Dauphin A Music Blog/Zine About Edinburgh's Local Bands and Artists.
Dauphin was a music blog/zine focusing on Edinburgh's local bands and artists.
Content is from the site's 2010 -2012 archived pages providing a small glimpse of what this site offered its readership.
Dauphin Magazine is a music blog and digital magazine focused on promoting and reviewing local signed and unsigned acts in Edinburgh.
I try and champion as many of the brilliant musicians in the city as possible, though sometimes I look at artists from further afield. You can follow me on Twitter here and if you know a band that deserves a mention – or you’re in a band, send me an email at email@example.com. Sometimes I publish other writers’ stuff too.
About the rating system; at the bottom of reviews, you’ll see the Dauphin logo, cropped horizontally. If a band fills up letters in the logo that’s what it’s score is (so three stars might equate to DAU, whilst seven would be the whole word).
If you fancy writing anything for the site – I’m always looking for more material – then send me an email.
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A 2020 Update: I loved the year I spent abroad studying at the University of Edinburgh in 2011. The teaching methods there were a combination of lectures and tutorials/seminars with smaller groups of people. Although I am now living in NYC I still keep in touch with a number of people whom I met there. One thing we all shared while at the University of Edinburgh was our love of music. We would go to as many festivals as possible. Scotland music festivals provided us with a cultural treat, from traditional Celtic music to classical and pop music, in a variety of venues. To keep on top of the local music scene I would check out the posts on Dauphin. I can't begin to count the number of dives We would go to to listen to some obscure band Dauphin would mention. Some were really great. I often wonder what has happened to them and how new bands/ musicians are coping with the restrictions imposed due to Covid 19. It must be painful not to be able to perform in front of live audiences in a small venue or club.
Living through the initial surge of Covid 19 in NYC was surreal. And although the city reopened slowly in the Fall, the US certainly does not have the pandemic under control. Can't wait till a vaccine is readily available to the general public. I'm glad I am not going to school now. The experience would be so different.
I have been fortunate that I have been able to continue working from home as a graphic designer for websites. Recently a new client (hooray), asked me to work with their SEO consultant. They had hired this company, SEO ZEN NYC, to optimize search ranking for online casino key words order such as selected slots to gain more visibility and get more sign ups at their online casino affiliate site. I had to try out some of the slot games that I created weekly promos for, but it turned out if you live in New York, you are blocked from signing up to play with real money. So I play the free games instead with "free money" which allows for some pretty wild betting. The only down side is you can never collect your winnings.
Meanwhile, I get my daily fix of music via Youtube, and my social contact fix via mostly Facetime. Life is sooo strange right now.
Jul 18 2012
Lucky Dip #3
I hope you’re feeling lucky – because we’re up to our third instalment of the Lucky Dip feature.
The SubFamily Alliance Summer Sampler is a ten track compilation album. Someone from America, a member of this collective, emailed me about this record they’ve released with bands from that area – it’s free from their Bandcamp page. I have also embedded the first track below.
Glasgow indie rockers We Are The Physics have released a new single in anticipation of their forthcoming second album. They describe themselves as ‘science punks’ – I don’t know why. I don’t think they’re scientists. Either way, because SoundCloud messes up the site, I won’t embed to the track – but a link to Applied Robotics (the name of the song) is here.
The Winter Tradition, whose last single I reviewed here, release their debut album tomorrow. There’s a launch show on at Cabaret Voltaire on that night, too. You can buy the album from their site here. Their form of indie rock has been gaining plaudits in all sorts of places, as have their Glaswegian contemporaries Fatherson, so the album should make quite the splash.
Father Sculptor are releasing a new song every fortnight this summer. One of these songs is Rhein, which I’ve embedded below and which you can download for free. Their sound is a nice fusion of jangle pop and minimalistic guitarmanship; a very interesting listen.
Sorry, this track or album is not available.
Song of the Day #70
It’s our seventieth Song of the Day. Today’s track is Anti Lover by Satellite Stories. They’re Finnish! Every band member is blonde! It’s sung in multiple languages!
Jul 11 2012
Song of the Day #69
I’m going to make today’s Song of the Day a double fixture. First up, we have The Pictish Trail’s new song Michael Rocket. The second track I’ve picked up is the new single from Bloc Party, Octopus. Have fun!
Jul 09 2012
Something for the Weakened
One of Edinburgh’s finest acts release their new album in seven days time. Something for the Weakened, Meursault’s third album, is out on the 16th of July on Song, By Toad Records. To read my full review, click the “Continue Reading” button below.
Dauphin needs you!
Hello, readers. I need your assistance. Throughout the Festival Fringe, I’ll be writing reviews for one of the Fringe magazines. I plan on reposting each review of a live act onto Dauphin from their website, and during this time the site will be in full-Fringe mode.
