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The Scotsman, Under the Radar, August 2014

Published In The Scotsman Newspaper: Monday 4 August 2014 | Words by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

The Dark Jokes, The Scotsman Newspaper, Track of the Month, August 2014

Edinburgh four-piece The Dark Jokes are our track of the month with, ‘Firework Town’ taken from their debut album ‘Ekco Transmissions.’ Recorded in a cottage in the Highlands, and part-financed by their fans via online crowd-funding, the album will be independently released in September. Spending two weeks touring Brazil supporting Kate Nash and The Magic Numbers, plus a sell out home show over the weekend, the band have honed their live set to perfection. Check out the dark, but brilliant video, here:

Keep up-to-date at www.thedarkjokes.com

Festival season continues with Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival this weekend from 8-9 August, in Beauly just outside Inverness, with a myriad of excellent new music, particularly on the goNORTH Festival Stage. Highlights include Garden of Elks, Model Aeroplanes, Hector Bizerk, Neon Waltz, Poor Things, Fat Goth, PAWS, Lionel and Call To Mind. In addition, organisers have teamed up with youth music mentoring project Music Plus, to offer five Highland artists aged 14-19 years their debut festival appearance. Inverness-based DJ / producers Darren Hamilton and Louis Slorach play the Mothers Ruin stage, while singer songwriters Ruth Gillies, Hannah Finlayson and Jacob & Rory Green; two brothers from Strontian in Lochaber, play the Free Range Folk Stage. Visit www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk

Jacob & Rory Green will go onto perform at Doune the Rabbit Hole which takes place from 22-24 August on the Cardross Estate in Stirlingshire. The intimate festival will see Hector Bizerk, RM Hubbert, Blochestra, Adam Stafford, PAWS and more perform across the weekend. Full info visit www.dounetherabbithole.co.uk

Chemikal Underground Records’ East End Social, (which featured within the Culture 2014 programme, during the Commonwealth Games), continues throughout August with artists including; Withered Hand, RM Hubbert and Pronto Mama performing in venues throughout the East End of Glasgow. The finale is a festival style weekend at Richmond Park, billed as ‘The Last Big Weekend’ and gets underway from 30-31 August. The spectacular line up features Mogwai headlining with support from The Twilight Sad, Young Fathers, Honeyblood and more. The following day focuses on electronic music, with the legendary James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem, founder of DFA Records) alongside co-curators Optimo plus Hudson Mohawke and new talent like Golden Teacher; a Glasgow six-piece live / electronic collective. Visit www.eastendsocial.com/events

Meanwhile in Dundee, local promoters operating under the banner Dundee Jam, continue to raise money for the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH), combining unusual music events and sport. They have organised over 35 house gigs in addition to charity football matches, the last one, just a fortnight ago, featured Alloa Thistle VS Smells Like Team Spirit; consisting of musicians from 16 Dundee bands including Scary People, The Law, Vladimir, The Hazey Janes and The Merrylees. The latest event takes place on 23 August at a barn on the outskirts of Dundee and will be their most ambitious event to date with five bands, a BBQ, late night films and a disco in the barn. The line up and location are being kept secret but you can follow updates here www.twitter.com/dundeejam

Finally, Song, by Toad Records have announced their excellent Pale Imitation Festival which was launched last year as a reasonably priced alternative to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Running throughout August at Henry’s Cellar Bar, the line up includes Rick Redbeard (of The Phantom Band), LAW, Garden of Elks, Siobhan Wilson, Jesus H. Foxx, eagleowl, PAWS and plenty more. A particular highlight is a farewell gig from Meursault at the Queens Hall on 13 August. Tickets are £5 per gig, or £25 for a festival pass, (with the exception of Meursault at the Queens Hall which is £12). Visit www.songbytoad.com/2014/07/pale-imitation-festival-2014/

•  Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run Scottish music industry social night, Born To Be Wide. The next event is Free and takes place as part of the Edinburgh International Book Festival on 18 August with Simon Napier Bell (former music manager of Wham!, The Yardbirds and Japan) discussing his new book. Visit www.borntobewide.co.uk

