Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Be Like Pablo- Interview.

Be Like Pablo are a 5 piece indie power-pop band from the small town of Forres in Moray, Scotland. Formed in 2009 by brothers Ewan and Ross, the pair were joined by Jen, James and finally Blair who completed the line-up. Music wise, the band mix up your classic pop song with some loud, electric guitar, Moog synths and is completed through the use of girl/boy vocals, echoing Beach Boys harmonies.

The New Adventures will be the title of Be Like Pablo's debut, self-funded album. They began recording in 2009 in Glasgow and are working with experienced people who have been involved with Isobel Campbell (ex Belle & Sebastian) and also American rockers Queens of the Stone Age. Recording was completed in January and now it's a waiting game until the 3rd of August when the album will be released for free on the bands hand-drawn website. Be Like Pablo have a number of gigs under their belt including time on the T-Break stage at T in the Park as well as Belladrum and also the goNORTH showcase event in Inverness.

If you sign up to the bands website, you can receive monthly tracks, artwork and also limited edition merch, if you're lucky enough. Best of all, this is free and a great way of spreading the word of Be Like Pablo!

I caught up with Ewan from Be Like Pablo- have a read to find out how the name came about, what they are looking forward to most this year, and also his tips for future bands.

Hello, please introduce yourselves!

My name is Ewen Watson and I play in Be Like Pablo: Forres' premier powerpop band!

Who is Pablo and why should we be like him? 

Pablo is a good friend of ours from Chile.  Jen, our synth player, randomly met him on a train a few years ago.  He was doing a work placement in Forres for some strange reason that I don't quite understand.  We ended up befriending him and he turned out to be the most upbeat, enthusiastic and hard-wroking person we've ever met.  Naturally, we believe that everyone should be more like him.  And so the name was born!

How would you describe your music?

We make noisy music with guitars, synths and lots of vocal harmonies and we place an importance on making our songs fun to listen to.  We make music that sounds a little bit like early Weezer, Ben Kweller and Grandaddy but we mix it up a little by drawing from classic '60s bands like the Beach Boys.  As you can imagine, there's not a lot of this sort of thing kicking about right now.  Especially in the north of Scotland.  We're quite old school.  

What has the band been up to this year?

We've been quiet on the gig front this year so far but have been incredibly busy preparing for the release of our debut album, The New Adventures.  We've been recording it for quite a while now and we're all set to let the public hear it on the 3rd of August.  We've also been busy booking gig dates for summer and beyond to support the release and let people see us live.  I can't wait!

What are you looking forward to for the rest of 2012? 

Of course, the release of the album's the big one for us this year.  It seems like we've been building to this forever.  In fact, we basically have.  The first thing we did when we formed the band in 2009 was start recording the album.  We're really looking forward to playing at Rockness on Sunday the 10th of June too.  I've never been to that particular festival so it's exciting!

What made you decide to self fund your upcoming album and release it for free?

I'm not sure it was a conscious decision to self fund the album.  I've been writing songs for nearly 10 years now and I wanted to do a whole album because I thought it would be really cool to write 10 songs that would work well as a collection.  Admittedly, we're not that well known a band in the grand picture and, at the time, we had no music industry contacts at all.  So we weren't going to get the funding to do it any other way, really.  So we hit the studio whenever we had enough money.  I think we recorded it in about 4 blocks over two and a half years and we played gigs, released singles and shot music videos in between.  It was a really, really weird approach.  

When we finally finished the album, we did have to actually make a decision: do we try to get it to a label or perhaps sell it ourselves; or do we do something a little bit different?  So we decided to give it away for free but make it look cool and professional and release it through our own cartoony website, belikepablo.com, where we could precisely manage everything relating to the release.

Any albums your looking forward to this year? 

I can't speak for the others in the band but I'm looking forward to the new Regina Spektor album.  She's the most naturally talented musician I've ever heard.

Any upcoming talent we should look out for?

Hrmm.  I'll pick a wide selection of musical styles to keep it interesting.  Check out Capitals, The Spook School, Cleavers, The Deportees, Kid Canaveral, Dallas Don't and Team Kapowski.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Churches- Lies

This Glasgow based band (although comprised out of musicians from other big-ish bands) seemed to have come out of nowhere with this awesome anthem. It's heavy on the synth and heavy on the ears as the female voice works well with the HUGE sound. I hope to hear loads more of the same from Churches in the future- they are something new and are desperately needed in the Scottish music scene.

Johnny 5th Wheel and the Cowards.

