I was going to start this by saying that a few months ago I decided to take a short break from the Barley Boat. I am not so sure nearly eighteen months counts as a few though, so I ditched that. They say time passes quicker as you age. Well given that I am now older than Methuselah’s Nan it is whizzing by me at a fair rate of knots and that is as close to an excuse as I can come up with.
Up until a few months ago my intention had been to leave things dormant for a while longer then sink the boat completely. Then this bloody virus happened and it was time to rethink everything.
So, for better or worse it is back. Hopefully I can provide a little bit of encouragement to bands and singers out there at a difficult time, and help to shine a light on some wonderful music.
If you are playing online gigs please let me know so I can help spread the word. Genre or where you are based does not matter, absolutely anything goes on the Barley Boat.
If you have heard some amazing stuff and want to write a review yourself then please get in touch and we could possibly find a home for it on the Barley Boat. How about an article on a band/gig/album that has made a huge impression on you>
Please help spread the word far and wide and please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
We highlighted young Paisley singer songwriter Lisa Kowalski last year as one to watch following the release of her four track EP, ‘Free Spirits’. It’s good to see her back with her recently released single ‘I Do.’
A raw and honest account of love gone wrong, the singers plaintive voice is complimented well by pianist Mark Bovee and Tim Allen on mandolin. Emma Durkan’s fiddle playing cranks up the emotional impact of the song rather nicely, particularly as the track nears the end. It’s another well delivered piece from this hard working young artist, both heartbreaking and beautiful. Still only 18, Lisa Kowalski continues to impress.
You can find out more about Lisa Kowalski by visiting her Facebook page here.
Or catch her latest tweets here.
‘I Do’ is available on all the usual platforms. I’d urge you to go and check it out and while you are at it give last year ‘Free Spirits’ EP a listen.
It was way back in June that I managed to catch Little Love and the Friendly Vibes doing their stuff at a sun kissed Leith festival. They delivered a cracking set that day with one of the highlights being their single Italian Leather jacket. The recent release of a fun to watch video to accompany that song certainly brightens up the dull October days we find ourselves in now.
The opening scene sees frontman Euan Weddell buying a leather jacket from a charity shop, the garment instantly transforming him in to a man confident enough to dance down Leith walk wearing flares. (And that has to be one the benchmark measures of just how high confidence levels can reach.) The video is a total blast as passers-by swoon over him and join him on his journey.
There is so much here to make the watcher smile and at times laugh out loud. Leonora Winstanley apparently wrote the Italian lyrics using Google translate. La consegna è eccellente. Bass player Steve Little’s appearance half way though proceedings provides another wonderful moment. It’s hard not to smile as he tells us that he’s ‘had a lot of fun in the back of a van.’
Video director Graham Bodenham, the band’s drummer, has delivered the perfect accompaniment to what is a rather splendid rhythm driven song. Watch it and you will be left feeling a lot of love for Little Love and the Friendly Vibes. You may also find yourself driven towards the local charity shop in search of an Italian leather jacket of your own.
Find out more by visiting the bands Facebook and Twitter pages.
Catch the video below.
With their latest release, The Hector Collectors waste no time at all in getting down to business with the album title itself aping the plethora of click bait headlines that litter the internet.
‘Remember the Hector Collectors?…you won’t believe what they sound like now’ serves up twelve tracks of instantly likeable indie pop, packed full of humour and smart observation. There are several laugh out loud moments, more than a few serious points made and most importantly, some damn fine tunes.
An early highlight is the wonderfully titled ‘It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a 25 Minute Response Video to DESTROY your Argument.’ With a catchy chorus and clever lyrics taking a swipe at internet behaviour it sets the template for much of what follows.
‘Bullies’ provides real food for thought, the breezy soundtrack allowing the message to get through without ever appearing preachy. ‘Just Lovely’ is a fun list of things that may or may not be lovely. The singers reaction to his wife getting tickets to see Sarah Millican is one of the best gags on the album, one of many great one liners on this track alone.
‘Overton Window’ takes a wry look at today’s confusing political scene with the singer initially celebrating how the slightly bonkers has now become mainstream before bemoaning the fact that everything has moved to an even crazier place than even he had imagined.
‘Edgelords’ was released as a single a couple of months back, a great choice as it served as the perfect pointer to an album which simply doesn’t have a bad track on it. Things are brought to a conclusion with the enjoyably odd ‘Leeson Windfarm.’ Unlike the rest of the album it is a rather dark affair but it works wonderfully as a full stop to what has gone before.
For more information including how to buy the album, why not follow the band on Twitter ?
Check out the video for Edgelords below.
Released today, ‘Bored and Lonely’ is the new single from Edinburgh quartet OceanCode. Whilst the band describe themselves as servers of folk pop tunes this offering is a thoroughly tasty slice of pure pop. It does everything a good pop song should. With its strong melodies and catchy chorus ‘Bored and Lonely’ packs in plenty to love during its classic three minute length. Things blend together perfectly here with the band providing the perfect backdrop for singer Ruth Gillies to deliver a thoroughly endearing vocal performance.
‘Bored and Lonely’ is accompanied by two bonus tracks. These are no throwaway extras though. ‘Devil’s in the Detail’ is another well crafted tune. Whilst it doesn’t hook you in as instantly as the lead song it’s a track that definitely rewards repeat plays.
The final track, ‘Brave Face’, slows things down a bit. With much more of a country folk vibe, the sparse musical accompaniment to Ruth Gillies plaintive delivery of the lyrics produces something that is genuinely moving.
OceanCode will be launching their single at Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh on the 11th of October. With tickets only costing a fiver why not get yourself along, it promises to be a cracking night out.
