Death of David Bowie

  So there we have it: the death of David Bowie, trending in its now customary fashion along the volatile cardiac graphs that characterise Social Media. It’ll probably reach a peak over the next few days when the waves on the Cultural ECG monitor practically shoot off the screens. It’s been a long time coming. 69 years to be precise but it arrived with no less shock and awe than Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust combined. Last night’s News 24 Continue Reading

Hail To The Thief ~ Radiohead

Some tough questions still remain unanswered in mid-2003, with regards to the mainstream’s ultimate millennial band. Are we to scorn them for a continued disdainful neglect of their own stomping ground, the mainstream? Pity them for their incomplete excavation of the leftfield? Treat them like remedial children for not sticking to the plot, berate them for failing to replicate works so singular and definitive that they could and should never be repeated anyway, for the sake of themselves? Do we Continue Reading

The Private Press ~ DJ Shadow

Six years since his debut ‘Endtroducing..’, here comes DJ Shadow with his second solo album proper. ‘The Private Press’ more than wears its heart on its sleeve – the title refers to those musicians who release their own music, regardless of commercial success, out of a belief in what they have created. DJ Shadow seems to be feeding off and paying homage to that spirit with this messy, idiosyncratic, wonderful album that appropriates generously then returns with interest a diverse Continue Reading

George Martin (1926-2016)

In some ways it seems entirely fitting that the death of Beatles producer, George Martin wasn’t accompanied by a burst of dramatic orchestration, a piccolo trumpet solo or a tumultuous crescendo of instruments followed by a dramatic final chord played on three different pianos. That’s because a really good producer is one you barely know is there. They sit quietly in the background as unassuming and supportive as the gentle whir of the tape as it purrs along to the Continue Reading

Peter Gabriel Aberdeen AECC, 09.12.14

Pathfinder, popularizer and baldy Gabble-pioneer Peter Gabriel defies Scotland’s umpteenth weather-bomb for three-course run through the hits. The ‘So’ album played in it’s entirety from start to finish plus hits electric and quiet. Former Genesis frontman and fox-headed, chameleon flower-stomper Peter Gabriel put on a stunning show at the Exhibition Centre in Aberdeen on Monday night. In spite of initial appearances, it wasn’t a tough sell. The 3000 middle-aged fans who’d braved Scotland’s erratic  ‘weather-bomb’ remained in such an attentive Continue Reading

The King Is Dead ~ The Decemberists

The Decemberists’ Colin Melloy describes ‘The King Is Dead’ as an exercise in restraint, and he ain’t whistling Dixie, not when you recall that the band’s 2009 release, ‘The Hazards of Love’ was by contrast an exercise in epic, high-concept, multi-layered, unfathomably compound, high-fulutin’ boreal forest romance craftin’, hewn out of the very rocks that line the banks of the Hudson River; a rock opera in the mould of Tam Lin and The Scarlet Letter – only with more random Continue Reading

Anna Calvi ~ Anna Calvi

If the thrashing, heavy romance of the deliciously windswept ‘Desire’ is anything to go by, the tipping of critical winks in the direction of Patti Smith may be something of a misnomer, building as it does more upon the sweeping panorama and open heart surgery of Australian rock-act The Triffids and the pernicious murder balladry of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. It’s a big sound made with big ideas performed on big instruments and accompanied by big drums and Continue Reading

Sky At Night ~ I Am Kloot

You can’t polish a turd. Whoever said that? Were they onto something or were they just talking shit? The reality was always something we knew all along: the turd was quite happy feeling shit. When you’ve been unceremoniously squeezed out of someone’s arse and suffered the ignominy of being chewed up, absorbed and subjected to the usual slings and arrows of the exhausting digestive process, you’re unlikely to respond positively to the demands of civil society, style or no style. Continue Reading

Frightened Rabbit – The Winter of Mixed Drinks

The Wu Xing. I bet you’ve never heard of it right, but in Chinese astrology it describes the five phases that show how everything here on earth interacts and relates. So you have five elements: wood, fire, earth metal, water. Wood feeds fire, fire creates earth, earth creates metal, metal carries water and water nourishes wood. It’s a ‘paper-scissors-stone’ kind of thing. But it’s water we are really interested in here. You can build a bridge over, you can lead Continue Reading

Blood ~ Franz Ferdinand

Whichever way you look at remix albums, reworks, dubs, jigs, tweaks and tighteners, it always sounds like something painful. Like violent games played in sports changing rooms or terms more at home in botched plastic surgery. It also insinuates that the original wasn’t all that in the first place; that it needs an extra, removed pair of ears, hands, and the kind of electro glitchery Kieran Hebdon carries in his travel bag for that all important, generally unnecessary, second opinion. Continue Reading