Saturday, 27 February 2010

das poster

here's a poster. it was born in berlin.

Friday, 26 February 2010

february playlist

here's what mike n mark played last weekend:

1. handome furs - i'm confused
2. the associates - logan time
3. gil scott-heron - the revolution will not be televised
4. fleetwood mac - my heart beat like a hammer
5. architecture in helsinki - cemetery
6. future gravity - the engineer
7. otis redding - tramp
8. mary onettes - void
9. screaming trees - nearly lost you
10. yeasayer - ambling alp
11. felt - sunlight bathed the golden glow
12. the ballet - in my head
13. joy division - shadowplay
14. average white band - work to do
15. the crystals - da doo ron ron
16. detroit cobras - nothin but a heartache
17. the who - heatwave
18. psychadelic furs - pretty in pink
19. magnetic fields - california girls
20. the bluetones - bluetonic
21. manic street preachers - faster
22. pixies - head on
23. jesus and mary chain - happy when it rains
24. blondie - sunday girl
25. david bowie - queen bitch
26. of montreal - a sentence of sorts in kongsvinger
27. the beatles - got to get you into my life
28. led zeppelin - communication breakdown
29. new york dolls - personality crisis
30. haircut 100 - love plus one
31. yeah yeah yeahs - phenomena
32. daestro - shaded forests
33. love is all - spinning and scratching
34. kenickie - classy
35. au revoir simone - night majestic
36. pipettes - your kisses are wasted on me
37. talulah gosh - talulah gosh
38. aislers set - the way to market station
39. beryl marsden - when the lovelight starts shining thru his eyes
40. talking heads - pulled up
41. shangri las - give him a great big kiss
42. fairport convention - cajun woman
43. creedence clearwater revival - lookin out my back door
44. the smiths - the queen is dead
45. the go betweens - spring rain
46. aztec camera - boy wonders
47. belle and sebastian - i could be dreaming
48. orange juice - blue boy
49. terrorvision - oblivion
50. blur - charmless man
51. prince - when doves cry
52. rolling stones - rip this joint
53. dexys midnight runners - geno
54. ten pole tudor - swords of a thousand men
55. elo - don't bring me down
56. buzzcocks - ever fallen in love with someone
57. the cure - just like heaven
58. the police - can't stand losing you
59. fleetwood mac - little lies
60. ricky nelson - a teenager's romance

jolly good.

crack that whip

yesterday's radio show is up at to listen again.

it sounds like this:

- andrew wk - hoboken toffee
- everybody was in the french! - cheque allies
- of montreal - a sentance of sorts in kongsgiver
- tenpole tudor - swords of a thousand men
- polar bear - drunken pharaoh
- four tet - circling
- fursaxa - ode to goliards
- joanna newsom - cosmia
- pavement - in the mouth a desert
- thomas truax - in dreams
- oh no ono - eve
- devo - whip it


Wednesday, 24 February 2010

guten tag


bottle rocket radio is back tomorrow (yay! yay!).

last week i was in berlin doing film festivally things, which i had hoped would influence the songs on the first radio show back. turns out nothing i saw had a decent soundtrack (apart from wee bits of 'the kids are alright', but that was pants...). however, i did see eddie argos of art brut and dyan valdes of the blood arm in their new, spiffingly-named outfit everybody was in the french!, so expect to hear something from their debut album.

while i was away deutschlanding, mike was in glasgow keeping bottle rocket on the road. by all accounts, it was a mega-ace-coolio evening, and we'll have the playlist up in the next few days (once we've managed to decipher the handwriting...). can't wait that long? then i'll play something from saturday night tomorrow too - that alright?

also on the cards - new music from fursaxa, kind of new music from four tet, and not-new-but-exciting-atp-addition joanna newsom. ooooooh yeah

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

spoon @ king tuts, 14th february

It pays to have influential friends. First White Rabbits acquire the production skills of Britt Daniel for second album It’s Frightening, then the Spoon frontman invites them on tour. But with a well-oiled hype machine currently pushing the band, Daniel’s patronage seems superfluous, White Rabbits likely capable of filling Tuts without their mentor’s help. They fly through their 45 minutes like a more forcefully percussive Cold War Kids, with up to half the sextet fervently bashing out paradiddles at any one time, and while it feels a touch over-familiar, it firmly cements their talents.

