Alasdair Roberts To Play Trampoline

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So yes, it’s official. On 19th September, Alasdair Roberts will be headlining our monthly Trampoline night at the Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh Art College. I am very excited about this. I have seen him a few times and am a big fan of his work so it’s an honour for me to have him agree to play. It’s also a massive boost for Trampoline and will hopefully help raise the profile of the nights even further. I’m also particularly chuffed with the support acts for the evening who will take the form of Beerjacket and Emily Scott, not this one but this one. Or at least I think so anyways, unless I’ve messed up with the bookings! Tickets will be £7 and can be bought from here All you have to do is type in a search and the show should appear.

Also coming up at Trampoline as you may be aware are our August Edinburgh Festival Shows which feature the likes of Adam Stafford (Y’all Is Fantasy Island), Jonnie Common (Down The Tiny Steps), Ziggy Campbell (FOUND) and Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers. These shows take place on 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th of August. Each show starts at 7pm and it’s the usual £5 entry on the door.

Ocotber sees Trespassers William arrive from Seattle to play the Wee Red, on Friday 2nd, as part of their joint UK and European tour with GLISSANDO. In support that evening will be the wonderful eagleowl. If you have not purchased a ticket yet, please do so asap at www.wegottickets.com as it’s going to be a great show. And on 31st October we are delighted to announce that Trampoline in association with Slanted and Enchanted will be putting on Grouper, Debutant and Esperi. Once again it’s £5 entry and as always doors will be 7pm.

November and December shows are in the pipeline and I’ll have more info on these as soon as possible.

The Leith Tape Club

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You know what I love? Yep, you guessed it, The Leith Tape Club. And you wanna know why? Cause it’s located about 5 minutes walk from my flat! Well, that’s not really the reason, but I think one of the things that I enjoy most about the tape club is that it’s located in Leith. There are not many good venues down Leith way, or at least not that many promoters putting on good shows, as far as I can see. I have been thinking for a while now about putting on a Trampoline festival and my ideal location would be Leith – the Leith Theatre to be precise – but it’s just not easy to think of really good venues within the area. Anyways, Alan Oates aka Little Pebble, aka one half of Come In Tokyo aka runner of Club Viva Vinyl has stepped up to the plate in the last 6 months. Comandeering the tiny upstairs of the Iso Bar, he has put on shows of remarkable intimacy and warmth showcasing some of the cities finest musicians, and those from beyond. Possibly what makes these shows so special is the size of the venue. It’s cosy and sometimes the audience are a little too close to the performers for comfort, but then this makes the shows more real, more intimate and more enjoyable. I’ve been to most of the shows and enjoy myself everytime. I’m not saying that every single artist is my cup of tea, but I love the format of the evening and more often than not the artists performing are right up my street. Take last night for example. My Lady of Clouds was on first – I was sure both she and Alan said My Lady of Clowns which conjured up images of a Queen of Clowns in my little brain. I feel deflated that it’s Clouds not Clowns and think she should change it accordingly – but if she has any sense she will ignore this advice! Anyways, the intimacy and intensity of the venue cleary tell during this lovely little set. I get to experience it next month, but if you’re shy I reckon the crowd practically sitting on your lap must be quite intimidating. A few wrong notes aside, this was a good start to the evening as Katie’s voice was something quite lovely which I kind of got lost on. Chatting to her afterwards it turns out she grew up about 15 minutes walk away from my home in Dundee. It’s a small world.

Next up was some random bloke called Little Chief Big Konk. You can check him out here. No point going on about him. He’s a class act and has one of the best voices around. Could sit and listen to him play all night.

Freakflag are a strange one. Their lead singer looks like she could be in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and has the best legs I’ve seen in a long time! But the sound is completely unexpected. Bluesy and soulful would probably best describe this short and enjoyable set. The singer – I’m sorry, I missed her name and cannot get onto myspace to check it – has a lovely husky, bluesy voice and the songs make me think I’m in some old smokey jazz bar. Still, I kind of wanted her to stand up and scream along to some electric guitar but I guess you can’t win them all.

Finally, Wounded Knee. Actually, before I get to Wounded Knee, there were a couple of guys in the room last night with what I would describe as ‘art school haircuts’. They spoke inbetween songs and just generally postured and posed all night. I was intrigued by the fact that their hair was almost identical. Anyways, when I arrived I would have put money on them being one of the performers and they were not. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover. Anyways, I digress. And so to Wounded Knee. Without his loop pedal which he apparently blew up last week Drew Wright is armed only with a small yamaha keyboard and his extraordinary voice and he proves during his set that this is really all he needs to deliver a wicked performance. The yamaha basically provides the beats and Drew does the rest. Singing a mix of his own stuff and traditional folk songs and blending this with some fantastic chat and off the cuff comments, this was as good a live performance as I’ve seen in a long time. He even encourages some audience participation at the end. All this without his trusty loop pedal just showing what a real talent he actually is.