The Scotsman, Under The Radar, August 2013

Copyright The Scotsman Newspaper, read direct on Scotsman.com click HERE or photo below

Published Monday 29th July 2013

Sparrow & The Workshop, The Scotsman Track of the Month, August 2013

We recently saw Sparrow And The Workshop perform at one of the Dewar’s House Experimental Batch gigs, hosted in Edinburgh’s Caves venue, and were highly impressed. The Glasgow trio combine female vocals with some fantastic guitar sounds and crashing drums. Their album Murderopolis was released earlier this summer on Song, By Toad Records. The single
The Faster You Spin

is one of the finest tracks we have heard this year and boasts an excellent video poking fun at Britain’s leading politicians. See the band perform at Henry’s Cellar Bar in Edinburgh on 10 August. www.sparrowandtheworkshop.co.uk

Gone are the days when music found itself sidelined at the Edinburgh Fringe, with key venues renting themselves out to a host of other performers. This year several independent labels and promoters will be hosting a wide range of shows featuring both local talent and artists from further afield.

Among the most ambitious is the Pale Imitation Festival hosted by Song, By Toad Records which is set to promote nine evenings at Henry’s, beginning with William Henry Miller on 1 August, and ending with eagleowl on 31 August. The gigs have a strong focus on Scottish talent, as well as hosting several acts from further afield.

Glasgow-based Armellodie Records will also be using Henry’s to host two label nights featuring some of their excellent roster. Taking place on 7 and 15 August, participating acts include Le Reno Amps, the excellent punk of Cuddley Shark, Gastric Band and Saint Max & The Fanatics.

For those who prefer dubstep and bass, the White Knuckle Collective will host an extravaganza at the Collective Night in Sneaky Pete’s on 11 August including several acts on Edinburgh label Abaga Records. These include TeKlo, Tactus and Dunt. The night is free and is on until 5am.

Catering for anyone who prefers to enjoy their music in the daytime, Electric Circus is programming a mini festival titled Born And Bred which takes place from 12-15 August and features a series of lunchtime performances by acts including Carrie Mac, Sienna and Donald Macdonald & The Islands.

Meanwhile, the organisers behind Edinburgh’s multi-venue Haddowfest are to host a series of gigs under the banner of Haddow On The Fringe. Broken Records are among the Scottish headliners, as are Kid Canaveral who will be performing with the amazing Cairn Quartet. The latter will also be appearing in their larger guise, the Electric String Orchestra, when they perform with Edinburgh hip-hop stars, Stanley Odd, at the Queen’s Hall on 2 August.

Staying in the capital, music will again be incorporated into the Edinburgh International Book Festival with numerous artists participating in this year’s event. For followers of the Scottish scene we recommend two of the Jura Unbound events. On 14 August John Lemke and Poppy Ackroyd perform as part of the Writers’ Block evening, which includes spoken word recitals inspired by their debut albums. On 20 August, veteran Radio Scotland presenter, Vic Galloway, reads from his debut book Songs In The Key Of Fife, which focuses on growing up with the East Neuk scene which spawned the likes of KT Tunstall, the Beta Band and the Fence Collective.

Several well-known Scottish bands and artists, including Biffy Clyro, KT Tunstall and The Proclaimers have been showing their support for the creation of a Scottish Music Hall of Fame to be built in Glasgow. The stars have filmed nomination videos detailing acts they believe deserve to be inducted, and the public can vote by visiting www.myhof3.co.uk

Long-standing Glasgow label Chemikal Underground has been given Creative Scotland support to run a diverse range of music activities for the next 12 months to coincide with the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The initiative will focus on the city’s Bridgeton area, where the company has been based since it was formed 16 years ago, and promises to use a wide variety of unconventional locations including parks, train stations, sports centres, town halls, pubs, bandstands and schools, as well as regular venues. A combination of international, emerging and unknown acts will feature

•  Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon host the Born To Be Wide music business and showcase evenings. Their next event takes place on 4 August at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus and features ten minute sets by ten Scottish acts who are playing during the Fringe. See www.borntobewide.co.uk for more details