The Knife – New Single!

I’ve gone all quite of late and for that I’m dearly sorry-ish.

But I’m back with excitement in my being. There is a new single by The Knife, it lasts a little over nine minutes and it is fucking stonkingly good! Now Heartbeats was, and still is, a fantastic song but Silent Shout is where the real gorgeousness of The Knife resides. Until now. Full of Fire, the new single, is quite frankly spectacular.

I’ve always looked on Silent Shout as oddball brilliance; it seems to home in on a certain aesthetic that demands art, while remaining great pop. This new stuff though… The closest musical sensibility I can attribute to it is that it reminds me of Captain Beefheart. Musically it’s way off. Aesthetically, corporeally, whatever, it’s howling at the moon in just as entertaining a manner.

Word is the album will be over an hour and a half long!

Give the single a go: Here!

Update: Here’s the video! Also, listening again when I haven’t just come in from a night out and I’m starting to think I was a little OTT in my praise. I’m looking forward to hearing how this fits in the shape of the album.


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Bo Ningen – Stereo (22/10/12)

So, I’m supposed to be writing something academic and boring but I’ve lost my train of thought. That means it’s time to post up something new here.

On Monday I went to Stereo to see Bo Ningen. They’re a Japanese, four-piece founded in London and I first heard their Koroshitai Kimochi EP in 2010, and fell in love with the song of the same name. After that they released an self-titled album, which wasn’t bad and then I kind of forgot about them. Then last week I noticed they had a new album out, Line the Wall, so I gave it a spin and it was great. I knew they were playing Glasgow, so looked it up and on Monday there I was along with 20-or-so others.
That’s all very well, but why bother writing about it? Well, because I just don’t know how to describe them. The closest I could get at the time was to think of them like Melt Banana or another Japanoise-ish band trying to fill the gap between Hawkwind and Motorhead.
The problem is, this just isn’t enough to get close to accurate. Somewhere in the mix is a dollop of Can, Neu! and Faust which sort of leaves an avant-edge.

I think my favourite thing about them is they mix the classic rock of my teen years (Deep Purple, Sabbath etc) with the fan of post-punk and ‘Alternative’ that I’ve become. They are, in essence, an alternative Classic Rock band who really bring the NOISE. What staggered me was that my highlight was a ballad-type number; it was so sweet and melancholy.
Despite the mention of noise, it must be stated – these guys are TIGHT. Really tight. There is no mess with these guys.
I’d like to leave you with the image I’m left with, which is thus: the singer is gooning, one guitarist is widdling abstractly while the other conjures waves of feedback (think MBV), and the drummer is thumping and drilling a motorik beat but FAST and HEAVY.

See these guys if you get the chance.

Do watch them now:

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Dinosaur Jr – I Bet on Sky [Out now on Jagjaguwar]

A new Dinosaur Jr. album will always have me excited. I loved the last outing, Farm, and I’ve managed to get a couple of tracks from it into semi-regular rotation on RWF. Now I Bet on Sky has been released and can be streamed for your listening pleasure HERE.

Since I’ve been missing for a while I thought I’d throw out some words in the form of pertinent thoughts. FIRST; ignore the NPR review in the click-through. This is a chilled album by Dinosaur standards IMO. Sure, it has some classic guitar wig-outs by J, but this is a pretty low-down album in comparison even to Farm. SECONDLY, I wondered when I listened to Several Shades of Why if J Mascis was using it as an out for just himself, or if it was a side-note to an upcoming Dinosaur release, and this album confirms the latter. That’s not to say this is a re-tread or anything, just that there is a certain sense of continuity between the two [and I like that]. FINALLY, I’m starting to find more of the oft-mentioned Neil Young in J’s vocals and less in his guitar playing. Y’know who I hear more and more in those supreme guitar licks? Eddie Hazel – and that’s something worth coming back for.

Go try it out.

* * * * *


I meant to do a write up on the Grimes gig at The Arches a couple weeks ago as I was incredibly excited since Visions is one of my favourite albums of the year so far. Unfortunately, the gig only lasted 45 minutes, despite Grimes having at least two solid albums worth of material. So I won’t dignify it with a proper write-up. Sorry!


