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[Aug 31, 2012] imp: The Unwinding Hours + Olympic Swimmers + Foxhunting (Aberdeen)

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interesting music promotions present:


Friday, 31 August 2012

The Tunnels (Room 1), Carnegies Brae, Aberdeen, AB10 1BF. Phone (01224) 211121

Doors 7.30pm

Advance Tickets £8 / £10 on door

Available from One-Up Records, Belmont Street, Aberdeen. Phone (01224) 642662 or online http://www.wegottickets.com/event/174932



In February 2010, from the ashes of Aereogramme, THE UNWINDING HOURS emerged, releasing their eponymously titled debut album, in typically unassuming fashion. Their new album ‘Afterlives’ will be released on 20 August on Chemikal Underground Records. You should buy it.

After the release of their debut album, a number of European tours and support slots with Idlewild, The Twilight Sad and Biffy Clyro, The Unwinding Hours made it known they would take their time writing and recording any new material. Craig went back to university to study Theology and Sociology while Iain concentrated on production and recording in his studio on the south side of Glasgow, but at least once a week Craig would bring new demos for them both to work on, and their sophomore effort slowly took shape.

Spurred on by a new found excitement for study, Craig claims this had a huge influence on the writing process. “I felt I was finally able to learn and absorb as much as I could but also use it to be able to articulate what I had been trying to express for years. Working with Iain at our own pace allowed us to experiment, try out new ideas and make sure we didn’t repeat ourselves”.

“We tried to tie ourselves to different time signatures, made some songs specifically guitar orientated, made others more synth based but also stripped it all back when necessary. We basically just had a ball throwing ideas around. You can hear a kitchen sink being battered by a piece of metal near the end of the first song so yes, we had a lot of fun.”

Personal responsibility, the fire of knowledge and experience, wrestling with belief and moving onwards are all themes that appear throughout the album. Musically, The Unwinding hours have also moved forward which the immediate and driving album opener “Break” makes clear. Influences such as the Flaming Lips, Max Richter, The Cocteau Twins and even Laurie Anderson can be heard in the heartfelt, questioning anthem of “The Promised Land”, the minimal but cinematic “Saimaa” and the complex layers of “Say My Name”.

The album artwork was taken from an etching by an American artist called Jack Baumgartner. It depicts the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel. Craig explains, “We thought Jack’s depiction was perfect for the front cover. I love the fact that the biblical story is so enigmatic and open to so much interpretation. These stories, as all things capable of stirring the imagination, continue to have an afterlife.”

With a strongly held belief that an album should be consistently engaging from start to finish, The Unwinding Hours have produced just that and have plans to continue making music for as long as it remains possible. They just might take their time doing so.



OLYMPIC SWIMMERS are a band based in Glasgow made up of Simon Liddell, Susie Smillie, Graeme Smillie, Jonny Scott and Jamie Savage. They recently released their first album ‘No Flags Will Fly’ on 4 June.

“I would describe our music as shoe-glancing indie that goes down the quiet/loud path, but with lots of wandering around along the way,” says vocalist Susie. “We're all agreed in our admiration of Low, Pavement, The Wedding Present, The National and Bonnie Prince Billy.” (The Skinny)

“Their familiar yet endearing sounds pay homage to myriad Scottish forebears, notably the Cocteau Twins, whose yearning distortion, disembodied vocals and celestial guitars are echoed on In This House; and perhaps indirectly, the picturesque folk-rock of early-90s Pearlfishers (Bricks of our Building) and the unsung guitar-pop of Wild River Apples (Apples and Pears).” (Nicola Meighan, The Herald)


FOXHUNTING is the solo project of one Joe Sutherland, a teenage singer-songwriter from Aberdeen, Scotland. Dealing mainly with acoustic guitar and vocals, he provides a visceral edge not often found in the folk-pop scene. Live shows combine energetic, foot-tapping music with soulful, emotional lyricisms.

