Music News 21/08/2012

Hey kids. Here’s what local bands have been up to over the last day.

If like me you didn’t make it to The Greenhouse last Thursday for the open mic session but would still like to help the Red Hook Rapids in becoming Tennessee Bound (hahaha, I’m funny) you can do so here. My money isn’t where my mouth is YET but will be come pay day. Go chuck them a couple of quid.

As I wrote in this piece there’s two more showcases to go. The good fellas over at Netsounds Unsigned have put together a mix tape for you all which you can get here and listen the hell out of over the next couple of days.

Also ahead of the showcase you can have a wee read of Thousand Stars talking to Inverness Gigs. In the influences I’d say more the former than the later, they nearly fall in to arty nonsense when talking about why you should see them but not quite AND I didn’t know they had an EP! See I read/watch/listen to the stuff I’m writing about.

As you can tell by the rather large lack of coverage I’m not that big on electronic aka dance-though-it-has-100-genres-in-itself music. BUT that’s no reason not to give it a mention now and again, and I do like some. The guys over at Justice Never Sleeps should keep you well covered, though they aren’t limited to local stuff. It’s a male dominated industry (aren’t they all, right ladies? Men eh?) but they’ve done a piece highlighting 5 of the best Lady DJs. A quick scan and none of them are local. Do we have Lady DJs in these parts? Surely.

Not a lady but is a local DJ, Boomshank Redemption has a new track out. It’s called Air 29, it’s House apparently and I think it’s rather good actually. Well constructred, interesting wee bits and bobs throughout. Like I say, I like some don’t like others and I’m FAR from an expert. Generally get put off by the tracks that have some random auto-tune wifey singing over it if I’m honest. “Jimmy Jams featuring Alice D? WHO THE HELL IS ALICE D AND WHY WOULD I CARE?!” Moving on…

To another new track as it happens, this time of a heavily rocky vein. Cactus & Cardigan, who are a bit Primus-y in my limited experience of both, with….George Michael Cums Cobwebs. I swear sometimes so I can’t object to that title. Really want Marion to play it on the radio just so she has to dance around the title!

Rockers Estrella, who are probably the most prolific band on Facebook but they are on tour, have a couple of news updates as well. The first features a video asking you to vote for them in the Scottish New Music Awards (and while you are there you can also vote for a few other locals, you have until Saturday). The second piece announces that that belly dancing video for Do It Till We Drop will be featured in the London Tate Modern Art Gallery. Well done guys!

Some acts seem to be featured every day just now, so it’s time for some Rachel Sermanni. In this video you can see and hear her performing In The Hollow for Student Pocket Guide TV. Lovely stuff, nice wellies. I don’t normally bother linking Facebook pictures but she’s also just bought a new violin and she’s lovely (violins are girls Rachel).

Are you a fiddler….no wait, that doesn’t sound right. Are you a violinist, guitarist or cellist (should really be chellist…)? Are you completely perfect at whichever instrument it is that you play? Of course you aren’t, life is a learning process. Well the Blazin Fiddles and friends have a week long music school that should be right up your alley. It’s called Blazin’ In Beauly, it’s….in Beauly in October (I’m guessing tatty holiday time but I don’t GET tatty holidays) and if the website doesn’t have enough info and you have some questions then contact them at or 0779 294 7269 and Bruce (I’m guessing) will be happy to answer whatever questions you have.

Abagail Grey has a rather entertaining blog at this site btw, so you should probably read that for random thoughts and stories. And if you visit the fanRX section of their page (link right to it in lieu of normal front page) you can download a copy of track Water as an EP taster.

Want an insight in to the life of rock stars? Can’t give you that. How about some young musicians pissing about a bit? Sorted. Purple Divide have a new video out for their song Escape featuring behind the scene and gig footage from the YMI tour right here. Good idea, well executed.

And that’ll do ya. Busier day than I thought! Now go like my Facebook page and tell all your friends would ya?

Oh and there’s now an email address, so if I’ve been missing your band or, and this is probably unlikely, you want to slip me some news for these posts drop us a mail. Cheers.

