Wednesday, 30 December 2009
so whatever you've got planned for tomorrow night, we hope bottle rocket end up a part of it!
RADIO: subcity.org - 2pm till 4pm
SLEAZYS: upstairs, 9pm till 4am
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Alternatives are essential. Nothing from this collection will supplant Noddy and co from next year’s Christmas adverts, of course; fewer still will wind up sound-tracking office parties (though X-Lion Tamer’s Little Drum Machine Boy might sneak in at the end of a more liberal shindig). But they’re sure to find a place in many a heart, even post-yule when the tree stands naked and detinseled and the Quality Streets are reduced to wrappers.
In fact, the only real disappointment is that so many have ignored Half Man Half Biscuit’s sage advice (It’s Clichéd to Be Cynical At Christmas), choosing gloom over joy. But they sure do blue well: Frightened Rabbit donate 2007's (and 2008's) It’s Christmas So We’ll Stop, a majestic plea for goodwill that ends defeated with the cry “next day life goes back to its past self”; The Savings & Loan’s Christmastime In the Mountains’ maudlin moroseness is presumably not a tale of skiing in Aspen; Withered Hand’s It’s A Wonderful Lie (as in, “this used to be a holy day but now…”) turns its glum pun into a typically witty but self-deprecating waltz; while Meursault’s playful retitling of Phil Ochs’ No Christmas in Kentucky (rechristened Christmas in Kirkcaldy) is no less serious for its east coast relocation. Ballboy, Eagleowl and Broken Records, meanwhile, recycle existing material (some with a fairly tenuous tie to the holidays, truth be told), but when the tracks are as good as Shallow Footprints In The Snow, Sleep The Winter and All So Tired, frugal redistribution is nothing to fret over.
And it’s not all coal-in-stocking/turkey-dinner-for-one depression either: There Will Be Fireworks open with a characteristically panoramic swell which just manages to stay dry skating over the thin ice of Snow Patrol, while Zoey Van Goey’s spoken word In Scotland It Never Snowed, In Canada It Did engrosses with its simple tale of childhood rebellion. And at £5 with proceeds going to charity, it sure beats block-buying Rage Against the Machine.
Monday, 21 December 2009
1. vampire weekend - horchata
2. frightened rabbit - it's christmas so we'll stop
3. grizzly bear - two weeks
4. belle and sebastian - me and the major
5. dirty projectors - stillness is the move
6. the hives vs. cyndi lauper - a christmas duel
7. the turtles - happy together
8. why - fatalist palmistry
9. roy orbison - i drove all night
10. neutral milk hotel - holland 1945
11. malcolm middleton - we're all going to die
12. julian casablancas - i wish it was christmas today
13. love ninjas - it's ok
14. the ronettes - rudolph the red nosed reindeer
15. aislers sets - hit the snow
16. abba - lay all your love on me
17. mary onettes - lost
18. yo la tengo - bean bag chair
19. talking heads - girlfriend is better
20. hidden cameras - ban marriage
21. mccarthy - should the bible be banned
22. the shins - australia
23. detroit cobras - hey sailor
24. blur - popscene
25. mariah carey - all i want for christmas is you
26. elvis costello - oliver's army
27. marvin gaye - i heard it through the grapevine
28. bruce sprinsteen - thunder road
29. the raveonettes - the christmas song
30. the crystals - my boyfriend's back
31. bobby conn - united nations
32. idlewild - roseability
33. paper planes - doris day
34. chuck berry - roll over beethoven
35. the beach boys - little saint nick
36. modern lovers - modern world
37. franz ferdinand - matinee
38. orange juice - holiday hymn
39. pavement - cut your hair
40. aztec camera - pillar to post
41. allo darlin' - dear stephen hawking
42. asobi seksu - merry christmas (i don't want to fight tonight)
43. presidents of the united states of america - lump
44. the waitresses - christmas wrapping
45. jimmy eat world - last christmas
46. prince - when doves cry
47. pet shop boys - always on my mind
48. yeah yeah yeahs - soft shock
49. new order - all the way
50. andrew wk - party hard
51. twisted sister - i saw mommy kissing santa claus
52. le tigre - deceptecon
53. fleetwood mac - go your own way
54. the wedding present - step into christmas
55. the breeders - cannonball
56. the smiths - stop me if you think that you've heard this one before
57. madonna - holiday
58. pulp - disco 2000
59. the pogues - fairytale of new york
i reckon we were surprisingly restrained on the christmas front - certainly when compared to last year's festive onslaught. it was partly due to our efforts to squeeze in every request, apart from rage against the machine. it's all a bit silly isn't it? i mean, is killing in the name of really what people want to dance to at christmas? well we aint playing your 'counter cultural' game. especially when some people seem to be taking it Very Seriously: i still can't believe one girl reacted to my disinterest in the "campaign" with "so are you sincerely telling me that nice n sleazy's doesn't have an official position on this matter?", WITH A STRAIGHT FACE. lordy. although she also repeatedly insisted it had to be played before midnight despite it already being 12:20, so maybe the whole thing was a really really really clever and really really really funny joke...
shockingly, there are no photos this month due to lost cables and forgetful minds, but just look out your window! christmas is everywhere!
Friday, 18 December 2009
Thursday, 17 December 2009
- fucked up - do they know it's christmas time?
- okkervil river - listening to otis redding at home during christmas
- the deer tracks - christmas fire
- the promise ring - b is for bethlehem
- fireflies - christmas song
- the ronettes - frosty the snowman
- summer cats - plastic christmas trees
- the joy formidable - my beer drunk soul is sadder than a hundred dead christmas trees
- hello saferide - ipod christmas
- wild billy childish and the musicians of the british empire - santa claus
- bright eyes - god rest ye merry gentlemen
- parenthetical girls - festive friends (forever)
- sufjan stevens - hey guys! it's christmas time!
- harry and the potters - christmas at hogwarts
- irene - christmas at the beach
- twisted sister - i saw mommy kissing santa claus
listen to it with a cup of mulled wine and a mince pie. that'd be nice i reckon.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
- frightened rabbit - it's christmas so we'll stop
- alexander tucker - poltergeist's grazing
- tortoise - prepare your coffin
- afrirampo - nakimushikemushi good bye!