I’m not just going to use the site for dumping reviews on. I want to use Dauphin to show where and when every band in Edinburgh is playing – a collated listings, I suppose. I’ve begun emailing the bands I know are active in Edinburgh, but as always, there are many acts I haven’t come into contact with or whose email addresses I don’t have.
This is where you come in: if you play in a band, or represent an act that will be playing in Edinburgh in August, I need to hear from you.
When I have enough data, I’ll post the listings online in a sticky post using Google Fusion; there’ll be a special masthead for the period too, for those people that get excited about fonts.
To be included in the Dauphin Fringe Listings, please tell me the name of the band, where they are playing, and when – this is best delivered via email
Battery Face are a three-piece rock band from Glasgow, who are releasing their debut album, Addams Family Values, at the end of the month. The album is being released jointly by DIY labels Dirty Beard and Electropapknit. Recently, they supported Jesus H. Foxx at their album launch. On the back of their new album, however, they deserve a closer look.
Jun 28 2012
Song of the Day #68
Today’s Song of the Day is These Butterflies Are Here by A Dark Horse. It’s a really gorgeous video that uses stop-motion photography, a really cool house and some lovely music.
According to the band, it is “based on the idea of how we change our lives in the unknown, as the symbology of our past and futures meet to do battle – it’s in this plain that all our hopes, fears & dreams are made.”
I’d be quite put out if I came home one day and found that my flatmates had dumped leaves in all the rooms, though.
Jun 24 2012
I’ve been listening to a varied selection over the last few days – for instance, the BBC’s dramatisation of Ulysses; the frantic, scared chirps of a pair of blackbirds, who having nested in a hedge in the back garden, were distressed to discover my cat waiting patiently outside their little home. I’ve also been listening to Birdhead’s new single, out on Gamma Proforma tomorrow.
June 10, 2011
Interview: Black International
An interview from a couple of weeks ago with Black International.
How did the act form & how long have you been playing on the Edinburgh scene?
Craig and I started the band way back in 2006 to play some songs I’d written in my bedroom; we booked our first show at the Wee Red Bar in October that year and things started moving from there. We’ve had our share of bad luck which meant we lost some of our initial momentum a couple of years in; bass players coming and going, personal injuries and illnesses… we had quite a run of negative occurrences for a while! The current lineup has been in place since the start of 2010 when Gavin joined, and we’ve made a lot of progress since then. Things feel a lot more stable now, it’s nice to feel like the whole thing isn’t going to fracture at any moment.
Who are the best bands on the local scene – the ones you go and see, the ones you’d actually buy CDs from?
Recently I’ve enjoyed seeing the Young Spooks, Snide Rhythms, Jackie Treehorn, Muscletusk… anything with a bit of spunk or imagination. We can all get bored quite easily at gigs, it’s nice when something out of the ordinary grabs your attention.
What’s your favourite venue for playing in, and what’s your favourite venue for watching a gig in?
Our favourite venue for both is probably the Wee Red Bar, we’ve played there over half a dozen times since that first gig. The staff are lovely, there’s never any hassle, you can book the venue for free on a Friday, the PA system is decent… the list goes on. If Edinburgh University decide to shut it down based on the recommendations of some accountants, we and many other groups will be absolutely gutted; the place has a cultural significance that can’t be quantified by a guy in a suit, and it would be disastrous for local bands if it closed.
Where/when (and why) was the best gig you’ve played in Edinburgh?
Our second ever gig was at a night called Dfrnt Drum at Cabaret Voltaire and was particularly crazy for some reason, it definitely sticks in my mind. We played on the floor at about 2:30am to people who’d never heard us before and were really getting into it. Plus we got paid, were given free beer and the use of a dressing room; it completely spoiled us very early on.
If your act was an animal, Pokemon, mythical creature or superhero – which one would it be?
If we’re talking mythical creatures, then probably Medusa, as she’s a bit sexy, a bit ugly and a bit dangerous all at the same time. I’m referring to the music, obviously, not us personally. We’re just straight up sexy without the other bits.
October 23, 2010
Song of the Day #18
Today’s Song of the Day is Straight Towards The Sun by Newton Faulkner, from his debut album Handmade By Robots. The change in video is because I don’t want to embed crappy videos with just some still artwork and bad sound quality from somebody else’s YouTube account. Basically, I’ll now be using this sunny autumn shot of George Square and just throwing some music behind it, so you guys can listen and carry on with what you’re doing, or look at something nice, without feeling obliged to watch the official video or suffer horrific audio quality. The videos are on our new YouTube channel here.
October 20, 2010
Song of the Day #17
Today’s Song of the Day is Romeo & Juliet by Dire Straits. If you’re feeling talkative, why not post your own suggestions of songs influenced by Shakespeare? That awful country-western track by Taylor Swift doesn’t count, by the way….
October 19, 2010
Song of the Day #16
Today’s Song of the Day is Hooting & Howling by Wild Beasts.
