Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mogwai at the Grand Ole Opry, Glasgow

This was my second Mogwai gig in six months. I've been listening to my promo copy of the new album quite a bit. I think it may well be their best album.

I like the Grand Ole Opry as a venue. It's a bit different with the country and western decorations. The balcony gives great views of the main stage. I've seen Teenage Fanclub and Franz Ferdinand play there before. As an added bonus it's only a mile from my flat.

Support came from Remember Remember who were really good. Some of them were scarily young. Apart from the guitarist and drummer who looked like they may have abducted the rest of the band.

The Mogwai set was filled with new material which is a good thing. The sound in the Opry was slightly ropey and the band had to adjust levels a bit during the show but they were tight. They had a bit of trouble getting the right vocoder sound for Stuart to sing 'George Square Thatcher Death Party' but the song sounds great live. 'Thatcher Death Party' is a highlight of the new album and would be a great single release. And it sounds like a great idea for a party....

So see them live if you can and buy the new album. And I think they are playing a bigger Glasgow gig in December.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

David Pajo - 'scream with me' LP

David Pajo is an indie rock icon for the post-rock faithful. Most famously he was the guitarist in Slint but he has also played with Zwan, Bonnie Prince Billy, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Papa M.

'scream with me' is an LP of Misfits covers recorded on a 4-track machine. The punk originals have become stripped down acoustic singer songwriter numbers. I have been listening to the misfits for about 22 years and it's always nice to hear them in a new way.

This album is only available direct from david pajo at his website

worth finding

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Band of Horses live at the Academy Glasgow

I'd burned myself out on Band of Horses. Due to various computer fuck-ups from summer 2008 till Christmas 2010 I had an iPod shuffle that I was unable to change the songs on. When I initially programmed the iPod I had just bought the first two Band of Horses albums. I liked them but over the next 3 years of heavy iPod use I estimate that I heard those albums about 1000 times. I also heard someone describe them as 'Bland of Horses' and the name stuck.

They were playing in a venue that is 5 minutes walk from my house but I didn't rush out to buy a ticket due to recent (and soon to be rectified) financial hardship. Luckily one of my friends from work had a spare ticket that I will reimburse him for in a couple of months.

We missed most of the support bands. BOH were very fresh sounding. The tracks that I have overlistened to sound much better live - looser, less stale. The visuals were brilliant. Nature photography and tour images. All the big songs from your favourite TV shows and movies were played. While I was not blown away it was a good, solid show. Glad I was there.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jerry Sadowitz article

Here's a fairly interesting article on Jerry Sadowitz that I found.

My opinion on Sadowitz can be found elsewhere on this blog. I'm as liberal and left-wing as they come and I think he's funny as fuck. And I like the word cunt.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gran Torino - DVD review

I finally got round to watching Gran Torino tonight. I bought it ages ago but I've never made the time to watch it. I'd obviously heard a wee bit about the film but I'd just never watched it.

Clint Eastwood directed and acted in this film, the story of Walt Kowalski, a recently widowed, slightly bigoted, Korean war veteran. Despite some slightly racist attitudes Kowalski is basically a decent person. The neighbourhood he lives in is now deprived and troubled by gang violence. Kowalski finds that he cannot ignore this and tries to help his neighbours.

This is a good film and Eastwood is brilliant. Worth seeing.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fugazi - Instrument DVD

I just re-watched this film after buying the DVD to replace my videotape copy. The film was originally released in 1998.

Fugazi were (and are) my favourite punk band and I managed to see them live 3 times. I own most of their recorded output (probably all of it) as well as a lot of the output of bands connected to them. I still listen to them most months.

The film is a bit dated now. It reminds me of me in 1995. I'm now 33 years old and punk rock is not as important to me as it once was. Sadly enough, as a 33 year old neurologist, punk is still of some importance to me.

The exciting live shows are still exciting but the macho assholes in the audience just bore me. I'm not too keen on the idea of mosh-pits now. I'd rather just watch a band and dance a bit.

Fugazi as an active unit may be gone forever and this film is a nice memoir of a time passed. I'd love to hear some more music from Fugazi or the members of the band. It would be great to see them play again but I don't think it will happen.

A highly biased review of the new Mogwai album

During the week I was given a promo copy of 'Hardcore will never die, but you will' by Mogwai by a friend who is a member of the band. I guess you will not get an objective opinion of this record from me but it is a great record. Probably their best.

The new record was recorded in Hamilton last year and some of the songs were previewed at a show at Stereo in Glasgow in August. The live preview didn't really get the full produced sound of the finished album.

