Under the radar: Kick-starting 2014

Song, By Toad label owner Matthew Young is releasing some legendary live sessions. Picture: Neil Hanna
Song, By Toad label owner Matthew Young is releasing some legendary live sessions. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon report on Scotland’s underground music scene

We kick-start 2014 with the wonderful single California as our track of the month, courtesy of the Isle of Lewis’ Colin Macleod, who came to widespread attention as The Boy Who Trapped The Sun in 2010, signing to Geffen and touring with stars like Bruce Springsteen and Snow Patrol.

The single is due for release on Highlands label Middle of Nowhere Recordings in March and is taken from his Anchor EP. Live, Colin headlines a show for St Andrew’s in the Square as part of Celtic Connections on 23 January followed by a Highland tour supporting Newton Faulkner from 24-28th January. Watch the stunning video here.

Scotland’s leading creative industries convention, goNORTH Festival opens for music submissions on Friday 24 January. The festival will provide over 70 acts the opportunity to showcase in front of a music industry audience throughout Inverness from 4-5 June. To apply and find out more visit www.gonorthfestival.co.uk.

Staying in the Highlands, Brew At The Bog festival has announced another batch of artists who will perform at Bogbain Farm this year on 3 May, including King Creosote, Roddy Woomble, Prides, Casual Sex and The Pictish Trail. They join previously announced acts Roman Nose, Stanley Odd and Woodenbox. In total around 40 acts will perform, visit www.brewatthebog.com

Edinburgh record label and blog, Song, By Toad has carved out a fine reputation for both its roster and live shows since it was established in 2008. To celebrate surviving for five years, it will release a very limited, Five Years, Five Records vinyl box set which comes with hand-printed sleeves, original artwork and a series of essays. The releases include a collection of Toad Sessions, the legendary live shows recorded in the home of the label’s owner, Matthew Young, as well as a re-recorded version of Meursault’s debut album. Visit www.songbytoadrecords.com.

Recent Song, By Toad signings, Plastic Animals, will be heading to Holland this week to play at the prestigious Eurosonic Festival. The event attracts the Continent’s most influential bookers and helped launch the international careers of several Scottish artists including Franz Ferdinand.

Meanwhile, several acts familiar to readers of this column have been selected to showcase at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. They include Honeyblood, Casual Sex, We Were Promised Jetpacks, Prides, The Cairn String Quartet, Young Fathers and Holy Esque. Also appearing will be Dan Willson aka Withered Hand, who unbelievably has not been put off returning, despite getting embroiled in a Kafkaesque visa debacle in 2011 which almost prevented him getting into the US.

Unique Edinburgh-based artist LAW (aka Lauren Holt) has announced she will tour the UK with Young Fathers in February, starting in Glasgow’s Stereo on 1 February. Her EP will then be made available to stream and download for free on 3rd February, via www.lawholt.com.

Knockengorroch Festival hosts its Winter Warmer extravaganza on 25 January at The Venue in Dumfries as part of the Big Burns Supper Festival. Artists performing include Edinburgh duo, Jamie & Shoony, Glasgow’s 20-strong fusion act Sambayabamba, and The Victorian Trout Conspiracy. Visit www.knockengorroch.org.uk/news.

Finally, The LaFontaines have been announced as the winners of The Big Apple Award, organised by Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland. The Motherwell five-piece will perform in New York in April as part of Scotland Week and beat off stiff competition from The Cairn String Quartet, Fatherson, Garden of Elks and The Holy Ghosts. Visit www.thelafontaines.co.uk. Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run Scottish music industry social night, Born To Be Wide, which celebrates its tenth birthday at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on Thursday 6 February. The night will feature a discussion about how the business has changed in the past decade and will be followed by past DJs playing their favourite three tracks by Scottish acts. See www.borntobewide.co.uk