OLAF Furniss and Derick Mackinnon report on Scotland’s new music scene.
Elgin-based Cleavers (www.cleaverz.co.uk) have been garnering a lot of attention in the Highlands with a brand of punk reminiscent of classic American bands such as Black Flag and Circle Jerks. They were recently selected to represent Scotland as part of an Excite network of showcase events hosted across Europe which include Denmark’s Spot Festival, Belgium’s Play and Freeze in The Netherlands.
Our Track Of The Month, Speak Speak, gives a taste of Cleavers, and those in the Inverness area can check them out free tonight at Go North. The multi-venue line-up also boasts several previous Track Of The Month providers, including Plum, Lady North, Stanley Odd and Little Kicks.
Although Go North severed ties with the Rockness Festival last year, the Dores event, which takes place from Friday to Sunday, will feature a newcomer stage with Be Like Pablo, Iain McLaughlin and Homework among the Scottish acts taking part.
And for those who like checking out emerging talent there are numerous other opportunities this month throughout Scotland. The Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William on Friday and Saturday boasts a music programme that includes Bwani Junction, the ubiquitous Homework and Admiral Fallow, as well as The Phantom Band and Mercury-nominated headliner King Creosote.
The following weekend it’s the turn of the Eden Festival (www.edenfestival.co.uk) in Dumfries, which boasts an eclectic mixture of genres, and the Insider Festival, which takes place near Aviemore. Last year the latter proved the most popular event among many of Scotland’s music cognoscenti and it looks set to impress again. Not only does it boast an outstanding cross-section of talent, but it will also host a wide variety of competitions with an Olympic theme. They include a sporting celebrity lookalike contest, an egg and spoon triathlon and a Boris Yeltsin memorial cabbage tossing contest. (Yes, really.)
Taking place near Biggar from 22-24 June, the more sober Solas music and literature festival features a host of emerging acts, including Randolph’s Leap, The Imagineers and Grousebeater Soundsystem. And promising to mix creative disciplines is the Whatever Gets You Through The Night (www.facebook.com/whatevergetsyouthroughthenight) extravaganza at Glasgow’s Arches, which runs from 26-29 June. Incorporating the work of poets, novelists, playwrights, actors and, of course, musicians, it presents a range of stories which take place between the hours of midnight and 4am. The extensive musical offering includes Errors, Withered Hand, Conquering Animal Sound, Bigg Taj, Eugene Kelly and Emma Pollock. An album is set to follow along with a film, which is due to be premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Music fans who like to watch and listen are in for a treat as two new TV ventures launch this week. For the past couple of years Glasgow’s Detour team have established a reputation for staging and filming some exotic gigs. This week they kicked off a monthly online magazine programme which includes a gig in an amusement arcade, a Glasgow newsagent reviewing three new tracks and an Aussie band being introduced to Scottish cuisine. Over in Edinburgh, BBC veteran Vic Galloway has teamed up with Matthew Young, the man behind the Song, By Toad label, blog and gigs, to come up with the Vic and Toad Show. The first episode is currently being edited and features live performances with PAWS and Meursault, a round-up of the Scottish Album Of The Year Award, a report on boutique festivals and several reviews. Check www.songbytoad.com for forthcoming announcements.
Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis has had some interesting honours in recent years, including singing the national anthem to the Scottish football team at Hampden and having a flower named in her honour at last year’s Chelsea Flower show. Now Pixar, the studio that made Toy Story and Finding Nemo, has decided she has the ideal voice for singing the song which accompanies the advert for their latest animated film, Brave.
• Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run the regular Born To Be Wide music business seminar nights at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus. For more information see www.borntobewide.co.uk