A Letter From... Scotland #9

The month in Scottish music...
Neil Pennycook 02.JPG
Like every rainy summer season, festivals are taking up most of our collective energy. But if you’re between engagements, aren’t a happy camper or have only recently extracted yourself from the Great Flood at T in the Park – here are things to keep you musically ticking over throughout the months of July and August.

• Get familiar with Glasgow electronic outfit, Churches, before they get super-massive. Combining electronic nous with pop sensibilities, they’ve become a word-of-mouth phenomenon and only played their official debut at the Art School the other week. It was, all told, a pretty wonderful night and it’s only sure to get better from here. Catch them at Stereo on July 22.

• Fancy 20 free tracks from one of Scotland’s finest labels? Of course you do! Chemikal Underground have ‘Secret Hits’ for zero pence on Amazon. Featuring songs from Arab Strap, FOUND, Miaoux Miaoux, the Phantom Band and Malcolm Middleton – it is available for your listening needs throughout the month of July.

• There Will Be Fireworks ease themselves into the 2012 live calendar with a show at Glasgow’s Sub Club on July 14th. And if that isn’t to your tastes, why not join the best of Scottish music and literature at (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peacenik, Love and Understanding? Hosted by author Rodge Glass at the Old Hairdressers, there will be music and readings from the likes of Beerjacket, Emma Pollock and Alasdair Gray. All on August 29th.

• If you missed the spectacular Whatever Gets You Through the Night at Arches last month, there’s still a chance to acquaint yourself with the songs which helped make it so special. An album of entirely original material – all to do with the special magic of the wee small hours – is available from Bandcamp, featuring stuff from Olympic Swimmers, Eugene Kelly, Errors, Wounded Knee………..the list goes on and on. Get the download or check out the feature film screening on 23rd August at Summerhall, Edinburgh.

• Alumni of WGYTTN, Meursault’s (pictured) latest ‘Something for the Weakened’ finds the band in full flight. Released on 16th July via By Toad, they’ve expanded the folk palette which made them whilst finally created songs full enough to showcase the unmistakeable vocals of Neil Pennycook. If you’re at Thistly Fest on the 28th July, you’ll be treated to a live preview.

• Hanging about up North? The Holy Ghosts are touting around on a mini-tour of HebCelt, Thurso and Ullapool. Failing that, there’s a delicious summer schedule at Belladrum Festival – with Roddy Frame, Brown Bear and the Bandits and Bwani Junction – running from August 3rd – 4th.

• Hard-edged punk from the Ally McCrae endorsed Citizens. Good, raw and noisy-as, their latest ‘CTZNS’ (released 28th 2012) was recorded in all but a day but promises to pack an uncompromising punch, following on from their 2010 debut ‘Try Harder’. If that doesn’t wet your whistle, United Fruit have released their long-player ‘Fault Lines’ to critical acclaim. And at the indier end of the spectrum,The 10:04s are releasing their second single ‘Lights Out/Pull it Apart’ at the beginning of August.

• Remember the View? The View are on fire? Make sure with their grand return at the 02 Academy on the 12th July, bound to feature tracks from their latest album ‘Cheeky for a Reason’ which promises to sound like “Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours’ done by the Clash”.

• Other gigs of note include the magnificient Golden Grrrls at Mono on the 11th July; the yummy “garage-rock crunch” of the all-girl Honeyblood at Henry’s Cellar Bar on the 18th and Eddy and the T Bolts on the July 24th at Captain’s Rest – in a night lovingly curated by blogger Ayetunes.

Until then, over and out.

Words by Marianne Gallagher

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