Under the radar: ‘Quickbeam’s debut is a thing of beauty’

Under the Radar profiles Glasgow band Quickbeam
Under the Radar profiles Glasgow band Quickbeam
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WE stumbled across the video for Seven Hundred Birds by Glasgow’s Quickbeam on the excellent Pop Cop blog last month, and were so impressed we invited the band to perform at our Wide Days event on 12 April.

Their debut single is pure musical beauty, blending atmospheric strings and vocals which evoke the same kind of blissful sensation as Edinburgh’s amazing Eagle Owl – a no-brainer for our track of the month. Fledgling Glasgow label Comets & Cartwheels are to celebrate the release of the single with a special launch party on The Tall Ship, in Glasgow Harbour, on 13 April. (See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFMiGK4tKpg)

One of the musical highlights of last year was FOUND’s Factorycraft album, which was promoted with the release of the world’s first playable single made of chocolate. The Edinburgh band are no strangers to interesting ideas and recently gave a taste of their latest artistic endeavour – a collaboration with musician/author Aiden Moffat titled Unravel. Based on the idea that recollections can vary according to a person’s mood, guests are invited to play one of ten singles selected by Moffat, each triggering a different story. These are linked up to a series of instruments which play one of 160 compositions written by Found and vary according to the number of people in the gallery and feedback on social networks. Unravel runs from 20 April until 7 May as part of Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. (Visit www.unravelproject.com).

Fence Records owners King Creosote and The Pictish Trail are to host a new festival in St Andrews, replacing the hugely acclaimed Home Game. Christened Eye O’ The Dug, the name comes from the idea that a map of Fife is shaped like a Scottie dog’s head, with St Andrews as the eye. Taking place from 14-15 April, the line-up includes KT Tunstall, Hot Chip, Errors, Django Django and, of course, both King Creosote and Pictish Trail. (Visit www.eotdfestival.com for tickets information).

Further up the coast, Rock The Broath at Arbroath’s Coast Nightclub provides us with a good excuse to mention the town more commonly associated with smokies, the 1320 Declaration and its excellent lighthouse museum. The two-day extravaganza takes place on 28-29 April and includes an extensive line up of bands and DJs. These include We Came From Wolves, Hopeless Heroic and former track of the month providers Hip Parade, whose debut album I’ll Be Your Audience was released this week. See www.stagedivehighfivepromotions.bigcartel.com

The fourth Billy Kelly Songwriting Award – named after the Glasgow promoter and champion of roots music – was launched at Glasgow’s Oran Mor last month, with the venue’s owner, Colin Beattie, providing a £5,000 development deal for the winner. Organisers are hoping for applications from every possible genre, and a panel of industry judges will select the winner after a series of live heats in July and August. (Visit www.oran-mor.co.uk or go to the venue for application packs).

Song Of Return, winners of The Big Apple Award, an international competition launched by The American-Scottish Foundation, have announced a mini Scottish tour before jetting across the pond to perform two dates in New York, including a showcase for Ian Ralfini, president of Blue Note and Manhattan Records. (See www.songofreturn.com).

Finally, we normally avoid press releases which read like surreal manifestos, but a new Edinburgh night promising “a freewheeling creative agenda designed to maximise enjoyment through more of everything” seems like a pretty good proposition for Easter Sunday. Taking place at The Third Door, Qabalala!, promoted by the founder of Ten Tracks and the promoter of Autobahn, is a new-work night which used to take place in the trophy room of a Leith pub. Expect the unexpected, in every respect.

• Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon host the Wide Days seminar and showcase event, which takes place in Edinburgh on 12 April. To see the full conference line-up, which includes free gigs featuring Quickbeam, Honeyblood, Michael Cassidy and award winning Norwegian band Honningbarna, as well as former track of the month providers Lady North, Donna Maciocia and Homework. (Visit www.widedays.com)