Thursday, 25 March 2010

Live review: RBRBR EP launch

RBRBR

The GRV, Edinburgh
Saturday 20 March 2010


This may be the launch show for RBRBR’s shiny new Bobby Masicks EP, but it doubles as a handy opportunity to catch some of Scotland's finest electro-indie acts live.

Dead Boy Robotics are up first, and if you're a regular reader you'll need no introduction to this Edinburgh duo. The interplay between the live instruments, vocal harmonies and backing tracks is well orchestrated, the disparate sounds coming together in unexpected ways - each song like the surprising outcome of a successful experiment.

The use of the floor toms during synchronised rhythm breaks adds a welcome bit of showmanship to an otherwise low-key stage presence. A little more energy in the delivery wouldn't go amiss, but DBR still show the inventiveness for which they're becoming known, and much is expected of their EP, due out in May.

Any Color BlackThings get off to a promising start for Glaswegian 'house rock' two-piece Any Color Black, with strong vocals and rock-star poses suggesting a more upbeat set to come. Mixing live guitars with laptop beats, the bells and whistles serve to disguise more conventionally-structured songs, bringing to mind polished 90’s electro-poppers Garbage and their ilk.

Perhaps it’s the mix tonight, but the disparate strands don’t mesh as you might hope, with the guitars often sounding more like an afterthought than an integral cog. The crowd too don’t seem as engaged, with chatter audible in the quieter moments. All the pieces are in place and the performance is competent, but somehow it never quite gels. It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what is missing, but there's something about this performance that sadly fails to satisfy.

RBRBROn then to the headliners and the reason for tonight’s get-together. RBRBR have been plying their trade for a few years now, and have used that time to conjure up their own madcap world. With cardboard cut-outs of demented animals from their EP artwork decorating the stage, and band members adorned variously in fairy lights, fighter-pilot uniforms and ninja outfits, it's a strange and intriguing place.

The benefit of the first live drummer of the evening is immediately felt as the band bounce into EP opener ‘Maff’. The full band helps the whole performance feel more organic than what has come before, which is not to say that there aren’t lashings of electronic beats and unfeasibly deep bass tones pumping through the speakers. This is amply demonstrated in final number ‘Masick’s Groove’, a dance-a-long beast of a tune.

With this EP launch RBRBR show that they can match their recorded talents in person. Mission accomplished.

Words: Craig Dickson

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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Radar recommends: 27 Feb - 5 March

Copy Haho
[Copy Haho: gigging across Scotland this week]

Plan your gig-going with our pick of the week's finest live music nights...

The best...

James Yorkston & the Athletes, The Phantom Band, Alasdair Roberts Trio, Remember Remember
Saturday @ Platform, Glasgow / 7.30pm / £5 (£3)
Forget those woolly jumper clad men with acoustic guitars. No, folk music's cool these days. Just look at this line-up, where Fence troubadour Yorkston shares a billing with Rock Action upstart Remember Remember.

Futuristic Retro Champions, Skitten, Ace City Racers
Saturday @ The 13th Note, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
The 'Champs, who also play Edinburgh this week (see below) launch their new EP at this gig. The CDs are apparently designed to look like coloured vinyl, so it's like retro does retro really. Curious? Read an interview with the band here.

White Noise: Dead Boy Robotics, Futuristic Retro Champions
Wednesday @ Electric Circus, Edinburgh / 8pm / £tbc
Chalk and cheese this one, but none the worse for it. Pulsating shards of electronics and drums from duo DBR, while FRC use synths for more poppy pursuits.

The Mill: Stanley Odd, S.Kay
Thursday @ Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh / 7pm / Free but ticketed
Just this week we lauded Stanley Odd's "thrilling blend of hip hop, indie and funk", and, as if on cue, they appear for a show at The Mill. Are we arbiters of taste or what? (Don't answer that.)

Copy Haho, eagleowl, Debutant
Friday @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
Copy Haho also play The Tunnels, Aberdeen on Thursday
Surely the Holy Grail of gig quests this. Why? Not one, not two, but three UtR-featured bands on one bill. So if you don't enjoy at least one then you'd be well within your rights to advise the PCC to shut us down.

John Knox Sex Club
Thursday @ Nice'n'Sleazy, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
Thursday's a sexy day, get your best undies on and head to this party. Have a wee read about your saucy hosts here.

Tango in the Attic
Friday @ Harley's Bar, Bathgate / 8pm / £tbc
Tango and Cash + Cash in the Attic = Tango in the Attic. In reality, this Glenrothes band make fun, upbeat indie-pop.

