24 June 2010

Peenko Exclusive: Kid Canaveral: Shouting At Wildlife - Track By Track

It's not very often that I can come on here and say that I have a genuine exclusive for you kids, but today is different. This week has been a pretty amazing week on ye olde Peenko Blog, on Monday, after waiting about a year to re-apply/get my act together, I finally got myself on Hype Machine. Now this might not mean much to you guys, but it meant a lot to me.
Even more excitingly, we have this little gem of a post (my ramblings excluded), we have the amazing Kid Canaveral talking us through their forthcoming album 'Shouting At Wildlife'.

As I have stated previously, I don't do reviews. I am not a musician, nor a journalist, so I don't think it would be fair for me to critique someone else's hard work. I can however, tell you all about the stuff that I really like. Having heard this album come together as the band worked on it in the studio, I am so chuffed about how it sounds. Yes, I could be accused of bias, but quite frankly I don't care as this is one of my favourite albums of 2010. A true Scottish-pop classic in the making, I really hope some of you out there love this album as much as I do.
Now it's time to pass you over to the Canaverals to let them talk you through their debut album in their own words...

Good Morning

01 Good Morning by Kid Canaveral

David: This seemed the logical choice to open the album. We frequently open the set with it, as it sets the tone for our live show and probably for the album as well. It’s up-tempo, occasionally raucous, but consistently melodic. I was uncomfortable about the swearing at first and actually re-recorded the vocals without it, but a wiser head than I convinced me not to sanitise it by questioning me along the lines of: "you’ve played it like that for a long time, do you feel less strongly about it now?". I didn’t want to seem needlessly crass, but I think it’s justifiable.

Kate: I think the title alone makes this an album opener but it is definitely a good intro to us as a band too.

Rose: I think this might be my favourite song to hear and to play, it never fails to make me happy when everything kicks in.

You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night

D: This was just the "Las", the chords and (some of) the lyrics when we went to record it. We messed around with the structure a wee bit and then settled on something that we all thought really worked. Kate worked a Kaossilator loop into it, we got the Wild Life choir on it (6 ably-lunged women) and it's turned into something we're incredibly happy with. It’s pop music, Jim, but maybe people with SERIOUS RECORD COLLECTIONS can like it. (That was meant to be a 60s Star Trek reference. I don't think this is AyeTunes). Arguments in relationships are fun, aren't they? Especially towards the end.

K: This is the most fun song (ignoring the heartache that inspired David obviously!) on the record for me. The drums are ace and when the last verse comes in it just makes me feel incredibly happy.

Scott: This is definitely one of my favourite tunes on the album. I think David, Kate and Rose had messed about with the vocal riff before I joined. When David lived in Glasgow we used to go to the studio during the week to jam and the drum licks evolved from one such session. It took some time to get a distinctive structure that made the tune flow but once we found it we were very happy.

R: The la's were recorded crowded round a microphone on a deserted set of a low budget production of 'The Wiz'. I think it really shows.

Left and Right

D: I REALLY love how this turned out.

K: I am dead pleased with this too. I like pop music - I especially like pop songs with fun backing vocals and storytelling led lyrics. This is my attempt at one of 'em! It's a pretty universal (and sappy) story - boy/girl chance meeting type of thing. Obviously my proudest moment on this tune is that I managed to get "rubber gloves" into the lyrics. I love David's solo on this - it reminds me of super jangly indie pop from the late 80s/early 90s. I can't quite remember how this song came about. What usually happens is I record a pretty shoddy demo, then the real musicians (the rest of the band!) come along and make it sound good. We also tend to double the speed of anything I've recorded in demo form!

D: There should be a limit to the amount of self-deprecation Kate is allowed. The song was there, I just suggested speeding it up...

S & R: Ditto.

Cursing Your Apples

D: When we were writing for the album, I was trawling through some old demos we had on a portastudio. I came across an unfinished song that Kate had recorded and pinched the chorus from it as it settled nicely, lyrically and musically, with the beginnings of a song I that I was working on. The pained "yaaaaaaas!" at the end is me, as this was another song we’d finished writing in the couple of days before actually recording it, and, as we like to try and keep overdubs to a minimum this was take 20-something. That's why we left it in. A long couple of hours, but I think worth it in the end. The majority of the lyric is spawned from an hilarious conversation overheard by a friend of ours.

K: The chorus bit was actually part of the second song I ever wrote, probably in 2003 I think. I’m pleased we got to use it, I think it’s one of the only songs where David and I have lyrically combined stuff. It worked out pretty well so hopefully more of that to come.

S: We recorded this tune in the studio without a click as Gal suggested that the spontaneity and vibrance of the original demo recordings might be lost. We all agreed but it did take a fair amount of takes due to my inability to nail the final fills. I still can't remember how many times the middle 8 and the outro fills are played...