OceanCode are vocalist/guitarist Ruth Gillies, bassist Morgan Smith, Peter Wall on guitar and vocals and David Burns on drums.
Find out more by visiting oceancode.co.uk
You can also find the band on Twitter.
Released back in May, Control Social Club is the rather fine debut EP from Glasgow punk band Rascalton. With a total running time of less than ten minutes the four songs here provide the perfect adrenaline fuelled antidote to the approaching gloom of winter.
The band don’t hang about on opening track ‘Told you So.’ Imagine early Libertines colliding head on with The Strokes and you would have a fair idea of what’s served up here. Short, sharp and seasoned with wit it’s a great attention grabber.
‘Police’ is a frenetic punk anthem that will leave you breathless. With its punchy verses and super catchy chorus this is surely the pick of the tracks here. Things don’t let up though as ‘Lonely Faces’ maintains the high energy level of the previous two tracks.
Things are slowed down ever so slightly on closing track ‘Lost Generation’. Still full of energy this is a more melodic affair with a couple of pleasing changes in tempo. It’s a strong ending to a short yet highly satisfying collection.
You can catch up with all thing Rascalton on Facebook here.
And follow them on Twitter.
You can find Rascalton’s EP at all the usual places but why not treat yourself and buy it on vinyl here.
Launched on the 28th of July at the Leith Depot, About Time is the debut four track EP from Edinburgh Punk trio, Fistymuffs. It’s an utterly compelling collection of songs which screams out to be heard from start to finish.
Opening track Innocent Contact begins with a spoken word monologue, the powerful yet controlled anger demanding your attention. As the band kicks in the raw energy is cranked up to the max as the gropers and uninvited personal space dwelling men are left in no doubt that their actions are anything but innocent.
Coercive Control deals with destructive mental abuse. The grungy riff underpinning the track serves as a perfect backdrop to the dark subject matter. The smart lyrics are deployed like a scalpel. ‘Show me the scars, this isn’t abuse’ skillfully lays bare the self-serving excuses of the abuser in just two short lines.
Time tells the story of an escape from an abusive relationship. The staccato guitar playing and slightly trippy bass throughout the verses creates a claustrophobic atmosphere which only begins to disperse as the moment of escape approaches. It’s an intense few minutes and may well be the pick of the tracks here.
The final track, Fistymuffs Anthem is classic pop punk, the singalong choruses proving hard to resist as the band lay out exactly what they are all about. By the end of it you are left in no doubt that this band are more than a group, they’re a gang.
You certainly won’t be filing About Time under easy listening but the raw emotion and urgency throughout deserves to see it filed under essential listening. If this is the starting point then following Fistymuffs over the next few years should be quite a journey.
Fistymuffs are Patty Vea on Bass and lead vocals, Suky Goodfellow on Guitar and Vocals and Nikki Foxx on drums.
You can purchase About Time by heading over to Bandcamp. Just click here.
Find out more by following Fistymuffs on Twitter.
It’s been around since the end of May but if you still haven’t heard Tigerblood, the latest single form Edinburgh band Vistas then trust me, it’s about time you did,
The band have been producing wonderfully infectious chorus driven indie tunes for a couple of years now. Tracks such as Calm and Retrospect were clear statements of intent, the melodic singalong choruses designed to be real crowd pleasers.
Tigerblood takes that to the next level, It is just impossible to stay still whilst listening to it. Be careful though. It’s one of those tracks that somehow induces a heavy right foot if played in the car. You may be driving sedately as it kicks off. As it ends don’t be surprised to see flashing blue lights in the rear view mirror as you subconsciously press harder on the gas pedal in an attempt to keep up with the sonic storm blasting out of the speakers.
This is a band that demands to be seen live. For details of where they are playing in the coming months check out their website.
They’re also on Twitter and Facebook .
Last year’s EP from Betty and the Bass, Bad Magic Tricks Part 1, was one of my favourite releases of the year. So it was a real pleasure to catch them live at the Leith Festival at the start of June. It may have been a short appearance but there were plenty of highlights as this talented trio served up a tasty wee set. Singer Lyndsey Craig exuded bags of attitude as she fronted the band with effortless cool whilst the interplay between bassist and drummer demonstrated just how tight a gang this group are.
A hefty swig by the singer from a bottle of a well-known tonic wine served as an introduction to new track Monk’s Blood. Released on video at the start of May it’s another piece of indie magic from the band. A gentle start soon gives way to a livelier ska infused vibe as the track progresses towards a riotous conclusion. The accompanying video of the band goofing around in various places in Leith only adds to the fun. It comes at a surprise to see that the track runs for nearly five minutes as it really flies by.
Check out the video and add it to your summer playlist now, you won’t regret it.
Follow Betty and the Bass on Twitter here.
And on Facebook here.
Catch the video on YouTube below.
Released on the 1st of June, Loose End is the new single from Me for Queen. The title track from an album due later in the year, Loose End deserves to be a part of everyone’s summer soundtrack.
Me for Queen is the alter ego of Mary Erskine. Raised in Fife with a blues guitarist Father and herself classically trained it’s perhaps no surprise that her music can’t easily be slotted in to any musical pigeon hole.
Loose End dispenses with an intro, the vocal kicking in straight away, the warm soulful folky vibe proving to be utterly captivating from start to finish. There are several neat changes of pace here and the chorus is an absolute delight. If this song is a sign of things to come then the album is going to be an absolute belter.
Click here to listen to and BUY Loose End by Me for Queen
Follow Me for Queen on Twitter.
Get more info on Me for Queen from Facebook.