There are Rabbits accompanying the headliners too, intermittently assisting their esteemed touring partners on drums and keys. “Oh my gawd!” screeches a North American voice nearby, “no one knows anything! I’m the only one that knows them!” Her smug protest (if not, alas, her voice box) is rendered mute by the cheers greeting every song’s opening bars, with particularly warm receptions reserved for Way We Get By and Don’t Make Me A Target. But she has a partial point – the veteran college-rockers (now sixteen years young) probably don’t play to such immobile crowds very often, particularly not State-side where their profile is higher. If anything, their audience is less tightly-packed than their support’s - a sign that newcomer buzz often trumps consistency. What Spoon’s longevity does permit, however, is a 90 minute filler-free set, and the joyous friction of a varied, evolving back catalogue. It’s something for their Brooklyn-based brethren to aspire to.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

reviews: rm hubbert, emma pollock, polar bear

another trio from the skinny:

RM Hubbert - First & Last (***)

El Hombre Trajeado are lost icons of Glasgow DIY. I say this as someone who had never heard of them prior to this review commission, but whose excitement has been well and truly piqued by the tracks found online. Former member RM Hubbert’s debut solo album generates significantly less excitement, but perhaps that’s just a matter of preference: personally, late-Fugazi grooves cross-pollinated by a glitchy Yo La Tengo have always appealed more than instrumental flamenco-guitar compositions. As a pay-what-you-like release accompanied by a ‘will-play-for-food’ gigging arrangement, it's clear that Hubbert hasn’t lost his self-sufficiency, and perhaps it's better to consider First & Last a low-key re-introduction ahead of his already-in-the-works second album (which carries the more fulfilling promise of Aidan Moffat, Alasdair Roberts and Emma Pollock collaborations). Till then I’ll stick to downloading El Hombre Trajeado’s back catalogue, gratis, from their website - thanking you kindly Mr Hubbert.

Out March 1st

Emma Pollock - The Law of Large Numbers (****)

After a couple of relatively quiet years Emma Pollock redefines herself on her second album, her solo career no longer relying upon residual goodwill earned during her time with the Delgados. Its exquisite centerpiece House on the Hill will be familiar to anyone who attended The Burns Unit's inauguration at last year's Celtic Connections festival, and it's even more magisterial in this incarnation. The switch from tempestuous piano runs in the verse to stalled heartbreak in the chorus is potently powerful, the slightly unhinged air it generates packing emotional punch. Nothing else matches it, but some come close: after an opening piano overture, the punchy Hug the Harbour leaps from the speakers, while The Loop's eerie waltz mesmerises. After the compartively underwhelming Watch The Fireworks, The Law of Large Numbers proves solo Pollock just as exciting a prospect as her former band were at their peak a decade ago.

Out March 1st

Polar Bear - Peepers (****)

While you don't need credentials to review an album (shhhh, don't tell anyone), a familiarity with the genre at hand usually pays dividends. So I'll come clean and admit my jazz-experience amounts to Giant Steps and early Miles Davis - nothing recent, and certainly nothing cut from the same experimental cloth as Seb Rochford and co. So I should probably humbly decline an opinion, right? Nah. Because removing the potentially-daunting 'post-jazz' label reveals enjoyably off-the-wall compositions which can be appreciated without a vocabulary of wailin' and burnin'. Sure, the horns honking throughout Drunken Pharaoh might test the patience of non-aficionados, but generally this is an atmospheric fifty minutes with similarities (in accessible-yet-challenging-scene-darling attitude, if not necessarily aesthetics) to the likes of Animal Collective or Four Tet. Purists may conclude otherwise, but in the opinion of this layman an infiltration of the jazz-allergic mainstream would be very nice indeed.

Out March 1st

Thursday, 11 February 2010

he's a god, he's a man, he's a ghost, he's a guru

dear sir/madam,

this afternoon's radio show is up on for your listening pleasure now. its contents are as follows:

- broadcast and the focus group - the be colony
- shearwater - black eyes
- to rococo rot - seele
- efterklang - i was playing drums
- vampire weekend - taxi cab
- spoon - the way we get by
- midlake - roscoe
- los campesinos - these are listed buildings
- hot club de paris - hey! housebrick
- manic street preachers - me and stephen hawking
- thomas truax - black tambourine
- belle and sebastian - my wandering days are over
- nick cave and the bad seeds - red right hand
- mogwai - glasgow mega-snake

thank you for your time,

your's sincerely,


Tuesday, 9 February 2010

the one where i meet the vivian girls and they review stuff

so i recently had the opportunity to interview two-thirds of the vivian girls for the skinny. i saw interview, but all i had to do was play them twelve songs and hear what they had to say bout them. (and yeah, that's a tiny slice of my flat you can see behind their heads - of all the wonderful backdrops, its the empty fish tank that makes it to print...)