- dirty three - sister let them try and follow
- papa m - over jordan
- shellac - canaveral
- the breeders - happiness is a warm gun
- devendra banhart - 16th and valencia roxy music
- deerhoof - my diamond star car
- depeche mode - just can't get enough
- mariah carey - all i want for christmas is you
you can listen again to it here
tomorrow's show will be very very very christmassy - the yulegates are open and the festivefloods are filling bottle rocket up to the brim. i haven't decided on a fixed playlist, but joy formidable's new christmas track will feature, as will something from the utterly ridiculous yet strangely loveable twisted sister 'a twisted christms' (which landed on my doorstep this morning). the only rule is i won't repeat anything from last year's christmas show, which is still available to stream here. but that still leaves plenty of cracking christmas music to rummage through - find out what makes the cut tomorrow at midday!
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
anyway, this idiotic post was just to say that it looks like bottle rocket will be involved in nice n sleazy's hogmanay celebrations this year. exact details aren't confirmed, but it looks like we'll be upstairs for about half the night! yay!
more details when i get them - in the meantime, watch this. AND THEN WATCH IT AGAIN.
Saturday, 5 December 2009
The Clientele - Bonfires On the Heath (****)
Father Murphy - And So He Told Us To Turn To the Sun (****)
Thursday, 3 December 2009
the songs played henceforth herewithin include non-exclusively but entirely the following articles all told:
- vampire weekend - horchata
- animal collective - brother sport
- idlewild - idea track
- mogwai - sine wave
- the clientele - bonfires on the heath
- my bloody valentine - come in alone
- stephen malkmus and the jicks - pencil rot
- the mars volta - aberinkula
- mum - blessed brambles
- the pains of being pure at heart - everything with you
- the gothenburg address - from med to lay
- eels - christmas is going to the dogs
click here to read more on the skinny's scottish albums of the decade.
Tuesday, 1 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Maxwell Panther - Do You Feel Different Yet (***)
Sunday, 29 November 2009
you: "what else will i hear if i listen to the show on thursday? one christmas song does not a one hour radio show make!"
me: "very true. allow me to run through some other plans"
1. the skinny will have announced its top 10 albums of the year AND its top 10 scottish albums of the whole big fat decade by then so i'll play songs from both lists (including the number ones, but i aint telling you yet wot they is so don't even ask yeah?).
2. all tomorrow's parties will be almost close enough to touch with my mind-fingers, so i'll play associated acts like my bloody valentine, stephen malkmus and the mars volta.
3. some new stuff - vampire weekend alright sir/madam?
4. lotsa stuff from this week's live picks: like the gothenberg address, lightning dust and yeah yeah yeahs. AND THAT'S ONLY THE BEGINNING.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
With Cornerstone barely charting and Humbug-buzz more muted than previous hype-tornadoes, a relatively subdued reaction from the sold-out SECC might have been explainable. Luckily, such idle speculation is dismissed the moment the Arctic Monkeys pile into Dance Little Liar and every fresh-faced disciple loses their compusre. Erupting into a flurry of immaculate hair and polo-shirts, the fan's overexcitement forces security to pause proceedings occassionally to resuce those drowning in the flexing crowd. Frequently, the urge to sing along meets Alex Turner's elaborate lyrics head on, and the result is thousands opting to chant riffs rather than choruses. An encore fusing Flourescent Adolescent with Mardy Bum rescinds on their threat to retire the latter, but it's a forgivable flip-flop in an exemplary affirmation of their position at the top of Britain's indie-rock ladder.
Friday, 27 November 2009
Thursday, 26 November 2009
- elektryczne gitary - co ty tutaj robisz
- the ram jam band with geno washington - shake senora
- yeasayer - ambling alps
- arctic monkeys - cornerstone
- mission of burma - 1, 2, 3, partyy!
- spiral stairs - true love
- the melvins - night goat
- boredoms - 7- (ewe remix)
- father murphy - at that time i guess we misunderstood
- teenage fanclub - discolite
- night noise team - menolick
- asobi seksu - thursday (acoustic)
- dirty projectors - cannibal resource
- malcolm middleton - we're all going to die
apparently that isn't even the first time elektryczne gitary have been played on subcity (they took our jobs, a specialty polish music show, got there first, the scoundrels...). who'd have thought it?
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
so bottle rocket's one week absence from the airwaves became two. which was awfully unfortunate. but let's put it behind us, cos there's a top show on the horizon, oh yes.
there'll be some post-club related blethers and tunes, a catch up on some recent gigs as well as the usual look at the week's forthcoming attractions, and, as my excitement for all tomorrow's parties is now approaching record levels, i'll be starting the build up to that little delight as well.
translation: expect new yeasayer, the melvins, mission of burma and asobi seksu amongst other things.
Monday, 23 November 2009
1. the housemartins - i smell winter
2. the thermals - now i can see
3. thin lizzy - jailbreak
4. jilted john - jilted john
5. the knife - kino
6. she and him - i was made for you
7. sambassadeur - days
8. velvet underground - i'm waiting for my man
9. yo la tengo - little honda
10. tilly and the wall - pot kettle black
11. manhattan love suicides - suzy jones
12. the concretes - chosen one
13. passion pit - make light
14. new order - ceremony
15. depeche mode - the meaning of love
16. talking heads - psycho killer
17. yeasayer - ambling alps
18. prince - cream
19. david bowie - china girl
20. rem - exhuming mccarthy
21. elekryczne gitary - co ty tutaj robisz
22. wild beasts - all the king's men
23. wolf parade - the grey estates
24. cyndi lauper - when you were mine
25. malcolm middleton - fight like the night
26. lcd soundsystem - all my friends
27. sparks - something for the girl with everything
28. the crystals - he's sure the boy i love
29. the primitives - lead me astray
30. the hollies - bus stop
31. the smiths - you just haven't earned it yet baby
32. the police - every little thing she does is magic
33. fleetwood mac - don't stop
34. the cure - boy's don't cry
35. the rolling stones - rocks off
36. otis redding - satisfaction
37. spencer davis group - keep on running
38. ram jam band with geno washington - shake senora
39. mc5 - high school
40. the ronettes - be my baby
41. manic street preachers - motown junk
42. modest mouse - florida
43. yeah yeah yeahs - pin
44. martha and the muffins - echo beach
45. magnetic fields - you and me and the moon
46. camera obscura - number one son
47. diana ross - you just keep me hangin' on
48. christie laume - rouge rouge
49. billy idol - dancing with myself
50. talking heads - once in a lifetime
51. cocteau twins - iceblink link
52. teenage fanclub - discolite
53. journey - any way you want it
54. elton john - saturday night's alright for fighting
55. the flatmates - shimmer
56. the spinto band - oh mandy
57. los campesinos - please don't tell me to do the math
58. the strokes - last nite
59. buzzcocks - ever fallen in love with someone
60. bruce springsteen - dancing in the dark
61. molly o'day & the cumberland mountain folks - heaven's radio
and now i'm bedroom dancing (as in, like, dancing in my bedroom - not a euphemism for kinky xxxmas shenanigans or nuffin...) to the beginnings of december's playlist - nowt wrong with listening to christmas songs in november you know...
