Saturday, 30 January 2010

and it's true but it's not funny

nikaido kazumi is wonderful. if you saw her last week peforming at the classic grand with shugo tokumaru, you'll already know this. if you didn't but are intrigued, my review of the show will be up here and at the skinny in the next few days. if yer an impatient so-and-so and can't be bothered reading bloomin words, then i'll play at least one song of her's on this week's radio show. i heart her.

also this week there'll be the usual new releases and touring acts, as well as a look at the lineup of the matt groening-curated all tomorrow's parties (i've neglected it for far too long...). so expect to hear daniel johnston, shonen knife, the drums and cold cave amongst other delectables.

Friday, 29 January 2010

februrary poster

i didn't introduce the new poster did i? silly me, say hello:

yesterday's radio show

was rad, as expected. listen to it here if you like. it's got this in it:

- hot chip - one life stand
- ungdomskulen - modern drummer
- polysics - moog is love
- the album leaf - blank pages
- oh no ono - icicles
- shugo tokumaru - parachute
- emma pollock - house on the hill
- the delgados - accused of stealing
- the social services - folkan
- jesus h foxx - i'm half the man you were
- eef barzelay - the ballad of bitter honey
- phoenix - lizstomania
- khaya - wild friends
- boris - farewell

next thursday: some more.


Monday, 25 January 2010

don't be shy, i dig your style

the radio show this week will be totally rad, with the ungdomskulen and the emma pollock and the oh no ono. there'll be bottle rocket jan10 in review, new music from the album leaf and hot chip, gig-related music from shugo tokamaru and a chemikal underground act or two and some of my favouritist christmas presents from last month, for no other reason than me liking them lots.

thursday, 12 till 1pm

Sunday, 24 January 2010

january playlist!!!


well that was rather busy! it was really satisfying to see such a busy dancefloor all night, even if navigating to the bar from the stage was nightmare city! it was particularly gratifying to witness people getting their groove on to stuff i've wanted to play for ages but always worried would go down like a lead zeppelin - the ungomskulen/polysics double bill may well be my personal highlight...

here's the list:

1. wolf parade - shine a light
2. yo la tengo - moby octopad
3. the postmarks - 7-11
4. talking heads - burning down the house
5. rem - radio free europe
6. voxtrot - brothers in conflict
7. orange juice - satellite city
8. arcade fire - keep the car running
9. crystal stilts - love is a wave
10. meursault - a few kind words
11. devendra banhart - 16th and valencia roxy music
12. ted leo and the pharmacists - the ballad of a sineater
13. ungdomskulen - modern drummer
14. polysics - moog is love
15. vampire weekend - cousins
16. far - pony
17. hot chip - one life stand
18. asobi seksu - goodbye (css remix)
19. depeche mode - enjoy the silence
20. tv on the radio - wolf like me
21. the drums - i felt stupid
22. dum dum girls - jail la la
23. css - music is my boyfriend
24. the kills - sour cherry
25. juniper moon - el resto de mi vida
26. nirvana - son of a gun
27. the smiths - the boy with the thorn in his side
28. house of love - i don't know why i love you
29. fleetwood mac - you make loving fun
30. b-52s - 52 girls
31. dana gillespie - you just gotta know my mind
32. the kinks - you really got me
33. george fame and the blue flames - yeh yeh
34. phoenix - lisztomania
35. los campesinos - romance is boring
36. jay reatard - aint gonna save me
37. nena - 99 luftballons
38. hall and oates - maneater
39. roy orbison - you got it
40. the small faces - all or nothing
41. pulp - lipgloss
42. idlewild - little discourage
43. belle and sebastian - le pastie de la bourgeouisie
44. tracy ullman - breakaway
45. the primitives - crash
46. sleeper - nice guy eddie
47. the bangles - walk like an egyptian
48. kirsty maccoll - they don't know
49. altered images - see those eyes
50. mcalmont and butler - yes
51. run dmc - it's tricky
52. outkast - hey ya
53. duran duran - hungry like the wolf
54. maximo park - our velocity
55. interpol - slow hands
56. the cure - inbetween days
57. dire straits - walk of life
58. bruce springsteen - hungry heart
59. gladys knight and the pips - it's time to go now

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Thursday, 21 January 2010

the radio show returns!

better late than never i always say! ALWAYS.

today's show sounded like this:

- at the drive in - one armed scissor
- en vogue - don't let go
- adam green - breaking locks
- first aid kit - hard believer
- vampire weekend - cousins
- ted leo and the pharmacists - the ballad of the sineater
- the 17th century - notes
- ardentjohn - one step behind
- penguin cafe orchestra - telephone and rubber band
- the pernice brothers - 7:30
- sambassadeur - days
- far - pony
- lightspeed champion - marlene
- frightened rabbit - nothing like you
- los campesinos! - romance is boring

the last five, as i mention about a gazillion times during the show, were some of the 12 songs that the vivian girls have reviewed for the next edition of the skinny. twas nice of them to agree to do it, even nicer to agree to walk from the venue to my flat for the interview. it was a nice experience, a) because they were very lovely indeed and b) because it finally gave me the impetus to get rid of the christmas tree carcass stuffed in the corner of the room.

if you want to listen to the show, click here to go to subcity!


Tuesday, 19 January 2010

review: laura veirs and the hall of flames @ oran mor

With guitar (and later banjo) perched awkwardly over her growing baby bump, Laura Veirs ponders aloud the logistics of embarking on a two month international tour three months from her due date. "If I give birth in Denmark, will the baby be Danish?" she wonders. "I like that place...". The bun stays in the oven tonight, but there's a familial atmosphere onstage regardless: slight solo support sets from two of Veirs' band (Nelson Kempf of The Old Believers and Eric Anderson of Cataldo) underwhelm, but their relaxed bonhomie emphasises the quartet's tight-knit dynamic. With their ranks completed by long-term collaborator Alex Guy on violin, Veirs and co. sweep through a set foregrounding the recently released July Flame, though it's a haunting rendition of Rapture in the encore that prompts the biggest shivers and loudest cheers. There'll be tears in Amsterdam come March should junior emerge early, that's for sure.

Monday, 18 January 2010

reviews: oh no ono, first aid kit, ardentjohn

another trio of good reviews written for the skinny (good as in positive - the quality of the reviews themselves is not for me to judge. can you imagine? a review of a review? then what - a review of a review of a review?!? WHERE WILL IT END).

Oh No Ono - Eggs (****)

Already named fifth best Danish album of the decade at home, Eggs arrives in the UK at the best possible juncture. With the musicianistas and opinio-bloggers spending the tail-end of the noughties frantically neologising the likes of Animal Collective’s day-glo confuso-pop (word-invention is fun!) and Dirty Projector’s symph-oddities (ok, I’ll stop now), rarely has eccentric yet tuneful pop music possessed such high cultural capital. Oh No Ono aren’t likely to capture imaginations in quite the same numbers, but a cornucopia of delights await those giving it a crack: psychedelic wooziness coexists with church choirs, reflecting Electric Light Orchestra’s genre-hopping, while songs like Icicles are ignited by Sparks of Mael peculiarity. Throughout, high-pitched vocals recall Jonas Bjerre of Mew (having never been to Denmark I assume all Danes sing this way), and, like their higher-profile compatriots, Oh No Ono are on an unconventional sonic journey. It’s one worth taking.