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Scottish Album of the Year 2012 is…

Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells – Everything’s Getting Older

Great album too and it’s been really good following the awards until now. I’m hoping we have just as great a list of albums for next years awards. I’m looking forward to seeing Admiral Fallow, RM Hubbert, Human Don’t Be Angry and possibly The Twilight Sad (I think their album was released a little late for this years awards) in amongst next years nominations.

Hot off the press. Many thanks to my sources x

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future of the left – King Tut’s, Glasgow 11/06/2012

So future of the left, eh? Pretty fuckin’ great live as it goes. Pretty fuckin’ amazing if truth be told.

I’m not really here to review gigs and such like – I’m happier to just show my enthusiasm for the band and hope that it rubs off and you click on the associated links and then go spend money seeing the band or buying their albums because they really fucking deserve it!

So – Andy Falkous doesn’t exactly encourage heckling, but his infamous put-downs always act as incentive to someone. Last night the guy who took up the challenge wasn’t really up to it. My favourite Falco put-down I can only lumpenly paraphrase thus:

Heckler: “Welsh fuckers!”
Andrew Falkous (AF): “I’m English. He is Welsh (points to Jimmy Watkins) and he’s an extreme sexual deviant. He will come down there and fuck you and he will have orgasms in places you don’t even know about… like in the cock.”

Alongside this there was taking the piss out of Michael McIntyre, noise, trashed drums, and some astounding songs. I suppose it’s easiest if I point you in the direction of the following video since it’s a pretty similar setlist.

The above gig seems much calmer than last night though, less intense. King Tut’s is only a wee place, and I was right on the edge of the ‘pit’ and it was bouncin’. I spent the whole gig dancing [note – I’m not a fan of ramming myself into others, I do actually mean my own form of ‘dancing’] and fending off the aforementioned heckler who also appeared to be having a stupidly good time. I’ve no ill feeling for any hecklers, nor for the guy who elbowed me in the face (my jaw aches today) and I’m always glad to see folks helping the fallers when the floor gets wet and glassy. All the above are signs of a proper, high energy gig which is all you’d really expect of FOTL

Of course, it’s hard to avoid a mention of Mclusky. So I’ll say this: To Hell with Good Intentions and Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues were blindingly good, but only in as much as the whole gig was that good. They weren’t out of place because they weren’t the peak.

A special mention to Fever Fever who were the support – they’re rather grand! I’ll be checking out anything they’ve recorded as soon as I finish listening to ‘the plot against common sense’, which is the new FOTL album – OUT NOW on Xtra Mile.

If you want a quick sampler before committing to the above live recording, try the new single sheena is a t-shirt salesman.

See Also:

‘the plot against common sense’ Review
A Shite Review of the ‘plot against common sense’
Andy Falkous’ highly entertaining response to the above Shite Review of the ‘plot against common sense’

A note: future of the left don’t do capital letters.

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Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) Awards 2012

Voting is open – and will shortly close! – for the SAY Awards. I’ve seen these described as the Scottish Mercury’s, and with the longlist of albums I kind of get that. There’s some pretty good contemporary ‘popular’ music in there.

I struggled to pick a favourite, but in the end I knew which deserved my vote. It was very possibly my favourite album of last year and although it didn’t have the impact of others, and there are artists on the list who I prefer, it deserved the vote.

So, go get your voting done and when the voting is closed I’ll come back and update with who I voted for.

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Admiral Fallow – Earning their Stripes

Well here is the first interview I’ve ever carried out – with Louis Abbott from Admiral Fallow.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of anywhere quiet and a poor quality Dictaphone the audio is a bit too noisey to appear on Radio West Fife – it’s been a bit of a learning curve for me and I’ll know not to try and conduct a recorded interview in a pub again! The conversation is completely clear through headphones so I’m still hoping given time I can clear enough of the background noise and will then publish the audio here.
This was recorded just prior to the Admiral Fallow gig at PJ Malloys, Dunfermline on 30th April 2012.

Lillian Trotsky (LT): I’m here from Radio West Fife (RWF) to interview Louis from Admiral Fallow. You’re debut ‘Boots Met My Face’ got some pretty glowing reviews – it’s why I’m here tonight! I was coming to see you either way no matter what because I thought the album was brilliant. You’re new single ‘The Paper Trench’ has received a lot of National airplay, and we’ve had it on RWF the past three weeks, and will continue to have it on.

