Hello there. For 15 years the comforting sweep of Heather “The Weather” Reid’s arm over the map of Scotland brought news of what the skies had in store for the day ahead.
When she left, Reporting Scotland marked the occasion with all the solemnity and imagination a TV producer can summon, ie a montage of clips set to Crowded House’s “Take The Weather”.
Thankfully at the time Randan Discotheque’s Craig Coulthard was questioning his decision not to follow migrated friends to London and stick with Edinburgh. In Heather he saw “a certain homeliness and familiarity, a humble attraction” perhaps a symbol of the Scotland his friends must surely regret leaving behind.
In truth the friends were probably far too busy living it up on the streets of Shoreditch to pine for anything but nevermind the resulting song is a delight – shot through with a dose of melancholy, its a wistful paean to Heather Reid and by extension Scotland itself.
It also like Mike Powell flying through the air to break Bob Beamon’s heart, wrestles the crown for “best ever weather presenter based song” from The Tribe Of Toff’s “John Kettley is a Weatherman” …and so is Michael Fish.
The single is available to buy digitally now or on 7″ in early December and is backed by an equally fine track about Armenian cannibals and a siege during the Spanish Civil War. One of the things that mark Randan Discotheque out from the crowd is their idiosyncratic choice of tone and subject. While its unlikely any other band would release a single about an edition of a Scottish newspaper “Daily Record, May 19th 1993”, they’re not averse to something approaching a tender love song – witness “I’d Like To Be Alone”.
Randan Discotheque – Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Randan Radio
Read: Interview with Craig Randan
Watch – Fantastic blue screened video for “Heather The Weather”
Buy: Heather The Weather on 7″ or digital
While normally I’d rejoice at a rare failure for Rupert Murdoch’s pernicious empire, the humbling of Myspace by the all conquering Facebook left a huge gap for a social network with music at its core. Facebook does throw up occasional musical treasures, but it relies on the vagaries of your friends musical tastes. You have to plough through a lot of “Im watching X-factor/here are my holiday snaps” to get a few gems like Godzilla Black’s sleaze metal take on Prince Get Off.
Godzilla Black – Get Offf/Live jam (Prince cover)
Godzilla Black – “Enjoy Yourself” (MP3)
Video hosting sites can also do a reasonable job of introducing new music, a look at Randan Discotheques channel reveals the Edinburgh act “Pet”, who are supporting Randan at the Heather The Weather single launch gig. A video featuring a bearded man getting a shave may not sound especially enthralling but “Yes Way” does just that with a charm and humour that perfectly fits the song.
Over on Randan’s Vimeo page a quick look at favourite videos reveals a lovely slice of South African Shangaan dance music. The video may look like something filmed by The Apprentice candidates during their Westfield shopping centre task but its both charming and more importantly, what a tune!
Zinja Hlungwani – “Nwa Gezani My Love” (MP3)
Perhaps the true heir to Myspace as the music centred Social Network of choice is Soundcloud. It may be hideously expensive to host more than a couple of hours of music on, but as a tool for “consumers” to find new sounds it hits the nail on the proverbial head.
The concept is simple, you or an artist set up a page, and if you wish upload music to it. Follow the musicians of your choice, and everytime they post a new a new tune up it pops in your timeline.
Theres no room for updates like “thanks to everyone who came to the gig last night” its simply about the music and comments on that music.
The interface is also clean and simple. Listen to tracks with a big play button in front of a waveform of the music (see below), or if for some reason its not loaded click on the link underneath it. If the music has been made available as a free download you’ll see a little down arrow. Just click on it to download, no sign ups, no email addresses.
A few days ago one of the final pieces of music featuring the late great Gregory Issacs popped up in my timeline courtesy of Wrongtom.
Taken from the Dub Pistols Rehash LP, Tom heard about Issacs death as he was putting the finishing touches to his mix.
“There are two mixes coming your way soon with a full vocal version featuring Rodney P and Gregory going head to head while this one’s a dub lick paying tribute to the late great cool ruler“.
Elsewhere on Tom’s page you can of course listen to all of his recent Roots Manuva collaboration “Duppy Writer” along with a mix featuring 100 of Wrong’s favourite tracks in 10 mins!
Ghostpoet has been a regular fixture on this blog over the last year as he plots his bid for nationwide adoration in 2011.
Giles Peterson’s label Brownswood snapped him up in the summer, and over on their Soundcloud page you can find one of the original demo’s that first opened their ears to the mans talent.
‘Liiines’ – a comforting blend of bedroom electronics and his enchanting baritone ramblings.
Kel regularly updates his page with remixes he’s done for other acts or stonking new versions of his own material. The Zombie Zombie mix of Bread Machine Bred (below) is an incredible mix of one huge low down sleazily parping acid bassline with break outs of full on percussion crashing through the mix.
The other joy of Soundcloud is the ability to see what the bands you follow are listening to and loving themselves. A click onto Kelpe’s comments reveals a skilfully subtle reworking of Joanna Newsom’s “Cosmia” that had passed me by earlier in the year.
Sparse glitchy electronica, and gorgeous strings show off Joanna’s voice to fine effect.
Ever one to harness the powers of new technology, Akira The Don has been busy uploading every single tune, mixtape and remix he’s ever done to his Soundcloud page. Essential stuff, but ignore his Soundcloud for now and check out the relaunched version 5.0 of his justifiably self proclaimed “Best Artist Website in The World” – AkiraTheDon.com.
It took Akira’s bro’ Zef months to create, but every hour was worth it to create such an incredible mix of new music, cartoons, youtube clips, live radio and more. The standard has been well and truly set.
To celebrate the new site Akira was kidnapped by Joey2tits to make what started as a “simple” mixtape but ended as a fully fledged album. As usual it comes in a variety of combinations, downloads, tshirts and/0r physical release.
“All Now, Or Never“, Akira’s look back on a decade ‘in the pros”, from having The Darkness as a support act or spraying the side of Pulp’s tourbus. (I think thats what the lyrics are… I look forward to the new ATD lyrics section on the website – A band where the lyrics are worth reading)
This week The Beatles finally came to itunes, and as befits one of the greatest bands in history they’re also all over Soundcloud. Just dont expect the straight album versions.
A.Skills put together an unbelievable 10 minute mega-mix of The Beatles and countless cover versions from Reggae to Hip-Hop. Originally aired on 1Xtra even hardened traditionalist Beatles fans would have to admire the skill involved in weaving interview segments and so many influences into the mix. A.Skills also has a Come Together remix high on the Soundcloud charts but it didnt really float my boat.
Far better is ScratchandSniffs re-edit of the Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder collaboration “Whats That You’re Doing“. Check their SoundCloud page for a whole host of tasty re-edits.
The most popular remix on Soundcloud right now is The Prodigy’s retooling of Jay Z’s “99 Problems”. It’s suitably immense and has clocked up a good 100,000 plays in just a few days.
Theres also an instrumental version available.
For fans of re-edits or Disco edits, Soundcloud has groups dedicated to sharing their latest re-works. Have a listen to just some of the edits available in groups like Disco-Redits & Re-Edits. Don Ray, The Velvet Underground, Esther Phillips, Barry White and The Theme From Knight Rider all get the cut and splice treatment. Listen below, or click the links to investigate even more.
Star Slinger seem to be generating a real buzz of late, but they’ll probably upset a few Cocteau Twins fans with this reworking of “Heaven Or Las Vegas“.
Maybe not one for the purists but with its gorgeous vocals, stuttering beats, and spacey synths, its up there with and will be lapped up by fans of the finest output of Gold Panda, Baths, Various Production, and their ilk. Lovely!