Music News 20/08/2012

Hey Kids, here’s what’s been going on over the last day or two.

Ailsa Jean Lyall Mathews is looking for gigs. She’s new at this, very talented and could use the help. SO if you are looking for a piano/guitar/singer combo, think they would fit, want to try music out in your place or just have some advice go give her a hand. Scenes only thrive if you keep new blood coming in and help each other out after all. I’d recommend the Inverness Music and Musicians Inverness groups as places to meet fellow music bods, and getting along to open mic nights and the like myself. Not a musician though so I don’t know about getting gigs. OH and friend/like Hootananny Inverness as they post if they’re looking for people to play.

Everyone has started announcing they’re Halloween events. Bogbain Farm have some ska action, The Greenhouse has some metal coming at ya (both on the Saturday) and Hoots/Mad Hatters are having a rocky one on the actual night. BUT I’m not going to tell you in detail what’s going on because I plan to do a big old Halloween piece once the details are all out there. So hopefully Mark won’t be teasing us too much for too long! In the mean time there’s an Inverness gigs bit up for the Hoots one which is for charidy mate.

Donald Macdonald (and the Islands) are in Mull doing a spot of recording. What for I’m not sure. And whether Mull’s most famous son Roddy Woomble is even slightly involved I don’t know either, I’m sure he’s not the only musician there though. Whatever they are working on I’m looking forward to it though. A second Summerhouse session track has been uploaded, Cry, and if whatever it is is half as good as these tracks have been I’ll love the hell out of it.

Inverness gigs have a piece up for the Battle of the Bands here . I’ll have my own in the usual style a bit closer to the time. In the mean time the poster for the first one looks like this:

They also have a review of the 6th showcase by newbie Douglas Barr. He does a good job and judging by the review I’m guessing he’s a musician, possibly a bassist. Could be wrong though. Welcome to the world of band bothering Douglas! I’M NOT THE NEW GUY ANYMORE! (I’ve actually been at this for 6 months now, the site is just new and I took a break). MY review of that there gig is right here.

If anyone knows Laura Dillion let her know that she’s won the Scooty and the Skyhooks competition and the band are having trouble contacting her so she should give them a shout ASAP!

The next Cleavers….well EP knowing them, prolific buggers that they are, will have some PIANO on it! Don’t break it boys. Cleavers with piano, that’ll be interesting! There’s a new t-shirt in the works as well for their European tour. Bit gutted I never got a Zooey one, but chuffed with my Marvel Heroes one. They do good shirts these guys.

If you are willing to travel as far as London, or happen to be going there around the 26th of September OR are there already (there’s hits all over the joint for this page!) you can win tickets to see Rachel Semanni courtesy of For Folks Sake just by emailing them the name of your favourite album. Which could be embarrassing. Me? New Kids on The Block, The Right Stuff obviously.

Abagail Grey are proving to be a band that never stops as they’re hard at work on a winter release even though they’re next EP, Dark Wood, isn’t out yet! You can pre-order Dark Wood here like I did. And there’ll be a review pre-release cause I was cheeky and asked for mine early ๐Ÿ˜‰

And that’ll do ya, more than I expected actually! Remember to like the Facebook page if you haven’t already and invite all of your music loving friends. And other stuff, but lets face it the page is MAINLY music. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Summer Showcase #7 and #8 Preview

All damned summer the Ironworks have been treating us to weekly showcase gigs. 2 months worth. I would say that they feature the best the Inverness scene has to offer but…that’s not entirely true. Now I’m not saying that the bands playing aren’t very good, what I’m saying is that there are SO MANY good bands around here that we’d probably need another half dozen showcases before you could safely say that. And then you’d probably go “oh wait, what about those guys”. They have featured SOME OF the best though. And there’s two more to go, featuring some more of the best.

The summer block has featured similarly themed bands which takes care of the occasional jarring changes that happened during the Easter showcase. And less bands mean you don’t have to turn around, going from the front to the back of the crowd and vice verse a half dozen times. I did think that set up was very clever, didn’t always agree with who was where. Anyway that’s the past, this is about the future. Here’s who you can see at the next two showcases.


