Archives for category: Music

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Something wonderful this way comes, a rock ‘n’ roll circus by the name of Kochka. Over the past three years, this fine 4-piece band have been thrilling audiences across the country with their dazzling and original songs. As their fans know, Kochka are like no other band and have their very own distinct and impressive sound – a mix of cabaret and carnival. Last November Kochka released their superbly theatrical 12-track debut album The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic, and now they  have just released a promo for the track “Carousel-o-tape”. Inspired by their music, i contacted the band to find out more.
 
Who’s in Kochka and how did you all meet?
 
‘It was after a bet went terribly wrong and we were forced into a room together with nothing but a banjo and an old video recording of Watership Down. Sheryll (drums and hits) and Stewart (guitar and screaming) already knew each other from high school and Markk (vocals and handclaps) came soon after. After a couple of different guises and line-ups, Scott (bass and foot stomps) joined as Kochka was being formed into the band today.
 
‘Immediately as this line-up formed we felt comfortable and were musically in the same space. It was easy to start writing music and letting the music take the direction it wanted to. There wasn’t any constraints or boundaries. Mayhem ensued.’
 
Kochka have been praised for their songs and their live performances, can you tell me about your approach to music? 
 
‘The band is centred around a similar idea of making music; get in a room, start playing and hitting things. We dont think about it too much. It allows things to be rawer. If a song gets pulled in a certain direction we allow it to go. Nothing is ever put in a song because of convention. If the song is to be 55 seconds long with no chorus, then so be it.
 
‘We dont take ourselves too seriously. We love to make music, play live shows and have fun.We stand out in the Glasgow scene for this reason. Many bands nowadays seem to overthink things and it stops the creative flow. People enjoy our shows, have a good time and know were doing the same. That combined with a bit of lunacy and theatricality – as the video suggests – is a band having fun and loving what they do!’
 
The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic is an inspired debut album, can you tell me about it?
 
‘We started the album without enough material. A deliberate move. The album took ages to finish because of time and money. We also went to Amsterdam in the middle of it to do a short film which delayed its completion.
 
‘With that being said, it allowed us to record a bunch of new ideas as and when we were writing them. It kept the ideas fresh and were pretty much going on the album as they we were being written; without overthinking or analysing anything.
 
‘Some elements were written on the spot. We love that. Thats what we do. Put us in a room with a bunch of percusssion to hit and something was recorded. Thats the essence of the album. A continual, unbroken stream of thought being recorded as it happens. A dismantling of memory and consciousness.
 
‘The result is what we wanted from this record. As a band, we get dragged to the next stream of though and go with it.’
 
Kochka have just released a promo for the track “Carousel-o-Tape”, can you tell me about it?
 
‘Its an intro song that got out of hand. Intended to be a short statement of things to come, it kinda just kept going. It speaks volumes in terms of the ethos of the band and hints to what to expect. Theatricality combined with musicality and just the right amount of lunacy.
 
‘We were delighted when we joined forces with Ciaran Lyons (seaoflyons.com) the director of the video. He came to us with the idea and seemed to understand the band immediately. The video shows what to expect from us and Ciaran understood the madness and was able, somehow, to capture this on film.’
 
Kochka’s debut album The Entropic Biopic of a Quixotic Psychotic is available here – and is an excellent introduction to the band. For updates and tour news check here.
 