Chris Buckle invites The Vivian Girls back to his deluxe Glasgow mansion for a listen to February’s singles. “We could never be music reviewers!” they gasp. “We’re way too hard to please…”

Reviewing Personnel:
Cassie Ramone (guitar/vocals)
Ali Koehler (drums)

Plastiscines - Bitch (Because Music, 1 Feb)
Cassie: I don’t like this. I have the same reaction listening to this as if it were a man going “I’m the maaan”, you know? I generally don’t like lyrics that reinforce gender stereotypes.
Chris: Marks out of ten?
Ali: Can we just do thumbs up or thumbs down? Or thumbs in the middle?
Cassie: Thumbs down.
Ali: Sorry Plastiscines, I’m sure you’re nice people!
Cassie: Well she says she’s a bitch, so…
Ali: In that case I’m sure you’re mean people!

Hot Chip - One Life Stand (Parlaphone, 1 Feb)
Ali: These lyrics are cute. I’m not usually much of a fan of dance music, but it sounds alright.
Cassie: Yeah.
Ali: I guess thumbs in the middle, because I wouldn’t put it on at home, but if it came on in a club I’d probably dance to it.

Ellie Goulding - Starry Eyed (Polydor, 22 Feb)
Ali: (reading press release) oh that’s funny, she’s touring with Passion Pit and I was going to say it sounds like a female Passion Pit.
Cassie: I don’t like the production values.
Ali: It’s not my favourite thing ever, but if my friends told me they absolutely loved her I’d be, like, ‘Ok, cool’.

Far - Pony (Bright Antenna, 1 Feb)
Cassie: Weird…
Chris: I’m guessing you know the song?
Cassie: Oh I love the original! [by R&B smooth-mover Ginuwine]
Ali: I feel weird rating a cover. I love the original and they didn’t butcher it I guess…
Cassie: So thumbs up for Ginuwine…
Ali: And thumbs up with a question mark at the end for Far.

Frightened Rabbit - Nothing Like You (Fat Cat, 22 Feb)
Cassie: So far this is the closest to what I might listen to.
Ali: I’m waiting to see if there’s a bridge…
Long pause.
Ali: I just want to see where else this will go.
Another pause lasting most of the song.
Ali: It’s catchy, but I’m still just waiting for that bridge…
Cassie: Well, it’s the first song we’re listening to the whole way through…
Ali: I don’t think we’re gonna hear a bridge. Oh well, thumbs in the middle. If it had an awesome bridge I’d have said thumbs up for sure. So close... nah, just kidding – good job guys.

Los Campesinos! - Romance Is Boring (Wichita, 1 Feb)
Ali: These guys are actually friends of ours.
Cassie: So we have to say something good!
Ali: Exactly.
Cassie: They’re doing their thing, they’re having a good time.
Ali: They’re really nice and really cool.
Both laugh
Cassie: Because we know them I don’t know what to say…
Ali: Thumbs up!

Lightspeed Champion - Marlene (Domino, 1 Feb)
Cassie: Woah, he played every instrument himself.
Ali: That’s impressive. I really admire someone who can play so many instruments and make it sound good.
Cassie: The song’s ok...
Ali: I’ll give it thumbs up though for doing it all himself.

Sambassadeur - Days (Labrador, 8 Feb)
Cassie: This is far too happy for me.
Ali: The guy turned down shows because of severe flying anxiety. I can relate to that. Though I don’t think we’ve ever turned any down because of it – we just get nice and drugged up.
Cassie: I don’t feel like I can relate to music with this kind of happy vibe.
Ali: It reminds me of riding bicycles in springtime.
Cassie: Which I never do.
Ali: But if that’s your thing you’d probably like this a lot.

Sennen - Age of Denial (Hungry Audio, 22 Feb)
Ali: The press release compares this to Teenage Fanclub?
Chris: Have you seen any odd comparisons in reviews of your music?
Cassie: All the time! If you think of any band with a female lead singer, we’ve pretty much been compared to them. This isn’t really my cup of tea. Damn, now I feel bad...
Ali: I know, I feel like a dick saying I don’t like them, but what do I know? They probably don’t like us either. And if they do we’re sorry!
Chris: You’re more positive than our last guest reviewers, Mariachi El Bronx...
Cassie: But they’re dudes – if they think things are bad it’s ok.