After me saying they were similar bands, this one might be a bit eclectic actually.

So first up will be Fifi and Rodaidh. She sings, he plays guitar, think there’ll probably be at least one other bod with them on the drums, maybe more. Haven’t seen them before and…..well I’m not sure they play my kind of stuff as it’s a bit on the reggae side. I love some ska, not a fan of reggae. I COULD be wrong though as I do only have the tunes on their page to go by (and it’s a lovely cover of One Love). Fifi does have a great voice and Rodaidh plays some mighty fine bluesy guitar but from my perspective they have a little bit of an uphill struggle. I’ll say this though, come review time I expect the worse thing I’ll have to say is “not really my bag but very well done”. More words than that obviously.

Like I say this one will be eclectic as next up it’s, well the poster says Graham Brown but I think it should probably say Sienna Lights as Graham Brown doesn’t exist anymore. Well obviously HE exists but he doesn’t really play under his solo name now, what with having people backing him and all. I first heard Graham back in February and thought he was very good then. Don’t think I’ve heard the full Sienna Lights experience, but have heard a half way there performance at Brew at the Bog. The additional instruments and expanded sound work really well and I’m looking forward to hearing the whole band. Or whatever we get, it’s all good. And it’ll probably be kinda light folk indie rock style stuff.

And last up, Thousand Stars. They’re a female lead alternative rock band, only reason I’m pointing out that the singer is a girl is that that’s semi-rare for the rock bands in these parts. It’s relatively light rock and it wouldn’t go amiss on the soundtrack of an ensemble drama show, so think slightly angsty Californian stuff and you won’t be too far off. Or you could just listen to them instead of being baffled by my dodgy descriptions. Saw them live once and they were very good, though a big iffy vocally due to the cold. Unless they have really bad luck that won’t be the case again. And they aren’t TOO jarring from Thousand Stars but are distinct.

So it’s a bit of a mixed bag night really. Not in quality but in sounds. Should be a good one and possibly a taste expanding one for me.


Less eclectic for this one and a strong finish.

First up, well the poster says Jake Bolt I believe that’s wrong and we’ll actually get The Oxides. I caught these guys a few weeks ago and there’s one word for them, tight. Extremely good rock band who’s sound mixes American and British indie rock admirably. Expect a lot of dancing around to this. Possibly from me, and no one wants that so I’ll try not to.

They’re followed by Toby Michaels Rolling Damned. They’re an epic rock band going by the one track on there, haven’t heard them live. Wouldn’t go wrong on a bill with Kobi and that’s not just down to sharing a bass player. Honestly don’t know tons about them so looking forward to it.

And finally, the mighty Roadway back to full strength and rocking hard. Proper rock too. Remember I’m from the 80’s, so that’s proper rock to me and these guys make your denim comfortable and your hair start to grow a bit. Well I assume as I haven’t seen them live yet. And I’m also slightly, only slightly, disappointed this won’t be an acoustic set as I’ve heard a bit of that and they sound fantastic unplugged as well.

Should be a damned powerful finale to what has been a very very good showcase season. Hopefully you’ve discovered some new acts that you didn’t before, and if you haven’t you might at the remaining nights. For me half will be brand new and one will be different from the last time. Which is nice.

Both showcases are ยฃ3 at the door, and they’ll be done around ten so you don’t have to worry about being out late on a school night. So get your arse to the Ironworks! Also, not to fear that now this is over you won’t be able to see collections of local new and semi new music on a weekly basis. The Battle of the Bands starts in The Eagle a week after this is done. But that will be another article…

Music News 17/08/2012

Hey kids. Hereโ€™s what local bands have been saying for themselves/doing/releasing over the last couple of days.

