Friday, 26 June 2009

RIP FARRAH FAWCETT



Right, let's not forget this beautiful little Angel.

Long live the Fawcett hair, I will remember her every time I break out the curling iron.

Here she is, pretty as ever, in an advert for the Cougar, an awesome 70s vehicle we had when I was wee actually.! You will be missed, missy.

RIP MICHAEL JACKSON



It's so strange to think that Michael Jackson is gone, when afterall, for me, he has just always been there. Thriller was the third tape I ever bought (after Wham's Make it Big and Billy Joel's an Innocent Man!) It was cream-coloured, the actual tape was, and the plastic cover was worn and broken the last time I saw it. How odd to think that a six year old had such immortal taste in music! (I of course am not referring to Wham, although I did buy the record again relatively recently!)

I think that over the years, any real music lover has tried to separate the craft from the crazy when it comes to musicians like Mike (think James Brown, Isaac Hayes, Ike Turner)and it's times like this that it becomes obvious that the talents are the most unforgettable. Here's to the shit-hot Jackson 5 years, the cooool days of Billie Jean, and even the strange Lisa Marie saga I always associate with You Are Not Alone. May the MJ marathons commence, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough!

Monday, 22 June 2009

SONG OF THE DAY: Nobody's Lonesome for Me by Hank Williams Sr


Ain't nothin' like a lonesome song from Hank Sr to leave ya yoddlin' and cryin' in your glass of Jack, or ya cowboy hat, one. Paste this here link in your Spotify search window and break out the sympathy strings on yer nearest violin. Long live the epitome of Lovesick Blues.

Linkage: http://open.spotify.com/track/0iwpb9AoEyB4Y4x8zh3IZH

LEITH FOODIE SPECIAL: Top five 'newcomers' that have shaped the neighborhood



ROCKSALT
Though it's been camouflaged by the tramworks since its opening, we still beat a path to the fresh and tasty stuff that awaits inside the airy space it occupies on Constitution Street. Sitting-in or taking away, help yourself to one of their fab soups or even hot-press one of the sandwiches made that morning if you're in a rush. Dip into the deli for homemade hummus to take home or sink into a sofa with a latte and just chill.

LA CANTINA
This is where the thirsty go for their margarita fix, reason enough without the innovative Mexican fayre also on offer at the cheerful space scenically located on Commerical Quay. They pride themselves on creative stretches on tradition as well as their wide range of sauces (lime and tequila, ranchero hot red, special barbecue, chipotle cream, bourbon Jack glaze, tomatillos and Cancun sauce) and chiles (chipotle, anchos, habanero, jalapeno and poblano). Get in on the special events here such as Bite Club or just stop in and kill a few Coronas con nachos. Muy bien.

SOFI'S AND BODA BAR
Sofi's, located just down from 'the shore', has a sweet baby blue exterior, comfy vibes, damn good music, board games and a gazillion other endearing quirks. Boda's just a wee bit up 'the walk' and is equally adorable because both bars share the same owner, Anna Christopherson, who just knows how to create a great place to hang out and spend your cash on quiet-ish pints. The pubs are also awesome at drawing in the community with nights for swishing, knitting, movies and even, wait for it, jogging! Love!

ROSELEAF
What they've created here is an eclectic space with mismatched chairs, tables, salt and pepper shakers,and it's also decorated with the same kind of mismatched China tea sets from which the masses come to drink their 'pot-tails'. The food is just as splendid as the cocktails, with the homemade Roseleaf burger being a favourite, especially with cheddar and onion chutney. Yum.

A ROOM IN LEITH AND TEUCHTARS
Room in Leith and Teuchtars are a good little team. Teuchters is the semi-boisterous and jolly wee pub with plenty of tables inside or outside so you can have a laugh before or after you saunter down a corridor and into the swanky Room in Leith restaurant. It's as scenic as it gets down here with almost an entirely windowed room to draw your gaze outside when it's not focused on the unbelievably good, creative cuisine made predominately from fresh Scottish produce that awaits within.

Also published in July 2009 issue of Bite Magazine

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Zanzero, Stockbridge, Edinburgh


REVIEW
ZANZERO
An Italian hero

Typical of Scotland, the weather outside switches from wet to sunny to just plain sordid during my after-work-on-a-Friday venture to Zanzero in Stockbridge. But inside it's consistently bright with fun, colourful surroundings, clean and kind, unlike whatever is going on with the conditions on the other side of the window!