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In 1973, The Old Grey Whistle Test presented a special showcase of Reggae music to a rather restrained audience of twenty-somethings at the Edinburgh Festival. It was an audacious move at a time of long hair, flared trousers, Heavy Metal and Prog Rock, and though the presentation looks uncannily like a Butlin’s stage show, this is an important and historic concert, as it brought together some of the original Trojan artists who helped reggae crossover from Jamaican dance halls to UK chart success. These are The Cimarons, Winston Groovy, Dennis Alcapone, The Marvels, Nicky Thomas and The Pioneers.
After a brief introduction from the infamous Ska and Reggae performer Judge Dread, the concert opens with The Cimarons, who formed from Harlsden via Jamaica in 1967. The Cimarons were mainly a covers band, who later released versions of “Kung Fu Fighting”‘ “You Can Get It If You Really Want”, “Over the Rainbow”, “Rock Your Baby“, and a major hit cover of “Snoopy vs. The Red Baron” under the guise of The Hot Shots, with producer Clive Crawley on vocals. Here The Cimarons perform “Ain’t No Sunshine”.
Next up is Winston Groovy who gives his version of “I’m a Believer”. Groovy moved to England in the late 1960s, where he had a hit with Lee Scratch-Perry produced track “I Want to be Loved”. In the 1970s, Groovy covered Dr Hook’s “Sylvia’s Mother” and a version of “Don’t Slow Down“, which he later re-recorded with UB40.
Dennis Alcapone is on next with his hits “Cassius Clay” and “Wake Up Jamaica”. Alcapone is a legendary figure in Reggae, who released 130 singles between 1970 and 1973.
The Marvels who had a doo-wop approach to Reggae, perform “Jimmy Browne”, “One Monkey”. The Marvels had a variety of incarnations from their early hit “Rock Steady“, through sessions as backing vocalists – appearing on Top of the Pops with Dandy on “Suzanne Beware of the Devil”, to having hit covers with “Then He Kissed Me” and “He’s Got The Whole World in His Hands”.
Then comes the highlight of the seeing the late, great Nicky Thomas who fires in with his hit singles “Is It Because I’m Black”, and “Love of the Common People”. Thomas had a song called “BBC“, which was a condemnation of the Beeb’s lack of radio play for Reggae artists. Sadly, Thomas committed suicide in 1990.
The Pioneers were the first reggae band to tour Japan. Here they give their version of Jackie Wilson’s “Higher and Higher” and The Temptations’ hit “Papa Was A Rolling Stone”. The Pioneers went through a variety of line-ups, musical styles and suits in their long career, and are still performing. Best known for their classic tracks “Long Shot Kick de Bucket“, which proved such a hit that the band relocated to England after their first UK tour. They went on to have hits with Jimmy Cliff’s “Let Your Yeah Be Yeah” and “Give and Take”.
The host is Judge Dread, a former “debt collector” for Trojan Records, who had a long and celebrated career as a white Ska and Reggae artist, who released a series of infamous obscene songs, starting with “Big Six”, nearly all of which charted though he never received any radio air play. Dread had more Reggae hits in the UK Charts during the 1970s than any other Reggae artist (and that includes Bob Marley), and is in the Guinness Book of Records for having the most number of banned songs – 11.


 
Christmas isn’t over until Sam Barber and The Outcasts play their excellent cover “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)”. Outcast’s bass player, Will Baird give Planet Paul the inside gen on how this tasty single came about:

The Christmas single came about because Andrew Moir from Leith FM asked us if we would like to record a Christmas song for him to play on air. We always loved the original by The Ramones so we recorded it quite quickly and it got played on air a few days later!!

The Outcasts was Will’s first band, which formed/started gigging in 2000.

We used to gig constantly around Edinburgh mostly, couple of trips to Glasgow, released one badly recorded EP titled “Alias Neal Cassady” EP… split up in 2004. Sam, who was the lead singer/songwriter released a couple of solo albums, Paths Into Light and Shadows On Glass. When he released Shadows On Glass he called me up and asked if I wanted to play bass on some dates he had to promote it. I was up for it and also got the original drummer on board. Said drummer left in May 2010 so we got a new drummer, Johnny Allen and guitarist/backing vocalist Fiona J Thom. We are also sometimes joined by a cellist named Georgina Williamson and saxophonist named The Fabulous Buddy B.

Sam Barber and The Outcasts are about to release the second in a trilogy of EPs titled “Valley Of Silence” on January 5th. The concept for the trilogy of EPs is loosely themed around space and astronomy, and the launch night is at Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on same date.

I can think of no finer way of kicking off the New Year than getting along to the Voodoo Rooms on the 5th January to catch this must-see band – details here.

Meantime, here’s “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” and a bonus clip for their “Valley Of Silence” EP. Enjoy.
 

 

 


A taste of some rare Chinese pop, lounge, go-go, psych and jazz grooves from the 1960s and 1970s.
 