Thursday, 19 November 2009
sorry there was no bottle rocket radio today - unfortunately my short trip to poland ended with a nasty bout of food poisoning (how nasty? vomit-on-a-stranger nasty...)
but i absolutely absolutely certainly shall return next week, i promise i promise i promise.
before that, can i just take this opportunity to remind you that the club night is this saturday night? i can? splendid.
bottle rocket dancing club!nice n sleazy! 11:30pm - 3:00am! £3! the usual superduper mix of indie-pop, rock n roll, post-punk, girl groups and other shiny happy stuff.
hope to see you there!
Monday, 9 November 2009
As a genre, rickety indie-pop carries certain advantages. It allows, for example, tonight's support Zoey Van Goey to try a new set-up, disclaim “we’re flying by the seat of our pants” and have any subsequent blemishes enhance their appeal rather than detract - the jammy scamps…
With only his guitar for company, Damien Jurado is in a surprisingly chatty mood, blethering between - and occasionally during - his alt-country laments. Such wit is a perfect antidote to his lyrics, like calculated bonhomie designed to unburden a miserable load. As the interjections become more frequent, it's apparent that they are indeed an emotional bulwark - not for the audience, but for Jurado. “These songs depress the hell out of me,” he jokes, but once the laughter subsides, the air of trauma remains. Jurado's passion helps overcome the numerable cliches embedded in otherwise affecting songs like the sinister posturing of The Killer, while his digressions provide interesting insights to others, including Ohio (penned in a codeine-blackout) and Lincoln (thought lost, later resurrected by a conscientious friend-of-a-friend). But most importantly they lighten the atmosphere, turning what could have been a stark and upsetting ordeal into a delight.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
but on the plus side, i don't talk all that much, and there's loads of great music to enjoy if you listen again. sixteen songs no less!
- grizzly bear - two weeks
- yeah yeah yeahs - date with the night
- lightning bolt - colossus
- mew - new terrain
- yo la tengo - stockholm syndrome
- mcintosh ross - the great lakes
- maps - you don't know her name
- the go away birds - the year of letting you down
- blue roses - i am leaving
- shonen knife - cycling is fun
- fionn regan - be good or be gone
- jay reatard - man of steel
- the fall - alton towers
- the flaming lips - convinced of the hex
- the cave singers - at the cut
- mariachi el bronx - cell mates
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
i may play:
to ya lengo
and the laming flips.
Friday, 30 October 2009
The Young Republic - Balletesque (***)
After a sticky spell during which two members jumped ship on the eve of recording, second album Balletesque sees The Young Republic re-emerge to experiment with a number of style changes, with varied results. The title track is the spit of Frank Black’s days with the Catholics, from Julian Saporiti’s strained pitch to its boisterous country canter, while The Wolf eases off for a more pedestrian strain of grizzled blues. Though it feels counter-intuitive to criticise innovation, the instrumental embellishments in Sam Clemens prove less successful, its wavering fiddle bursts, brass pomp and other flittering orchestrations are routine rather than revealing. Bows in Your Arms plays more effectively to their strengths, chucking together feedback squeals and a sleazy Cabaret swing to great effect, while rousing finale Tough Year (Hard Waltz) defines its approach in the parenthesis – a winning fusion of Spiritualized-style romanticism and Two Gallants-esque Americana. A patchy pleasure.
Asobi Seksu - Acoustic at Olympic Studios (***)
Acoustic reworkings aren't often worth the effort, either too similar to their original incarnations to warrant the additional labour or misguided and ill-fitting (oi Bon Jovi – This Left Feels Wrong…). With Acoustic At Olympic Studios, Asobi Seksu’s nucleus – singer/keyboardist Yuki Chikudate and guitarist James Hanna – easily avoid the first pitfall and go some way to sidestepping the second. Replacing their trademark blissful distortion with whistle-clean instrumentation alters the atmosphere considerably, stripping away swirling layers to reveal a sugar-sweet core. But it’s not too drastic a change, Yuki’s distinctive pitch provides the most obvious link (songs like Thursday could be sung a cappella and still enthral). Regardless, Acoustic… remains destined for fringe appeal, even amongst avid fans, for the simple reason that at no stage do they improve upon their own work, and the residual urge to re-visit their three proper albums instead is tough to shake.
out Nov 16th
The Gothenburg Address - The Gothenburg Address (****)
The Gothenburg Address have two on guitars, one on bass, one on drums and zero on vocals; looks like it’s time to dig out the Post-Rock Thesaurus. So, are they glacial, turbulent, fervent or shimmering? Yes, frequently in quick succession. Are their crescendos tear-inducing, awe-inspiring, goosebump-raising or just plain old ‘soaring’? That’s too subjective to declare definitively - like most instrumental post-rock (particularly that which comes with non sequitur track titles like Senior in the Stripper’s Light) their ebbs and swells are something of a Rorschach test for the listener to gauge their emotions by. They might mine the same bruised vein as a dozen others (Mogwai the most obvious national example), but frequent changes in speed - in addition to the genre’s more expected variations in volume - distinguish them from the field’s more pedestrian exponents. The Gothenburg Address are a storm on a mountain and a cliff-top in the rain and they’re bloody excellent.
out Dec 7th
Thursday, 29 October 2009
but i did manage to fit a few other songs into the hour. specifically, these:
- thin lizzy - jailbreak
- jon maus - rights for gays
- fuck buttons - space mountain
- pelican - strung up from the mountain
- loch lomond - elephants & little girls
- the builders & the butchers - vampire lake
- shugo tokamaru - green rain
- camera obscura - james
- eagleowl - sleep the winter
- grouper - disengaged
- los campesinos - the sea is a good place to think of the future
- dananananaykroyd - fall for you
(listen again here)
next week will be miles better I PROMISE.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
in addition to the ace cover feature on warp records (and new buzz-artist hudson mohawke), there's a muso top 10 with the melvins, an article on the raincoats and interviews with yo la tengo, girls and pelican amongst other things. it also features my article on paper planes that i put online last week.
oh, and on a film note, there's an interview with michael haneke which is pretty fucking cool if yer a film geek like me...
only a couple of my reviews made it to print - there are album reviews of asobi seksu and the gothenburg address and my thoughts on pixies, sparrow and the workshop and kill it kid live.
it's blooming everywhere so pick up a copy, aye?
Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Monday, 26 October 2009
Folding the squalling energy of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs into fresh pop shapes, Paper Planes are taking off in a big way.
