Archive for November, 2010

Avalanche Manifesto

Bit of a monster read so get a cup of coffee or possibly a stiff drink and click on Avalanche Manifesto in the top right hand corner.

Scars – TV21 – Malcolm Ross @ HMV Picture House 29th December

As part of our celebrations for moving to the Grassmarket Avalanche is promoting this rather special gig at the HMV Picture House. Nobody was more surprised than myself when Paul Research was dropping off yet another batch of Scars CDs and I asked if he fancied doing a gig to get the answer that not only would he like to do something but so might his felow band members. I had always assumed that of all the bands from that era the Scars would be a band I would never see perform again if for no other reason than they all seemed to live in different countries these days. When a couple of weeks later Paul confirmed the guys were up for it the line-up was complete.

I tried to make it a rule not to go and see the bands I grew to love when I first came to Edinburgh in the late seventies if they reformed just in case they were shit and my memories were tarnished. No matter how good I was told the more recent Rezillos gigs were I steadfastly refused to go. However when TV21 asked to do an in-store I drew the line at actively avoiding them and then was pleasantly surprised to find them even better than before. When the new album came out and that too was as good as anything they had done before I became a convert to the notion that these bands could return and teach the current crop of Edinburgh / Scottish bands a thing or two.

As a founder member of Josef K, Malcolm’s reputation was already assured. To then join Orange Juice, writing songs for both Rip It Up and Texas Fever would surely be enough for any man but Malcolm then completed the hat-trick and joined Roddy Frame in Aztec Camera for the album Knife. It was an absolute pleasure last year to have Malcolm play in the shop with the Low Miffs to support their album and he completes what is an amazing triple bill. 

Tickets are on sale in the shop and from all the usual ticket outlets and will of course make the perfect Christmas present !


Saturday 27th In-store Gordon McIntyre of Ballboy

As part of our series of in-stores Gordon from Ballboy will be playing in the shop at 4pm this Saturday.

Can I just say a big thank you again to all the bands and people who turned up to see them last Saturday despite the pouring rain. Your support is always greatly appreciated.



PS Snow this weekend !

Saturday’s In-stores / The Scottish Enlightenment / Paul Haig 7″

We now have some of the 7"s back in stock as well as some lovely new t-shirts and bags

Paul Haig seven inch. You will want to pay £9.99 once you have seen it !
Worth £6.99 of anybody’s money. St Thomas by The Scottish Enlightenment

Just a quick thank you to Desertersdeservedeath, The Last Battle and Kid Canaveral (David and Kate) for helping make Saturday such a success. A good day got even better with a special delivery of CDs from The Scottish Enlightenment which proved particularly popular. We also finally got our shipment of the new Paul Haig seven inch remixed by Fred Deakin of Lemon Jelly fame and of course one time resident of Edinburgh which is very lovely indeed if a little expensive. Thanks as well of course to everyone who turned up for the bands and indeed bought something as well which is always a bonus for a record shop these days ! Next Saturday’s in-store will be announced tomorrow.

Vic Galloway / Ally McCrae / Song by Toad Christmas Party

While retrospectively checking to see who had made the effort to mention our trio of in-stores yesterday I came across this on the Song by Toad blog.

 BBC Introducing in Scotland is going to be undergoing changes in the new year. It was announced a while ago that Ally McCrae from Detour will be taking over from Vic Galloway

Wondering how I had managed to miss such momentous news I checked to find out that it had been announced early November so by the standards of news filtering through to record shops I had found out quite quickly. Though bombarded with emails they are rarely the things I need to know about and useful things like release dates for a band’s album I tend to find out from customers as while it seems to be deemed important to keep every minor journalist or blogger up to date on such things record shops are either thought to somehow just automatically “know” these things or else not be worth telling depending on the band’s / label’s viewpoint.

Anyway not knowing Mr McCrae and believing him to be a young person I thought I had better check out his MySpace to see exactly how he presented himself to the world. Some people tell me MySpace is finished and nobody uses it but I am still constantly refered to it by bands wanting me to “check them out” so until I know better I will continue to do so. Ally is indeed a relatively young person at 23 years of age though any 16 year old may argue about that. His about me starts

Awright, I’m ally mccrae
lets goooooooooooooooooooo

I can forgive the lack of capital letters (just) but the goooooooooooooooooooo thing is a little worrying. A fan of Still Game his radio show is it seems “the banter”. Waynes World is his favourite film and one of his favourite books is “Boyracers by Alan Smith (I think)”. Not knowing the book a quick google came up with Boyracers by Alan Bissett but not Alan Smith so not sure about that. However another of his favourite TV shows is 8 Simple Rules a very funny and much overlooked American sitcom so I am glad to see we do at least have some common ground ! 

