On the radar: Boycotts

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Here at Under the Radar we're not always trying to elbow our way to the front of the queue. Of course, our stated aim is to uncover the best new bands in Scotland, but there are times when we like to give a gentle nudge to someone after the initial flurry of newsprint has become, well, today's fish and chip paper.

Which leads me to argue that Glasgow's Boycotts still aren't, *cough*, off our radar, simply because The Scotsman's David Pollock interviewed them back in February, and complimented them on their "urgent indie sound that's surely only a bit of spit and polish away from being chart ready."

When guitarist Joe Gillies (the Edinburgh native who also goes by the nickname Josef K) sent us a note saying his band had "come a long way since then", we were curious to find out more. So Joe, how far have you come?

"We've luckily managed to achieve a lot of the things we set out to do in our first year, such as getting radio play, press and support slots, so releasing our EP is the perfect way to finish that year off. It's also the end of a very long process as we first got asked to go and record at Chem19 in November 2008 and then didn't get the final master tracks back until last week."

The backstory may be old news to you by now, but a little introduction never does any harm. Joe went to school with singer Christina Tweedale (Stina Twee) in Edinburgh, and both made the decision to uproot to Glasgow for university. But it wasn't until Joe met bassist David Dunsmuir (Hardcore Dave) that the seed of Boycotts was planted. Graham Young aka Dragon completes the line-up on drums.

Joe believes their pan-Central Belt origins are important: "Having two members from Edinburgh and two members from Quarter just outside Glasgow means that we have characteristics of both an East coat and a West coast band. I think there is an obvious difference in style between Glasgow and Edinburgh bands, if you compare Idlewild and Glasvegas they are both obviously influenced by the cities they grew up in. I think that not belonging to one particular place has played an important role in shaping our sound and the way we approach being in a band."

And it's not just their geographical backgrounds that differ. "As a band there is very little that we have in common musically," Joe says. "I'd say there's a couple of bands/DJs that we all agree on but mostly we have very different tastes. Stina and I love The Smiths but Graham and Dave just can't get into them at all. On the other hand Dave and Graham are really into The Mars Volta and Rage Against the Machine, bands that Stina and I aren't particularly drawn towards. I think that's why people have a hard time comparing our sound to one other band."

He's right. It's bloody hard to pin Boycotts down. At times Stina sounds like a female Roddy Woomble fronting The Libertines. Then Hardcore Dave will launch into a bassline dredged up from the long-lost days of post-punk, but with an anachronistically overdriven guitar from Joe fuzzing over the top. Needless to say, this scattershod pillaging of sounds results in an end product that's quite unique.

Having already played the Stag & Dagger fest in Glasgow, and with a Scottish tour set up for August, the momentum seems to be building again for Boycotts. But that hasn't stopped a few butterflies fluttering by...

"I think because we've put so much into the EP there will be an element of nerves when it comes to seeing what people's reactions are," Joe admits. "I think we're just all hoping that we can get a load of people down to ABC2 for the launch."

So why not allay Joe's fears by turning out for their EP launch at ABC2 in Glasgow on 15 August? Then you'll be able to make up your own mind whether this band are indeed "chart ready".

You can also catch Boycotts at the following dates:

7 Aug @ Harley's Bar, Bathgate

8 Aug @ QMU (14+), Glasgow

14 Aug @ The GRV, Edinburgh

20 Aug @ The Mill, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

21 Aug @ The Doghouse, Dundee

Under the Radar: showcasing the best new music in Scotland

22 Aug @ The Greenside Hotel, Leslie, Fife

23 Aug @ Harley's Bar, Bathgate

24 Aug @ Snafu, Aberdeen

19 Sep @ The Captain's Rest, Glasgow

9 Oct @ This Is Music, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh