Friday, 29 October 2010

strange powers - tickets on sale now!

the scottish premiere of Strange Powers: Stephin Merritt and the Magnetic Fields is just over three weeks away! got your ticket yet? why the devil not you numpty?! if you need a little push, listen to this - it's bloody marvellous...

tickets are available now from the GFT box office (

Thursday, 28 October 2010

reviews: katzenjammer, the sexual objects, snowblink

Katzenjammer - Le Pop (***)

Who are Katzenjammer? It’s a tougher question than you’d think: they’ve a German name, a French album title, Norwegian passports and a Balkan whirl of a lead single in the form of the Denmark-referencing A Bar in Amsterdam. Trying to take cues from the music leads to similarly dizzying disorientation: cabaret theatrics, weepy Dixie Chicks-country, carnival clowning, and an instrumental that resembles Flight of the Bumblebee adapted by Danny Elfman are only a fraction of its baffling variety: throw in nonsensical doo-wop, gypsy-chic, Shakespeare’s Sister goth-balladry, cutesy polka and more and you’re left with an album that all but defies categorisation. It’s like tuning in to an edition of the Eurovision Song Contest shorn of its cheesiest outreaches, a simile which might help subjectively answer the opening question: Katzenjammer are either your worst nightmare, or excitingly broad-minded – unafraid to mix up genres and spit in the face of fashion.

The Sexual Objects - Cucumber (***)

The Sexual Objects play Freudian games on debut Cucumber. The onanistic connotations of the band/album name combination, along with tracks entitled Full Penetration and Baby Wants To Ride, meant that the chorus of the opening Here Come the Rubber Cops was confused by this reviewer for "here come the rubber cocks" (making the implications of lines like “just want to spread my wings and make a mess of things” too rude to contemplate).

Davy Henderson’s new outfit are dirty in a different sense, sharing with his past acts The Fire Engines and The Nectarine No. 9 a rough-and-ready style, with bluesy licks riding raw recordings in a manner akin to Lou Reed’s post-Velvet Underground, pre-aural antagonism period. T-Rex and the Rolling Stones are echoed frequently also, but while hardly original, the Sexual Objects are doing what they do with sufficient swagger and sleaze to pull it off (snigger).

Snowblink - Long Live (****)

Long Live
first trickled into view in 2008, extolled by a handful of in-the-loop bloggers and publications as one of the year’s finest albums. Despite such early accolades, it’s taken some time for Toronto duo Snowblink to capitalise on the goodwill, with their enchanting debut only now acquiring a full release. Its tracks emerge from their hibernation undiminished, largely due to Daniela Gesundheit’s soaring vocals and poetic lyrics (“one little tremor as tender as a frost thawing into a pond” is a typically redolent simile). Ambergris is its pinnacle, its titular metaphor wrapped in an airy, Feist-y melody. It’s exciting to contemplate where the talents of Gesundheit and band-mate Dan Goldman have led them since, but such revelations will follow in good time. For now, they’ve likely found their way on to a few more ‘best of’ lists in the most understated manner imaginable.

Friday, 22 October 2010

badly drawn boy @ old fruitmarket, 20th october

"Not exactly playing the hits am I?" notes Badly Drawn Boy after airing tracks from 1997's EP1. That's not quite accurate - in tonight's mammoth set, a patchily-scattered Fruitmarket audience is trated to the Santana-cheese riff of Disillusion, Silent Sigh (given added guitar and oomph), and an opening run performed solo and acoustically which includes cuts both early (The Shining) and more recent (last year's Was There Nothing We Could Do).

Damon is on affable form, though the self-deprecating banter is in full flow (he introduces ex-ad track All Possibilities by apologising to "anyone who bought a shit product from Comet"). Later, he teases by alternating between intros for You Were Right and Once Around the Block but is forgiven since both get played eventually, while mixed-bag tracks from his recent seventh album are received politely. But while offerent value, his lengthy set could survive pruning - with an odd karaoke Thunder Road finale the first candidate for the shears.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Sunday, 17 October 2010

october 2010 playlist!