You’re now touring the new album, Tree Bursts in Snow. For those who are hearing you for the first time, can you tell us a little about how you got together and a little bit about ‘Boots Met My Face’?

Louis Abbot (LA): Yep, so we met and we started playing music together about six years ago in Glasgow, we all met at university. I knew John, the bass player, from a few years back and in some form or another we started playing some wee shows together as I started to write songs when I first moved through to Glasgow.
The first album came about when we recorded it in 2009 and had been gigging it for a couple of years before then. We thought there was some decent material in there (when gigging) and we decided we’d make a record after we got a bit of funding from what is now Creative Scotland. So we got some funding and we went into a place called Chem19 in Hamilton and recorded there with a dude called Paul Savage who we recorded the new record with as well. It was a bit of a slow started, we released it first in Scotland in 2010 and we released it nationwide when we got a bit more money! It didn’t make a huge impact, especially down South mainly because we were self-releasing it but we got some plays on 6Music and a bit of interest down south.

LT: The new album, from the first couple singles, appears to have a more direct pop sensibility. Is that fair, and was it an intentional direction.

LA: Emm, no I dunno if it was particularly intentional in terms of trying to make it more accessible, but certainly you’re right that the first couple of singles have been more groove driven than some of the more acoustic stuff from the first record. I think across the album that’s a unifying thing, it’s a bit more direct. Somebody I played it to said they thought it was a bit more mature which I guess is only natural being that we’re a little older. Like the first album, there’s a good mix of slower paced, slower tempo numbers, but of course with singles you like to try and keep things a bit more upbeat.

LT: In The Paper Trench there’s a little yelp of glee, about a minute in. Was it a fun record to make?

LA: Aye, it was actually! It was weird in that the first collection of songs were, like I said earlier, were gigged a lot and we’d been round the block with them a few times before we recorded them. With this record, we’d been playing ‘The Paper Trench’ for a while, there’s another song on the album we’d been playing for a wee while so those two we were fairly familiar with. As for the rest of it it was kind of piecing it together as we were going. We were writing parts as we were recording which we didn’t do the first time (when) we had everything ready to go. It was quite a strange experience, not one I’d done before, but in the most part it was pretty good fun. As I’ve said to a few folks who have been asking, the one constant thing we kept was Paul Savage and that same studio. It’s a comfortable environment and if he hadn’t been there I think it would have been a little more torturous to record. But in the most part it was good fun, it was quite exciting, flying by the seat of my pants sort of thing.

LT: Paul Savage has a fantastic roster of production credits, from his Delgados work, Franz Ferdinand and the latest album with his name on it is probably Human After All by Malcolm Middleton. Is he someone special to work with, or is it a collaborative thing, a like minded individual?

LA: First and foremost he has a very good knowledge of tons of different music, and he’s very open minded. That might be a very clichéd thing to say about a producer but I don’t imagine there’d be others, in Scotland at least, who’d be as open minded as he is. I haven’t worked with a lot of other folk in Scotland, so it isn‘t really fair for me to say that! He’s very easy to work with, he gets results, he works hard but he doesn’t get stressed or agitated and he’s a very calming person to work with. I think that’s a positive thing, y’know?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with him as a drummer and as a guest vocalist on a different album and it’s just really fun to work with him.

LT: You’ve been up in the Northern Isles. I’d imagine that’s a pretty special thing for any touring band?

LA: It’s lovely! Strangely I think it’s becoming a bit of a fad in a way with some bands coming up from down South and choosing to do Highlands and Islands tours. It’s something we’ve always had in mind to do and years ago me and Kevin, the clarinet player had a gig on Mull and it was great fun just the two of us but we were lucky enough to take the full band back last week and play a full band show up there at the Arts Centre. We were in Stornoway two nights ago, which was a similar kind of; thing very friendly people and both shows sold out. In fact four of the six shows we’ve done so far have sold out and that’s quite special for us, we didn’t think that would be the case. All the places have been rammed with folk that are just very glad that you’ve made the effort to come up and play a show for them. It’s a trek to Stornoway like, it’s 4 or 5 hours up to Ullapool and then three hour ferry over but it’s nice when folk are welcoming and up for the show and it makes it worth it.
The further North you go you get a fair amount of heckling. For the most part heckling is good fun, y’know. When it’s good fun and we get involved with it it’s a good part of going up North.

