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CHEMIKAL UNDERGOUND COMPETITION – WINNER OF THE

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For those of you can’t read my appalling handwriting, the bit of paper in the right hand of Stewart Henderson reads MICHAEL BOYES.

His was the name drawn from the 32 who entered the competition to win £50 of stuff from the online shop at Chemikal Underground. Incidentally, every entrant was a bloke….

I’ve been in touch already with Michael and will also be dropping an e-mail to those who entered but were unlucky in the draw. Stewart has come up with an idea of a consolation prize for all concerned…..

Many many thanks to everyone, and in particular the folks at Chem for supporting the idea for the competition.

Here’s a bit of music non-Chem related, but from a band who would have been a perfect fit for them:-

mp3 : Pavement – Winner of The

Yup, that’s its title.  Winner of The.  It was the b-side to the CD single release of Stereo.

CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND COMPETITION : FINAL CALL FOR ENTRIES

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21 years of the most important and influential label ever to come out of Scotland and I’m marking it by dipping into my pocket to spend £50 at the Chemikal Undergound Records online shop with the selections being made and shipped to one lucky T(n)VV reader, no matter where they live.

All you have to do is answer a question – and even if you don’t know the answer immediately you’ll find it available after a quick look on the Chem website.

Q : Which two musicians make up the band Aloha Hawaii?

Send your answer to thevinylvillain@hotmail.co.uk

But be quick about it as entries close at midnight tonight (UK time). The winner will be drawn out of a hat by none other than Stewart Henderson, MD of Chem and of course the bass player with The Delgados back in the days.

And to help you along, I’ve been compiling some Chem playlists and featuring them here. This is the third and last of them:-

You can also download it:-

mp3 : Radio 236 – Chem Underground (Vol 3)

Here’s a list of the songs that make up this particular mix:-

Father’s Eyes – De Rosa
Foxtrot Vandals – Zoey Van Goey
Any Way I Can – Rick Redbeard
The Actress – The Delgados
The First Big Weekend – Arab Strap
Leave You Wanting More – Sluts Of Trust
The Copper Top – Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat
Exits – Aereogramme
Look After Your Wife – Lord Cut Glass
Oh Yeah…You Look Quite Nice – Mother & The Addicts
A-Z And Back Again – Magoo
Trouble – Adrian Crowley

And here’s a promo of one of the above songs:-

Good luck

JUST A QUICK ADDITIONAL REMINDER OF THE ON-GOING COMPETITION

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The most important and influential record label ever to come out of Scotland has just reached its 21st birthday, (see this posting for more details) and  as mentioned before, I’m currently running a competition to commemorate the fact.

To have a chance of winning £50 worth of music of your choice from the Chemikal Underground on-line shop, then send me the answer to this simple question…

Which two musicians make up the Chem act Aloha Hawaii?

Send your answer to thevinylvillain@hotmail.co.uk

First name drawn out of the hat after Monday 29 February will win the prize.

There’s a great selection of music to choose from, and to give you a taster, I’ve pulled together yet another podcast that can be listened to here:-

or downloaded as an mp3 file:-

mp3 : Radio 236 – Chem Underground (Volume 2)

Here’s a list of the songs that make up this particular mix:-

Packs Of Three – Arab Strap
Wayward – The Unwinding Hours
Machine Age Dancing – FOUND
No Danger – The Delgados
A Glamour – The Phantom Band
The Rebel On His Own Tonight –  Malcolm Middleton & Alan Bissett
Blue Lead Fences – Loch Lomond
School Disco – bis
Red Orange Green – Emma Pollock
Car Song – RM Hubbert (feat Aidan Moffat)

And here’s a promo of one of the above songs:-

A REMINDER OF THE ON-GOING COMPETITION

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5806_original

The most important and influential record label ever to come out of Scotland has just reached its 21st birthday, (see this posting for more details) and I’m currently running a competition to commemorate the fact.

To have a chance of winning £50 worth of music of your choice from the Chemikal Underground on-line shop, then send me the answer to this simple question…

Which two musicians make up the Chem act Aloha Hawaii?

Send your answer to thevinylvillain@hotmail.co.uk

First name drawn out of the hat after Monday 29 February will win the prize.

There’s a great selection of music to choose from, and to give you a taster, I’ve pulled together another podcast that can be listened to here:-

or downloaded as an mp3 file:-

mp3 : Radio 236 – Chem Underground (Volume 1)

Here’s a list of the songs that make up this particular mix:-

H.D.B.A. Theme – Human Don’t Be Angry
The Howling – The Phantom Band
Accused of Stealing – The Delgados
Big Blonde – Aidan Moffat & The Best Ofs
It’s The Quick – Miaoux Miaoux
Buckstacy – RM Hubbert
K To Be Lost – Sister Vanilla
Loneliness Shines – Malcolm Middleton
Helps Both Ways – Mogwai
The Shy Retirer (Dirty Hospital Remix) – Arab Strap
Old Ghosts – Emma Pollock

And here’s footage of a live performance of of one of the above tracks:-

BONUS POSTING : HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY CHEMIKAL UNDERGROUND

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5806_original

The most important and influential record label ever to come out of Scotland has just reached its 21st birthday, and I want to pay tribute.

