As anticipation mounts for the release of their upcoming third album The Suburbs, Arcade Fire commence on a brief hit-and-run tour of intimate and out-of-the-way places in Europe, somehow finding themselves performing on a moat in the middle of a limestone quarry in Sweden. For a band like Arcade Fire, such inventive and idyllic surrounds seem apt, but it only poses the question -- How hard can a quarry rock?
An hour in the company of The Big Pink is a sensory distorting experiment, and one that also questions your sexuality. It’s not a glam/gay thing, but there is a certain amount of homoeroticism about The Big Pink. The obvious sexual nature of the band name notwithstanding, and their record sleeves are all chicks and tits, but I think that’s to throw off the thinly veiled man-love shared between guitarist/vocalist Robbie Furze and bassist Milo Cordell.
Ah, Barcelona, your beaches are beautiful, your women are smoking jewels (literally), and this festival by the beach (really an explosion of concrete by the seaside) is clearly the diamond in the rough for the travelling roadshow of bands that litter the skies with one thing in mind - a paid holiday. With a selection of acts that suited this weary hack like a good pair of tight jeans and a band tee, Primavera was a stage to stage delight. The current crop of new band like The Drums, Surfer Blood and Dum Dum Girls rose up to meet the challenge of the '90s alternative old guard of Pixies, Pavement and Superchunk.
I’m a band purist at heart. You can cut off all your fingers, but you’ve still got a hand. If you cut off all your band members and keep cutting and cutting and cutting, you can't expect your audience to comply with your decision or to even recognise the music you make. What was it John Peel said about The Fall? "always different, always the same". Well, yes, but... no. Mark E. Smith is The Fall, but The Fall isn't just Mark E. Smith.
What a wonderful world we live in where The Primitives are able to tread the boards once more. A delightful, decorous blend of '60s op-shop pop fronted by the delectable Tracy Tracy. One certified chart smash with “Crash” and some near misses along the way, The Primitives were one of those bands that were championed and loved (the old chestnut about Morrissey being a big fan is worth repeating) but never fully met with pop's good graces.
"You must be the most attentive audience, ever" joked Chris Thile, during his performance at LA's gem Largo at the Coronet, "It's not often that you can hear the performer's water bottle snap back into place." And it was true -- in this intimate setting of about 75 people (including fan Minnie Driver), Mr. Thile was the center of everyone's attention. There was no heckling or chatter between songs, just enthusiastic, almost rapturous applause for this mandolin virtuoso.
A great band once sang “I’m beginning to like country music. They say that’s the first sign of age” and during the last few years I have seen more and more friends go over to the side of banjos, boots and beards. Maybe age is catching up with us but it could also be that country has sneaked its way into the indie scene more and more, being mixed with folk, rock and pop.
As a teenage music fan, one of my prized possessions was a bootleg LP of Joy Division recorded on the same stage Bad Lieutenant are playing tonight, 30 years later. You think Bernard Sumner, guitarist in both bands, would mention the significance, or perhaps the memory has left him, like his own introduction to an Electronic song later in the set "This is called "Tighten Up", I've no fucking clue what it's about".
Stephen Malkmus has been ‘jicking’ for as long now as he was leading the charge in Pavement, releasing as many albums, yet never reaching the same heights. His solo career seemed to be in constant war of expectation over delivery. It's not Pavement. It's not a bunch of twenty-year-olds fighting their generation. But the louche stage prescence, that hazy cynical drawl, the greying hair framing the eyes in a semi-slacker curl, little has changed over the years.
Musicians die. Sometimes quite unexpectedly, most before their time, but not often enough for your brain to idle between song, between string changes or tunings to wonder “will this be the last time?”. You don’t, because you’re too busy enjoying the moment. Having witnessed Jay Reatard play what would be his last ever show in London, he was anything but the vision of a man kicking out the last of his jams.
Having given us one of the most lurid and arresting albums all year in Two Dancers, the Leeds-based Wild Beasts are let loose on London and give us such a performance that we (as they say) still got the taste dancin' on our tongues.
Pretty in black and pretty and back, The Raveonettes rolled into London this week to play a one-off gig showcasing their forthcoming album In and Out of Control. It wasn't all rape, guns, suicide and stealing cars, but it was near enough.
Two of Sydney's finest epic rock bands; one (Bridezilla) favouring a dark brand of folk and the other (Decoder Ring) post-rock electronica, strut their wares in Brisbane.
Once again Sweden's WoW proved to be worthy of its acronym and Webcuts was there to cover all three days. We (re) acquaint ourselves with the likes of Glasvegas, Grizzly Bear, Florence & The Machine, Echo & The Bunnymen, Wilco, Vivian Girls, Bon Iver and My Bloody Valentine, to name but a few.
