Head over to the East End Social

ee socThe East End Social is a new music and community engagement programme based in the east end of Glasgow. Principally run by Chemikal Underground with support from the 2014 Commonwealth cultural programme, the social has already lined up an impressive list of events with many more to be announced.

Despite having arguably Glasgow’s best venue, the Barrowlands, on it’s doorstep, the east end seems to be crying out for a more organised and varied music scene and the East End social appears to be the perfect hub for this. Taking in several venues around the east end including Rutherglen Town Hall, Platform (Easterhouse), the afore mentioned Barrowland ballroom and what appears to be the social’s ‘home base’, The Bowler’s Bar in Bridgeton, the East End social already has a wide and varied programme of events. Whether you’re after some Sunday afternoon jazz, a bit of Ghanaian kologo or a day chilling in front of a Reggae soundsystem, the East End social seem to have it covered. There will also be a set of intimate gigs hosted by BBC radio’s Vic Galloway as well as current Scottish album of the year winner RM Hubbert, who will be playing, along with friends, at Rutherglen Town Hall.

With loads more to be announced, you might want to keep your eyes pointed eastwards.

East End Social website

East End social on Facebook

East End social on Twitter

Interview: Appletop

All the way from Toulon, in the sun-kissed South of France, Appletop have been pleasing our ears lately with their forthcoming album, Brave Mountains which will be released through Armellodie Records, on March 10th. Drawing on influences from Teenage Fanclub to Pavement, this is alt-rock at it’s most catchy. It’s easy to see why not only I love it, but also why 6music have taken an interest too.

Appletop - Promo 3

We had a chat to singer Pierre (in impressive written English, très bien!) who told us a bit about their music, their forthcoming album release and details of a Glasgow gig which is happening in April (further details to follow soon). You can also grab yourself a download of Madonna in Love, taken from their forthcoming album, at the bottom of the interview.

This is your first UK release, how long have you guys been making music together, and how did you meet?

We have been making music together for a looong time. We’ve been friends since high school, and released our first EPs in 2008/2009 and our debut album in 2010. Quite a classic story. Friends before bandmates, meeting at schools and gigs we were going to.

What’s your local music scene like?

It’s…unexpected. In the south of France, there is not quite a genuine rock n roll tradition. To be honest, not many people are into indie music or just music (if they are, it’s mainly reggae/rap), so it’s quite hard to find an audience, and in this respect, we’ve been relatively lucky I’d say. On the other hand, we’ve seen some quite amazing bands (in quite different styles), coming from our hometown, writing/playing fantastic music : Mina May, Mystik Motorcycles, Hifiklub, Tatiana Sauvage and Bokanosvky. Well, okay, even if they have remained (for now) rather confidential, these are brilliant bands, we grew up amongst them, which is definitely an inspiration.

On top of this, we now have good festivals, and in particular two great festivals directly in our hometown (Midi Festival and Rockorama) with outstanding line-ups every year.

You’re co-releasing the album on A Quick One Records in France and Armellodie in the UK. How did the link with Armellodie come up and why did you want to work with them?

Our first album was released on quite respected French label, but for reasons beyond our control it closed. At the same time, we were playing our first gigs in the UK, and somehow, we felt like we really wanted to give it try over there. Olivier Cancellieri (bass), who has also been mixing most of the album, is a total nerd. He’s often buying and selling gear online, and I think at some point he traded something with Scott Maple from Armellodie, and we started checking out their roster, so finally sent some sounds. They were cool enough to give us a shot.

We reckon we can hear a bit of Teenage Fanclub in your sound, which for us is never a bad thing. Are they an influence? Who else influences your musical style?

There is probably no point hiding that we are HUGE Teenage Fanclub/Pixies/Breeders fans. Well, we grew up in the 90′s, and it’s definitely the kind of music we all love, and where we met. At the same time, I don’t think we are really trying to write/play/produce music from the 90′s. We don’t make music to pay tribute to the past. To us, we are just trying to make music we like, it’s not like we thought about it and gathered saying “let’s make this kind of music”. Its just what happened, it’s selfish : us making music we like!

What are you listening to right now?

We all really dug the latest Mac Demarco, all three of us fell in love with St Vincent, so we’ve been checking out her new album. I heard Olivier (Cancellieri, Bass) is into Holograms, and Nicolas (Faou, drums) really enjoyed the latest Kurt Vile and Violators. (I also recently discovered Vampire Weekend, years later, so it’s a bit in my ears right now)

Have you got any plans to visit the UK? What about a summer holiday to Scotland?

This is happening pretty soon. I heard we might play Glasgow on Monday April 14th – check out www.appletop.eu, we’ll put that on very soon!

Finally, we have to ask, where does the name come from?

This is too silly to give an honest answer. For the most curious reader, the answer is inside our new album “Brave Mountains”, so I guess if you purchase it, you’ll know. HA! (Or maybe I’m just lying, and then you’ll never know. I guess you’ll just have to give it a try)

Brave Mountains is released by Armellodie Records on March 10th. You can pre order your copy here.

Appletop will also be playing in Glasgow on April 14th but as this is just ‘hot of the press’ news, we’re not entirely sure of all the details, I think it’ll be in The Roxy though! So yeah, keep your eyes peeled and definitely go along.

Words + Music

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I’m all for a bit of education. If someone has done something remotely cool that I might be interested in also doing, then I’d like to know how they did it. Music Industry conferences seem to be becoming more of a fixture than previous and it’s good to see that it’s not just the big cities who are holding them. It’s also good to see the quality of the speakers who are travelling to share some advice and words of wisdom.

On March 14/15, Perth will play host to the Words + Music Expo at the Perth Concert Hall and will encompass discussion panels, workshops, practical advice as well as some showcase performances and some special guest appearances.

Amongst the speakers will be Stewart Henderson (Chemikal Underground/SMIA), Rod Jones (Idlewild) and Paul Downie (Comets & Cartwheels). You can view the full programme over on the Words + Music website.

As well as the nitty gritty business stuff during the day, there are a series of showcase gigs on the Friday and Saturday nights. Elba favourites Poor Things play a showcase gig as well as Pinact, Lidh, Randolph’s Leap and the formidable looking Saturday night at Greyfriars bill, headed up by Alasdair Roberts and Siobhan Wilson. They’ve also just announced that RM Hubbert & Emma Pollock will be doing a turn on the Friday!

Delegate passes are available from the Perth Concert Hall site.

The Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award 2013 (The Scottish BAMS)

A little later than in previous years, the 2013 winner of the Scottish Bloggers and Music Sites Award (or BAMS as it is known affectionately in some circles) was announced, with Chvrches taking the number one spot for their critically acclaimed album, ‘The Bones of What You Believe’.

The votes were cast by 40 writers from 29 different blogs and music sites with 164 different LP’s getting nods. As ever, it was nice to see a few of our picks making the top 10. Boards of Canada, The Pastels and my top pick Kid Canaveral to name a few. Here’s how the masses voted;

1. CHVRCHES – The Bones Of What You Believe (Virgin)
2. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (Atlantic)
3. Adam Stafford – Imaginary Walls Collapse (Song, By Toad)
4. Rick Redbeard – No Selfish Heart (Chemikal Underground)
5. Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp)
6. The Pastels – Slow Summits (Domino)
7. The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD)
8. Steve Mason – Monkey Minds In The Devil’s Time (Domino)
9. Kid Canaveral – Now That You Are A Dancer (Fence)
10. Fuck Buttons – Slow Focus (ATP Recordings)

Here’s how your Elba writers voted;

Kim

1.Savages – Silence Yourself
2.Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
3.Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest
4.My Bloody Valentine – mbv
5.RM Hubbert – Breaks and Bone
6.Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
7.Sparrow and The Workshop – Murderopolis
8.Bill Callahan – Dream River
9.Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse
10.The Pastels – Slow Summits

Phil

1.Kid Canaveral – Now That You’re A Dancer
2.Neko Case – The Worse Things Get, the Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You
3.Thirty Pounds of Bone – I Cannot Sing You Here, But For Songs Of Where
4.Veronica Falls – Veronica Falls
5.Franz Ferdinand – Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
6.Sparrow & The Workshop – Murderopolis
7.The Pastels – Slow Summits
8.RM Hubbert – Breaks & Bone
9.Monoganon – Family
10. Fidlar – Fidlar

The massed writers are as follows;

Almost Predictable, Almost
Avalanche Records
Detour
Elba Sessions
Everything Flows
For Malcontents
Vic Galloway
Jim Gellatly
Glasgow Podcart
The Herald (Alan Morrison)
Houdi
Is This Music?
Jock’n’roll
Jockrock
La Terrasse
Last Year’s Girl
Manic Pop Thrills
Net Sounds Unsigned
The Pop Cop
Radar
Rave Child
Marion Scott
Scottish Fiction
The Skinny
Song, By Toad
The Spill
Tenement TV
The Tidal Wave of Indifference
TYCI

