Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon report on Scotland’s underground music scene
WASHINGTON IRVING were our highlight at last year’s Haddowfest in Edinburgh, having ditched the fiddles on their first album for a more guitar-driven sound. This week the band release the single Holy Company on their own Instinctive Raccoon label to coincide with their UK tour supporting Frightened Rabbit. We think it gives a perfect taste of their new musical direction guaranteed to appeal to both a young audience and those old enough to have been fans of Big Country many moons ago. Be prepared to see Washington Irving headlining festivals very soon. Listen here: http://bit.ly/holyirving or watch here: http://bit.ly/HolyVideo.
With acts such as Kitty and the Lion and Quickbeam on its roster, Scottish label Comets & Cartwheels recently announced a partnership which will allow it to provide great beer in addition to quality music. Thanks to teaming up with Brew Dog, the fledgling record company recently managed to get many of the nation’s music scenesters to abandon Celtic Connections for a tasting session which included several strong ales and the latest signing, Fake Major. In addition to free beer, Brew Dog will provide the label with PR and business support, as well as gigging opportunities at its expanding pub empire.
We first encountered The Spook School, a 4-piece indie-pop band from Edinburgh via their involvement with Verden Studios DemoFund project (providing young bands with professional recording experience). Having released their first single on the ultra-cool Cloudberry Records they’ve just announced a new record deal with Fortuna Pop! - see http://thespookschool.com
The latest crop of artists to benefit from the same initiative will be performing a free (over-14s) showcase at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on 27 February. They include: Megan D, Holly Wilson, Nic Tate and the Sharks, Mothertone, The Southpaws and Karmataus. Visit www.facebook.com/verdenstudios
Motherwell band The Banter Thiefs release their new single Swings and Roundabouts on 11 February. Lifelong supporters of Motherwell Football Club, they persuaded the club’s manager Stuart McCall to star in a teaser video for the single, http://bit.ly/BanterSwing which in turn has led to Norwegian side Aalesunds FK paying for the band to fly over and play at their Season opening party in March. The Banter Thiefs support The View on 16 February at UWS student Union in Paisley. Visit www.facebook.com/thebanterthiefs
Fort William’s Russian Ninjas released their debut single Brush Your Tongue at the start of the month and will be playing live across Scotland throughout February beginning in Ayr tomorrow (Friday). www.facebook.com/RussianNinjas
The Glasgow Music and Film Festival is a strand of the Glasgow Film Festival, celebrating the relationship between music and cinema. Highlights include a screening of Whatever Gets You Through the Night (15 Feb), followed by live performances from artists featured in the film including Rachel Sermanni, Bigg Taj and Wounded Knee. Award winning folk trio Lau provide live accompaniment to the film Nevada followed by a 45-minute performance (also 15 Feb) Visit www.glasgowfilm.org/festival/ for full details.
Tenement TV is a company that films and broadcasts bands performing live sessions from their HQ – a tenement flat in Glasgow. The latest development is Tenement Trail, in which they have organised their own multi-venue festival on 9 March. The line-up boasts some excellent bands including Bwani Junction, Chasing Owls, Fat Goth, Hector Bizerk, Discopolis, The OK Social Club, Teen Canteen and plenty more. Visit www.tenementtv.com for full info
Scotland’s largest creative industries festival goNORTH is now accepting applications via the free-to-use Bandwagon platform. The event takes place on 5 and 6 June across various venues in Inverness and offers a platform for both music and film. To apply visit www.gonorthfestival.co.uk
• Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the Born To Be Wide music industry events. They celebrate the organisation’s ninth birthday on 9 February with a DJ appearance at Glasgow club Pretty Ugly, where they will play all-Scottish music, see www.prettyuglyclub.co.uk.