Tuesday, 31 August 2010

september skinny out today! (even though it's still august - goodness me!)

this month's skinny is a doozy when it comes to music content. the cover story digs deep into the scottish mental health arts and film festival, talking to james yorkston, emma pollock, aidan moffat, scott hutchison and alasdair roberts amongst others about their involvement. elsewhere, words are exchanged with black mountain, manic street preachers, the vaselines and divorce, while steve mason reviews the singles.

now, on to me me me me me. ma input iz:

- interview with stuart braithwaite/review of special moves
- manic street preachers - 'postcards from a young man' album review
- the vaselines - 'sex with an x' album review
- edwyn collins - 'losing sleep' album review

and that's it. i must've been a bit of a lazy bones last month.

the edwyn collins review is already up on the blog (and over at theskinny.co.uk), while the rest will no doubt be added over the coming weeks. so be sure to check back every fifteen minutes like clockwork lest you miss this thrilling development.

Monday, 30 August 2010

reviews: miyagi, edwyn collins, for a minor reflection

Miyagi - Electrosaurus (***)

Christening your second album Electrosaurus and adorning the cover with axe-wielding thunder-lizards and a drumming diplodocus is undoubtedly awesome, but it also creates expectations that go unfulfilled: neither rock titans nor electroheads (as the cover might imply), Miyagi also unfortunately fall short of ‘awesome’. The Edinburgh five-piece specialise in sixties-inspired sedate folk-pop, and although not quite Jurassic, the results sound fairly ancient. Echoing historic influences isn’t necessarily to their detriment: for example, the gorgeous harmonies of Faithful Retainer are delivered with an astutely sensitive touch, while Sheep (amongst others) successfully evokes Big Star. But the results are occasionally bland, the ingredients beautifully sourced and combined skilfully, but the product undifferentiated. To quote the band’s wise karate-master namesake, “Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squished like grape.” As it stands, Miyagi’s middle-of-the-road tendencies are putting them in danger of extinction.

Out Now

Edwyn Collins - Losing Sleep (****)

Indie-legend Edwyn Collins is pretty extraordinary by any yardstick. It’s disappointing, however, that recent expressions of amazement have focussed less on the quality of what he does, than on the fact he does it at all following 2005’s brain haemorrhages. Losing Sleep, by contrast, generates astonishment not because he’s ‘bounced back’ – let’s avoid patronisation – but because songwriters in their fourth decade of recording rarely sound so fresh. Credit goes partially to the young(er) guns enlisted to assist. They leave fingerprints – What Is My Role? features Ryan Jarman vocals, while Do It Again (co-written by Alex Kapranos and Nick McCarthy) has a Franz-esque beat – but considering Collins has influenced them and their kin for decades, a reversal seems fair. The results don’t always gel, but individually, songs stand proud: from the soul-stomp title track to closing ballad Searching For the Truth, Collins proves remarkable for all the right reasons.

Out 13th September

For A Minor Reflection - Heading Towards Chaos (***)

For about fifteen minutes, For A Minor Reflection are the best instrumental post-rock band to reach these ears in years. Obviously for some, this will sound like faint praise – the relative lack of variation in the genre can make it feel like a style long peaked, but for those partial to a bit of evocative bluster, bombastic opener Kostljos and the palette cleansing Fjara are real treats.

Yet such early enthusiasm soon resides – while masters of the genre’s craft, balancing light and shade, loud and quiet, both the storm and its eye – the Icelandic quartet follow the rule-book so closely there’s little room to challenge or surprise. In the end, they’re closer to the soaring populism of Coldplay than the shiver-inducing likes of Explosions in the Sky, and as such ‘only’ deserve the epithet Mjög Góður (that’s ‘Very Good’ if your Icelandic is rusty).

Out 6th September

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

september poster might give you nightmares

or it might make you feel happy and warm - i dunno, i'm not a bloomin mind reader am i?

Monday, 23 August 2010

august playlist

cor, that was fun. i reckon saturday night was as fine an introduction into bottle rocket's third year (!) as we could have hoped for, so thanks to everyone that made it along. apologies to anyone who made requests that went unfulfilled - i realised towards the end that i'd said aye to waaaay too many to fit in, so if you waited patiently for tv on the radio, the beatles or david bowie (amongst others), i hope you didn't leave too disappointed...

here's what we did play:

1. apache beat - another day
2. guided by voices - my kind of soldier
3. superchunk - art class
4. pet lions - roman holiday
5. violent femmes - gone daddy gone
6. au revoir simone - another likely story
7. broken social scene - forced to love
8. the fall - mr pharmacist
9. the cranberries - salvation
10. yeah yeah yeahs - date with the night
11. dum dum girls - bhang bhang i'm a burnout
12. house of love - shine on
13. sleigh bells - rill rill
14. jens lekman - the end of the world (is bigger than love)
15. frightened rabbit - the modern leper
16. beck - sexlawws
17. cake - short skirt/long jacket
18. dogs die in hot cars - i love you cos i have to
19. danger mouse, sparklehorse and julian casablancas - little girl
20. the cure - boys don't cry
21. interpol - barricade
22. monotonix - fun fun fun
23. dananananaykroyd - pink sabbath
24. the rolling stones - rip this joint
25. the who - i can't explain
26. little richard - i don't want to discuss it
27. the kills - sour cherry
28. wild nothing - summer holiday
29. pains of being pure at heart - young adult friction
30. rilo kiley - portions for foxes
31. kirsty maccoll - a new england
32. sleeper - inbetweener
33. kim wilde - dancing in the dark
34. janelle monae - tightrope
35. big boi - shutterbug
36. pulp - misshapes
37. the libertines - don't look back into the sun
38. kain - satellite
39. the strokes - hard to explain
40. idlewild - roseability
41. the breeders - cannonball
42. the triffids - beautiful waste
43. julian cope - world shut your mouth
44. blondie - one way or another
45. b-52s - private idaho
46. thelma houston - jumpin' jack flash
47. the concretes - can't hurry love
48. lush - ladykillers
49. devo - that's good
50. duran duran - planet earth
51. fleetwood mac - go your own way
52. the supremes - stop in the name of love
53. abba - voulez vous
54. beastie boys - intergalactic
55. bon jovi - runaway
56. franz ferdinand - this fire
57. prince - i could never take the place of your man
58. plastic bertrand - ca plane pour moi
59. the stone roses - she bangs the drums
60. talking heads - stay up all night
61. deacon blue - wages day
62. roy orbison - love hurts

