here's the news..
A very quiet month for record releases, though Speeder's album 'Karma Kids' is ready and should be in shops for 14th August. Texas will have a greatest hits out in the autumn - there will be a new single at the same time and another hit will be taken from the album during the festive season. They've been working in the studio with Dallas Austin - TLC's writer/producer - and also Greg Alexander (ex-New Radicals). However, no live dates till the new year. Aberdeen's Lithium Records have an album on the way from Quincy - produced by Clive Thomas; there will be a single in advance of the album, probaby 'I am the alien' The Magicdrive album will also be surfacing soon, described by those in the know as "22 tracks of Rezillosesque pop tunes - it's a killer".
But most of the news seems to be in the word of radio. Firstly,
Central Scotland's 'alternative' station Beat106 has sold
out to Capital Radio for almost £34M. This will reputedly
net Ron McCulloch in the region of £10M and Stuart
Clumpas £1M, as well as Ally McCoist and Carol
Smillie making healthy returns for their initial investments.The
sellout has met with criticism in some quarters including unnamed
parties who originally bid for the licence and are unhappy that
they have seemingly simply taken the cash and run from the chance
to make a real impact on radio in the central belt. There's also
the opinion that Capital have merely made the purchase to increase
their presence in Scotland (they also recenty bought over Border).
Of course, this may mean that Beat will be left to continue as
they see fit, althouigh the last time Capital purchased an 'alternative'
station, Xfm in London, the playlist was decimated and
replaced by a bland diet of US college rock which has only recently
started to improve.
More trauma for Scottish music fans is the news that Electronica is being dropped. There's already a petition under way; email firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark Percival's popular Sunday night show is perhaps the only one broadcasting to the nation which plays 'intelligent' dance music. Things look black however as there's already a 3 hour youth' program planned to fill a weekday evening. It's rumoured that Beat Patrol will move to Mondays, while Dougie Vipond's Blues and Soul show is also to be scrapped.
Some people are so incensed at the lack of progress in radio in Scotland that they have decided to take matters into their own hands. The result is a new pirate station, Babylon106, who will be setting up in the Edinburgh area in September. Broadcasting at the weekends, they say they have taken this step as "everybody is sick to the back teeth with these independent dustbins. It's about time the music fans on this island rose up and fought back against the kind of garbage that is smothering music". They promise to pay all things guitar and alternative: "Deftones to Christian Death, Nick Cave to Primal Scream."
Ironically Babylon will broadcast on 106.6, which is just beside the 105.7 that Beat use in the East.
This isn't the first pirate to come along since Beat106 started out. Coincidence? Radio Tuesday has been on air in Glasgow - it will return in autumn - and Phantom can be found playing hardcore techno on Fridays and Saturdays, quite close to 106 on the dial!
Better news, at least for Edinburghers, is that Festival time
is on its way so live music will be the order of the day. Apart
from the usual high profile events at Edinburgh Castle with Elton
John and Lionel Ritchie, Planet Pop enter its 5th year
and promises gigs by the likes of Quickspace, Urusei
Yatsura, Snow Patrol, at the Attic and Venue. They're
sponsored again by Fopp, and also by online music specialist Vitaminic,
which means that fans can download full songs by the majority
of the acts performing at the festival - go to www.vitaminic.co.uk
for the sounds, or www.planetpop.co.uk for the latest gig info.
Radio One's Session in Scotland will be at the first
gig on August 5th, featuring Life Without Buidings, Eska
and The Silver Pill.
Also for the netheads amongst you, visit www.festivalcast.net, who will be webcasting during August.
Follwing the demose of Flux, the avant-garde music festival present in Edinburgh over the past few years, Tennents have moved in from big muddy field to the more salubrious Liquid Rooms, and their T on the Fringe boasts gigs by amongst others Pulp, Semisonic, Ian Brown, Idlewild, Toploader and Grandaddy.
One downside to this which may go unnoticed in all the activity, is that Edinburgh promoter House of Dubois, which promoted various art events like the Festival of Drifting and featured acts such as Labradford and the Durutti Column, is closing. It seems that once the festival has left town Edinburgh will be musically an even quieter place. (though at www.superchannel.org you can find some webcasts of previous events)
Glasgow is unusually quiet in August, until, that is, the Glasgow Green festival at the end of the month which is gathering acts at pace. Apart from the headlining Stereophonics, Oasis, Beck, and Primal Scream there are a variety of local acts getting to play on the Radio One stage including Teenage Fanclub, The Nectarine No.9, and Quinn and The High Fidelity. There will also be a new bands stage for local talent with an event at Glasgow's Virgin Megastore during August.
Speaking of The High Fidelity, their 6-track e.p. Unsorry is out and the video is available for free download, at www.synphonix.com/unsorry.rm
NEMIS (New Music In Scotland) have completed a cd for distribution at Popkomm, the annual record company licensing event held in Cologne every August (17-19th this year). Among the 26 acts getting some exposure in Germany will be Cinefilm, Kevin McDermott, Lunar Page, Manganese, Orba, Pink Monkey Bird, Radiotones, The Cherryfire Ashes and Voigt Kampff.
It's definitely the silly season and new releases are in short
supply, so we can only look to what's on the horizon in:
Magoo have just finished their 3rd album for Chemikal Underground... Suckle are planning to work with Cornershop - apparently Ben and Tjinder love the album and have asked to do some sort of collaboration.
Cinefilm are at Maida Vale and Abbey Road to record and master an e.p.
At Edinburgh's Chamber Studios, Aereogramme's first single for Chemikal Underground is done, while El Hombre Trajeado are now apparently working on the cow bell solos on their album for Human Condition, while The Gents have been and gone, after recording a single for Lithium Records.