Super Adventure Club - Pick Up Sticks/Sac Attack (Armellodie Records, 1 Feb)
Ali: It’s definitely quirky…
Cassie: Out of everything we’ve heard I respect this one the most. I like that their instruments are very straightforward.
Ali: They sound like friends fucking around.
Cassie: Yeah, I bet they have a lot of fun together which makes me like it.
Ali: Thumbs up!

Archie Bronson Outfit - Shark’s Tooth (Domino, 22 Feb)
Ali: (shrugs) – can you put that in the review?
Cassie: Yeah. This song is a shrug.
Ali: It sounds like the 2000s.

Single of the Month: Streets of Rage - Beat Your Kids (Self-released, 1 Feb)
Ali: Dude, this rules!
Cassie: Yeah, this is awesome!
Ali: Is that an acoustic electric guitar, or just a shitty electric guitar?
Cassie: It’s like a lo-fi 7 Seconds. I love this.
Ali: It’s such a weird thing to do to hardcore music. I never thought lo-fi hardcore could be a thing but I guess it is!
Cassie: Wait, turn the press release over?
(Ali flips it to reveal a creepy voodoo skull sketch)
Ali: WOW!
Cassie: I’d definitely be interested in picking up an LP by this guy.
Ali: Thumbs up to Alistair!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

we sing a song that was hated

look at me and tell me if you've known me before...

yes. we will do that.

i flipping well love inland empire. one of my favourite films OF ALL TIME IN THE WORLD EVER. also, incidentally, one of the most exciting cinema experiences i've had, courtesy of the glasgow film festival a few years back. every year the list sponsors a screening of a top secret mystery movie, with the audience buying a ticket blind and hoping that they get something good. judging by the steady dribble of exasperated punters leaving constantly throughout, a three hour headfuck wasn't what everyone had in mind (i reckon the festival organisers realised this themselves: last year we got the gentle norweigan comedy o horten, and the year before that the chucklesome and nostalgic son of rambow - far more suitable saturday night fare...).

which brings me to the real topic of this post: this week's radio show. i'm off to berlin for five days the week after next, so this thursday's show has to cover two weeks of events and releases rather than the typical one. were i in the country, one of those weeks would have been spent discussing this year's glasgow festival. last year i did a movie special, with loads of my favourite soundtrack cuts, but the music side of the festival this year is so good it'd be a shame not to explore it a little. so there'll be music from delightful indie-pop drama '1234' (and i'll have an inteview with director giles borg in the cineskinny - and here - sometime soon...) plus tracks from nick cave and possibly the white stripes, both of whom are the subjects of documentaries screening at the fest. a mogwai song will likely crop up too, to mark their movie debut 'burning', while a thomas truax song will recognise his upcoming gig at mono. and since he'll be performing tracks from his last album 'songs from the films of david lynch', that brings us nicely full-circle!

there'll also be more conventional gig-related songs and new releases, including more from the new los campesinos and vampire weekend albums, and wonderful music from the forthcoming shearwater and efterklang records.

thursday, 12-1pm,


Friday, 5 February 2010

new skinny oot the noo

this is what it looks like on the outside:

and this is what it looks like on the inside: cover interview with massive attack, preview for the glasgow film festival and features on thee silver mt zion, shearwater, errors and jonah matranga. BUT I WROTE NONE OF THAT SO WHAT DO I CARE? (note: i care, its good).

stuff i wrote: album reviews of efterklang (amazing), ardentjohn (ok-ish), oh no ono (ace), first aid kit (lovely) and musee mechanique (pretty nice). live reviews of nacional, laura veirs and glassjaw. and my interview with the vivian girls in which they guest-reviewed the singles column (i'll post that up in the next few days).


Thursday, 4 February 2010

even though you don't know me i know i can treat you right

here's today's radio show playlist:

- nikaido kazumi - shoppin' blue
- musee mechanique - like home
- gil scott-heron - me and the devil
- streets of rage - hater
- super adventure club - pick up sticks
- the drums - i felt stupid
- beach house - some things last a long time
- daniel johnston - living it for the moment
- iggy and the stooges - search and destroy
- cold cave - love comes close
- hello saferide - travelling with hs
- built to spill - liar
- shonen knife - twistie barbie
- andrew wk - let's go on a date
- xiu xiu - the pineapple vs. the watermelon

listen to it here.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

reviews: the album leaf, musee mecanique, efterklang

here are three more record reviews plucked from the pages/webspace of the skinny:

The Album Leaf - A Chorus of Storytellers (****)