Local Natives, Peggy Sue
Friday @ King Tut's, Glasgow / 8.30pm / £9
Folking rock again (yes, that is a sweary pun - the best sort). Think Fleet Foxes with ADHD, bright and poppy. With Peggy Sue minus the Pirates it seems.

The Unwinding Hours + Holy Mountain, Olympic Swimmers
Friday @ Stereo, Glasgow / 7pm / £7
Amazing Aereogramme offshoot who recently signed to the much admired Chemikal Underground label and featured here a few months ago. A couple of stellar supports including the brilliant Olympic Swimmers, also featured on UtR last year.


The rest...



Words: Aimi Gold, Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to the calendar by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Monday, 28 December 2009

Billy Hamilton: My band of 2009

UtR co-editor Billy Hamilton has been a vocal champion of his band of the year, both in our podcasts and in their profile feature back in June. Here he explains their (sometimes divisive) appeal...


2009 has been a dichotomous beast in terms of my musical fancy.

I started the year immersed in rich melodic folk. Now, at the end of the turkey-gorging season, I find myself cocooned by lightning-whipped electronica – a retreat I’m growing rather fond of, it must be said.

With this resting partially in mind then, my band of choice for the past 365 days has to be Edinburgh duo Dead Boy Robotics (DBR).

But it’s not because they’re the outfit I consider to be the most complete or impressive. No, quite simply, I cannot think of one act that has transformed quite so astonishingly in the space of just 12 months as DBR.

This time last year DBR were, in my mind at least, a plastecine-cast pairing exuding the obligatory pastiche of the hipster mass. I'd say Nick [Mitchell, UtR’s editor-in-chief] perfectly surmised DBR circa-2008 when he described them as “synth prodding wankery” (a pull quote that became their ironic MySpace strap line).

Yet, with 2010 on the horizon DBR are a band with one foot in the future. Tooled up with gun-totting synth and a penchant for pulsing tribal rhythm, Mike and Gregor are flying the flag for the criminally overlooked half of Auld Reekie’s creative undercurrent.

Their chaotic asylum-dwelling sound is founded on a throb of electro-bending and prolonged dog-like yelping. Live, it’s exhilarating: The duo meticulously build gigantic soundstacks that pierce the eardrums like the wrong side of a pneumatic pin-cushion.

On record, they're yet to do themselves justice, but that’s what makes DBR such an exciting proposition. It’s not what they can do that matters. It’s what they could do that really counts.

Words: Billy Hamilton

DBR: As Children We Fear The Dark (part 1)


DBR: We Drown Ourselves (Cartographer Exhales)


Who was your artist or band of 2009? Let us know below...

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Thursday, 24 December 2009

Billy Hamilton: My gig of 2009

Versus

Versus, The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh
10 September


To put forward the inaugural Voodoo Rooms-based Versus as my gig of 2009 is doing the night little justice.

You see, this wasn’t just your bog-standard three band soirée that underpins gigs the length and breadth of this country. No, this was a spectacle – a loud one at that.

With Dead Boy Robotics, Foundling Wheel and Meursault taking up the leading roles, the three-pronged stage invasion had melody mingling with discord and folk frolicking with noise.

A pre-show natter with the man behind the concept, Ted Koterwas, revealed a desire to engage the polarized factions of Edinburgh’s music scene in a battle royale of sound that would open up doors and knock down walls.

But it wasn’t about indulging in a spot of musical peacekeeping, it was much, much more. Sounds blasted from the stage as if igniting from a Kennedy Space Center launch pad, while a roll-call of Auld Reekie luminaries took turns in complementing the starring trio’s kaleidoscopic mash up.

Bulging instrumentation frothed with all the frenzy of a rabid dog chasing its tail, leaving the senses of the punters ragged, frayed and, most of all, alive.

By the time the finale of tumbling percussion and electrified synth crushed solar plexuses, you knew what had unravelled was something very special indeed.

A night to remember? Perhaps. A night not to be forgotten. Definitely.

The next Versus night features eagleowl, Found and Oates Field, and takes place at the Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh on 21 January.

What was your gig of 2009? Let us know below...

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Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Under the Radar podcast #5

Podcast #5...or, the one where we headed down to Oxjam Edinburgh, grabbed a few bands in various states of inebriation and recorded the results, with a few songs thrown in for good measure.

We have interviews with Meursault, Boycotts, Dead Boy Robotics, The Little Kicks, Jesus H Foxx and Y'All is Fantasy Island which we've stitched together quite simply in the order they happened.