No great masterplan has guided Paper Planes’ initial trajectory. In fact, when New Jerseyite Jennifer Paley first journeyed to Glasgow, singing was the last thing on her mind. “Music had no sway on my decision to come overseas,” she explains. “I didn't know anything about what was coming out of Glasgow or had come out of Glasgow besides the obvious, Belle and Sebastian, Jesus and Mary Chain, Franz Ferdinand... Only so much filters through to America. My musical education started as soon as I arrived.”
That education involved three Scots with a track record on the Glasgow music scene. Chalk it up to serendipity: though joining a band wasn’t originally part of Paley’s agenda, when Christopher Haddow (guitar), Craig O’Brien (drums), and Fraser McFadzean (bass) asked her to sing, the answer was obvious. “Everyone wants to front a band in their own dream world, so I just said yeah… Those first few months were pretty scary but also very interesting for me, I kept waiting for someone to call my bluff,” she recalls. “As far as I was concerned there was not a musical bone in my body”.
If this was ever true it certainly ain't now, as anyone lucky enough to catch Paper Planes live will attest. Paley’s firebrand rock 'n' roll caterwaul sits comfortably atop the band’s surf-influenced new wave indie, but she wasn’t always so confident onstage. “I couldn't even give presentations at school because I got so ridiculously nervous in front of people,” she confesses, though such anxiety must seem pretty distant, several years and dozens of gigs later.
While performing no longer causes jitters, an unfortunate side-effect of the band’s transatlantic membership continues to haunt them. As a non-UK citizen, Paley’s residency here is subject to the shifting sands of bureaucracy, and having been forced on hiatus once before by visa issues, it’s an understandable worry. “This time around is going to be much harder,” she accepts. “I’m trying not to think about it just now. It’s pretty depressing to think you can just be booted out of a country after you’ve set up this whole life for yourself.”
Not that their last enforced separation stopped Paper Planes for long, the band swapping material back and forth across the Atlantic during their time apart. Debut single Doris Day involved comparatively fewer air miles, coming together in the course of a single evening upon Paley's return. Even the enigmatic title proved effortless. (“They were just words I had played in Scrabble the night before and they fit quite nicely.”) It’s a punchy calling card that has augmented their buzz and attracted the attention of Stephen Pastel and Gerry Love, who both DJed at their single launch.
But the quartet aren’t about to start rushing things. “We’re thinking about releasing another single, depending on how this one goes," says Paley. "We’re just taking things as they come, letting the whole thing plot its own course. Everything will fall into place eventually.” Floating on the breeze like their origami namesakes: expect them to go far.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Monday, 19 October 2009
1. the very best - yalira
2. belle and sebastian - i'm a cuckoo (avalanches mix)
3. vampire weekend - oxford comma
4. the hold steady - chips ahoy!
5. husker du - these important years
6. the replacements - i will dare
7. shonen knife - flying jelly attack
8. wild beasts - all the king's men
9. the shins - know your onion
10. weezer - el scorcho
11. the flaming lips - the yeah yeah yeah song
12. asobi seksu - transparence
13. bmx bandits - i wanna fall in love
14. raveonettes - suicide
15. au revoir simone - anywhere you looked
16. aberfeldy - something i must tell you
17. guided by voices - my kind of soldier
18. the kills - cat claw
19. starfucker - girls just wanna have fun
20. helen love - beat him up
21. the drums - let's go surfing
22. the cure - inbetween days
23. rem - gardening at night
24. the flatmates - trust me
25. danny and the juniors - at the hop
26. lloyd cole - rattlesnakes
27. le tigre - let's run
28. the primitives - through the flowers
29. hall & oates - you make my dreams come true
30. barrett strong - money
31. the white stripes - blue orchid
32. the futureheads - walking backwards
33. pixies - into the white
34. bloc party - positive tension
35. the strokes - 12:51
36. sam cooke - accentuate the positive
37. the clash - rock the casbah
38. buzzcocks - running free
39. eddie and the hotrods - do anything you wanna do
40. martha reeves - i'm ready for love
41. blondie - 11:59
42. the smiths - handsome devil
43. wolf parade - shine a light
44. the rezillos - top of the pops
45. elastica - stutter
46. the housemartins - me and the farm
47. prefab sprout - king of rock n roll
48. thin lizzy - jailbreak
49. mc5 - tutti frutti
50. the four tops - i can't help myself
51. the small faces - all or nothing
52. yeah yeah yeahs - date with the night
53. super furry animals - something for the weekend
54. pavement - gold soundz
55. mansun - being a girl
56. prince - let's go crazy
57. david bowie - sufragette city
58. graham coxon - freaking out
59. you say party we say die - the gap
60. the decemberists - o valencia
61. the libertines - don't look back into the sun
62. fleetwood mac - go your own way
63. the pretenders - don't get me wrong
64. pains of being pure at heart - the pains of being pure at heart
65. genesis - jesus he knows me
66.pulp - do you remember the first time?
67. kirsty maccoll - new england
68. patti smith - because the night
69. hank williams - i'm so lonesome i could cry
thanks to everyone who smiled and danced etc. no thanks to the guy who stood on the plug, turning of jailbreak midway through, and then continued to stand there while we frantically tried to restore sound, trying to request songs the whole time! well, how bout we request you MOVE AWAY FROM THE DECKS. sheeesh.
a few photos of the night will follow...
Friday, 16 October 2009
- pavement - carrot rope
- califone - giving away the bride
- efterklang and the danish national chamber orchestra - mirador
- mc5 - tutti frutti
- kraftwerk - the model
- osso - enjoy your rabbit
- sister jet - la la dance
- the four tops - i can't help myself
- super furry animals - something from the weekend
- colin macintyre - stalker
- james yorkston and the big eyes family players - mary connaught & james o'donnell
- brendan benson - metarie
- yeasayer - sunrise
- sam cooke - accentuate the positive
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
malkmus and co will therefore definitely feature in tomorrow's radio show, as will efterklang, super furry animals and kraftwerk. oh, and there'll probably also be a mention or seven of this saturday's bottle rocket dancing party at nice n sleazys!
radio: thursday 12-1pm, subcity.org
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
Monday, 12 October 2009
When it comes to observational banter, “you know when you swallow a load of lip gloss and it’s all scratchy?” isn’t the most universal bugbear. Said scratchiness luckily has no discernible effect upon Kill It Kid’s Steph Ward, her smooth voice equally effective at the forefront of the band’s bluesy rock-n-roll compositions as it is providing harmonic support to fellow lead vocalist Chris Turpin. The latter’s style is less conventional - like Eddie Vedder auditioning as Nina Simone for Stars in their Eyes - but no less successful, viscerally if not quite enunciatively.
