Hi there. So, jetlag. What a beast, huh? I've been half awake for almost a week; resulting in fuzzy edges, yawns, late nights, early mornings and, for some reason, very bad spelling. But despite my more-fragile-than-normal state of mine, and the fact I've spent much of the last month out of the country, I've managed to catch up on some of the action which has been going on in the meantime.
So what did I miss? Countless events across the country during Oxjam; a few very good album and single releases (like The Moth and the Mirror and Martin John Henry among others); a night under the stars with Detour at the Glasgow Science Centre; and probably tons more, right?
At Radar, the blog I contribute to, we are busy listening our way through a list of 135 songs contributed to our second annual Scotsman Radar Prize. That is a lot of time on Soundcloud my friend; but it is also a lot of very good songs to be introduced to. The judging process hath begun; the results will be out next month.
Scotland's music fans were dealt quite the blow at the start of the month when the BBC announced that, as part of a set of restructuring plans entitled Delivering Quality First, it will be scrapping its Introducing in Scotland show.
At the moment the show - which at only the start of this year was revamped with new host Ally McCrae taking over from stalwart Vic Galloway - goes out in Scotland every Sunday, and takes turns with other national introducing shows to be broadcast across the UK on Radio 1. The new plans would mean that from April, it would be co-presented by McCrae and Welsh host Jen Long every week.
While this might not seem a big deal on first glance, it's a numbers game, as explained by organisers of a petition against the proposal. Right now, McCrae can fill the entire night with fresh, unsigned Scottish bands - and without me having to tell you, many who have already signed the petition note that he or his predecessor lined up their very first radio plays. But with the changes in place, acts from each nation in the UK would be fighting for space every week. This will inescapably lead to less of that vital exposure for Scottish groups and, in turn, those from other areas in the UK in their respective localities, as the precious minutes fill up fast.
To get the latest updates keep your eyes on the Facebook campaign page, and if you haven't already, it's probably a good idea to add your name to the 6,268 sensible people (at last count) who've signed up the the petition. You'll also find a link to the BBC's consultation on the plans where you can add your views.
Meanwhile, bands who want to hear the best way to approach radio DJs should look no further than next week's Born to Be Wide event in Edinburgh. At the seminar on November 3, from 7pm at the Electric Circus, you can hear from Vic Galloway, Jim Gellatly, radio plugger Grant Crain and producer Stewart Cruickshank.
Blogger Last Year’s Girl has revealed that she's branching out into the wonderful world of gig promotions. Her first night is on December 2 at the Old Hairdresser's, Renfield Lane, Glasgow, and features Franz Nicolay, Chris T-T and Dave Hughes. A night to remember, quite possibly - says LYG herself, Lisa Marie Ferla, 'You should come. Not just because I’ll be out a fair bit of money if you don’t, but also because it’s going to be pretty brilliant.'
Now let us travel north, to Aberdeen, where Hercules Moments are waiting to provide a detailed introduction to the Granite City's scene. The bloggers have created Hercules Moments: Volume 2, a sampler picking their favourite local acts. The blog's Eoin Smith explained:
"Despite the quality of output [in Aberdeen], the mainstream media still tend to focus heavily on Glasgow and Edinburgh, and Aberdeen is often left as an afterthought. That’s exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing with the website, and why we’re releasing this second sampler.
"Hundreds of people downloaded last year’s ‘Vol. 1’, and were introduced to a whole new world of music they didn’t know about. This year we’d like to reach out to even more people and let them know that Aberdeen has an exciting, vibrant music scene with a great deal to offer."
The tracklist includes The Xcerts, The Little Kicks, Carson Wells, Min Diesel, Glassman, The Shakedown Project, Turning 13, Foxhunting, Seas, Starry, The Deportees, Outbox and Katerwaul. This Friday (October 28), the compilation will be launched at a gig in Cafe Drummond with four of the aforementioned acts (details here ).