I’ve actually been lucky enough, through my day job in an office just a few hundred yards from their HQ in the east end of Glasgow, to get to know and work on some projects with the folks who run Chemikal Underground. I still pinch myself that I’ve become friendly with musicians whom I idolised as a fan not too many years ago and I’m thrilled that in an era when labels of all sizes have endured all sorts of turmoil and issues as a consequence of the ways we all ‘consume’ music nowadays, that Chem is still able to produce the most wonderfully diverse and rich output you could wish for – and in 2016, thanks to the new album from Emma Pollock,  have just released what I think will soon be referred to as a classic.

I did think about approaching Stewart Henderson and asking for an interview from which I’d try to create a blog post, but an article has appeared today in one of the biggest selling tabloid papers in Scotland which really does the business. And so, in the spirit of the villainous ways that I do things round here, I’ve gone for the cut’n’paste approach

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THEY started in the kitchen of a flat on Glasgow’s south side, creating a record label to release their own music.

Twenty one years later, they’ve launched the careers of some of Britain’s best-loved indie bands and been garlanded with an array of industry gongs.

Chemikal Underground remain one of the most important and influential record labels the country has ever produced, surviving against the odds with a mixture of luck, loyalty and endeavour.

They were established by the members of The Delgados to release their first single in 1994. Within 18 months, they’d signed Glasgow’s bis, got them a memorable slot on Top of The Pops with single Kandy Pop and started thinking outside the kitchen

Founder Stewart Henderson said: “We decided to record songs and do things ourselves and there was quite a vibrant DIY scene at the time. Putting out the first Delgados single Monica Webster was a high, but bis lit the touch paper.

“It catapulted us out of (fellow Delagados) Paul Savage and Emma Pollock’s kitchen and into an office. Within a week we’d gone from pressing 3000 CD singles to 30,000.”

The label are now based in an office in Bridgeton in Glasgow’s east end.

They’ve won two Scottish Album of the Year Awards in four years, with records by RM Hubbert and Aidan Moffat, seen The Delgados LP The Great Eastern nominated for a Mercury music prize and established the weekend-long East End Social music festival along Duke Street as part of the Commonwealth Games 2014 culture programme.

Stewart said: “It’s significant that a label like Chemikal Underground have been able to endure 21 years. It’s important people see a company like ours surviving when the landscape of the music industry has changed so dramatically.”

Emma Pollock’s new LP, In Search of Harperfield, kicked off the label’s 2016 release schedule, with more coming including a soundtrack to Graeme Obree documentary Battle Mountain from Alun Woodward.

Stewart said: “People talk about labels like Postcard records with love and admiration. But some were like magnesium flares. They burned quickly and brightly then collapsed in on themselves.

“The fact we’ve survived this long is a testament to the amount of music being made in Scotland.”

Here, label boss Stewart Henderson picks his top 21 Chemikal Underground records of their 21 year history.

Bis: ‘Kandy Pop’ from ‘The Secret Vampire Soundtrack’ (March 1996)

Chemikal’s third release catapulted this Glaswegian teenage trio onto Top of the Pops and essentially made the next 21 years possible.

We’ve had so many important acts on the label but bis it the touch paper and no mistake.

Arab Strap: The Week Never Starts Round Here (November 1996)

Controversial to plump for Arab Strap’s debut album rather than their later (more polished) records but this has ‘The First Big Weekend’ on it and remains one of our favourite ever releases.

It’s an incredibly brave, uncompromising statement by a band that would go on to influence and shape independent music in Scotland.

Mogwai: Young Team (October 1997)

If bis provided the commercial catalyst for Chemikal Underground then Mogwai have fuelled our progress ever since.

Nearly twenty years old, this album still sounds furious and beautiful in equal measure: what an opening gambit by one of Scotland’s most consistently creative bands.

The Delgados: The Great Eastern (April 2000)

A big album (in every sense) for Chemikal when it mattered most: with Mogwai and Arab Strap having moved on from the label, The Great Eastern earned the label’s founders a Mercury-nomination and showcased The Delgados’ flair for leftfield orchestral splendour.

Radar Brothers: And the Surrounding Mountains (May 2002)

Another long-standing favourite, the Radar Brothers hailed from Southern California and released five albums with us over the years.

