Aimee Mann o2abc (Damn you Phil Collins!)

Velvet voiced possibly coolest person in the world Aimee Mann and her awesome band took to Glasgow 02abc’s stage on Wednesday 31st January 2013 as part of the city’s Celtic Connections festivities.

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Sadly I missed Amelia Curran so I’ll leave it to other reviewers to discuss though Aimee did say while her band ‘rocked you in a soft rock kinda way, Amelia folked you’.

The gig was borderline hypnotic and while some may have described it as ‘a little slow in places’ I’d consider it more just as being in no big rush to stomp its way through. This was a gig with no fireworks and puppetry only real top class musicianship and a genuine affectionate mutual connection streaming from audience to stage and stage to audience, with an abundance of toe-tapping soft rocking going on.

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It was the kind of dusky high mooned John Carpenter scene-setting night in which the faces of the crowd faded away until it was just you, the band and the abc’s notoriously freaking huge disco ball (and possibly your friends too).

Some old favourites were taken a turn about the dance floor such as the delightful Lost in Space.

Of course the highlight was always going to be the coulda-been-a-contenda wonderful soul twisting Save Me (cruelly robbed of its Oscar by Phil Collins – that very same spurious deceptacon who obsequiously tore Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld apart in favour of those piss poor imitators Reach for the Skylar).

The other stone cold classic performed was the cathartic and tear inducing Wise Up – it’ll get you every time.

New tracks made an appearance and even though we’ve been assured that no-one wants to hear any new material, songs from Aimee’s latest album Charmer  went down well.

Aimee is powerful but contained performer who leaps across the stage like a wild deer when excited. The band seemed to really enjoy themselves during the gig producing a lustrous sound matching the mood of the songs themselves.

This show marked the end of Aimee’s current tour, we can now assume she is taking time to work on musicals while working a day job cleaning houses in Portland.

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I hate reviewing gigs in Vampire towns.

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Avalanche to close 6th January 2013

Record shop Avalanche has announced it will close its Grassmarket store on the 6th of January 2013.

Beloved by musos the world over but suffering the same economic erosion many small businesses have seen in the last couple of years Avalanche have said the shop will be forced to take the needle off the record, fade the house lights and close its front doors.

There are just a few weeks lefts before Avalanche will be compelled to shut up shop.

Avalanche said in a statement: “I hope that by then there will be a plan but at worst I will simply close the shop and concentrate on expanding our online presence and pursuing other opportunities.”

Social Media has already begun to rally support for the shop with posts on Facebook with a post by a member of the Second Hand Marching Band:

“Dear Musical Community. What are we going to do about Avalanche Records? As one of the finest record shops in Scotland, we can’t sit down and let it disappear. I know this is coming late, possibly even too late to make a real difference, but I know Kevin would welcome any ideas. Anyone up for a wee multi-band Christmas fundraiser to cover the ‘catch-up’ (rent, rates, tax, record company bills etc) costs?”

Avalanche is where many of us bought our first albums, it’s where we go to get recommendations from people who love and know music, and perhaps most importantly it’s where we go to hear great Scottish music.

“As many will have heard me say more than once selling an album to fans is the easy bit. Selling it to those who don’t know the album or artist is far harder and often time consuming…” READ THE FULL STATEMENT HERE

Bloc Party o2 academy Glasgow October 2012

Or Block Party with a K as my pass said. I like that. It indicates a level of unpretentiousness, like ‘who? block huh? ok, cool, well I guess they can play. So long as they clean up after.’ Which seems acceptable. Even Roger Daltrey did a bit of  hoovering.

The relatively young kids from Bloc opened with new tracks from their latest album Four but we all (people I call friends or other lost but worthy souls) were wishing they had launched the night with Kettling as its becoming a fast favourite. They did play and nail it later, or kettled it if you will. Bloc before part B have also encouraged me to utter the phrase ‘I fucking love kettling’ in day to day life which is another unexpected bonus from the album.

