A State of Mind, the award-winning podcasters, invited Donald and Stuart to represent TwinsTown, performing a few songs and being interviewed. Apparently the podcasters had met the twins before, when they gatecrashed a Kyle Falconer interview, and knew what they were getting into. Hard to believe, I know.
Later, I discovered top podcaster Paul John Dykes is originally from Oakley. The world makes sense for once. These days I’m glad when something, anything, makes sense.
A State of Panic, I mean preparation, A State of Preparation
To prepare for the podcast I watched A State of Mind Unplugged featuring Shambolics. Unsurprisingly deeply earnest in parts (not in a bad way), it had iconic captions to introduce interview segments.
My mind boggled. Imagine the TwinsTown captions… taboo doesn’t even begin to describe my thoughts. Unpublishable even on this liberal blog.
In the end diplomacy and clever editing won.
Cut to the Chase, FFS!
This is well worth a watch and thank you A State of Mind Unplugged.
I just knew you guys had something special from the moment I met you.
Billy George, manager and vocals
My wee song previews for TwinsTown’s stunning debut album end here, with the title track, Brankholm Brae. It’s going to be emotional.
I’m buzzing with this album… love you all like brothers, the whole team. I mean it from the bottom of my big heart [Big Heart is track 6 on Side One].
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Being part of TwinsTown is great. We are like brothers. The brethren. Making Brankholm Brae has been one of the best experiences ever, and I think that goes for everyone involved. Even Harry has his mojo back.
Aye, actually enjoyed playing guitar for the first time in about 7 years.
Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar
We’ve reached the end of an era.
No more trips to Tpot Studios, Path of Condie.
No more extraordinary feats of producing (and patience) from top sound man Robin Wynn Evans.
No more extraordinary feats of everything (including huge patience) from top band manager Billy George.
No more recording sessions watching Harry Dixon, Wayne Robertson, Mark Guyan, Donald Mackay and Stuart Mackay putting heart and soul into their work.
No more mixing, trying to decide if Harry shouting “FLARE IT!” can be heard during Something New.
No more drinking ’til the early sunrise, Monday morning long lies, nor holidays and alibis.
As for the mix. Fucking love it. It’s perfect for me, every track. I’m happy with the drums and the vocals. Wrath has a cool western reverb too.
Wayne Robertson, drums
Of course, you know what brothers are like. It’s not all love and bromance. There’s always the odd fall-out, tumble off a bar stool, black eye, and even the odd dressing down in a dressing gown. The quiet ones are always the worst. You know who they are, and THEY know who they are…
Honestly feeling a lot more confident about everything after [rehearsing] last night. Not going to lie, I was doubting my capabilities quite a bit, but now I can’t wait to get gigging.
Mark Guyan, keyboards and piano
Putting bumps into othewise flat roads is the worst “calming measure” ever. Speed bumps infuriate me. TwinsTown have the best calming measure ever. The Backbone is back! The King of All-In as I call him. B# to some, it’s Ben Sharp. The former TwinsTown man has returned for Brankholm Brae providing all with a sharp dose of reality, bass galore and angelic vocals.
Yep, tunes sound banging… we’ve all put in good work.
Ben Sharp, bass guitar and vocals
Although when it comes to the good, the bad and the ugly of TwinsTown, the B-Sharp man doesn’t stand alone in the good category. Who can forget Donald and Stuart saving Jim on the bridge in the Wölves’ video for Animal.
You are my fucking hero… a life saver! [Donald to Billy].
Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Last night a DJ saved my life… yes, I can remember when Billy was a DJ. He played one of my office parties at Murrayfield and had a longstanding residency in the classic Somewhere Else famously run by the late Jim Kirkpatrick and Bob Dick. I wonder what those two toun legends would say about TwinsTown now. It probably doesn’t bear thinking about.
The more I listen, the more I like it.