Sparrow and the Workshop’s Jill O’Sullivan deserves similar acclaim for her flexible timbre and tone, her powerful vocals nestled at the heart of the three-piece’s dark, folksy balladry. However, Gregor Donaldson (drums) and Nick Parker (alternating between prominent bass and textural electric guitar) ensure there’s no mistaking the band for a “Cat Power + backing”-style solo affair, all three displaying a strong unity and close humour which makes their set all the more welcoming. Last Chance and The Gun are the pick of their more morose material, but Devil Song is the highlight, its whip-crack rhythm injecting tonight’s set with a welcome dose of vitality.
Thursday, 8 October 2009
- the very best - yalira
- paper planes - restless
- gummy stumps - restless
- mudhoney - touch me i'm sick
- the vaselines - jesus wants me for a sunbeam
- the sparrow and the workshop - last chance
- j tillman - though i have wronged you
- eddie and the hotrods - do anything you wanna do
- envy - shield of selflessness
- jonathan richman and the modern lovers - hey there little insect
- meursault - nothing broke
- james blackshaw - fix
- adam green - pay the toll
- the slits - love und romance
- girls - solitude
click here to turn words into sounds!
Tuesday, 6 October 2009
Last time Pixies played the SECC, punters got Teenage Fanclub, BMX Bandits and Cud as support before the stage belligerently collapsed. There’s only one support tonight, but Sons and Daughters’ punchy introductions more than suffice. Racing through brittle voodoo-rock thrills, their energy is unsapped by the cavernous surroundings – and, more importantly, the stage stays sturdy as they depart.
Opening images of slicin’ up eyeballs has the crowd craving Debaser’s piercing riff, but first come Doolittle-era B-sides (including a violently unhinged Bailey’s Walk) which collectively threaten to outshine the main set, a complete run through the seminal Boston quartet's aforementioned second LP. An encore concludes the period’s rarities with the night’s second version of Wave of Mutilation and Into the White’s taut squall of furious noise and deadpan vocals. And that, based on setlists for previous nights of the tour, should be that…except, gloriously, it isn’t, and anyone who smugly skipped out early to dodge crowds should weep. “Last time we came here the stage buckled…here’s the rest” smiles Deal, before racing through much of Come On Pilgrim and concluding with a soaring Where Is My Mind? Though their reunion has been criticised as a cash-in, the Pixies leave with smiles mirroring those of their dazed and grateful audience.
Resembling slap-dash Texan carnies, Woodenbox With A Fistful of Fivers immediately appeal. They’ll possibly balk at the comparison, but imagine the Rumble Strips with less Dexy’s, more Morricone and a touch of Rawhide and you’re close to the essence of their rootin’ tootin’ sound.
Midway through their set, First Aid Kit thank the audience for being “so quiet and peaceful”, before hastily adding “we don’t mean that ironically!” Sarcasm would have been understandable, but despite a rowdy bar occasionally encroaching upon their subtle instrumentation their anything-but-delicate voices ring affectingly clear throughout. A cover of Donavan’s Universal Soldier succinctly encapsulates their charms, its naïve sentiment and winsome melody underscoring the Swedish duo’s wide-eyed allure while emphasising their crystalline vocals. A muted miniature freak-out from Johanna at the end, meanwhile, foregrounds the playfulness just beneath their surface earnestness.
Fanfarlo are less successful at dissipating their own cloud of earnestness, though there’s plenty else to enjoy. Despite several members jostling for space, their ambitious compositions - topped with singer Simon Balthazar’s emotively reedy vocals - are remarkably cohesive and cogent. But there’s the rub: for long stretches, Fanfarlo rest on plateaus rather than scaling the peaks their multi-instrumental ‘epic-indie’ sub-genre offers, pleasant rather than proselytising. But though they may not climb as high as might have been hoped tonight, they share the same widescreen vistas as their contemporaries without succumbing to self-importance, and songs like Luna have a tuneful vibrancy that more than makes up for lulls elsewhere.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Califone - All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (****)
Such a vast variety of instruments crop up on Califone’s sixth album that to list them all would fill this review’s entire word count, leaving no space to eulogise the way its multifarious and ambitious ingredients are weaved into an incessantly inventive whole. Sweetly simple and Elliott Smith-like one moment, murky and abstract another, and like Four Tet playing Wilco covers at another still, there’s a rewarding inquisitiveness at work throughout. Lyrically, occasional high-cultural allusions and mysterious plotlines add charm rather than pomposity, while purposeful melodies display a keen pop nous that plays off against their more unorthodox tendencies superbly. Intriguingly, the album is only half the story: ringleader Tim Ritili has also been working on a feature film of the same name, incorporating many of the record’s themes and characters and aiming to premiere in 2010. The promise of equally evocative images accompanying this record’s sizable charms is tantalising indeed.
out 5th October
Paper Planes - Doris Day (****)
The multinational Paper Planes are three quarters Scottish, one quarter American. One listen to Doris Day and you’ll probably have a hunch as to which member hails from across the Atlantic, Jennifer Paley’s rawk-yelps closely redolent of Karen O’s. Paley isn’t the bands’ only import, however, with the Scottish contingent making a fair old racket packed with rockabilly swagger and rollicking rock 'n' roll thrills, which sound more like the product of fifties-style diners and road trips to the coast than drizzle and grey skies. This is an exciting, eye-opening debut from a band already displaying vast promise.
Out 12th October
Efterklang & the Danish National Chamber Orchestra - Performing Parades (****)
When orchestras and pop (in the loosest sense) collide, the results tend to be either peculiarly misjudged (say, Metallica’s S&M) or pleasant-but-pointless (any earnest attempt to dodge ennui with strings). Efterklang’s Performing Parades pleasingly falls into the elusive third category, in which the instrumental depth only found in a roomful of top class musicians enriches the songs. A reworking of Parades arranged in collaboration with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, this is music from another star, bubbling with complementary refrains and topped with charming eccentricities. Moreover, an accompanying DVD offers promos, a making-of, and best of all, the full concert film: what impressed on CD astonishes when combined with the sight of fifty artists resembling constituents of Much Ado’s enchanted forest, in conical hats and dabbed face paint. The DVD pushes the package from curio to essential for existing Efterklang fans, and marks them an overdue discovery for anyone else.
