Archive for September, 2007

Gig Review: The Twilight Sad, The Phoenix, Manchester, 10th September 2007

It’s been a fairly barren summer for The Indie Credential as far as gigs (and posts) are concerned. This was our first gig since early July, not counting the disappointing D:Percussion and Leeds Festivals, and neither of us were particularly keen to re-enter the fray.

Fortunately, it was a pretty excellent night. We missed openers Gintis, which was a shame as Chris from Hey! Manchester was quite enthusiastic about them after the gig. If we’d shown the same sort of enthusiasm in getting ourselves off our arses and out of the house then maybe we’d have got down there in time. Glaswegian trio Frightened Rabbit were up next and were every bit as good as I hoped they might be having spent a while getting acquainted with their gritty Scottish indie before the gig. With guitars that scratched and soared in equal measure and a drummer who seemed utterly possessed by the music, the band won over the small crowd, their set growing in intensity and culminating in a lengthy lo-fi epic that was the highlight of the set. Their Sings The Greys album is being re-released on Fat Cat next month and will be well worth stumping up a tenner for.

What struck me about The Twilight Sad was that there were only four of them and only one guitarist, yet they managed to replicate the soaring textures of their Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters debut, despite the rather wimpy sound system in The Phoenix. It was another intense performance, as you might expect if you’ve heard the album, and singer James Graham spent much of the gig hunched over his mic, facing the guitarist rather than the audience. The atmosphere was diminished, I felt, by the venue’s air conditioning, which did it’s job in keeping us all sweat free, but who wants to kept at room temperature at a gig? Gigs like this are all about band and audience getting themselves into a sweaty mess. In the end it was over all to quickly – I think they only played six songs including a truly marvellous “that summer, at home I had become the invisible boy” – but it was still enough to bring us out of our gig-related torpor, for one night at least.

Frightened Rabbit – Go Go Girls

The Twilight Sad – that summer, at home I had become the invisible boy

Posted by The Ledge on 23rd September 2007 at 7:11 pm | comments (11)
File under Gig Reviews,mp3,Reviews.

CD Review: Devastations, Yes, U (Beggars Banquet, 2007)

Devastations - Yes, UWhen you blog, the moment that other bloggers add you to their blogrolls, you start to get sent songs, and, occasionally, CDs. Most of this stuff is utter tripe from musicians who clearly haven’t taken the time to read the blogs they email and we ignore them. Occasionally, however, we get something worth shouting about, as is the case when a Beggars Banquet representative sent us a copy of Devastations forthcoming album, Yes, U.

We first heard of Devastations when we watched their set at All Tomorrow’s Parties back in April. It was good enough that I subsquently bought their last album, Coal. This record, for lack of a more succinct way of putting it, is like listening to the Australian Tindersticks, right down to the deep-voiced vocals, something that is not without its own moody, late-night appeal. Yes, U, however, represents a much more varied selection of styles, while maintaining the smokey, back-room, gin-soaked, dark and depressive appeal of its precursor.

From the opening track, the sultry ‘Black Ice’, which almost veers into trip hop, to ‘Oh Me, Oh My’, the sort of song you’d smother your lover with a pillow to, to ‘Rosa’, with its squealing guitars and feedback fighting for attention with the breathy, deep vocal, the album builds in intensity. The slow pace combined with the distortion and effects creates a sense of anticipation, despite the superficially mellow sound the band create. By the time you reach ‘The Face of Love’ with its alt country guitars you don’t know whether to slit your wrists or put on a smoking jacket and go drink martinis in a basement club. This is a Tindersticks album, co-written by Jack, made by Roxy Music and mixed by Portishead. This is dark moods and descriptions of human frailty and the darker side of love.

The closing duo of ‘The Saddest Sound’, crackly vocals and twangy guitars about loss and disappointment, followed by the instrumental ‘Misericordia’, where it seems that every instrument in the studio has gone into emotional meltdown, are just enough to leave you collapsed in a heap on the bedroom floor, desperate for a bottle of whiskey and a bottle of valium, all in black and white, with the sound of piano ringing in your ears.

Devastations – “Oh Me, Oh My”

Devastations – “Rosa”

Posted by JustHipper on 14th September 2007 at 2:42 pm | comments (20)
File under CD Reviews,mp3,Reviews.