Joe Graham, PR and photography
Brankholm Brae does grow on you. Arguably the title track more than any other. I just can’t get Brankholm Brae out of my head, it’s indie pop gold from the very first verse…
Track 12 Brankholm Brae is unashamedly sweet and sentimental. Donald and Stuart issue an open invitation to visit and stay at Brankholm Brae, their home. It brings a tear to my eye thinking of the lonely twosome heartbroken, their kind invitation dashed on the rocks by Covid-19’s social distancing.
Kindness is the best and there’s tons of it whenever you visit Double Trouble at the Brae. I can testify to it personally and I won’t mention the neighbours.
With the album sorted thoughts are turning to music videos now.
Do you have any ideas for a video that aren’t like a David Lynch meets Quentin Tarantino on acid collaboration?
Billy George, manager and vocals
Personally, I like vampires and cowboys.
Everybody loves a cowboy! We need to do a western for Wrath of the Rum. We can use Erin’s horses.
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Wild, wild horses, I hope.
As well as videos, thoughts are turning to gigs, streaming or at least live recordings.
I think Ben needs to play the bass for the first two it would be like The Beatles without John Lennon playing those songs without your guitar parts Duke, especially Spitfire [Donald to Harry].
Donald Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
As I mentioned previously, I’ve been tuning into Stevie Agnew’s Sunday Sesh on Facebook Live. Food for thought. I can tell TwinsTown are hungry, itching to get going, on something or another.
Absolutely love you and your playing… [Harry to Ben].
Harry Dixon, bass and lead guitar
Videos, gigs, and of course thoughts are also turning to singles. That really will be a difficult choice. Billy was considering Johnny Depp for the first single but…
I might change my mind in the morning though. Such is the fluctuational appeal of this wonderful collection of songs.
Billy George, manager and vocals
I’m the same as Billy, there’s just so many good tunes that there really is no obvious first single. At the moment I favour Dive In which is track 7 on Side Two.
Anyway, we’re almost at the end… of the previews, only the previews.
I think the songs speak for themselves, Joe… I like folk guessing what they are about.
Stuart Mackay, lead vocals and guitar
Aw aye, thanks for that, Stuart. Now you tell me, AFTER I’ve written the 12 wee previews. Grrr!
Only joking, I think everyone has their own idea of what a song is about. It actually doesn’t matter what the writer or writers intended. One of the beautiful things about music is that one song can mean different things to different people.
Music for me, and I like music.
You’ll never guess… it’s only Brankholm Brae, the stunning debut album from Dunfermline indie rockers TwinsTown.
If only we could say goodbye to the summer. I’m writing this in the dead of winter, Sunday 14th February to be precise, and there’s snow everywhere. You might be hitting springtime as you read this, but these wee previews are delayed sometimes. Where I am now it’s cold and bleak, there’s snow turning to slush, and worst of all, it’s Valentine’s Day. Yeowk!
Still, there’s Man Utd on TV and I’m listening to Stevie Agnew playing live; headphones on, laptop tuned to Facebook, and Stevie’s Sunday Sesh in full flow. I think Stevie’s been working on his audience banter and the music is brilliant. Liam Saunders is on the keyboard, although I can only see his hands, and Hamish and Kyle are off-camera in the background somewhere. I’ll be tuning in again next week. First class entertainment.
That’s Stevie finished. No offence, Stevie, time for TwinsTown.
Click on media player, play… Say Goodbye to the Summer is on my headphones now. It begins with Wayne and Mark, a strong double beat on drums and keys respectively, before fuzzy guitar work, melody and verse one.
The superb 40 second intro, quite long for TwinsTown, is followed by a well structured, tuneful and fairly conventional indie pop song.
As The KLF say, “to the bridge, to the bridge, to the bridge now”.
In 1988 The KLF wrote a book called The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way), however TwinsTown are taking no shortcuts. Say Goodbye to the Summer demonstrates how TwinsTown have worked long and hard to develop their talents. I suppose the trick is to make it look simple.
The deceptive complexity of Say Goodbye to the Summer is also revealed in the chorus as it points to a deeper meaning.
