Music, Pop

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Sébastien Tellier - Confection

14 Nov 20134 stars

Predominantly instrumental suite is a panoramic pick-and-mix tribute to classic soundtracks

Hirsute synth pop seducer Sébastien Tellier is a playful man of parts. In 2008, he represented his native France in the Eurovision Song Contest, singing bubblegum pop in a bubble car. Last year, he manifested as a New Agey self-help guru on his album My…

The Leg - Oozing A Crepuscular Light

8 Nov 20134 stars

Whip-cracking gallop through eight oddly melodious tracks

A lot can happen in 23 minutes. It certainly does in the new album by The Leg, mercurial junkyard auteur Dan Mutch's manic spleen-venting songwriting vehicle over four albums and the best part of a decade. With cellist Pete Harvey and drummer Alun…

dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, Mon 14 Oct 2013

16 Oct 20134 stars

A slow-starting, ultimately triumphant small venue show from the hip hop upstarts

‘I think I know what the problem is,’ says Scroobius Pip, trying to figure out why initial audience reaction is somewhat muted tonight. ‘It’s because we’re in the pop charts now, and this is the first time you’ve seen genuine pop stars in a hundred cap…

Interview: George Reid of AlunaGeorge

16 Oct 2013

One half of the electro-pop darlings runs the gauntlet of our First & Last questionnaire

First record you ever bought Jamiroqai, Travelling Without Moving. Last extravagant purchase you made My first laptop. First film you saw that really moved you The Lion King. Last lie you told I'm fine thanks. First movie you ever went…

WATCH: The stop-motion video for Erasure's new single, 'Gaudete'

30 Oct 2013

The 'Latin carol' is the first track to be released from forthcoming Christmas album Snow Globe

Iconic synth-pop duo Erasure have returned to add a dance twist to our Christmas listening. Snow Globe, set for release on Mon 11 Nov, will be a collection of both original tracks and re-imaginings of famous seasonal songs, and is Erasure’s first…

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Rae & Christian - Mercury Rising

11 Oct 20134 stars

Production duo return with album of electronic-tinged folk and pop collaborations

It is fifteen years since Mark Rae and Steve Christian released the Mercury Award-nominated Northern Sulphuric Soul, a début which drew comparisons with Massive Attack’s Blue Lines thanks to its slick combination of hip hop and soul. Their 2001…

Interview: Manchester pop-rock quartet PINS

11 Oct 2013

The all-female foursome talk aesthetics, new music and voodoo dolls

The Ray Ban and leather-clad quadruple that make up PINS (Faith Holgate, Lois McDonald, Anna Donigan and Sophie Galpin) hail from Manchester and recently signed to the Cocteau Twins' Bella Union Records. Following this month’s release of their…

Paul Haig - Kube

14 Nov 20134 stars

Subtly textured mood music flitting between light and shade from former Josef K man

Of all the paeans to the late Lou Reed in the last couple of weeks, one of the most touching was a poem by Paul Haig, whose old band, the Reed/Velvet Underground/Chic-inspired Josef K, have proved so influential on the likes of Franz Ferdinand and…

Blood Relatives - Deerheart

14 Nov 20133 stars

Impressively executed debut of anthemic folk-pop and barbed chamber-indie

They may have ditched their zoological moniker, but the Glasgow folk-pop gaggle formerly known as Kitty the Lion are still preoccupied with animal – and animalistic – matter, if their debut album Deerheart is anything to go by. Now trading as Blood…

The Space Lady - The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits

14 Nov 20134 stars

Anthology from 70s / 80s US outsider-pop diviner is curious, rare and full of wonder

‘My musician parents lived in Roswell, New Mexico, around the time of the famous flying saucer crash in 1947, and I was born the following January.’ So begins the fascinating, other-worldly biog of Susan Dietrich, a 70s / 80s outsider-pop diviner who…

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Interview: Har Mar Superstar talks Grace Jones, Michael Jackson and ET

8 Nov 2013

The disco-dancing sex icon runs our First & Last questionnaire gauntlet

First record you ever bought The 7” of Tina Turner’s ‘We Don't Need Another Hero’ from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Last extravagant purchase you made We hired two bodyguards in Mexico City on this tour. First film you saw that really moved…

Various artists - Virgin Records: 40 Years Of Disruptions

8 Nov 20134 stars

Like a vast, tattered flag of modern British popular culture unfurling before you

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s record companies, whether EMI or RCA, were monolithic and faceless, vast industrial combines that also manufactured your fridges and television sets, and were answerable slavishly to shareholders. Then, in 1973, came…

Interview: synth-pop trio Machines in Heaven on collaborations, Pixies and hymn-writing

