I Couldn’t Be Happier

So tomorrow we play King Tuts supporting the excellent Sennen. It’s going to be a great night but a really emotional one too because it will be both Jake and Grant’s last ever gig for the Kays. It’s kind of sad. Jake has been in the Kays for about 4 years now and is one of my best friends in the world. But these things happen and to be honest, both Graeme and I are very positive about the future. I was thinking last night about being left behind in terms of the Edinburgh music scene etc and it does frustrate me a little that we are not offered the same opportunities as other bands, perhaps because we are not part of the clique or there is no buzz about us at the moment. But then I thought to myself, I am a very lucky boy. I have Neil Pennycook of Meursault recording my album. I have a potential record label – and a fucking great one in my eyes. I have had a film made about my band by a wonderful up and coming Scottish film maker, who again recently used one of my new songs for a short film he made whilst in South Africa. The result is stunning and makes me very proud. On top of this, I have a new project in the pipeline with one of the best young photographers I’ve ever known and I am soooo excited about this. It’s very much in its infancy, but if it works, and I am sure it will, then it’s going to be something I’ll treasure always. So do I feel lucky? Yes I do. The album is out this year, there will hopefully a further ep later in the year and when I look back at all the things I’ve done so far I am pretty proud. But I am more excited about what lies ahead in the future. So yes, tomorrow will be the end of something, but it will be more about a new beginning, and one I am sure is going to be nothing but positive. I for one couldn’t be happier with life right now.

Doves – Kingdom Of Rust

Two things about this album. If you are not a Doves fan then this will do nothing to change your mind. If you are a Doves fan it will just reinforce how much you love Doves, cause lets face it, if you’re a fan of Doves you love Doves! The album itself is not ground breaking, it’s not a change in direction and it probably won’t make my top 10 albums of the year list when the time comes. But having listened to it on repeat for the past 2 days, it is, as with all Doves album a really fucking good listen. All the usual elements are there and the album could not be anybody but Doves. The bass lead tunes – you know, I’d never noticed before how high in the mix the bass is! Of course this makes perfect sense for a 3 piece, but I had never noticed this fact until now. Anyways, Doves for me are at their best when the tunes are upbeat and at their worst when the tempo drops down. Fortunately, for the most part, this album sees the more up tempo numbers to the fore and title track ‘Kingdom of Rust’ is an exceptionally catchy little number. So yeah, I’m still absorbing this album a little and I guess I will for some time, but it’s definitely put me in the right frame of mind for going to see them later this month. Anything to see the Cedar Room live! If you like Doves, buy this album, you won’t be disappointed. If you don’t like Doves, don’t buy this album, it won’t change your mind. If you’re not sure about Doves I’d start elsewhere and build up to this one. And that sums it up quite nicely.

TSP Grade = C+

We Sink Ships

I love photography. I’ve always loved photos. I love the idea of documenting a moment in time. I love freezing the moment and having that moment forever in grained in my life. Unfortunately, I am the kind of person who has no idea what I am doing with a camera other than saying “cheese” or pressing the button and taking a quick snap. Sometimes I get lucky and the photos are great, other times they are not, either way I have no idea why! I’ve never studied photography, I wish I had, but I love to look at photos by others. I find looking at photos probably more enjoyable than any other visual art and more than anything I love black and white photography. My mum has studied this for about 3 years now and I just love to flick through her folio when I am home and give her my opinions on what she’s been doing. Technically I am of no use to her, but I think she appreciates my comments. More often than not she’ll show me 3 pictures of the same thing, all slightly different in colour, and I’ll choose the one I like best. More often than not it will be the poorest technically! But I like odd things, I always have. I like things being out of focus or blurred or slighty weird. I can’t explain why, similar to not being able to explain why these things happen!

