Friday, 26 March 2010

Radar recommends: 27 March - 2 April

We Were Promised Jetpacks
[We Were Promised Jetpacks: descending on Edinburgh on Sunday]

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

Ten Tracks presents... The Verden Whistle Test
Saturday @ Verden Studios, Portobello, Edinburgh / 6pm / £10
You're probably too young to know what The Old Grey Whistle Test was... So, this is a special, intimate studio gig that's all being filmed, featuring the likes of UtR faves Over The Wall, Dead Boy Robotics, Esperi, Fur Hood and John B McKenna. There are only 100 tickets on offer and everyone gets a free DVD. More info here.

La La Vasques, Golden Grrrls, Girls Names
Sunday @ The 13th Note, Glasgow / 9pm / £tbc
What do you get when you mix cool girls with fuzzed out shoegazy style? Perhaps something like these bands. And that's something pretty good.

Haddow Fest
Sunday @ various venues, Edinburgh / 1pm - 12am / £20 (£15 in advance)
Glasgow may have Hinterland and Stag and Dagger, but now Edinburgh has its own multi-venue gig sprawl. Haddow Fest has rounded up a batch of indie-rock bands to entertain the masses, including the likes of Idlewild, My Latest Novel and We Were Promised Jetpacks. Check the website for more information and stage times.

RM Hubbert
Sunday @ Slow Club, The Flying Duck, Glasgow / 8pm / Free
Ex-El Hombre Trajeado man RM shows off his fingerpicking skills with an instrumental guitar set, hopefully with a few pieces from his stunning First&Last album. What a pleasant way to spend a Sunday evening.

The Besnard Lakes, Wolf People, Olympic Swimmers
Sunday @ Captain's Rest / 8pm / £8
Proving that matrimony and work can mix, Montreal's The Besnard Lakes have won over many fans with their sweeping indie rock. Get there early for UtR-featured Olympic Swimmers.

Benni Hemm Hemm, Rachel Sermanni, Graham McGeoch
Tuesday @ Bloc, Glasgow / 9pm / Free
Benedikt Hermann Hermannsson, going by the altogether easier to pronounce name of Benni Hemm Hemm, has brought the gift of excellent folksy pop from Iceland to his adoptive home of Glasgow. Get a free taste tonight as he plus band launch the Retaliate EP.
Also playing The Roxy Art House, Edinburgh on Monday

Dam Mantle, Fox Gut Daata
Friday @ Glasgow Social Centre, Osborne Street / 8pm / £5
Dam Mantle launches a new EP with suitable support from Fox Gut Daata. If you like your beats and blips on the interesting side you should head along. Plus DJ sets from Cry Parrot and Halleluwah Hits.

The Twilight Sad, The Unwinding Hours
Friday @ ABC, Glasgow / 7pm / £10
Just in case you thought The Twilight Sad's live show was lacking a few decibels (you fool!), the Kilsyth band will play this gig with an extra PA, achieving so-called "quadraphonic" sound. Hold on to your hats, and make sure you check out the sublime Unwinding Hours.
Also playing The Warehouse, Aberdeen on Thursday

Conquering Animal Sound, Debutant, Wounded Knee
Friday @ Roxy Art House, Edinburgh / 7pm / £5
Hardly a week goes by where we don't mention a gig by one of these hard-working tunesmiths. Maybe tunesmith is the wrong word, because all three acts like to break conventions however and whenever they can.

Words: Elaine Liddle, Nick Mitchell

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Monday, 11 January 2010

Live review: We Sink Ships

The 13th Note, Glasgow
Friday 8 January

Tonight brings both celebration and sadness for We Sink Ships. Ostensibly a launch party for WSS Radio, the Glasgow based art and music collective’s new podcast series, the gig was also a farewell to the duo’s Neil Milton – whose contributions will now come from his new home in Warsaw.

It may mark a new chapter in We Sink Ships history but this promising line-up boasts some familiar names. Euan McMeeken opens without his Kays Lavelle cohorts, performing solo material as well as stripped-down versions of tracks from the septet’s upcoming debut album.

