Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel and Belle and Sebastian - Edinburgh Corn Exchange

So I had a bit of a hipster weekend at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange:

On Thursday, indie rock legends Neutral Milk Hotel followed up their recent Glasgow gig with a night in Edinburgh, playing songs (among others) from one of the most influential albums of the last 20 years. The album which gained the band so much fame, yet the same on that almost tore them apart - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. NMH were one of those bands I never thought I would get to see. Due to me being 2 when the album was released, I missed their initial success, but years later after falling in love with ITAOTS many times over, I was as excited as anyone about this show. Anyone except maybe Scott Hutchison (Owl John) who got to support one of his all time favourite bands along with his brother - both had to cover up their aeroplane-phonograph tattoo's...

Also, on Saturday night, I went to the first screening of God Help the Girl, a musical, written and directed by Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. It was beamed to 80 cinemas across the UK from an uncomfortably packed Corn Exchange as we sat on the floor for all 111 minutes. To be honest, the film wasn't to my own liking but I have seen a lot of positive feedback on Twitter. However, I think the main draw of the night was the gig B&S put on afterwards, mixing their own songs with tracks from God Help the Girl, a random bit of Motown and an even more random David Bowie cover sang by Stevie Jackson at the request of Murdoch! Another brilliant performance from the band, who had people up dancing on-stage with them to Boy With the Arab Strap.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

New Music

There has been a good few new releases over the Summer, and I've been doing my best to keep up to date with them. Here are some of my picks:

Owl John

It's probably no surprise to hear that Frightened Rabbit are one of my favourite bands, and when we heard last year that front man Scott Hutchison was off to live an LA and release a solo album, I wasn't quite sure what to think. However, under the pseudonym Owl John, he release the self titled debut last week and it is safe to say that it is some of his very best work. Many of the songs are about moving State-side and starting life again, while others are about music itself - both his own and others. I caught Owl John in Edinburgh a few weeks back where he played a mix of his solo and FR songs; I think Red Hand could be a contender for his best song, even though the video is disturbing!

Flood of Red

The second full length release from Airdrie band Flood of Red has definitely built on their impressive debut 'Leave Everything Behind'. If the artwork itself isn't enough for you to want to listen, songs like 'Lashes', 'Whispers and Choirs' and 'Cutting Limes' stand out of the 9 tracks. The band have put their post-hardcore days well behind them, their music has evolved and matured and they are now one of the most impressive and original Scottish bands at this time. 

Slow Club

The progress of Slow Club from their 2009 debut 'Yeah, So' is actually quite amazing. 'Paradise' saw a change in the music from happy indie pop to an upbeat, atmospheric and slightly more serious record, and 'Complete Surrender' has gone even further to, dare I say, soul music!? Whatever it is, I like it a lot. The production level is huge in the new songs and they've really made an effort with videos as well. Definitely a band who get better with every record. 


Elsewhere, PAWS released their second album Youth Culture Forever to massive support from big names like Blink 182 and, of course, Simon Pegg... Strengthening live performances will see the band go back to America for a second time. The band even brought friends We are Scientists to Glasgow for a very sweaty, very mental secret show in the tiny venue of Bloc. A night to remember!

King Creosote

Lastly, a joint project of King Creosote and film-maker Virginia Heath, 'From Scotland With Love' was set to mark the opening of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, providing the antidote from shortbread, whisky and Nessie. It is a heartfelt documentary of Scotland's past, from Glasgow shipyards to days out to the beach, and King Creosote produced the music which he also used to release a new album of the same name. It is a very sentimental documentary, showing Scotland at its best with no spoken word, just the music to back the old footage. It might be hard to imagine, but you can see from the below video exactly why you need to buy 'From Scotland with Love'.