The third day of Sweden's 2009 Way Out West is a quieter affair but we still manage to squeeze in Patrick Wolf, Jenny Wilson, Vampire Weekend, Wolfmother, Lily Allen, My Bloody Valentine and Deerhunter.
We give an in-depth rundown on 2009's Splendour in the Grass festival including the good - The Flaming Lips, Happy Mondays, Bloc Party, Doves, Sarah Blasko, Specials, You Am I, MGMT and the frankly rather appalling - Kram, Grinspoon.
The second splendid day of Splendour in the Grass 2009. We catch Kram, Jack Ladder, Bob Evans, The Gutter Twins, White Lies, The Doves, The Flaming Lips and er, Grinspoon.
Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks played to an audience brimming with the intoxicating scent of bearded, checked-shirt sporting aging rock dudes. Vanessa From Queens was missing but the gang was all there.
Ipso Facto recently trimmed the fat, excising keyboardist Cherish Kaya in favour of the perfect rock triangle. The sound is now suitably streamlined, focussed and finessed -- the girls now move a like well-oiled, well-coiled machine.
Not ones to throw angular shapes the boys here strive to find the right notes and the majority of the time they hit them.
Having caught them a few weeks earlier in London, it was like witnessing an entirely different band in the throes of conquering new territory and playing to new audiences.
I'd be surprised if the majority in attendance were familiar at all with Atlas Sound, but the crammed in masses of which Webcuts was one of the last to make the cut, were calling out requests that even Cox felt too obscure and unplayable.
Webcuts delivers the verdict on Deerhunter's recent Australian assault with reviews of Brisbane, Sydney and also the secret Atlas Sound Sydney show. Let the hunting begin.
Watching Gareth Liddiard sing is like witnessing a drunk arguing with his own reflection. His posture is one of vexed irritation, his face is strained, the tendons on his neck bulge, his entire frame in spasm.
Last year the band reformed and did a one-off gig at Debaser in Stockholm. This year was Gothenburg's turn. For one night we all got to be teenagers again
Deerhunter Scala, London 18th May 2009 Palpable expectation, a sold out crowd, a critically received album, a loud northerner standing beside me naively exclaiming “I hope they play something off Turn It Up, Faggot" and an unlikely intro tape of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run”. This is how it begins. Four boys from Atlanta, Georgia
Okkervil River The Zoo, Brisbane 3rd May 2009 "No one wants to hear about your 97th tear" offers Will Sheff, he of red beard, bookish glasses and shaggy hair, during tonight's opening rhyme heavy "Plus Ones". Oh but we do. We want to hear ninety odd minutes of heartbreak and loss, songs about self
The Grates/Children Collide Hi-Fi Bar, Brisbane 1 May 2009 It's not often that you have moments like this -- where you have to take a step back from your surroundings and fathom what is the hell is actually going on. Arriving a little late and unable to find set times we wander into the crowd as the
Ladytron & The Faint Variety Playhouse Atlanta, GA 17th April 2009 The black-clad kids were out in force as the rolling Ladytron/The Faint sideshow pulled into Atlanta, Georgia, offloading what could be unkindly dubbed an ‘electroclash revival’ as both bands came into sharp focus during the height of this abortive musical fad and were adopted
The Sisters of Mercy The Forum, London 9th April 2009 For a band who have refused to release records since 1994 and now only operate as a touring act, The Sisters of Mercy must have the most dedicated fanbase on the planet. Goths, like Heavy Metal fans, mate for life with their chosen bands and
HTRK Lexington, London 9th March 2009 I first witnessed Melbourne/Berlin noise-makers HTRK in action at a time where any favourable impression would not come forthwith. This was in a dingy low ceilinged East London venue that should've had 'CONDEMNED BUILDING' written all over it. It was as if someone had kicked open the doors, installed
of Montreal The Zoo, Brisbane 4 March 2009 It's just before the encore that things start getting really weird: Two guys in animal masks start playing -- Mr Fish is on drums while Mr Lion roars into the microphone, garnering the requisite response from the crowd necessary in encore type situations -- leading me to
Detektivbyrån Lille Vega, Copenhagen 13 February 2009 The other day a friend of mine came by and flicked through my records and asked "Don't you have any music that is not depressing?". I replied "I do! Detektivbyrån". Few bands can put smile on my face like Detektivbyrån. So it was with great expectation I ventured
The Walkmen Scala, London 20th February 2009 While they are most certainly welcomed, perhaps even loved, as a band, The Walkmen are quickly becoming as anachronistic as their name. Coming onstage to an enthusiastic response, The Walkmen began the set as if they were trying on a new suit. They didn’t tear into it with
Primal Scream make their once a decade journey to Australia which we catch at the Tivoli in Brisbane along with Adelaide upstarts Wolf & Cub.
