Music, Rock

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The New Mendicants - Into the Lime

5 Dec 20133 stars

Reassuringly familiar alt-country collaboration from Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake and Joe Pernice

The year’s finest new band from Canada who aren’t Canadian at all, The New Mendicants are a collaboration between Norman Blake (a Scot) of Teenage Fanclub, Joe Pernice (an American) of The Pernice Brothers, and sometime drummer for the Pernices Mike…

The Beta Band - The Regal Years (1997–2004)

5 Dec 20133 stars

Six-CD sonic memoir contains golden moments and tedious filler

When they went on the publicity trail to ‘promote’ their eponymous debut album in 1999, the Beta Band boys were refreshingly, almost too brutally, honest. Having released a much-acclaimed collection of three EPs (entitled, curiously, ‘The Three EPs’)…

There Will Be Fireworks - The Dark, Dark Bright

5 Dec 20134 stars

Second album of emotive eerie ambience from Scottish band

Differing career paths forced geographical separation on There Will Be Fireworks’ Glasgow band members after the release of their critically acclaimed self-titled debut, but the resulting four-year gap has fortunately, and indelibly, influenced the…

Kurt Vile set for 2013 UK tour

5 Dec 2013

Unlikely guitar hero takes Wakin' On A Pretty Daze on tour

Unlikely guitar hero Kurt Vile’s first instrument was not actually a guitar but a banjo, given to him when he was 14 by his bluegrass-loving father. But Vile, the first-born son of ten siblings bred in the ’burbs of west Philadelphia, loved that banjo…

Low - Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Tue 19 Nov 2013

5 Dec 20134 stars

Captivating performance in perfect venue from band at the top of their game

Those keeping up with Low since 2005’s The Great Destroyer will know that their days as the easy-to-characterise ‘quiet band’ are long gone. Their artistic reawakening since then has produced four albums that get pretty loud in places and effortlessly…

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Nine Inch Nails announce 2014 UK tour dates

21 Nov 2013

The tour in support of new album Hesitation Marks will call at London, Glasgow and more

Industrial music pioneers Nine Inch Nails are set to tour the UK for the first time in six years, in support of their latest album Hesitation Marks. The tour, which will take place in May 2014, will call in at arena venues around the country, including…

Twilight Sad and Admiral Fallow with the RSNO - Paisley Abbey, Paisley, Mon 14 Oct 2013

20 Nov 20134 stars

A spectacular combination of post-rock, indie-folk, classical and an impressive space for Spree fest

A vast, hallow space such as the Paisley Abbey isn't exactly your average rock gig venue. However, tonight isn't exactly your average rock gig. As one of the flagship events of Paisley's Spree festival, the concert sees two of Scotland's most respected…

Enablers - Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 9 Nov 2013

20 Nov 20134 stars

The San Francisco post-rock foursome walk a tightrope between high art and base emotion

Five years is a long time between visits, and plenty can happen in the interim. San Fran post-rock outfit Enablers tragically lost a drummer, gained two albums and notched up a few European tours since they were last in town and, considering the…

Frightened Rabbit - O2 Academy, Glasgow, Sat 16 Nov 2013

20 Nov 20134 stars

A triumphant return to Scottish soil for the Selkirk-born indie-folk quintet

Ah, a live gig on Scottish soil from local folk-rockers, Frabbits, where to begin? The sold-out venue, scattered with their zealous, die-hard fans? Their set-list merging old and ready faithfuls with their more recent, similarly well received material?

Arctic Monkeys to headline T in the Park 2014

20 Nov 2013

The Sheffield indie boys are the first act announced for next year's festival

Arctic Monkeys are the headliners to be confirmed for T in the Park 2014. The announcement comes just days before tickets to the festival go on sale, at 9am on Fri 22 Nov. Arctic Monkeys have been riding high on the acclaim for latest album AM…

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Interview: Shellac bassist Bob Weston talks to us ahead of the band's UK tour

18 Nov 2013

The trio will be playing material from forthcoming record Dude Incredible

There are few live music experiences like the Shellac one, not only because the Chicago trio cook up a buffeting storm of post-hardcore noise that’s fiercely played and soaked in invention, but because they’re three of the most self-deprecating and…

I Dream of Wires documentary charts history, demise and resurgence of the modular synthesiser

15 Nov 2013

4-hour doc on instrument and culture that surrounds it featuring some high-profile contributors

The synthesizer might not be the sound of the future any more, but it's one of the few instruments invented within living memory. Highly-anticipated independent documentary I Dream of Wires explores the history, demise and resurgence of the modular…

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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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…

Magik Markers - Surrender to the Fantasy

14 Nov 20134 stars

Clarion call from some of underground rock's most adventurous and intelligent practitioners

While the title of the first Magik Markers album in four years might hint at a Spinal Tap-esque revelling in rock's excesses, what it actually displays is some of its most scintillating rehabilitation. Despite being submerged in an ocean of reverb, it's…

Mark Lanegan - The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Mon 4 Nov 2013

11 Nov 20134 stars

The collaboration-friendly singer fuses gravelly vocals with tremulous melodies and eerie lyrics

As surreal musical moments go, watching the characteristically morose Mark Lanegan perform a downbeat version of Sinatra’s ‘Mack The Knife’ is pretty high up there. His unmistakeable voice teases out the track’s darker traits in a noteworthy fashion…

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…

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…

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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…

Parquet Courts - Mono, Glasgow, Thu 31 Oct 2013

8 Nov 20134 stars

A Hallowe'en set allows the Brooklyn stoner-punks to display flashes of hedonistic onstage improv

Vampires lurk at the periphery of the building, sucking the life out of cigarettes. Zombies swarm the bar, ghouls loom. It’s Hallowe'en, and a costumed crowd lets Brooklyn’s Parquet Courts be the punk-stoner rock launchpads for their night. After a…

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…

Public Service Broadcasting – Picture House, Edinburgh, Wed 6 Nov 2013

7 Nov 20133 stars

The vintage radio sample-based live show is effective, but only when it sticks to the formula

Public Service Broadcasting have done an excellent job of transferring their bowties-and-BBC English aesthetic to the live arena. Their stage set features retro televisions, back-projection screens, inventive lighting and a neon radio antenna, and…

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Barrowland, Glasgow, Thu 31 Oct 2013

6 Nov 20135 stars

Cave and co deliver a combination of gothic majesty and piano-led balladry on All Hallow's Eve

All Hallow's Eve feels like the perfect night to see Nick Cave – the self-styled dark prince of punk – when the veil between this world and the next is purportedly at its thinnest. These days, the Sussex-dwelling Cave is more a reluctant national…