Photo Exhibition

So,  my friend Heidi Kuisma who is an exceptionally talented photographer and who has taken many live shots of the Kays in 2008 has been given an exhibition of her work at the 13th Note in January 2009.  As she explains on her site My Bit Of Sky:

“The little window space in The 13th Note will have my live music photos in January. Expect my badly exposed gig photos, loads of boys with guitars, quite a few beards, a couple of girls…. most of them in black and white. Unfortunately there won’t be any shoe photos 😉 As the photos will be on the window where they usually have installations/sculptures, there is no need to go inside to see them. But please venture in too, that place is lovely.

The photos will have faces from the following bands: biffy clyro, sigur ros, findo gask, her name is calla, the acute, the kays lavelle, iLiKETRAiNS, twilight sad, frightened rabbit, there will be fireworks, herman dune, isa and the filthy tongues, glissando, copy haho, stroszek, glider, doneimagine, lanterns, mono, keser, immanu el… ”

So yeah – there will be photos in the exhibition of the Kays.  I’m not sure that these will enhance Heidi’s exhibition!  However, if you live in Glasgow, please do venture along and check out her work, or if you can’t then visit her website where you can check out her excellent work.  Her photos really are lovely so please either stop by the 13th note or, if it’s too cold in January, swing by her website.

Football Manager 2009

Football Manager is probably the computer game most hated by women who are in a relationship, and those who have experienced it whilst being in a relationship, should they now be single – possibly because of said game!  Whether they are married, live with their partner or are still living apart, there is no doubt that if their boyfriend/husband is a football fan and has a computer then he will have a version of this game.  And he will use it religiously and regularly.  Often, putting off quality time with his girlfriend or wife to do so.  This game will have been the cause of many an argument and will undoubtedly be the topic of conversation between both men when they get together:  “you should see them team I’ve put together”  and women when they get together:  “if he spends one more second playing that bloody game”…..

……I must be one of the lucky men in the world because my wife buys me the new version of this game every Xmas!  I have to admit though, I’m in no way usually addicted to it so I think maybe because I spend so little time playing it, I’ve been given it as a reward – or something weird like that.  However, I think this year she may regret it because I started playing on Boxing Day and haven’t really stopped since! I even threatened to bring it in and play it at work when I was bored, which has been a common feeling these past 2 days!  And I’m a bit unsual as well I think.  Apparently, when most people start a game they go for a team they support.  I plumped for Burnley.  Yes, Burnley!  Why – I have no idea.  But it’s been a good decision, because I got them promoted to the Premiership in my first season in charge against all odds.  I am now a hero amongst their imaginery fans.  And it feels hypothetically good!  But I better stop here because this game undoubtedly has a power over men and I think I could write for hours about my Burnley side – which is definitely not healthy.

Anyways, in my boredom at work I have stumbled across my favourite quote of the year.  I was looking at all the best quotes of the year and this little gem has cropped up:

“I felt like my vote was the vote that put him into office. It was down to one vote, and that was going to be my vote. And that may not be true, but that’s how much power it felt like I had.”
This is a quote by P Diddy on how he single handedly got Barrack Obama elected!  My favourite part is undoubtedly the use of the phrase “that may not be true” as if he actually believes that it could be true……genius.
I hope everyone who drops by this page and takes the time to read my drivel has a lovely New Year and I wish everyone well for 2009. 

Neon Neon – Stainless Style

This may surprise some people who know the kays, my personal taste in music and me in general but I love this album.  I only heard it for the first time whilst in the car with Graeme on the way back from our show in Glasgow but knew immediately that it was an album that my wife would love, so I got her it for Xmas – yes, pronounced X- mas Futurama style!  Anyways, I bought her the album and sure enough she absolutely loves it, but surprisingly so do I.  It’s completely cheesey and filled with songs that could feature in Top Gun, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or any other 80s film!  But it’s brilliant.  The track Michael Douglas has got to be up there in the danceability stakes and there are so many other brilliant tracks.  It sometimes borders on the ridiculous, but so far it has not failed to make me smile or indeed dance everytime it is played.  I love it.