Stevie, our Bowery correspondent, chatted to three of the bands at that venue, while Billy caught up with Dead Boy Robotics after their Cab Vol set and Nick spoke to Boycotts backstage at the same venue and The Little Kicks later on outside the 'aftershow' party.

Listen for tales of yacht sailing off the coast of Barcelona, Aberdonians "trying harder" out of town, and the conundrum of how to fit seven band members into one tour van (answer: tow a trailer).

Play: Podcast #5


Running order:
00:07: Interview: Dead Boy Robotics
04:57: Dead Boy Robotics - All Sixes & Sevens
09:22: Interview: Y'All is Fantasy Island
10:52: Y'All is Fantasy Island - With Hand Claps
14:26: Interview: Boycotts
18:20: Boycotts - Luella & Lies
21:33: Interview: Jesus H Foxx
24:22: Jesus H Foxx - I'm Half the Man You Were
27:32: Interview: Meursault
30:14: Meursault - A Few Kind Words
33:17: Interview: The Little Kicks
37:22: The Little Kicks - We Came Alive

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Podcast: Stevie Kearney, Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

Previous UtR podcasts

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Monday, 7 September 2009

VERSUS: Meursault vs The Foundling Wheel vs Dead Boy Robotics

Ground-breaking live music night Versus returns on Thursday 10 September with a trio of our favourite BEAR Scotland noise-mongers – Meursault, The Foundling Wheel and Dead Boy Robotics – gearing up to grapple track-to-track in the Voodoo Rooms’ shadowed cove.

Ted Koterwas, organiser of the first Versus event in March, has joined forces with Dave Cumings, co-creator of Edinburgh’s Limbo, to create a bi-monthly sound explosion that takes three bands and one stage and turns them into a lug-ringing racket.

“Versus capitalises on the notion of conflict, and then subverts it,” explains Koterwas. “It starts with a duelling concept, where bands go track for track, but then evolves. We are encouraging bands to collaborate on songs as well as alternate, so you can expect a number of songs to be played by new configurations of the bands involved."

This triangular tussle juxtaposes UtR’s favourte alt. folk heroes Meursault against the incessant bit-crushing of The Foundling Wheel and Dead Boy Robotics’ robotic discord. As a special treat for eager punters, rumour has it the triad will be joined by a number of esteemed local musical dignitaries throughout the night. That’s just between you and us though, right?

Aimed at appealing to both the competitive and collaborative spirits of bands, Versus is set to produce a bombastic throb of sound that’s a refreshing antidote to the folky whispers often emanating from Auld Reekie’s streets.

As Koterwas puts it: “We aim to curate some truly innovative combinations of bands from different genres and styles and really challenge them to either find common ground or revel in the ensuing conflict - hopefully a bit of both.”

A step into the unknown, Versus really could go either way. And you know what? That's what makes it so very special.

Words: Billy Hamilton

Versus is on at The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh at 8pm, Thursday 10 September. Tickets are £5 on the door.

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Sunday, 9 August 2009

Radar recommends: 9 - 15 August

Dollskabeat
[Dollskabeat: playing support to Telepathe on Wednesday]

The size of this column seems to ebb and flow from week to week. Last week there was little musical sustenance for Scotland's music lovers; this week there's enough out there to give you a dose of heartburn if they're not careful. If you happen to live in the 'big two' that is...


Edinburgh

The Lost Brothers, The Kays Lavelle
Sunday @ Sneaky Pete's £6 7pm
Melancholy folk from The Lost Brothers, with piano-led indie-rock from Edinburgh's Kays Lavelle.

Telepathe, Dollskabeat
Wednesday @ Sneaky Pete's £7 7pm
Trendier-than-thou Brooklyn electro dames roll into town, flanked by Edinburgh's own glitch queen, Dollskabeat.

This is Music: Dead Boy Robotics, The Foundling Wheel
Friday @ Sneaky Pete's 7pm £tbc
The August instalment of Auld Reekie's finest monthly gig night showcases the talents of two noise-inclined members of the Bear Scotland collective.

The GRV Fest: Ritalin Kids, Dupec, Boycotts, The Nature Boys
Friday @ The GRV £tbc 5pm onwards
The first night of The GRV's big bash is stuffed with local talent, including two of our favourites in Dupec and Boycotts.

The GRV Fest: The Debuts, Epic 26, OK Social Club, 10:04s, The Breech, Homework, The Steals
Saturday @ The GRV £tbc 3pm onwards
Day two of The GRV Fest is even bigger. Can you last the distance?

Young Fathers, Unicorn Kid
Saturday @ Cabaret Voltaire £7 8pm
Proving that Edinburgh's music scene is more diverse than first meets the eye, Young Fathers and Unicorn Kid bring bombastic hip hop and sugar-rich techno to the table respectively.


