Archive for May, 2013

Avalanche Album Club – hiatus definitely over !

Quickbeam album coverHot on the heels of the Public Service Broadcasting album comes the next album club choice. No great surprise to many of you I’m sure given the amazing response we’ve had to playing the album in the shop that we’ve gone with the Quickbeam album out on Monday.

Suffice to say we’ve ditched that “miserable boy indie” tag as we did the “Scottish Arcade Fire” tag and now Avalanche is all about the “new Scottish Sigur Ros” especially given our recent success with the Olympic Swimmers. Of course both bands are far more than that simple comparison and deserve to be heard in their own right. With the album available in “all good record shops” I’ll be interested to see how it does.   

Twitter Trolls

Several people have emailed and come into the shop concerned about the recent spate of twitter trolls. The first incidence seemed to last no longer than 24 hours before being taken down which I should say was nothing to do with me. Others I believe recognised who was behind it and I can only assume they were persuaded to take it down. The only person to comment on twitter as he was actually referenced in one of the tweets was Dan from Withered Hand who condemned the user as a troll.

However another account has appeared which as before I have simply ignored. What I have seen just seems to be a series of personal attacks and inappropriate comments. However what has concerned others is the followers for the abusive account something to be honest I hadn’t seen since it first appeared. I can not speculate as to why people have chosen to follow and it would be unfair to jump to conclusions. I agree it is maybe unwise to be seen to be associated or in agreement with the comments made but that may simply not be the case.

It has been suggested to me that I have the account taken down. Up until now of course I’ve never even blocked an account. After some consultation with others the advice has been just to continue to ignore it. The person or people involved may simply feel they have made their point and stop. We will no doubt see. Again thanks to those of you who have expressed concern.    

Scottish Record Store Day Shops

Apollo Music 48A Causeyside St, Town Centre Paisley PA1 1YH Mike Dean
Barnstorm Records 128 Queensberry Street Dumfries DGI 1BU Gordon Maxwell
Coda Music 12 Bank Street Edinburgh EH1 2IN Dougie Anderson
Concorde Music Shop 15 Scott Street Perth PH1 5EJ Garry Smith
Grooves 1 Albert Street, Kirkwell Orkney KW15 1HP Neil
Imperial Music Unit 11, Market Hall, Academy Street Inverness IV1 1PJ Mark Stumbles
Love Music 34 Dudas Street Glasgow G1 2AQ Sandy Mclean
McAlister Matheson 1 Grindlay Street Edinburgh EH3 9AT Anne McAlister
Mixed Up Records 18 Otago Lane Glasgow G12 8PB Peter Ashby
Monorail Music 12 Kings Court, Kings Street Glasgow G1 5RB Dep Downie
Underground Solushn 9 Cockburn Street Edinburgh EN1 1BP George
VoxBox Music 21 St Stephens Street Edinburgh EH3 5AN Darren
Europa Music 10 Friars Street Stirling FK8 1HA Ewen Duncan
Rubadub Records 35 Howard Street Glasgow G1 4BA Dan Lurinsky
Spence’s Music Shop 4 Buccleuch Street Hawick TD9 0MW Barry Spencer

I gave this list of other RSD shops to a few bands and have been asked several times since so it seemed easiest just to make it available here.

Please don’t just contact shops without any thought as to whether they might want to stock your release. There is one classical shop here and some dance and second hand shops so choose who you contact wisely. Almost certainly they will get too many emails to deal with so sending them your release rather than a link and giving them a quick call rather than emailing will pay dividends.

I found several mistakes in the details and can’t guarantee I’ve caught them all so if any more are spotted please let me know.

Pony rides in the Grassmarket Saturday 25th May

FLAMEDAD (2)As one of the initiatives to bring more people to the Grassmarket and surrounding area there will be free pony rides next Saturday afternoon from approximately 12.30pm to 3.30pm.  PUMPKINDAD (2)

Interview for Noisey/VICE about Boards of Canada 12″



Even though I knew they would only use a snippet from this I promised not to post it until the article was published.