To match the friendly bright green and white decor, the gentleman serving us makes my friend and I smile. He also brings us a starter big enough to share, the Assagini (£8.75), which comes complete with fresh buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted aubergine and Pachino tomatoes. It's a great, generous snack and we sink right into it.

Powerless against the prospect of some truly fresh and fabulous pizza, I'm a sucker for the Picante (£9.50) while my friend has the special of the day (£9.95). Hers is made of focaccia and covered with fried, tender squid, cherry tomatoes, chillies and parsley. Mine is plopped with balls of more buffalo mozzarella, insanely hot chilis and lots of downright delicious Aberdeen Angus beef chunks fresh from The Store in Stockbridge, just one of the many ways Zanzero fuses Scottish produce into their traditional Italian cuisine.

Speaking of tradition, it has to be done with the tiramis├╣. Served uncharacteristically in a dessert glass, we love digging into the light sponge and marscapone cream, espresso and Marsala with long, skinny spoons. We also share a dense and decadent brownie made with 70% Valrohna cocoa and served with Madagascan vanilla ice cream.

Zanzero is casual, fun all-around and a neighourhood favourite that utilises local ingredients whenever possible. We applaud them.

Also published in July 2009 issue of Bite Magazine

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Rivage, Easter Road, Edinburgh


REVIEW
RIVAGE
Cheap but top-notch

SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF LEITH, EASTER ROAD IS TAKING THE MEAL EXPERIENCE A FEW STEPS ABOVE THE PUBS AND TAKEAWAYS WITH THE ADDITION OF RIVAGE. OWNER AND CHEF RYAD MEEAJANE DOES INDIAN FOOD WITH SO MUCH INVENTION AND STYLE THAT IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE THE FOOD IS ALSO ENTIRELY ECONOMICAL. VERY GOOD NEWS THESE DAYS!

Arriving first is a plate of complimentary fried Anda bread with a spiced, pickled assortment of carrots with mustard seeds, a tomato mango chutney and sweet onions; it's a delicious surprise and the kind of special something that really makes a dining experience stand out.

My starter is the scallop varuval (£4.95), the murgh tikka tiranga (£3.95) for my friend. My scallops are lightly glazed and seared to a perfect medium then finished with a cool lime and coriander sauce. It's a must for scallop lovers. My friend's chicken tikka is tender and beautifully presented over a trio of sauces so good , it is difficult to not ask for more.

Green chicken curry from Goa ($7.95) is my main course, a dish that is healthily chunky, not greasy, with pureed coriander, mint and chillies. It's recommended to accompany this with one of the flavoured bowls of rice although we find that the gucchi pulao mushroom rice (£3.50) is stellar all on its own as well. My friend is overjoyed with the jhinga 65 (£9.95); tiger prawns are char-grilled with care just after they've 'matured' in creamed hung yogurt marinade, saffron, caraway seeds and coriander. Its accompanying sauces of roasted red pepper and mint yogurt cool the palate sensibly. Our favourite part? The hollow yellow pepper that sits upright on the plate with a candle inside. Again, it's a simple but memorable touch.

Portions are just so that it's perfectly fine to finish with mango coffee sorbet (£2.95) plus the gulab jamun (£3.50), the latter being soft cheese dumplings served warm with real vanila bean ice cream.

Service is attentive, the music is entertaining (Bollywood does Pretty Woman, anyone?) but the physical menu could do with an upgrade that reflects the incredible quality of the menu items it lists.

Rivage also does delivery after 6pm.

Rivage
126-130 Easter Road
Edinburgh
EH7 5RJ

0131 661 6888
rivagerestaurant@btconnect.com

OPENING HOURS
7 days 12-2pm (lunch); 5.30-11pm (dinner)

Also published in July 2009 issue of Bite Magazine

Friday, 19 June 2009

SONG OF THE DAY: Remember the Mountain Bed by Jeff Tweedy



Written by Woody Guthrie and performed by Wilco on Mermaid Avenue Vol II (Guthrie covers with Billy Bragg, commissioned by Guthrie's offspring) this song is so pretty it makes me burst into tears nearly every time I hear it. Have mercy, Guthrie was good, and Tweedy honours the man brilliantly. Here are the well-crafted words, more than worth a read even without the music:

Do you still sing of the mountain bed we made of limbs and leaves?
Do you still sigh there near the sky where the holly berry bleeds?
You laughed as I covered you over with leaves
Face, breast, hips, and thighs
You smiled when I said the leaves were just the color of your eyes

Rosin smells and turpentine smells from eucalyptus and pine
Bitter tastes of twigs we chewed where tangled wood vines twine
Trees held us in on all four sides so thick we could not see
I could not see any wrong in you, and you saw none in me

Your arm was brown against the ground, your cheeks part of the sky
Your fingers played with grassy moss, as limber you did lie
Your stomach moved beneath your shirt and your knees were in the air
Your feet played games with mountain roots as you lay thinking there

Below us the trees grew clumps of trees, raised families of trees, and they
As proud as we tossed their heads in the wind and flung good seeds away
The sun was hot and the sun was bright down in the valley below
Where people starved and hungry for life so empty come and go

There in the shade and hid from the sun we freed our minds and learned
Our greatest reason for being here, our bodies moved and burned
There on our mountain bed of leaves we learned life's reason why
The people laugh and love and dream, they fight, they hate to die

The smell of your hair I know is still there, if most of our leaves are blown
Our words still ring in the brush and the trees where singing seeds are sown
Your shape and form is dim but plain, there on our mountain bed
I see my life was brightest where you laughed and laid your head...

I learned the reason why man must work and how to dream big dreams
To conquer time and space and fight the rivers and the seas
I stand here filled with my emptiness now and look at city and land
And I know why farms and cities are built by hot, warm, nervous hands

I crossed many states just to stand here now, my face all hot with tears
I crossed city, and valley, desert, and stream, to bring my body here
My history and future blaze bright in me and all my joy and pain
Go through my head on our mountain bed where I smell your hair again.

All this day long I linger here and on in through the night
My greeds, desires, my cravings, hopes, my dreams inside me fight:
My loneliness healed, my emptiness filled, I walk above all pain
Back to the breast of my woman and child to scatter my seeds again

Thursday, 18 June 2009

SONG OF THE DAY: Don't Let Go by Roy Hamilton



Aw shucks, this is a sweet tune. It's got rockabilly, a little bit of jive and a whole lotta soul, and it should be heard! Oooh-weee!

INTERVIEW: The Bottleneckers


The Bottleneckers are well-known in Scotland's retro scene for their authentic, old-time rhythm & blues antics that inevitably stir up some seriously good times. An incarnation of sorts of the similarly-spirited The Five Aces and The Privates, these gents will certainly be in their element next week in Glasgow where they will share a bill supporting the first lady of rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. Duncan, Ross and Richard give The List the scoop.

So what's your story?
Our story is a typically incestuous little family of six musicians that make up The Five Aces, The Bottleneckers and The Privates. Most of us have played in rock 'n' roll and R&B bands for too many years now (The Cobra-matics, The Kaisers and The Boogaloo Investigators have a prominent hand in our back story). What is nice is that outwith the six of us, our extended musical family represents a group of people dedicated to playing, DJing and generally getting right into all the great music of the first two-thirds of the 20th century. Basically music that hasn't been hideously overexposed and commercialised (such as blues rock, mainstream soul music, drab singer/songwriters and interchangeable guitar bands etc). We do what we do because it is more vital and stimulating than anything we hear in the mainstream. There is more life in this so-called old music than anything being hyped and touted nowadays.

What kind of events do The Bottleneckers participate in that encompass the celebration of music of ole?
One nice R&B-based culmination of this was the first Glasgow Rhythm & Blues Festival (organised by the Shout Bama Lama guys in Blackfriars) in May this year. A weekend event that we thought was going to be a total disaster ended up being a rare success. In total over 1,500 people came to the gigs and the organisers made excellent choices in bringing bands that never usually tour Scotland and backing them up with great local bands and DJs from here and from further afield.

You can rock and roll, you can do delta blues, you can jazz swing - what else?
Richard: We can rhythm and blues, yep, plenty of that, and other stuff from the same era. As for the delta blues, that’s like a precursor to the other things we do. Washboard Sam, The Mississippi Sheiks and the like. Rockabilly, too. To us, it’s all just good tunes.