Glasgow

Stellar Sounds: Rio Callahan, Funksion, Federation of the Disco Pimp
Wednesday @ Glasgow Science Centre | £12 | 7pm
A gig with a difference this, given that it takes place in a planetarium. See Stevie's preview a few posts down the page.

The Mill: Maple Leaves, Panda Su
Thursday @ Òran Mór | Free but ticketed | 8pm
Delectable folk-flecked indie from two of Scotland's brightest acts.

Telepathe, RBRBR, Super Adventure Club
Thursday @ King Tut's | £7.50 | 8.30pm
The aforementioned Telepathe head west, bringing with them two of Edinburgh's best new bands as support.

Attic Lights, The Seers, Invisible Republic
Friday @ Stereo | £9 | 7pm
Fundraiser for the Scottish Epilepsy Initiative, headed up by the winsome indie-pop of Attic Lights.

Boycotts, French Wives, Kalla Heartshake
Saturday @ ABC2 | £5 | 7pm
Boycotts launch their eagerly anticipated EP at this gig, with excellent support from French Wives and Kalla Heartshake.

Múm, My Latest Novel
Saturday @ Òran Mór | £15 | 7pm
Exquisite electronica-tinged indie from Icelanders Múm, not to mention the forward thinking sounds of Greenock-based My Latest Novel.

The Second Hand Marching Band, Over the Wall
Saturday @ The 13th Note | £tbc | 9pm
We can't get enough of SHMB's heartfelt shanties - or Over the Wall's textured pop for that matter.

Words: Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to our gig guide by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Sunday, 19 July 2009

Radar recommends: 19 - 25 July

Be A Familiar
[Be A Familiar: on tour across Scotland this week]

Whether it's down to the long hangover cast by T in the Park, the gravitational pull of its smaller cousin Wickerman next weekend, or the looming prospect of the Edinburgh Festival's live music calendar, compiling this week's gig guide was like panning for gold in a puddle. But we still found a few nuggets worth leaving the house for...


Aberdeen

Be A Familiar, I See Shapes, French Wives, Mark McCabe & The Tearoom Posse
Thursday @ The Tunnels | 7.30PM | £5
UtR said that "there's an underlying feyness that renders Be A Familiar unmistakeably Scottish." Fellow Scots I See Shapes and French Wives also travel north, with local singer-songwriter Mark McCabe filling out the bill.


Edinburgh

The Cosmonauts
Wednesday @ Whistlebinkies |11.30pm | £tbc
Late 60s vibe with a modern twist and vocals like Jagger on Valium. The steady beats and catchy guitar hooks conjure up effortless rock at its finest.

The Mill: Paper Beats Rock and lions.chase.tigers
Thursday @ Cabaret Voltaire | 7pm | free
Locally sourced alt-rock in the shape of Paper Beats Rock, plus lions.chase.tigers, champions of Glasgow's burgeoning hardcore rock scene.

**UtR's gig of the week**
FOUND, Dead Boy Robotics

Friday @ Sneaky Pete's | £5
Having already treated us to shows by Meursault, Scott Hutchison and Yahweh, the Brown Bear night serves up another tasty dish: the cut'n'paste urban folk of FOUND, with the "cross-sworded cluster of palpitating electronica" of Dead Boy Robotics as a starter. Mmmm.

TV21
Saturday @ Electric Circus | 7pm | £6
Back from a 28-year interval, the Edinburgh band who counted The Skids, Teardrop Explodes and The Undertones as contemporaries have a new album to perform. Support from Fife singer-songwriter Panda Su.


Glasgow

Second Hand Marching Band, Sparrow & The Workshop
Tuesday @ Captain's Rest | 8pm | £tbc
SHMB's sound is "a thrilling skewer of swaying, earthy orchestration and climatic post-rock", while S&tW's vintage country schtick needs little introduction round these parts.

Be A Familiar, Tango in the Attic
Tuesday @ King Tut's | 8.30pm | 6pm
The aforementioned Be A Familiar, plus Tango in the Attic, who UtR said are "worth listening to". So check out this single launch. Also at Electric Circus, Edinburgh on Wednesday.

Red2Red
Thursday @ Cosmopol | 8pm | £3/£2
Energetic ska mingles with lazy reggae, as 6-piece Red2Red yield sunny, bop-along tunes. The pitch perfect vocal harmonies will effortlessly evoke summer even on a dreary Glasgow day.

