reviews

4th November 2010

David Mackenzie’s new film Donkeys is out now and Jockrock has five pairs of tickets to give away – a pair for each of the five cities that it’s showing in in the coming week (dates below)

Simply watch the trailer (again) and answer the question: which famous Glasgow landmark does the lead character work in?
Just send your answer, along with your name and contact details.

It’s showing on the following dates/locations:
Friday 29th – Thursday 11th Nov @ Cineworld Glasgow
Thursday 4th – Thursday 11th @ Cineworld Aberdeen
Friday 5th – Thursday 11th @ Cineworld Edinburgh
Thursday 11th @ Cineworld Falkirk
Friday 12th @ Cineworld Dundee

More about the film at its Facebook page

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5th September 2010

The press release for this album describes The Zephyrs as “psychedellic magicians”. While many press releases are a complete load of rubbish and hyperbole, this is actually completely accurate and spot on.

The band’s fifth album, and a return after a hiatus of a few years, this album is little short of magical. Imagine a band who set up camp along the borders alt. country, shoegazing, the best traditions of Scottish indie -and remembered to write songs along the way. That’s The Zephyrs on this album. It’s an album that I’ve played a lot and will continue to do so for a long time to come. It grabs you right from the opening track ‘Creative Faith’ and holds you until the closing ‘Sole in The Machine [sic].’

Featuring contributions from, amongst others, Mogwai’s Barry Burns and Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys, who appear on second track ‘Wet Outside Dry In Here’ this is an incredibly strong album. Do not let it pass under your radar. Stop it; ask it its purpose and join the journey…

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5th September 2010

The absence of Neil Carlill from the ‘Magus’ ep sees the four tracks coming to you as an instrumental but this is no bad thing, allowing you to delve deeper into the chilled out folk sound. It’s a mini-package that is not going to appeal to everyone, it can be a tad dry over the four songs but there are more than enough sprightly moments to warrant further investigation.

56 Days To Happiness’ is perhaps the most strident and upbeat whereas ‘Brilliant White Frost’, and its electronic interventions brings a relaxed ending to the collection.

It’s a touching melodic collection of songs as opposed to being in your face, so if you are in the need for some gentle sounds to soundtrack your day or other activities, there could be a bit of scope to find in ‘Magus’ by Shoosh.
Magus

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2nd September 2010

So, four years since their second long-player Do Whatever Turns You On, and the sixth since debut Young Forever, Aberfeldy release their third album. It’s been documented that the inbetween years have seen lineup changes, being dropped by Rough Trade, and having their songs used in adverts for all manner of products, but I know I speak for many when I say that this album has been eagerly awaited for a very long time.

Many of these songs have been present in their live sets for some time – and indeed, I was privileged to hear some of these songs played by frontman Riley Briggs in demo form when I interviewed him three years ago. And two of the songs – album opener ‘Claire’ and ‘Talk Me Round’ in different form made up the very first release on 17 Seconds Records. ‘Malcolm’ the single has evolved over time -but the ’spot the sixties reference game’ that started when they played it live still remains fun. And ‘In Denial’ has to be one of the best songs Riley Briggs has ever written.

One of the things that rankled as an Aberfeldy fan was the way that they were constantly compared to a certain Glaswegian band. But considering Riley and drummer brother Murray once played together in a Devo covers act, the sense of playing with and subverting pop on ‘Turn The Record Over’ and ‘Lisa Marie’ comes through more strongly than ever. Though seen as Riley Briggs’ vehicle, they definitely play as a band. As well as the aforementioned Briggs brothers, and Ken MacIntosh, the lineup includes guitarist Chris Bradley, who co-produced the album with Riley; and Kirsten Adamson, daughter of Stuart, and leader of Edinburgh’s Gillyflowers.

