Tagged: the state broadcasters

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.

The State Broadcasters – Ghosts We Must Carry

I considered just writing this post without acknowledging the fact that we’ve not written anything on here for months, yes, literally months, but decided against it. You see, it’s not all been lying on the sofa in our underwear eating peanut butter kit kats, we’ve been doing other stuff (i’ve definitely written this before) and if truth be told, a bit underwhelmed by things to write about. A sweeping generalisation maybe, but it’s been coming for a while, and a good rest was hopefully all we needed.

It can be quite hard sorting the wheat from the chaff and in all reality, we simply don’t have time for all the wheat either. Metaphor ends. We hear good music all the time but find that moment or sound sometimes spoiled by trying to put it into words on here. Writing a blog and reading other blogs means that you are bombarded with such a massive amount of music, that you need time just to step back and absorb it (or avoid some of it) for the good of your health.

And now, I must get to the subject of this blog. This was an album which I received just as we’d taken what then turned into a two and a bit month hiatus. It was an album that I immediately downloaded and was really looking forward to, the only problem for me was, that it arrived during those isolated months where all I would listen to was the old favourites. This is no reflection on the music, just the loss of my excitement about new music.

We published a guest blog earlier in the week after I had seen the author write about the subject on Facebook and I started listening to that playlist on my iPod named ‘New stuff for listening’. The State Broadcasters were first up and it was a gem of a listen. I knew reading the press pack a few months previous that i’d like this, I just needed to get around to listening to it.

There are shades of King Creosote on opening track ‘The Only Way Home’ but it was ‘Trespassers’ jaunty waltz that got me tapping my feet. One of those songs that defines the sound of an album. ‘Kittiwake’ sounds like it has it’s roots firmly in the mid-west of America but the vocals and lyrics are unmistakably Scottish. It reminds me a bit of people like Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird.

The track

that stands out for me though is ‘This Old Table’. It’s one of those songs which I felt the impulse to repeat again and again. It’s a track laid bare with the drone of harmonium, a cluster of vocals and an emotionally poignant theme.

The more I listen to this album, the more I pick up each time. I don’t want all my listening to be groundbreaking or like nothing I have ever heard. There’s a lot to be said for a well written, well put together and musically good album and The State Broadcasters have got it on the money.

The State Broadcasters play Wellington Church Hall in Glasgow on Oct 21st, more details can be found on their website.

Ghosts We Must Carry is out now on Olive Grove Records and can be purchased here