In the final Australian festival wrap up for the Summer we brave the laneways of Brisbane to report on No Age, Jay Reatard, The Hold Steady, Cut Off Your Hands, The Drones, Stereolab, Spiral Stairs, Augie March and more.
The much lauded ATP festival reaches Australia and we give you the rundown on the Brisbane leg including reviews of Robert Forster, Spiritualized, The Saints and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
We review Brisbane's inaugural Sunset Sounds Festival and see how the likes of The Hives, Santogold, The Kooks, Franz Ferdinand, Faker, The Grates, Tegan and Sara, I Heart Hiroshima and more measure up in the sweltering heat.
Beach House Cargo, London 2nd December 2008 Roughly a year since their last headline show at the Water Rat in Kings Cross, Baltimore’s Beach House have doubled their output and returned to London on the tail end of a European tour, promoting Devotion, their second album released earlier in the year. Having played support on recent tours
"I don't know. I feel a bit naughty playing here", confides Jonathan Meiburg, singer with the Austin, Texas outfit Shearwater, sitting in front of a grand piano in St.Giles in the Fields, an 17th century church in London's West End. As a packed audience crammed pews to watch in rapt appreciation, Shearwater settled in to
"How you doin'? You alright?" asks an out of breath Gaz Coombes during their first Brisbane show in several years. The assembled punters shout back "yeah!", hoping that the next song will be the golden goose turned albatross hit "Alright". It isn't, but no one is really displeased when it turns out to be another
For a long time The Breeders seemed to go the way of the Pixies. As both Deal sisters battled their demons, Kim with liquor and Kelley with drugs, attempts at reviving their careers in the late '90s proved disappointing. Returning with Mountain Battles, their second album since their comeback in 2002, The Breeders bounced back
In the second part of our exclusive Way Out West festival coverage, held in Gothenburg, Sweden, Webcuts has reviews, photos, and setlists from the third and last day, Saturday 9 August. Bands reviewed: Sahara Hotnights, Fleet Foxes, Caesars, Silverbullit, Håkan Hellström, The Flaming Lips and the legendary Neil Young. Way Out West Day Three --
Webcuts brings you the lowdown from this year's Way Out West Festival held in Gothenburg, Sweden, including reviews, photos, and setlists from the first two days, Thursday 7 and Friday 8 August 2008. Bands reviewed: Buzzcocks, The Sonics, Okkervil River, The National, Sonic Youth, Grinderman and Broder Daniel. Way Out West Day One and Two
In a concert replete with spectacle and grandeur the most memorable moment arrives, fittingly, at the conclusion: while Kent pound out the last notes to the epic "Mannen i den vita hatten" ("The Man in the White Hat"), with the stage bathed in sodium light, gigantic blowers spew out white confetti over the 20,000 strong
Ipso Facto Pure Groove Records, London 31st July, 2008 Having caught our attention last year with their goth and garage graces, Webcuts ventured down to Pure Groove records in East London to catch Ipso Facto launch their latest single "Ears and Eyes", the follow-up to last year's highly impressive debut "Harmonise". Unfortunately and incorrectly aligned
"I can still recall the time" began Dave Faulkner, as he stood in front of 1500 Australians (and some locals) at London's Forum last Friday night. This time those words held a little more poignancy, playing in the same venue Hoodoo Gurus once played a little over twenty years ago. Powering through with a set
Darren Hayman and Jack Hayter Luminaire, London 13th June 2008 What do you call a Hefner revival without two of it's original members? Halfner. Hayman has recognised that it would be something of an indignity to bill himself and Jack as "Hefner" and have settled on this short tour by using both their names. Having
Bob Mould Koko, London 25th May 2008 Bob Mould turns to the crowd and informs them that they last time he played this venue, then named Camden Palace, it was 1985 and the band was Hüsker Dü. There are cheers and screams, hoots and hollers. Having already sprinkled his 90 minute set with choice tunes
Spoon Centre Stage, Atlanta, GA 14th April 2008 It's Britt Daniel's birthday but you wouldn't know it. There's no cake and candles, no rambunctious behaviour or jokes. You'd be expecting the band to be soused and swaying, playing covers and celebrating the occasion, using the opportunity to cut loose. In fact Daniel looks embarrassed as