Anyways, through the Kays I have had the pleasure to meet a number of different photographers. We Sink Ships is an artistic collaboration between Scottish photographer and musician Neil Milton and my friend Heidi Kuisma. According to their website (www.wesinkships.co.uk) ‘they use pinhole and selective focus photography techniques alongside evocative soundscapes and ambient experimental music to create sound and vision designed to tug on the viewer and listener’s heart strings’

At this moment they have 2 excellent exhibitions online. One entitled Talvi/Winter which showcases photos by Neil and Heidi – I think you can guess the theme! The photos are a stunning mix of techniques. What I found most interesting was how I became able quickly to identify Neil’s work from Heidi’s. Like I said, I’m no expert in photography so I cannot comment much on how these photos were captured but I can say that I love this exhibition. The pictures are stunning, sparse and beautiful, like the music I love most in life.

The second exhibition is entitled ‘Two Times Intro’ and is basically a run through of photos from gigs. Whilst featuring work by Heidi and Neil, this exhibition also showcases the work of lots of their friends. I do love gig photography too. These are a great set of pictures, though I do prefer the Talvi/Winter exhibition if I’m honest. I never tire of landscpae shots!

Anyways, I’ll stop prattling on, but if you like photography and you are interested I would highly recommend stopping by their site. Also, you should check out Heidi’s on folio of pics at www.flickr.com/photos/mybitofsky

and you can check neil’s work (sorry for not putting this link, didn’t know about it at the time) at:


The Genius That Is Vic Chesnutt

Why more people don’t know about Vic Chesnutt I will never know. Everytime somebody sees one of his albums lying about my flat or car or if I have him on the stereo, they ask “who’s Vic Chesnutt”. It’s fair enough, but the man is a genius songwriter and is a bit like Daniel Johnston in the world of music in the sense that he is revered by his fellow musicians. So much so that in 1996 a tribute CD was produced for Sweet Relief (www.sweetrelief.org) with Vic’s songs being covered by artists such as REM, Garbage, Sparklehorse and even Madonna – and her song is actually one of the best on the album in my humble opinion!

Anyways, I think he has about 13 proper studio albums to his name and has had amazing backing bands in the studio such as Lampchop on ‘The Salesman and Bernadette’ and The Silver Mt Zion Orchestra & Tra La La Band on 2007s ‘North Star Deserter’ – his best album in my opinion. We actually owe the success of this man to Michael Stipe of REM who spotted him playing in Athens, Georgia and produced his first 2 albums championing him as a genius. He’s right. He is. I never tire of listening to his tunes and I don’t have 1 album which is the same as the next, which is always refreshing in an artist.

I read this great quote of his whilst writing this post:

“Other people write about the bling and the booty. I write about the pus and the gnats. To me, that’s beautiful”

And it’s true. He does sing about the most bizarre things. But his bizareness, similar to Daniel Johnston is what makes him endlessly endearing and I find myself going back to his music time and time again. If you’ve never heard of him. Go check him out now at:


The Kays Lavelle @ Sneaky Pete’s, Sunday 5th April

So that was a lot of fun. Been a while since I enjoyed playing so much. Makes me feel really excited about the Tuts show next week. And I managed to sell a few tickets for that show as well. I think our set has come together nicely and things were sounding pretty sweet. Next week will be tinged with a massive amount of sadness as we say goodbye to band members who have been an important part in many adventures together. Graeme and I are looking forward to the future of the band but plan to enjoy every second of next weeks show. Please, if you are free and you can make it along please do. Give me a shout if you want tickets. Can guarantee it will be a good night. Sure of it. Really looking forward to it now. Off to bed, the new rock n’roll is do a gig and then head home to bath your little boy, then hit the hay! Good times.

Woodpigeon – Treasury Library Canada

So I am a little surprised I haven’t read more about these guys on other blog spots. I don’t know Mark personally, but both Bart from eagleowl and Jake our bass player are good friends of his and through them I have been fortunate to know about Woodpigeon for some time.  I have also had the pleasure of seeing them live in the past when they have visited Edinburgh.   I have however, not bought any of their music until now.  I have heard bits and pieces in the past but have never really sat down and properly listened to Mark’s stuff despite having really enjoyed everything I’d heard previously  And I am glad I bought this.

Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith fans, get your credit card/cash out and go and buy this lovely album.  Whilst I am not saying that Woodpigeon sound like either of these artists, I do hear the influences in the music from the lovely moments of strings to the way that the vocals are recorded and the actual vocal itself.  This is album doesn’t quite sparkle in pop terms but it does shimmer and it dips and swerves and leaves a thoroughly pleasant after taste.  I always know I like an album when it goes on repeat and this has indeed been on repeat today.  Track 3 on the album ‘In the Battle of Sun vs Curtains, Sun Loses and We Sleep Until Noon’ is quite magnificent.  Probably the stand out on the album for me.  But the album is filled with little gems and once again a fascinating and talented act emerge from Canada.  I hope that these guys can spread their wings and grab the attention of more than just the Edinburgh music scene across here.  A fantastic album by a band I really should have checked out properly before now and you should too.  Do it now.


TSP Grade = B

What On Earth Is Gary Teale Doing Getting A Game For Scotland

Ok.  So Scotland had a lot of injury problems for the last 2 World Cup qualifiers.  Add to this the 2 numptys who decided to get wasted at the weekend between matches….. I mean come on.  How stupid do you have to be???  One gets his first full start against the Netherlands and the other is the captain of his Country who is not playing particularly well for club or country.  If there were ever 2 players who shouldn’t be getting smashed between crucial matches, it was these 2.  I am no Rangers fan, but I do know many a Rangers fan who would like to see the back of the Scottish drinkers at the club.  Lets face it Kris Boyd always looks like he’s had 3 or 4 pints the night before, when he plays.  I guess whats so frustrating for all involved is that McGregor, Ferguson and Boyd all have bags and bags of potential.  Why can’t they just stay off the drink until they retire or at least stay off it during the season?  It’s not a huge sacrifice and they’d be better players for it.  Too many players have fallen foul of this cycle.  Charlie Miller is the perfect example.  Bags of talent, but we used to see him in our local pub downing pints and smoking fags all the time!  So whilst it came as no surprise – especially that McGregor was involved! – it is really still disappointing.   However, even with these 2 players missing and all the injury worries we had, I still cannot get over the fact that Gary Teale still gets a game for Scotland.  Don’t get me wrong.  He’s not an awful player, but he is certainly not international class.  My friend summed it up when he said he hoped he continued to be picked because if Gary Teale is in the squad he himself feels he still has a chance to play football for Scotland!  Poor Gary.  I shouldn’t single him out for criticism.  No, I should save that for the woeful Gary Caldwell.  The over the hill Gary Naismith and the man with the worst first touch in world football Kenny Miller.  The latter of course is passionate, he works his little socks off and has to be admired for his commitment and passion……..oh dear.  That’s all I’ve got for him.  Come on, he blamed the sticky pitch for wasting his chance against the Dutch – didn’t see the pitch bothering Arjen Robben as he ripped our defence to shreds!  It’s not all doom and gloom.  We do have class players in Craig Gordon, Alan Hutton, Darren Fletcher, Scott Brown and the exceptional prospect Ross McCormack.  I also like the look of James Morrison (though I’m sure he’s actually a singer-songwriter) and with James McFadden to come back and a host of good young players coming through we should be ok in the future.  I do really think that Walter Smith needs to get a hold of John Fleck now though and tell him not to hang about with Ferguson, McCulloch, McGregor, Boyd  etc.  If he’s as good as they say he is then lets hope he can stay away from the booze and the nightclubs.  I actually read Barry Ferguson say the other week that Fleck is a young lad who is bound to get caught coming out of a nightclub and get himself into trouble??  Why??  Cause he’s Scottish???

Anyways, at least we’re back in the chase for 2nd spot.  I think the Dutch are home and dry in terms of qualification – unless they come across some sticky pitches in their next few matches.