Tag Archive for 'Mogwai'

Radio Kampus. 5th July 2017

It’s my second week in Washington D.C. and sadly, due to a mix-up at Radio Kampus, my second pre-recorded show didn’t go to air. Still, it’s here in all it’s glory for you as a podcast. We have 2 finalists for the Scottish album of the Year, including the eventual winner; some new Mogwai; and some wonderful ambient music too. Enjoy.

1. Cate Le Bon – Wonderful (Drag City)

2. Ela Orleans – Dionysus (Night School)

3. Omar Souleyman – Khayen (Mad Decent)

4. Liam J Hennessy – Over the Bay (Sound in Silence)

5. Tófa – Yours is Ours (Self-released)

6. Olga Wojciechowska – Abandoned Words (Time Released Sound)

7. Sacred Paws – Strike a Match (Rock Action)

8. Max Richter – Infra (Deutsche Grammofon)

9. Dmnsz – G (Pointless Geometry)

10. Mogwai – Party in the Dark (Rock Action)

11. Olivier Messiaen – Oraison (EMI)

Radio Kampus. 24th May 2017

I had pretty much programmed the show on Monday evening before the horrific terrorist attack in Manchester, England but I didn’t feel right letting the episode go by without marking it somehow – I threw out the original opener (sorry BMX Bandits – next week) and we open with one of the best bands, from one of the many homes of independent music in the UK – and some would argue one of the best. I love Manchester, and so, I’m sure, do many of you.

After a brief moment of love for Manchester, we move on to some new releases from Scotland, Poland, Russia and England. It’s an absolute storming show and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did recording it. Enjoy.

1. Joy Division – Atmosphere (Factory)

2. Mogwai – Coolverine (Rock Action)

3. DŻDŻY – Felis Silvestris (Postaranie)

4. Dwa Pokoje – Wyprawa (PostPost)

5. Gang Śródmieście – Saszka (Self-released)

6. Artificial Waves – Hush and Embrace (Fluttery)

7. Animal House – Coca Cola (Self-released)

8. Gazawat – Chechens Used To Sing And Dance While The Shells Continued To Fall Down (BDTA)

9. Honey and the Herbs – The Nutfucker (Self-released)

10. Codes in the Clouds – Sixes and Seventeens (Erased Tapes)

11. Wild Books – Planes (Instant Classic)

Radio Kampus. 25th January 2017

Back in the Radio Kampus studio on Bednarska in Warsaw tonight after a week off ill with the flu. Luckily, there was a great DJ set to fill in with and I hope you enjoyed that last week. This week though, I’ve been buoyed by the news of a huge Mogwai show in Glasgow later this year, and had a trip down memory lane with the Facebook live-stream of the T2 Trainspotting premiere at the weekend.

This week’s show then features a track from the original film’s soundtrack, some classic Mogwai, and some excellent independent music from across the world. I hope you enjoy it.

1. Mogwai – Glasgow Mega-Snake (PIAS)

2. Brave Little Note – Grrrl Trouble (Self-released)

3. M∞N – Słupki kolejowe (Sadki Rec)

4. Can – Vitamin C (United)

5. The Nyx – Home (Rumours Music)

6. Val/Kyrie – Scenes of an Adult Nature (Self-released)

7. Bad Wave – Time to get Lost (10k Islands)

8. Fnuf – A Little Bit More (Self-released)

9. Lost Education – Sign (Self-released)

10. Grupa Etyka Kurpina – From Bethlem to Bedlam (Self-released)

11. Underworld – Born Slippy .NUXX (EMI)

Mogwai – Rock Action

Having discovered a diary (a livejournal.com download) from 2001 to 2006, I thought I might occasionally post bits and pieces from it. I’m sure I wrote much earlier than 2001 – certainly I can remember reviewing R.E.M.’s Monster in the mid 90s – but this is the earliest review I seem to have kept. I reviewed Mogwai’s Rock Action record for my friend Niall’s Homegrown fanzine. Here it is, in all its glory. Enjoy.

rock-action’It’s gonna sound like a Black Sabbath Tribute album.’

This was my first indication of what the new Mogwai album would sound like, and after speaking to Dominic Aitchison, on a dark Thursday afternoon in December from behind a counter in Glasgow’s HMV, I didn’t know what to expect of Mogwai’s latest offering – given that all members of Mogwai are prone to a little sarcastic misdirection. Previous to this, it had been reported that Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals would guest on the record, so the words of Mogwai’s bassist added to my intrigue.

On hearing the first note of the very first song on the album though, I knew that Dominic was being playful. The album begins with “Sine Wave”. Initially, a speaker-shuddering series of recurring bass notes followed by Stuart Braithwaite’s tremolo-heavy, poignantly slow guitar chimes in. The track builds with more and more synth, piano, and guitar effects being added, and reaches a climax before filtering down to a heavily digitised vocal and delayed guitar before fading out completely.

I’d listened to only one track and I was captivated. I had to have more.