If you find The Postal Service a bit too raucous, try Jimmy Lavelle’s woozy electro lullabies. In fact, The Album Leaf (previously a solo nom-de-plume, now extended to a full band line-up) comfortably pre-date the Ben Gibbard/Jimmy Tamberello team-up, with A Chorus Of Storytellers marking a decade of slow-burn minimalism. Its subtlety is either its chief selling point or its principal failing, depending on your taste: the first group will swoon to spluttering beats reminiscent of Four Tet’s Rounds and bask in the gently romantic atmosphere; those in the latter will rub their eyes and appreciate the nap it induced. Assuming you belong to the former, this is a treat, the move from solo bedroom producer to full studio-band help putting flesh on synthetic bones. At any rate, if you’re still awaiting Give Up’s sequel, the Album Leaf are a safer bet than Owl City’s copyright-infringing facsimile, that's for sure.

out now

Musee Mechanique - Hold This Ghost (***)

Taking their name from a curious Californian music-box museum (and conceived in a marginally more prosaic setting, an antique arcade museum), Musée Mécanique’s sound is appropriately nuanced and intricate, with ticking percussion underpinning saw, organ, trumpets, bells and probably a whistle or two to boot. But while I’ve never had the pleasure of perusing such an establishment, I’d imagine that once the initial marvel subsides, all that clockwork can get a bit dull – another, less favourable trait the band occasionally share with their namesake. Everything on Hold This Ghost sounds perfectly placed, but the effect, though pleasingly tuneful, occasionally lacks a pulse - a mechanical amalgamation of Beirut, Mercury Rev and The Notwist’s offbeat symphonies rather than a living, breathing entity in its own right. But at its best there is an elegant beauty to Hold This Ghost’s dustiness, its vintage instrumentation and wistful atmosphere laced with borrowed nostalgia.

Released 15th Feb

Efterklang - Magic Chairs (****)

Last year’s Performing Parades captured Efterklang’s enchanting collaboration with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra and effectively encapsulated the band’s inviting oddness. In retrospect it seems like a heraldic full stop, summarising the Parades-period and, if not quite wiping the slate clean, certainly smudging it in preparation for their third album's subtle shift in sound. Casper Clausen’s vocals typify the toned down eccentricities, his emergence as unchallenged front man leads to a more conventional arrangement than their previously rudderless clan sound, but any tempering of their peculiarities feels fresh rather than compromised. Highlights are near-impossible to isolate: Modern Drift sets the tone beautifully; I Was Playing Drums raises goosebumps with its melting strings and trickling piano; and Full Moon is eighties electro-pop filtered through a toyshop orchestra. But ask tomorrow and a different three will likely rise to the top, such is the richness of Magic Chairs’ magisterial elegance.

Released 22nd February

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

review: nikaido kazumi and shugo tokumaru with the national jazz trio of scotland @ classic grand, 28th january

as promised, here are my words on the above gig:

Presided over by the Hitchcockian Bill Wells, Celtic Connections tonight invites its first Japanese contributors to collaborate with The National Jazz Trio of Scotland. The latter’s opening set is led by Aby Vulliamy’s viola, with Wells proffering gentle guitar over slight percussion ticks and glockenspiel chimes. Their delicate precision is more hushed Shibuya-Kei than the noodling their name suggests, and as such fits the evening like a glove.

It lacks, however, a vivid personality: cue Nikaido Kazumi. She instantly captivates; her voice, veering between Joanna Newsom-style affectation and Edith Piaf roof-raising, is as much an instrument as the guitar around her neck. Her eccentricities explode on Shopping Blue, which resembles an acoustic Pizzicato Five ditty sung by a delightfully attention-seeking child. As she skips offstage, it’s hard to see how she can be topped.

Luckily Shugo Tokumaru has talent enough to try. Whether looping and layering samples or relying only on his prodigious guitar skills, he astonishes, though his zeal quickly leaves him looking beat. But he has a final treat before he goes: a ukulele-based Video Killed the Radio Star that faithfully translates the song in toto: guitar solo converted to miniature fret-board and voice suitably pitched for backing vocals. As he exits to enthusiastic applause, it dawns that, somehow, he’s managed to match Kazumi’s considerable charm.

Then its time for “basically everyone”, as Wells puts it. The finale’s collaborations offer various algebraic arrangements: Kazumi + viola = atmospheric oddity; Kazumi + Wells + viola = timeless ballad in the Dusty Springfield mould; incorporate Tokumaru and the rest of the Trio and you get a luscious blend of all their talents (with added laughter at Kazumi’s giddy antics). The communal conclusion is hesitantly performed by some, but the relative lack of confidence can’t detract from an otherwise beguiling evening.