For The First Time In Years – Emma Pollock video

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I should really be writing up a review of last night’s Bob Mould show but this evening I don’t feel capable of doing any more than churn out a couple of hundred words. So instead I’ll bring to your attention the new video from Emma Pollock for the brilliant single ‘Parks & Recreation’.

The new album ‘In Search of Harperfield’ seems to have won unanimous critical approval with it regularly being described as her best solo album to date.

After a few listens I’d not sure I’d go *quite* that far (yet) – if only because last album ‘The Law of Large Numbers’ is a particular favourite of mine.

But it’s certainly a cracking record which ranges from the rawer sounds of the likes of ‘Parks & Recreation’ and ‘Vacant Stare’ to songs which are strongly reminiscent of the orchestral pop of latter day Delgados such as ‘Intermission’ and ‘Dark Skies’.

It’s been a strong start to the new year with great records already from De Rosa, Tuff Love, Daughter, Nap Eyes and the Besnard Lakes and ‘In Search of Harperfield’ very much belongs in that company. A great record.

‘In Search of Harperfield’ is available from Chemikal Underground and all good record shops.

After a series of in stores to promote the new record Emma has full band shows in the UK as follows:

3rd March – The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh

9th March – The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen

15th March – Upstairs at the Garage, London

P.S. ETA for the Bob review probably Thursday.

Bow Down Before Our Robot Overlords …

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I’ve started to notice that some gig listings sites are starting to give “expected setlists”. Which is shit on so many levels …

First off, it seems to guarantee the loss of just a little bit of the magic of a gig generated by the uncertainty of not knowing quite what’s going to happen. OK, there’s doubtless acts which will play expected setlists all the time but they tend not to be the sorts of bands that I go to see.

Whilst there’s usually a disclaimer attached to these things, there must also be a slight risk that people might start believing them. Particularly given the use of the word ‘expected’. (Expected by whom?) Which in turn may put a bit of pressure on artists to conform to the robots’ idea of what they should be playing (the ‘hits’).

Which sounds ridiculous but then there seems to be an increasing number of these sorts of internet memes where people do something that they wouldn’t have considered sensible days earlier. This individual at least finds the degree of conformity generated by the internet somewhat insidious.

And, of course, this expected setlist nonsense is actually all bollocks. Who knows what sort of algorithm is generating this shit but I can guarantee that it is NOT coming from any hotline to the artist concerned.

Given that this post was provoked by Malcolm Middleton commenting on Twitter this morning, it gives me an excuse to link to a song that he may (or may not) play on the tour in support of new album ‘Summer of ’13’ out in May. Here’s the first single from the record, ‘You and I’:

‘Summer of ’13’ is released on Nude Records on 27th May. You can pre-order it through Pledge Music.

Malcolm’s dates in May/June are:

May
7 Kirkcaldy Adam Smith Theatre (‘Tae Sup Wi’ A Fifer’ with Yorkston/Thorne/Khan and Viking Moses)
25 Aberdeen Lemon Tree
26 Dundee Beat Generator Live – Tickets
27 Glasgow The Art School – Tickets
28 Edinburgh Electric Circus – Tickets
31 Gateshead Sage Gateshead

June
1 Oxford The Bullingdon
2 London The Lexington
3 Liverpool Leaf
4 Manchester Deaf Institute

 

That Saturday Night High – De Rosa and Kid Canaveral live

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De Rosa / Kid Canaveral – Summerhall, Edinburgh – Saturday 30th January 2016

Saturday turned out to be the night of clashes – De Rosa, We Were Promised Jetpacks and the Normans all on in and around Edinburgh at the same time with Book Group closer to home in St Andrews.

But after last weekend there was little chance of us going anywhere other than Summerhall to see De Rosa again particularly as there was the added bonus of an unusual Kid Canaveral set as support.

Unusual because there was a significant Kate sized hole in the line-up. The lack of a guitar was more noticeable on some songs than others – although not necessarily the ones you might have expected. I did wonder if they’d even attempt  ‘A Compromise’, yet they not only did so (as the finale) but still managed to make an impressive racket.

Otherwise the set was essentially split into two. The opening section mainly featured new tunes and confirmed initial impressions from last month’s Baubles that the new songs mark a noticeable change in direction.

The opening tune was a cool, jaunty instrumental but the other new songs, including the cutely named ‘First We Take Dumbarton’, were somewhat more downbeat.

A run of old favourites including ‘And Another Thing!!’ and ‘Good Morning’ took us to the aforementioned set closer. It was all over far too quickly but hopefully 2016 will see loads more Kid C shows.

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By the time De Rosa took to the stage the crowd had swollen to healthy proportions and certainly to a level beyond anything I’d seen them attract in the capital before in their own right.

And in common with last week’s show in Dundee this audience was into the performance from the start. It does genuinely seem that the band’s hiatus has been a good career move because there’s clearly a renewed appetite for all things De Rosa.

The audience were rewarded with the longest performance of the reformation so far with an augmented version of recent setlists.

They made a ridiculously strong start – ‘Spectres’ and ‘The Sea Cup’ were up first and yet they managed to live up to that high standard for the rest of the set.

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What’s apparent is that the band throw a different light on the album in a live setting, presenting the material in a more direct manner. So set closer ‘Devils’, a fantastic example of their grasp on melody on record, makes for a great finale and whips up much more of a storm than you might have expected from the recorded version.

