Music, Pop

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Foxes - Glorious

15 May 20142 stars

Louisa Rose Allen's debut album is a pale conflation of Lykke Li, Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding

To date, Foxes has proved herself as a favoured ‘featuring’ vocalist – so favoured that she won a Grammy for featuring on the dance hit ‘Clarity’ by Zedd. Since her breakthrough, she has done some other ‘featuring stuff’ with the likes of Rudimental and…

Family tree: Scotland's indie-pop scene

2 May 2014

Featuring Belle and Sebastian, Camera Obscura, The Vaselines, The Pastels and Franz Ferdinand

Scottish indie-pop scene-makers Belle and Sebastian continue to keep an active profile 18 years after their inception, with individual members cropping up to perform DJ sets or solo engagements fairly frequently. They’re one of many Scottish acts with…

Katy Perry – Hydro, Glasgow, Sat 17 May 2014

20 May 20145 stars

The pop queen's live show is visually and sonically overwhelming, and jaw-droppingly vast

I’m not meant to be here. I go to a lot of gigs, but most of them are small-scale affairs: filthy, subterranean rooms in which filthy, subterranean people make filthy, subterranean noises, usually for love rather than money. I’ve not set foot in an…

The Phantom Band - Strange Friend

19 May 20144 stars

A sterling Scottische-pop LP from the genre-exploring sextet

The stellar third long-player from The Phantom Band, our six strange (invisible) friends from Scotland-via-Saturn's rings, maps out, explores and downright rules across a motley realm of far-flung deserts ('Atacama') and archipelagos ('Galapagos'), with…

Franz Ferdinand - Barrowland, Glasgow, Tue 25 Mar 2014

4 Apr 20144 stars

A triumphant hometown show for Glasgow's indie kingpins

‘Alright Glasgow? It’s good to see you!’ Frontman Alex Kapranos beams at a rapturous reception from a sold-out Barrowlands. Dressed impeccably – in matching black, white and grey suits and looking no older than they did 10 years ago – Franz Ferdinand…

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Wild Beasts - The Arches, Glasgow, Thu 27 Mar 2014

31 Mar 20145 stars

Hayden Thorpe and co play a special set of celestial songs from new album Present Tense

Present Tense, Wild Beast's fourth album, has been showered with acclaim since its release earlier this month. Rightfully so too, it's an exquisite record which cements the Kendal group's gradual evolution from carnal, loquacious, indie upstarts, into…

The Notwist, with Jel – Mono, Glasgow, Sun 16 Mar 2014

19 Mar 20144 stars

The long-running German alt.rockers team up with the Californian hip hop electronicist

Given The Notwist’s (comparatively) recent move towards electronica, it’s not too surprising to see Jel join the long-running German alt.rockers on this European tour. The co-founder of alternative electronica/hip hop label Anticon, he’s carved a niche…

Tuff Love/ Miracle Strip/ The Pictish Trail - Henry's Cellar, Edinburgh, Thu 13 Mar 2014

19 Mar 20144 stars

Lost Map's Johnny Lynch presides over a night of infectious pop joy

In a venue not dissimilar to the hull of a sunken ship, Johnny Lynch has every reason to be happy. Not only has he smoothly steered through the first six months of running his new record label, Lost Map and handed over his own solo material to be…

Kylie Minogue - Kiss Me Once

13 May 20143 stars

Kylie's 12th studio album displays ambition: territorial, musical and commercial

There are some artists – Rihanna, Haim, Alicia Keys, Kanye – whose albums serve as a sort of pop music AGM keynote, an appraisal of 'where we are now' in ambitious contemporary music. These are releases concerned little with the personality, vision or…

Goldfrapp - Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Fri 4 Apr 2014

2 May 20144 stars

The grown up popstar performs a varied set with a constant mixing and balancing of moods

Alison Goldfrapp has some very, very loyal fans. As Britten’s Peter and the Wolf fades out, she trips on stage to excitable screams and cries of ‘we love you Alison’ that emanate somewhat unexpectedly from a crowd that is more than just greying round…

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Miley Cyrus and Courtney Love: proof that there's still a sexist double standard in music

24 Apr 2014

Despite their vast musical differences, Cyrus and Love share a lack of PR/media filter

At this very moment, Miley Cyrus is probably the most famous pop star on the planet. She twerked her way into the global consciousness grinding up against Robin Thicke in flesh-toned rubber pants at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. The former Hannah…

Kelis - Food

24 Apr 20143 stars

A Dave Sitek-produced R&B/pop/soul combo that's finger-licking good when it finds its form

With her fierce musical and sartorial style, Kelis always felt a little bit too free-thinking, too sassy, too strange, too damn cool for the pure pop mainstream. There was almost a sense of infiltration about hearing songs as smartly unconventional as…

Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots

23 Apr 20144 stars

Debut solo album of understatement and maturity that never completely leaves low gear