Meursault, Lyons
Thursday @ Captain's Rest | 8pm | £tbc
What haven't we said in praise of Meursault? Maybe that they're named after a character from one of our favourite works of existentialist fiction. Yay. Support from soon-to-be UtR-touted Lyons.

Words: Nick Mitchell, Kirstyn Smith

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to our gig guide by emailing utr.scotsman@gmail.com

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

T in the Park: 10 essential acts

Findo Gask
[Findo Gask: BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday]

It's that time of year again. The time when 80,000 singing, drinking, welly-booted, fluorescent, sunburnt, hat wearing punters - and perhaps even a few music fans - converge on a disused airstrip near Kinross.

And while it's not everyone's cup of T, Scotland's biggest music festival is so - well - big, that even the most discerning muso can plot an entertaining path through the line-up. You just have to know where to look.

This week we've introduced you to four bands who we'll be watching at Balado: Barn Owl, Tango in the Attic, Trapped in Kansas and Bronto Skylift. But that barely scratches the surface, so while you're dusting down your tent and packing your wet wipes, have a listen to a few more must-see acts...

Dead Boy Robotics
T Break Stage, Friday

"Bound by the idea of making guitars squeal like Gameboys, the duo have rapidly escalated from late night drone to melody laced avant-gardism and cemented themselves as one of the capital's most alluring live spectacles."

Ming Ming & The Ching Chings
T Break Stage, Friday

"Orchestrated by Craig Wilson’s howling shrill, Ming Ming fuse the visceral horror-schlock stomping of The Cramps with Josef K’s iconoclastic rumbling to produce a sound that’s rawer than an acid burn laceration."

Broken Records
BBC Introducing, Saturday

"Bastions of Edinburgh's bulbous music scene, the baroque-swaying Broken Records get back to the nitty gritty of the live domain, tautening up new numbers and bellowing out old faithfuls."

Sucioperro
T Break Stage, Saturday

"Heavy rock with a melodic sensibility, this band are starting to make waves in Scotland's hardcore rock community"

Paper Planes
T Break Stage, Sunday

"Their style draws heavily on a wide spectrum of Yankee sounds, from the elemental pop of the 1960s to wild alt-rock via drawling outlaw country, all energised with propulsive rhythms."

Unicorn Kid
BBC Introducing Stage, Saturday

"17-year-old Oliver Sabin is the epitome of the bedroom DJ, except he also has a nationwide and American tour lined up and is fast becoming a worldwide hit with his ringtone-friendly electro-pop."

Findo Gask
BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday

"Formed just two years ago, the band have indented the Scottish music scene with smoulders of zigzagging electronica and Indie-Pop melodies."

The Twilight Sad
BBC Introducing Stage, Sunday

"...chasmal atmospherics reverberating to the shrill of ruminative guitars and James Graham’s strangulating crow."

We Were Promised Jetpacks
T Break Stage, Sunday

"Formed in Edinburgh but switching to Glasgow, they blend post-rock with folk-flecked tendencies and even the jagged angst of Biffy Clyro to create a full-on noise best experienced live."

My Cousin I Bid You Farewell
T Break Stage, Sunday

"Reminiscent of Arcade Fire with undertones of Bruce Springsteen, MCIBYF's haunting darkness adds to these influences and it just works."

A few of us Under the Radar bloggers will be at T in the Park this weekend, trying our best to fit in some live music between all the interview chasing, video editing and bar queueing. You can keep up with all the coverage on the blog or at scotsman.com/tinthepark09.

And if you've not got a ticket and all this preview stuff is driving you mad, we'll have a wee guide of what brave souls have dared to stage a gig elsewhere in Scotland this weekend...

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Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Under the Radar podcast #2

Under the Radar PodcastLast month the famously provocative former NME writer Steven 'Swells' Wells died aged 49 after a battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma disease. His passing has led many to comment on the present state of music journalism and lament its apparent lack of authority and credibility, as a legion of bloggers threaten to swipe away the mantle of influence.

For our second podcast we investigate the situation in depth, enlisting viewpoints from both sides of the journos vs bloggers divide.

Billy has spoken to Mike Diver, former Drowned in Sound reviewer-in-chief and now online editor at Clash Magazine, and Matthew Young, the passionate blogger behind the influential, Edinburgh-based Song by Toad. Their answers make for a fascinating dissection of the future of music writing.

What's more, we have tracks by a fine array of UtR-tipped bands, including There Will Be Fireworks and Cancel the Astronauts, and we look forward to T in the Park with music from My Cousin I Bid You Farewell, Dead Boy Robotics and Tango in the Attic.

Enjoy, and let us know where you stand on the journo/blogger debate below...