Trampoline on Audioscribbler

So this is a nice end to 2008 and a big help for 2009.  I was recently interviewed by about Trampoline and the article, with interview included, is now available to read at the following link:

I hope that this interview is found and read widely and helps attract new people to Trampoline shows in 2009 as well as promoting the excellent Retreat Festival, which took place in August this year.   I also think it’s hugely encouraging for Edinburgh artists that there is another voice, in the form of Helen Newberry, who will review and support the blossoming Edinburgh music scene and push forward the bands that she really believes should be heard.  Another positive to take from this excellent year.  Bring on 2009.

February 2009

As if this wasn’t already going to be a pretty majorly important month in my life, Wilco have gone and announced that they will be releasing a live dvd entitled “Ashes of American Flags” either in February or early March.   It has been done by the same film makers who made Sunken Treasure, Jeff Tweedy’s solo dvd.   Obviously at the time, my mind will no doubt be else where but reading about that has put a big smile on my face.  And we can apparently expect a new album sometime next year as well as a significant tour later in the year.  It’s all good.

Top songs of 2008

I don’t think, like Matthew at songbytoad, that I have the patience to list my top 50 tracks of 2008 in order.  However, I do want to list the tunes that have shaped my year and been constants on my ipod throughout 2008.  I doubt there will be 50 but here goes:

1. Frightened Rabbit  – Modern Leper

2. Bon Ivor – Blindsided

3. Damien Jurado – Last Rights

4. Drever, McCusker, Woomble – The Poorest Company

5. eagleowl – for the thoughts you never had

6. Elbow – Weather To Fly

7. Finn – Dew

8. Horse Feather – Curs In The Weeds

9. The Low Lows – Five Ways I Didn’t Die

10. Meursault – Small Stretch of Land

11. Micah P Hinson – You Will Find Me

12. Mogwai – I’m Jim Morrison, I’m Dead

13. Peter Broderick – And It’s Alright

14. Seabear – Hands Remember

15. Grand Archives – Sleepdriving

16. Shearwater – On The Death Of The Waters

17. Sleepingdog – The Sun Sinks In The Sea

18. The Wave Pictures – Leave The Scene Behind

19. Withered Hand – New Dawn

20. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We Call Upon The Author

21. Jonquil – Lily

22. FOUND – Admission Number Two

23. Y’All Is Fantasy Island – High Hopes, Lost Love & Lives Ruined

24. A Silver Mt Zion – 1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound

25. John Bustine – Miss Amputee West Culver County


Check them out.  And enjoy.  Happy Christmas everyone.  xo

The Things You’ve Seen

When I get called grumpy it annoys me.  It shouldn’t annoy me but it does.  Can I be grumpy – yes, we all can.  Every single person I know at somepoint in their lives has been grumpy for one reason or another.  But what I really hate is being branded something that I really am not by people who know too little about me to make judgements or statements like that.  There’s nothing grumpy about me.  Being quiet, sensitive and thoughtful is not grumpy.  Being serious is not being grumpy.  But it’s not just grumpy, I just hate people calling other people things they are not, especially when those people have no idea who the person they are calling what they are calling actually is inside.  I suppose I should recall the old saying “sticks and stones” but then as I just mentioned, I’m pretty sensitive and don’t like name calling.  Break my bones if you don’t like me, at least that way I know you don’t like me!  :o)  I was pretty ill all last week and things were getting to me too much I suppose.  Perhaps I was taking things to heart too much.  But I guess in my eyes, calling me grumpy or whatever else, is kind of like calling Wilco the American Radiohead.  It’s fucking lazy and it’s just not true. 

