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Whippet Out – Wickerman Festival 2012

Setting fire to a gigantic straw monolith in the name of rock and roll? Somebody call a preacher man! And they did, which is why Howlin’ Whippet was in Dundrennan to bear witness.

Deciding fairly late on in the day that some paganism, pop, punk and pear cider was on the menu, I threw the brood in the car and headed the 100 or so miles to Dumfries and Galloway for the 11th Wickerman Festival. The Wickerman is without doubt one of the family friendliest, best organised and downright good-value festivals on the ever-increasing circuit. Fortune shone on the 20,000 hardy souls as did good weather for the best part of the weekend.

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Pose Victorious – ‘Beneath The Lighthouse’ EP

A lighthouse offers a beacon of hope in the darkness. How very apt, then, that Pose Victorious‘ new EP draws inspiration from that idea. A Glasgow 5 piece, their sound contains the clipped directness of early Strokes flavoured with a sprinkling of Scottish folk and the earnest passion of acts such as Frightened Rabbit.

It’s a lovely mixture, filled with passion and verve and a sense of longing that bands from this wee country seem to manage so winningly. With major tours with acts such as The View already behind them, Pose Victorious could be the next heartfelt triumph to break nationally. Check them out.

The View – QMU, Glasgow

Whenever the latest enfant terriblé of the football world – soccer, Yank readers – displays some dubious behaviour on the pitch, pundits rush to tell us that they wouldn’t be the same player without that spark of devilment. From Gazza to Cantona to Rooney, stamping on a another player’s nuts occasionally is the price we have to pay for the sublime things they can do with the ball. This is, of course, nonsense. They’d be great players without the occasional tendency to maim an opponent. This is just dodgy justification of bad behaviour.

The View were very much like this. Undoubtedly talented, they were a dodgy proposition live because you never knew what condition they were liable to turn up in. If their collective head was right, you stood a fair chance of witnessing a blistering set. If not, they’d dick about for the minimum time on-stage they could get away with, tossing off their biggest hits with all the care of a vagrant scrabbling away in his underpants, before skulking backstage amongst an almost visible sense of crowd anger and disappointment. Thankfully, on this evidence, those days appear to be long gone. The View, whisper it, may actually be maturing.

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The Wednesday What’s New – What Would Jesus Drive

This is a great name. Even if you can’t stand the music, you’ll have to give it up for a band called What Would Jesus Drive. They’ve been touring with Dirty Pretty Things and The View and making a few new friends with their raucous, lo-fi pop. This is their track ‘The Girls are in Charge’. And as for the answer….a Toyota.

The View – Bongo Club, Edinburgh

Kyle Falconer - Not covered in piss (Nov 2009)

When it comes to music, the relationship between suppliers and customers is far different to that in the real world. There are responsibilities on each side to be adhered to; the transaction isn’t finished the second the fan hands over the money. Both sides invest a lot more in to this relationship than Tesco and it’s customers do. This is a nuanced, subtle partnership which has evolved over fifty years of popular music.

Simply put, both have a role to play and tasks to perform if this is going to work out the way it is intended to. You can argue about the definition of those roles, where they begin and end and what is and isn’t acceptable. But although tonight gives cause to re-assess who does what in the whole artist/fan question, most people would probably agree that it’s definitely a no-no for a fan to piss in an empty pint pot and chuck it at the band. Continue reading

The View – o2, Glasgow

The ViewLike a defender after a series of fouls, The View were on the verge of a second yellow with ELM. Yes, we’d seen them in the first, euphoric rush of joy emanating from the early singles and triumphant debut album ‘Hats Off to the Buskers’. Yes, we’d been caught up in just how great their wonderful, folksy pop sounded like a fully-realised Libertines. But then we’d seen them in full-on ‘too pissed to perform’ mode. And not just once. Basically, they didn’t seem to give a fuck about their audience, and we were starting to reciprocate.
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The Wednesday ‘What’s New With You?’ #6

Ah, Wednesday. A bit of a middling day, obviously, until you realise two things about it;

1.) It’s hump day.
2.) It’s the ‘What’s New With You?’ day.

Now, frankly, number 1 is not as exciting as it sounds. Sadly it’s more a metaphor for the fact that by lunchtime today you’ll have done more of your working week than you have left to do, and thus will be over the hump towards the weekend. Unless, of course, you work weekends, in which case just move straight to number 2.

Number 2 is a short-standing ELM tradition which surfaces every so often for all those who travel on the good ship ELM to show how clever they are. Now that we have escaped the clutches of the post-New Year musical lull, it’s time to share with the ELM what is floating your musical boat at the moment. That’s if you aren’t on the ELM boat, which come to think of it, would have to be a submarine to surface in the first place. Hmmnnn. Despite all the water transport available here, I’m drowning in these metaphors. So let’s move on.

First up is the album ‘Checkmate Savage’ from Glasgow space-rock loons The Phantom Band. This is one of those musical hotch-potch albums, with styles seemingly drawn at random but including krautrock, folk, indie, jazz, rock and disco. Okay, that last one’s a lie, but everything else is true and it works exceedingly well, in the way that an album which is organic can because any hint of artifice and the whole thing would come crashing down. Check out ‘The Howling’ for a superbly eerie taste of an album which fuses all its disparate parts into something very special indeed.

For more traditional indiekid thrills, The View’s awfully-titled ‘Which Bitch?’ shows a huge leap from their terrific-if-generic debut. The energy is present and correct, but the bands musical frontiers are certainly much bigger. It may well kill their career, but that’s exciting in itself. Download ‘Double Yellow Lines’ to see what we are on about. it’s a quite thrillingly nuts album, frankly, and kudos to them for not simply writing ‘Hats Off to the Buskers 2’ and collecting the cash.

Finally, ELM fave Ben Kweller returns with ‘Changing Horses’. Kweller has always had a languid side to his powerpop, but he’s only gone and gone all Nashville on us with an album which can only be described as ‘Sweetheart of the Rodeo’ for the new millennium. It’s as country as big hats and big tits and is a truly terrific collection of songs. Download ‘Wantin’ Her Again’ and you’ll be hooked. As sweet as hickory sauce but it won’t repeat on you.

Right; now it’s your turn!