Duncan: That would definitely be the lynchpin of the Bottleneckers, or cornerstone rather. We play songs we like that get us excited. The genre aspects is one we ignore completely and have never had to think of until now! Basically we seem to end up playing music from the late 1920s to the mid 60s.

What's the difference between you and the Five Aces?
R – We’re younger than them, and we have fully working backs as we don’t have to lift Hammond organs all over the place. Our chronological home is a few years earlier than that of the Aces. Mark’s on double bass, and we have an extra guitar as well, which makes the sound travel slightly faster, with bits sticking out at the sides that you can see if your shoes are the right height.

D - The Bottleneckers is more of a 50s thing musically. The Aces was a logical continuation of the Boogaloo Investigators as we progressed backwards in time from the late 60s soul, funk and R & B sound to an early 60s rhythm & blues with the Aces. The Boogaloos and the Aces sounded like what we were, ie a bunch of Scottish guys trying to play American soul and R & B. The Bottleneckers is a further step forward in going backwards in music years.

That aside, The Five Aces were essentially a travelling/touring band hence we played in Europe as much as we played in the UK. The Bottleneckers are a home-based endeavour to a large extent, although not exclusively.

So, Wanda Jackson! Excited? How'd you land it?
We got the gig from our pal Holly who works for the booking agency that is putting the gig on. (Holly also runs the Eyes Wide Open night in Glasgow, a club night specialising in 60s garage and psych music). She has seen the Bottleneckers many times and The Privates (the Hammond organ trio that will comprise Wanda's backing band along with Bottlenecker Mark on double bass).
It is always fun to back up American musicians when they come over. Invariably they are surprised that we approach playing in a similar way to how they used to approach it (It isn't unusual for these guys to get session players who aren't necessarily R & B fanatics backing them in the UK). By all accounts she can still cut the mustard onstage vocally and still puts on a show so we are looking forward to a great night.

Where else can we find you?
We haunt Blackfriars in Glasgow’s Merchant City on a Tuesday evening, and there’s the odd bit of weekend action. We do stick mainly to Glasgow, but have been as far as Spain (for actual gigs, we weren’t just lost, although we probably got lost at some point). Our MySpace page is the best way to keep track of us.

Your heroes? Or should we just leave it at top five at the risk of being here all day?
Okay, six it is. Keeping it in Bottleneckers mode: Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, Arthur Crudup, Little Walter, Johnny Guitar Watson and Jimmy McCracklin. Do we get six each?

Favourite record in your personal collection?
Muddy Waters - Rollin’ & Tumblin’.

Ever been to Memphis?
We haven't even been to America yet unfortunately, however, we have driven past Houston on the Clyde many times.

Best 50s fashion trend?
That would have to be the fashionable trend for rockin' rhythm & blues! Oh, and girls in pretty frocks.

www.myspace.com/thebottleneckers

The Bottleneckers play with Wanda Jackson at ABC2, Glasgow on June 23

Also published here in The List

Thursday, 11 June 2009

INTERVIEW: Over the Wall


Ben Hillman and Gav Prentice are the clever two behind Over the Wall, another aurally-efficient outfit to form on Scotland's west coast. They've just relaunched the poetically-titled 'The Rise and Fall of Over The Wall' EP with plans to record an album by the end of summer that will surely soak up some more of the duo's jangly, melodious, somewhat playful but contemplative pop sounds. Both Ben and Gav tell The List all about it.

How and when did you get together? Where are you based?

Gav: We started Over the Wall years ago with the lofty ideal of having a collective of musicians and artists that would all help each other out and be centred around the night that we were putting on in the old Stereo in Glasgow. We met in the student halls right next to that, where The 78 is now. We were playing on each other's songs at those nights and it ended up feeling natural to take the name and become a duo. This would have been in the summer of 2006, so you could say that's when Over the Wall - as in the band belonging to me and Ben - started, although the idea was there for a while before it. It slowly became our main focus and has just built momentum from there.

Interesting names for your collaborators on your MySpace page like Orchestral Manoeuvres in Kelvingrove Park, the Over the Wall Male Voice Choir. What else have you got?

