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From the Vault – Luke Haines

If football is the new rock and roll, which it isn’t, then Luke Haines is Gareth Bale. Oh, you may scoff at the very notion that the former Auteurs man is in any way comparable to the Welsh winger – who last year became the most expensive footballer in history when he moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid – but you would be wrong. How so? Well, In 2013 Gareth Bale won both the Professional Footballer’s Association Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year. Simultaneously. As impressive as that was, Haines was responsible for ELM’s favourite album of 2013 with the alluring/mental Rock and Roll Animals and our favourite re-issue with the sublime Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop. Kinda makes young Gareth’s feat seem less impressive, eh? In your face, Bale; in your face.

Today’s selection is from the latter. It is ‘Leeds United’ possibly the catchiest anti-nostalgia anthem to ever be written about Peter Sutcliffe. Haines plays the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall on Feb 17. Only fools wouldn’t go.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags

Wig Out at JagbagsAt ELM Towers, rarely have we seen a band divide opinion like Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. Some love their shambolic, elongated take on what a simple rock song should sound like. Others find the looseness too louché, too far towards pretension. Lovable cranks or irritating wanks? It’s never been resolved.
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Another one for the Christmas #1 race

Goldblade/Poly Styrene- City Of Christmas Ghosts (Damaged Goods Records)

There’s a real concerted effort on right now to get this to number one for Xmas.

If you don’t know Goldblade, you’ll certainly recognise frontman John Robb.

Author, broadcaster, motor-mouth and man-in-the-know about anything vaguely punky, his “Punk: An Oral History” is as far as I’m concerned, the definitive story of punk rock.

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Neko Case – Oran Mor Glasgow

NekoCase1280x720Neko and her band hit the stage without long term backing singer and friend Kelly Hogan. “She’s on the tour bus, really sick….actually maybe she’s dead. We didn’t check.”

Black humour is at the heart of so much of what Neko Case does, and it shares songs with romanticism, feminism, a love of nature and a sense
that under the surface of civilisation we’re all beasts. And maybe she’s right.

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4 Past Midnight release charity Christmas single

4PMGlasgow punk band 4 Past Midnight have released a rather good Xmas single in aid of the charity Childline. All proceeds raised are going to help children in abusive homes. See? Punk’s not all spitting and not taking the trash out.

The single, Nobody Should Be Lonely On Xmas Day is a rollicking, old-school punk blast in the typical 4PM melodic and no-nonsense style. In a much fairer world, this would be beating the living shit out of the X Factor no-marks and whatever festive re-release is doing the rounds and steaming straight into the charts. Backed with a somewhat less than sympathetic version of Elvis’s The Wonder Of You which is similarly excellent, it’s available to buy on CD or to download here.

So go on – you know it makes sense.

Find out more about 4 Past Midnight here


Gig preview – Class Of ’77, ABC Glasgow 8 Dec 2013

class of 77Featuring From The Jam/The Blockheads/ Eddie And the Hot Rods

It was Year Zero as far as music was concerned; out with the old, the long-haired, the voluminous of trouser and the prog-rock epic. It was time for short, sharp, spiky and speed-fuelled.

The class of ’77 changed not just rock music; the echoes can still be heard in almost all of popular culture. Film, theatre, broadcasting, literature, art, you name it. Punk defined a generation and the aftershocks still resonate.

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Billy Bragg – Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

One man and his guitar

One man and his guitar

“I don’t think that it’s amazing that it’s 30 years since Life’s a Riot With Spy vs. Spy came out” says Billy Bragg. “I think it’s more amazing that 30 years after I started, there’s still a room full of people in Glasgow on a midweek night who want me to share my music with them.” It’s a very Braggian statement; self-effacing, shifting the focus away from the individual experience to that of the group. But he’s got it the wrong way round. There’s nothing remotely surprising about people still wanting to see one of Britain’s premier songwriters of the last three decades perform his work. But can it really be that long since he first turned up, armed only with an electric guitar and a desire to change the world?

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