It's a strange experience listening to Johnny 5th Wheel and the Cowards, but it's a sort of good-strange feeling- I like it... But reviewing these two songs has taken so long, merely because I couldn't find the words to fit with this music- and I still can't!
The 6-piece (although by my calculations, there's 9 in that picture) from the North-West of England are specialists in the art of creating strange, almost hypnotic music that is described as "steam punk, doomjazz."
The band made their first release in 2010 with their debut album 'Tales of...' and soon after signed to Sotones Records where they are due to release their second album in September.

However, first of all they are to release their double A-side 'Nancy/In My Laboratory' which will be their third single from the upcoming album- this will be out on the 25th of June.

To be honest, it's pretty hard to follow what goes on in these songs, but Nancy starts off slowly and builds and builds up, singing about a girl called Nancy (who turns out to actually be named Lil). It's almost a fantasy/dream like feeling, given off throughout this song, though the rhythm of the increasing musical pace sounds more like something out of a horror film.

In My Laboratory is just as hard to follow. It is dedicated to the lineage of scientists and storytellers, in particular Tom Waites and Thomas Truax. The rest of their 'laboratory' is filled with an American Cartoonist, deceased musicians and many former Mongol Emperors...or something along those lines, feel free to make up your own mind and leave a comment if you can decrypt these coded songs.

I was not allowed to embed these songs onto the blog post so you will have to click the link below which will take you to Soundcloud- enjoy!

Johnny5thWheel&thecowards - Nancy/In My Laboratory

Sunday, 20 May 2012

An apology/ Song of the Week.

First of all, I do apologise for the lack of blogging the past week. I will use the usual excuse that it has been a busy week for me and so I haven't quite had the time for anything and I now have a backlog of submissions to contend with- great!

However, I can fit in a quick Song of the Week (that was due on Thursday, sorry) and this one goes to the acoustic master Mike Nisbet and the song is called Rolling Thunder. Listen, enjoy and buy Mike's album. I can assure you that you won't regret it and it only costs £7- it's a bargain really!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

It's not Song of the Day, it's Song of the Week!!

Due to issues under my control, it has become far too much work for me -with my busy life- to do a song of the day every day. Instead, I've taken the decision to change to a song of the week which will take place on Thursday's.

Without further ado, I give to you Song of the Week numero 1:

They go by the name Quickbeam and they are about to become one of those bands that everyone recognises the songs, just not the name. They don't play music, they create it, and after watching them play live, in my opinion, they are much better to listen to recorded. They are awfully quiet and not a festival or large venue type of band- competing with the chatter of the audience would be just too much. If I recall, in their live set there was six members on stage- there just seemed too much going on for it to be so quiet. I also found them a tad pretentious. But they do make some excellent music.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Brew at the Bog

Main stage acts. Making good use of the barn.

 Saturday 5th May came and brought with it Brew at the Bog, Scotland's newest festival held at Bogbain Farm, a few miles from Inverness. As you can see, the line up looked amazing, and that wasn't all of it. 12 hours; 3 stages; 33 bands. Brew at the Bog brought together the most talented acts from Scotland and beyond- the most exciting line up seen for a long time, maybe ever! As well as all of the Scots, we experienced a couple of Welsh artists as well as Woody Pines- an Nashville band, with a style/ sound similar to that of Johnny Cash (although that's a huge insult because the band weren't exactly lyrical genius').

Tickets were £45 for the whole day, which was maybe a bit steep in some eyes, but with the amount of talent on show, I thought it was well worth my money. We were greeted with Dundee band Lost City Soul on the main stage,whilst local band He Slept On 57 were making a huge noise with songs like The Tearaway in the barn-come-music venue. We were impressed with the layout of the mini festival which had the outdoor mainstage, while inside, the barn was taken over by the folk from GoNorth and hosted by Jamie from Netsounds. There was also 'The Bothy' which allowed the acoustic artists the chance to play in the warmth. Many people were crammed into the cosy room- which was probably due to the weather more than the music- but I believe the weather benefited the artists in their because everyone appeared to enjoy their music.
Marc didn't stop smiling! Photo- M. Rowley

The voice at the forefront of Fatherson.

Some of the many highlights from the festival definitely came from Fatherson. The Kilmarnock band are doing well for themselves, being played regularly on Radio1 and just off the back of their headline tour. They certainly didn't disappoint.  The crowd got involved properly for the first time as they sang and jumped away to Gone Fission, Sailor's Son and the likes. The energetic Seventeenth Century were second on the mainstage and played a rousing set, full of heart and violin. However, the makeshift 3 piece Open Swimmer turned out an excellent performance with songs like Sugar Bowl and Nineteen which have been stuck in my head ever since. I briefly spoke to Ben afterwards while watching Fatherson and he was genuinely a nice guy. You will be seeing more of Open Swimmer on the blog soon I'm sure.
Aussie frontman of Open Swimmer, Ben
Photo- C.Williamson

Inside on the goNorth stage, we enjoyed Aberdonians, The Little Kicks, and then were suitably surprised by Welshman Jonathon Powell- boyfriend of Charlotte Church-  who just about sang his heart out to a decent sized crowd. He then generously gave away 2 albums free of charge to anyone who wanted it.