Out 19th October
Thursday, 1 October 2009
luckily, i'm an incredibly calm and fantastic professional, able to adapt to any problems thrown my way. which is why the show came together beautifully and sounded like this:
- the human league - together in electric dreams
- allo darlin' - dear stephen hawking
- damon & naomi - judah and the maccabees
- why - these hands
- mountain goats - genesis 3:23
- vladislav delay - musta planeetta
- andersens - i am so tired
- joan as policewoman - the ride
- pixies - motorway to roswell
- pixies - debaser
- king khan and his shrines - welfare bread
- sons and daughters - johnny cash
- sky larkin - fossil, i
- malcolm middleton - fight like the night
- the raveonettes - suicide
listen again here. you just have to press the big button. the red one. the one that says 'listen again'. it's all very straightforward really.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
these include: new releases (mountain goats, why), touring bands (king khan, pixies), another 'turning japanese' entry (andersens) and stuff i forgot to play last week (the human league, damon & naomi). plus MUCH MUCH MORE etc.
does that sound nice? it does, doesn't it
subcity.org, 12-1pm or anytime with the nifty listen again button.
Monday, 28 September 2009
ace, isn't it? the massive increase in quality compared to earlier posters is down to the fact that, rather than me struggling to crudely photoshop some random image, october's has been, well, commissioned i guess. the brief was roughly as follows:
"hi, i'm a bit drunk, can you draw something with dinosaurs?"
"sure, what are your favourites?"
"oh gosh, how to choose... um, well i suppose any of the classics... tricerotops, brontosaurus... any of the jurassic park alumni really. i'll leave it up to you"
and lo and behold, the above was the outcome. fucking lovely. it's the work of one david lemm, an artist and friend whose website might be of interest. have a look here.
Saturday, 26 September 2009
The Social Services - It's Nothing Personal, It's National Security
Two-thirds Glaswegian/one-third Swedish indie-poppers The Social Services have a love-hate relationship with drummer Martin Frödén’s home nation. “Oh Sweden, I’m sorry to say that you’re tedious sometimes,” The Baltic Sea begins, followed by a list which begrudgingly admits its Scandinavian charm (“your recycling facilities are second to none”, “you design such great furniture and storage solutions”). Then comes the bittersweet pay-off - “but nobody smiles back at me” - and suddenly a sweetly comic pop song becomes unexpectedly poignant. When they then cry “we can be your friends!” it’s tempting to declare The Social Services the best thing since sliced Lucksmiths, but unfortunately the rest is less instantly lovable. Medium Pop Ballad is as bland as its title suggests, while a West Coast-accented cover of You Are My Sunshine would’ve sounded lazy even if Glasvegas hadn’t already done it a year ago. But there’s still plenty to cherish; you should at least consider their offer of friendship.
Out 28th September
Atlas Sound - Logos
Bradford Cox was understandably upset when an innocent filesharing error on his part resulted in an unfinished Logos being hawked around cyberspace, so much so that (now deleted) blog posts indicated he might never complete it. Luckily he's dropped the intransigence to polish the LP to its intended glory, though perhaps Pathos would be a more apt title, its persuasive charms appealing more to the heart than the head. In his Deerhunter guise, Cox's compositions are hardly 'ordinary', but with Atlas Sound he ventures further leftfield, playing with texture and form and using repetition to draw out the nuances of his graceful compositions. But despite his reputation as a singularly creative, renaissance-style maverick, Logos is occassionally hijacked by its guests, in particular Stereolab's Laetitia Sadler who causes Quick Canal to sound like, well, Stereolab. But since Stereolab are awesome, this only makes the pastime of getting lost in these looping lolls even more appealing.
Out 19th October
Why? - Eskimo Snow
Short-but-sweet opening track These Hands announces Eskimo Snow’s emotional register. Blessed as ever with a grandiose gift of the gab, these ten tracks see Why?’s Yoni Wolf “facing history with little-to-no irony”, his distinctive speak-croon articulating personal quandaries as opposed to simply dazzling with word-games. OK, so there’s still a fair amount of irony scattered amongst the introspection, but combining wit with intimacy continues to serve Mr Wolf well: for example, the straightforwardly-phrased yet complexly-poignant “these hands are my father’s hands but smaller” introduces a paternal theme hammered home nine tracks later, in album highlight the Blackest Purse’s appeals for parental vindication: (“what should these earnest hands be holding?...Mom am I failing?”). Musically, Why? drift further away from previous hip-hop experimentations, moving them closer to conventionality. But they retain enough idiosyncrasies to ensure that textbook strings can’t eclipse their sparkling intellect, mellifluous innovation and, most profoundly, the rhythmic heart propelling these revelatory lyricisms.
Out 5th October
Thursday, 24 September 2009
- david bowie - heros
- tv on the radio - staring at the sun
- health - die slow
- atlas sound - the light that failed
- why - against me
- the social services - the baltic sea
- tenniscoats - baibaba bimba
- the babies - meet me in the city
- fanfarlo - luna
- fuck buttons - sweet love for planet earth
- wild beasts - all the king's men
- strike the colours - rivers
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
this is rockin' radio the wall of sound
the music that rocks
the music that shocks
that music that comes to you from everywhere
as this is the music of the land
i love that music
i love that sound
i love that record
i love that noise
stay tuned to radio subcity
the wall of sound
Radio wall of sound
Comin' up from my tower
Radio wall of sound
24 hours of power
thursday, 12-1pm, subcity.org
Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
1. apologies for not managing to include every request during the night. though i'd say that if you request u2's with or without you at 2:55, claiming that it'll make "everyone go wild, they're dying for it" isn't the most convincing argument...
2. people like depeche mode, the police, weezer, shangri-las and fleetwood mac an awful lot.
3. they also like mclusky, but it makes them aggressive. never thought i'd see a proto-moshpit form on bottle rocket's dancefloor... odd.
4. housemartins have a surprisingly strong fanbase too for that matter...
