Under The Radar: BITE

Citing influences such as Orange Juice, The Birthday Party and The Pop Group Glasgow-based BITE create a spikey rock sound which has resulted in plays on 6 Music and support slots with UTR favourites, Catholic Action and Honeyblood.

The four piece, which comprises an archivist, a postman, a printmaker and erstwhile crofter, formed in 2013 following a discussion about Glam Rock. And on 21 February they release their debut EP, Parasite, with a launch gig at Glasgow’s Hug And Pint venue. Recorded at the Green Door Studios, it features a generous six tracks, which are available via digital services [BandCamp below] and 50 hand-made limited edition CDs.

We recommend checking out the chaps at http://bitenoise.bandcamp.com and for those in the vicinity, getting along to their gig.

Under The Radar: Indigo Velvet

INDIGO VELVET are a young band from Edinburgh who’ve been on our radar this past year.

To date, they’ve gained support from Jim Gellatly via his XFM Scotland and Amazing Radio shows, been broadcast on STV and their music has been synced to a Visit Scotland advertising campaign. The quartet have also supported the likes of Model Aeroplanes, Honeyblood, The LaFontaines and performed at Electric Fields Festival

Their indie/pop sound is like a perfect Summer soundtrack, colourful, upbeat and catchy, and having released single ‘Blue’ late last year, with sell out shows, [last week at King Tuts being the most recent], their profile and popularity is on an upwards trajectory and 2016 looks set to be their breakthrough year. 

The band tour the UK supporting Newcastle band Lisbon 3-6 February visiting Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Leeds.

Listen at https://soundcloud.com/indigovelvet

Under The Radar: Mairearad Green

Mairearad Green is making waves on the folk scene, both as a musician and as a composer, and has toured with acts such as Eddi Reader and Karine Polwart.

In 2014 she spent several months researching poetry about Scotland’s islands, which in turn inspired her debut album Summer Isles (released on 26 February). On the collection of songs the multi-instrumentalist plays pipes, accordion and piano, as well as performing most of the vocals. The LP also features contributions from a variety of accomplished musicians including King Creosote, who sings on the track Star Of Hope. 

We were particularly taken with Blessing On Tanera, carried by Green’s beautiful singing and piano and evoking the island that inspired it. Green plays Celtic Connections on Friday, 24 and 28 January, and Edinburgh’s Coda Music shop on 27 February, officially launching her album. Listen at https://soundcloud.com/abadgeoffriendship/mairearad-green-blessing-in-tanera

Under The Radar: Gus Harrower

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Gus Harrower is a talented 17 year old singer songwriter from Edinburgh, whom we first encountered in September via youth music touring project Hit The Road for emerging artists. 

Self-released in June, his debut EP ‘Mystery,’ has generated praise from tastemakers like Amazing Radio’s Jim Gellatly, Podcast/Blog outlet Scottish Fiction and contributed to Harrower deservedly ending the year on numerous 2016 ‘Ones To Watch’ lists.

His new single, ‘Girl I Didn’t Know’ released last month, showcases his knack for crafting an infectious pop gem. With piano and guitar backing and catchy singalong chorus, the song signals the beginning of a promising music career.

 

Catch him live on 17 January as part of the Celtic Connections Hazy Recollections night at ABC in Glasgow. Listen to Girl I Didn’t Know at https://soundcloud.com/gusharrower

Under The Radar: Findlay Napier

Findlay Napier is an integral and active part of the music scene in Scotland. 

In addition to touring solo and with several bands he also finds time to curate renowned showcase gigs, such as his Late Night Sessions and Hazy Recollections at Celtic Connections.

This month, he’ll be hosting Hazy Recollections nights on 17, 24 and 31 January, providing emerging artists with the opportunity to perform at the UK’s biggest winter festival of folk music. 

The line up includes Something Someone, Bella & the Bear, Gus Harrower, Michael Cassidy, Teen Canteen, Donna Maciocia, Declan Walsh and more. Each night has 4 artists announced with a surprise fifth act unveiled each week. 

His latest album VIP [Very Interesting Persons], co-written by Boo Hewerdine and inspired by ten genuinely interesting historical characters is out now. Napier embarks on an extensive UK tour throughout next month and March. Visit www.findlaynapier.com

Under The Radar: Leith Bass Team

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 22 November 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Leith Bass Team is the brainchild of Edinburgh producer, and Alextronic Records founder, Paul Croan, and was created as a vehicle for collaborating with different artists on his label. 

Breathe Me In, is the first single to emerge from the creative venture and features vocalist Georgia Gordon, who was introduced to Croan by erstwhile record shop supremo and Simple Minds manager, Bruce Findlay, at one of our Born To Be Wide evenings.