R: We have a tendency to play this as fast as we humanly can when playing live, if anything adding to the joie de vivre I associate with this song. That and bass-hand cramp.

Smash Hits

05 Smash Hits by Kid Canaveral

D: Our Debut single. Threats were made by some if this wasn't included on the album. I had my reservations about putting it on, but as Jeff Bridges says in ‘Crazy Heart’... "this song's been good to us". I'm paraphrasing. An observed night at the 13th Note CafĂ© in Glasgow: Boy likes girl, Girl has made poor musical choices, Boy goes over the top in his musical criticism and ends up with a faceful of cinematic snackage and his jotters. A pop tune with it's tongue in the right place... Recorded for the 7" version at CaVa sound in Glasgow. I re-sang the vocals at Chem19 during the sessions for our 2nd, 3rd and 4th singles as I was never happy with them due to the time constraints and illness I had during the original recording.

K: I was definitely one of the advocates for this being on the album. I think it has stood the test of time – I am still excited about playing it live.

Quiet Things Are Quiet Now

06 Quiet Things Are Quiet Now by Kid Canaveral

K: This is the only song that I recorded myself at home. I was a bit scared that it wouldn't fit in with the rest of the album but I'm actually really happy with how it turned out. You have no idea how many vocal takes I did - ridiculous - much better getting a professional in to record these things for you! This one's a bit of a sad one and a bit less narrative based than most of the stuff I write. I rather selfishly chose to play every instrument and do every vocal myself. Luckily I had the wondrous Kaossilator to help me out so I use the term "play" very loosely indeed, and you'll notice that I didn't attempt any drumming. Phew.

D: It's nice to know when you're not wanted, isn't it? ;) I think it sits perfectly at the centre of our record. If any of the formats this is available on had sides, this would be the end of Side 1. S: I think it would take away from the mood of this track to have too much percussion - a very selfless position for a drummer, I know.

R: I was pretty offended.

And Another Thing!!

07 And Another Thing!! by Kid Canaveral

D: This is one of those songs that gets written in about 20 minutes. I was sitting in the first proper sun of the year last March messing about with some chords and I just started playing the chord progression for this and humming a melody. It’s a song about necessity, dependency, desire, pigheadedness and failure. This was the first time I had managed to write a song in 11 months. I had been suffering from severe writers block. Ali Davison provides Viola on this. It sounds like there a quite a few more stringed instruments beyond the viola and guitars in the middle, but it is just one viola and a few reverbed, distorted and delayed guitars. I'm really happy with it. I can hear all sorts in the white noise and reverb towards the end. Ali also plays Keys on a good few of the songs on the record and provided the Viola on 'Stretching the Line' from the 'Left and Right' E.P. She's a talented young woman.

K: I very much enjoy the massiveness of this recording. The end is nuts. In a good way.S: The dynamics of this track are wonderful and this is another one that I feel evolved quite a lot whilst we were recording with Gal - very much down to many hours put in by the guys, often into the wee hours of the morning. My contribution was very often to turn up with a hangover and moan.

R: I very much enjoyed Kate and I shrieking 'and another thing' like the harpies we are - the final take is considerably more angelic than it was originally.

On Occasion

D: A relatively old song compared to most of the album. One of the first we recorded for the Album along with ‘And Another Thing!!’, ‘Good Morning’ and ‘Left and Right’ with Gal at the old 4th Street Studios. I love the drums on this. The female backing vocals add a nice ethereal quality to them. Punk Enya. I think we need a sticky label for our album along the lines of "Parental Guidance: This Record contains four sweary words"

K: We haven’t played this live for at least a year so you should all come along to the album launch (Saturday 3rd of July at the Roxy, tickets are available here) and see how we get on. I am amazing at subtle plugs.

S: Recorded before my time and I'm pretty sure it has been played very differently by the last two guys. That being said it is nice to introduce your own style and this has become one that I really enjoy playing live.

Talk and Talk

K: This was another demo that David, Rose and Scott worked their magic on, turning what was a rather forlorn acoustic number into a full-on pop assault. Rose says the lyrics sound like they have been written by someone who doesn't speak English as their first language. I've decided to take this as a compliment (!) - it is a homage to J-pop. Or something. I was especially pleased with the backing vocals - I think they completely make the song. This is going to be one of the harder ones to replicate live as we played around with the drums quite a lot (adding glitchy filters etc) and David did about a million guitar overdubs too. Hopefully we'll be able to pull it off.

D: After me saying we like to keep overdubs to a minimum, too... I think the choruses on this are especially brilliant. Spangly pop music. The original demo had a stylophone on it. I don't know why we got rid of it. The drums on the first verse sound like they have been through a fancy trebly filter (which is what we were looking for) but the effect we settled on was simply the guide vocal microphone that had been left on in the same room as the drums. We came across it by accident.