Without his colleagues, McMeeken’s music is a different beast – fragile, simple, like the sound of a Christmas card-perfect snow scene. It sounds like the city looks tonight – delicate flurries of piano notes fall like snowflakes and McMeeken’s voice is whispery and emotive despite microphone problems.

If McMeeken’s music is all Scottish winter love songs then Iceland’s Benni Hemm Hemm is going to see your silly Scottish winters and raise you some arctic permafrost. “I might be making fun of you for thinking this is cold,” says band foreman Benedict Hermmannson, introducing a song he claims is about “when you’re trapped inside because of the weather and the only thing to do is attack your loved ones’”

Sporting a reindeer emblazoned novelty sweater, he sings in a mixture of heavily-accented English and Icelandic with the benefit of brass accompaniment from the Second Hand Marching Band. Although the set dips a little in the middle, by the end voice and instruments combine in a way which can only be described as joyous.

Is it cliché now to joke that the Second Hand Marching Band are getting too big for the ‘Note? It’s just that when part of your improvised instrumentation involves your ukulele player using the ceiling as percussion it’s one that’s hard to avoid. There isn’t much that can be said about the many-headed group that we haven’t said before, unless it’s to remark that live their sound is even more charmingly ramshackle than it is on record.

While tracks from early EPs still dominate the set, new material sounds promising - there’s a gentle sea-shanty style song, with sweet male-female vocals, and the epic 'A Hurricane, A Thunderstorm' which closes the set. This is supposed to be the band’s last show for a few months, while they disappear to work on more recordings, and it’s a good note to end on.

We Sink Ships will appear every Tuesday on Radio Magnetic with top fives, sets from Neil Milton and Heidi Kuisma and guest DJs, as well as the podcasted return of Milton’s Too Many Fireworks label.

Words and photos: Lisa Marie Ferla

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Friday, 4 December 2009

Radar recommends: 5 - 11 Dec

[eagleowl: swopping down on The Bowery on Friday]

We edge ever closer to Christmas party season this week. But if you want to purge all thoughts of 70s glam rockers with mirrored hats and 80s woolly jumpered, mullet-headed warblers for the time being, you may want to head down to one of the following recommended gigs...

Steve Earle
Tuesday @ Music Hall / 7.30pm / £22.50
The bearded US singer-songwriter and spiritual counsellor from The Wire tours his latest album, Townes.
Also playing Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on Sunday and The Ironworks, Inverness on Thursday

Sebastian Dangerfield, Washington Irving, We Were Promised Jetpacks (solo)
Saturday @ The Bowery / 7.30pm / £5
Edinburgh indie quartet with support from recent blog stars Washington Irving and Adam from the Jetpacks.

The Last Battle
Saturday @ Carters Bar / 9.30pm / Free
The Edinburgh band launch their Christmas single, Once Upon a Boxing Day.

Schwervon!, Withered Hand, The Pineapple Chunks, Les Enfant Bastard
Saturday @ Henry's Cellar Bar / 7pm / £5
The cream of New York anti-folk is joined by the cream of Edinburgh anti-folk for this intimate night of, er, anti-folk.

Tubelord, Trapped in Kansas
Monday @ Sneaky Pete's / 7pm / £6
Tubelord trade in high voltage fight-pop, while Trapped in Kansas are quite simply one of our favourite new bands of the year.

Tuesday @ The Bongo Club / 7pm / £12.50
Change of venue, which means now you'll be able to get even closer to the deranged noise emanating from the San Fran band's amps.

Benni Hemm Hemm, Alasdair Roberts, Wounded Knee
Wednesday @ St Mark's Unitarian Church / 7.30pm / Donation
Icelandic troubadour Mr Hemm Hemm leads the musical prayers at this unusual church gig, with excellent support/collaborations.

Broken Records
Wednesday @ Cabaret Voltaire / 7pm / £7
Everyone's favourite Edinburgh-based klezmer-tinged seven-piece play their own homecoming (with a small 'h') show.