Anyways, whilst lying in my sick pit, I had the pleasure of just flicking through the music channels on sky.  It’s something I never do anymore – mainly because the music shown is usually shit.  But I suppose when you’re ill you have a stronger acceptance of things you normally wouldn’t listen to, just to get you through the day.  And I learned this:  1) I miss the Fugees!!  Ready Or Not was a top top tune.   2) I actually like the new Oasis tune – this is a complete shock to me as I never like anything by them.  I just feel like for the first time in ages Liam is actually singing and not whining and the chorus is a total winner.  3)  Beyonce can seriously dance and has great backing dancers!!  Girls Aloud cannot dance and should all be made to stand very still whilst performing.  4) Katy Perry has such annoying tunes but because I quite fancy her I cannot turn the videos off and end up singing her songs all day long, which is annoying.  5) The lead singer of Slipknot has a skinhead and is actually quite a funny guy despite being totally terrifying.  6) MTV2 clearly over rate the new Kings of Leon album.  7) For some reason all the channels are playing Kelis’ tune ‘Milkshake’, which I’m pretty sure is not a Christmas tune – so I’m not sure why it is getting so many plays all of a sudden?!  8)  Ne Lo(??) v Chris Brown hour should not exist.  Why would anyone watch that hour of music?  It’s not even music.  It’s vocal wanking over a backing track.  9) That Jared Leto’s band must spend millions on every single video they do.  Seriously over the top video makers!  10)  The Hills is a terrible terrible show – but so addictive.  It’s wrong.  It’s just so wrong.

So anyways, I’m better now.  Well, pretty much.  So hopefully the posts will be a little more interesting again!!

Che Guevara

One of my all time favourite films is the brilliant Motor Cycle Diaries, which is basically the story of 2 young Argentinians Ernesto Guevara and Alberto Granado who take a road trip across Latin America on a voyage of discovery and learning.  It’s ultimatley the story of a young ‘Che’ Guevara and an insight into how the young man in this story became one of the most famous revolutionaries and most important men in history.  I have been fascinated with Che Guevara for a long time.  The reasons for this fascination are a little warped I suppose.  I remember being younger and seeing all these posters, t-shirts and other tat with the mans face printed on.  Everyone knows that iconic image of the man with the beret and the long hair streaming out.  I believe both Diego Maradona and Juan Sebastian Veron have tattoos of the image on their arms or somewhere else.  I just never understood it.  Why the fascination with this man? But more importantly for me, I didn’t think anyone knew what they were wearing or why, they just liked the image.  And either did i.  That said I have never ever owned anything with the image or worn anything with the image and I refused to unless I fully understood the background to the man.  I have read some of his diaries and read other stories about him but it is with real interest that I note the release of the film ‘CHE’ in January next year featuring the brilliant Benicio Del Toro as the man himself.  It apparently clocks in at a crazy 4 hours but I for one will happily sit through it.  The Motorcycle Diaries surprised me.  All my preconceptions were that he was an evil revolutionary and a significantly controversial figure.  However, when you watch that film, what you see is a young man, troubled by what he sees as he crosses Latin America.  You see a human, a humble, caring human clearly affected by the world he is discovering.  Those early road trips clearly shaped his thoughts about the world we live in, about politices, about society and set him on the path, which would ultimately lead to his death in Bolivia.  I for one am looking forward with great interest to the new film.

Scottish Top Ten

I’m not going to include Frightened Rabbit, Broken Records or the Twilight Sad in this list because I think that they have already fully established themselves as 3 of Scotland’s leading artists.  No, this list will simply be a list of the top 10 Scottish bands that I hope will go on to bigger and better things next year and really capture the attention of not only the Scottish music scene but the wider world too.  So, in no particular order:

1. Meursault

2. Withered Hand

3. eagleowl

4. Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers

5. Sparrow and the Workshop

6. Team Turnip


8. Y’all Is Fantasy Island (if they still exist)

9. Small Town Boredom

10.  The Kays Lavelle – yes, fuck it.  Jamie from Broken Records gave me a pep talk (a fairly drunken pep talk) at Matthew songbytoad’s Christmas party on Saturday night.  So for once in my life I’m going to push my own band forward.  Not that I agree with everything that Jamie said on Saturday.  I guess I’m just not the type of person to push myself on people and no matter what he said I’m not going to change myself or my opinions.  I kind of like the feeling of being discovered to be honest.  People finding us is kind of cool.  I also in no way agree that music should be a competition.  It’s an art form, and whilst I want to be the best I can be, I will never compare myself to other artists and think – ‘I’m better than you’.  It’s everything that is wrong about T-Break and all other music competitions and exactly the reason I would never enter the Kays in a music competition.  I don’t want to be a part of that atmosphere or really believe that art in any form should be about competition.  It’s about creating and sharing for me and if it became anything else I’d want to walk away from it all.  However, that said, I do agree with him and others who have told me to push the band more.  So yes, number 10 is The Kays and the album will be out sometime next year.  Got a few tracks underway and it’s sounding sweet so far.  I’m pretty excited about it all.  So keep an eye out for more information both on this page and the Kays myspace page.