“Take me somewhere nice” fades in from the silence left by “Sine Wave” and begins with an irrepressibly sweet guitar arpeggio and an extended intro before Braithwaite lends us his first vocal of the new album. It also produces my favourite vocal line of the album, ’What would you do / if you saw spaceships / over Glasgow’. Indeed. The third track on the album, “O I Sleep”, lasts only one minute but it is by no means a filler track. It begins slightly reminiscent of the final track on Ten Rapid, then two off-kilter piano parts combine and Stuart sings of fires burning.

“Dial: revenge” is the much talked about collaboration between the ’gwai and Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals. From its very beginning, if you’d put that track on first you couldn’t be blamed for thinking the bloke down at your record shop had possibly given you the wrong CD, such is Rhys’ mark on the song. Given the hype, it was certainly worth the wait. The guitar is a lovely arpeggio around the Am chord and Gruff’s vocals are just mesmerising. “You Don’t Know Jesus” starts with an ethereal guitar riff and builds upon that; stage-by-stage until it is a fantastic array of tuneful noise. As usual, on tracks like this the drums are an incredibly important factor, and Martin Bulloch doesn’t disappoint. At the song’s peak the drums sound outstandingly clear, and have a superbly strong presence. After another classic fade out we are given one minute and eight seconds of noise that is “Robot Chant”.

The strongest song on the album, and possibly one of the best Mogwai songs ever to be committed to tape, is “2 rights make one wrong”. Its recurring guitar pattern, the hook of the track, the drums and bass following shortly after and the brass section adds immensely to the atmosphere (and volume) of the song. As much as Dominic would hate this, “Secret Pint”, is reminiscent of Arab Strap; and as such it feels as fitting as a closer as “Sine Wave” was an opener.

If Rock Action is the direction Mogwai are moving in, the band have a long, successful journey ahead of them. I’m still waiting for that Sabbath Tribute record, though.

To be retained #2 – Slint, All Tomorrow’s Parties. 2005.

I first listened to Spiderland in 1998; a natural consequence of investigating the ‘genre’ of Post-rock in the wake of my blossoming love for Glasgow’s Mogwai and Falkirk’s Arab Strap.  It was astonishing music and this seminal album by Louisville band Slint was unlike anything I had heard before.  From the delicate guitar and spoken word at the beginning of Breadcrumb Trail to the pained expressions of loss in Brian McMahon’s cries of “I miss you” at the end of Good Morning, Captain; hearing the album became a key moment in the formative years of musical discovery that shape my listening, my composing and ultimately, my life.  Had I not heard Spiderland at that particular period of my teenhood, I may not have become quite so enthralled with the whole post-rock genre and I may not have found other such bands like Rodan, June of ’44 and even, possibly, Godspeed you! black emperor.

For the next 7 years I would write, record, play, promote, release and enthuse about music.  I would attend hundreds of gigs and I would write about many different bands and I never seriously considered that I may see Slint take to the stage and play live.  In 2005, of course, that was all to change.

I don’t remember exactly how I heard that Slint were to curate 2005’s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival at Camber Sands holiday camp in Kent, but I do remember there being no question in my mind that I would be there.  And in *DATE*, that’s exactly where I was; alongside several friends, my girlfriend of the time, and somewhat controversially my ex-girlfriend and her new bloke.  Occasional moments of awkwardness aside, things went fairly smoothly and a good time was had by all.

All Tomorrow’s Parties is a festival like none I’d experienced before (or since) and can only be bettered, in my opinion, by Iceland Airwaves – but that’s something quite personal.  That all ATP attendees are housed in chalets and that the main stage is in the entertainments hall of a holiday camp, gives the festival a lovely twee indie feel and everyone has such a great time.  So many smiles abound.

Memories of the festival are many but some of my favourites are seeing múm live for the first time though being the only member of our party that wasn’t bored by the performance (sacriledge!); enjoying Mogwai live for the umpteenth time; experiencing a comedian called Neil Hamburger with his tired, cynical lounge act schtick; and watching Mogwai, like star-struck teenagers, enjoying Slint from the side of the stage – Martin Bulloch in particular, air drumming along to Britt Walford’s fills.  Wonderful stuff.

Of course, 7 years of love for the band meant that Slint had an almost impossible task to live up to my expectations and fell a little short.  Compared to some of the bands I had seen to that point at the festival (the Melvins, for instance), the band looked unenthusiastic and, on occasion, bored in comparison.  That is not to say it was bad, just not quite what I had expected of them.  That said, the live performances of Rhoda and Nosferatu Man made me giggle uncontrollably with uninhibited joy.  Lack of enthusiasm on stage aside, I was watching Slint play some of my favourite songs and I was delighted.

It was only a couple of years later that I saw Slint play again, this time at the ABC in Glasgow and performing Spiderland in its entirety.  The band were greeted like the post-rock heroes they are in the city and it was lovely to hear the album performed start to finish, however, I will always remember the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival more fondly as sometimes that first time is the most memorable.