It’s taken him more than two decades in the music industry to arrive at his debut solo album, which leads us to the rather strange experience of hearing sometime Blur frontman Damon Albarn’s new release being trailed with terms like ‘long-awaited’, as…

All Saints, Atomic Kitten, East 17 and more confirmed for Another Time, Another Place UK tour

14 Apr 2014

The pop nostalgia fest will take place in November 2014; tickets are on sale now

All Saints, Atomic Kitten, East 17, Let Loose, Big Brovaz, and Jenny Berggren (Ace of Base) have united for Another Time, Another Place, a night of 90s and 00s pop taking place at London’s O2 on Fri 11 Apr. Expect to hear all the hits, from East 17’s…

Michael Bublé announces two dates in London as part of 2014 world tour

1 Apr 2014

Tickets for the December dates at The O2 will go on sale from Fri 4 Apr

After ten sold out shows at The O2 last year, Michael Bublé is coming back to the venue to play two nights in December (Mon 15 & Tue 16) as part of his new UK arena tour. These dates, plus an already-announced show in Belfast, are his only confirmed…

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Exposure: dream-pop trio Magic Eye

27 Mar 2014

The band, who have links with Errors and NAKED, have signed with LA DIY label Not Not Fun

This haze-addled Edinburgh dream-pop trio are easy to love, and to (lose) focus on. Formed a couple of years ago, and currently under the jurisdiction of Los Angeles DIY paradise Not Not Fun, Magic Eye channel a day-glo fug of exotica, as attested by…

Banks - O2 ABC2, Glasgow, Sun 23 Mar 2014

25 Mar 20144 stars

The rising R&B pop starlet showcases and amazing vocal range at this intimate gig

Jillian Banks is the friend in your group that is shy the one minute, then after a few drinks is up on the dancefloor, totally wrapped up in the music as you look on in amazement, sipping on your vodka and Coke. Replace the drinks with a couple of lines…

Metronomy - O2 ABC, Glasgow, Wed 19 Mar 2014

25 Mar 20143 stars

A few bum notes can't stop Joe Mount and co achieving the dreamy, the euphoric and the bittersweet

Try to create the perfect pop machine and you might come up with something not too far from Metronomy. But how to make this precision instrument perform live, with all the character and spirit required of a gig? As the very name suggests, Metronomy’s…

Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love

25 Mar 20144 stars

A record of tonal weirdness that does great things for Nutini as a vocalist of versatility and soul

The underwhelming cod-bluesery of Paolo Nutini’s comeback single ‘Scream (Funk My Life Up)’ opens his third album, and it’s hard to overstate just how much this limp effort fails to sell a record which is by some margin his most interesting yet. It…

Chvrches - Barrowland, Glasgow, Sat 8 Mar 2014

21 Mar 20144 stars

A wonderful, confident homecoming show from the electro-pop trio

Quite how much of a good impression Chvrches have made upon their home city is illustrated by this, their ‘first ever show at the Barrowlands’, as described with pride by singer Lauren Mayberry, and a wonderful, confident show it is too. The music…

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Rufus Wainwright - Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 5 Mar 2014

21 Mar 20144 stars

The baroque pop artiste imbues his modern material with class and elegance

Rufus Wainwright may have dabbled in musicals, operas and orchestras but tonight is stripped back to basics. No backing band, just the purity of one man singing at a grand piano. He sometimes switches to guitar, and is joined by his half-sister Lucy…

Carla Bozulich - Boy

19 Mar 20143 stars

An adventurous, unique, instinctive and powerful twist on folk, blues and gospel forms

Carla Bozulich has done a lot that’s worthy of your ears over the couple of decades – most prominently, the savage country-punk of The Geraldine Fibbers and the more exploratory Evangelista, plus the Nels Cline Singers, Ethyl Meatplow, Scarnella and…

Interview: San Franciscan busker The Space Lady

19 Mar 2014

The iconic outsider musician is experiencing a revival since her 70s/80s heyday

Walk through San Francisco's bohemian Castro district in the 70s or 80s and you might come across a street musician dressed in a winged helmet and futuristic robes, singing celestial lullabies over the cosmic tones of a modified Casio keyboard. This was…

Pop princess Kylie Minogue announces UK tour dates for 2014

19 Mar 2014

Tickets for the tour, which will visit the UK in September/October, go on sale from Fri 21 Mar

Kylie Minogue will be touring the UK this September as part of her ‘Kiss Me Once' European tour. The tour will commence at Liverpool's Echo Arena in Liverpool on Wed 24 Sep and call at Manchester, London, Cardiff, Birmingham and Nottingham. Kylie will…

Singles and downloads - March 2014

19 Mar 2014

Paolo Nutini, Machinedrum, Golden Teacher and Paws reviewed

Paolo Nutini – 'Scream (Funk My Life Up)' (Atlantic) ●● For the first ten seconds, the comeback single from Paisley’s favourite son is highly promising, with a vaguely South Asian convergence of atmospheric windchime sounds and squealing rap intro…