They evoke such a brilliant sense of the outdoors, of longing and of thoughtful reflection that we suspect the only true place to listen to this album is on a long Greyhound bus journey as the landscape dances past the window…

Arab Strap: Monday at the Hug and Pint (April 2003)

The only band to feature twice on this list and with good reason.

Arab Strap’s second spell at the label delivered another batch of great albums but this one got a pub named after it and features ‘The Shy Retirer’ which rhymes ‘moanin’ with ‘serotonin’.

The defence rests.

Malcolm Middleton: Into the Woods (June 2005)

Malcolm’s musical input to Arab Strap was incalculable, the perfect foil for Aidan Moffat’s lyrics, but this album highlighted what a great songwriter he was in his own right.

From the brilliant AA Milne inspired artwork, through a host of musical styles and some darkly comic lyrics ‘Into the Woods’ is a classic.

Aereogramme: My Heart Has A Wish That You Would Not Go (February 2007)

Another giant on Chemikal’s roster, the much-loved Aereogramme made three extraordinary albums including this, their swansong in 2007.

Craig B and Iain Cook would go on to release another two albums on Chemikal as The Unwinding Hours before Iain found global success with CHVRCHES and Craig launched his acclaimed solo project A Mote of Dust.

Various Artists: Ballads of the Book (March 2007)

An important and influential album for Chemikal Underground, this was an idea of Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble who, having worked with Edwin Morgan (Scotland’s Makar), was keen to unite Scottish literary figures’ lyrics with the music of various bands and recording artists.

The product was ‘Ballads of the Book’ featuring stellar collaborations between the likes of Alasdair Gray, Ian Rankine, Ali Smith, King Creosote, Norman Blake, Vashti Bunyan, AL Kennedy, Trashcan Sinatras and more.

The Phantom Band: Checkmate Savage (January 2009)

A debut album from an unknown band that took everyone by surprise.

Only The Phantom Band could fuse Captain Beefheart, krautrock, old world folk and doo wop into one album and pull it off perfectly.

A band for every music fan to cherish.

De Rosa: Prevention (March 2009)

Our second Alasdair Gray designed album cover, Prevention was De Rosa’s second album and remains a high-water mark for sophisticated, eloquent songwriting.

Everything about this album is class and the band have recently reformed too, releasing ‘Weem’ on Mogwai’s brilliant Rock Action label.

Roky Erickson with Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil (April 2010)

Alt-rock legend and 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson teamed up with fellow Austin, Texas band Okkervil River to make this emotional, uplifting testament to faith, hope and forgiveness.

Devastating.

Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat: Everything’s Getting Older (May 2011)

The winner of the inaugural Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Award, Everything’s Getting Older is a wry, poignant – and at times quite filthy – modern classic.

Wells’ subtle melodies provide the perfect foil for Moffat’s peerless lyrics, just listen to The Copper Top if proof were needed.

The finest song in Chemikal Underground’s entire catalogue.

Rick Redbeard: No Selfish Heart (January 2013)

Phantom Band frontman Rick Anthony released this solo debut under the name Rick Redbeard and gifted us one of Chemikal Underground’s very best albums.

Recorded in his Glasgow flat and his parents’ Aberdeenshire home, No Selfish Heart seems instantly recognisable, timeless even, evoking the careworn confessionals of Neil Young and Tom Waits.

Conquering Animal Sound: On Floating Bodies (March 2013)

The work of Anneke Kampman and James Scott, this dazzling record inhabits a world almost entirely of its own.

Created over 18 months it weaves intricate electronica and samples with Anneke’s extraordinary vocals.

Cosmology, philosophy and semantics framed in all their otherworldly glory.

RM Hubbert: Breaks & Bone (September 2013)

Following his SAY Award win in 2013 for Thirteen Lost & Found, Hubby found his voice on Breaks & Bone, singing half the tracks while the other half highlighted his trademark flamenco-inspired guitar style.

A technically brilliant musician and a gifted songwriter full of wit and warmth, his music’s a key part of Chemikal’s legacy. He’s brilliant at swearing too.

Holy Mountain: Ancient Astronauts (April 2014)

Courted by Chemikal when they were still a blistering duo of guitar and drums, we finally secured Holy Mountain’s services as the ultimate rock power trio channelling the likes of Black Sabbath, Iron Monkey and Deep Purple.

They brought the noise alright, what an album.

Adrian Crowley: Some Blue Morning (November 2014)

On his third album for Chemikal (his seventh in total), Galway’s Adrian Crowley seemed to perfect his brand of evocative, cinematic songwriting.

Currently finishing his debut novel, this wonderfully modest man of letters makes music that brings to mind the drama of Scott Walker, the poetry of Leonard Cohen and the sweep of Lee Hazlewood.

Miaoux Miaoux: School of Velocity (June 2015)

Glasgow-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Julian Corrie delivered Chemikal’s finest foray into smart, electronic pop with this irresistible release from last June.