And so, after a few pints and some quality music I headed home. The tape club is back on 20th August with The Kays and the wonderful Meursault both playing sets. It’s a great night and I really hope more and more people check it out. There are only 30 spaces in the room though, so make sure you get yourself a ticket sharpish or you will miss out. Alan deserves so much credit for this night if you ask me. Great stuff.

Mercury Music Prize Nominees

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Wow. I had nothing to write about and then Glasvegas got nominated for the Mercury Music Prize! Other contenders include Kasabian, Florence and the Machine, Bat for Lashes, La Roux, The Horrors, Lisa Hannigan, The Invisible, Led Bib, Sweet Billy Pilgrim and Speech Debelle. And with that went my interest in the Mercury Music Prize for 2009. To be fair, I think Bat For Lashes is a good bet and having seen her support Radiohead last year was well impressed with her sound. Other than that I’m not too familiar with the bands that have been nominated (bar Kasabian *boak*). But anyone who nominates Glasvegas for anything won’t be getting any time of day from me. One of the most horrible bands I’ve ever had to listen to, as everyone over at songbytoad knows all too well.

Anyways, I am thinking that perhaps there should be awards for unsigned bands. Maybe I’ll start a Trampoline awards ceremony for the end of the year. Maybe I’ll get a panel of judges (probably a mix of bloggers and journalists) to decide upon the best unsigned Scottish albums of 2009. Wouldn’t that be something? We could put out tables and chairs at the Wee Red. Invite all the media blah blah blah and give the real talent in Scotland the chance to win something at this grass roots level. Maybe I’ll do it and ease the depressing joke that the Mercury Music Prize has become.

Trampoline In The Scotsman

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Aw man, you gotta love the guys over at Under the Radar. What a bunch of fucking legends they are. Where the media are often criticised for missing out on what’s going on locally, these guys are ahead of the game when it comes to the Scottish music scene and who’s making waves and who’s doing what. They have a great blog and all write independantly for various media sources. Like I said before, I’m not a huge fan of music mags or radio etc but these guys, all of them, to a man deserves credit for being spot on. Top top blokes and they take great pride in doing their bit to promote the best in Scottish music for which they should be applauded. And I owe them a lot. Once again today Trampoline has been written about by these lovely people here and here. So please, go and check out their blog and enjoy. Thanks guys. You fucking rock.

Glasgow Podcart

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Music is all about sharing for me. If you are a musician you write songs for yourself, first and foremost, but ultimately you end up sharing these songs with others. If you are a music fan you tend to tell your mates all about the great bands you’ve heard and love. And if you are a blogger, you get to bring great music to the attention of the world wide web.

Now listen, I’ve never been a fan of music mags for the very reason that rather than just share music that they fucking love, they write about stuff they hate too. I understand why they have to do this, but personally I just couldn’t imagine listening to something I didn’t like right through, let alone then have to write about it. Shite music is turned off after about 2 songs in my world! I guess for me, what makes a blog so special is that you have a choice. You can and should write about stuff you really love and post links or mp3s or whatever you want to let people hear what you’re talking about. Why write about the stuff you don’t like? That’s what critics do. Music for me is all about enjoyment and I wouldn’t waste my words or thoughts writing about things that I do not like. I want to share the stuff that makes me go ‘fuck yeah’, ‘you dancer’ or gives me goose bumps. If others don’t get it, then that’s ok but I’d rather not write about stuff that doesn’t make me tick.

I guess I started the blog because I just love writing. However, the more music I listen to the bigger the urge has become to shout about the really great stuff. More than that though, I’ve discovered that I really want to push forward artists that I personally think are deserving of wider media attention. That is so important to me. And it also appears to be the focus of the guys who run the wonderful Glasgow podcart. Halina, Sean and Ally have now produced 22 episodes of their weekly round up of new music and banter. I’ve been listening since about week 17 and I would say that what they are doing is really, really special – highlighted by the fact that their show has just been snapped up by Radio Magnetic! Each show lasts about an hour and interspersed within the amusing Glasgow banter is music from unsigned artists everywhere, though the focus tends to be on Scottish music. I found There Will Be Fireworks on their show. Beerjacket too. And most recently John B McKenna. I could go on but we’d be here for a while. They are championing great new Scottish music on a weekly basis and there is no amount of praise too great for people who feel the need to do this. More and more people are getting involved at grass roots level in Scottish music and the impact this is having for bands is amazing. No longer do bands really need the bigger radio show airtime. No longer do they really need music mags to get out to wider audiences. No longer do they have to worry about major record deals etc because there are people, like the guys at Glasgow podcart who care and who can help get them out to the wider world. I am very positive about the future of music in Scotland at the moment and the more people willing to get involved and help out like these guys the better. Check out their show here, it’s brilliant. Enjoy.

