Music, Rock

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Frank Zappa: American Composer

7 Feb 2014

20 years after his death, we look at Frank Zappa's journey from cult figure to giant of modern music

20 years after his death, Frank Zappa has gone from cult figure to a giant of modern music. We review his career and find out how the hell that happened.

The Deep Dark Woods - Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, Fri 31 Jan 2014

6 Feb 20143 stars

The Canadian alt.country quintet shine through their musicianship and songcraft

If you’re not yet familiar with Canada’s alt.rockers The Deep Dark Woods they’re the type of band who’ll transport you to the musical equivalent of a bourbon-laden Austin bar. Early in their Sneaky Pete’s show frontman Ryan Boldt humbly notes it was…

Mogwai - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Tue 28 Jan 2014, part of Celtic Connections

3 Feb 20144 stars

The Glasgow rockers just about reach spiritual highs in a show that's part lullaby, part roar

If an omnipresent God really is everywhere then hopefully he’s floating around the Royal Concert Hall tonight. If He is, then the rapture will be heralded not by Gabriel’s trumpet but by ‘Rano Pano’ (from 2011's Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will…

Interview: singer-songwriter Anna Calvi on Nick Cave, the NHS and karaokephobia

30 Jan 2014

First record you ever bought Aladdin Sane by David Bowie. Last extravagant purchase you made A U67 vocal mic. First film you saw that really moved you Bambi when I was five. Last lie you told I don't remember. First movie you ever went…

Hall & Oates, The Boomtown Rats, Bonnie Tyler and Jason Donovan lined up for Rewind Festival 2014

30 Jan 2014

The 80s-loving music fest will take place across three sites across the UK in 2014

Hall & Oates, The Boomtown Rats, Bonnie Tyler and Jason Donovan are among the latest acts announced to perform at the UK’s biggest celebration of 80s music, Rewind Festival, this summer. The festival is hitting the UK on three dates in summer 2014…

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Mogwai and the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra to help celebrate 100 years of the Usher Hall

30 Jan 2014

Rufus Wainwright, Arthur Smith and Greg McHugh also part of centenary programme

The Usher Hall has announced the full line-up of events scheduled to mark its centenary year, with comedy, classical and rock acts coming together to celebrate. Arthur Smith, Mogwai, the Vienna Tonkunstler Orchestra and Rufus Wainwright are among the…

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Òran Mór, Glasgow, Tue 14 Jan 2014

22 Jan 20143 stars

Even in the face of the odd hiccup, the ex-Pavement man and his songs continue to age well

After drifting through the muddiest front-of-house sound this side of mic-ing up a puddle, it took Stephen Malkmus and his faithful Jicks until around the first triumphant chorus of ‘Cold Son’, five songs in, to dig themselves out of an unfortunate hole…

Limp Bizkit, Anthrax and The Sisters of Mercy added to Sonisphere 2014 line-up

21 Jan 2014

Carnifex, Silverstein, Dropkick Murphys, The Virginmarys and Devin Townsend also added

Several new names have been added to the line-up for rock and metal fest Sonisphere, which will take place at Knebworth Park on Fri 4–Sun 6 Jul 2014. Limp Bizkit, Anthrax, Carnifex, Chas & Dave, Silverstein, Dropkick Murphys, The Sisters of Mercy, The…

Mogwai - Rave Tapes

20 Jan 20144 stars

The band's 12th studio album is more deliberately understated than usual, if no less emotional

When Mogwai attempt a change of style, it occurs at a pace to suit that of their music, with all the relentless, unhurried grace of a turning cruise liner. While electronics have long played some part in their sound, they’ve increasingly come to the…

Cate Le Bon set for 2014 UK tour

16 Jan 2014

Spellbinding and somewhat unsettling singer takes entrancing third album Mug Museum on tour

Cate Le Bon’s otherworldly alto is a voice to conjure with. To date, it has graced albums by sleek electro pop outfit Neon Neon and national treasures Manic Street Preachers, but it is her own spellbinding and somewhat unsettling solo work that takes…

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Orange Juice - Four albums reissued on Domino

16 Jan 20144 stars

You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, Rip It Up, The Glasgow School and The Orange Juice

It must have been difficult to appreciate their importance as Orange Juice struggled to produce an album – in four attempts between 1982 and 1984, all of them freshly reissued on vinyl by Domino – that lived up to the near miraculous brilliance of their…