The Mars Volta
Wednesday @ HMV Picture House / 7pm / £17.50
You can excuse the odd ten-minute guitar freakout if Cedric Bixler-Zavala still manages to do a handstand while bending his versatile vocals around their bizarre subject matter.

The Banana Sessions, Small Feet Little Toes, Freemore
Thursday @ The Bowery / 7pm / £5
We first encountered The Banana Sessions playing covers on the Glasgow-Edinburgh train one night. Now they're playing proper shows and they shouldn't be missed.

**UtR's gig of the week**
eagleowl, Withered Hand, Jill O'Sullivan
Friday @ The Bowery / 7.30pm / £5
The much admired Edinburgh collective eagleowl launch their kinda-Christmas-kinda-not single Sleep the Winter. Read our interview with Bart Owl a bit further down the page.

Vic Godard and the Subway Sect, The Sexual Objects
Saturday @ Stereo / 8pm / £10
Punk pioneer Vic (he was supporting The Clash in '77) celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Creeping Bent label at this Sounds in the Suburbs night.

Brother Louis Collective
Sunday @ Bloc / 8pm / Free
UtR-tipped six-piece with heart-felt, sweet folky numbers are at Bloc tonight.

Sunn 0)))
Sunday @ Stereo / 7.30pm / £15
Every bearded-chin-stroking muso-boy in Glasgow will be having their very cores vibrated by the US doom merchants with their grimm robes and reaaalllyyy loooonnng, REALLY LOUD notes.

The Gothenburg Address, Loss Leader, The Bucky Rage, Aidan Moffat (DJ set)
Monday @ Mono / 8pm / £5
Band who include sometime Arab Strap and Zephyrs members and make beautiful shoegazy-style instrumental tunes launch their debut album with help from one-man gloom extravaganza Loss Leader.

Ensemble Thing
Wednesday @ 13th Note Cafe / 9pm / £4
Lots of talented folk from a bunch of other Glasgow bands/orchestras get together and make lovely, “post minimalist” music.

Malcolm Middleton's Long Dark Night
Thursday @ Oran Mor / 7pm / £14.50
Get your festive celebrations off to a cheery start with Mr Middleton's intimate show of wintry acoustic songs “about love, hate, death and other stuff”, plus a solo support slot from his former Arab Strap bandmate.

Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers
Thursday @ King Tuts / 7.30pm / FREE
Woodenbox do a sneaky wee acoustic gig in the bar at King Tuts – and won't even make a dent in your Christmas present fund... unless you want to partake in the accompanying supper.

Nuts and Seeds: Box Elders, Goldern Grrrls, Mazes, Water Wolves
Thursday @ CCA / 8.30pm / £4
A transatlantic mix of bands as Nebraska brothers Clayton and Jeremiah McIntyre head up this Nuts and Seeds night along with experimental noisy Glasgow trio Golden Grrrls.

Any Color Black, Less Than Sober
Friday @ Stereo / 7pm / £6
I'll forgive that whole 'American spelling thing of coloUr' thing because this fun electro-rock duo make me want to dance.

Edwyn Collins, 1990s, The Low Miffs
Friday @ ABC / 7pm / £18
The Orange Juice man has made a significant return from illness in the past two years so fans shouldn't miss this rare show – along with two bands indebted to the Postcard records legacy.

Words: Elaine Liddle, Nick Mitchell

What have we missed? Tell us below, or add it to our gig guide by emailing

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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Radar recommends: 17 - 23 May

The Phantom Band
[The Phantom Band: playing Stag & Dagger on Saturday]

Ending with the terrific looking Stag & Dagger festival, this week's already guaranteed to be a thrilling sprawl of giggage. But before the Glasgow jamboree kicks off there's plenty of superlative shows to get your lugs around...