Stag & Dagger Festival 2014

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Stag & Dagger is back in Glasgow this May, a few weeks earlier than usual and this time on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, taking advantage of the Bank Holiday weekend. An excellent bit of planning. We’ve mentioned before how fond we are of multi-site city-fests and I’ve looked forward to Stag & Dagger each year it has taken place. Over the years we have seen memorable sets from Django Django, Willy Mason, The Phantom Band, Linden, Hot Panda and Bill Ryder Jones.

This year, split between the ABC, Nice ‘n’ Sleazy, Broadcast, the CCA and the newly-reopened Art School, acts already announced include Los Campesinos!, Albert Hammond Jr, Courtney Barnett, The Hold Steady, Arc Iris, Laurel Halo and Lanterns On The Lake. More acts will be announced soon but limited earlybird tickets will be available from today.

I made you a mixtape…fifteen

Sold out shows seem to be the order of this last week. I’m a little sore about not getting a Bill Callahan ticket for this Saturday’s Celtic Connections appearance. Similar tardiness led to missing out on The National’s docu-tour-fam-dram Mistaken For Strangers at the Glasgow Music and Film Festival, which has a delightful musical accompaniment from the second artist on this, our newest mixtape. Not all is lost though because many a Celtic Connections show has been enjoyed by ourselves, including a couple courtesy of BBC Scotland’s live sessions, plus payday rolled around and now there’s a stack of gig tickets waiting to be taken and torn, leaving stubs to be used as bookmarks. Does anyone else do that, or is it just we two (potentially three)?

Mogwai – Hexon Bogon [BUY]

Kim: Mogwai made the top ten!

Mogwai made the top ten!

Mogwai made the top ten!

The band’s scoring of Les Revenants may have been a catalyst for recent popularity, amongst which this week there has been a sold out show at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as well as their single cask whisky selling out at The Good Spirit Co. Whatever the instigator, it is overdue and long may it continue. Enjoy the swift dramatic rumble of Rave Tapes’ album art-track Hexon Bogon.

Mogwai made the top ten!

Rozi Plain – Humans [BUY]

Kim: The last entry I made on Elba was a post packed full of information about the Glasgow Music and Film Festival. There was so much detail that the articulation of my overall enthusiasm may have been drowned out. It’s not often that my giddy chatter will be interrupted by such seriousness but I’ll allow it once again here. One of the most desirable events, as expected, was Mistaken For Strangers at The Glad Cafe. Lost Map Records’ Rozi Plain will play after the screening. Alas it’s now sold out but if you are unfamiliar with last year’s Joined Sometimes Unjoined then Humans should unite you.

Richmond Fontaine – Moving Back Home #2

Phil: This weeks excuse to shoehorn an old Richmond Fontaine track on to the mixtape comes in the form of a new piece of writing. Willy Vlautin, frontman of RF has just had his 4th book, ‘The Free’ published in the US and UK so I thought it was a good excuse to put on one of my favourite tracks. Vlautin’s writing is pretty reminiscent of his songwriting, tales of America set against (mostly) bleak backgrounds. I love reading his books and strangely, for all the gloom and hardship that he writes about, it really makes me want to go on a midwest road trip. Not only is his fourth book released this year, his first book, The Motel Life, has been made into a film. You can see the trailer here.

Kid Canaveral – Who Would Want to be Loved – [BUY]

Phil: I’m still muddling through my albums of 2013 for the Scottish BAMS vote and Kid Canaveral’s ‘Now That You’re A Dancer’ is sure to be in the reckoning. They’re releasing this track on hot pink heart shaped vinyl and if that wasn’t romantic enough, they’re having a Lumber Party at Stereo on February 14th ably assisted by Lost Map label mates, Randolph’s Leap, Malcolm Middleton and on the wheels of steel, The Twilight Sad. Hawt!

Pixies – Greens and Blues

Phil: People seem to be a bit down on the Pixies at the moment. Lamenting the passing of a bass player named Kim, saying they aren’t what they were, yes, there may be some truth in these statements but I couldn’t help listening to their latest EP and thinking that this unashamedly poppy hum-along wouldn’t have been out of place when they were in their celebrated prime. In fact, I’m pretty sure it would have been an indie club floorfiller.

