Malcolm Middleton: fantastic gig

Classy grafitti from the Hopetoun toilets

Holly and I went to see Malcolm Middleton, formerly of Arab Strap at the Hopetoun last night. Brilliant gig! As well as the miserable Scot, the two support bands were excellent, which is refreshing as "Special Guests" are often lousy.

First up were PapavsPretty, a bunch of 17 year olds with amazing talent. Their cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart was excellent, and kids playing a Yamaha DX7 that's older than them is quite amusing.

Second was Sui Zhen, a woman with a voice somewhat like the woman from Lamb. Delicate but playful songs. Quite enjoyed it.

In between sets we got talking to a couple of Belfast lads. Metal fan Mick of the cliched name looked a lot like Hank Von Helvete from Turbonegro, though I didn't point out that they're a Norwegian gay metal band.

Finally out came the miserable Scot. Brilliant, as always. He's a genius with an acoustic guitar, and the Prozac clearly isn't working.

The photo? From the dunnies at the Hopetoun. I was amused while I took a piss, anyway.

The Social Services respond

I recently a rant about not being able to buy an album for a band I'd stumbled upon.. Lucy from the band has evidently been vanity googling, as she found my post and dropped me a note.

Just did a random google and found that you like our tunes. That's nice to know! Understand your frustration at not being able to purchase said tunage... but have patience, our debut album is being released on Stereo Test Kit Records later this year and then you can buy it as many times as you like!

So that's nice to hear, though August seems a long way away. The annoying part, though, is that the album they released last year isn't going to be made more widely available.

We recorded 'six feet above the ground' early last year and it was more of a demo really, we just sold it at a few gigs and stuff. Anyway. A real album is on its way. And we promise there will be a million easy ways to buy it online. All you have to do is wait till August...

This I find annoying. If it's only demo quality, stick it online and label it a demo. Charge money if you like, whatever, but it'll only help. But hey, it's their musical output! I'll just have to wait until August.

Regardless, I'd recommend checking out The Social Services and the tracks they have released. I've really been enjoying it.

BTW, I've recently subscribed to Metacritic's music feed and it's brilliant. The idea is quite simple: they aggregate the best snippets of reviews from all over the place, and score them, so you can see what the rough consensus is. The best part is that they always pull out the snarkiest quotes from the reviews.

The only annoying part about it is their insistence on using American college language when describing album. Nobody puts out a second album, it's always their "sophomore" album. WTF?

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree album cover

Dance music's sexiest forty-something has come out with a rather... different album this time around. It's kinda like Joni Mitchell or Tori Amos in parts, with the occasional Sergeant Peppers flick. Weird.

Its not unpleasant, but it's a bit dull. Holly likes it. I initially wasn't sure and kept listening, hoping something would jump out. It didn't. So while I don't dislike it, it just doesn't have anything to hook me.

If you're expecting stomping high-camp techno romps, you'll be disappointed.

I hope this doesn't mean her live shows will end up being much more serious. Girls in bikinis with moose antlers and horsey tails. Now that's a live show!

According to Metacritic I'm something of a minority with my opinion here. Then again, I think Radiohead are one of the most tediously derivative acts ever. Yet I love the stuff they're derived from, like King Crimson. And Radiohead have sold a few records. Then again, so has Delta Goodram.

Seventh Tree is bound to ruffle a few electro-feathered fans, but's no denying it's a venture that sets the pair into new experimental territory.
NME

Goldfrapp have shed the sex-Moroder-robot-Bolan-fuck-disco like a used condom and re-tooled themselves as a whimsical psychedelia and pastoral folk outfit for the disappointing Seventh Tree.
cokemachineglow

Seventh Tree, though in some respects an organic redrafting of the autoerotic Goldfrapp template, picks up where Supernature left off in its setting of the controls for the heart of the mainstream, and misses badly the slickly subversive tone that lifted the band from the realms of coffee table mediocrity.
Drowned In Sound

The Social Services

The
Social Services band photo

Peter Moore got me into the blog Swedesplease which is all about Swedish indie pop music. I figured I could find some interesting music, after all The Shout Out Louds are Swedish.

Much of the music has been kinda ordinary, but the hit rate has improved after they introduced me to The Social Services, introduced as a "Swelandish" band. Two thirds Scottish, one third Swedish. Beautiful, melancholy tunes in exactly the kind of style I love in indie pop.

Unfortunately, they're clearly new to this marketing thing. There's no point marketing if people can't buy your product. How the fuck do I buy their album?!?!? I know it's called "Six Feet Above The Ground" but that's it.

Come on guys, it wouldn't be that hard to set up a PayPal account and a rudimentary online ordering system that ends up with downloadable mp3s. It'd do for me!

M83 a no show

M83
at Glastonbury

Holly, Mikey and I were quite excited to be seeing M83 last night, ostensibly supporting Midnight Juggernauts at the Enmore. Unfortunately, his band's gear was all somewhere between Paris and Sydney, so they couldn't play. Instead, he played stuff off his laptop, which was hardly a substitute.

We weren't particularly interested in the Sisters of Mercy/Gary Numan stylings of the Juggernauts -- they're okay but we've seen them before -- so we left. And the enormous number of kids was kinda annoying too. We must be getting old.

Now I'll have to go through the hassle of trying to get a refund. Though if we get that, I can justify seeing Ozomatli next weekend.

Need cheesy, upbeat techno

I've started going to the gym to get me fit enough for this bike race I'm doing in a few weeks. My music is all a bit cerebral. I used to listen almost exclusively to techno, but these days I only really dance to it.

So does anyone have any suggestions for upbeat, cheesy techno to walk/step/ride nowhere to? Ideally mixed so I don't get bored -- this is to be the soundtrack to pain and suffering, so you don't wanna get bored, you want it to take your mind off it.

As it is, I'm trawling for old-skool Goa Trance compilations.

Update: Jeremy Kerr suggests his mate Tigger's mixes but also reminds me that Digitally Imported have a heap of techno streams and I could just record an hour or so to play back while in extreme pain. Great idea, plus my ISP streams them for free. Thanks Jeremy.

The Conspiracy has now left the building

I'm very upset about this. My favourite radio station, The Global Pop Conspiracy has shut down. It was such a brilliant station, always playing new and interesting music.

I discovered a few really great bands through them including controller.controller and Immaculate Machine.

They were always a bit mysterious, so I'm hoping one of them will find this post and let me know where I can get my fix from or perhaps you know?

Pop covers in metal

Stig followed up my recent post about covers but got it wrong. He's enjoyed the pop and acoustic people covering metal songs. What I meant was the best ones I've found so far are metal/glam bands covering pop songs. ABBA seems to be particularly well covered, but then they were perfect