Future of the Left, Pulled Apart By Horses and Super Adventure Club
Monday 18 May, Stereo, Glasgow, £tbc
From the ashes of mclusky and Jarcrew rose Wales' best new band, Future of the Left. That was four years ago, but Future of the Left have tightened up and added electronics without curtailing their hardcore lifeblood. Apt support comes in the equally kinetic forms of Leeds fight-pop mentalists Pulled Apart By Horses and Edinburgh' s most eccentrically talented band, Super Adventure Club. [NM]

Super Adventure Club - Tommy Sheridan

Bullet VI, Casino, Kathleen Mary Duff
Tuesday 19 May, The Ark, Edinburgh, Doors 8pm, £4
Bullet VI are a band who simply refuse to be pigeonholed. Their funk-driven rock constantly veers close to hip-hop territory and dual vocalists Ailsa Bates and Andy Wilson complement each other perfectly, adding rich layers of harmony to the groove-driven rhythm section. Casino, from Falkirk, hark back to the glory days of British indie pop while Edinburgh singer/songwriter Kathleen Mary Duff's piano-driven ballads and soaring vocals are reminiscent of Tori Amos's early work. [JM]

Benni Hemm Hemm, Withered Hand
Thursday 21 May, The Bowery, Edinburgh. 7.30pm, £5
Exulting flurries of parping brass and melancholic rhythms, Edinburgh-based Icelanders Benni Hemm Hemm draw inevitable comparisons with Swedish troubador Jens Lekman. But a penchant for harmony and spacious arrangements suggest they're more attuned to the orchestral folk leanings of Sufjan Stevens. For this particular outing the Benni... line-up will be bolstered by Rob St John’s Owen Williams and Emily Scott, rendering this showing almost unmissable. [BH]

Black Rat Death Squad, Unknown Hagana, The Party Program
Friday 22 May, Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh. Doors 7pm, £tbc
Glasgow's Black Rat Death Squad have already earned a reputation as local legends thanks to their anarchic live shows. With influences ranging from crust punk to Norwegian black metal, the band's sound falls somewhere towards the post-hardcore end of the punk spectrum, with a healthy dose of straight-up rock'n'roll mixed in for good measure. Eclectic Edinburgh indie outfit Unknown Hagata and progressive metal/hardcore act The Party Program support on the night. [JM]

My Electric Love Affair, After Me The Flood, The Stormy Seas, Dave Courtney
Friday 22 May, Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, Doors 7pm, FREE
My Electric Love Affair's entrancing blend of drone, punk and experimental pop could be easily mistaken for that of shoegazing stalwarts My Bloody Valentine on first listen. The Edinburgh veterans have been quiet since the limited release of their Blow Me Down EP but look set to re-establish themselves as firm live favourites with a spate of shows lined up over the summer. After Me The Floods' fast and loud indie rock is complemented by The Stormy Seas sedate and thoughtful Celtic-themed modern folk. [JM]

• Update: The Stormy Seas have had to pull out of the above gig, but are playing the following night (23 May) in Edinburgh at Sneaky Pete's, with Anathallo, Sam Amidon and Your Boy Blair.

Duty Free presents Cats In Paris, Mitchell Museum
Saturday 23 May, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh. 7pm, Doors free
Representing another score for the boys and girls at the wallet-friendly Duty Free, hotly-tipped [is there really any other kind of tipped?] Manchester four-piece Cats In Paris bring their wonky neo-pop to Auld Reekie’s cobbled streets. Of course, UtR’s a tad more excited about the submerged synths and illuminated melodies of Glasgow miscreants Mitchell Museum, but, whatever your predilection, this is shaping up to be a corker.[BH]

Play: Mitchell Museum - Extra Lives

**UtR's gig of the week**
Stag & Dagger
Saturday 23 May, various venues, Glasgow
We're more excited than a politician with a blank expenses form about Stag & Dagger next week. Among the stellar bill are American indie darlings Cold War Kids, the frankly incredible Twilight Sad and Glasgow's finest practitioners of what I'm going to pretentiously call post-pop, The Phantom Band. But enough salivating for now; we'll have a proper preview later in the week. [NM]

Words: Jodi Mullen, Billy Hamilton, Nick Mitchell

Have we missed something? Let us know below, or add it to the gig guide...

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