8 Nov 2013

Machines in Heaven are a synth-pop quartet that aim to simultaneously rapture and befuddle listeners with their multi-layered, beat-driven instrumentals. The brainchild of performance poet Graham Crossan, MIH came together over a five-year gestation…

Paloma Faith - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 29 Oct 2013

8 Nov 20133 stars

A jazz-flecked set and 42-piece orchestra backing makes the pop performance soar

Of all her contemporaries (Winehouse, Adele, Sandé, etc) Paloma Faith’s vocals were always the most rooted in the classic big band era, which makes this large scale tour, backed by the 42-piece Guy Barker Orchestra, such a natural fit. Without the…

Juana Molina - Wed 21

8 Nov 20134 stars

Argentinian singer-songwriter's best album yet is full of weird sonics and complex structures

Making ingenious use of live loops and samples, Juana Molina's electronic folk-pop brightened the mid-00s. Wed 21 is the Argentinian singer-songwriter's first album in five years and it may well be her best to date. It finds her moving into ever more…

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Honeyblood – Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Wed 30 Oct 2013

5 Nov 20134 stars

Confident, American-style garage pop with a Scottish accent

Taking inspiration from the grungy Seattle slacker-pop of the 1990s, there’s something intrinsically American about Honeyblood’s sound. At tonight’s gig – the final date on a short tour to launch their new single, ‘Bud’ – frontwoman Stina’s vocals range…

Arcade Fire to play November UK tour dates as The Reflektors

29 Oct 2013

The Canadian indie rockers will come to London, Glasgow and Blackpool

Arcade Fire have announced a string of UK dates the week their latest album is released. Ahead of Reflektor, their first album to follow 2010's Grammy-award winning The Suburbs, the band have adopted a slightly different persona. Playing gigs as…

Miaoux Miaoux, Jonnie Common and The Cairn String Quartet - Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Oct 2013

16 Oct 20134 stars

A glorious mash-up of orchestral strings, lo-fi beats and electropop for The Pleasance Sessions

Some shows glimmer with the kind of tingling collaborations you’re only likely to see live: the Cairn String Quartet, Jonnie Common and Miaoux Miaoux playing together during the Pleasance Sessions festival was one such show. Beneath the rafters of the…

Fleetwood Mac - The Hydro, Glasgow, Thu 3 Oct 2013

15 Oct 20135 stars

Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and co prove that 'the Mac is back' with effortless arena show

Fleetwood Mac version 2K13 look genuinely fresh; revitalised so much in their relative absence that casually jumping into ‘The Chain’ two songs in looks effortless. And they’re just warming up. Though ‘Everywhere’ is among notable absentees in tonight’s…

Best Coast - Fade Away

11 Oct 20134 stars

Snappy 7-song collection of effortless crunching hooks and moreish choruses

Best Coast’s breezy, sun-kissed indie-rock created such a kerfuffle when it emerged into the world three years ago it’s hard to forget it was just that – almost throwaway songs about love, weed and cats presented with an endearing nonchalance and lo-fi…

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds set for UK tour 2013

11 Oct 2013

Gigs in Glasgow, Brighton, London, Manchester and Edinburgh

The Barrowlands and the Usher Hall – how many other artists could play both venues on consecutive nights and look equally at home in each? Dark Lords of both the grubby and the grand, Nick Cave and his cohort of mean-looking backing musicians the Bad…

Monoganon - Family

11 Oct 20134 stars

Second album of introspective and complex psych-folk psalms and alt-pop mantras

‘What’s going on in here?’ asks Monoganon frontman John B McKenna in the opening line of his second album, F A M I L Y, as well he might. This introspective, complex collection of psych-folk psalms and alt-pop mantras dedicated to love, and loss and…

Jazzateers - Jazzateers

11 Oct 20134 stars

Re-release of 1983 debut from Glasgow band with rock’n’roll swagger and sass aplenty

When the decidedly non-jazz Jazzateers reformed to play a double bill with Vic Godard reviving his 1980s swing-based set at Glasgow International (yes) Jazz Festival in June this year, it shed some light on one of the great missing links of the original…

Depeche Mode set for 2013 UK tour dates

11 Oct 2013

Gigs in Leeds, Birmingham, London Belfast, Manchester and Glasgow

According to their label EMI, Essex boy stadium synth originators Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million records around the world in their lifetime together as a band. Since the millennium they’ve enjoyed nine top 20 UK singles and four top 10 albums…

Exposure: Miracle Strip make ambitious electronic lo-fi indie-pop

11 Oct 2013

Singer Fergus Christie Jack on Girl Gangs, influences and bass solos

Eurythmics, Boy George, Simple Minds – they all sang of miracles. Combine the three, chuck in Postcard Records and Jens Lekman, remove your clothes, et voila: Miracle Strip. Formed in an Edinburgh kitchen by singer / instrumentalist Fergus Christie Jack…