Dear valued member of the TVV community,
So much of the best Scottish music in recent years has emerged from small labels or, to a large extent, been self-funded. The fact we have more or less been in a lockdown situation for most of 2020 has meant a lot of singers and bands have been less active than anyone would like.
A few have managed to get physical releases out on vinyl, while others have taken the digital route via bandcamp. I thought, as some of you might well be thinking about gifts for Christmas, that I’d highlight a few places where your currency would be welcomed and would find its way into very deserving pockets.
I’ve long championed Adam Stafford via this and the old blog. I know that he is an acquired taste but there’s a real reward to be obtained from listening to someone who, if he hailed from NYC, LA, Berlin, Tokyo or Paris, instead of Falkirk in Central Scotland, would be hailed as a musical visionary and genius. He’s recently released a new album – Diamonds Of A Horse Famine, via Song, By Toad Records which has been revived for the purpose of releasing this particular LP. I was delighted that clashmusic.com gave the album the sort of praise you’d normally find round these parts:-
“Diamond Of A Horse Famine’s is a different kind of album to what we are used to. It’s more of a standard singer-songwriter affair. Or as close to that as Stafford will allow. The songs are more immediate than on previous albums too, implying that everything was recorded in a couple of takes, rather than through numerous extended jams.
What ‘Diamond Of A Horse Famine’ shows is that Stafford is back to his best, but he isn’t recreating his previous albums for the sake of it. Nothing Stafford does it for the sake of it. His guitar work is exquisite and his ability to skew his guitar into contorted loops has set him apart from his peers, but he doesn’t employ his box of tricks in the same way that he did on ‘Imaginary Walls Collapse’, ‘Taser Revelations’ or ‘Fire Behind the Curtain’. The solo on ‘Salve’ might be his finest to date. However, the songs are equally as compelling.
This is a brave album that deserves praise for its honesty. Rumour has it that there is another album ready to go. If this is true, then Adam Stafford is a slave to his art and his best may yet to be heard.”
Copies of the album are available via the Song, By Toad page on Bandcamp. Click here for more, including the chance to try before you buy. This was the single released earlier in the year as a taster:-
Olive Grove Records is run by a very hard-working and unassuming man called Lloyd Meredith, someone who I’ve got to know well since starting this blog back in 2007. Lloyd also started out as a blogger but he then dipped his toe and ultimately immersed his whole body into supporting music through the establishment of the label which has just turned ten years of age, a happy event which has been marked by the release of Get Into The Grove, a twelve-track compilation from many of the artists on the label. It can be found here, with the digital version already available and the vinyl edition due imminently.
It was back in 2016 that Olive Grove released the album Cowardly Deeds by the consistently excellent Randolph’s Leap, with this being the opening track:-
Watch out for new material from Randolph’s Leap in 2021, with a new single already out as a taster. Click here.
Broken Chanter, in 2019, released a fantastic self-titled album in 2019. It’s the work of David MacGregor, formerly the co-front of Kid Canaveral, and it proved to be one of my favourite records of that year, looking as if it would form the perfect platform for bigger and greater things in 2020. Sadly, the COVID situation putting a stop to live shows and making it impossible for musicians from different cities to work together has really had a dreadful impact on David’s plans. He’s kept things going somewhat by recording some material purely for digital release on Bandcamp, as well as coming up with a few merchandising ideas to try and help keep his head above water. Just last week, he decided to release a fourth and final single from the debut album, going with what many have long thought is its most beautiful and mesmerising track:-
The single comes with three remixes and can be bought here at Bandcamp. You’ll also be able to click through to the page where the debut album is located and give its individual tracks a listen, after which you may very well be tempted to buy a copy. Especially if you’re a listener with good taste……
A couple of COVID fundraising things to give consideration to, with one that’s been out for a few months and another which is due to become available later this week.
Last Night From Glasgow (LNFG) is another incredibly busy label based in my home city. It was at the start of the COVID outbreak that it, with the help and generous support of the musicians associated with the label decided to take some action to help others involved in the industry:-
It was clear to LNFG that our valued venues and stores would struggle unless we did something to help. So over the course of the UK Coronavirus lockdown we invited all of our artists to record – at home, whilst in isolation – a cover of their favourite past LNFG release. We mixed, mastered and manufactured the album on Vinyl and CD. Selling it and passing all proceeds to our partner venues and record shops. We will continue to collect revenues throughout the year and distribute it amongst local independent stores and venues. Tracks from : Broken Chanter, Gracious Losers, Sister John, Cloth, Close Lobsters, Annie Booth, Lola In Slacks, L-space, Nicol & Elliott, Zoe Bestel, Medicine Men, Deer Leader, Bis, Slime City, The Martial Arts, The Muldoons, Life Model, Mt. Doubt, Vulture Party, Foundlings; Andre Salvador and Lemon Drink.
It’s a very fine venture, and copies can be purchased from here, coming in a range of formats, including various coloured vinyl, CD and digital.
The upcoming release features a range of more established singers and bands. Whole Lotta Roadies is a digital/CD-only effort:-
The Fruit Tree Foundation is delighted to announce the creation of a brand-new unique album, ‘Whole Lotta Roadies’, put together by some of Scotland’s most loved musical artists and their crew. The project is the idea of Rod Jones of Idlewild, who saw first-hand the devastating effect the pandemic was having on all aspects of live shows, and in particular, those who rely on live events for a living, many now facing the prospect of an entire year of cancelled bookings.
On the line-up for this one-off recorded extravaganza are Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Twin Atlantic, Arab Strap, The Proclaimers, KT Tunstall, Fatherson, Emma Pollock, Honeyblood, Kathryn Joseph, The Rezillos, The Xcerts, and Idlewild.
I’ve pre-ordered a copy and looking forward to getting the e-mail telling me I can download and listen. Click here if you want to do likewise.
Finally, The Just Joans have released a Christmas single. For those of you who don’t know the band, they’ve been described by one critic as the missing link between The Magentic Fields and The Proclaimers – make of that what you will. Click here for more.
All of the above come very highly recommended, so if you have a few spare notes and coins upon your person, it would be very nice if you supported one or more of the above.