Under the radar

TWO years ago Edinburgh's Xvectors looked poised for international stardom, signing to Blast First (erstwhile home to Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers) and touring Germany. But no sooner had the ink dried on the contract then the owner of the label had a heart attack. This apparent jinx continued when a Warner Chappell executive broke his leg, days before he was due to meet them.

We could be putting ourselves in grave danger, then, by making Bigger Cages, Longer Chains track of the month, but this blend of disco, rock, house and new wave is so good, we simply have no choice. With the album Time & Lies due for release this year, the Xvectors should soon be back on the road to success.

Pearl and The Puppets (www.myspace.com/pearlandthepuppets) have been on our radar for some time with their charming brand of airy acoustic pop. We were particularly impressed by how they coped with thousands of guttered View fans at the Year of Homecoming's Final Fling a couple of months ago. The experience should prime the band perfectly for an over-14s tour beginning on 11 February.

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Nine months after supplying our track of the month, Panda Su today releases her debut EP, Sticks And Bricks. Having toured the US and Canada, the Fife-based artiste will embark on a series of dates across the UK beginning on 12 February.

Before that, Panda Su is one of many acts taking part in a music, poetry, art and film extravaganza at Edinburgh's Roxy Art House this weekend. The Hidden Door Festival (www.hiddendoor.org) features established scenesters Joe Acheson Quartet Joe Malik and Action Group and hotly-tipped west coasters such as Randan Discotheque and Social Services.

Further augmenting the capital's rise out of the musical shadows is Secret CDs (www.secretcds.co.uk), an online shop selling albums by local acoustic acts which also hosts a monthly night in the cellar bar of The Phoenix in Broughton Street. The next session is on 3 February and includes sets by Dale Radley, Arran Attic and Simon Kempston.

The organisers of the Go North showcase and seminar are set to announce that it will again take place in Inverness this year, on 10-11 June. It gives acts the opportunity to play in front of a diverse industry audience and check out useful seminars. To apply for this year's event visit www.goevents.info

Aberdeen's Beach Ballroom (www.beachballroom.com), 80 this year, is normally known as a theatre venue. However, on 6 February a feast of local bands will be hosting a night, before the venue is closed for refurbishment. On the bill are Indian Red Lopez, Cast of the Capital, The Underkills and The Little Kicks.

Another Aberdeen anniversary, this time a fourth, is that of the city's hottest indie/electro night, Dirty Hearts Club. The festivities come in two parts with Filthy Dukes performing live on 28 January, followed by Findo Gask on 31 January. There will also be DJ sets, mix tapes, cake, T-shirts and badges. (www.clubsnafu.com)

• Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run music scene social night Born To Be Wide, which celebrates its sixth birthday on 4 February at Edinburgh's Voodoo Rooms. The night will feature a German music business seminar, Jeans Team live, DJ diplomats and a German music quiz. See www.borntobewide.co.uk for info.