Boasting an ambient vibe and a light dub beat, it is easy to imagine hearing the song coming through the speakers of a minimalist bar in a designer hotel. So, it should come as no surprise that it has already been snapped up for the latest in the long-running Goa Beats compilation series, distributed by leading German dance label, Kontor Records.

Croan and Gordon continue to collaborate and the results are due to appear on Leith Bass Team’s debut album, scheduled for release in the spring. Listen at https://soundcloud.com/leith-bass-team.

Under The Radar: The Vegan Leather

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 15 November 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

One of our festival highlights this summer, were The Vegan Leather performing at Electric Fields Festival back in August. The self-described art-pop four piece from Paisley, surfaced in 2014 with the song Days Go By, whose blend of female vocals and quirky keyboards boasts the joyous charm of Talking Heads spin-off the Tom Tom Club.

Recently, their track This House has been so deftly remixed by Lewis Gardiner from Prides [complete with a meaty bassline], it threatens to upstage his own compositions. The new version will be launched on 20 November at Glasgow’s Broadcast, as part of the free Basement Sessions night, with the video due to get its first airing on the trailblazing [www.tenementtv.com].

LISTEN to This House via this link, http://bit.ly/1Y4pJUV as well as a French version of Days Go By [Les Jours Passent], complete with accordion accompaniment.

For those who can’t make the November gig, the band return to the stage for the EmuBands Christmas party on 3 December [at Glasgow’s Hug and Pint].

Already firm favourites of ours, we expect The Vegan Leather to become a highlight for many more people in 2016. www.facebook.com/TheVeganLeather

Under The Radar: Lional

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 08 November 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Hailing from Inverness, Indie-pop quartet Lional have enjoyed a breakthrough year, performing at XpoNorth,Belladrum, Jocktoberfest and Brew at the Bog festivals whilst clocking up radio exposure courtesy of Moray Firth Radio, Vic Galloway and Jim Gellatly

They create dark, yet infectious indie-rock gems, making them one of the most promising young bands in the Highlands. The video for their excellent new single ‘Season Of Salt’ is revealed today exclusively to Scotland on Sunday.

Published Officially released via new Highland imprint, IMOUT Records [founded by Inverness-based musician Iain McLaughlin] on 27 November, Lional play a hometown show at The Spectrum Centre [click for tickets] on the same day. 

Other live dates include 19 November at Cafe Drummonds in Aberdeen, Edinburgh’s Sneaky Pete’s 29 November, Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine on 1 December [supporting fellow Highland act Neon Waltz ] and Glasgow’s Nice N Sleazys on 13 December. www.lionalband.com

Under The Radar: The Deadly Winters

 

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Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 01 November 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

dinburgh act The Deadly Winters boast a folk pop sound guaranteed to appeal to fans of the Waterboys [whose singer Mike Scott also hails from the capital].

With two albums to their name since forming in 2011, the five piece have played several key events including Celtic Connections and Dougie Maclean’s Perthshire Amber, as well as enjoying airplay on several BBC Radio Scotland shows.

Their latest EP is released on Friday 6 November and in an exclusive preview, the video for its title track Table In The Corner, is unveiled to Scotland on Sunday readers today

Arguably their strongest song to date, its appeal elevates them beyond the folk circuit and establishes The Deadly Winters as a serious prospect for both daytime radio and mainstream festivals.

The band play a launch gig at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh, appear on STV’s Riverside Show on 18 November and will appear at a benefit for the Leith Theatre on 28 November. www.thedeadlywinters.com

Under The Radar: The Van T's

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 25 October 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Twin sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thomson, formed The Van T’s in 2013 and recently expanded the line-up to include Joanne Forbes on bass and Shaun Hood on drums. 

The surf-rock, grunge quartet have enjoyed a landmark year, playing the T In The Park, Electric Fields and Wickerman Festivals, gaining representation via former We Were Promised Jetpacks manager Sharon Stephens, being championed by taste-makers like BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway as well as supporting acts, not too dissimilar in style, like Honeyblood

Their debut EP Laguna Babe is released via Bloc+ Music, the record label arm of BLOC+ bar in Glasgow on 13 November, with the launch on 14 November at the Hug and Pint in Glasgow. They perform at Edinburgh’s Opium this Friday [30 October], Halloween at BLOC+ and the Strange Behaviours Festival in Stirling on 20 November. Get your FREE Download at http://blocmusic.org/news/the-van-ts-release-free-download/

Under The Radar: The Spook School

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 18 October 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Hailing from Edinburgh, DIY-punk-pop quartet The Spook School’s second album, Try To Be Hopeful, was released via Fortuna POP! last week. 

The LP is bursting full of triumphant, fun and upbeat songs about gender and identity, with songwriter Nye Todd’s lyrics exploring a personal journey as a transgender front-person, which became the subject of a Rolling Stone documentary earlier this year when the band toured North America.