Play: Podcast #2


Under the Radar podcast #2
(Right click and choose 'Save Target As' to save to your computer)

You can subscribe to the Under the Radar podcast at this link.

Running order:
01:20: There Will Be Fireworks - Foreign Thoughts
05:49: Cancel the Astronauts - Late in the City
10:34: Special report: music journalism v blogging (Mike Diver / Matthew Young)
20:18: Second Hand Marching Band - A Dance to Half Death
26:37: My Cousin I Bid You Farewell - The Contented Hearts
30:00: Dead Boy Robotics - We Drown Ourselves
32:59: Tango in the Attic - Jackanory

Words and Podcast: Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

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Wednesday, 24 June 2009

On the radar: Dead Boy Robotics

Dead Boy Robotics

Play: We Drown Ourselves (Cartographer Exhales)


Today's rock stars take themselves way too seriously.

There’s nothing ostensibly wrong with po-faced tune-smugglers turning pious philanthropists, it’s just that some folk should really stick to what they do best - isn’t that right Messers Yorke and Hewson?

Thankfully, Edinburgh’s Dead Boy Robotics [DBR] have no desire to save the world. In fact, it’s quite the opposite: “We're cyborgs sent from the future to terminate Sarah Connor,” jests non-android frontman Gregor McMillan. “We got a bit sidetracked by music though. We'll have a cameo in Terminator 5.”

Despite this screwball front, a steely determination has underlined DBR’s progress since McMillan and comrade-in-tune Mike Bryant first converged in 2007. Bound by the idea of making guitars squeal like Gameboys, the duo have rapidly escalated from late night drone to melody laced avant-gardism and cemented themselves as one of the capital’s most alluring live spectacles.

“I guess it's the need to always be doing something creative,” says McMillan , musing over DBR’s raison d’être. We've both been involved in art or music some way or another since high school. I don't think that need will ever go away. Making music together is just one of the ways we fill that need.”

But it’s not just music they create; it’s wonky sonic sears that hit home with bullwhip precision. A cross-sworded cluster of palpitating electronica and dissipating pummel, DBR tip their hats to the likes of Animal Collective and, fellow decibel-hunters, HEALTH while retaining their own inimitable persona.

Not that McMillan considers DBR to be a unique proposition: “I see similarities in our music with lots of bands we listen to so I couldn't confidently say we were different from anything else out there,” he states modestly. “Although it may not be obvious we've a very experimental band, always playing with sounds and texture... Our next song might be a Casio-rap song or a screamy-folk ditty, although thinking about it, they both sound terrible. I guess that makes us different.”

As an essential cog in Edinburgh’s much touted Bear Scotland, DBR are vehement flag bearers for the local scene: “It's a very exciting time for Scottish music,” enthuses McMillan. “There's so many wonderful people and creative minds making music out there. All the Bear Scotland bands [Meursault, Withered Hand, Foundling Wheel & Enfant Bastard] are doing something important right now and are magical live.”

With DBR’s own aural magic set to sprinkle over this year’s T in the Park, McMillan’s hoping the Balado jamboree will bring with it a little consistency: “We can be really shambolic one gig and note perfect the next but always entertaining - we hope,” he explains. “If something goes wrong we'll just make a joke of it and keep going. The majority of our set will be new songs so it will be great to play them over a huge PA. We're there to have fun and that's the main thing.”

Like what you hear? Catch Dead Boy Robotics at the following shows:

25 Jun @ 13th Note, Glasgow
10 Jul @ T in the Park, Balado
24 Jul @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh

Play: As Children We Fear The Dark (part 1)


Words: Billy Hamilton

Are you going to see these music making machines at TITP? Let us know below...

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Saturday, 18 April 2009

Radar recommends: 19 - 25 April

Meursault
[Meursault: playing support at Sneaky Pete's on Wednesday]

Compared to last week's meagre pickings, we've got a banquet of quality giggage coming up over the next seven days. But with great choice comes great indecision, so which delectable aural treat are you going to tuck into? Go on, be gluttonous, you know you want to...