5. now that the dancefloor's all chequered and cool, it doesn't look so bad at the beginning of the night when it's still sans disco-feet.
here's the playlist:
1. Radio Dept. - Pulling Our Weight
2. Superchunk - Art Class
3. Pocketbooks - Fleeting Moments
4. Guided By Voices - Teenage FBI
5. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
6. Yo La Tengo - Mr Tough
7. Jens Lekman - Maple Leaves
8. Adam and the Ants - Car Trouble
9. Tokyo Police Club - Nature of the Experiment
10. Language Of Flowers - If I Can't Have You
11. Acid House Kings - We're the Acid House Kings
12. Architecture In Helsinki - It's 5!
13. The Jags - Back of My Hand
14. TV on the Radio - Staring at the Sun
15. Devo - Gut Feeling
16. Pixies - I've Been Tired
17. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Lie Down Here (and Be My Girl)
18. They Might Be Giants - Dr Worm
19. The Go Team - Ladyflash
20. Okkervil River - Pop Lie
21. Belle and Sebastian - Blues are Still Blue
22. Camera Obscura - The Sweetest Thing
23. Blondie - Union City Blue
24. Shangri-Las - Give Him A Great Big Kiss
25. The Ramones - Blitzkreig Bop
26. Triple School - Awesome Ball of Flame
27. Mclusky - Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues
28. We Were Promised Jetpacks - Quiet Little Voices
29. Modern Lovers - Roadrunner
30. Pavement - Summer Babe
31. Magnetic Fields - When My Boy Walks Down the Street
32. The Go-Betweens - Right Here
33. The Hidden Cameras - Ban Marriage
34. The Supremes - Hard Day's Night
35. Darlene Love - A Fine Fine Boy
36. Kenickie - Classy
37. Death Cab For Cutie - Sound of Settling
38. Frightened Rabbit - The Modern Leper
39. Weezer - My Name Is Jonas
40. Manfred Mann - Blinded By the Light
41. Bruce Springsteen - Badlands
42. David Bowie - Golden Years
43. Prince - I Would Die 4 You
44. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
45. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
46. Pulp - Babies
47. The Smiths - Still Ill
48. Idlewild - When I Argue I See Shapes
49. The Cribs - Men's Needs
50. The Housemartins - We're Not Deep
51. Fleetwood Mac - Little Lies
52. The Police - Message in a Bottle
53. ABBA - SOS
54. Depeche Mode - I Just Can't Get Enough
55. Talking Heads - Psycho Killer
56. Cliff Richard - High Class Baby
57. Dexy's Midnight Runners - Jackie Wilson Said
58. Rocket From The Crypt - On A Rope
59. Liars - Mr You're On Fire Mr
60. Danananaykroyd - Some Dresses
61. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Doing All the Things That Wouldn't Make Your Parents Proud
62. David Bowie - Héros
63. Woodie Guthrie - This Land Is My Land
Saturday, 19 September 2009
Thursday, 17 September 2009
if you aint already had a listen, click here to do so.
after a couple of fluster-fying glitches, i settled down to play all of this:
- triple school - reader
- triple school - reader 2
- the big pink - dominos
- trashcan sinatras - should i pray?
- paper planes - doris day
- there will be fireworks - says aye
- husker du - don't want to know if you are lonely
- mew - repeaterbeater
- rocket from the crypt - on a rope
- pastels/tenniscoats - song for a friend
- times new viking - move to california
- dead boy robotics - the original man
- deastro - parallelograms
- the temper trap - sweet disposition
it'll be back in the same slot (12-1pm) next week, though only on the net (we won't get FM again until march probably). so that's subcity.org, midday (or listen again whenever).
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Welcome to higher education. During your degree you’ll probably kip in dusty lectures, choose liquid refreshment over required reading and, considering you’ve chosen to peruse these pages, no doubt see a lot of live music. Some will be awful. So awful you’ll be tempted to begrudgingly surrender to four years soundtracked exclusively by the Baywatch theme, Chesney Hawkes and the braying of the drunk and disorderly.
Please don’t do that. Persevere and discover a new favourite band, DJ or club-night every time you get your glad-rags on. If that seems like hard work, here are some suggestions to get things started. Some you’ll know, some you might not - yet. They range from lone synth-wranglers to folk collectives of vast proportions, as well as guys with guitars making a racket the old-fashioned way. These disparate musos hail from across Scotland, lumped together here in the hope that, wherever you now call home, a selection will play nearby in the next year. But don’t quote us on this, and certainly don’t take our word for it.
Instead, take this list and add to it the countless others squeezed out by word-count-induced Archimedean displacement (who says the Skinny can’t augment yer syllabus, eh?). Then add all those we’ve yet to hear and fall for, and all those that don’t yet exist outside of a drunken conversation or an absent-minded daydream but who’ll be filling our pages in months to come. For now, this lot are humbly presented as well-worth your time and student loans, but they are, let’s be clear, the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
Some need no introduction. If Franz Ferdinand, Camera Obscura, Mogwai or a reformed Vaselines come to town, you already know what to do. Others might disappoint by their absence; if Belle and Sebastian remain AWOL, take comfort in Stuart Murdoch’s God Help the Girl project which, fingers crossed, might take a step closer to cinemas sometime soon. If not, Chris Geddes is sure to be mixing tropical-jazz-funk-disco somewhere or other.
When it comes to home-grown legends, a more dependable bet would be Teenage Fanclub or Idlewild, with new albums from both due in coming months. And though there’s no firm date for a This Gift follow-up, an intense gig from Sons and Daughters can’t be far off.
Then there’s those just arriving on the cusp of Barrowland-sized devotion: follow We Were Promised Jetpacks’ upward propulsion, witness The Phantom Band spurn easy categorisation, and bask in the melodrama of Broken Records. The Twilight Sad, meanwhile, should be comfortably nestled in the upper echelons of ‘best-of-year’ lists come December.
Frightened Rabbit have already made that jump, and if you haven’t yet enjoyed their Arab Strap-esque lyricism and anthemic choruses up-close then you’ll want to remedy the situation quick-sharp. Speaking of Arab Strap, Malcolm Middleton and Aidan Moffat and the Best Ofs prove great things can emerge from a beloved act’s demise. (see also: ex-Delgados Lord Cut Glass and Emma Pollack).
Also no stranger is King Creosote and the rest of the Fence Collective ranks, a recommendation trotted out year on year for good reason - even if you don’t catch any of them during term, their annual Anstruther-based Homegame festival is conveniently post-exams - road trip anyone?
Not that Fife has a monopoly on folk-inspired loveliness: Withered Hand’s witty melancholia and Eagleowl’s bittersweet whispers are certain to impress, as are fellow Edinburghers Jesus H. Foxx and the impassioned Meursault. Glasgow answer with the gentle beauty of Sparrow and the Workshop, while also being home to Dundonian Yusuf Azak and his lushly vertiginous folkscapes. A Secondhand Marching Band show, meanwhile, is surely the only place you’ll hear an accordion, flute and ukulele-based rendition of Battles’ Atlas.