The last line of the chorus, “Say goodbye to everyone,” makes me wonder; is this a simple goodbye to the summer, or is this someone on their last knockings, the summer being a metaphor for life.
I suppose I’ll never know. It’s not as if I can just phone these superstars up and ask. They’re busy out sledging and building snowmen today.
Brankholm Brae the stunning debut album from TwinsTown to be released this year, 2021. The exact date will be decided shortly.
The third track on Brankholm Brae, TwinsTown’s stunning debut album, is Last Romance and it has a cracking intro.
TwinsTown love a pop culture reference and as a fan of The Flintstones I have a yabba-dabba-doo time whenever Last Romance kicks in.
Fred Flintstone first came to our screens in the early 1960s and, beyond the intro, Last Romance continues the sixties feel with a storyline inspired by Neil Simon’s romantic comedy Barefoot in the Park.
Barefoot, a massive hit on Broadway, was turned into a 1967 feature film starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.
Redford’s uptight lawyer doesn’t know which way to turn as freewheeling Fonda puts him in a twirl.
The song bounces along, much like the movie, with knockabout humour and snappy lines. This is TwinsTown in top form and Last Romance sits alongside the first two tracks, Welcome to my World and Spitfire, in a triumphant opening to Brankholm Brae. All the signs say this is going to be a truly great record.
In turn, these three songs are smooth, rockin’, and funny. They contrast with and compliment each other in equal measure, and the only way to go is to go on listening.
TwinsTown’s Brankholm Brae is coming soon. The final master mixes should arrive any day now. Producer Robin Wynn Evans is busily working on them at his Tpot Studios in Path of Condie.
While waiting, remember to have a yabba-dabba-doo time and if you do choose to walk barefoot through The Glen please only go with one other person / household, stay 2 metres apart at all times, and don’t dare have a drink. They’ll call it a picnic!
Spitfire, the second track on Brankholm Brae, is bound to be a TwinsTown classic. It’s the most rockin’ number on the forthcoming debut album; you can rock out on it and order a pizza to it. It’s universally good, no holds barred, rock ‘n’ roll. I liken it to Primal Scream in their pomp.
Lovable, easy-going Double Trouble and the boys are uncharacteristically spoiling for a showdown. You can actually hear the Spitfire overhead while they enlist Winston Churchill to the cause.
Asking Donald about Spitfire he replied, “I’d rather Nazi,” and this perfectly explains why I usually just make quotes up.
Brankholm Brae, TwinsTown’s stunning debut album to be released this year, featuring Spitfire, the anti-Nazi classic.
It’s an uncompromising take on modern-day relationships. There’s bloody betrayal, close friendships going awry, the dreaded aftermath, terrifyingly awkward social situations, and folk away in the huff.
It’s frank, honest and meaningful. It makes you think. It’s lyrically strong. It’s TwinsTown’s opening track on their forthcoming debut album, Brankholm Brae.
It’s Welcome to My World.
It’s a belter to open the album. Welcome to My World sets Brankholm Brae up. It’s going to be a walk on the wild side.
The full lyrics don’t disappoint and neither does the music. It’s the finest in indie rock; pop accessibility with noise, experimental and authentic, with a wee bit of ironic posturing (more of that to come, no doubt).
This is how the opening track ends…
TwinsTown’s debut album Brankholm Brae is currently in the final stages of mixing at Tpot Studios with well-known and respected producer Robin Wynn Evans. Robin has worked with many top artists including The View and Manic Street Preachers.
Brankholm Brae will be released this year, 2021. Watch this space for details.
On 1st December 2020, Dunfermline solo artist Gary Crosbie released his album love, life, rabbit. Two months later, I’m listening on Spotify and finding it predictable; Gary written all over it. It sounds good, it entertains, and it makes sense, mostly. It’s almost exactly how I’ve found Gary in real life.
love, life, rabbit is as expected and that’s good, as I expected the best from a singer/songwriter I’ve appreciated for, I guess, about 6 years now. We’ve even kinda worked together when I booked him to play regularly at The Creepy Wee Pub and Tappie Toories.