And for me it’s the inclusion of the new songs that has lifted the recent shows above the excellent shows last year. A heavy version of ‘Chip on My Shoulder’ and an extended ‘Prelude to Entropic Doom’ (if that’s not a contradiction in terms) were amongst the highlights.

Yet for the encore the spotlight fell emphatically on the past with a double whammy from ‘Mend’, first off a fantastic ‘Evelyn’ before a rousing, climactic ‘Cathkin Braes’.

In the blog’s early years De Rosa were my favourite band bar none and, being honest, I’d sort of forgotten *just* how good they were. All the activity over the last few weeks, with the album and the gigs, has therefore been a timely reminder of that and has reignited my love for this band and their songs all over again.

A wonderful band.

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De Rosa played:

1. Spectres 2.The Sea Cup 3. In Code 4. Prelude to Entropic Doom 5. Pest 6. Chip on My Shoulder 7. Nocturne for an Absentee 8. The Engineer 9. The Mute 10. Devils

Encore

11. Evelyn 12. Cathkin Braes

Photos from the show here.

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Once You Leave, Boy, You Can’t Return – The Triffids video

The Triffids BMDIL Video

Looks like I’m going to get to one gig or another tonight so here’s a little filler before a review in the next couple of days.

Everything Indie Over 40 is currently running a poll at weekends on Twitter to determine the “definitive” Indie compilation album of the 80s. Which is probably both good fun and a ridiculous thing to attempt!

Anyhow here’s the track I’ve nominated this weekend for track 3 without to be honest a whole lot of research) :

‘A Trick of the Light’ was taken from the Triffids fourth album ‘Calenture’. It’s a strong album but in truth it’s probably the Triffids album that sounds most of its time. It still remains something of a mystery as to how Island weren’t able to get ‘Trick’ into the top 40.

And in a link to the last post abut the Bob Mould gig in Edinburgh in 2006, here’s a video of what I was watching the previous night …

I’ve recounted the story of the trip to Belgium on here before – here and here.

The third installment of the Triffids 21st century shows happens next month with a couple of dates next month – an appearance at Lotterywest Festival Opening: Home on February 13 and a sold out appearance at the Perth International Arts Festival on the 15th.

NOW I Understand – Bob Mould live in Edinburgh in 2006

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To mark Bob Mould’s imminent return to Edinburgh, here’s my review of the last time he played the Liquid Room.

I’ll confess I’ve never quite understood the fervour with which some people talk about the best Bob Mould solo shows. Including the short COLAS support set with the Flaming Lips in 2002 this is the fourth time I’ve seen Bob solo – and NOW I understand!

This was, by a fair bit, the best Bob solo show I’ve seen. The acoustic stuff sounded great whilst the electric section was even better. Overall Bob brought an intensity to his performance over the whole show that I’ve not seen from him before.

There were a couple of technical reasons for the quality of the show. Firstly and most importantly Bob’s most potent weapon, his voice, was deployed to maximum effect, even though he confessed before the encore that he had been worried about it beforehand. The sound for the show was also really clear both for both guitars and the vocals.

It definitely helped too that Bob seemed to be really enjoying himself again. He was at his most chatty when he paused for breath between songs ranging from an update on his forthcoming activities to some slight bitching about certain rock stars.

The setlist was very similar to that of the Glasgow show but I’ve not yet got to the stage of getting fed-up hearing any of this material . The only slight disappointment was that there was none of the new material that he played in the States earlier this year.

The only downer of the whole evening was the turn-out. Admittedly we were early in but I think Y and I were actually first through the doors and it turned out to be the quietest show I’ve ever seen at the Liquid Room (with the balcony not even opened). In truth it was probably less than half full which was a bit surprising after Glasgow sold out. Perhaps the relative proximity to the Glasgow show and the World Cup had an effect on the attendance.

Finally – the irony. Having had to fly to see Bob virtually every time in the last few years, the one time he plays less than 40 miles from home I had to fly anyway – back home from the Triffids in Belgium!

It’s a funny old world.

Setlist

Wishing Well
Hear Me Calling
Hoover Dam
See A Little Light
No Reservations
Needle Hits E
Hardly Getting Over It
High Fidelity
Sinners and Their Repentances
Circles*
Paralyzed*
The Act We Act*
Your Favourite Thing*
I Apologize*
Chartered Trips*
Celebrated Summer*
——————–
If I Can’t Change Your Mind*
Makes No Sense At All*

*Electric

Bob and band play the Liquid Room on Monday 8th February. [Tickets]

Voices In My Head – Bob Mould video

This is the video for the new Bob Mould single ‘Voices In My Head’ taken from the forthcoming album ‘Patch The Sky’.

Bob has described the new record as the darkest of the ‘trilogy’ which started with ‘Silver Age’ – but also the catchiest.

‘Voices’ makes that point quite well. On the first couple of tracks I thought it was pretty much identikit Bob but on the third play it hooked me in.

Interestingly the tune was number 1 on the emusic chart a few days ago.

Bob has a short tour of the U.K. lined up for February with a date at the Liquid Room in Edinburgh on Monday 8th.

Full list of dates

6th – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms (SOLD OUT)
7th – Manchester, Academy 2
8th – Edinburgh, The Liquid Room
10th – Cardiff, The Globe
11th – London, Brooklyn Bowl
13th – Bristol, 6 Music Live Festival
14th – Southampton, Engine Rooms

‘Patch The Sky’ follows on 25th March.

 

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