And instead of writing credits, the final song ‘credits’ is just that: a rollcall of credits for the album. It sums up what I’ve long thought: that Aberfeldy’s sense of humour has been downplayed, but it is now here for the world to see. There will be those who say that it doesn’t sound like Young Forever. No, it doesn’t – it doesn’t need to! It’s been a while in the making, but this third album shows just how vital Aberfeldy remain.
Somewhere

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1st September 2010

It’s been a while since I was at the Liquid Rooms. The venue has just opened after refurbishment following the fire in Christmas 2008, which badly burned the restaurant upstairs and the ensuing water damage affected the Liquid Rooms. But it’s great to see one of Edinburgh’s best venues up and running once more, a place where I have been more times than I can count in the nine years since I moved to Edinburgh.

First up tonight, the support act are the wonderful Sparrow and the Workshop. The Glasgow-based three-piece issued a fine debut in Crystals Fall. Their country-spaghetti-western feel (and I mean that as a compliment) wins the crowd over, with songs like ‘Crystals’ and ‘Into The Wild.’

Broken Records’ lead singer Jamie Sutherland talks about tonight as being a “happy sad occasion”. Sad, in the sense that Gill Dave ‘Gill’ Fothergill is leaving for “pastures new” while cellist Arne Kolb is returning to Germany for “reasons of love.” So it’s an emotion-packed show, which is utterly, utterly euphoric.
The set is interspersed with tracks from the new album Let Me Come Home and last year’s Until The Earth Begins To Part. Head Sparrow Jill O’Sullivan adds her bewitching vocals to one track which is one of those moments.

And over a year since the release of their debut record, still it weaves its magic. It’s still so sweet and fresh. Jamie dedicates ‘Wolves’ to Graeme from the Kays Lavelle for coming to see them and not Phoenix. Arne’s cello on ‘If Eilert Loevborg Wrote A Song It Would Sound Like This’ is described as being his finest hour with the band, and it most certainly is. Debut single ‘If The News Makes You Sad, Don’t Watch It’ and album opener ‘Nearly Home’ threaten to bring the roof off all over again.

They encore with a version of ‘Slow Parade’ which is more Buckley-esque than the album version (both Buckleys, since you ask). And we walk home, still on a high the next morning.

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1st September 2010

Given that Mogwai have a (well-deserved) reputation for awesome live shows, it’s perhaps a little odd that this is their first live album, a mere fifteen years into their career. No matter. When it’s as good as Special Moves, it really is worth it.

It really is worth getting the vinyl box set (I’m going to starve for the next month and it will be worth it) – or the deluxe download package in order to hear the whole thing. Like the best live albums, it is not just a simple replaying of the albums, but shows just how great the band are live, and is a great album in its’ own right. ‘Like Herod’ still make you jump at THAT point (it is possibly the audio equivalent of that scene in Carrie.

All five of their studio albums from the last thirteen years or so are represented, rather than just being based on one or two albums. This album is yet more proof – if confirmation were needed by now – that Mogwai really are one of the best acts of the last twenty years. A new album is due next year – bring it on…
Special

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28th August 2010

Another year, another Edinburgh Festival, another Edge festival. Last year we were confounded by the selection of the Electric Circus as a sub for the Liquid Rooms. Thankfully this year, ‘Rooms’ is open again. Never again will we have to experience The Phantom Band squeezed onto a postage stamp stage and singing through a rolled up paper tube. Oh…

OK, hats off to the venue for at least providing a venue of this size in the Capital. But, there are some things it’s just not suited to and this is one of them. We have the added bonus of being so jam-packed tonight (for such is the increasing rep of this band) that were Lothian’s fire officers not busy with every other impromtu sweatbox that pops up across the city at this time of year, I’m sure they would’ve shut this gig down.

And still they manage to rock. Yes, we lose all the drive and urgency of The Howling; and half the instruments on Crocodile (which admittedly has a helluva lot of instruments) are missing from the mix. But, the band pull through. There’s an palpable goodwill towards the band. Something their usual comfortable bonhomie only builds on. (Not to every other band in the world: share you booze with the audience. Always.) Still they can pull back some wins from the situation. Left Hand Wave has a blistering urgency and still Island can reduce the gaggling festivalistas to silence.