Randan Discotheque – Daily Record, May 18th, 1993.

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Some people I know don’t really get Randan Discotheque. I totally don’t understand that. Perhaps I’m missing something, but everytime I’ve seen him live I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the show and I am thoroughly enjoying this single. He mixes up the electric/acoustic sound quite beautifully when he plays live and has some absolutely beautiful traditional folk songs to go along with the more diverse stuff. I would bracket this single in the more diverse category but what I love about this, similar to the reasons I love Cancel The Astronauts, is that there’s something refreshing about Craig’s songwriting and lack of self importance. Lyrically and musically, this is a quirkly little pop number which will undoubtedly stick in your head and you’ll find yourself blurting out ‘Daily Record, May, 93’ at random and often inappropriate moments of your day! Randan Dicotheque is one of these names that you’ve seen floating about the Edinburgh scene for years it seems. Hopefully now his fan base is growing we can look forward to more releases soon. Certainly, from my point of view, he’s one to catch live sometime soon and definitely invest in this sinlge and help suopport another excellent local artist.

Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns

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Well this is about as comprehensive as it gets. All my Tom Waits loving life I’ve been looking for a book which gave a detailed account of his life as a musician, actor and general hero…..well the first 2 anyways! Barney Hoskyns apparently has a background writing for various music publications including NME and Uncut magazine. I have to be honest and admit I’ve never stumbled across his work but then I barely ever read music magazines these days nor have I ever really. I might have a flick through other people’s mags or get something if I’m on a train or plane, but in general I steer clear of mags. I much prefer blogs these days anyways. Far more interesting. 😉

Anyways, this book is about as comprehensive a review of Tom Waits as we are ever likely to get, simply because of the nature of the beast. It’s clear from the book, particularly appendix 2, which contains numerous e-mails between the author and Waits friends, associates etc, that Tom Waits has no time for anyone digging into his personal life or that of his family. It’s actually one of the things I respect most about the man. He is undoubtedly a hero to many, myself included, and is about as famous now as many of his contemporaries, yet he shuns the lifestyle of a star in favour of a family oriented, peaceful existance. I have and never will understand media whores. Why would you want to be chased by the paps, have them sit outside your house etc? I find it all rather sad. So that insight into the man is fascinating. But all in all this is a fabulous book detailing the career of one of the most important musicians of all time. Probably the most important musician to me. Herein lies the conundrum though. Despite my respect for his desire for privacy, I still want to read about his life and career. We are a strange bunch us humans. However, I guess for me the main thing is that I respect his desire for privacy, and I don’t want to know about the size of his cock, or who he punched on Friday night or how many bananas he can fit in his mouth blah blah blah. I just want to read about his albums, his music, his inspirations. Everything else is his to keep. And this book does exactly what I wanted. A fascinting read and insight into his career, from the very beginning up until his shows at the Edinburgh Playhouse last July. If you are a fan, it is essential reading, and it’s probably about as definitive an account of this man as we’re ever likely to get, unless it’s from the horses mouth. Which, as you will discover as you read the book, is never likely to happen! Enjoy.

The Builders And The Butchers – Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well

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Oof. This record grabs you hard by the balls from the word go! It’s rawkous, energetic, punk laiden alt country at it’s very, very best. I’ve been waiting for a good old fashioned alt country noise record for ages and these guys have come up trumps with this piece of loveliness. I am happy today. This is exactly what I needed! Now listen, I know these guys have apparently been getting hype all over the place and normally this would turn me off them completely. But on this evidence it’s totally meritted cause this is fucking brilliant and I would be surprised if it’s not in my top 10 list come the end of the year. Still, I am proud of myself that I have not ignored this band simply because of all the good press. If I’m honest, other than hearing Matthew babble on about them and reading Tart’s recent blog on them, I myself had not heard or read the hype and only knew that there was hype cause of Chutters. Tart’s post though introduced me to ‘Golden and Green’ the opening track on the album and after hearing that there was never a chance that I wouldn’t buy the album. This song sets the tone of the album and it never really lets up from its frantic pace for the duration. I’m not going to go on and on about this band just incase people like me get totally turned off by it. But I will say this, if you like your rawkous, aggressive, knee jangling, alt. punk country, buy this album and buy it now. Then listen to it before the hype seeps into your head. It’s worth it. I feel good about myself. Definitely a contender for album of the year. Enjoy.