Joanna Gruesome – Wussy Void [BUY]

Kim: Hey dreamy vocals over punky sounds. You please me. The Weird Sister LP is rich with such style and also has a track entitled Lemonade Grrrl, which has my heart aflutter. Wussy Plain is toned down Joanna Gruesome and still tries to rip apart your eardrums on the chorus. Joanna Gruesome play alongside Speedy Ortiz and Pinact on 15 February at Broadcast. Ear protection is advisable.

PLANK! -Aphidelity [BUY]

Kim: Procrastination has its value. I have discovered that when reading through guidelines and policy gets you down, Twitter is always there to while away the hours. I think it was the artist name and title that first stirred me into further investigation. Then I saw the artwork and HOLY CRAP I WANT TO SEE THAT MOVIE WHERE A GIANT BUG DESTROYS A CITY TO A SCORE OF INTERGALACTIC PROGGY-KRAUT-DISCO! So, PLANK! have written a Moroder meets Murphy instrumental. Now we just need a modern day Carpenter (this might not delight many but Rodriguez springs to mind) to make that film.

I made you a mixtape…fifteen by Elbasessions on Mixcloud

Glasgow Music and Film Festival 2014

Glasgow Music and Film Festival returns for its sixth year snug inside the arms of the Glasgow Film Festival with events from 20 February to 2 March. The 2014 programme is laden with inimitable film, footage and performance. My excitement for this yearly calendar event has reached a peak with the quality of the 2014 schedule, a section of which I have highlighted after this rather swell photo of my Grrrl Kathleen.

Kathleen Hanna

This year, the Glasgow Music and Film Festival have a trinity of stimulating live scoring events. Heading this are Admiral Fallow with a Glasgow Film Festival commission to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The full event will feature both new material written to accompany bespoke visual content entitled Ten Takes, as well as familiar sounds played to the backdrop of William S Manson’s 1951 collection of footage Glasgow, No Mean City. The shots of bygone Glasgow against Admiral Fallow’s luscious, layered folk-pop suggest a wistful evening.

Dutch minimalist composer and lute lover (who isn’t?) Josef van Wissem will provide a live score to Partir To Live. The artist was presented the Soundtrack Award at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival for his work on Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive. Partir To Live is the directorial debut of Domingo Garcia-Huidobro who describes the work as ‘an experience into sensations, ethical confusion, and physical and psychic contusions’. If you wish to be even more intrigued by the Chilean experimental film then you can watch the trailer here.

Once again the Music and Film Festival will return to Pollokshaws Burgh Hall to utilise the venue’s Wurlitzer pipe organ. Speedy is the silent film selection for this year led by the physical and gentle comedy of Harold Lloyd. Set in New York, Speedy is delightful caper with glorious shots of twenties Manhattan.

Another great strength of the festival has always been the gigs programmed in connection with films and this year is no different. For Requiem For Detroit at The Arches, Pressure present a DJ set by Carl Craig. The techno icon is a fitting selection as the documentary gazes into the slump of the city alongside the positive creative culture that has blossomed. Craig has been a techno and house ambassador to his home whilst supporting the engagement of electronic music within it his entire career.

Mistaken For Strangers is an unofficial tour documentary of The National shot by frontman Matt Berninger’s younger brother, Tom. Hired as a roadie for the tour, Tom proves a hindrance in the way that only a sibling can manage whilst also assisting to reveal a little seen side of the band’s identity. Lost Map’s Rozi Plain who supported The National on their last European tour will perform after the screening. I don’t know whether the film or gig calls to me more!

Finally, I would like to mention one of the more straight-ahead viewings of the festival, which is the Scottish premier of Kathleen Hanna documentary, The Punk Singer. If the next paragraph turns into a massive flap of the fangirl variety, it cannot be helped. Hanna, who returned to music last year with new outfit The Julie Ruin is the indisputable queen of Riot Grrrl. In Sini Anderson’s film, Hanna addresses her career from pioneering punk act Bikini Kill through to her days in Le Tigre (oh the dancing I’ve had to Friendship Station in my excitement over this film’s premier). Supported by interviews with Adam Horovitz, Tavi Gevinson, Kim Gordon, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker, Joan Jett, Johanna Fateman, JD Samdon and Kathi Wilcox this looks to be a definitive record of the feminist figure. The evening will be introduced by Chvrches singer and synth-est Lauren Mayberry, co-founder of layered collective TYCI; for women, by women.