S: In terms of percussion, this is stripped down minimalist drumming which is (I think) extremely effective in complimenting the rest of the arrangement.

R: I LIKE the fact it sounds like it was written by someone who doesn't speak fluent English. Like Shakira, or Dappy from N'Dubz.

Couldn't Dance

D: Our second single. It’s like a cross section from a bad night out, not seen entirely from the first person either. Personal experiences mixed with the experiences of others. The stupidity that can arise from our culture of getting hammered, emotional and engaging in, and saying, things we’ll later regret. This is the original recording from our sessions with Andy Miller at Chem 19 remixed by Gal at 4th street so that it sat with the rest of the album. One of the most fun songs to play live...

R: I love the stamping kick drum on this, and if I hadn't already said the same about Good Morning, this would be my favourite track to play live.

Her Hair Hangs Down

D: Entirely written during the recording sessions for the album. Well, with an older, adapted lyric. It started with me and Gal taking a break from recording "Talk and Talk" and filling our "break" messing about with a recorded loop of my guitar played with an ebow. The loop isn't as prominent as it was on the original. We stripped it down after we got a bit carried away. It's still audible in the final verse. The finished song is a great example of why Gal was such an asset to the Album, and such a joy to work with. Lyrically, it’s about one of the times where you stop and have a look at everything around you and everything that’s happened in the past few years. Taking stock of the things that have happened when it seems like you’ve been on Autopilot, and taking time to try and work out how you got to the point you’re at now. Thankfully, I no longer map the passage of time using mould.

K: The contrast between this and the previous track is pretty stark, but I think it makes sense. A good way to start the end of the album.

S: In my opinion, written by David close to time he wrote "Stretching The Line", which I adore, this track is similarly melancholy but also uplifting at the same time. I loved contributing vocally and especially enjoy being able to play guitar when we perform this live. It's not very often a drummer gets "released" from behind his kit...

Good Morning (Reprise)

D: I know bands occasionally come in for stick for having a reprise as it is seen as self-indulgent or a filler or whatever, but I had an idea for a nice mash up of an old Kid C song from one of our old demos WAY back when we first starting out. It was in the same key as 'Good Morning' and I had some ideas to make it a sombre finish to the album with a reprise of a lot of the elements of the opening track. I recorded it at my old flat in Glasgow. It pulls together a couple of musical and melodic aspects from the album: the key and main melody from 'Good Morning' and a similar vocal rhythm to the choral section of "You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night". I thought it was an appropriate closing track due to the lyric at the death, and I think it is strong enough not be just a bit of throwaway filler. I hope we've made an album rather than just a collection of songs. That's one of the reasons we didn't put absolutely everything we've released on it. It would then be boring, repetitive and a bit of a rip-off for people who'd already bought our other releases. There are a few songs I'm not too sad about leaving in the past, too.

Shouting At Wildlife is available to pre-order over at their website, there's the added bonus of some extra stuff being chucked in there too. For £10 (+P&P) you get a rather snazzy digipak edition of “Shouting at Wildlife”, an exclusive cassette tape edition of their recent single “You Only Went Out To Get Drunk Last Night”, which includes mixes from Kwaing Creasite and Becky Becky Parentheses and a shed load of other stuff (lyric sheet, badges, digital downloads and more).

The band celebrate the launch of the album with a gig at the Roxy in Edinburgh, on Saturday the 3rd of July. Joining them on the night are fellow powerpop merchants Come On Gang! and “Sessionette Rockers” The Scottish Enlightenment with DJ sets from Cancel The Astronauts and some dodgy fellow going by the name of Peenko. You can buy your tickets in advance for only £5, it'll be £6 on the door. If you buy them now, then they'll post them right out to you free of charge, what a bunch of sweeties they are. If any of you are coming along for the night, make sure you come and say hi to this beardie twat playing dodgy tunes.


  1. Anonymous24/6/10

    Ah brilliant! A well written and deserved exclusive Peenko. I'm lucky enough to have the album playing right now as I read this and it's absolutely wonderful. The Kids have done us proud and I can't wait for everyone to hear this beast.

    I was chatting to David about it the other day and, to me anyway, the album sounds like a very particular moment in a night out; right at the end, when almost everyone's passed out and it's just you and a few randoms trawling the streets. They make the mistake of asking you your life story and you confess all, only to become instant best friends before hitting The Penny Black to celebrate your drunkeness together.

    Well done guys & gals.


  2. Hey Mikey boy,

    I think your summed it up perfectly (far better than I did anyway!). Here's hoping that the album gets the attention that it deserves, personally I can't wait for the Roxy gig now!

  3. Anonymous26/6/10

    Not at all mate, i'll see you there!