Interview with Robert Ham for Noisey/VICE

— from the tone of the blog post, it sounds as if you knew you were getting a copy of the BoC record. Is that true? And if so, how did you know?
I had no idea. There was a huge expectation from others that we would get a copy but I’d actually been speaking to Warp in the previous weeks about repressing the BoC vinyl and there had been no hint of a new album never mind that we would be involved.
— What are you plans for the record? keep it for your own collection? Sell it? Give it away?
There was a yellow post-it sticker on the record saying sell me. It was sold to the first person who came in after it arrived. The barcode is for a “music has the right to children” CD so we sold it for £7.99. I’d actually had a conversation with the young lad who bought it about Warp (after he had bought an Aphex Twin 12″ and then a Grizzly Bear album the next week) about how Warp had kindly done a poster campaign in Edinburgh before Christmas tagging Avalanche so it seemed appropriate.
— What do you make of all of the hullabaloo stirred up by these releases and the upcoming BoC record?
I sort of saw it coming after the Godspeed release in terms of other bands upping the ante. My Bloody Valentine made a mess of it on several levels while Nick Cave left us all wondering for a few days after announcing and linking to his website before announcing a distributor and an exclusive vinyl for independents.
— Any thoughts about the young man who is selling his copy on eBay?
I’m confident the guy who bought our copy won’t do that. He has offered it back to the shop to display which we may take him up on. As for selling on eBay it is hard to judge someone when so much money is involved.
— Do you think we’re going to be seeing more promotional efforts like this in the future?
As I said about MBV and Nick Cave I think bands will continue to find new ways to announce their albums hopefully not too much at the expense of the shops that have supported them for so many years and helped them build up their fan bases. Godspeed sold their album at gigs first, MBV gave their album to very few shops indeed and many shops took the stance that it was not their job to chase after the band asking for stock. Nick Cave announced a box set only from his website while giving independents a limited LP + 7″. BoC have given independents a limited CD with 3 art cards which is appreciated I’m sure. Promoting an album in an innovative way is one thing. Trying to maximise D2C sales is another !

SAY award – Something for the Weekend

SAY awardsIt goes without saying that all awards ceremonies are bollocks as there is no sensible way for votes to be cast. Either  the public vote in which case it is who is best at getting votes using social media or a select jury vote in which case a fair amount of politics will inevitably take place.

What something like this can do though is help raise an artist’s profile and it is a shame that in an attempt to make sure all genres are represented the smaller indie bands with the great albums are often squeezed out. Bottom line however is a great album won last year even if the publicity afterwards was pish poor so until it goes to Emeli Sande and we all demand a recount it should be given another chance.

Quality wise I can hardly complain as 10 of Avalanche’s top 30 for 2012 appear and while it is a bit “last year” for us many of these albums are still good sellers for us. If anything the problem is that it tips off HMV and FOPP to things we sell every month.  

This has to be about reaching new listeners and not simply preaching to the converted and sales will be the judge of that. We have had a good run selling many of these so much as it pains me I have to hope they now sell in large quantities elsewhere be that physically or as a download. So come this weekend spend a little time investigating the albums in the long list and then hope that a select few huddled in a darkened room “do the right thing”. Who would I pick ? No one can ever know. 

Pony rides in the Grassmarket Saturday 25th May

Santa's poniesI don’t have all the details yet but there will definitely be free pony rides in the Grassmarket on Saturday 25th May. After the successful trial before Christmas when people were happy just to have their photos taken with the ponies the Greater Grassmarket BID organisers have managed to get permission for pony rides in the Grassmarket. Not only that but they will be funded with BID money hopefully attracting enough people to the area that they will continue to be free in the future.

I don’t have a starting time yet but I would expect it will be either a noon or 1pm start and last three hours. This won’t by any means be the only thing planned and there will be regular markets and events most weekends. A full list will be published soon I’m told.

You don’t have to be Mary Portas to improve the experience of high street shopping and luckily the Grassmarket has far more going for it than most. While visitors to Edinburgh always make sure to visit years of tram works have stopped people from surrounding areas coming into Edinburgh to shop. Hopefully that can now change and nowhere will you find as many independent traders as you will in the Greater Grassmarket area.