Vic has done a great job over the last ten years and I’m sure will continue to be at the forefront of supporting Scottish music both within Scotland and further afield. I can only concur with Matthew’s comments on the Song by Toad blog 

Vic and his producer, Muslim Alim are two of the loveliest guys you could hope to meet. More to the point, though, they are not dicks.  That may sound like a stupid statement, but it actually isn’t; the music industry is full of total pricks.  Whiney pricks, slippery pricks, backstabbing pricks, fairweather pricks, snotty pricks, status whores, fashion whores and attention whores.  The number of times I have been dismissively ignored by people who think what we’re doing might not be fashionable enough for them to be associated with, or by people who have themselves been treated like shit and realise that, given our respective positions on the status ladder, now it’s their turn, is just plain depressing.  In fact it is one of the most wearing parts of being involved in music. So when you meet people like Vic and Muslim who are just absolutely straight down the line, genuine guys it is a complete breath of fresh air, believe me.

In case you are interested I couldn’t find any mention of the in-stores though I did find all the details for the Song by Toad Christmas party. It seems though endlessly banging on about the importance of the shop being given tickets for these sort of events they are only available from Brown Paper Tickets  The first and only fair-trade ticketing company Not sure what that means but for £8.17 you can buy a £7 ticket and have your name left on the door. 

In a perfect world you would come into Avalanche for the Inspector Tapehead album or soon the Savings and Loan album and buy a ticket for the party at the same time. Yes we would charge a £1 booking fee but that still makes us cheaper and you get to support the shop that supports the music. A fair trade indeed !

I should say a big thank you to those who very much took on board what we said several months ago now about the support we needed and have been relentless in that support to keep an independent record shop alive and kicking in Edinburgh. It was this support that gave us the confidence to risk all and gamble on moving to a much bigger shop in the Grassmarket. 

So to sum up within the music industry the bar is set fairly low. Just don’t be a dick or a prick. We should maybe look to raise that bar slightly in the future. I’m sure Ally will look to exceed these minimum requirements. Vic is a tough act to follow and I wish Ally all the best.


Avalanche in-stores Saturday 20th November

To celebrate our move to the Grassmarket we will be having a day of in-stores on Saturday 20th November.

2.00pm  Desertersdeservedeath

3.30pm  The Last Battle

5.00pm  Kid Canaveral

Lots of special offers on CDs and loads of new vinyl just arrived too.

Spectorbullets in-store

Our first in-store of the new era will be by Spectorbullets this Tuesday 16th at 4pm so some of you may need to skive off work early.

“A magnificent combination of the old, new, familiar & unfamiliar.” Spectorbullets is the latest project from ex Fire Engines/WIN multi-instrumentalist, Russell Burn, and NYC-based Swedish singer/songwriter, Gustaf Heden.

Featuring contributions from fellow leftfield pop aficionados, Davy Henderson (Fire Engines/WIN/The Nectarine No.9/The Sexual Objects), Malcolm Ross (Josef K/Orange Juice/Aztec Camera) and the last vocal performance from musician, writer and visionary poet Paul Reekie, who sadly took his own life in June this year, this debut album is bristling with off-kilter pop nuggets with no obvious precedent – it is a magnificent combination of the old and the new, the familiar and the unfamiliar. Weirdly wonderful, off the wall and totally mesmerising in the time-honoured tradition of classic Scottish pop!


As many of you will be aware we have finally opened our new shop at No.5 Grassmarket. Thanks to everybody for their good wishes and so far favourable comments. Hopefully it has been worth the wait and it will very much be a work in progress until Christmas when we decide on a final lay out and the directions the shop will take. Those of you who have visited already will appreciate what an amazing space we have managed to secure and the possibilities that it gives us.

I will do my best to regularly update the website with news of how things are going and decisions that are to be made and I welcome as much feedback as possible. I’m putting the finishing touches to an Avalanche Manifesto listing all the things we will be doing and would like to do given enough time, manpower and money and that wil be available in the shop and on our website soon.

It has been more stressful than I ever imagined it would be and I had set the bar fairly high but support from bands and customers has so far been fantastic and is very much appreciated. We had a busy Saturday and next Saturday 20th November we have a day of in-stores with Kid Canaveral and The Last Battle already confirmed with more to be announced.

As they say watch this space !