Gav: That's kind of a joke, I suppose you could say those are umbrella terms for people who we rope into playing with us. The great bulk of what we do is the two of us, but we like to use a lot of different sounds. On the E.P. we have our good friend Ally Stuart playing cello, he's actually also a DJ and does Men and Machines, which people might have heard of, and Kim Moore from Zoey Van Goey plays viola, and both do a cracking job. There are quite a lot of bands now doing that 'everything but the kitchen sink' set up where they get their cousins and aunties onstage playing triangle, and that can be really fun, but that's not our thing. The centre of the dynamic is how we interact with each other, the two of us.

Tell us about your EP. When was its release? How have you risen and fallen?!

Gav: It was originally released in late November 2008 but had a bit of a relaunch last month because to be honest it sold faster than we or the label thought it would! In fact we've nearly sold out that run so they'll have to make more. It's funny you have all this 'limited edition' banter until there is an actual demand and then you're like "Sod that!" It got picked up on radio a bit and we've been playing more outside of Scotland so it's done us proud. The 'fall' in the title is a prediction, that's luckily still to come, although I'm not sure you can really say that we've risen yet to be honest. I'm quite proud of it, Ben, can you listen to it yet?

Ben: Yes, I can now. There was a long period of time after the release where I couldn't stand listening to it at all. Not because I thought it was bad but simply we had spent so long recording and tweaking things that it had turned into some kind of monster that was out to destroy me.

Tell us more good news for OtW and 2009? What's been good so far and what's to come?

Gav: We just played the Cottingham Springboard Festival, which is just outside Hull, and it was awesome - if incredibly hot. The final night, in Manchester, of our tour last month was amazing, one of the best gigs ever. Our gigs in Glasgow in June at the We Were Promised Jetpacks album launch at King Tut's and with De Rosa at Oran Mor should be brilliant, then in July we're going to start properly working on our album. Although the gigs in June should be great I think we're both looking forward to laying off performing for a month and just recording. Oh, and we've just seen a rough cut of the video for 'Thurso' and it looks amazing.

Ben: We are just entering the early stages of recording that difficult first album. I think the cliche comes from the fact that when no-one has any expectations of you, it's more difficult to disappoint people. When you inevitably do, people know that that wasn't an easy feat at all.

What kind of album purchases or illegal downloads have you made recently?

Gav: I spent a small fortune on the new Aiden Moffat record in the elaborate board game packaging, but it's worth it because it's brilliant. I had high hopes for the Meursault album and wasn't disappointed. And I've recently rediscovered Jethro Tull, and they are really very good. I don't really do the downloading thing.

Ben: I just bought Dear Science by TV on the Radio. It's been out for quite a while now but I just bought it the other weekend and I love it. I bought it on the Compact Disc medium which I never normally do because they always break and scratch. I knew we were going to Cottingham for this gig and wanted another CD for the car so we could all enjoy it on the way down. Unfortunately we forgot all the rest of the CDs, so for the entire journey we had a mixture of TV on the Radio and local radio. I have to be honest now and say I didn't tire of either.

http://www.myspace.com/overthewall

Over the Wall play with We Were Promised Jetpacks at King Tut's, Glasgow on June 15; With De Rosa and Brother Louis Collective at Oran Mor, Glasgow on June 23.

Also published here in The List

Thursday, 4 June 2009

INTERVIEW: Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers


Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers evolved from the defunct and missed Uncle John and Whitelock, taking from it some of the signature elements and the obvious influence of The Cramps but turning the horror R&B into Jacob Yates' cleverly self-coined 'doom wap'. We love it, so The List tracked down Jacob to get a little more enlightened...

So I hear you're a reincarnation of sorts from the former much-adored band Uncle John and Whitelock. How so? And what are the musical similarities and differences?
After the end of Uncle John and Whitelock I realised pretty quickly that I still wanted to write, play and perform. I wanted to be selfish and find some good horses to pull my chariot about, if you catch my drift. At first I felt like I needed to find a whole new line up, which I did with Ric and Michael, but then I wanted to hear Jamie play his piano so asked him if he would join in. He said yes.Slowly I cobbled together some tunes and grabbed some old ones that I’d written for Uncle John and Whitelock and we took it from there. There are similarities between the two bands in as much as I’m the front and provide the lyrics and some heart and soul; it’s just that with the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers, things are a little less hard hitting. I mean that ‘Doom Wop’ fits into my life rather than before when ‘Horror R&B’ took over my life.

