Gig review: Camera Obscura/Ned Collett

Gig review: Camera Obscura/Ned Collett

Edinburgh Liquid Rooms, March 27, 2007

I must have my head in the clouds at the moment; I only twigged this was happening three days ago. But God must have been smiling on me, there were still tickets available to see the makers of 17 Seconds’ album of 2006, and even though the soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds was working (much to her disappointment; we have really agreed on this band), my mate Dave was up for it.

Support Ned Collett was playing his first gig in the Northern Hemisphere (his words), having met Camera Obscura three weeks ago in Australia. He resembles a young Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens (don’t know if he spends his entire inetreviews discussing his hair) and he clearly owns all of Nick Drake’s albums. The sound, accompanied just by his electric guitar and effects is pleasant enough, but there’s no songs that linger.

Camera Obscura seem to have been forever in the spotlight of Belle and Sebastian, but it’s not just at 17 Seconds towers that there have been discussions about which one is the better band. The band have been touring for two months and as such this is them back on their home turf. They sound suitably fragile on record, and live they are very much firing on all cylinders. No indie shambles this. (If I say they’re really tight, people might think I’m comparing them to a Jazz Fusion band. And I’m so, SO not. but they are brilliantly, brilliantly together.) Songs like Keep It Clean and Suspended From Class from Underachievers Please Try Harder, as well as more recent numbers like Dora Previn and Lloyd… show that they are up there with the likes of Belle and Sebastian and other indie pop bands, competing on their own terms.

The bloggers last year definitely gave the thumbs up to Let’s Get Out Of This Country and it is a fantastic album, which packs a punch live. they have a very Glaswegian – this is meant as a compliment – approach to playing; a sense of humour is much in evidence. They encore with a cover of Abba’s Super Trouper, a forthcoming b-side which I suspect will crop up in favourite cover versions posts on blogs for many years to come.
I met Matthew from the Song, By Toad blog at the gig. He reckons they beat B&S live – and on this evidence, I have to agree.

Gig review: The Cooper Temple Clause

Gig Review: The Cooper Temple Clause/Kubichek!

Glasgow QMU, March 25, 2007

And here we are in 2007, and the sixth time this reviewer has seen the Cooper Temple Clause. The first time, in 2002 was at Edinburgh’s La Belle Angele, which burned down a few months later, and the support was Biffy Clyro (now pretty successful in their own right). So can they still cut it three albums down the line?

Probably not a question we’re going to be asking about Kubichek, if tonight’s performance is anything to go by. Though beset with sound problems, the songs just seem to be lost. The guitarist, in the words of the soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds looked like he was wanking, to put it bluntly. There’s no stage presence, and the sound is just too reminiscent of the angular post-punk vibe that’s been done much better by the likes of The Editors and Maximo Park.

The Cooper Temple Clause however can still walk it like they talk it. They may have lost Didz Hammond to the Dirty Pretty Things, but they are so sure in themselves it looks like they’ve put it well behind them. New tracks like Damage and Waiting Game as every bit as anthemic and consistent as older numbers like Promises, Promises. Perhaps the revelation is on Once More With Feeling. The sheer intensity is a wonder to behold. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this is one of Britain’s best live bands; do not take them for granted.

By the end of the gig – fantastic encores of Blind Pilots and the techno-reworking of Panzer Attack that they were playing at Edinburgh five months ago they have a new found fan in the soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds. as we fell into bed, fifty miles away, we were still on a high. Worth the hundred mile round trip of an evening, and I’d do it again.

Is someone taking the pith?

Well, after months of them being over the blogs, I have shelled out and bought the new albums by LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire and !!! (chk chk chk).

I went to meet my Dad in Durham, England (the old country) two days ago, so loaded them onto my iPod and had pleasant listening there and back.

All three are great records, but if you’re into them, you will almost certainly have read a review or five of each of them by now.

However, I couldn’t resist posting a couple of tracks from the !!! album, Myth Takes (come on! say it out aloud!) which had me pacing up and down the platform and then tapping my feet on the train, as even I have too much shame to dance in public.

!!! – ‘ Must Be the Moon.’ mp3

!!! – ‘ Yadnus.’ mp3

Buy Myth Takes on Amazon

…and if you haven’t heard !!! before, try this from their previous album, Louden Up Now.

!!! – ‘Hello? Is This Thing On?.’ mp3

Buy Louden Up Now at Amazon

!!! official website

!!! on MySpace

Three more for you!

Ok, OK, am going to try and listen to something up beat and uplifting and try and get a sense of perspective. Here in the northern hemisphere, it is the last day of winter (even if it is trying to snow in certain parts of the UK!, and it cannot come a moment too soon!

First up, Tiny Dancers (picture above) who make me want to jig around the flat – and that’s really very welcome. currently on tour, this band, who have been described as a mix of ‘Country, Sheffield blues, Beatlesque rock’roll and Neil young’s creaking sadness’ have just put put a single called ‘I Will Wait For You’ which you need to hear, and can do at their MySpace page. Then you can go out and buy it, preferably on the two 7″ singles that are available (multi-formatting is cool when it’s on vinyl. When it’s on CD or DVD I just feel like I’m being taken advantage of).

Tiny Dancers official website

Tiny Dancers MySpace

Next up, another band who have just put put a single – this time available on 8″ vinyl (try putting a cd that’s 6″ into your player. they won’t make it and you won’t find anything that will play it. Vinyl is the future, people!!) the Rumble Strips remind me of the kaiser Chiefs, Blur circa Modern Life Is Rubbish, and particularly Dexys Midnight runners – not just because of the horns, but also because the singer’s voice is pleasantly similar to Kevin Rowland’s. Go to the MySpace page to hear the track and three others, then go and buy the single.