 

 

Leonard Nimoy sings The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins. Hm…and, going by the picture above, Big Foot appears to be one of Spock’s adoring fans.

With thanks to Nick Zedd

John Lennon, 1966
Incredible footage of The Beatles from a 1966 concert at the Circus Krone in Germany. These four youngsters look young, unblemished, and at the cross-over between experience and knowledge. But even in these short clips its John’s band and he is their leader – the one who had the drive to get The Beatles to the “toppermost of the poppermost.”


With thanks to Thomas Barney Koester

A neat short film that uses Lego to animate an extract from Philip Glass‘ brilliant opera ‘Einstein on the Beach‘.


With thanks to Astrid Noël

This British Pathe Newsreel from the 1960s is a delightful reminder why we should cherish The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

The Bonzos (1962-1970) musical jesters of the swinging sixties, lasted as long as The Beatles, and were, in some areas as influential; for they were, in cultural terms, the evolutionary link between the Fab Four and ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus’.  Indeed the Bonzo’s Neil Innes would go on to write the songs for, and star as Ron Nasty in Eric Idle’s classic mockumentary The Rutles.

The Bonzos mixed jazz, comedy, Music Hall, and rock pastiche into aural delectations. Here they perform ‘Music for the Head Ballet’ and ‘Equestrian Statue’ (the latter inspired by Innes reading of Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘Nausea‘), from their 1967 debut album ‘Gorilla‘, shown here together with two clips from ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set‘: ‘Love is a Cylindrical Piano’ (accompanied by Eric Idle) and ‘Metaphorically Speaking’.

‘Do Not Adjust Your Set’ was a children’s TV comedy series, which starred Eric idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, David Jason and Denise Coffey, and was a favourite of my childhood’s TV schedule (along with ‘Batman’ and ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.).

If there is any truth in St Francis Xavier‘s saying, ‘Give me the child for the first seven years of his life and I will make you the man’, I wonder what affect ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set‘ had on my adulthood?  I loved the show with its mix of comedy sketches from Idle, Palin, Jones & co. and musical interludes from The Bonzos. As  a 5-year-old, it was the funniest, most bizarre and dangerous TV show I had ever seen -and this less to do with the embryonic Pythons, more to do with the benign madness of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.

Under the guidance of Vivian Stanshall, the Bonzos (Neil Inness, Rodney Slater, Roger Ruskin Spear and ‘Legs’ Larry Smith) offered a moment of indulgent childish joy, where anything was possible – one week a dastardly rendition of ‘Sound of Music‘ the next a classic pop hit.

Whatever the effect on my adulthood, I know the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band made my childhood happier, funnier, and more exciting. ‘Nuff said?

The hit success of the internet comedy series, ‘Svengali’ asks big questions about the future of TV.

Made by the team behind ‘Wedding Belles’, ‘Svengali‘ is jointly self-financed by director Philip John, writer Dean Cavanagh and actor Jonathan Owen, through their company, Burn After Listening.

Their series follows a wannabe’s dreams of pop success, and is available through posts on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, runs a tie-in blog and episodes can be downloaded on i-Tunes.

‘Svengali’ is heralding a mini-revolution in self-financed, programme-making and has managed to attract the talents of Martin Freeman, Roger Evans, Sally Phillips, Alan Mcgee, Sean Harris, Jodie Whittaker, Jordan Long and Colin Tierney.

Add to this a supporting cast like a DJ’s guest list: Carl Barat, Maggot, Michelle Gomez, Bonehead, Ciaran Griffiths, and Boy George, ‘Svengali’ has proved what talent and ambition can achieve outside of the Box.

This will put a smile on your face: The Clean’s first single ‘Tally Ho!’  from 1981.

Probably New Zealand’s finest and most influential band, The Clean thrummed and thrilled their first 3-chords when brothers David & Hamish Kilgour and Robert Scott got together in 1978.

Their quirky, melodic, lo-fi drum, bass, guitar and Chris Montez style organ produced generation identifying music, which made The Clean as original as The Fall, as seminal as The Ramones, as lovable as The B-52s, as clever as Orange Juice, as passionate as The Violent Femmes and still as hiply relevant today.