Xiu Xiu - Angel Guts: Red Classroom

16 Jan 20143 stars

Designed to sound dark, but with enough compelling moments to make the journey worthwhile

In 2012 Jamie Stewart, the creative force behind long-running noise-rock project Xiu Xiu, moved across the States from his home in North Carolina to Los Angeles. Unbeknown to him at the time, his new neighbourhood was notorious for gang violence, with a…

Gogol Bordello – O2 Academy, Glasgow, Sun 15 Dec 2013

16 Jan 20143 stars

Eugene Hutz and his band of gypsy punks deliver a patchy but overall winning show

There have been a few recent changes to the so-called ‘familia undestructable’ that comprise Gogol Bordello – a many-limbed throng of globally-sourced gypsy punks led by charismatic Ukranian frontman Eugene Hutz. Guitarist Michael Bernard Ward has been…

Warpaint - Warpaint

10 Jan 20143 stars

The LA pop-rock quartet experiment with a more pared-back sound, with mixed results

It takes a lot of hard work to sound this organic and elemental. Well-connected LA quartet Warpaint have spent three years conceiving and recording the eponymous follow-up to their acclaimed debut album The Fool, with the whole painstaking process…

Airbourne, Alice In Chains, Ghost, Gojira, Karnivool, Mastodon and Slayer added to Sonisphere 2014 lineup

6 Jan 2014

The new acts join headliners The Prodigy, Metallica and Iron Maiden at the rock and metal fest

UPDATE: Airbourne, Alice In Chains, Ghost, Gojira, Karnivool, Mastodon and Slayer have been added to the line-up for Sonisphere 2014, which will take place at Knebworth Park on Fri 4–Sun 6 July 2014.

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Top 5 gigs of 2013, including Shangaan Electro, Kraftwerk and Arcade Fire as The Reflektors

18 Dec 2013

Golden Teacher & Glasgow's Tectonics Festival also make our list of the best live shows of the year

Shangaan Electro SWG3, Glasgow, Wed 17 Jul 'How many BPMs? One. Eight. Nine!' An afternoon dance workshop preceeded this night of joyous hyperspeed South African electro, with excellent outfits and jaw-dropping feats of dancing. Read the full…

Kurt Vile and the Violators - The Arches, Glasgow, Sun 15 Dec 2013

17 Dec 20133 stars

An indie rock performance that struggles to find its swagger

Appearing briefly from behind the veil of tousled hair which covers his face, a reluctant Kurt Vile musters an introduction of sorts; ‘Uh, you guys… uh… look hot’. Inevitably it draws an appreciative cheer from the expectant crowd but this half-hearted…

Savages – Classic Grand, Glasgow, Sun 10 Nov 2013

11 Dec 20135 stars

Gloriously intense show from the post-punk foursome

As the frontwoman of post-punk foursome Savages, Jehnny Beth is the natural focal point for both the media at large and tonight’s audience in Glasgow’s Classic Grand. While she’s undoubtedly an arresting presence – stalking, swaying and lurching across…

Buy tickets to Neil Young & Crazy Horse and McBusted at British Summer Time Festival 2014

11 Dec 2013

Backstreet Boys and The National will provide support on two dates of the Hyde Park gig series

Neil Young & Crazy Horse and McBusted have been announced as the headliners for this year's British Summertime Festival at Hyde Park, London. The gig series, which takes place from Fri 4–Sun 13 Jul 2014, will also feature performances from The National…

Rod Jones, Honeyblood and There Will Be Fireworks confirmed for Slowfest 2013

11 Dec 2013

The stripped back gig series will take place at Glasgow's Bar Bloc from Mon 16-Wed 18 Dec

Idlewild's Rod Jones, 'crunch pop' duo Honeyblood and indie post-rockers There Will Be Fireworks are among the acts confirmed for Slowfest 2013. The festival, which will take place at Glasgow's Bar Bloc from Mon 16–Wed 18 Dec, gives Scottish bands and…

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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…

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Wig Out at Jagbags

5 Dec 20133 stars

Latest outing at its best when it sounds looser and funkier

With his nice haircut and clean clothes, Stephen Malkmus doesn’t immediately strike you as a rude boy of rock. Yet, there he was a couple of years back, appealing to fans for a word that could replace ‘blowjob’ in the Beck-produced single ‘Senator’ in…

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…

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’)…

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…