LT: You’ve still got a lot of dates left on this tour, is there one you’re particularly looking forward to?

LA: We’re playing Shetland in a few days and I was lucky enough to go up and play in Shetland at the folk festival last year with another band and I had such a good time. I didn’t expect to have as good a time as I did! I made sure I stuffed a copy of our first record into one of the organisers pockets as I was leaving and said keep us in mind for next year and he came along and saw us at a Celtic Connections show at ABC in Glasgow and was in touch within a few days after to say I’d love to have you up I’m glad that’s worked out. So we’re doing a one-off show as part of the folk festival up in Shetland. Shetland is a mental place to go. It’s completely bizarre how much those fine people up there can drink and it’s good fun trying to keep up with them though not always a successful task! That one sticks out, that’s going to be good!
I dunno, it is a very long tour, it’s the 4th of June the tour finishes and I think the weekend after that we’re straight into festivals, I think Rockness.

LT: Do you think the Queens Hall one will be good?

LA: I think the Queens Hall is going to be a special one. We managed to sell the Liquid Rooms out the last time we were in Edinburgh and that was a great show so I’m glad we can notch it up a bit. Me and Phil, the drummer, are both from Edinburgh so it’s kind of a hometown show for us. Even though people think of us as a Glasgow band but we’re all from other places. Kev is the only one from Glasgow, Phil and myself are from Edinburgh, Joe is from Dundee, Stu our live guitarist is from Penicuik and Sarah is from Northumberland. Edinburgh is kind of a half homecoming show I guess. The Queen’s Hall is a great venue, I’ve seen some great music in there and played there a couple of times with various different people. That’s the day the new album comes out as well, so it’s the first day on the tour we can sell the new record.

LT: Scottish songwriters are doing rather well at the moment. Guys like Aidan Moffat playing with Bill Wells, and King Creosote playing with Jon Hopkins. Do you think this is just the musical landscape, or does it go deeper to a tradition of Scottish songwriters?

LA: I think there’s always been a lot of respect outside Scotland for Scottish songwriters. As I grew up I always knew that Arab Strap were well respected South of the border and out with the UK. I think bands like Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad have forged ahead a little bit in terms of getting out of Scotland, the UK and over to the States and elsewhere. Perhaps that’s made people look to Scotland a little more and see that there’s smaller bands they’ll like. I think it’s always been there but with the internet perhaps it’s easier to find these bands – that’s probably helping things but it’s probably helping things universally.

LT: Do you think you’re a part of that Scottish songwriter tradition?

LA: I guess so. We were over at SXSW last year and we were on a Scottish bill for one of the shows with The Twilight Sad. Actually, I follow Aidan Moffat on Twitter, he’s a very funny Twitist. He was going to some awards show recently and mentioned that the only thing he’d heard of on the bill was our band and I didn’t even know he was aware of us.
We’ve been lucky enough to play some shows with King Creosote in the past, and I’ve bumped into Johnny Lynch who’s the Pictish Trail who runs FENCE with Kenny (Anderson of King Creosote) and they’ve had us up to Homegame and stuff. That was a big thing for us as King Creosote, especially, has always been a massive influence on our music from the early days. The fact that you can play some shows with these folk makes you feel like you’re a part of it anyway.
I doubt we’re held in as high a regard as some of these people; that’s totally fine, we’ve not earned our stripes!

Well there we go – that’s my interview with Louis from Admiral Fallow and I’m pretty sure this tour is earning them lots of stripes because their gig at PJ’s was brilliant, amazing and great!

Highlight of the night was this exchange between Louis and a heckler:

LA: This song is called ‘Brother’, it was written for my two little brothers from the perpective of me and my older brother. Did I say it’s called ‘Brother’?
Heckler: What’s it about?
LA: Shaggin’

[Audio will maybe follow if I can find the time and resources to clean it up – no promises unfortunately]

Admiral Fallow “The Paper Trench” [Official Video] from Epoch London on Vimeo.

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