Monday, 30 November 2009

album reviews: osso/sufjan stevens, loch lomond/the builders and the butchers, maxwell panther

i've been a little slow to add these of late: some recent reviews from only positive ones though - i don't feel the need to repeat negative stuff. as my rhetorical mother used to say, if you can't say something nice, don't post your negative reviews on a blog. she had a saying for every situation...

Osso/Sufjan Stevens - Run Rabbit Run (***)
Enjoy Your Rabbit occupies a unique place in Sufjan Stevens’ discography due to its Chinese calendar (rather than US geography) theme and a glitchy electro-doodle (rather than winsome chamber-pop) sound. Run Rabbit Run pushes further away from the Sufjan ‘norm’ (the word is used relatively): ostensibly a cover album by string-quartet Osso, its baffling premise piques interest before the first note is heard. The translation’s instrumental contortions are frequently remarkable, and so consistently imaginative they sidestep charges of gimmickry. But it’s ultimately unsatisfying: an album for every state of the U S of A now seems quixotic, but at least one further entry would be more welcome than curious bric-a-brac such as this (or, indeed, last month’s multimedia The BQE). But that’s a complaint about what Run Rabbit Run isn’t rather than what it is - an enjoyably odd stylistic collision that works somewhat better than anyone might have reasonably expected.

Out Now
Loch Lomond/The Builders and the Butchers - Split 12" (****)
Demonstrating Scottish label Song By Toad’s talent-spotting credentials, this 12” combines two acts plucked from Portland’s teeming music scene. Loch Lomond kick off in the vein of Sufjan Stevens, or perhaps a filled-out, full-band Final Fantasy. Multitasking strings lithely swirl and sharply punctuate while choral backing-vocals a la Silver Mt. Zion add drama to the mix, and the resulting splendour raises high hopes for a UK-released full-length in the future. Split releases practically demand reviewers compare acts Top Trumps-style and declare a victor, so it’s a delight to say that fellow PDX-ers The Builders & the Butchers don’t drop the ball. Nasal vocals and a theatrical bent draw comparisons to the Decemberists, but like Loch Lomond, the similarity is transient and inspired rather than reductive. Castanet chatters and mariachi horns in When It Rains add further flair, and, like their vinyl-mates, leave the listener hankering for more.

Out Now

Maxwell Panther - Do You Feel Different Yet (***)
What’s lower than lo-fi? No-fi still sounds daft. Belo-lo-fi? Whatever - when the genre-baptists decide upon a suitable candidate, Maxwell Panther can be their exemplar. On Do You Feel Different Yet? the sound quality varies from charmingly scuffed to distractingly distant, as if a phone-call and answering machine were the chief recording devices. Certain songs survive courtesy of their undiminished tunefulness - My Ex-Identity’s start-stop chorus is a dynamic opening, while Lost Soul On A Roll (That’s Me) drops the distortion for a Pete Doherty-esque ballad. Other, lesser material might have slipped by as congenial filler if the recording weren’t so darn irritating. But despite aesthetic barriers, there’s much to admire, not least an attitude that shrugs insouciantly and mutters take it or leave it (there are no pitches for the mainstream to say the least). For those with a particular attachment to DIY achievements, a potential cult favourite awaits.
Out Now

Sunday, 29 November 2009

bottle rocket would look psychotic in a balaclava

last week's 'it-is-totally-time-for-christmas-music/it-is-so-not-time-for-christmas-music' quandry is over. the advent has (almost) begun, which means christmas music is a-ok! that said, the 25th is still a loooong time away, so i'll keep it to no more than one carefully selected song this week. otherwise yule only get annoyed (YULE! HARHARHAR)

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

arctic monkeys @ secc, 24th november

Eagles of Death Metal's sound could be drawn in broad strokes from image alone. Moustaches, aviators, flying-V posing and other iconography cribbed from the rock hall of fame indicate their ballsy, fret-shredding rawk as accurately as the solos traded at length between guitarists, banter about fleeing police, and song titles like Goddamn I'm A Man. They're a riot.

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

november photos

here some snaps from last saturday for you to where

Thursday, 26 November 2009

you have to go down a bit to see the light above...

today's radio hour is here to 'listen again' to if ye want - its been a coupla weeks since a new show was made available, so i expect there'll be quite a rush to click the link. on the teeny tiny off-chance that the opportunity to hear me talk cack for a while isn't temptation enough, these songs were aired:

- 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

back back back (honest!)

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

november playlist

another bottle rocket in the bag, and it sure was swell! i took some photos as per usual, but seem to have misplaced the cable for connecting it up to the interweb so it may be a wee while before they crop up on the blog. in the meantime, here's what we played:

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

that's that.

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

damien jurado @ stereo, 5th november

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

cough cough cough etc

wow, doing a radio show with only half a brain (the other half having succumbed to an 'orrible virus) is less than pleasurable. probably should have stayed in bed...

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

if you happen to read this...

this week's radio show (thursday, 12-1pm) has got a lot to squeeze in. since i'll be in poland next week i've got two show's worth of choons to fit into the hour. the exact artists are ultra top secret, but crack the code and all will be revealed!

i may play:

rionn fegan
brizzly gear
to ya lengo
bightning lolt
and the laming flips.

oooh, mysterious...