Sadly my slogan was deemed to be unsuitable. I went with

“Don’t go to shopping centres they are even worse than Princes Street. Come to the Grassmarket for great independent retailers”  

Not a great slogan I admit but to the point !

I reckon once we work out how kids can have their photo taken on a pony in front of the castle we’ll be onto a complete winner. 

Grassmarket Music Festival

SONY DSCSome of you may remember the Grassmarket Music Festival just over two years ago which was meant to be a trial run for something much larger given Edinburgh Council had claimed to have put in enough power for a U2 concert when they had pedestrianised the Grassmarket.

However this was part of the BID (Business Improvement District) application and that was delayed a year. That went through in February and they are now ready for that U2 concert or something similar this September. More news to follow. Our Mark E Smith lookalike may return but this time he will need a ticket !  

Cake Shop NYC in Edinburgh

RecordStore11GTTo say it would be a coup to have a Cake Shop in Edinburgh would be an understatement. They are not short on offers but with Avalanche’s reputation combined with a location to die for it wasn’t too hard a sell. We are both well aware of the hard work needed to make any new venture a success even if it will be based in a well established shop and are very keen to talk to any interested parties looking to get involved especially on the sponsorship side of things.

With locations in New York and Edinburgh the promotional opportunities are many and it goes without saying this would seal the Grasmarket’s claim to be the place to head for with so many amazing independent shops including the legendary Armstrongs for vintage clothing and Red Dog for musical instruments. At the moment we are still working out the details but are very interested to hear other people’s ideas. We would really like to get things going as soon as possible so may well have the Cake Shop as a pop up while we finalise the details to make the move permanent.

Clearly this would be fantastic news for those more ambitious bands looking beyond the Edinburgh/Scottish scene and I’m sure our good friends in Glasgow and beyond would benefit too. Much more on this as soon as things are finalised.

Avalanche in NYC @ Cake Shop

Cake Shop

manhattan – lower east side


When I first mooted the idea of moving to the Grassmarket the immediate response from every band who had either been to the Cake Shop in New York or had ambition to play there was that we should look to them for inspiration. It seemed a little ambitious given they were a cake shop, record shop venue and bar but I certainly understood what they meant.

Fast forward two years and the comparison was starting to take shape. We had had a couple of successful “proper” gigs in the shop and the overwhelming vote for what we did with the shop’s space at the front was for a “proper” cafe. I’d realised that if we were to go down that route it had to be done as almost a separate venture rather than simply as an extra for customers as we had tried.  

So you can imagine my surprise when who walks into the shop a month ago but Nick Bodor one of the owners of the Cake Shop and over here for a wedding with his Scottish wife. When he then says they are keen to work with Avalanche and he doesn’t even know our plans it seems just too good to be true !

So how will it work ? First of all to celebrate our new partnership there will be a split single with more to come on a regular basis. With a Cake Shop band on one side and an Avalanche band on the other it will immediately give any band chosen an international profile. Kept realistically limited it will be sure to be a success.

Nick was keen to have Avalanche nights in the Cake Shop and we will be looking at how we can get bands over to New York for this at a reasonable cost. Certainly with their extensive contacts Nick will make sure bands have a series of gigs to play once they make it over. Of course I will be happy to help New York bands coming over here. I’ve already had offers of sponsorship for free hotel accommodation so we just need to get the free flights !

Avalanche will provide the Cake Shop with sampler CDs of our favourite bands to play in the bar/shop and again with sponsorship these could be made available to their customers for free. On top of this Avalanche will have an area in the Cake Shop to promote and sell our best albums. It will give bands a genuine chance to put themselves in front of people looking for new music in one of the best places in New York for new music. I’ve long said that what bands need is new people to hear their music and then be able to buy it and this of course ticks both those boxes. We have other exciting ideas but I think you will agree that is enough for now !    

Next – Cake Shop in Edinburgh