You've provided us with a brilliant single, 'Merry Hell'. Tell us about that song and anything else you're working on?
With ‘Merry Hell’ I returned to my muse, that being Maryhill in Glasgow, or the ‘Venice of the North’ as it was once known. I shop in the Tesco there on a regular basis and like to watch the community as they go about their day. For quite a lot of them this includes a steady diet of spirits, heroin, weed, fried foods, beers, fags and violence. In much the same way as Hieronymus Bosch saw his community and represented it as living hell, this is what I’ve tried to do with this song. I am not trying to make fun out of these people, just represent their plight. I keep toying with the idea of doing a whole concept album based on Maryhill and this is slowly coming together, I don’t think it will be easy listening.

Are all of your surnames really Yates?
We are all brothers now, but only I can lay any claim to a Yates lineage.

I see you have two gigs on this summer - got anything else up your sleeve?
As far as shows go, we doing some and there are more being offered all the time. I’m a dad now so I have to keep my voice for the lullabies.

Did you make it to any Lux Interior tribute nights around here a few months back?
I didn’t manage to get to any tribute nights for Lux Interior but rocked my sweet daughter to sleep singing 'Goo Goo Muck' the night he died.

http://www.myspace.com/jacobyatesandthepearlygatelockpickers

Jacob Yates and The Pearly Gate Lock Pickers will play at the Glasgow School of Art Vic Bar on June 20; at The Flying Duck, Glasgow on August 21.

Also published here in The List

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

SONG OF THE DAY: Smoke gets in your eyes by The Platters

INTERVIEW: The Aliens


Comprised of former Beta Band-ers John Maclean, Robin Jones and Gordon Anderson (also of Lone Pigeon), The Aliens still have whispers of their former sound, but this time a little cheerier, trading the trip hop for psychadelic pop. Now, with their first EP release of the year, the honeyed and harmonic Sunlamp Show, the boys are back with a highly-recommended hometown show at Edinburgh's Cab Vol. Keyboarder John tells The List the latest.

So where are you guys now? London? Scotland?
I am in London, Gordon and Robin are too scared to come to London so live in the Pentland Hills in Robin's case and Fife in Gordon's.

Tell us a little about the recently released EP, The Sunlamp Show.
We usually craft our own EPs with a bit of a theme, but for this one we wanted to give the tune to other people to do remixes. I gave a tune to Robin and he gave one back to me. We also got a Disco Bloodbath mix which is great.

How have you changed since Astronomy for Dogs?
Gordon has bought new trainers and Robin has ditched the much ftted 'headband' look. I've given up trying to make socks and sandals fashionable. Musically we had more time to make Luna because we made it in a cottage in Pittenweem. Astronomy was made in a big fancy London studio, in the heady days of 2005 when record companies gave money to people like us.

Any other projects on at the moment?
I'm making my first proper short film. Gordon is collecting his Lone Pigeon material for release.

What's next for The Aliens?
Well, after this mini tour of eight dates we would usually rest for a year to recover but we have to do these summer festivals - Glasto, Rock Ness and Kelburn Garden Party.

Edinburgh or Glasgow?
Feel I should say Edinburgh because I went to art college there and had a great time and me and Gordon met Robin there at college. But our best gigs were Glasgow Barrowlands with the Beta Band.

Fave Scottish venue?
Barrowlands

Do you guys ever make it to any club nights in Scotland that celebrate psychedelia?
I used to run a club in Edinburgh Art College Wee red called Club Prague. It was a bit of an institution, but I DJ hip hop as well as psych, rock 'n' roll, funk, rock, ska etc.

http://www.myspace.com/thealiens1

Also published here in The List

INTERVIEW: The Hidden Masters


Glasgow's Hidden Masters cite influences from Buddy Holly to Black Sabbath, but what we actually hear is glorious late sixties-esque garage, psych rock/pop done in a way that easily appeals to good music lovers of today. They'll share a bill, suitably so, with The Aliens this Sunday. The List spoke to Alpha Mitchell to learn a little more about their groove.

So what's your story?
We have been invoking ancient powers from within darkened dwellings for the past two years. Once we were five, now we are three: Dave Dixon on lead guitar and vocals, Johnny Wolfe on drums and vocals and myself, Alpha Mitchell, on bass guitar and vocals.

Where are you based?
Originally hailing from Sirius, we are currently operating out of a village named Glasgow, located on a small island on the Prime Meridian.

