15

Apr

Music Alliance Pact – April 2014

Fatherson

Had Fatherson been around a decade ago, it’s inconceivable that they’d be label-less at this juncture of a career filled with so much promise. But such is the music industry these days that even bands with all the tell-tale signs of potential stardom – a sizeable, enthusiastic fanbase, confident stage presence, a willingness to tour frequently and afar, a catalogue of anthems with obvious appeal – tend to be left alone to do all the spadework before a glory-hunting record company comes on board to push what is effectively the finished article.

Fatherson won’t be the first rock band from Kilmarnock to do it the hard way, and it’ll be all the more satisfying when they eventually get the rewards they deserve.

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 27-track compilation through Ge.tt here.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
FathersonJames
Fatherson are idols to many in Scotland and, having just released their debut album I Am An Island, now is the perfect time for the rest of world to catch on. Their music is more accomplished and rewarding than you might expect from a rock band in their early 20s. There are no unfocused thrashy rackets here, just considered creativity and a very intelligent approach to dynamics and song structure. MAP exclusive download James has all the crescendos, singalong verses and punch-the-air choruses you could ever wish for.
April 19, Love Music, Glasgow (free)
April 26, The Arches, Glasgow
May 2, PJ Molloys, Dunfermline
May 4, The Big Beach Ball, Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

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08

Apr

A guide to Wide Days 2014

By Sarah McMullan

For the fifth consecutive year, Scottish music convention Wide Days beckons forth the musically curious to Edinburgh with a two-day schedule that promises to cater for “those playing in their first band right up to industry veterans”.

The organisers take the often formal concept of a panel and dismantle it to create a comfortable atmosphere for those participating and attending at Teviot House - the perfect setting for the creatively charged.

The speakers at this year’s event should intrigue anyone looking for some guidance. They include BBC 6 Music producer Michelle Choudhry, The Hydro director John Langford, Lost Map Records boss Johnny Lynch, Deezer’s James Foley and Derk van der Woude from YouTube. They will join conference regulars Scott Cohen (founder of The Orchard), Keith Harris (PPL director/Stevie Wonder’s manager) and BBC Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway.

In addition, Wide Days have created a partnership with the German Consulate General to offer insight into touring and releasing in Germany as well as a case study of Hamburg label Audiolith. With Germany possessing the strongest music industry in Europe, certainly in terms of records sales, it’s good to see Wide Days bringing international perspectives to the local music scene; new thoughts and ideas to enlighten its participants as to what can set them apart on what can often appear an overcrowded stage.

The first day’s seminars on Wednesday, April 9 focuses on the live music industry, covering tour planning, digital services for promoting events and apps and technology.

Thursday, April 10 is even more diverse, with seminars discussing the release of records, media influence, YouTube and the popular feedback session A&R You Brave Enough?.

See here for ticket details.

The Wide Days showcase gigs on April 10 are free to attend but ticketed:

Pleasance Theatre (19.00-20.30): Angus Munro and The Jellyman’s Daughter (tickets)
Sneaky Pete’s (20.30-22.00): Model Aeroplanes and LAW (tickets)
Electric Circus (21.00-03.00): Birdhead, Schwefelgelb and Tuff Love (tickets)

The showcase acts were chosen in liaison with a range of promoters, journalists and broadcasters. Each set is to last only 20 minutes, so in the words of organiser Olaf Furniss: “If you hate them you don’t need to endure them too long and if you love them you’re left wanting more.”

That is a fitting mantra for Wide Days itself – it covers a range of topics but if you don’t like one particular part you’re not stuck with it for too long; on to the next.

As a panel member of previous seminars hosted by organisers Born To Be Wide, I can’t recommend attendance highly enough. It’s a great environment to educate yourself, to learn how not to be that guy when it comes to all things music, as well as become acquainted with musicians, industry professionals and wannabes.