Local band snapper and “doesn’t blog” blogger Houdi has been rather prolific over the last few days. He’s developed an obsession with The Outsiders feet, before getting round to describing his Bella experience. First Friday aaaaaaaaaaaand Saturday isn’t done yet, when I started writing I mistakenly thought I’d seen a link to it. It’s possible I was just confusing it with the piece on last nights Showcase and Mad Hatters action. Mine, minus the Hatters, is here. All, or at least the last two, posts by Houdi contain links to large numbers of pretty pictures.

While I’m linking things that other people have written, here’s Margaret Chrystalls review of the fifth Summer Showcase. My one is here but chances are you’ve already read it as it’s the most popular post on this site.

Give your eyes a break and your ears some work, The Ballachulish Hellounds have uploaded a “Lofi Jockgrass” (their words) track called Lonesome Without You. It went up 2 weeks ago yes, but first I’ve heard of it.

How about a couple of videos? First up Estrella teamed up with the RockIt! Dance belly dancers for a Do It Til’ We Drop video. Followed by a scrappy live recording of The Cleavers from their gig at the Ironworks on Wednesday. Sounds a bit ropy and thankfully they keep their bellies to themselves. I’ve so far failed to catch them live, must fix that sometime soon. I love how some of the suggested videos on the right are for a US politician…

It’s a long shot that people reading could use it, because geography, but would you like to see Rachel Sermanni playing at the Reading Festival? If so she has 2 tickets to give away. Just email competitions@rachelsermanni.neโ€‹t (you’ll be added to her and Reading’s mailing list so forewarned) and a winner will be drawn on Wednesday the 22nd. You also get a signed copy of her new album, but don’t be a dick and enter just to get that.

Do you want to be an events co-ordinator when you fail to grow up? Bogbain Farm has a paid internship going. Brew at the Bog was extremely well planned and run so you could do worse for a learning experience than that place.

Aaaaaaaaand I’ll finish off with some gigs over the next couple of days. If you are reading this RIGHT AS IT GOES UP then you could do worse than head on over to Karma Lounge in Inverness. They’re balancing the Olympics karma by playing the great British rock that was largely ignored (or RAPED BY JESSIE J) during the closing ceremony. Alternatively head on through to Dingwall, go to The Mallard and check out Dougie Burns, The Oxides and Purple Divide who are hoofing it down from…Wick I think so may be a bit knackered.

If you AREN’T reading this right away and it’s either too late on Friday or early on Saturday, Dingwall is offering up two things and you can technically go to both. First off there’s the National Treasures Music Event at the National Hotel. In a vain attempt to get me interested in football, you can catch The Ragazzi playing, go watch County playing Celtic, then come back for some Last Summer Effect (accoustic style). Jokes on you, no way I’ll be up to make it to Dingwall by 11. Half 2 I can do though, so maybe some LSE and then probably (this is in case I fail to get through at all) some Slim Panatellas at The Greenhouse. You can do both, at least partially, as Rob is going to the match and they can’t play without him.

And if your in Inverness, saunter along to the Mark and Spencers general area and you’ll be able to catch dorec-a-belle playing to raise money for hospital radio (which is nice of them). And you’ll also be able to grab a copy of their CD, which is nice for you (review here).

That’s a whole lot of reading, looking, listening and going to there. PHEW! Remember you can subscribe to the site below, and there’s now a Facebook page where all the latest updates will post by internet magic. Now go tell your friends.

Summer Showcase #6 review

First off sorry that the pictures are crappy, general disclaimer that I don’t have much of a camera and I’m not a gig photographer. There were some actual photy takers there, could well be links in future news posts.

SO I arrived in Inverness just after 8 and my teeth were floating, so it was a bit of a brisk walk to the Ironworks. I’ll bet you are glad I’m sharing that with you. I have my reasons though. As I rounded the door of the Ironworks and hit the counter for my ticket I was met by a rather glorious sound. Proper rock music.

