happy Christmas, vote in the Readers’ Poll if you want to, and hopefully I’ll be back before New Year with the standard album of the year lists that all music blogs must do.

Advent Calendar, Door Twenty Three – Loop Line

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Nearly finished, nearly finished…

Today’s Christmas song comes from the submission pile, and is ace. Loop Line are American, and their Christmas single follows in the tradition and roughly the sound of Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift for You. That’s the best Christmas album ever, so a good thing to draw inspiration from.

The songs will cost you fifty cents (that’s like 30p or something?) but are well worth such a tiny amount of money.
Stream below, download here.

Wishlist by Loop Line