And then there there’s the new stuff. The two tracks we’ve previously seen performed have shaped up nicely. But, it’s the totally new one that wins the prize for the highlight of the night. Starts off like the Pet Shop Boys at their perkiest, ends like the perfomrance of Verdi’s Requiem at the end of time, and manages to do it so effortlessly you ould be excused for expecting all songs to do this. One day they will. Bring on the new album! And, the subsequent gigs in proper venues.*

*Oh…

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28th August 2010

After five years of bedding themselves into the mainstay of the Scottish live music scene, Figure 5, are set to spread their blend of original psychedelic pop on the rest of the world with Bonfire, their exciting debut album which signals a more mature sound from the Glasgow band.
Opener ‘Secrets & Lies’ is like a quirky Scottish spaghetti western soundtrack and sets the tone for what is overall an enjoyable album. The band are big on retro sounds but they have stamped their own character on each track to bring it bang into this century.
They are well honed in writing anthemic catchy choruses such as the “Gie’s a break, I’m only young” ‘Part of The Problem’, the foot tapping Never Believe and the sea-shanty-esque ‘Rock Of Gibraltar’, all falling into this category. ‘Don’t Lock Me Out’ is chugging King Creosote meets Gunfight At The O.K Corral, meanwhile ‘Barrett’ has the same pop sound which made fellow Glasgow band The Fratellis rise to fame.
The only disappointment came with weak finale ‘Outside’. It’s a change of pace but with a chunky back catalogue of cracking tunes such as ‘Nitty Gritty,’, perhaps one of the older Figure 5 classics would have been a more fitting send-off for this class act.
Bonfire

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27th August 2010

Edinburgh five piece Miyagi are now onto their third album. Whilst it is stating the obvious to report that they are another bunch of Scots with a deep love of the music of West Coast America of the sixties and seventies, do not fall into the trap of assuming that they are mere copyists.

Because Miyagi definitely aren’t copyists. they respect their influences and are building upon them. So whilst there’s very nice harmonies, they also take in the influence of classic sixties soul and psychedelia. Perhaps on the first play I thought tracks like ‘Little Pink Dress’ were familiar, but there is something here that keeps pulling you back to play the album again. It may take a few listens, but it’s an album that’s definitely were spending time with, and getting to know. Believe me, you’ll want to.

It’s warm album, and good knows the weather in Scotland is such that we need that, even (!) in August. It’s fun -and it doesn’t tax you. Think I’ll go and investigate those earlier albums now…
Electrosaurus

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21st August 2010

Pop with an attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, Mitchell Museum have crafted an ear-boggling slab of extravagant pop bliss. Unforgiving eccentricity leaps forth from the stereo with every turn. Opening salvo of ‘We Won 2nd Prize’ and recent single, ‘Warning Bells’ set the bar with a cock-sure swagger, the latter’s bombastic drums and stirring guitars drive forth, with a chorus so ear-tickling, this reviewer had to skip it back not once, not twice, but three times before forging on. An act of foolishness considering the musical jollies that ensued. ‘Take The Tongue Out’, ‘Mission 1’ and ‘Tiger Heartbeat’ proving that a bellyful of organised-melodic-chaos, coupled with a sprinkle of surreal imagery is a riveting combo, like a T-bone steak – bloody is best – and peppercorn sauce, it’s a perfect pairing.
Time and again, the album delivers an abundance of ideas and a depth of intelligence to challenge any of the band’s notable musical influences, think Of Montreal, WHY?, or a budget Flaming Lips and your head’s in the right space, but to compare Mitchell Museum directly to any singular band or record however would be doing them an injustice.
The album’s title derives from the town on the Isle of Benebecula in Scotland where vocalist and song-writer Cammy MacFarlane was shipped out to live as a kid by his parents, where he was treated for ‘losing his mind’. Whether he found his mind is anyone’s guess but he certainly didn’t lose his creative spirit or imagination, he’s definitely got those, and they’re right here for us all to marvel.
The

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