19 April 2017
As we busy ourselves into Spring, we embrace our excitement like cheeky lambs poking out between the daffodils. See us gambol for your delight as you whizz past our field on the train of life!
In today’s news:
- May UK tour dates with C. Duncan!
- August 3-night run of SOUNDING with Lomond Campbell, Pumpkinseeds chamber strings, brass and voices!
- Last few days to watch us on the telly!
May UK Dates with C. Duncan
We’re delighted to be opening some UK dates for C. Duncan next month.
Have a listen to his lovely tracks here, we think these shows will be real fun, so please tell your pals across Northern Britain…
We’re taking a nice old 60s tube organ out on the road instead of the harmonium!
May 12: Manchester Band on the Wall
May 13: Sheffield Leadmill
May 14: Edinburgh Caves
We’re hosting a run of three very special shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August this year.
At SOUNDING we will play songs from our new LP (due early 2018), with arrangements by renowned ten-piece string section The Pumpkinseeds, brass and voices.
Our pal Lomond Campbell will perform his beautiful album Black River Promise in full with the strings, too.
SOUNDING will run for 3 nights – 20-22 August 2017 – during the Edinburgh Fringe, in the beautiful Stockbridge Church, a Georgian building with stunning acoustics.
We will have an exclusive publication and downloads given out free to ticket holders, and a cosy bar run by top venue The Glad Cafe.
50 ‘early-bird’ tickets at £8 (inc booking fee) are available here for each night.
Once sold, tickets will go on general sale at £12 through the Fringe Box Office. So we recommend you noise up your pals and book early, then you can spend what you saved on, say, a nice new pencil or something.
If you missed us on the telly last month, there are only a few days left to watch our set at the Quay Sessions on BBC iPlayer.
Thanks for reading, pals,
We hope to see you at one of these upcoming shows.
Also, if you don’t mind, we’d love it if you could share these dates to help us fill these gorgeous venues with warm and swaying bodies.
‘Til next time,
Emily, Rob, Pete and Joe
04 February 2017
OH MY GODDDDD, We had such a good time on tour! Far be it from us to mix our metaphors, but now that we have tinkled the piano keys of curiosity, and pumped up the inner-tube on the bicycle of happiness, that is to say, played some Proper Gigs in Proper Venues, we’re not quite sure what to do with ourselves, except endeavour to tread water as pyjama-clad swimming-badge-earners diving for the sunken brick of Glory, by writing more music, recording more songs, playing more gigs and being better people.
Here are some highlights of our jolly times. Many thanks go to Kenny and his immense band for having us. We got to play in magnificent, historic halls; our voices soared and our hearts swelled, and now we have so many photos of us looking like we’re being beamed up into space, it’s all we ever wanted. Here’s us scrapin’ and hollerin’ with KC and Lomond Campbell…
This from our Sage Gateshead show:
“their warmth soon engages those who have been sensible enough to arrive early, and the reaction rises from an appreciative ‘this could be interesting’ ripple of applause for their opening track, ‘Supercool’, to a full-on whooping and hollering for their last, ‘Ten White Horses’, which, like many of their tunes, starts slowly and quietly, then swells majestically with the aid of an almost military drumbeat and glorious group harmonies.” Box of Peppers
We particularly enjoy all this praise for our sweet harmonies, as these are the result of much courage, the band being mostly comprised of bookish types. And here from our homecoming gig at the Glad at which we were more than a little over-excited…
“The band exude a winsome giddiness that amplifies the wide-eyed joy of Everybody’s Saying’s chanted chorus, while the effervescent instrumental break on Father is a Craftsman, all cymbal splashes and cello arpeggios, is an absolute treat. But it’s the harmonies on the more wistful Ten White Horses that sets hairs tingling, earning an ecstatic response from a Glasgow crowd that, while more than a little bit impartial, knows a great gig when it sees it.” The Skinny
“Stand-out tracks from this hour-long set were “Father is a Craftsman”, definitely a bit of a Waterson/Carthy vibe there, but again totally original and magnificent. The vocal harmonies were standout, Emily’s voice smoky and expressive, the instrumentation sublime, sophisticated, adult …”Bottle Green” – pure subliminal magic, so evocative, right down to the core, the bones, of living life… no, MS have “it”, believe this.” Is this Music?
“debut album Swell to Great was shown off to wondrous effect, played almost in its ambitious entirety, complete with delirious chorales on Today’s Regrets and Bottle Green, and instrumentation including harmonium, synth, chime bells and baby toms” The Fountain
We had a chat with the Glasgow Evening Times looking back at a fun 2016, which you can read here.
In the meantime, our Kinks cover (‘Harry Rag’) is on the cover CD of this month’s MOJO. We had a lot of fun making it – typewriters and copicats… – and are chuffed to be in some fine company on a very enjoyable compilation.
We’ll have news of more new things soon…
03 January 2017
Morninnnggg! We awake unto the New Year with a sudden urge to cast off our knitting and throw ourselves into New Band Things with the vigour of January gym subscribers.
2016 was a great year for the band; personal highlights include, in no particular order: releasing our debut record; being embraced by the family Toad; launching our record in the Happiness Hotel; playing shows for Caught by the River; making a video in our pyjamas; recording some soon-to-be released tracks (the first for the MOJO March edition cover CD); hearing oodles of radio play; working with some truly good folks; driving in the van from Cornwall to Mull, Wales to Brighton; being part of the Earth Recordings Shirley Inspired record (and some Bert Jansch ones this year!); appearing in a few end-of-year lists; and, writing together and demo-ing our second LP, which we’re very excited about.