He has supported the likes of Withered Hand, Woodpigeon, tUnE-yArDs, Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun, Juffage and Esperi since his first proper show in 2011.

Debut studio album ‘Come On Sweetheart, Take My Hand’ in October 2011 saw Foxhunting experiment with electronic music, providing a contrast to the organic and homemade noise captured on earlier EPs.

After a year's stay in Australia, Foxhunting is due to return to his home town in August.


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Reviews starting to come in for the new album which was released yesterday...

is this music?


‘Much-missed’ is a much-overused epithet, but for a time it seemed that fans of majestic and epic rock were sadly neglectedas the post-rock juggernaut that was Aereogramme ran out of steam. Fortunately for all concerned, the reappearance of one half of that act, under the guise of The Unwinding Hours, did enough via their first self-titled album to sate the masses’ demand.

Continuing, broadly, their former band’s modus operandi – delicate, ethereal works punctuated by occasional passages of brutally majestic full-on noise – it was a release to savour, and may have expanded further the reach of Iain Cook and Craig B.

The phrase “difficult second album” is often fully justified, but the apparent ease which the pair exude on this release renders those three words redundant in this context. ‘Break’s tinkling keyboards propelled by careering drum rhythms shows their versatility – an opening salvo which reveals an almost pop side… if pop was ever as lush and full as this.

Craig B’s stark vocal set-pieces were always an integral part of the Aereogramme oeuvre, and ‘The Dogs’ is one such example of the thread linking the two – raw and full-on, any enjoyment is tempered by the gut reaction it generates in the listener.

But the almost masochistic downs to this album are tempered by the highs, which hit home like a legal high with no comedown. ‘Skin on Skin’s industrial mettle is tempered by the fractured, understated purity of Craig B’s voice, while ‘I’ve Loved You For So Long’ harks back to almost jangly indie, but cut, again, with a harmony-laden swell that could bring a tear to the eye of Arria.

In fact, despite the intensity and the in-your-face emotion, Afterlives is a joyous listen simply due to its incredible production values, its songwriting, the musicianship on show. Let’s hope that The Unwinding Hours are here to stay.

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One couldn’t exactly call The Unwinding Hours a supergroup, but their story as musicians so far has not been run-of-the-mill. Craig B. and Iain Cook, both former members of the late, hugely-respected Glaswegian alternative band Aereogramme, have experienced the rise to underground stardom from its very roots once before, and are vehemently doing so again with The Unwinding Hours, a project they started in 2010 – three years after the demise of Aereogramme. Their first album – self-titled and widely acclaimed – was a mellifluous blend of cooed vocals and post-rock, beset with strings that echo elements of their work with Aereogramme, but with their upcoming release, Afterlives, the band have begun centering in on their own darker, more concise and, in many ways, more adult sound.

“The first album was influenced by the confusing period after Aereogramme split up and certain experiences in my personal life,” Craig tells me. “This time around I feel it’s a bit more influenced by what I’ve been studying [sociology and Theology], but I can write about personal experience as well so it touches on similar themes. Musically, my default time signature for writing songs seems to be 3/4 so I tried to force myself to write in 4/4 this time and we both tried to make things a bit faster and less fragile so we had a broader set to choose from. When you are supporting other bands and playing very quiet, intimate songs, it’s difficult to grab people’s attention so we now have a range of songs to choose from and can tailor the live set accordingly.”

“It’s been two years since the first one,” Craig continues, “which seems like a good enough time to leave between albums. I don’t think I thought that far ahead when we started working on new demos but I knew we had to get something out before I entered into my third year of Uni, but that’s been the only deadline we placed on ourselves. A lot of bands get tied into the cyclical rat race of having to release an album then tour, go straight back into the studio to then tour again. Since we got burnt out by that process in Aereogramme, we decided to approach it differently and just take our time. I’m finding it much more relaxed and enjoyable.”