TSP Grade = A+

T In The Park, Sunday 12th July 2009

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So I’ve done it. I am no longer a festival virgin! Yesterday, I met Graeme at 9.30 in the morning and headed off to Kinross for the final day of T in the Park 2009. I had been warned of the nedish nature of this event and I was also unconvinced by the line up for the festival, but a free ticket is a free ticket and one should never turn their nose up at such offers.

So…….was it worth the trip? Well, if I’m honest I would say that, overall, I had a really enjoyable day. My feet are killing me today and I could have done with a day off to recover from all that tennant’s lager which, as Graeme so aplty put, “comes out faster than it goes in”. But all in all it was a good day in the middle of Fife surrounded by thousands and thousands of other music fans. The scale of the event is actually quite incredible but is possibly one of the problems I had with the day. I only saw 2 full sets by bands because moving about was complicated and took ages to get from one place to another. No stage was so good that I didn’t feel the need to move, and as such I fear it may have dampened my enjoyment overall. Also, I do not understand the logic behind putting unsigned bands on at 10pm when the headliners are on stage. Personally, if we were offered such a late slot I’d say no. Why would I want to play to an empty tent, even if it is Scotland’s biggest festival. So you see, there were issues. The day was not without its problems. However, what I did see musically, was for the most part excellent. Highlights of the day were without doubt TV On The Radio’s brilliant set in the King Tuts tent and Elbow’s amazing performance on the mainstage. The Twilight Sad and Findo Gask both produced fine sets over at the BBC Introducing stage and what I saw of both barnowl and Paper Planes over at the T Break stage was also excellent. Passion Pit (like most acts) suffered slightly from the vocals being too low in the mix, but their set was full of energy and definitely encouraged me to check them out in a little more detail, which is now on the to do list. The Seal Cub Clubbing Club’s music failed to live up to their excellent name, which was a slight disappointment, but things improved with the short part of the Pet Shop Boys set which we caught which sounded and looked pretty impressive. Snow Patrol sucked balls (sorry, they did) before I caught the first 3 Mogwai songs – cannot complain – they started with Glasgow Mega Snake and Friend of the Night – take that Fife!! Genius. And finally, Blur turned up and ran through 4 tracks of dated mediocracy (in my opinion) before I had to scoot off and jump on a bus. All in all it was a pretty good day. The sun shone – eventually. And the music on offer was to a pretty high standard. Disappointed to miss Lily Allen’s set. And it would have been better if the beer was cheaper. But I really can’t complain about the overall experience. Was it a nedfest? A little, but I don’t really think that had any impact whatsoever on the day or the experience. It’s a bit more about what you make of the day, and I feel I made the most of it and took in as much as I could. That said, I wouldn’t pay to go back nor would I want to camp at it. But if a free ticket is on the go again next year then I’ll definitely not say no.

It’s The Weekend……..

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………….so let the good times roll.

I’ve not delved into the Michael Jackson debate in any way whatsoever, nor do I intend to, but I do like the image I’ve attached to this post – it makes me laugh. In fact it makes me giggle. A lot. But then I’m a sad little man. Actually, you know what, I can’t help myself. The man is dead. Regardless of what he did/did not do lets just let him rest in peace. Talk about over the top! I don’t know. What’s the world coming to? I heard people have killed themselves because they cannot live without him. Man the fuck up! The whole thing is ridiculous. Both the adoration of his music and the hatred of his personal demons. Next.

Anyways, I am currently trying to finalise packaging for the Kays album, art for the Kays album, songs for the Kays album and indeed organise a string of shows to promote the Kays album later this year. It’s not easy. I really want to set up album launches but I cannot do that until everything is in hand. So yeah, I’m kind of playing this game with one hand tied behind my back. Which makes life problematic.

Tonight I am going home to hang out and drink copious amounts of red wine whilst finishing my current book. I also have a practice with Graeme to work on new songs. Tomorrow is a day of rest and the Sunday I’m off to Nedstock. It’s going to be an interesting weekend. Hope everyone has a good one.

Oh, and don’t forget to get over to songbytoad and listen to me and matthew blethering about this and that. I always worry that I will come across as a dull, miserable loser. So be nice!!

Oh and if you’re at T in the Park on Sunday let me know. I’m always up for a beer.