October 18, 2010
eagleowl @ Roxy Art House
Tonight, eagleowl are headlining a five-band setup in aid of the Pakistan Flood Relief campaign at Roxy Art House, that crumbling, tumbledown venue tucked away in the shadows of the Old Town. They’re joined byIliop, The Douglas Firs, Alistair Roberts and The Wee Rogue, and once again the little basement room is packed to the brim.
First on is Iliop – the alias for one-man experimental electronic act Pete McConville who, at first sounding nervous and lonely on stage, thaws the audience into rapture. His music is evocative and weird, and conjurs abstract images like those of motorways where the cars are nought but streams of light; it’s not long before you’re lost in the siren-song of the ghostly audio he’s beaming out into the room. McConville never stops moving – setting up the next loop to come in at the right moment or fiddling with the wires laid around his feet; the detritus of soundchecks – guitar cables, pint glasses and instrument cases. It’s a crowded stage for one man, but he manages to make the air vibrate with some sort of cosmic, digital energy.
Moving on, the Douglas Firs step up and make their mark on the night. I’ve seen them before and every time I listen to them, they grow on me. Tonight they’re like a sudden July storm that’s been brewing for days and then the lightening is upon you with three guitars each throwing thunderclap punches; each new track washes over your mind like a crashing wave on the beach and you’re caught in its chaos theory curl. They play a couple of songs from ethereal The Haunting EP and a few others, and then they are gone – as sudden as the first explosive chords, they fade and their beautiful haunting power has passed; skies are clear for the next act.
The Wee Rogue – or Jamie, as he introduces himself – slithers onto stage like he doesn’t want to be seen by the crowd but what appears to be initial unconfidence soon becomes an asset. His songs are heartfelt and delicate and sparing; the lyrics more alike to slam poetry than a folk ballad, and his cute Scots tilt adds another flavour to the well-crafted, bespoke songs he threads with his modest acoustic guitar melodies. Neither poppy nor new-folk, Jamie O’Connor is indeed a little rogue – he sings with a silken intimacy, careful longhand in his songs reveal a subtle magic, and the listener is enchanted.
Alistair Roberts, the near-mythical folk man from Glasgow, appears with a wonderfully worn guitar and a set of vintage-valued songs. Based heavily on traditional ballads, the tragic rough vocals and his woven earthy guitar make his short set a one to remember; patchwork iconography and woollen aural aesthetics are the mode du jour. And finally, to round off the night, eagleowl “headlining by default” are on stage with their own small set. They’re currently catching alight in terms of press attention, garnering support from The Scotsman and The Skinny, have released a few singles. This two-piece cello and guitar band is on its way up in the world. Think Sparklehorse or The Miserable Rich and while they’re mostly similar at face value to The xx, (albeit clearly detached from the r n’b influences) they’re wonderfully distinct from anything you’ll have heard; at the same time slotting perfectly into anti-folk indie canon but retaining a pure, unique voice of its own.
Nevertheless, their sound is undeniably, almost uncomfortably confidential; when lead vocalist Bart sings in his hushed, shadowy manner it’s almost as if they’re opening a door on some innermost secret. Their lyrics are entwined with raw emotion and feeling like a vine growing up the side of an old house, rooted right into the mortar and brick. Put simply, they sound beautiful, absolutely beautiful. It’s private and gorgeous and crystalline and you don’t want them to stop playing when they are finished.
Rating: Iliop DDD, Douglas Firs DDDDD, The Wee Rogue DDDD, Alistair Roberts DDDD, eagleowl DDDD
October 13, 2010
Strawberry Ocean Sea
Strawberry Ocean Sea are a alternative act in the mould of mountain-dwelling indie kids Woods or the euphoric Aussie band The Temper Trap. Formed from the remnants of a previous, similarly hotly tipped band called The Apple Scruffs, they’re from Glasgow (but are playing Wee Red Bar soon, so they get a mention), have recently been featured in The Sun’s Ones To Watch section (they scanned the article and uploaded it here), and were recently endorsed by Glasvegas frontman James Allan. Oh, and the band name was part-inspired by a dream, part-inspired by a Paul McCartney album – like all good things in life.
The opening riff to Enough is Enough could be mistaken for a Pigeon Detectives intro, but it comfortably moves into territory occupied by more experimental groups – although lead singer Jonny Skinner’s vocals are very much in the style of Dougy Moudagi (Temper Trap) or a young Bono, they’ll also remind you of Beach House‘s Victoria Legrand – especially on the less guitar driven tracks like Do It. Although unsigned, their demos on their MySpace page are pretty decently recorded – and if anything, the rough-hewn, DIY sound quality brings out the banshee in Skinner’s voice – giving the band a certain waif-like quality that sets them apart from other guitar-indie bands on the circuit. For an unsigned band their sound is remarkably fully-formed – give ‘em a listen.