Haight Ashbury, Suplex the Kid, The Works and Chris Crosbie
Sun 19 Apr, Maggie May's, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £5
Haight Ashbury don't just wear their influences on their sleeves; they have them painted on their faces (that's still a metaphor by the way), plundering as they do the music and vibe of late '60s West Coast hippy-dom before it turned sour. Expect psychedelic guitars and possibly even some unashamed sitar usage. [NM]

Das Filth and Bronto Skylift
Mon 20 Apr, Captain's Rest, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, FREE
Das Filth are appropriately named, because their music is a grubby, snarling rabble of guttural riffs, incessant synths and spat-out lyrics. Get down and dirty at this their single launch, where they're supported by the equally in-yer-face duo, Bronto Skylift. Rawk! [NM]

**UtR's gig of the week**
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone, Concern, Meursault
Wed 22 Apr, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £7
Yet another triumph for the folk at Sneaky Pete's this week. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone's lo-fi scuffling and morbid tale-telling is sure to appeal to any beard stroking afficionado worth his oversized specs. With support coming from mercurial Edinburgh crowers Meursault (you know, the band EVERYONE's talking about right now?), this night's sure to be a sell out. Best get your running shoes on, then. [BH]

Duty Free presents Popup, Alan Bissett (spoken word), Futuristic Retro Champs, Kirstin Inness (spoken word)
Thu 23 Apr, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, FREE
Narrated by a brogue so dense it makes James Graham seem refined, Popup's fleet-footed ditties remain a sadly unexplored trove on Scotland's rich musical landscape. But, with any luck, this Duty Free showing alongside the retro-tastic Futuristic Retro Champs (aided by an interlude or two from a duo of fine local wordsmiths) will encourage local lugs to finally succumb to the Glasgow quintet's ravishing indie-pop clattering. [BH]

Zarif, Dead Boy Robotics, Popolo, Keser
Thu 23 Apr, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £5
Hotly tipped as a bright eyed chart-topper of the future, part-Scot/part-Londonite starlet Zarif brings her sassy brand of feel good pop to Edinburgh's dankly-lit Cowgate. Already a firm favourite of daytime radio playlists across the land, the Groove Armada/The Rakes collaborator will need to be at her peak to outgun the primary coloured electro-screeching from supporting trio Dead Boy Robotics, Popolo and Keser. [BH]

The Hand & Ichi and Jo Foster
Thur 23 Apr, Tchai Ovna, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £2
Female singer-songwriters don't come more delicate than Fence Collective member Jo Foster. But what she lacks in gusto she more than makes up for in lyrical and vocal guile. Fresh from her Homegame appearance, here she plays support to Bristol folkie duo The Hand & Ichi. [NM]

Stripped Back for Malawi: The Vaselines, Malcolm Middleton, Aidan John Moffat and Bridget Storm
Fri 24 Apr, Oran Mor, Glasgow. Doors 7pm, £10
OK, a line-up of such established greats normally wouldn't fall 'under the radar', but since this gig is in aid of the Zomba Orphan Project in Malawi, and since the bill includes three of the greatest Scottish acts of recent history, we couldn't resist giving it an honorary mention. [NM]

- Billy Hamilton / Nick Mitchell

What do you think of our selections? (Dis)agree? Comment below...

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Saturday, 4 April 2009

Radar recommends: 5 - 11 April

Dead Boy Robotics
[Dead Boy Robotics: appearing at Limbo this week]

In the second instalment of our weekly gigs round-up we've broadened our scope beyond Auld Reekie to take in the best gigs wherever they are in the country. You'll notice that when we say 'country' we mean Edinburgh and Glasgow, but we did look for noteworthy gigs elsewhere without much success. Care to prove us wrong? Leave a comment below.

Fangs, Boycotts, Unicorn Kid and Findo Gask
Sun 5 Apr, King Tut's, Glasgow. Doors 8pm, £tbc
Since their ill-fated attempt to win the praise of Alex James and the rest of the 'expert' judges on a certain TV 'talent' show, Fangs are back doing what they do best: strutting their flamboyant electro-punk stuff. And there's plenty more on offer: the urgent energy of Boycotts, teenage electro whizz Unicorn Kid and the toybox 'tronica of Findo Gask. [NM]

Remember Remember and Matt Elliott
Mon 6 Apr, Cassette, Glasgow. Doors 9pm, £3
Whoever said sellotape couldn't be a musical instrument (and someone must have) never heard Remember Remember. Graeme Ronald crafts his delicate songs from whatever comes to hand, and does it live, in front of your eyes, with loop pedals! At this gig he's playing with cosmopolitan troubadour Matt Elliott. [NM]

Dananananaykroyd
Tues 7 Apr, Cabaret Volitaire, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £7
In all honesty, Dananana’s epileptic thrash-rock should only appeal to a niche fitting few. But so infectious are the Glasgow ensemble’s lives shows, not to mention last year’s brilliant Sissy Hits EP, that the buzz around their debut long-player Hey Everyone! has reverberated like a beehive in a megaphone. So, the day after the record drops UtR advises you get your derrière down to Cabaret Voltaire to find out just what all the fuss is about – you won’t be disappointed. [BH]