Friday, 20 August 2010

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

august skinny

if you aint picked up a copy of the skinny yet, yer missing out on loads of good musicy stuff - interviews with the burns unit, !!!, big boi and raekwon for starters.

and as always there are things written on THISVERYKEYBOARDONWHICHITYPETHISNOW by THESEVERYHANDS. things like:

- interview with milk (read!)
- the dirty dozen single reviews (single of the month: these new puritans. its ace yknow) (read!)
- s. carey - 'all we grow' album review (read!)
- mt. st. helens vietnam band - 'where the messengers meet' album review (read!)
- women - 'public strain' album review (read!)
- commercial alternative live review (read!)
- milk live review (read!)

go on, give it a read!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

bottle rocket is cool for cats

wot with best coast an' wavves an' keyboard cat (is keyboard cat still funny and hip?) an' that, cats are SO IN right now.

despite this, nice n sleazys do not, to the best of my knowledge, permit felines in the building (i suppose they'd probably hide their shit in the speakers, and it's not like they'd enjoy themselves anyway, i mean they're cats forchrissakes). but if one WERE to find its way downstairs at half eleven on the... 21st of august, well by jove, said kitty would be so darn delighted with what they encountered that they'd look like the one in the poster. i mean, just look at that face - some proverbial cream has totally been got. of course, rather than lounging about all tired-like, it'd be hot-pawing across the dancefloor to all the cracking tunes.

should you wish to join this metaphorical dancing cat at bottle rocket's 25th installment, simply follow the instructions below:

1. don yer party clothes and dig out yer dancing shoes.
2. mosey on down to nice n sleazys on sauchiehall street - if thee mosey fast and get there before half eleven its free. but if thee mosey slow, it's £3.
3. dance dance dance dance.

if you've requests, stick em on the wall of this here facebook page.

Friday, 6 August 2010

reviews: leif vollebekk, millimetre, s carey

Leif Vollebekk - Inland (**)

On Inland, Leif Vollebekk aimed for 'Hank Williams meets Sigur Rós'. Surprisingly, the results reflect the aim, with the influence of both (just about) discernable, but the amalgamation is less satisfying than might have been hoped. From the former comes an emotional tenor, from the latter a grandly forlorn atmosphere, but from their synthesis stultifying disappointment is born – seems Williams + Rós = a down in the dumps Fionn Regan in Dylan fancy-dress. This is Serious music, about Serious affairs of the heart, but ‘Serious’ has unfortunately translated to an unleavened tone that puts the ‘dour’ in ‘splendour’. Nonetheless, his soul-bearing intermittently hits hard: for example, he is lyrically fascinating throughout (“your body’s been honest but here again it lies”), and the trembling In The Morning evokes tumultuous emotion delicately. While sad songs needn’t be so dull, Vollebekk’s debut is intriguing enough to hope for another instalment.

Out Now

Millimetre - 13 Homes (***)

While summing up Millimetre’s sound isn't easy, The Blue Nile with laptops (or The XX remixed by Hot Chip, to put contemporary references to work) evokes some of the dislocated urban atmosphere which ebbs from Hymmigrant’s low-key opener, through industrial percussion to the claustrophobic echoes of A Stranger’s Face. Though born in small-town Ireland, the tone and timbre of city life flows through Millimetre’s baggy, synth pop creations (the cover is aptly illustrative).

The results can be glassy and distant: “I can’t walk these streets, tar and paving swallows me” begins one prickly track; “London dark draws its love... kill the newborn” threatens another. But there is levity, when the sun rises and dispels shadows from alleys and underpasses: Photo-Finish is cut-up Super Furry Animals churned out from circuits, while an old home-recording of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at the close reaffirms familial closeness amidst the alienation.

Out 16th August

S Carey - All We Grow (***)

You’d have to add a montage before it hits cinemas, but Sean Carey’s allegiance to Bon Iver has inspirational triumph written all over it. A morose inspirational triumph admittedly, but get Glee to cover Skinny Love for the soundtrack and it’d whip up that Almost Famous-vibe for sure. After a fortnight spent memorising For Emma, Forever Ago, Carey approached Justin Vernon at a gig, impressed him with his homework and was invited to join the band.

Unfortunately, it seems that in slavishly regurgitating Vernon’s music, Carey is stuck emulating it with lesser success. All We Grow’s evocative, rustic atmosphere is unquestionably beautiful, but lacks For Emma’s incisiveness. It nonetheless skirts close to excellence, but truthfully, if these nine tracks were released by someone unconnected to Bon Iver, they’d have to dodge justifiable charges of plagiarism. Yet if anonymously presented as Bon Iver’s second full-length, they’d spark more disappointment than excitement.

Out 30th August