Beerjacket (which we all wished we had) attracted a good wee crowd, again on the GoNorth stage which provided great acoustic sounds. He played a lot of older songs but also a few off The White Feather Trail which went down well. However, even though there was a decent number of people there, he remarked that there was only one person singing - which I must add, was oneself- so I recommend you to buy his album and learn the words, just to make him happy!

Endor. Photo- J.Rowley
1900 hours came and Endor hit the stage. They were one of the bands I was looking forward to and the crowd were definitely up for the party by this point- mainly due to the strong 'hoppy' BrewDog beer. After a sluggish first song, Endor got into rhythm and performed admirably in the chilly conditions- the only downside to the whole day.
Three Blind Wolves were definite crowd pleasers on as the darkness loomed. They played with all the talent they could summon with a bit of an eclectic set with almost hard rock at times mixed in with their usual folky sound. I haven't heard a bad word about this band and that continued after they played.

Back inside, Jamie from Netsounds came on the stage to introduce Over the Wall. I was more than excited to see them live after listening to the song Thurso  countless times. They struggled to play due to their amp or guitar playing up, but they soldiered on and improvised with heavier drum machine and of course, trumpet. The carnival feel inside the barn continued as the trumpet noise at the end of Thurso echoed through the crowd.

Last to grace the Brew at the Bog stage was Washington Irving. Throughout the whole day I'd been looking forward to seeing them for the first time the most. They killed it. They stole the show. They were head and shoulders above the rest of the bands, and I'm not being biased by any means. The energy in the crowd played through the band as they performed most songs from their up coming album as well as Sisi- though the flute was missing in action. After the end of their set, the crowd began the 'one more tune' chant, and, to everyone's delight, they came back to do another couple of songs. After that, the band went of stage. The crowd began the 'one more tune' chant- again. Back out came the heroic Washington Irving to sing Tom Pains Bones. However, just before starting the second song of the second encore, the power was cut by the sound engineers.

Brew at the Bog was a well organised out and out success. The charm of the Bothy and barn definitely appealed to the festival goers. We can only hope for the same next time round (but trying to beat that line-up will be a mammoth task). 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Song of the Day #10

Today I give to you French Wives and their song Younger. It is the first single to be taken off their forthcoming debut album which is to be named  Dreams of the Inbetween. This will be released on the 7th of May on Electric Honey Records. If you enjoy this song it is available for free download on their BandCamp.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Winter Tradition

The Winter Tradition are a 4 piece pop-rock band from Scotland's capital. There well recognised sound is something the band have worked hard at in an attempt to create something unique but yet, keeping it to everyone's liking. Their hard work paid off as they now play their energetic sets to equally energetic crowds who the band like to get involved in their music. They must have been doing something right however due to the bands they have supported which include the likes of Enter Shikari, Hundred Reasons and Scottish legends Idlewild.

The Winter Tradition have released their debut EP named We'll Make Our Own History which has received much attention around Scottish bloggers such as the GlasgowPodcart and Detour Scotland as well as radio attention from Leith Fm and New Found Sound.

'FireLight' was the first single to be released and this was bombarded with critical acclaim coming from the likes of Vic Galloway who gave the band airtime on Radio1.The band were rewarded with their very own headline tour and support slots with the more established acts through DF Concerts.

The new album has been recorded and is due for release this Summer- more great music to look forward to! The band have also been chosen for the GoNorth festival in Inverness which I look forward to be seeing them at. As feature previously on the blog, here is the new single/video from The Winter Tradition for you:

Song of the Day #9

We are back after a few days off- for various reasons- for another Song of the Day (which may become Song of the Week soon). Today is something a wee bit different, but still indie. WU LYF (pronounced "Woo Life" which stands for World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) are a mysterious band coming from Manchester in England. They aroused interest and suspicion by not talking to any form of media and barely releaseing any information about the band. Frontman Ellery Roberts sings in a sort of distorted manner, while the music is described as 'heavy pop' which is basically the same as post rock. They have one album under their belt named Go Tell Fire To The Mountain and they burst out of their mysterious beginnings and into a pool of critical acclaim, receiving much attention from the lovely people at NME.
Here is the song We Bros which sounds hipster-  and to be honest, it kind of is and is along the same lines as Animal Collective. Enjoy!