Limbo featuring Paul Vickers & The Leg, Electronicat, Dead Boy Robotics
Thurs 9 Apr, Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh. Doors 8pm, £4
As ever, Limbo pulls out all the stops with this exceptionally coined line-up. Headlined by abstract proto-punk yelpers Paul Vickers (last seen by UtR dressed in full panda bear attire) & the Leg, the undercard juxtaposes renowned Berliner Electronicat’s effects-skewered swathes against the throttling two-pronged synth assault of local lads Dead Boy Robotics. In short, this is going to be one hell of an evening. [BH]

[Dead Boy Robotics - Cloud Sequence Animals]


**UtR's gig of the week**
This Is Music: Chutes, The French Quarter
Fri 10th Apr, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 8pm , £3
A mainstay on the Edinburgh circuit for over two years, promoters This Is Music have put together a couple of Scotland’s finest young bands for this show. Teetering on the verge of a breakthrough for what’s seemed like aeons, Edinburgh five-piece Chutes are a maelstrom of taut melody and doom-saying lyrics that ignites the dancefloor like a guitar-slewing Molotov cocktail. More sombre but no less incessant, Tillicoultry quartet The French Quarter melt post-rock compositions with sloping, brush struck refrains to create a sound that, although innately Scottish, is utterly unique. [BH]

Glasgow PodcART presents Burning Codes, Robyn G Shiels and Yahweh

Sat 11 Apr, Stereo, Glasgow. Doors 7.30pm, £6
Like UtR, the people at Glasgow PodcART know a good thing when they hear it, and their podcast is an essential (and funny-as-hell) listen. Here they stage a showcase that spans the Irish sea, bringing you the best of Belfast (wistful one-time Snow Patrol cohort Burning Codes and the distinctive drawl of Robyn G Shiels) and Glasgow (one of the discoveries of the year in Yahweh, who we recently featured). [NM]

[Yahweh: The Wee Ending]


Aerials Presents: Great Eskimo Hoax, San Sebastian and Nacional
Sat 11 April, Cassette, Glasgow, £tbc
Combining Foals-y guitar interplay with winning harmonies, Great Eskimo Hoax are a pleasure to behold, and for this gig they are supported by two quality Scottish bands. San Sebastian make brooding, magnetic post-rock soundscapes, while Nacional bring their grandstanding indie home from SXSW. [NM]

Paper Planes, Foundling Wheel, Kung Fu, The Planes
Sat 11 Apr, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £4
Sneaky Pete’s has become the place to be seen in Edinburgh these days and this ear-bleeding evening of noise mongers is no exception. Glasgow outfit Paper Planes are the big draw; spanking out a splurge of party hard art-punk a la Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But, before that, the Foundling Wheel’s Ted Koterwas will penetrate nervous systems with an agitated clash of electronica that besieges like a category five hurricane. Supported by The Planes and Kung Fu, this is a night to be heard and not scene. [BH]

[The Foundling Wheel - Out To See]


- Billy Hamilton & Nick Mitchell

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Monday, 2 March 2009

Versus: A night to prove that 3 really is the magic number

From left: Enfant Bastard, Dead Boy Robotics, The Foundling Wheel
[From left: Enfant Bastard, Dead Boy Robotics, The Foundling Wheel]

There's something depressingly formulaic about gigs these days: you pay your money, the band turns up, plays the standard setlist, follows this with a rehearsed encore (whether they've earned it or not) and then leave for their next port of call.

It poses a question for even the most devoted fan: Why didn't I just listen to the album at home without the £3 pints and that tall bloke standing directly in my line of vision?

A group of Edinburgh artists may just have the answer, by devising a thoroughly different approach to the live music format: three bands, one stage. The trio of like-minded acts behind this unique night, which has been combatively titled 'Versus', are sonic pioneer The Foundling Wheel, synth-punk wizards Dead Boy Robotics and anti-folk master Enfant Bastard.

All three acts are members of the Bear Scotland collective, a prominent strand of Edinburgh's burgeoning music scene which also includes Meursault and Withered Hand.

'Versus' is being billed as "a night where innovative exploration converges with mind-blistering instrumentation."

So if you want to witness a bit of local history in the making, and perhaps even the live formation of Edinburgh's first superband, head along to the Wee Red Bar (at the Edinburgh College of Art) this Saturday, 7th March, from 7.30pm.

Meanwhile, have a listen to some tracks from each act...

Enfant Bastard - Vincent Van Gogh


Dead Boy Robotics - Cloud Sequence Animals


The Foundling Wheel - Out To See

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