The only surprise with love, life, rabbit is it’s extremely well produced. I used to find Gary’s own mixing desk preferences slightly odd. Let’s not dwell there. Instead, congratulations to Dominic Hardy at GraceNote Recordings, Dunfermline, on his studio engineering. Together, Gary and Dominic have created an excellent work of art: an album I can listen to over and over again, especially on a lazy Sunday morning like today (I’m on my third listen already).
The cover art by Ruby Rhod is brilliant too.
My highlights from love, life, rabbit start with track 2. Tear. Actually, haud the bus, on checking Tear is track 2., I just spotted that almost all my highlights are listed as Popular on Spotify. Looks like I’m predictable too.
Tear starts ominously, the bubbling brook from track 1. Call My Name, a heartfelt love song for Hippies, is still bubbling as track 2. Tear begins. The eerie musical shudder tells me something bad is about to happen.
In only 4 minutes and 8 seconds Gary is heartbroken. From lying side-by-side in bliss, listening to her breathing, he’s now counting his loses and making his escape. It’s over, the call and response ending is bitter, appropriately heavy on drums, and angry. I feel like the album could end here. Maybe that’s just me.
I won’t spoil the ending of all the songs, but you can probably guess things aren’t going to go well for the wee rabbit caught in the headlights. I hope that doesn’t reflect Gary in real life, although he has been playing that song for a long time. YouTube tells me I videoed Gary playing Rabbit at The Monarch Bar, Halloween 2016.
Along with Tear and Rabbit, Life and Love are also strikingly good songs. Life’s frivolous cuckoo clock intro quickly turns into a hard, driving, blues-orientated number. It provides contrast; giving shade to an album full of light.
Life and Love blend seemlessly together and I suspect Gary (with producer Dominic) is trying to tell us something. Both tracks display influences from The Beatles, although maybe I’m just saying that ’cause I can’t stop playing the 2018 remix of Helter Skelter – something else worth looking up on Spotify.
Talking of influences, Gary’s penultimate track Diamond features an outstanding guest vocal performance from Laura Crosbie and the song reminds me of one of my favourite bands, The Beautiful South.
There’s also an ever-so-catchy guest vocal from Misha Sutherland on track 4. Just Another Day. Misha’s strong stage presence gives way here to a cute cameo performance, something fans of indie popsters Saint Etienne will love.
Last but not least Ian Clyne plays tasty bass guitar throughout.
Gary Crosbie’s Links
To help you find and buy love, life, rabbit I’ve copied and pasted links from Gary’s Facebook:
Burns Night is tonight and I’ve polled TwinsTown to discover their top three works from Scotland’s National Bard.
3. A Red, Red Rose
In 2008 The Guardian reported that Bob Dylan was asked to name the lyric or verse that had the greatest impact on his life. Rather than quoting his idol Woody Guthrie or poet Dylan Thomas, from whom it is thought that Robert Zimmerman took his name, Dylan selected ‘A Red, Red Rose’ written by Robert Burns in 1794.
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.
A brilliant verse in what is essentially a Scots love song. For the climax, Burns puts The Proclaimers’ efforts to shame.
And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.
Craig and Charlie are lightweights compared to Rabbie. 500 miles indeed. Oh, and 500 more, is it, aye!? That’s twins for ye! Try 10,000 mile and I bet Burns didn’t fall down at her door. No half measures for Rab.
2. Tam o’Shanter
Hmmm, I wonder why Tam o’Shanter is number two? Could it be that Tam liked a drink and spending time with his pals… enough said for now. Here we go.
O Tam! had'st thou but been sae wise,
As ta'en thy ain wife Kate's advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum.
Who’d have guessed TwinsTown would like a waster, a rambling, blustering, drunken boaster!? I suppose they like me well enough. I really should have stopped before stumbling into that conclusion.
