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Whippet Out – The Misfits + Goldblade + Dirt Box Disco, Glasgow ABC

Misfits620Call yourself a rock band? You ain’t shit without the stamp of approval from Howlin’ Whippet. How did this trio fare? 

I have to admit, the phenomenon of The Misfits kinda passed me by. I knew them from the huge amount of t-shirts that one sees around rather than for their music. That skull logo is iconic and seems to represents a whole slew of disaffected youth who love the band. But, come on, most youth are disaffected. That’s what they do. So are they any good?

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Jens Lekman – The Arches, Glasgow

Jens LekmannSunday night eh? Designed mainly for recovering from the weekend, preparing for the working week and not for going to gigs. But with age comes not wisdom but an end to wild weekends: this means that Sundays open up a whole new world of opportunities.

And so The Arches beckons. We’re off to see another Swedish musician tread the fine line between humour, pathos and outstanding tunes. Like so many Scandanavian bands before him Jens Lekman is charming, polite, amusing and lovelorn and yet cannot forget even for a second that the darkest tale needs a tune to tap your toe to.

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Evan Dando and Julianna Hatfield – SWG3, Glasgow

Dando and HatfieldIf you were alt in the 90s, it wasn’t Ross and Rachel that was the big love story of the day; it was the first couple of bubblegum grunge who we all wondered about. 20 years later, Gail Richardson sees a reconciliation.

Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield can take a whole generation of people back to 1992 in the blink of an eye.   On Saturday night they attempted to do so at SWG3 in Glasgow.  It was the first time I had visited the venue and I really liked the industrial warehouse setup .

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The Primevals – Heavy War (Beast Records)

Howlin’ Whippet walks a dark road, filled with the corpses of the weak and the tears of the righteous. Keeping him company is the new album by the Glasgow institution.

I first encountered The Primevals way back in 1983. Singer Michael Rooney had a record stall in a market in the then undeveloped Merchant City. I’d seen him around, at gigs, in the streets and often wondered who this uber-cool stick insect was.

Starting a nervous conversation with him, (I would have been 19,) he immediately came across as a friendly and extremely switched-on encyclopaedia of underground rock. He sold me a copy of his band’s debut 7” single Where Are you and I was hooked.

Over the years, they briefly toyed with the mainstream, but always seemed happier ploughing their own demented furrow of scuzzy, fuzzy, bluesy garage rock. Continue reading

Who are the best band in the world?

Back in the day, before kids fiddled with their internets and smartphones, music was a more straightforward affair. There was the charts, there was the music press and there were a few well-defined sub-cultures from which you drew your music. The sheer effort it took to actually get recorded music – hear it, find out who it was by, go to a shop, purchase it with a substantial wodge of your disposable income – meant that we had fewer artists but the ones we did were selling more product. This, in turn, led to a sort of consensus about the merits of who was doing what.

For example, if you grew up in the 80s, you knew The Smiths were great. You knew Simple Minds were shite. You may not have liked the Smiths, and you may have enjoyed Simple Minds, but you knew you were wrong. That was how it worked.

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mp3free – Jo Mango

Jo Mango was labelled ‘immensely charming’ by The Times, and they weren’t talking about her as a dinner party guest. No, the mighty organ fell in love with her folksy, Bjork-like alt.pop and achingly honest lyrics. She makes sparkly, gliding music that seems ordained to make the listener swoon. Murmuration is set for release on 5th November 2012 via Olive Grove Records. This wonderfully wistful album draws upon her adventures whilst travelling the world as a member of Vashti Bunyan’s band and her experiences over the last few years completing a Doctorate in Musicology plus her collaborations with David Byrne (Carnegie Hall, NY 2007), Devendra BanhartCoco RosieTeenage Fanclub (Baby Lee, 2011), and Admiral Fallow (Beetle in the Box, 2012) amongst others.

You have to admit, she sounds more interesting than the Courteeners. Check her out.

Cordelia mp3

Is the music press a thing of the past?

The sad demise of The Word magazine came as a surprise to many, but -crucially – not a shock. Formed nine years ago, the David Hepworth/Mark Ellen-led monthly had always tried to represent the best of old-school music journalism; in-depth profiles of established artists mixed with recommendations of new music they thought their audience might actually like, as opposed to music they felt they should. Independently run, the closure was endemic of a changing marketplace. While magazine closures are not new – Sounds and Select would be with us if they were – there will not be a rush to fill the gap on the shelves created by the decision. Continue reading