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SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #2 : ABERFELDY

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There were many who had high hopes for Aberfeldy.

Theis Edinburgh-based band (and named after a rather picturesque small town in Scotland) first came to prominence back in 2004 when two very well received and singles and a subsequent debut LP entitled Young Forever were released on Rough Trade. They were a charming sounding band with the three blokes on vocals/guitar, bass and drums (Riley Briggs, Ken McIntosh and Ian Stoddard) augmented by a high reliance on the keyboard, violin and harmonising skills of its two female members (Ruth Barrie and Sarah McFadyen).

They made some early inroads into the indie charts and then a third single – Love Is An Arrow – was released in early 2005 and thanks in part to a cutesy animated video that enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV here in the UK, the single reached #60 on the mainstream charts. In fact, there was every chance it could have gone Top 40 except Rough Trade underestimated the demand and hadn’t pressed enough copies.

There was an audience for the sort of music Aberfeldy were making as evidenced by the chart success of The Magic Numbers with who they shared a lot of traits. In late 2005, another lovely little single in the shape of Summer’s Gone was released but it didn’t have the impact hoped for.

The following year the band took their sounds out on the road to mainstream audiences thanks to a series of high-profile support slots across the UK and Europe and there was a very favourable critical reception to the July 2006 release of their second LP Do Whatever Turns You On. But to the surprise of many, the band were dropped by Rough Trade before the year was out.

Much of 2007 was spent on the road in difficult and strange circumstances – no record deal but with the old single Summer’s Gone having been licensed for use in a number of TV commercials throughout the world, they had as high a profile as they ever had. And then, towards the end of the year the band suffered a dreadful blow with the departure of the two female members in somewhat acrimonious circumstances.

They were replaced with new recruits and this fleshed out six-piece band ended 2007 with two sell-out gigs in their home city and high expectations for a new deal to be inked early into the new year. Instead, it took until October 2008 for any new material to appear and it was in the shape of a 45 entitled Come On Claire on 17 Seconds Records, a new and ultimately short-lived venture from Ed Jupp who had initially dipped his toes into the music business via the excellent 17 Seconds blog (which is still going strong today).

Aberfeldy stayed busy on the road and in the studio but those of us who had high hopes a few years back knew deep down that their chance had come and gone. The release in late 2010 of a third LP – Somewhere To Jump From – this time on Tenement Records, was met with almost complete indifference.

I don’t listen all that much to the band nowadays but I’ve enough of their songs on the i-phone for them to pop up randomly every few months and I do like hearing them. Here’s the closest they got to the big time:-

mp3 : Aberfeldy – Love Is An Arrow

Enjoy

LAZING IN LANZAROTE WEEK : STUFF FROM THE OLD PLACE : WEDNESDAY

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A little bit of background to today’s piece of nostalgia.

It was written in September 2007 at a time when I was around halfway through a four month work secondment to Toronto.  I had planned to keep the old blog update on a daily basis but found that having messed up copying files to a back-up drive that I had very few songs with me that I could link to.  I was only managing a post every three or four days at best but it was a great trade off for what was turning out to be the experience of a lifetime.

WORK IS A FOUR LETTER WORD

Although the hours are long, I’m still enjoying the work I’m doing over here in Toronto, and trying not to get depressed by thinking too much about going back to the dead-end job awaiting me in Glasgow.

I’ve also become aware that an old (but not in the age-sense) friend  is also having some work concerns of her own which I hope are resolved to her satisfaction ASAP.  In the meantime, I’ve had an idea which may solve both of our work-related dilemmas. I’ m sure she and many of you regular readers out there will want to come a join me in a new venture – one that will one day rival and indeed surpass the popularity of Hard Rock Cafe.

Ladies and Gentlemen. Homos, Hetros and Metros. Why not spend some of your cash at Tearooms Most Twee??

Forget oversize steaks, burgers and king-size french fries. Put away your desires for sundaes and free refill sodas. Come to Tearooms Most Twee for cakes, cucumber sandwiches and french fancies. Feast your eyes on trifle and pots and pots of tea of all varieties, all served on antique wooden tables covered with the finest of lace.