379 folks - weeeeeeeeheee! thanks to everyone who came down and danced with us to all these songs:

1. the radio dept. - the new improved hypocrisy
2. wild nothing - chinatown
3. veronica falls - found love in a graveyard
4. carly simon - you're so vain
5. frank (just frank) - couer hante
6. sambassadeur - kate
7. envelopes - free jazz
8. duran duran - girls on film
9. talking heads - new feeling
10. the get up kids - close to me
11. okkervil river - black
12. withered hand - new dawn
13. the zombies - time of the season
14. liliput - die matrosen
15. arcade fire - month of may
16. sparklehorse - ghost in the sky
17. shirley ellis - the clapping song
18. vince taylor and the playboys - brand new cadillac
19. chuck berry - never can tell
20. bruce springsteen - 10th avenue freeze out
21. neutral milk hotel - holland 1945
22. art brut - twist & shout
23. of montreal - first time high
24. the fall - hit the north
25. missing person - walking in l.a.
26. blondie - sunday girl
27. liz brady - bas les pattes
28. helen love - debbie loves joey
29. belle and sebastian - legal man
30. otis redding and carla thomas - tramp
31. mitch rider and the detroit wheels - jenny take a ride
32. lee dorsey - ride your pony
33. dire straits - walk of life
34. the lemonheads - luka
35. tears for fears - everybody wants to rule the world
36. madonna - into the groove
37. magnetic fields - strange powers
38. fleetwood mac - everywhere
39. the b-52s - roam
40. rem - catapult
41. white flag - wuthering heights
42. the rolling stones - rocks off
43. the police - i can't stand losing
44. the smiths - handsome devil
45. the go-betweens - streets of your town
46. the housemartins - five get over excited
47. tenpole tudor - wunderbar
48. joan jett - cherrybomb
49. pj harvey - this is love
50. aztec camera - somewhere in my heart
51. the go-gos - vacation
52. los campesinos - you! me! dancing!
53. the knack - my sharona
54. alice cooper - poison
55. orange juice - rip it up
56. toots and the maytals - country roads

nae bad eh

Friday, 15 October 2010

tömörröw night!

bottle rocket's 28th dance party is 29 hours away. you probably don't need to book your taxi quite yet, but failure to prepare is preparing to fail, innit. see you tomorrow!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

got your ticket yet?

tickets on sale from now!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

mudhoney @ the arches, 9th october

I’m not saying girls don’t like Mudhoney (***) – that would be a ridiculous and sexist generalisation. But judging by tonight, it’s fair to say that maturing male grunge vets definitely do like Mudhoney, constituting a fair slice of the crowd and ensuring that the heavy checked-shirt is tonight’s unofficial uniform.

Though mostly wrapped in toilet paper, at least one plaid collar can be glimpsed through the Andrex coating three quarters of Unnatural Helpers (****), who deliver loud riffs, big drums and the lion’s share of highlights. Their brisk set is part Part Chimp with pop highlights, shot through with a vitality that the headliners can can't quite match this evening.

That’s not to say that the Seattle survivors aren’t capable of teaching their younger label-mates a trick or two. The solos are loud enought to shake faces and, once freed from his guitar, Mark Arm remains an engaging stage presence. And then there are the songs: Into the Drink opens strongly; When Tomorrow Hits’ slow stoner jam segues instantly into the propulsive punk rattle of In N Out of Grace to hit the spot with sledgehammer force; while Touch Me I’m Sick is fired out early with controlled aggression.

But there are stretches of boredom, where the riffs grow stiff and the band seem distant (a disconnect noted by the band, who bemoan the “giant moats you have around castles in Scotland” in reference to the distance from stage to front row). They’ve still got ‘it’ for sure, its just a little less in our face than previous form.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

reviews: glasser, kurt wagner and cortney tidwell present kort, fenech-soler

Glasser - Ring (****)

Glasser is Cameron Mesirow, a precociously gifted songwriter who, in crude splicing terms, evokes a Bat For Lashes/Dirty Projectors love affair on her revelatory debut album. Mesirow has both musical and intellectual ambition, with Ring named for its supposedly ‘chiastic’ (that’s fancy-talk for ‘ring’) structure – a literary technique Mesirow encountered in reading Homer in which ideas are symmetrical and reversible, leading “bi-directionally toward a central idea.”