The academy is a beautiful venue and the sound bloomed up to its vast ornate ceiling while lasers danced across the cornicing. It was a little sweaty and the crowd were definitely more enamoured of the more established tracks like Banquet, Helicopter and Two More Years but in the ‘pit’ there was a good and gorgeous wave of limbs dancing excited by pumping limbic systems.

Octopus was another highlight and is a tune as addictive as it is likely to encourage mimacry while ignoring a loved ones pleas for help lifting a fallen bookcase off their body as you air drum into space.

The thing about Bloc Party what with their appearence on the OC soundtrack is that sometimes you think of them as being kind of mellow or pretty indie but seeing them live reminds you they just fucking rock. They should call them Rock Party and in France they would call them Party Rock and they would be hunted with only their cunning to protect them.

In conclusion buy the album and if you see them live there’s a good chance your dreams will be more colourful as result.

Man as a genre

I mean this as in calling groups things like boy band/girl band – so being a boy or girl is somehow the same as playing blues music or funk music or rave music or rock music or repeat into Amoeba shelving infinity. You need not have any kind of recognisable shape to your noise – you just need to stand there in a group with the appropriate genitalia and fame will roll out ahead of like a languid serpent tongue.

TEENAGE BOY AS THEME – the theme of awkward sexual awakening? This, THIS is what you want your band to be known for?! That is literally the worst phase of anyones life. The surging hormones, the desperate search for identity, the shattering of childhood illusions, far more suitable for metal than pop really.

I would say many of the people in ‘boy bands’ could no longer legitimately call themselves boys. Many are far beyond bar mitzvah age. Although, and this is absolutely true, I was in a local museum (it happens) recently and saw a flyer with a group of what I perceived to be 2nd year high school students doing a poorly budgeted watered down stage version of Mad Max 3 but what I was swiftly informed was actually a paper promotion for a group of people known as One Direction.  I assume the direction in question is that of down. To hell. A special, special hell.

There is no need for this ‘boy band’ shite. The same goes for girl band, obviously. I’ve seen male and female humanoids of all ages master a tambourine.

It’s a bit like calling someone a child actor. They ‘act’ as children. That is fucking creepy. It also usually means their careers are doomed.

eine kleine hochzeit nachtmusik

At any gathering where a cross-section of ages come together, such as a wedding, for some reason venue organisers (or whoever) like to imagine they can appeal to everyone by playing shite bland music. Perhaps its a case of rather than offend one specific group they reckon its safer to make everyone pissed off  by subjecting them to Katie Melua.

Enough, I say enough!

Weddings are sappy as hell, you’ve found another human being who has agreed to actually become entwined in your fucked up family and you theirs. That’s big stuff. Well done.

Invariably you are walking a tight rope of appropriateness to the occasion and being forced to play Adele. So here I list some alternatives to a Take That medley.

Percy Sledge – not a dry eye in the house.

Black Keys – Your Touch, you will be getting some!

Elbow – best only to attempt this if you can get the full orchestra.

King Blues – My Boulder, one for the whole gathering. Assuming you invited your friends.

Reuben – Nobody loves you like I do. So calm down. It’s all fine.

If the whole thing has gone sour then at least mutually destroy each other with style –

Or you could just make everyone uncomfortable, except possibly your paramour. If they are into that kind of thing.

If you don’t like these choices, I have others but I don’t really care if you don’t. Why are you on this blog at all – the internet is vast – go make your own damned playlist!

Much love Hella x

Jaqen h’ghar, a blogger must have a post!

Well, its been many moons since I took a look around these here parts but two things drew me back to Hellagood. TWO THINGS.

Thing one – GRIMES. I totally missed Claire Boucher when she first popped up (because I am old and uncool. I am 29 (DJ age 25) and no longer culturally relevant.) but now I am in LOVE WITH HER.

