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The Scotsman, Under the Radar, November 2014

Published In The Scotsman Newspaper: Monday 3 November 2014 | Words by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon report on music events across Scotland in November 2014

Miracle Glass Company, is a collaboration between troubadours William Douglas and Austen George, along with drummer Andy Duncan. All three are well-kent figures in the Edinburgh music scene and early live forays have gone down well with local audiences. Boasting a slightly psychedelic nod to the sixties, the individual band members all take turns at vocal duties, delivering some impressive harmonies. The band recorded ‘Turnaround’ – our Track of the Month – earlier this year and play Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on 30 November. In January they go into the studio with veteran producer Owen Morris, whose credits include Oasis and The Verve. We look forward to the result. Visit www.miracleglasscompany.com

Congratulations to Young Fathers our Track of the Month provider way back in February 2009, who last Wednesday added the prestigious Mercury Music Prize to their Scottish Album of the Year Award. One person likely to have celebrated almost as hard as the band, is Nick Stewart, owner of Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s. His bet on the Edinburgh trio winning scooped him £850. Visit www.young-fathers.com

Lost Map Records recently celebrated its first birthday and to mark the occasion has launched a special section on the label’s website. Given the name Clumps, it promises to offer a variety of digital goodies including podcasts, films, photo diaries and other “random stuff.” The section currently hosts a free sampler featuring tracks by Lost Map artists, as well as a short, music-based film on the Howlin’ Fling Festival on the Isle of Eigg, which is organised by the label’s founder Johnny Lynch [aka Pictish Trail]. Visit http://lostmap.com/clumps

Meanwhile, Lynch’s erstwhile collaborator, King Creosote, also has news on the film front. From Scotland With Love, the excellent documentary for which he composed the soundtrack, has been nominated for a Scottish Bafta. See Visit www.fromscotlandwithlovethefilm.com

Much-loved Edinburgh venue, La Belle Angele, reopened recently, 12 years after the building which housed it was destroyed by a fire. Rebuilt on the same spot on the Cowgate, it will host its first live gig in December and plans to resume its place on the touring circuit in the New Year. Visit www.facebook.com/LaBelleAngele

The Dark Jokes (our track of the month providers in August), self-release their debut album Ekco Transmissions on the 24 November. The four-piece raised funds for the recording through a crowd-sourcing campaign and will be rewarding all those who pledged, with a secret gig in Leith on 22 November.
The remaining tickets are available to the first people who email info@thedarkjokes.com with Free Launch Tickets in the subject line. Visit www.thedarkjokes.com for more details.

Now in its 16th year, and a key fixture on the Scottish music calendar,
The Tartan Clef Awards organised by music charity, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, takes place on 29 November at The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow. Full info visit www.nordoffrobbinsscotland.org.uk

Finally, fledgling label First Run Records continues in its quest to develop emerging talent across Scotland. Its latest releases include So Long Gone by Vukovi and Open Your Eyes by United Fruit. More info visit www.firstrunrecords.com

•  Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run music event night, Born To Be Wide which next takes place on Thursday [6 November] at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus. Mark Ellen, founder of Q Magazine and former Smash Hits Editor, will be interviewed live and sign copies of his book Rock Stars Stole My Life. The evening also features a discussion panel about music journalism. For full info and tickets visit www.borntobewide.co.uk/events

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