Tony, Andy, Garth and Jamie in the back there

Or what I class as proper rock music. I took care of business, no details, and headed for the venue proper again briskly as I was being drawn in like cartoon character riding the smell of a fresh pie (one last aside, I was barely in through the door, think I said hi to someone, when I turned to the bar and a beer was already being popped and poured for me. Thanks barman who’s name I haven’t gotten yet, you sir are a star). I grew up in the 80s and 90s, so when I say proper rock music I’m not talking Buddy Holly type stuff. And I’m thinking more in the 90s vein for these guys. Naked Red play what in my head would be referred to as California style rock. Not quite surfer or punk stuff, just good solid rock music. The origins or rock are solidly in blue music and they certainly have some of that in spades courtesy of Tony on guitar who treated us to some truly amazing licks. When they’re playing a loud tune it’s the good kind of loud, fills you with energy and makes your feet tap and head go. When they play one of they’re mellower tunes it’s more of a Memphis vibe, your head is still nodding but it’s more in agreement. And they have some dedicated fans. When they fired up Little Sister, a cracking one of the mellower tunes, a guy came charging out and did dancing laps of the floor. Half of his pint ended up on it, and his arm, but he certainly looked happy. As did everyone else, great start to the night.

Caroline Truslove with Andrew Morgan as the devil on her shoulder, Dave Smith, Gary Thain and Steve Robertson. Not pictured, your man on trumpet (sorry mate)

Then cometh Kobi. All vibrating bass and power licks, though that was just them tuning up. When that was over they started it off subdued and mellow, needling instrumental music lulling you in to a false sense of relaxation before kicking you in the face with a wall of noise. Damned good noise too. While I stand by my description in the preview piece for this gig it kind of only covers half of Kobi’s stuff, the lighter half. On the flip side they are also a full on rock band with capital RAWK. Powerful riffing, banging drums, slapping bass and in this instance a brass section. I know that Andrew Morgan from the Leonard Jones Potential was blowing the trombone for this throughout. Unfortunately I don’t know who it was on trumpet or if he was there the whole time as he may have just been blocked by the speaker in my original standing position. Whatever the case, the horns augmented the music wonderfully and if it ISN’T a regular feature it damned well should be. In addition to playing some damned fine music, Gary Thain is a very energetic front man, bouncing around and dueling axes with Steve Robertson on Bass while Caroline Truslove just looks on at the silly boys. She’s not just there to look pretty, she’s there to wail. They all were, damned powerful middle.

Btw, I know I haven’t gone track by track or anything but I can’t take that many notes!

Pete Macdonald, Willie Macaskill, almost hidden Craig Aitkenhead, Steve Obern, Ali Brown and pretty much totally hidden Matt Campbell. Was a bear getting a band pic as you guys drew people to the front!

Just one more band to go for this evening. The mighty Little Mill of Happiness. “We’re here mother fornicators, you’ll like us whether you want to or not!” And you’ll want to if you know what’s good for you. Pulsing bass, dark throaty lyrics, thumpings drums and some amazing guitar. When most bands are finished playing their instruments get packed away for the night. When Little Mill are done playing the instruments need to have a cigarette and be left alone for 10 minutes to recover. It might just have been a setting up issue but the bass drum was literally escaping the kit at one point. Super fan and fellow musician Megan Blyth was there, it was her birthday, and they dedicated Article of Faith to her. Interestingly enough last time I saw Little Mill it was MY birthday and she was the support act (okay, maybe not that interesting). They followed it with my favourite which is called Drying Out Wishbones on the EP but was originally titled Sharks Enjoy Hearing The Prayers Of Capsized Sailors. Basically makes it the EP title track, which is nice. If you haven’t heard the EP yet then go frikkin buy it. I’m essentially done writing anyway and would just leave you satisfied with nary another word Little Mill style, but I have another paragraph to go.

It was a truly amazing night tonight. 3 extremely good rock bands showing different aspects of that genre without being easily pigeon holed in to any sub category like alternative or indie. I would, and will, happily see any and all of them again at the next possible opportunity. And if you have the chance you should too as you sure as hell missed out. The only excuse I’ll let you away with is that you were at The Greenhouse, where I would have been if it weren’t for this gig. Otherwise be slightly ashamed and write “I will not miss good local gigs again” on the blackboard 100 times. Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ˜€