The full list of events is as follows:

- Metalhead, GFT, Fri 21 February, 3.30pm
- Partir To Live, CCA, Fri 21 February, 8.30pm
- Speedy, Pollokshaws Burgh Hall, Sat 22 February, 3pm
- Mistaken For Strangers, Paisley Arts Centre, Sat 22 February, 7pm / Glad Cafe, Tue 25 February, 7.30pm
- The Heart of Bruno Wizard, Sun 23 February, 9pm
- 20 Feet From Stardom, GFT, Tue 25 February, 6pm
- Danny Brown with Rollo Jackson, The Arches, Wed 26 February, 8pm
- Goblin, Oran Mor, Thurs 27 February, 8pm
- Requiem for Detroit, The Arches, Fri 28 February, 7.30pm
- The Punk Singer, GFT, Fri 28 February, 9pm
- Admiral Fallow – We Are Ten, Old Fruitmarket, Sat 1 March, 7pm
- Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed, Cineworld, Sat 1 March, 8.30pm

Further details on all of the above can be found on the Glasgow Music and Film Festival website. Tickets go on sale this Friday (24 January)

Art is Hard’s Pizza Club

Pizza ClubA slice of pizza in your inbox on a fornightly basis? SOLD! Sadly though, we don’t have those capabilities yet, but we can join Art is Hard Records’ Pizza Club, so called because, well, who doesn’t love pizza on a Friday? As Art is Hard put it, “The conventional methods of releasing music are pretty much fucked” so they’ve decided, after a year hiatus, to relaunch their fortnightly pizza club. It’s simple really, sign up for the club, anything from the free subscription to £125 and you’ll get a new single sent to you each week plus some extras if you’ve gone for one of the paid packages. Each single will be released as a strictly limited 5″ pizza single, in a pizza box (obviously), but if you’ve just signed up for free, you’ll get an mp3 emailed to you on every second Friday.

All the info for signing up is on the Pizza Club tumblr page and if you are a bit worried that signing up for free means the download won’t be quality, then take it from us, that AIH seem to have impeccable musical chops, in fact, the first release, embedded below, is a beauty. I’d never heard of Falmouth’s ‘Goddam Nobody’ before but I was totally sold on this fuzz-pop ballad. Go forth, seek it out. Join a singles club this year!

I made you a mixtape…fourteen

Invigorated after the new year? Nope, us either. To do lists are growing by the second and whilst good times are afoot there’s also a bit of trepidation around here about just where we’ll start? Thankfully, music seems to bring us a bit of respite so we’ve chucked together a menagerie of tunes that are helping us get into gear for 2014.

Malcolm Middleton – Red Travellin’ Socks [BUY]

Kim: If there were ever a song to make me light of step, it’s Red Travellin’ Socks. Amidst a haze of trekking around Scotland to work on far too many gigs over a short space of time, I have a very vivid memory of watching Malky and band play this live. Some uptempo honesty regarding the tidal push and pull of life on the road was elevated with added violin at the time. As noted above, we’re needing a bit of momentum right now and this is the perfect instigator. Malcolm will be bringing his mostly melancholy sound to Celtic Connections, playing Platform on 25th of January. 

The New Medicants – This Time [BUY]

Phil: As we alluded to on Monday’s post, The New Mendicants hit Glasgow next weekend as part of Celtic Connections, this track is taken from their Australia EP out last year. Their new album is released on January 27th, two days after they play the aforementioned gig at The Arches.

FOUND – Mullokian (Toad Session)  [BUY]

Kim: Song By Toad Records are celebrating five years of releases with a very special vinyl box set. Amongst the mass of material contained on the five 12″ albums is a Toad Session recording of FOUND’s debut single Mullokian. It’s a soothing rendition with beautiful rippling guitar; stripped back for the tech tinkers. This was the song that began my love for FOUND. This love can be traced all the way back to 2006 when I was, in my ever delicate manner, shoving the song in the face of Mr Elba (Author’s note: Phil, this is your name now so please expect to be addressed thusly forevermore). Such Elba history makes for a more than solid reason for inclusion on our current mixtape. 