The phrase has an air of undergraduate pretence, and having messed with the album’s sequence a number of times, these ears aren't convinced the concept’s been carried through particularly thoroughly – though as the fifth of nine tracks, T makes a splendidly crystalline central hub. But the actual music proves an odyssey of riches, deeply layered and baroque throughout. To offer Glasser her own chiastic epithet (well antimetabolic epithet technically, but let’s not quibble), the marvellous Ring rings in marvels.

Out Now

Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell Present Kort - Invariable Heartache (****)

As musical partnerships go, Kurts and Cortneys go together less like a horse and carriage than a horse and a grunge Yoko prone to worrying Twitter-spasms. Well no more: Kort represents a happier alternative: a honey-coated tribute to ye olde country and western, courtesy of Lambchop’s Kurt Wagner, solo chanteuse Cortney Tidwell and lashings of slide guitar and whiskey-pickled heartbreak. Tidwell employs her fine pipes in an appropriately conventional Americana style, but it’s Wagner’s idiosyncratic croon that steals the show. The album opens with his unadorned voice, echoing his day-job’s finest hour (2000’s Nixon, ushered in with similarly intimate fashion), while his precise enunciation of the lyric “little bitty tear” – all crisp consonants and debonair delivery – sounds slightly silly yet utterly charming. For every track straying too close to caricature there are a dozen moments of pleasure, making Invariable Heartache both a note-perfect tribute and self-contained delight.

Out 18th October

Fenech-Soler - Fenech-Soler - album cover

Fenech-Soler - Fenech-Soler (***)

Fenech-Soler have been attracting moderate buzz for quite some time, with recent single Stop & Stare thus far their closest pitch for the mainstream. Their eponymous debut offers nine more in a similar vein, with the likes of Lies sounding locked, loaded, and expectantly awaiting adoration. This is calculated stuff: shiny and exciting, with a retro ripple and hooks in spades. At times it sound a little too polished and plastic, like a boy-band take on Justice. But if there’s one thing the Peterborough four-piece have perfected in their years together, it’s the ability to write music that bypasses critical faculties; climbing into the listener and triggering twitching to their direct (if occasionally inane) pop skills. They offer electro-anthems with personality, just not necessarily a personality that everyone will warm to. But if you’re partial to the likes of Delphic and Cut Copy, Fenech-Soler’s flair makes them worth investigation.

Out Now

Friday, 8 October 2010

boooooooottle roooooooocket, 16th oooooctoooober!

hmmm, the title of this post was supposed to seem spooky to reflect the dead good (geddit? DEAD!) poster image. instead it just looks like it's pronounced "böttle röcket, 16th öctöber", and if that was the desired effect i'd sure as stanley have used umlauts in the first place. but i digress...

here's what mikey has to say about next week's dance party:

As you may have read in the popular press, the world is on the brink of collapse, what with all the civil unrest and budget cuts and questionable decisions on the X Factor. This is bad news friends, bad news. In the unlikely event that society remains intact until Saturday 16th October however, why not celebrate this achievement at bottle rocket? For a few glorious hours you can forget the travails of this hideous age by dancing away to some indiepop, soul, new wave, post-punk and straight up pop music.

So that's:

300p (or free before 11:30)

If you have any requests please stick them on the facebook wall, although with the impending apocalypse we'd ask that you make them particularly good. Godspeed.

i think that bout covers things - come an' have a dance folks!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


Well this is exciting. Bottle Rocket is proud to announce the Scottish premiere of Strange Power, an intimate documentary portrait of songwriter Stephin Merritt and his band the Magnetic Fields.

Here's the blurb!