Something I've been listening to a hella lot this month is the new EP from Glasgow's Otherpeople, 'Memory Gag'. It's a big six-track beast and it's sickeningly accomplished for a second release. If you too, are bored of acoustic guitars, perhaps you should check it out.
"A friend of mine used the phrase [Memory Gag] and as soon as I heard it, I thought it suited the record perfectly," says frontman Andrew Manson. "He meant a memory that makes you feel sick when you think about it, but it could also mean forcing yourself not to think about something, or even when you finally get a joke ages after someone has told it to you and you start laughing on the street. I think that sums the EP up pretty well: a bit conflicted, a bit humorous." You can catch the band in Nice'N'Sleazy, where they're playing in a highly tempting triple-bill with We Are The Physics and Galoshins on November 11. The EP, meanwhile, you can pick up via their bandcamp page.
A few other releases this month: Dead Boy Robotics, not content with releasing a single, 'Gatherer on the Threshold' on Monday (October 31) with launch nights at Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh on Sunday and Captain's Rest, Glasgow on Monday, are going for the double whammy and also releasing their self-titled album on November 28.
theapplesofenergy's debut, 'mirror/echo' will be released by From a Stolen Sea on November 28. Says the label: "mirror/echo is an organic album both in its construct and the sound-world it creates, it is a study of how sound works / reacts in two very specific yet very different spaces, the first being a small flat and the second a wide open landscape."
It can be pre-ordered here. On November 10, taking advantage of the full moon, El Dog release their second album, 'Hey Werewolves' while Pumajaw release new album 'DEMONMEOWMEOW' on November 7. And, of course, the release which comes with some sadness - the final single from Dananananaykroyd, 'Think & Feel' on November 7. Sob, sob. Their final show in Glasgow will be this Saturday (October 29), at the ABC.
Pinup Frights, October 28, The Flying Duck, Glasgow. It's hallowe'en weekend, so it must be time for a frighteningly good Pinup Nights special. Playing 'dead' (yuk yuk) are Tokamak, Skinny Villans and Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5; DJing are Carl Barat and Adele Bethel and Scott Paterson of Sons & Daughters.
On November 5, Fence Record's Flamin' Hott Loggz all dayer is entirely sold out, but you can still attend...
Flamin' Hott Toadzzz, Sunday, November 6, from 2pm, Hew Scott Hall, Anstruther. ...the following day, curated by Song, By Toad. Meursault, Jonnie Common, Jesus H Foxx, Yusuf Azak, Dan Mutch and Avital Raz. Full details.
James Yorkston and The Pictish Trail, November 11, The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh. The Fife musician (and now author) is joined by violinist Emma Smith, Sarah Scutt on clarinet and Serafina Steer on harp.
The Twilight Sad, November 13, Doghouse, Dundee. It's the kick-off of The Twilight Sad's UK tour tonight in Dundee. See the rest of the dates here and remember the new single, 'Sick', is released on November 14 through FatCat.
And finally - not just one gig but the entire month of November celebrates 20 Years of Sleaze - the 20th anniversary of Nice'n'Sleazy with a quite spectacular series of gigs.
Introducing... The Bird and the Monkey
Duo The Bird and the Monkey, aka Sarahjane Swan and Roger Simian, live in the Scottish Borders and, rather than cutting their teeth on the live scene, have been busily recording not just songs, but videos for each of the numbers on their forthcoming album.
Roger Simian said: "We are trying as much as possible to mix the videos and music; the album will be released not just as a download but also as a DVD, so it exists in both forms. Sarahjane graduated in sculpture from Glasgow School of Art, and I've worked on a lot of videos for different bands, so it seemed the right thing to do for us."
In style, he acknowledges that the pair's distance from any 'scene' in Scotland could have allowed them the space to be more experimental. "We're aware of what's going on in the cities, but we're not part of what's going on there - we live our own life down here.
"I think coming from places like Dunbar (where Swan grew up) also meant we were both in our bedrooms listening to things like John Peel and opening up to weird musical tastes. We aren't afraid to try some of that our ourselves."
Here's the video for 'Do You Wanna?'.