Out Feb 1st

First Aid Kit - The Big Black and the Blue (****)

As befits a duo who first captured hearts with a Fleet Foxes cover (one million Youtube views and counting…), and whose live shows are dominated by a version of Universal Soldier (the Buffy Sainte-Marie protest song as opposed to the Van Damme classic), First Aid Kit’s debut album is firmly alt-country. Its campfire confessional vibe evokes Kentuckian porches more readily than frozen Stockholm, with only the Swedish “en, tvĂ„, tre, fyra” that counts in Sailor Song’s gentle rockabilly swing, suggesting non-Yank heritage. Echoes of Jenny Lewis’s work with the Watson Twins resonate frequently, with sparse instrumentation placing all attention on the teenage sisters’ remarkable harmonising. Hard Believer showcases their vocals best, its central message (“love is tough”) genuinely affecting in its defiance and directness. Their palette might lack variety, but with voices to rival Emmylou Harris at her most soulful, what they achieve is exceptionally done.

Out Jan 25th

Ardentjohn - On the Wire (***)

The partnership at the heart of Ardentjohn stretches back to a playground scrap between singer Keiron Mason and bassist Al Shields on the Isle of Bute. Reunited in Edinburgh and expanded to a six-piece, their pluck appears to have dissipated along with the hostilities, with soporific balladry the order of the day. While ‘pleasant’ isn’t a particularly inspiring adjective, it fits: On The Wire soothes and relaxes, but its soft strings and jangling guitars are unlikely to stir anything more invigorating. Its eleven tracks mumble by on the low-down, but are pleasing enough that the prospect of another spin is never a chore. It leaves feathers unruffled and deposits little residue in the mind, but compensates with a breezy disposition and an assured sense of melody. Is that enough to sustain interest long-term? Possibly not, but this is an accomplished full-length debut that’ll keep those lazy Sundays ticking over nicely.

Out Jan 25th

Saturday, 16 January 2010

review: nacional @ king tuts

here's another review wot i rote for the skinny:

With red noses onstage and a crowd clad in cosy winter clothes, The Social Services (***) have their work cut out restoring circulation to a shivering Tut's audience. Luckily they’ve just the right tools: haphazardly-distributed percussion and an open invitation to join in melts frozen faces into grins, and before long their bouncy pop and sweet demeanour combine to produce ready-brek glows all round.

Winning over the crowd comes more easily to Bright Young Nights (**), with a sizable number of excitable supporters filling out the front. For newcomers like myself, the effect is surreal: an enthusiastic four-piece with poses down pat, playing like they’ve sold-out Wembley and enjoining the ‘masses’ to sing along, sway arms or bounce to their central-belt Kings of Leon homage. The devotees obey; others look nonplussed. But they’re certainly keen; alas, their material only occasionally matches the bravado.

Nacional (****) by comparison, sound primed for bigger things. The contrast between Rob Armstrong’s poised croon and the furious-squall whipped up by the band is a winning formula owing much to noisy-indie pioneers The Wedding Present. Tonight the formula comes with an appealing adjunct, a string quartet in the second half augmenting the crescendos and layering the melodies. Broken strings (first guitar, then cello) can’t snap their concentration, and though the crowd response is perplexingly muted, anticipation for their debut full-length (due soon) is sky-high and rising come the conclusion.

Monday, 11 January 2010

reviews: meursault, adam green, the 17th century

some more reeeevoooos from the skinny:

Meursault - William Henry Miller Pt. 1 & 2 (****)

Meursault have had a good 2009: they’ve grown without losing lustre and garnered wide critical praise (including a place in our Scottish albums of the decade). These 7” codas to their annus mirabilis combine tracks from Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues with re-jigged versions of both William Henry Millers. The Dirt and the Roots backs Pt. 1’s new, richer approach to the original torn ballad, while the second couples A Few Kind Words’ lo-fi electronic pulse with an alternative take on Pt. 2’s atmospheric slow-burn eulogy, here retextured with phantasmal glitches. The decision to re-record rather than re-package will already put these on numerous Christmas lists to Santa; the quality of the results should add them to many more.