With his unique gift for memorable melodies, lovelorn lyrics and wry musical stylings that blend classic Tin Pan Alley with modern sounds, Stephin Merritt has distinguished himself as one of contemporary pop's most beloved and influential artists. Both a prolific recording artist and composer of theater and film scores, he performs most famously as the Magnetic Fields, whose 1999 three-disc opus 69 Love Songs is widel considered a masterpiece of traditional songcraft and irresistable American synthpop.

Strange Powers explores Merritt's songwriting and recording process, and focuses on his relationships with his bandmates and longtime manager Claudia Gonson, revealing an artist who has produced one of the most engaging and confounding bodies of work in the contemporary American songbook.

The screening will be at the GFT on Sunday the 21st November, 7:30pm. Tickets are already on sale, and we'd suggest picking up yours sooner rather than later - chances are, Glasgow's got more than its fair share of Merritt fans, what with Scotland's long-term love affair with all things indie and lovely and wry. Visit the GFT box office at for more details!

Thanks to the Glasgow Film Theatre, the Glasgow Film Festival, Gail O'Hara and Kerthy Fix (the directors) and Edward McGowan, who designed the event poster. And of course, to Stephin Merritt for penning so much splendid music.

And you can check out more info from the filmmakers website!

film reviews: restrepo, south of the border

South of the Border (dir. Oliver Stone)

Leading with footage of Fox and Friends acting foolish, South of the Border seems to aim for populist agitprop a la Michael Moore. But Moore, for all his faults, is rarely sycophantic, and though this avoids Commandante's chummy pointlessness, Oliver Stone does little to restore his blunted reputation. If Stone's aim was to counter US attempts to characterise an uncooperative southern hemisphere as a threat, then he succeeds. But painting Hugo Chavez with the depth and nuance of a Che T-shirt hardly does the subject justice, nor do encounters with other South American leaders, so brief there's barely time to patronisingly ask Argentina's Kirchner how many shoes she owns or film Evo Morales playing football. We learn Chavez's baseball position (pitcher) and bed-time (3am), but the elephant in the room - Venezuela's human rights record - is ignored with a shrug that Columbia's worse; perhaps, but that doesn't absolve Chavez, nor does it absolve Stone of missed opportunities.


Restrepo (dir. Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger)

Considering the controversy surrounding last year's Associated Press photograph of a dying US marine (deemed appalling by the disgusted and insightful by the agency), it's a shock to see Restrepo's cameras pick up and hold in sight a fallen American soldier. While upsetting, it is just one of Restrepo's brave inclusions, which together constitute fresh insight into the lives of soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. The anguished tears shed by the deceased's brothers in arms highlights something frequently missing from war documentaries; a genre all too often preoccupied with either celebrating machismo or demonising and deploring its subject (this despite co-director Sebastian Junger's tendency towards a gung-ho, adrenalised style in his written work). These soldiers aren't adverse to knuckleheaded cultural insensitivity, nor uncomfortably joyous violence; moreover, the film itself provides little space for the Afghan perspective. But Restrepo gazes unflinchingly on those at the heart of a contentious conflict and renders their experience viscerally and - most importantly - humanely.


Friday, 1 October 2010

manic street preachers @ O2 Academy, 29th September

A boa wrapped around a mic stand, a white Gibson being tuned by a roadie, and an empty space to the left of the stage: the Manics don’t have to be performing for their presence to be felt. When the curtain drops it heralds twenty-three songs incorporating every stage of their double-decade career in ways both traditional (the defiant A Design For Life) and more infrequent (a dazzling Sleepflower).

While Nicky Wire skulks and jumps with trademark gangly poise, James Dean Bradfield proves himself once again an impeccable frontman: whether soloing through Motorcycle Emptiness or bringing his range to bear on impassioned cuts from their polarising tenth album -- roughing them up sufficiently to earn their place amongst prestigious back-catalogue peers -- he leads the trio through the ages and confirms they’ve stayed beautiful. Anyone still wishing they’d split-up after Generation Terrorists is an overly-ideological fool, and tonight delivers twenty-three reasons why.