Glasgow also houses the Edwyn Collins school of indie-pop, with Wake The President the cream of the new crop. In addition, Butcher Boy and Zoey Van Goey uphold the romantic spirit of NPL, Peter Parker add a dash of riot grrrl, while Inspector Tapehead channel the Beta Band, utilising clocks and stray toys like a three-headed indie-Ray Mears. Speaking of Beta Band (R.I.P.), King Biscuit Time and The Aliens aint too shabby either…
They are, however, tricky to dance to; luckily there’re are plenty of electro-conjurers providing such a service. Errors you no doubt already know - if not, they’re ace; Gay Against You (and Joe Howe’s side-project Ben Butler and Mousepad) will leave you a sweaty, exhausted mess; chip-tune hypee Unicorn Kid will make younger siblings feel similarly; while Found resemble a proggy Hot Chip before they turned sombre.
Ever wanted to watch a bare-chested, blind-folded man beat himself with torches whilst subjecting his audience to digital noise? Then performance-artist/loud-scary-bloke Kylie Minoise is your man. Also at the decibel-heavy end of the spectrum are nightmare-in-lycra Take A Worm For A Walk Week, knitted gimps Ultimate Thrush, two-man rock-behemoths Bronto Skylift, pig-masked horror show De Salvo, and Titus Gein, who worship the synth and the Grohl simultaneously.
Back in the realm of indie-rock, Paper Planes create sizable new-wave waves with their surf stylings and Copy Haho retool college-rock alt-forefathers winningly. Now an oh-so-clever riddle: what’s got twelve legs, infinite smiles and, um, four ‘na’s? Dananananayroyd! If a weird flatmate starts posting passive-aggressive notes about unkempt hallways, a live dose of the sextet’s pandemonium-pop should ease frustrations.
Or you could gather in awed reverence at the loop-station alter of Wounded Knee; chuckle at the antics of Devo-tees We Are The Physics; gawp at Remember Remember’s aural collages; get lost to the dramatic swells of There Will Be Fireworks; enrol in Triple School; cautiously Google Sexy Kids; swoon to Maple Leaves; jump at Dirty Summer’s scuzzy rock-n-roll; get inexplicably choked up by My Kappa Roots; partake of The Foundling Wheel’s ramshackle clatter or sip whiskey to the countrified Wilson Tan. Not to mention Twin Atlantic, Over the Wall, Ross Clark, Dead Boy Robotics, How To Swim, Findo Gask, Vars of Litchi, Gummy Stumps, Vom, Bricolage and… well, you get the idea. Have fun uncovering the rest.
Monday, 14 September 2009
The first show’ll be focused on reacquainting last year’s listeners with the format and setting the template for newcomers – some new music/forthcoming releases, some gigging acts visiting the city, and the launch of a new (probably) recurring segment, Turning Japanese (you win a coconut if you guess what sorta music I’ll be playing then… nope, not songs about masturbation, songs from the land of the rising sun!). And as ever there’ll be lots and lots of Jurassic Park. Old dog, old tricks.
but that's not all! i'll undoubtedly be doing a fair bit of blethering about this saturday's dancing party. i personally reckon it'll be categorically ace, but i'd urge those visiting the blog for the first time to make up your own mind... and conveniently, you can do so this saturday! if there's a better way to top fresher's week (or not-so-freshers week if you're a decrepit fogie like me) then i'm the queen of sheba. and i'm totally not.
11:30pm - 3:00am
£3 (or nowt if yer already in sleazys by 11:30pm)
Saturday, 12 September 2009
Prog is not a dirty word. It’s occasionally worth reminding ourselves of that. The authority-baiting allure of punk can convince many an adolescent psyche of prog’s irredeemable ridiculousness, delaying the acceptance that grandiose multi-part opuses are sometimes quite alright thankyouverymuch. Sunset Rubdown are most certainly prog (evidence: their new album’s called Dragonslayer and tonight’s audience includes one excitable gent playing air-piano while a compatriot wields an imaginary baton and conducts, I dunno, probably a goblin orchestra…).
They are also fantastic. Spencer Krug is already a niche-legend, his repute emblazoned on posters for tonight (though he self-consciously worries the by-line “featuring members of Swan Lake, Wolf Parade and Frog Eyes” doesn’t give his bandmates enough recognition). Throughout, his voice carries a dramatic urgency which their epic compositions build upon, piling musical motifs high without becoming tiresome. Moreover, there’s not a wizard’s cape in sight. Prog without self-indulgence? Baroque n’ fucking roll.
Friday, 11 September 2009
but i wrote none of that. words of mine that made it to print include reviews of the frightened rabbit, the big pink, on histories of rosenberg, andrew w.k., pastels/tenniscoats (in an abbreviated and, oops, slightly incorrect form...), trashcan sinatras and strike the colours, and preview blurbs for hockey and gang of four.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Okkervil River are good to their UK fans, making the trip to our shores at the drop of a hat these days. Tonight there’s no new record to promote and (presumably) no outstanding label obligation to fulfil, yet here they are, back in Òran Mór for the second time in ten months, and I’m presumably not the only wide-eyed audience member who’d happily make it an even more frequent arrangement. Highlights are bountiful, with Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe the possible pinnacle - live, its quiet bits are quieter, its loud bits louder, and its distortion bleeds even more profusely. Elsewhere, the opening of A Stone scythes conversations into reverential silence, before the Beach Boys-channelling John Allyn Smith Sails reignites the room. “I aint coming back again,” Will Sheff sings in a closing Westfall, but it’s safe to call his bluff on this one.
Wednesday, 9 September 2009
Reputations are mysterious things. Rumours of past gigs had painted Tori Amos as a humourless virtuoso who’d sooner tell talkative fans to sling their hook than let their blethering encroach upon her arpeggios. Well, if that Tori exists she’s hidden tonight behind a mesmerising performance, the intensity of its apices offset elsewhere with a playful showiness. It helps that she has pockets of fans for whom the word ‘devotional’ doesn’t seem sufficient, and though it takes a while for the first strangled “I LOVE YOU TORRRRRI!” to lurch forth, Amos plays to their enthusiasm throughout.
In particular, her stool-straddling Janus piano-playing is damn impressive, and a sly smile suggests she’s all too aware of its ability to drop jaws. Even an unfortunate blunder from the Concert Hall - leaving the PA playing Blondie during part of her set - doesn’t spark a diva tantrum, Amos either unaware of the distraction or unwilling to let it ruin tonight’s highlight, a solo Taxi Ride. Early favourites - Cornflake Girl, China - are drip-fed but Abnormally Attracted to Sin naturally dominates, with a fierce Strong Black Vine proving most memorable. The first few rows are on their feet and worshipping at her ankles before its last chord is struck, but even those less animate in their appreciation seem suitably impressed.
(i've since heard that she's absolutely lovely in interview as well - i guess this pre-image i had of her as some stern ice-maiden was exaggerated from the time when she did in fact tell chatterboxes to leave the gig, or else wholly imaginary... it's nice to have false preconceptions righted)