Out Now

Adam Green - Minor Love (***)

While not every musician mellows with age – Nick Cave will be a horny corpse long before he’s labelled ‘mature’ – advancing years frequently rehabilitate rogues or help ridiculous goofballs find their romantic streak. From a teenage Peter Pan singing songs about crack, via a slightly older Jessica Simpson-goading hipster, and on to Minor Love’s minor charms, a little seriousness is a welcome addition to Adam Green’s career six albums in. Lowering his arched eyebrows and swapping irony-thick Vegas-style crooning for lo-fi mumbling, he even flirts with decipherable lyrics, the jumbled word-soup of past releases now yielding to the occasional narrative nugget (though it’s a thin line – “when I took off my winter clothes my body looked like forty or fifty crows” is either beautiful poetry or grade-A nonsense). It might not match its wackier predecessors, but Minor Love is an interesting milestone in Green’s increasingly intriguing oeuvre.

Out Now

The Seventeenth Century - Notes Extended Player (***)

The Seventeenth Century are a baroque folk pop collective threading strings and things through dramatic songsmithery. As such, they’re far from groundbreaking, slotting neatly alongside My Latest Novel, Broken Records and dozens of others in what is soon likely to overtake bagpipes and reels as the premier Scottish Music Stereotype. Lead track Notes is an underwhelming introduction, offering little new to an oversubscribed field, but luckily it’s the weakest of this EP’s tracks. The opening fanfare of Roses in the Park yields to cannoning vocals and a stirring, communal conclusion, while Young Francis’s military snare heralds bittersweet brass and a subtle crescendo, suggesting that while the Seventeenth Century aren’t scene vanguards, they’re a welcome addition to an existing one.

Out Now

Saturday, 9 January 2010

review: christmas songwriter's club, leith dockers club 23rd december

here's the not-exactly-topical-anymore-but-might-as-well-post-it-anyway review of the above gig...

The Christmas Songwriter’s Club adheres to three rules - sort of. One: no covers (apart from Bart Eagleowl’s hesitant attempt at Withered Hand’s It’s A Wonderful Lie – but he was in the band once, so that’s ok). Two: spread Christmas cheer (except that this is predominantly textbook indie-Christmas i.e. miserable odes to absent loved ones and toys). And three: don’t tell anyone ‘bout it (a dubious marketing strategy that is instantly rescinded).

But confusion and incoherence are part of the appeal: several contributors (which this year include members of Broken Records, Jesus H. Foxx, Chutes, Come On Gang and ringleaders We See Lights) apologise for the slapdash quality, and while in most cases it’s probably best that the exclusive songs remain as ephemeral as snow, that’s besides the point: as bands swap members and support, goodwill fills the room. Dear Santa: please make this a perennial festive tradition.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

happy new year!

...forty hours into 2010 and i think i'm finally hangover-free. i thought i could easily handle DJ responsibilities without curbing my celebratory alcohol intake. and apart from a teeny-tiny mistake or two (caused more by dodgy equipment than bleary brains, truth be told), i was right, though free beers and a bottle of champagne at the bells did their best to scupper things... (swigging champagne from the bottle while air drumming to andrew wk is either my finest moment or a cool-free low but i can't decide which).

of course, post-4am is a different matter. but let's not dwell upon the excess. happy 2010 folks! if you spent your eve in nice n sleazys we hope you enjoyed our selection of tunes - we didn't bother writing the songs down but my tired head remembers bruce springsteen, fugazi, prefab sprout, ted leo and the pharmacists, why, pavement, little richard, stevie wonder, yo la tengo, at the drive in, dire straits, billy joel, the white stripes, david bowie, pulp, the four tops, the boo radleys, st etienne, depeche mode, tv on the radio, the ronettes, dexy's midnight runners and electric light orchestra amongst others... plus all the stuff giles was playing which was awesome. huzzah!

bottle rocket's first proper night of the year will be slightly later than usual this month (23rd january rather than the usual 3rd saturday), but there'll be plenty of updates before then. oh, and the radio show will return in a couple of weeks time - the new year's eve special mentioned in the previous post was a no-go in the end (some rogue didn't return the studio keys so we ate soup instead), so i'll make sure that the first one back is a goodie.