Their music is the theme tune for BBC 3 comedy series Badults and members Anna Cory, Niall McCamley and Adam Todd moonlight as stand-up comedians. 

Catch them live at Edinburgh’s Banshee Labyrinth 26 [now Sold Out] and 27 October for the official album launch, followed by London 29 October, Glasgow’s the Hug and Pint 30 October [Sold Out] and an extensive tour throughout the UK in November. 

Watch VIDEO for excellent single Binary directed by Nathan Griffin of label mates Martha.

Under The Radar: Rhona Macfarlane

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 11 October 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Multi-instrumentalist Rhona Macfarlane has been garnering a lot of attention in recent months, both as a violinist with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and for her solo work. The latter has already seen her invited to perform at Celtic Connections and on Janice Forsyth’s BBC Radio Scotland show as well as playing dates as part of the Hit The Road nationwide tour for emerging artists [age 14-19 years old].

Last month she released the Remembrance EP, with the title track demonstrating an aptitude for penning a pop ballad, while simultaneously appealing to the trad community with a combination of acoustic guitar and fiddle.

On 31 October the Montrose-based artiste is set to play Dougie MacLean’s Perthshire Amber Festival , while a month later she will appear near her home town at the Balmakewan Beer Festival in Laurencekirk. With another EP in the pipeline, Rhona Macfarlane is definitely an act to look out for. Listen at http://rhonamacfarlane.bandcamp.com

Under The Radar: SEØUEL

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 4 October 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Producer and musician Tom Nicol aka SEØUEL started out as a guitarist and singer with Edinburgh indie act Degrassi. However, in his current musical incarnation he connects with Scotland’s illustrious electronic music heritage with a nod pioneers such as PURE and Glasgow’s SOMA Records. He was recently nominated for a Scottish Alternative Music Award and is due to embark on a coast to coast DJ tour of the US in December.

Offering a much edgier, intense alternative to the current crop of wussy, synth pop arrivistes, SEØUEL has already released two EPs [entitled Prague and Reykjavik] from a trilogy. Each takes his name from a city which has made a lasting impression on Nicol in his other job as a tour manager for acts including The 1975and Primal Scream.

Conrad The Barbarian is an exclusive taster from the final release in the series, Budapest, which is due out next month. Listen at https://soundcloud.com/sequelsoundx



Under The Radar: Happy Meals

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine - 23 August 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Originally from Dumfries & Galloway, Glasgow-based Happy Meals is high-school sweethearts Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook, who also perform together in psychedelic-rock quartet The Cosmic Dead.

Their debut record, Apéro [released via Night School Records], is a bright and joyous mini-album; mixing sunny disco with blissful vocals on a bed of bleeps, blips, analogue synths and distorted drum machines. Interestingly, from six-tracks there is an almost 50/50 split of French / English lyrics. 

The boy/girl duo play two gigs on 29 August, first at Electric Fields Festival, Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway then at Song, by Toad’s Pale Imitation Festival at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh [alongside label mates Apostille] followed by Incubate Festival in the Netherlands on 16 September, and a string of dates in Glasgow for October.

Visit: http://www.happy-meals.com 


Under The Radar: Supermoon

Last summer, multi-instrumental songwriter, Neil Pennycook, retired his long-term act Meursault, took off to London and spent several months devising a new musical vehicle which he Christened Supermoon. A year on, he has completed recording his first album, which has seen him working with an illustrious cast of fellow musicians including the ubiquitous keyboarder Ruben Taylor, vocalist Faith Eliott and drummer Liam Chapman. Titled I Will Kill Again, it boasts a sparser sound than Pennycook’s previous work, as well as incorporating piano and female vocals. While a release has yet to be finalised, Supermoon the band play a series of shows in the coming weeks including:

Glasgow’s Hug and Pint [24 August], Edinburgh’s Summerhall [27 August], Jura Unbound at the Edinburgh International Book Festival [29 August] and Eastern Promise in Glasgow [18 September].  Expect an intense musical experience, from one of Scotland’s most distinctive artists. https://soundcloud.com/supermoon-4

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run music business events company, Born To Be Wide. They host a free evening at the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 18 August. Guests include Stuart Cosgrove and Wyndham Wallace, with music by Ded Rabbit and Be Charlotte. www.borntobewide.co.uk

Under The Radar: Fiona Soe Paing

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine – 9 August 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

It is no surprise that Fiona Soe Paing has been creating a stir among a rather eclectic group of cultural connoisseurs in recent years, including synth supremo Vince Clarke  [Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure] and Neu! Reekie! literary pioneer, Kevin Williamson.  