The record has a real Krautrock vibe to it. The first band that sprung to mind was neu! and I know that Martin and Stuart have both been listening to them in recent times. The music is beat driven and fluid with a flowing coherence. The second track has some unintrusive vocoded singing on it but for the most part the album is an instumental piece. Some of the guitar on 'too raging to cheers' reminded me of ....and justice for all era Metallica. When I gave my friend this feedback he was mildly offended.

This is a great record - probably my favourite Mogwai album. Buy it, get the fancy boxset edition from their website and see them live if you can. You will not be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Plan B Books Glasgow

Plan B Books is a new comic/graphic novel/coffee shop in Glasgow. It's located on the street behind Mono on the street perpendicular to the thirteen note. It's right next to some old music rehearsal studios that I used to go to years ago and it's just round the corner from A1 comics.

Plan B are trying to fill a big hole in Glasgow by selling the arty comic books that don't really fit in Forbidden Planet. They sell stuff like peep show by Joe Matt, Grandville by Bryan Talbot and Joe Sacco stuff. Comics with big words that are meant to make you think. They also sell coffee. They also carry European stuff like Asterix and some manga including 20th century boys and akira. All good stuff.

Opening a shop like this in the middle of the biggest fucking recession ever is a brave move but I hope they are successful. Go in, have a coffee and buy a book if you can. You would be making the world a better place.

Their address is

5 Osbourne Street
G1 5RB

the website is

Sleeping Dogs - DVD review

Sleeping Dogs is a pretty good film. It is called Sleeping Dogs Lie in America and it was originally called Stay. I think a lot of people would like this film if they saw it but I think that many people just wouldn't watch it in the first place for reasons that I will expand below.

First off I'll tell you about how I came accross this hidden gem. I had recently watched World's greatest dad as I wrote about previously at . Bobcat Goldthwait, who I remeber as the guy who had the strange voice in the Police Academy films, directed both films. I enjoyed the black comedy of World's greatest dad so much that I had to track down his other films.

Now, here's the tricky premise of Sleeping dogs. I'm not spoiling anything by revealing this because it all happens in the first 30 seconds of the film. Amy, the central character of the film, did something a bit weird with her pet dog when she was at college. Something sexual. This is all handled tastefully (if such a thing is possible). Years afterwards she tells her fiance about it and her life goes a bit wrong.

Worth seeing if you are not easily offended.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Little Children - DVD review

I picked up Little Children after reading a few positive reviews in 'best movies you won't have seen' lists. I was also interested as Little Children is based on a novel by the author behind the 1999 movie Election. It also features a few cast members from the Watchmen film.

The story is about two parents who stay at home to look after their pre-school children in an American suburb. They are both bored with their lives. In the background there is the hidden threat of a convicted paedophile who has just been released from prison and has moved back to the neighbourhood.

The film is OK, entertaining enough and fairly arty. It was nominated for a few Oscars. While the film is good I'm not sure that it's great. Kate Winslet gives a decent performance in the film with a passable American accent (at least to my Scottish ears). It reminds me of American Beauty so I guess if you liked that you might like this.

ps - blogger gives you the search terms that bring people to your page and there has been at least one extremely dodgy fucker who has landed on this page using a really fucked up search term. I suggest that person should consider turing themselves into the police. Scumbag. I know you used the bing search engine at approximately 10AM UK time. I also know your geographical area.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Walking Dead - TV series

As a bit of a comic nerd I picked up the first hardcover collection of the Walking Dead comic a few years back. For some obscure reason I actually have two copies. I thought it was OK but not amazing and I prefer some of the other comics that Robert Kirkman has written.

I had been wanting to see the TV version of the Walking Dead from the moment that I became aware of it's existence. Unfortunately I only have council telly (no cable or satellite) and it has not yet been broadcast on a terrestrial channel. Luckily I was able to take advantage of my parents hospitality and satellite television over New Year and a Walking Dead marathon was being broadcast last night. I made the sensible decision and stayed up till 3:30AM to watch the whole season.

It was worth the effort. The Walking Dead has the high quality production values that we have become used to after a decade of The Sopranos, Battlestar Galactica, The Wire and countless others. The episodic nature of the comic book works well as an episodic television show. The actors are well-cast and every possible drop of pathos and angst is wrung out of the story.

The series revolves around an American police deputy who is shot in the line of duty and wakes up in a deserted hospital, over-run with zombies. The opening clearly echoes the beginning of John Wyndham's Day of the triffids. The hero then sets off to find his wife and child, slaughtering zombies left, right and centre.

It's good, especially if you like zombies. Don't become too attached to any characters though. Nobody is safe from the Walking Dead.