Anyway, it’s time for number one, the top of the hit parade, and it’s undoubtedly the greatest egalitarian song ever written. It has even been covered by Midge Ure although his choice of venue was questionable.
1. A Man’s A Man for A’ That
Nothing if not predictable, I hear you say. Well aye, but it is good, and appropriate. In TwinsTown we have two actual brothers, but the rest of us are brothers too, you know…
For a' that, an' a' that,
It's coming yet for a' that,
That Man to Man, the world o'er,
Shall brothers be for a' that.
Brankholm Brae the stunning debut album from TwinsTown is coming soon. The album cover has been painted by local Dunfermline artist Jack Paton and it will be featured in our very next post, also coming soon.
In the meantime here is one of Jack’s portraits of Rabbie Burns.
We all have our favourite lyrics. I just love Neville Staple’s “Don’t call me Scarface!” line from Gangsters by The Specials. The whole song is a masterpiece.
“Say hello to my little friend,” screams Al Pacino, before blowing up home invaders with his grenade launcher in the movie Scarface. The film’s soundtrack was composed by Giorgio Moroder who co-wrote Together In Electric Dreams with Phil Oakey of the Human League.
The song tells us that love can endure even when the opportunity to properly share in the love is lost.
Together In Electric Dreams is a simple, catchy wee track, recorded in only ten minutes, yet it’s poignant. Oakey talks about the Human League taking a year to record singles and failing to achieve the chart success he enjoyed with Moroder and Electric Dreams.
Talking of lost love, here come the Wölves.
Animal by the Wölves is now a modern classic; heartbreak and trauma, expressed through the medium of social media. From Keats and Yates to Wölves, love lost is love lost. The desolation remains the same. What is it with me and lost love, I wonder? Let’s not dwell on it.
Here’s a picture from the Wölves’ video for Animal.
What is it with Jason and baring his chest, I wonder? Let’s not dwell on it. I’m sure the girls like it.
Here’s an altogether more lovable snap from the same video shoot.
Mariam’s accordion playing being cut from the final video edit is shocking.
Actually I promised Mariam I’d put that picture up in Tappie Toories but that’s now another tale of lost love.
I can’t face the heartbreak of reopening Tappies for a fourth time only to face who knows what restrictions and potentially a fourth closure due to Covid-19, and a third wave or whatever.
Instead, take yer chances at Tesco with unlimited alcohol sales fuelling drunken, unregulated everything. Other super-spreaders and superstores are available.
We’ve had pubs only open until 6pm but prohibited from selling any drink, under any circumstances. We’ve had an 8pm curfew but only if you sell a substantial meal, and a 10pm curfew with hundreds or thousands huddled together in the dank streets at exactly the same time with no taxis available. We’ve had lock-up, lock-down, you know, anything but a sensible, sober, regulated and socially distanced lock-in.
That reminds me.
Serbia 1-1 Scotland (4-5 on penalties).
The Baccara disco classic Yes Sir, I Can Boogie was just as good as the Scottish conga line singing the name of penalty-saving goalie David Marshall to Whigfield’s Saturday Night.
Scotland have qualified for the European Championship finals 2020, our first major tournament since 1998. That’s 22 years! Or 23 as it’s being played at least one year late, maybe more. The first major finals I properly remember was 1978…
Ally’s Tartan Army by Andy Cameron contains one of the best lyrics ever. Here it comes…
Talking of England, I now work for NHS England and, on a serious note, it has reinforced my view that doing everything we could to keep people safe in Tappies was absolutely the right thing to do. I hope our parliaments, supermarkets, schools, universities, etc., can, in time – hopefully a very short time – do likewise.
Lyrically, it doesn’t get much better or funnier than Ally’s Tartan Army with; “England cannae dae it ’cause they didnae qualify!”
Although, never shy of a challenge, TwinsTown have given it a go. Former member Ronnie Dalrymple sings on Double Trouble…
You really have to see it. Find Ronnie and TwinsTown in the Double Trouble video here: Double Trouble