Withered Hand, Rob St John, Will Cookson @ Trampoline, Saturday 13th November 2008

I guess I should know by now that no matter how good a line up you put together for a show, getting people along to said show is never as easy as you hope it will be.  Obviously, I know there was more I could have done to promote this show, but life took over and without Claire’s invaluable help things just didn’t get done as well as normal.  But I don’t like blaming people for anything, so I won’t blame myself for having alife outside Trampoline that is getting busier and busier.   I guess what is disappointing for me is that this was as good an end to 2008 musically as I could have hoped for with all 3 performers being of exceptional quality.  The other thing that was really great about the night was that though the crowd was smaller than I’d hoped, they were very attentive and should complete respect to all the performers.   It was lovely, especially during Will Cookson’s solo set that you could have heard a pin drop.  Whether this helped Will or made him more nervous, I’m not sure.  It was his first gig in over a year and having established himself on the London folk scene, gaining celebrity fans like Laura Marling and attracting the attention of Bella Union, I think the unfamiliar world of Edinburgh music was maybe a little daunting.  But it shouldn’t have been.  He has to be one of the best guitar players I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live, and his delicate, Nick Drake-esque tunes were an absolute joy to sit and listen too.    I could certainly see why Bella Union would have been interested and I hope that it’s not the last we hear of Will in Edinburgh and that he gets out and plays more shows. 

Next up was Rob St. John.  His new EP is now out and there has been a growth in his music over the last year I think.  Now prefering to use electric guitar to acoustic, he has added a new dimension to his live performance.  Though stripped back on Saturday to just guitar, harmonium and double bass, I thought his show was simple and stuning.  The use of the electric guitar completely suits the music and every time I see him perform I think his vocal and overall performance has improved.    A really strong performance.

I don’t think there’s much I need to say about Withered Hand, or indeed anything more I can add to the fact that he’s just brilliant.  His songs never fail to make me smile and his whole demeanour on stage and in life in general is so appealing that it’s hard not to sit and just love every second of  his performance.  Like I’ve said before, when i first saw Dan I didn’t get it.  I didn’t enjoy his set and only through the constant pestering of Bart did I go and give him a second chance.  But I’m so glad I did.  He is without doubt one of Edinburgh’s finest song writers and his performance on Saturday just confirmed that for me.  The onstage banter between him and his band was also great, so relaxed and as if they are loving every second of playing together.  “George Michael wrote a Christmas song….. it’s called Religious Songs” comes the chat before the title track from the EP is delivered brilliantly.  And to be honest, if you missed this show then you missed a fantastic rendition of “New Dawn” and an even more fantastic version of set closer – a Charles Latham song – the name of which I don’t know but who Dan states “is a hero of mine….at least til he gets famous, and then I probably won’t like him anymore”.   If this performance tonight is anything to go by then Withered Hand should go from strength to strength in 2009 and if he gets famous there’s no way I’ll stop liking his music.  Please make sure you check him out.  Shame on you all who missed the show for terrible reasons – the weather is never an acceptable excuse! 

And so ends Trampoline for 2008.  It’s been a mixed year of highs and lows but I am hopeful that 2009 will bring a lot of great things for everyone involved in the Edinburgh music scene and hopefully the shows will go from strength to strength.  For everone who has supported me since the beginning, a massive heartfelt thank you.  Have a great Christmas and New Year and we’ll see you all on 17th January for some sunshine pop from Endor, Cancel the Astronauts and the ever fantastic Team Turnip.