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01

Apr

Exclusive: Amazon, iTunes and Spotify sign up to Record Store Day

Record Store Day 2014

The world’s biggest online music retailers have joined forces with Record Store Day, offering the same limited-edition releases but with a more appealing overall experience that bypasses travel expenditure, queuing, awkward human interaction and the feeling of being judged at the counter.

RSD UK co-ordinator Spencer Hickman explained that the surprise shift in policy would simultaneously benefit fans who don’t live near a bricks-and-mortar record shop and fend off accusations of double standards. “It’s not like we exclude major labels from making products for Record Store Day,” he reasoned.

In keeping with the spirit of RSD, Amazon.co.uk will sell only a handful of the day’s most in-demand releases to its 21 million customers, therefore reducing the chances of a successful online purchase to as close to zero as possible, a move described by managing director Christopher North as “the most familiar outcome for a regular Record Store Day shopper”.

That, however, hasn’t deterred users of Fence Records’ Beef Board formulating a plan to sit outside Amazon’s distribution centre in their Fife heartland of Dunfermline from 7am on April 19, 2014 and remain in a cross-legged position until a member of staff places the vinyl items they crave into their sweaty palms. After being alerted to the message board thread in question, Amazon have vowed to bolster security by an extra half-shift and forcibly remove any non-Amazon Prime members.

Amazon, Fife

iTunes, meanwhile, are consciously uncoupling the tradition of Record Store Day products only being physical entities by offering downloadable versions of the entire 650-strong catalogue.

With vinyl making up 96.5% of the RSD 2014 release list, the Apple-owned monstrosity was moved to publish an open letter titled “To Insufferable Audiophiles With A Falsely Gained Sense Of Superiority”, citing dozens of double-blind tests which found no scientific evidence that digital sounded inferior to vinyl when using the same master.

In a revelation that made the shoulders of one Camera Obscura enthusiast heave up and down with each staccato-sobbing breath as he scored the band’s 4AD Session 7″ off his RSD wishlist, analysts concluded that music shoppers who only buy vinyl (99.8% of whom prefer to make this known publicly at every available opportunity) do so because it sounds worse, with the so-called “warmth” of analogue being attributed to how the brain perceives audio from vinyl that has suffered distortion, often due to degradation.

The integrity of traditional record shops was challenged by Spotify, another RSD newcomer for 2014. Co-founder Daniel Ek boasted that his streaming site had a more ethical business model because it would never require its 25 million users to purchase supplementary commodities that carry no sound whatsoever, such as “album sleeves with pretentious artwork”.

He went on to argue that music retailers had been guilty of “wilfully peddling and perpetuating the myth that visual stimulation enhanced the listening experience”. Ek insisted this hypothesis was as ludicrous as suggesting a painting could only be fully appreciated if it came with its own tune.

Looking at painting while listening to a song

Despite the relaxation of eligibility criteria with regards to RSD-approved retailers, no invitation has been extended to HMV. The High Street chain shed its PLC status in 2013 when it was taken over by Hilco, becoming privately owned, prompting many to ponder whether HMV or its sister brand Fopp should be allowed to take part in future Record Store Days.

Established independent stores had been canvassed for their views in a secret poll, but RSD bosses eventually decided against endorsing HMV/Fopp when one self-defeating Edinburgh indie music shop boss threatened to organise a boycott in a series of menacing tweets @RSDUK culminating in: “You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the store sky high.”

Scottish retailers are particularly feeling RSD pressure in the wake of Scott Hutchison’s recent emigration to America. The Frightened Rabbit singer’s move has sparked fears of a footfall slump on April 19 after several shops took the band’s customary instore appearances for granted and prematurely ordered promotional flyers in expectation of the sex-rock combo turning up to play.

However, in a group email leaked to The Pop Cop, shop owners have hatched a plan to get around the ‘no-show’ dilemma by putting an actual frightened rabbit on display in their windows on Record Store Day, thereby ensuring they don’t fall foul of the Trade Descriptions Act.

frightened rabbit

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