Referencing early Prince and Scritti Polliti while squeezing in the odd Nile Rodgers flourish, School of Velocity is a masterclass in melody and leftfield pop.

FOUND: Cloning (November 2015)

Nearly up to date now with an album by the tirelessly creative Edinburgh outfit FOUND who were responsible for Chemikal’s only edible release – a chocolate 7” back in 2011.

Cloning finds them in full-on synthesiser mode, recalling Vangelis and Tangerine Dream in this glorious sci-fi soundtrack to a film that hasn’t been made yet.

Emma Pollock: In Search of Harperfield (January 2016)

Last but not least then, and fitting that it should be penned by a Chemikal Underground founder and member of The Delgados.

Emma’s first album in six years has already been hailed as a triumph and for good reason.

A sophisticated, articulate pop album that explores family, responsibility and loss is quite simply the best album of Emma’s career and a jewel in the crown of the label she created with three of her friends.

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Here’s a few tunes to remind you of the quality of stuff this very fine Glasgow and Scottish institution have brought us over the years:-

mp3 : Bis – Kandy Pop
mp3 : Arab Strap – The Shy Retirer
mp3 : The Delgados – No Danger
mp3 : The Phantom Band – Throwing Bones (single version)
mp3 : RM Hubbert & Emma Pollock – Half Light (recorded live at Aberfeldy Distillery)

They also have has some ingenious films/videos made to accompany various releases.  None better than this for what Stewart has said – and I agree with him – is the finest song in the entire catalogue

There is a fantastic on-line shop from which you can buy a fair chunk of the back catalogue.

I really do urge everyone pays it a visit and if you haven’t already, sign up for their newsletter which is always a great and brilliantly-written piece of work that won’t clog up your inbox,

COMPETITION TIME

I’d like to mark this momentous occasion by offering T(n)VV readers the chance to pick up items of their choice from the Chem shop, up to a value of £50, that I will pay for in lieu of me sending Stewart & co. a big bottle of champagne and a tacky 21st birthday card.

All you have to do is answer this simple question, the answer to which can be found over at the Chem website:-

Which two musicians make up the Chem act Aloha Hawaii?

Send your answer to thevinylvillain@hotmail.co.uk

First name drawn out of the hat after Monday 29 February will win the prize.

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SINGLE (Part 117)

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The Unwinding Hours are part of the wonderful array of acts who are signed to Chemikal Underground records wwhich, without any question, is the most important and influential independent record label to ever have come out of Scotland for a whole range of reasons.

Here’s what the label website has to say about today’s featured act:-

For those laid low by the untimely and cruel demise of Aereogramme, raise your voices to the heavens and thank the stars for a new Aereogramme-esque incaranation: The Unwinding Hours. Comprising of Craig B and Iain Cook from the much-missed Glaswegian outfit, The Unwinding Hours was the product of a patient and deliberate birthing process, Craig B venturing into Iain’s Alucard Studios to work up songs he wasn’t entirely sure would ever see the light of day.

As time marched on and the recordings progressed, so too did the realisation that they were rather fucking impressive and lo…The Unwinding Hours was/were born. Where did the name come from? Well, hawk-eyed (and we do mean hawk-eyed) fans of The Shining may well recognise them as the advertised ‘house’ band at The Overlook Hotel.

The band have released two tremendous LPs – the self-titled debut in 2010 and Afterlives in 2012. The digital single featuring today is from the latter of these records, and again this is from the label website:-

Bookended by two emphatic drum workouts, ‘Wayward’, the first single from The Unwinding Hours’ long-awaited second album ‘Afterlives’, is unequivocal in its disdain for time-wasting. A bit rich perhaps, coming from a band who took two and a half years completing the follow-up to their self-titled debut, but closer inspection reveals that, while hours may have unwound, they certainly weren’t wasted.

Having emerged from the ashes of cult Glasgow band Aereogramme, The Unwinding Hours are a labour of love for Craig B and Iain Cook: a project afforded whatever time is deemed necessary to produce songs as powerful and affecting as ‘Wayward’. Recalling the turbo-charged melodicism of Bob Mould’s Sugar and the melancholic verve of Mark Eitzel’s American Music Club, The Unwinding Hours new single is a powerful reminder that time spent getting something right, can never be time wasted.

mp3 : The Unwinding Hours – Wayward

The other track on the single is otherwise unavailable….

mp3 : The Unwinding Hours – Isaac

If you like what you’ve heard, may I please suggest that you click here and visit the Chemikal Underground online shop where you can have a browse around the tremendous stuff that is available to listen to and then to purchase. You can opt for digital copies (waaaaaay superior to that offered via this blog) or go for physical product in the shape of vinyl or CDs or indeed things from the t-shirt collections.

Why not treat someone this Christmas?  They’ll love you all the more……