The walls will not be covered with garish memorabilia. Only the finest of wallpaper from the catalogues of Laura Ashley.

Your ears will not be assaulted by the shrieks and wails of long-haired men wearing ultra-tight spandex backed by ugly folk pulling faces as their fingers move up and down the fretboard of their guitars. Instead, an old fashioned Dansette record player will be used to bring you sounds such as these:-

song : Belle & Sebastian – Dog On Wheels
song : Tallulah Gosh – Beatnik Boy
song : Aberfeldy – Summer’s Gone
song : The Smittens – Doomed, Lo-Fi & In Love

At least once a week, Tearooms Most Twee will have a live acoustic performance from Duglas BMX Bandit. Occasionally, it will also have theme nights – maybe something for The Goths where the music will be different and there will a DVD of Batman Begins on show. But the Laura Ashley wallpaper and lace-covered tables will be permanent.

Care to join me?

2013 Update

The scary thing is that there’s a couple of places opened up in Glasgow this past 18 months or so whose business model isn’t all that far removed from that I suggested for Tearooms Most Twee – albeit they do also have licences to serve alcohol.  These establishments seem to be doing very well which means I really have missed a trick…

Oh and just to clear things up.  I returned to Glasgow in December 2007 and to that dreadful dead-end job.  Luckily, I was rescued by an alternative offer just a couple of months later for something much more satisfying.  I’m still there now and can see me being there for many more years to come.

Enjoy.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Parts 1-5)

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Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 at a time from the archives..

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(1) Aberfeldy : Vegetarian Restaurant b/w What You Do : Rough Trade 7″ (2003)

Read more about Aberfeldy here

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(2) Aerogramme – Barriers b/w Dissolve : Chemikal Underground 7″ (2007)

Read more about Aerogramme here

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(3) Aidan Moffat and The Best-Ofs – Knock On The Wall Of Your Womb b/w Aidan Moffat – The Lavender Blue Dress : Chemikal Underground 7″ (2009)

The single is a complete re-working of Lullaby For Unborn Child from the How To Get To Heaven From Scotland album and features the Mansionhouse Ensemble (which is basically Alun Woodward aka Lord Cut Glass and ex-member of The Delgados).

The cover of this limited 7″ (500 copies all told) features an image courtesy of Leonardo Da Vinci while the back of the sleeve has a photo of Aidan in shock on the floor of the delivery room during the birth of his son.

The B-Side is again a bit different – a childrens’ story.

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(4) Alan Rankine – The World Begins To Look Her Age b/w Can You Believe Everything I See? : Virgin 7″ (1987)

Read more about Alan Rankine here

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(5) Aloha Hawaii – Towns On The Moon b/w I’ve Been Bad For Years and Years b/w Untitled Third Track : Chemikal Underground 10″ (2008)

This is what the record label said upon its release:-

The brainchild of our very own Aidan Moffat and Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Aloha Hawaii will, according to the two protagonists themselves, be bringing you random releases of sonic experimentalism as and when they can be arsed. I’ll leave it to their self-penned press release to explain exactly where they’re coming from with this…

Aloha Hawaii is the result of at least a decade of (often drunken) planning that has finally come to some form of fruition: to record any kind of sounds that please our four ears whenever we have the time, inspiration and enthusiasm. There is no game-plan, no style, no genre; anything that makes us smile will make it onto our records, which will take the form of sporadic, vinyl-only singles to be released on any record label willing to accommodate us over the next year or two. The first label to support our efforts will be our good friends, Chemikal Underground, who release the 10″ single Towns On The Moon b/w I’ve Been Bad For Years And Years on September 8th 2008.

There will be no digital formats whatsoever.
This could be a statement about the cheapening of an art-form in a world of disposable download culture or it could simply mean that we’re interminably old-fashioned and hopelessly out of date. We also reserve the right to change our minds.

These five are a bit of a mixed bag and are meant to reflect the series’ aim to have lesser known stuff posted.  I will say however, that if you’re not familiar with it, I recommend you give the Aereogramme single a listen as it’s an absolute belter.

Enjoy!!