Tell us about your sound.
We all write, so have a very broad pallette to draw from, with each of us liking a variety of sounds. The predominant things which come through tend to be early rock'n'roll, harmony pop, psychedelia and freakbeat with a dash of the progressive.

Your music is nicely nostalgic, but what relatively recent artists get you excited?
I'm partial to some Dungen and Witchcraft, John enjoys Field Music and Dave has the hots for Dan Sartain and Clinic.

What kind of projects if any do you have on at the moment?
We have self-recorded an LP's worth of tunes which we're hoping will see a release this year. We've been quite shy in the past with our public appearances but we've now narrowed the personnel down to a hardcore trio of showbiz troupers, so we're all set to tread the boards across the land and beyond.

You must be fans of The Aliens. How do you feel about being on the same bill on Sunday.
I haven't personally heard their music yet, but John's rather an admirer and they sound like like-minded fellows, so we're really looking forward to playing with them.

What can we expect from The Hidden Masters this weekend?
A hirsute three-headed all-singing Hydra with stinging guitar and big-bottom bass set to a kinetic rhythm & blues backbeat liable to go walkies at any moment.

www.myspace.com/hiddenmasters

Hidden Masters play with The Aliens at Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh on May 31; Halt Bar, Glasgow Mon 14 Jun.

Also published here in The List

INTERVIEW: The Gothenburg Address


They don't need a vocalist, they don't even need to tell you what their name means. The Gothenburg Address make music that bleeds with so much honest to goodness grandeur that they claim PJ Harvey and Ian Rankin as fans - quite a quick feat for the Edinburgh foursome. With two of the four citing Arab Strap as former musical ventures, what they do now is like updated shoegaze that's neither tiresome nor terribly urgent, just wide open, glorious noise that can do as it pleases. On the heels of the release of a new single, TGA's Luke Joyce spoke to The List about how they got here and the journey ahead.

How did you guys meet and come up with your name?
I first met Rob through an ad I put out. He was already in a band with Jeansy but they both obviously saw something in my songs that made them want to get involved. Chris joined a couple of weeks later. He and Jeansy were already friends due to their time together in Arab strap and The Zephyrs. As for the name, it's something that I came up with long before the band formed. It has meaning, but it's not something I'm ready to expand upon just yet.

You obviously don't need to, but do any of you sing?
I have been the main vocalist in the majority of my previous bands, and Chris did a lot of the vocal parts on the recent Sans Trauma album. I think not having a vocalist gives the music a freedom; we can go where we like with it.

And what about the single A Lesser Coming Home?
Getting the single recorded has opened up many doors for the band. I think there was a real anticipation for it. We had a large amount of pre-orders, and the CD sold out within a couple of weeks. With folk such as PJ Harvey and Ian Rankin asking for copies, we're hoping that our music will start to get more exposure outwith our local fanbase. As for the single itself, it contains what I think at the time were the bands two favourite songs. We have an extensive playlist now, so much so that cutting it down for the album is proving troublesome.

Best musical moment of the past year?
I think playing George Square just before Chrismas was a high point for everyone. Playing on such a large stage to so many people was suprisingly comfortable for us. A few weeks ago we had our first sold out show which was another moment that reassured us that we are on the right track. Having people respond to what you do on stage is an amazing feeling, and always gives us a boost to become as good as we can.

What's to look forward to this summer?
This summer will be busy for us. We have the album to record, whilst playing shows when we can. We have been invited to play The Wickerman Festival in July, which will be our first festival experience. We will also be taking our first trip to London and into Europe. There is also a soundtrack or two in the pipeline.

Who else do you recommend on the Scottish scene?
I think the Scottish scene is stronger than ever right now. There's a lot of bands I still want to see, but we're just so busy. I did catch a solo show by the lady from Sparrow In The Workshop. That blew me away. Such a great voice. Glasgow band The Brother Louis Collective are about to do amazing things. Their single 'These Barren Years' is a must-buy. I have great respect for the musical talent in that band, and Louis' songwriting is beyond his years. Also, west coast band What The Blood Revealed are doing great things just now. We're very much looking forward to playing the 13th Note with them in a few weeks time.

http://www.myspace.com/thegothenburgaddress

Gothenburg Address play Bongo Club, Edinburgh with St Deluxe, May 28; Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh with UNGOMSKULLEN, June 21; 13th Note, Glasgow, June 24.

Also published here in The List