Lullaby by Tamzene, the first release from Belladrum Records.

Belladrum Festival has firmly established itself as one of Scotland’s friendliest festivals of the summer. The vibrant mix of strong headliners and up and coming artists appearing against a Highland backdrop makes for one of the more keenly anticipated events on the calendar. Therefore the appearance of new label Belladrum Records, an offshoot of the festival, seem like a natural progression and certainly a more than welcome event. Their first release is the single ‘Lullaby’ from local singer-songwriter Tamzene.

Hailing from Cromarty, her debut offering is a very enjoyable piece of sweet as honey soul pop music. With the sure touch of Joe McAlinden in charge of production the song flows along at just the right pace. The voice and piano intro hooks  you straight in before the deft addition of more layers helps things to peak nicely, everything eventually coming back down to a poignant and satisfying conclusion.

First impressions really do count so it is good to be able to say that this one scores highly. Hopefully we will be hearing a lot more from Tamzene and Belladrum Records.

Lullaby is available on  various digital platforms including itunes.

For more details visit Belladrum records Facebook page.

You can check out the video for Lullaby below, share and spread the word.

Wotjek the Bear – New EP Second Nature

It would be hard not to fall in love with Glasgow four piece Wojtek the Bear after listening to their recently released EP Second Nature. Named after the famous World War 2 soldier bear there is nothing grizzly about this band. Their melodic shimmering sound coupled with some wonderfully perceptive lyrics makes for an instantly addictive indie-pop cocktail.

The opening track ‘Trivial Pursuit’ is the pick of this strong quartet of songs. As lead singer Tam Killean bemoans the mistakes made by his younger self against a jangly musical backdrop many listeners  will recognise the sense of regret that can strike us all as we realise that at some point we really do have to grow up.  Second track, ‘Badge of Honour’ makes some telling points about the peculiar relationship that we Scots have with alcohol. We knows it’s not big and it’s not clever yet when it comes to booze there is barely concealed admiration for the last man standing.  There is a nice lightness of touch about things here though. On ‘Bookcase’ we’re told that the singer’s heart is in the right place, ‘just to the left behind my ribs.’

Second Nature’s mix of witty, often wistful lyrics and mood capturing melodies offers a welcome chance to enjoy the warmth of shared experiences.  It really is too good an offer to refuse.

Second Nature is available now on itunes, Deezer and Spotify.

You can like the band a lot on Facebook.

Follow their twittery updates here.

And watch the rather superb video for Trivial Pursuit below.

Snippets – Lonnie Donegan, Iona Fyfe and Stuart Adamson

Lonnie Donegan
Sixty years ago today Lonnie Donegan was sitting on top of the charts for the first time with his skiffle version of Cumberland Gap. Born Anthony James Donegan in Bridgeton, Glasgow he was to spearhead the do it yourself skiffle movement that was to inspire countless young British groups including the Quarrymen, later to become the Beatles. He adopted his stage name after opening for American bluesman Lonnie Johnson. His first hit came in 1956, an up tempo version of Rock Island Line, an American folk song previously covered by Leadbelly. It was the start of a run of consecutive hit singles that was to see him become the most successful British recording artist prior to the Beatles hitting the scene. In later years he became a producer and also released several novelty records including My Old Man’s A Dustman. Many artists have gone on record to emphasise the influence he had on their nascent careers including members of the Beatles, Roger Daltrey and former Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler. Lonnie Donegan died in November 2002. His influence on the development of popular music lives on and will continue to resonate for as long as young musicians are starting out with nothing more than a few chords, cheap instruments and a love of what has gone before.

Iona Fyfe
There’s only a few days left to run on Iona Fyfe’s crowdfunding appeal for her debut album. Her interpretations of the traditional ballads of the North East of Scotland have already seen her gather a legion of fans. Scheduled for release early next year it will be one worth looking out for. You can help fund what is sure to be a beautiful album by following the link below.

Link to crowdfunding page.

Stuart Adamson
Stuart Adamson, founder of The Skids and Big Country would have been 59 years old today. It is really hard to believe it is over 15 years since he passed away. One of the most talented guitarists of his generation his truly unique sound will never be forgotten.


Vukovi – A Bright Shining Debut.

It’s been nearly a month now since Vukovi released their self-titled debut album. If you want your rock albums to leave you breathless and gasping for more then Vukovi do not disappoint. There is no gentle introduction, opening track ‘La DI Da’ grabs you by the scruff of the neck and takes you on a ride you won’t want to get off in a hurry. Everything that you would expect to find in a superior pop rock album is here. Crunching guitars, killer riffs, intelligent lyrics, some subtle synth sounds to add a wee bit of spice and topping it all off an idiosyncratic lead singer who quite simply demands your attention. Janine Shilstone is, in turns, belligerent, gentle, aggressive, subtle, occasionally scary and never less than captivating.

The songs are of a consistently high standard with ‘Weirdo’, ‘Prey’, ‘Bouncy Castle’ and the aforementioned ‘La Di Da’ being particular highlights. There is some seriously heavy rock here and it is lifted well above the norm by the bands well-honed pop sensibilities. The blend of infectious melodies and surprising twists and turns delivered with energetic bravura provides something that is never less than good fun. When the world seems dull and grey the best anti-dote is often a dose of quirky rock music in glorious technicolour and that’s just what Vukovi have given us.  Treat yourself by adding it to your collection.

Buy a real life hold in your hand copy of the album here.

Or if  filling your lugs is more than enough buy here.