Combining eerie vocals with a seductive range of electronic sounds and some thunderous bass beats, her sound manages to be both beguiling and accessible.

In April she gave a taster of her entrancing live show at our Wide Days showcase and the full performance, titled Alien Lullabies, runs as part of the Fringe’s Made In Scotland programme on 12-16 and 19-23 August. Taking place at Summerhall, it sets Soe Paing’s vocals and recordings, to animations created by New Zealand artist, Zenor Alexander.

The full soundtrack is set to appear on Glasgow label Hot Gem, but the single Heartbeat  gives an excellent flavor of both the music and the visuals.  Fiona Soe Paing is an act to watch – in every sense of the word.  


Under The Radar: Bigg Taj VS Spee Six Nine

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine – 2 August 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Bigg Taj VS Spee Six Nine is an interesting beat-boxing / rap duo based in Glasgow. Champion beat-boxer, Bigg Taj is a Scottish-born Sikh with Indian heritage while emcee Spee Six Nine was brought up in Yorkshire. Their sound reflects this, mixing bass and dub tracks with Indian and Bollywood influenced beats and instruments.

They’ve supported higher profile acts like, Grandmaster Flash, Killa Kela and Ugly Duckling and featured on BBC Radio 1, the BBC Asian Network and 1 Xtra.  

Bigg Taj previously produced a full length album for Louie from Hector Bizerk and produces this second EP collaboration with Spee Six Nine, titled ‘Verses 2' released on 27 August. They promote the EP with a free entry launch party on the same date at Glasgow’s Nice ‘N’ Sleazy. Ahead of that Bigg Taj performs in Norway on 14 August supporting Tigerstyle.

Listen / Download ‘Verses 1’ for free at https://biggtaj.bandcamp.com/album/bigg-taj-vs-spee-six-nine 

Under The Radar: Man of Moon

Published in the Scotland On Sunday, Spectrum Magazine – 26 July 2015
by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

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Man of Moon is 19-year-old duo, Michael Reid and Chris Bainbridge from Edinburgh, whom we first encountered last year via youth music touring project Hit The Road. Since then, their profile has grown significantly, supporting bands like The Twilight Sad, We Were Promised Jetpacks, The Phantom Band and receiving airplay and festival appearances courtesy of BBC Introducing.

Their debut split single 'The Road / This World' was recorded and produced by Andy Monaghan of Frightened Rabbit and is released on Melodic Records this month. 

The pair are musically tight; both melodic and dark. A psychedelic, alt-rock sound that encompasses hypnotic guitar lines and chunky chords with dreamy, reverb drenched vocals and rhythmic drumming.

Man of Moon host two single launch gigs on Thursday at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms, Friday at Glasgow’s Hug and Pint, followed by appearances at Belladrum Festival on 8 August and Electric Fields on 29 August.  

Under The Radar: Model Aeroplanes (Dec 13)

THIS month we feature Dundee’s Model Aeroplanes, as youthful as they are talented.

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We first witnessed their energetic live show earlier in the year as part of the Scottish Music Centre’s Hit The Road (a touring project for 14-19 year old musicians). They’ve now finished school, performed at the BBC Introducing stage for T In The Park, supported Editors and released their debut single – our track of the month, Crazy, which in addition to creating music industry buzz has clocked up nearly 14,000 plays.

The band have a string of shows in Scotland before Christmas, including one at Glasgow’s Nice N Sleazy on 20 December to celebrate the last member turning 18 years old. With youthful exuberance aplenty and catchy pop sensibilities, we predict great things to come. Listen here: www.soundcloud.com/modelaeroplanes

Guerrilla music video adventurers Detour Scotland return for their latest outing after an extended break from activity. Taking place across Glasgow today, the Wee Jaunt will guide a group of music lovers on a tour of the city. An array of Scottish artists will perform in unusual locations and the whole experience will be filmed. Keep up to date via www.facebook.com/detourscotland

Over on the east coast, Kid Canaveral host their Christmas Baubles IV at Portobello Town Hall on 14 December. The festive bash is in association with their new label, Lost Map Records, the new venture from former Fence Records partner Johnny Lynch (aka Pictish Trail). Headliner this year is Edwyn Collins who is joined on the bill by Kid Canaveral, Siobhan Wilson, Pictish Trail, De Rosa and This Many Boyfriends. www.kidcanaveral.co.uk.

Kid Canaveral and Siobhan Wilson will also take part in the Christmas Songwriters Club on 22 December, now a firm fixture on Auld Reekie’s calendar. Held at the Queen’s Hall, this charity event brings together Scottish musicians who perform festive songs they have penned on the day. Other participants include Karine Polwart, Scott Hutchison (Frightened Rabbit), Teen Canteen and Broken Records. www.christmas-songwriters.com.