Finally, the slightly demented sounding Los Campesinos have made their single ‘We throw parties, you Throw Knives’/’Don’t Tell Me To Do The Maths’ available for free as a downlaod and that includes the artwork. It’s not a free 7″ that you can pick up but it is pretty cool. Get yourself over to their website to get it:

Los Campesinos’ official website.

Enjoy Tuesday


Get Enlightened

Flicking around on MySpace has lead to be becoming more aware of one band I had already heard, courtesy of the latest issue of Is This Music? Ladies and gentlemen, presenting…The Scottish Enlightenment.

Hailing from Dunfermline in Fife, they are reminiscent both of fellow scots Idlewild and Biffy Clyro, as well as the much-missed Pavement, and I hear a bit of Sebadoh and the Smashing Pumpkins too.

Their first single ‘Eyes’ is out on April 16 on Moojuice- in the UK , anyway, but head over to their MySpace page for a preview and also to hear three other tracks. If you like it, which you damn well should, make friends with them, buy the record, and if you live in Scotland, go and see them.

The Scottish Enlightenment MySpace page

Hooray, it’s Saturday

Hi people, and happy Saturday to you, and happy St. Patrick’s Day, if you celebrate it, too! The Vinyl Villain has posted some good stuff by Irish acts.

I meanwhile have spent Saturday very agreeably, not doing anything connected with work, but instead working on the wedding list, record shopping and going to see Hot Fuzz. Completely over the top, ridiculous, silly…and all the better for it. I was told by my better three-quarters when we left the cinema that she hadn’t seen me looking so happy in ages.

The record shopping brought much pleasure (shopping in Avalanche in Edinburgh usually does) including The Scars’ re-issued ‘Author! Author’. If you have never heard The Scars before, they were a legendary Edinburgh post-punk band, around the same time as The Fire Engines, Josef K, the Prats and The Associates. Their MySpace is here and a website is here. One track, ‘Your attention Please’ is earily reminiscent of the 1980s film Threads about a Nuclear Bomb being dropped on Sheffield. (Scripted by Barry Hines who was responsible for Kes, you have to see it. It may be dated, but the shock value is still there). I had been made aware of this Scars release by Manic Pop Thrills who has also been very complimentary about me today on his blog.

As I type, the soundtrack is provided by another ‘friend’ on Myspace, Kevin Rowland and Dexys. The demo of a track called It’s OK Johanna must be heard, if you haven’t already. I seem to have been a real late comer to Dexys (other than ‘that’ song), but once you have heard it, it’s definitely up there with the best stuff from his career, which can be heard by buying this album here.

Have a nice weekend


Not Jackson but Emma

Oh, couldn’t think of anything witty to call today’s post. But, those of you who have read this blog regularly will know that I am a big fan of the Delgados, the seminal scottish band who for a decade from the mid-90s to the mid ’00s delighted us with some of the best music ever, and on top of that, helped launch the careers of Mogwai, Arab Strap, Bis, Mother and the addicts, Aereogramme, Sluts Of Trust, and more recently, De Rosa and Sister Vanilla through the record label they set up, Chemikal Underground. They are my favourite scottish band of all time, yup, even above Orange Juice, Belle and Sebastian, Aberfeldy and Sons and Daughters.

Alas, all good things come to an end, and the Delgados called it a day in 2005. However, Emma Pollock has signed to 4ad as a solo artist. Her myspace site has a demo of a song called Fortune. The album is ready and has apparently has a sleeve done by Vaughan Oliver who used to do the sleeves for Cocteau Twins in the 80s when they were on 4ad. I cannot wait…

Drop by the myspace site and also her official site where if you sign up for the mailing list, you get an mp3 sent to you.

Oh, and go and buy The Delgados back catalogue. Every bit of it. I recommend The Great Eastern above all, which is my favourite scottish album of all time.

To see Delgados videos, click on the links below:

‘Coming In From The Cold’

‘Everything Goes Around The Water’

‘American Trilogy’

Letterbox records: not London based!!

Hi there, if you’ve tuned in again. The last week has been difficult, am signed off work and am muddling through. Right now, I’m not in the mood for writing much, so i’ll let others do the talking…

Back in August, I did a post on Letterbox Records. At the time, they had two bands signed to them, The Arrogants and The Amateurs. They now have seven: as well as the aforementioned, they have Aaron Schroeder, California Snow Story, Penny Century, and Watoo Watoo.

Not only are the bands great, but it’s also fantastic to see a record company operating out of Cumbria, rather than, say, London (I lived in London until I was thirteen, so I can say what I like).

Go here and check out the bands, and make friends with them on MySpace.

Then go and buy the records, see them live etc…..

Calling Sister Moonlight

…or Sister Vanilla, in this case, Mr. Pop!

Sister Vanilla – just in case anyone has been away from the blogs longer than I have, is a new-(ish) project, coming out on Chemikal Underground (which already makes it achingly cool) featuring Jim and William reid, of the now re-formed Jesus and Mary Chain, but also including Ben Lurie from that line-up and their sister Linda.

Read about it at Anablog, 5 acts, earfarm and also Mars Needs Guitars. I did – and I cannot wait for the album.

It’s due out on April 2. On the evidence of the tracks I have sampled at the above websites, it is definitely one for anyone who loved the Mary Chain (your homeland would also love to have some gigs, as well as those in California), shoegazing, and indie-pop.

Buy Sister Vanilla at Amazon