RM Hubbert – Bolt [BUY]

Phil: A favourite track from 2013, ‘Bolt’ was taken from RM Hubbert’s third album, Breaks and Bone. It’s a reply to a Nicola Roberts song don’t you know which incidentally Hubbert will advise that everyone should own, along with any Minutemen album. RM Hubbert plays the Mitchell Library next Tuesday as part of Celtic Connections

Appletop – Johnny’s Theme [DOWNLOAD]

Phil: Armellodie Records’ latest signing Appletop, are French. They also seem to like Pavement and Teenage Fanclub. You should probably know this pleases me greatly. With a hummable chorus, this song hasn’t left my head so far this year. I’m really looking forward to their album which is due out in spring.

Tideland – Dinosaur [BUY]

Phil: There’s not too much that I know about Tideland, but I’ve been really enjoying their punky slacker rock sounds over the last few weeks. Hailing from Sterling, Virginia, Tideland released their album, ‘Lull’, on Russian Winter Records last year. Dinosaur is one of several tracks I could have put on the mixtape but being that my compadre, Kim, has a bit of a thing for dinosaurs, this was the obvious choice.

Janelle Monáe (feat. Prince) – Give Em What They Love

Kim: I am intensely drawn to Janelle Monáe’s artistry. There is an almost extinct ambiguity in contemporary music between performing persona and personal life. Where there have been pushes and prods by the media to pinpoint if any of her lyricism is reflective of her character, Monáe has managed to retain a great amount of mystery. Gender and sexuality load what she creates, more so here than on most other tracks. Just as Eryka Badu brought such energy to Q.U.E.E.N., Prince helps to layer on the filth in Give Em What They Love. The bass and melodic synch are core in the first half of this song before it breaks and you can happily lose your shit over the joy of brass, organ, solo guitar and some controlled yells and rasps from The Electric Lady herself. The track flutters out on an orchestral coda, the suite nature of Monáe’s debut returning once again on the 2013 sophomore album.

I made you a mixtape…fourteen by Elbasessions on Mixcloud

Celtic Connections 2014

Each year I look forward to Celtic Connections. Each year I tell friends that the line-up is great. Each year I say I’m going to this that and the next thing. Each year I fail to get my act together sufficiently. Each year I only scratch the surface. Each year I vow that next year, I’ll make more of an effort. So this year, I’m going to put together a handy list of some of the things I’m hoping to go to. The festival starts this Thursday, the 16th of January and if the selections below pique your interest enough there is a feast of gigs over on the festival website.

Fri 17th January – Mull Historical Society @ The Arches
Colin MacIntyre’s Mull Historical Society are a long time favourite and have several songs that I’m personally very fond of. This gig will see the performance of his 2001 debut album ‘Loss’, in full.

Tues 21st January – RM Hubbert w/ Aidan Moffat @ The Mitchell Library
Were we a lads mag, there’s a high chance that Hubby would have been our man of the year in 2013, alas we’re not, therefore he’ll just have to settle for being a good dude. Having followed up his SAY Award winning album ‘Thirteen Lost & Found’ with the equally excellent ‘Breaks & Bone’, this will be Hubby’s biggest Glasgow headline show to date. Aided and abetted by the mischevious storytelling of Aidan Moffat, this is a Tuesday night at the library you won’t want to miss.

Sat 25th January – The New Mendicants @ The Arches
Ahead of the release of their debut album, adopted Ontarians Joe Pernice (The Pernice Brothers) and Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) take to the Celtic Connections stage with new material and one would hope some tracks from their back catalogues. As a big Teenage Fanclub fan, only wild horses will keep me away from this one.

Sun 26th January – Olive Grove Showcase @ Oran Mor
An evening curated by local bloggers turned label bosses, the line up here not only includes a very rare performance by The Moth & The Mirror, but also performances by Elba favourites Randolph’s Leap, Jo Mango, and The State Broadcasters.

Mon 27th January – Bobby Womack @ Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
I first came across Bobby Womack on an old blaxploitation compilation which included his song ‘Across 110th Street’. In the last few years he’s become more of a household name after a guest slot on the Gorillaz ‘Plastic Beach’ record which has invigorated Womack, now in his 7th Decade in music.

Sat 1st February – Bill Callahan @ O2 ABC
Hands down the sweatiest gig I’ve ever been too was Bill Callahan at Stereo a few years back. Seems an odd statement, of course, there was no wild mosh pit but combine a midsummer date with a room full of jumpers and beards, and you’ll get why the temperature was so high. Heat aside, Callahan was an excellent performer that evening and IS an excellent songwriter, from Smog to his solo records, so it’s unsurprising that so many people I know snapped tickets up for his straight away.