Some 2016 occurrences deserve their own mention:
MOJO, after giving us an effusive review for the record, named us in their top 50 albums (#19!) of 2016. Blimey. This didn’t really sink in until slightly later. We’re quite proud of it.
The List Magazine placed us at #74 in their ‘Hot 100’ of the Scottish cultural community in 2016. Ace!
Nicola Meighan, writing in The Herald, named Swell to Great as one of the best 12 LPs of the year. Brill!
We honed our live sound and got out on the road. We made Swell to Great as a recording project at first and it took a while to reconfigure ourselves. On stage, we figure all of us are using all of our limbs at all times.
We were invited on a UK tour with King Creosote. That’s now in 3 weeks time, and we’re limbering up. Here are the dates:
Jan 20th, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool (Tickets)
Jan 21st, Town Hall, Birmingham (Tickets)
Jan 22nd, The Barbican, London (Tickets)
Jan 23rd, Colston Hall, Bristol (Tickets)
Jan 24th, Tramshed, Cardiff (Tickets)
Jan 25th, Sage, Gateshead (Tickets)
Hurrah. All that remains is to wish you all a happy and fulfilling New Year, we look forward to filling your ears with more tunes before too long. Love, Modern Studies. xxxx
12 September 2016
After 18 months of recording, mixing, and artworking, we’re finally able to send Swell to Great off out into the world. You can get hold of it on vinyl, CD and download through Song, by Toad Records and at Monorail and Love Music in Glasgow, and VoxBox and Coda in Edinburgh.
Here’s what some kind people have said about it:
“There is a calmness in its melancholy, a beauty in its blues. These are songs that see the mystical beyond the material, abstracted folk ballads awash in memory.” ★★★★ – MOJO
“a treasure trove of songs that embrace, and transcend, place and time.” ★★★★ – The List
“an understated joy building into a magical climax of quirky brilliance… we predict it will be a contender for next year’s Scottish Album of the Year Award” – The Scotsman
We shot an LP trailer on shonky Super 8 in our rehearsal warehouse in Leith and at Port Eliot festival in Cornwall, in which Emily explains the background and ideas behind the record. It was premiered by Caught by the River here.
We did an interview with GoldFlakePaint recently, who have published it along with a full stream of ‘Swell to Great’. You can listen to / read that here.
Our (sold oot!) LP launch was on Saturday night in Edinburgh; we had a good time, and there’s a set of photographs from it up on photographer Andy Caitlin’s website.
We’ve played a bunch of shows this year, and it’s getting more fun / loud / together all the time… After a handful more shows in 2016, we’re off out to play in some beautiful venues with King Creosote in January 2017. Dates and ticket links below.
Sept 16th, Good Life Experience Festival, Caught by the River Stage, Flintshire, Wales (Tickets)
Oct 7th, Eastern Promise, Platform, Glasgow (Tickets)
23 August 2016
The ‘Swell to Great’ vinyl is here, and looking…well… *great*. You can order a copy here.
We’ve added a Glasgow date on the 7th October, at Platform for the Eastern Promise festival. Lots of interesting people playing, and more info here.
Here’s the new video for Father is a Craftsman, made by Emily.
3 August 2016
We’re back from Cornwall, where we played for our pals Caught by the River at the Port Eliot festival. A weekend of good music and food, sitting on straw bales in the sun and swimming in the river estuary.
We had a few days of playing at the Song, by Toad warehouse in Leith before the show (officially titled ‘The Happiness Hotel’ (it’s a Muppets thing), but we like the toddler named ‘Piano Barn’) amongst pipe organs and harpsichords.
The ‘Swell to Great’ live set is nice and tight, and ideas and sounds for the next record are starting to take shape. We’ll be launching the LP in the Piano Barn (ok, Happiness Hotel) on 10 Sept (tickets here), and will have a Glasgow show shortly after. We’ll then be off around the UK in early 2017, but more on that later.
We were very chuffed indeed to get a big old **** review in the September edition of MOJO Magazine. They said “There is a calmness in its melancholy, a beauty in its blues. These are songs that see the mystical beyond the material, abstracted folk ballads awash in memory”, which we’ll happily go with…
And last of all, we’ve a new single ‘Father is a Craftsman‘, which is getting a decent airing on BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio Scotland. Swell to Great LP and CD pre-orders are pottering on (the vinyl test pressings sounded great), and you can get hold of one here.
28 June 2016
‘Swell to Great’ is finished, mixed, mastered and away to be pressed into 12″ circles of wax by Song, by Toad records. You can pre-order it here. There’s a video for Dive-bombing here. We’ve recorded two new songs this summer for forthcoming Earth Recordings releases, more on those soon. And we’ve got a track ‘The Green Ray’ on the Folklore Tapes ‘Crown of Light’ release, last few copies here. We’ve got a new mailing list, which you can sign up to here. And plenty of gig news to come, just dotting and crossing the lines on a map of the UK’s best (cheapest) Premier Inns.
5th December 2015
So here’s the beauty, and where it all began. It creaks and drones, and we love it all the more for that. It has a character on the record we’re so proud of, it sounds full of purpose and effort, while a bit cracked and wheezy, swaying somewhere between altar and bingo-hall.
We squashed her into a van and drove her to Pete’s studio, where she now resides amid shelves stacked with mics and theremins and home-brew.
Touring poses a challenge we are yet to consider.