I suggest that there must have been a lot of buzz around the band’s formation post-Aereogramme, asking if he feels that it’s died down a little now and if The Unwinding Hours has started building its own separate fan base. “I still get messages from people who liked Aereogramme but have only just found out we exist,” he responds “so I guess if there was a buzz, it was a quiet buzz. The first album was certainly helped because of the connection to Aereogramme, and if the initial buzz has died down, it might prove more difficult to create as much interest this time around.”

He continues, “I can’t help but feel there is now a lovely sense of connection and feedback you can get from Facebook and Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for anyone who takes the time to write about us in their publication or website, but the Internet allows for word of mouth to be an important network for us as well, and the type of people that seem to like us are usually passionate and kind enough to continually try and spread the word as much as possible. They are also usually the ones who fight to get us written about in publications as well so if any kind of buzz about us might have died down, that is just part of the process, and the Internet allows for the ripple effect to continue quietly in the background anyway.”

I bring up the booming Scottish music scene that Craig’s projects have been such an integral part of over the years, and ask if he feels it has been a good thing to be involved in. “Absolutely.” he replies. “When I was a long haired spotty ginger indie nerd, the only place I wanted to be was Glasgow because all my favourite bands were playing there. When I arrived, I found it was an incredibly creative and supportive place to make music and that really hasn’t changed in all those years.” Craig is emphatic in his praise of Glasgow’s music community. “There is an honesty about the music scene here that means if you are going to act like an arsehole, you will be treated like one, but if you go about your business like any decent human being should, then you are usually treated fairly and respectfully.”

Officially, there are only two members of The Unwinding Hours. I ask how the pair do things live, having compositions as many-layered and rich as theirs. “We hire in our friends to play with us” Craig explains. “Jonny [scott], who drums, and Graeme [smillie], who plays bass, both play for various other bands and have their own called Olympic Swimmers (who are a fantastic band and have just released their debut album). Brendan, the keyboardist, usually plays piano with Paul Buchanan, but plays with us live and helps us with our videos.”

It’s a very different setup from the studio, then? “I enjoy both the studio and live setting,” he tells me, “but they are both completely different challenges. We take our time recording and it feels like there is no real pressure when we are doing that. When you are slowly building a song up from scratch and you get to a place where you have managed to articulate something personal and are happy with the results, it’s a wonderful feeling but it certainly feels like an insular process. Touring is different. We arrange our own tours and do the driving ourselves so it can end up being an exhausting experience but it’s always worth it when you play to a lovely, receptive audience. There is no feeling like it when you have poured so much into the recording process and then are lucky enough to get a positive response from others.” He tells me about the band’s plans for the rest of the year after the release: “We release the album on 20 August and then tour during September in Scotland, Germany, Switzerland and France. No offers yet from England but we’re happy to play anywhere that we are able to.”

Upon being asked about the work that went into Afterlives in comparison to that of The Unwinding Hours, Craig paints a vivid picture of the prolific working lives of modern independent musicians. “I have been studying at Glasgow uni and working as a part time chef. Iain does production work for TV as well as many other bands, so in between doing those things, we would meet up and work on demos. We write and record as we go along, so when we gave ourselves a deadline we put time aside to record all the guitars and vocals in Iain’s wee studio. We travelled to a studio in England to record the drums and then Iain started the mixing process. While I was studying for my exams, he would send me mixes every night and we would discuss/argue about it all.”

There’s a heartwarming sentiment in his thoughts on what it takes to keep it all going, though: “It can be quite a difficult process to arrange, but it just takes a concentrated effort to keep on top of it – and the fact that we still love doing it makes it easier. We are no different from any other band out there, though. You find the time in between doing everything else that clutters up your life.”

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It won't be much later than the planned 10.30 finish Chris, certainly not after 11 (assuming everything goes to plan). Just a little extra changeover time. I'll post something up when I confirm all set lengths.

Ah that's cool. Friday night gig and promoters happy about lack of curfew made me worry you were aiming for a midnight finish.

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