She’s Canadian, on 4AD and more of a renaissance woman than a musician what with the visual art in her videos. The sound is like medieval techno or at least that’s what I’m getting. A wall of noise surrounding the adventures of a Baroque Tron.

The desert, the sky, Brooke Candy as a shiny gravity defying lollipop sucking warrior. Grimes as a Boudica Sailor Moon. It all dreamy and beautiful and I cannot get it out of my head. THE FLAMING SWORD.

I’m also deep digging this track –

I’ve not been this excited about an artist since Bjork. She was already in Glasgow back in the Spring and now I must wait with clenched fist and narrowed eyes fixated on the horizon for her return.

Thing two – TRUCKFIGHTERS.

So yeah, it was WORTH coming back. I felt compelled. Expect a Bloc Party review later this month. And perhaps some more of my hilarious shambling ramblings.

More Videos and stuff maybe some news or something

Hello pop pickers,

I don’t have a theme for today’s update so it’s just going to be a mashup of stuff.

Lately I have caught the blogging bug but my computer is still dead so I must steal other peoples, mainly working off a 7 year old mac laptop which I have to borrow. I have my own ‘serious’ blog and I work on other ‘serious’ multimedia stuff at work.

So the blinding frustration of having a million ideas for online things for my valued readers to enjoy but can’t express continues apace. Damn.

Anyway on to things I can link –

Mike Relm creates a mix of Scott Pilgrim’s Sex Bob-omb and Ludacris’ How Low. Subject matter aside, its awesome, guy.

I love Mike Relm’s little chats at the end of his mixes. He engages well with his audience so if you have questions, post them on his youtube page as he is likely to answer the least and most ridiculous ones.

Next up –

Diego Stocco’s music from a tree. Yup, all from a tree. Hands up that’s a persistent man. The kind of mind which can imagine the song before they figure out how to make the sounds is to be admired, as is the chutzpah to forge ahead and actually make it happen.

Imogen Heap is working on some new things, you can watch and listen to her singing along to her favourite bit HERE.

So, the Tinthepark line up is up and tickets are on sale. Hmm, feels a bit of a mishmash and maybe not in the best possible Kenny Everett taste. All this chat about diversifying festivals away from just being ‘rock’ or ‘indie’ or whatever and including other acts is in the immortal words of Kesha – blah blah blah – yeah, because you’re not ACTUALLY doing that are you, you’re just shoving in whatever the biggest selling artists are, regardless of genre. They aren’t making sure to book a wide variety of styles and source talented musicians to create a one off cultured experience – why bother, no-one would pay 250 for a ticket to listen to someone they don’t know. Which is reasonable. I first went to T in the Park in 1999, my weekend ticket (not camping, bus journey baby!) was £58 I think. For two WHOLE DAYS. I know they’ve extended the days and added more people but that halcyon independence cherry popping festival trip was magical. The weather was good, the bands were great, the buses plentiful on time and clean AND you could easily navigate from one stage to another to see as many bands as possible. Now I look at it and it looks like Dante’s seventh circle of hell. There’s some kind of competitive element now, much more focus on the ‘experience’, pushing and shoving your way to the front and drinking as much as possible, as opposed to the love of music in a wonderful escapist utopia for a weekend. I know I’m rose tinting it up, a lot, but the fact remains that modern festivals have become a massive advertising platform, too big, too expensive, too crowded and too focused on mobile technology. This is the way of modern music industry though, people aren’t buying records so it’s left to live performances to make money.

But its not all doom and gloom, as a reaction to the changes other festivals have sprung up. The rise in popularity of ‘going to gigs’ as a pastime is a good thing for the sector and community as a whole (not for music ‘geeks’ anymore  now everyone has a show to go to). However we have a responsibility not to let any one company dominate. Your pound is your voice, think about what you’re buying and from whom, otherwise all we will have is a visit to the o2 pleasure dome when we need a break from the Tesco/Wallmart hospital, university and funeral home.

Anyway if you actually made it this far you deserve a fab ice lolly. Much love Hella xx