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Death to the Pixies – Is Indie Cindy really that bad?

IndieCindyWhen the Pixies reformed for some shows a decade ago – I know – nobody really minded. There was the some small talk of legacies being pissed on, as if some live shows you could choose not to go to would somehow supersede a career that is to alternative rock what Elvis was to everything else. But in the main, people thought they deserved to top up their pension funds. Intermittent blasts round the festival scene since have also been looked on kindly. After all, they could still actually do the songs justice, and what songs they are. Overall, everybody was happy enough to sort of have Pixies around as an entity.

But with fans still digesting the news that Kim Deal had left the band there came the announcement of new recordings. The departure of Deal raised issues of whether it was valid to call this project ‘Pixies’ when it could be argued that it was now 75% Pixies. When faced with the threat of actual new music, those critics recoiled in horror. This was not the Pixies and they weren’t going to like it, come what may. The band released what would become Indie Cindy in three installments; critics predictably filleted them. But how much of it was to do with the music? Look at Pitchfork; they slaughtered two of the EPs, declined to review the third and then – in place of a review of this album – announced they would instead be reviewing the band’s back catalogue.

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Gig Preview – Augustines

We are Augustines_035Gordon Reid looks up to the towering majesty that is Augustines ahead of their show in Glasgow this week.
Almost two years ago to the day the Mrs left me a note attached to the compute . It was a simple instruction.
‘Wake the PC up and listen to the song that I’ve left on YouTube’.
That song was “ Book of James “ (a haunting song about something that we can all hope never to go through) , the band were WE ARE AUGUSTINES and my Mrs has impeccable taste in music.

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Is T in the Park’s safe line-up actually a risk?

Geoff Ellis

Geoff Ellis

The announcement of the T in the Park line-up has been greeted with disappointment from most quarters, with festival head honcho Geoff Ellis accused of playing it safe after last year’s event failed to sell out for the first time in recent memory. On the face of it, it looks a sensible enough move from a strictly business point of view. But does the unimaginative bill actually represent a much bigger risk for the event than the organisers might realise?

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New Springsteen album reviewed by a Springsteen superfan

High Hopes40 years into his career, it’s unlikely that there are a whole lot of rock fans out there who don’t have an opinion on Bruce Springsteen. So rather than pretending his new album will be judged as a stand alone piece of work, we decided to come at it from a different angle; what does a new Springsteen album sound like to a Springsteen nut? Resident office Boss boffin Tom Joad stepped up.

High Hopes is unexpected, with The Boss spending the last 18 months on the road touring the Wrecking Ball record and few hints of recording studio time accrued.

But the internet is a wondrously widespread beast and not only allows Backstreets, Greasy Lake and other Springsteen websites to obsessively follow developments, but allows Mr Springsteen to exchange ideas with his producers (Brendan O’Brien and Ron Aniello) and send ideas, bridges and mixes back and forth electronically.

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From the Vault – Luke Haines

If football is the new rock and roll, which it isn’t, then Luke Haines is Gareth Bale. Oh, you may scoff at the very notion that the former Auteurs man is in any way comparable to the Welsh winger – who last year became the most expensive footballer in history when he moved from Tottenham to Real Madrid – but you would be wrong. How so? Well, In 2013 Gareth Bale won both the Professional Footballer’s Association Player of the Year and the Young Player of the Year. Simultaneously. As impressive as that was, Haines was responsible for ELM’s favourite album of 2013 with the alluring/mental Rock and Roll Animals and our favourite re-issue with the sublime Off My Rocker at the Art School Bop. Kinda makes young Gareth’s feat seem less impressive, eh? In your face, Bale; in your face.

Today’s selection is from the latter. It is ‘Leeds United’ possibly the catchiest anti-nostalgia anthem to ever be written about Peter Sutcliffe. Haines plays the Elgar Room at the Royal Albert Hall on Feb 17. Only fools wouldn’t go.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags

Wig Out at JagbagsAt ELM Towers, rarely have we seen a band divide opinion like Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks. Some love their shambolic, elongated take on what a simple rock song should sound like. Others find the looseness too louché, too far towards pretension. Lovable cranks or irritating wanks? It’s never been resolved.
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Another one for the Christmas #1 race

Goldblade/Poly Styrene- City Of Christmas Ghosts (Damaged Goods Records)

There’s a real concerted effort on right now to get this to number one for Xmas.

If you don’t know Goldblade, you’ll certainly recognise frontman John Robb.

Author, broadcaster, motor-mouth and man-in-the-know about anything vaguely punky, his “Punk: An Oral History” is as far as I’m concerned, the definitive story of punk rock.

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