From the archives: Idlewild one

BEFORE they became Scotland’s answer to REM and thier members began releasing solo folk projects, Idlewild used to rock, and rock hard.
100 Broken Windows, the group’s 2000 breakthrough release, is a brilliant collection of hook-laden tracks that hinted at the softening to follow, but wrapped in an aggressive barrage of grungey overdrive.
And with catchy tracks like Actually It’s Darkness, Roseability and These Wooden Ideas, it’s no wonder that 100 Broken Windows broke the band.

Review: The Fratellis make a full recovery

WE NEED Medicine, the new album from The Fratellis, sees the Scottish rockers in rude health.
The band were, without a doubt, under the weather, after their fine debut album Costello Music had been backed up by a disappointing sophomore effort, Here We Stand, and a hiatus – but this is the sound of a band back at their playful best.
They can at times on this LP sound a bit like a pound shop Arctic Monkeys – She’s Not Gone Yet But She’s Leaving, for example – and they’re still prone to a dodgy lyric or two.
But when they get in full rock pomp, such as opener Halloween Blues or the amazing Whisky Saga, there’s no band out there that’s as fun as The Fratellis.
I prescribe a listen to We Need Medicine.

Review: Spacehog have grown

NOW Spacehog’s return was a comeback I wasn’t expecting.
But when a copy of their album, As It Is On Earth, landed on my desk – their first LP in a good decade – I was as happy as a pig in muck.
Because for me, Spacehog were a band that always deserved more.
They stuck their tongue in the cheek of glam rock before The Darkness made it cool, and then rubbish, to do so.
They were a great guitar-slinging band at a time when guitar bands ruled, yet they were plonked firmly in the back seat of ’90s rock, sharing an earphone and staring out of the window with the likes of Gay Dad and the Longpigs, while the likes of Oasis drove and Blur held the map up front.
And I reckon this might be a view shared by Royston Langdon and his band – there’s a huge slice of melancholy flavouring this album, and it makes for a stirring listen.
Because juxtaposed with the knowing rock numbers which fit with their previous oeuvre, such as the funky Oh, Dinosaur or the anthemic Sunset Boulevard, are simply beautiful offerings like the emotional Deceit, and the ethereal Cool Water.
This results are a more mature sound from Spacehog, which makes what was a great albeit underrated band all the more compelling.
Just don’t leave it 12 years until the next one, eh lads.

Download: Sun Stone Revolvers turn out a free mp3

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REVOLVERS are hoping to shoot up the charts with their new name and a new album.
The group – now known as Sun Stone Revolvers – plan to release a new LP, Spaceship X, on September 14.
A band spokesman said: “Our name used to be Revolvers. Now it’s Sun Stone Revolvers.
“We liked the old name, but the Internet didn’t.
“Have you ever searched for Revolvers?
“We’re guessing not, but we think you can imagine.”
Anyway, here’s where you come in – to celebrate the group are putting out a free track, On The Run, to showcase their psychedelic drone rock sound.
Click here to grab one – Sun Stone Revolvers – On The Run.mp3

Review: Jackson Scott dull as Derbyshire

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CALLING an album Melbourne conjures up images in your mind – images of sun glistening off blue waters, of shimmering sands and green greenery, of barbecue smoke and of sweat beads rolling down Harold Bishop’s forehead.
You get the picture.
Strangely, Jackson Scott doesn’t.
Because the North Carolina singer-songwriter’s Melbourne LP is a ramshackle, home-recorded, hazy, hissy, lo-fi collection of surf, folk, pop, punk, alt-rock, krautrock, which on paper – and at some points is – amazing.
For instance the alt-pop brilliance of That Awful Sound sticks out like a non-sore thumb.
But overall it’s just too ramshackle, too home-recorded, too hazy, too hissy, too lo-fi to flow properly, making the album disjointed, awkward and just hard work.
It’s frustrating, as there’s a spark in there, and it wouldn’t take much to turn this collection around.
But without someone pulling the strings, twiddling the knobs and softening the edges, however, all the fuzz and poor production means Melbourne sounds more like grey old Derbyshire than sun-kissed Victoria to my ears.

From the archives: Coalisten

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TAKING their name from George “Dubya” Bush’s name for the countries he managed to rope into a war with Iraq, jazz drummer Bobby Previte’s rotating supergroup The Coalition Of The Willing’s eponymous 2006 album is a liberating listen.
Forging jazz with classic rock sensibilities, forceful militaristic drumming and a funky edge, this post-jazz masterpiece is a revolution.
Featuring talent such as saxophonist Skerik of Syncopated Taint Septet fame and mind-bogglingly talented jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter, the tracks pay homage to jazz greats such as Miles Davis but sound more at home in the rock bracket.
So I urge you to be one of the willing too, to allow this maverick musical machine to ride roughshod over your expectations of a jazz record.

Download: Free Hitchcock Blonde track

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FEMALE-fronted rockers Hitchcock Blonde are an up-and-coming band from London.
And the group, to mark their current EP Five Pounds, are offering up a slice of their action in the form of a free download of Baby Knows Best.
A spokesman said: “Fronted by the explosive Ella Grace, the band’s high voltage live performances are their highlight.
“Playing at some of London and the UK’s top venues over the last year (The Garage, Cargo, The Barfly, Kasbah, The Boileroom) with the likes of The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster, My Red Cell, Wrongnote, and The Mars Patrol, they have been compared to Band of Skulls, the Foo Fighters, and Skunk Anansie.
“Following some electrifying shows over the first part of 2012 and having taken a break from the road to wrap things up in the studio with Tobin Jones, Hitchcock Blonde have released their debut EP.”
Grab your download by clicking here – Baby Knows Best.mp3