i'm popping off to T in the Park on friday as part of the Skinny's bevy of journos, which reminded me i'm yet to plug this month's issue. it's been knocking around various venues for a while now, so if you haven't yet picked up a copy then you're a cotton-headed ninny-muggins. it looks like this:
inside there are interviews with cover stars TV on the radio, the horrors, of montreal and loads of others, plus a preview of the aforementioned Balado festival. all of which is obviously very good indeed. i had nowt to do with any of that though (apart from a teeny tiny preview of M83, who i can't bloody wait to see this weekend...), so here's all the content written by my fair hand, reproduced on bottlerocketglasgow for your reading pleasure...
6 Day Riot - Have A Plan (***)
Glaswegian singer/songwriter Tamara Schlesinger suffered a setback last year when half her band split on the eve of a tour. Luckily for us, ambition won out over apathetic resignation, and rather than mope about it she channelled her frustration into debut album 6 Day Riot Have A Plan. It’s a delightful introduction to her style, which echoes influences from out-with the usual suspects: lead single Run For Your Life and So You’re A Writer flow with a calypso rhythms, and the effect comes close to a sedate Mae Shi on an E-number controlled diet. The more straightforwardly folk-pop numbers are similarly successful, particularly Go! Canada‘s muted ukulele-led fanfare, and Be With Me, which starts a mournful ballad before giving way to giddy glee. Whether Schlesinger’s plan extends beyond getting these ten tracks into record stores and hearts isn’t yet clear, but it’ll be fun sticking with her to find out.
There Will Be Fireworks - There Will Be Fireworks (***)
There Will Be Fireworks seem designed for autumn, rather than the scorching heatwave into which they release their debut album. From their assertively-phrased moniker to the similarly-themed song titles (We Were A Roman Candle, Guising), they evoke shivers, not sunshine. Musically, they borrow heavily from peers and predecessors practicing in the nebulous field of ‘post-rock’: their dense crescendos and emotive vocals echo the Twilight Sad, the guitar lines sound borrowed from Explosions in the Sky, while the spoken-word poetry layered over Colombian Fireworks (see what I mean about the titles?) recalls numerous literary-minded acts. Yet, while too beholden to generic conventions to astonish quite yet, they show genuine promise, and on a personal note I look forward to getting lost in the album again when the clocks go back; a chill in the air should cast these thirteen tracks in a new, exciting and ultimately more flattering light.
Magnolia Electric Co. - Josephine (****)
Records borne of personal tragedy are an odd beast: tinged with pain, they’ll often contain heartbreakingly honest song-writing, but can become stifling over the course of an entire sorrow-filled album. Josephine is pitched by Magnolia Electric Co.’s Jason Molina as a concept album in commemoration of bassist Evan Ferrell, who died in an apartment fire in 2007, and the results are undeniably beautiful. But at some stage during its forty-six minutes the pervasive sadness is likely to stop haunting the listener and start to emotionally tire them instead, and despite its many successes - doo-wop waltz The Rock of Ages and Gram Parsons-esque ballad Whip-poor-will in particular - the funereal pace makes it tough not to crave more variety. But perhaps criticising a tribute to a departed friend for being too solemn is unfair; at its heart, this is achingly gorgeous country with only the most minor of faults.
and that's it!
over at theskinny.co.uk are other bits and pieces, including a review of Silversun Pickups at Oran Mor last week.