Tag Archives: Idlewild

Albums of 2015 (20-11)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

20 December ’91 - Quebec20 December ’91 – Quebec [Gold Mold]

Probably the only album to make this year’s lists recorded on a mobile phone, Quebec showcases both December ’91’s musicianship and originality. Raw, simple but excellently put together December 91’s music clearly serves as an outlet for his emotions as it touches on a number of personal matters, which are delivered in an equally heartfelt manner. (Jess Lavin)

19 Antique Pony - unalbum19 Antique Pony – unalbum

Completely unique and utterly, strangely, bewitchingly triumphant; unalbum features vocoders, discordant melodies, funk, surf guitar, jarring and angular riffs… and yet it all flows. They may as well be called Unique Pony because there’s bugger all else out there quite like this, not capable of producing such a cohesive blend from wildly divergent ingredients anyway.

18 Idlewild - Everything Ever Written18 Idlewild – Everything Ever Written [Empty Words]

Everything Ever Written encapsulates Idlewild in 2015, the Fugazi fuelled alt rock angst of 100 Broken Windows may be missing, but it more than makes up for it in melodic depth. A surprising, poetic, folk tinged collection of songs that are so well rounded it’s hard to pick a favourite. Idlewild have matured at the same rate as their fans and this record satisfies the huge Scottish rock/pop void left since Readers & Writers. (Andy McGonigle)

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17 Admiral Fallow - Tiny Rewards17 Admiral Fallow – Tiny Rewards [Nettwerk]

Admiral Fallow’s third album Tiny Rewards, is quite simply brilliant. Released three years after their second album, this new collection of songs unravels a band that has come of age. Tiny Rewards is an epiphanic record that fills you with joy; it is also tender, contemplative and intelligent. (Tina Koenig)

16 Lovers Turn To Monsters - Hard To Be Around16 Lovers Turn To Monsters – Hard To Be Around

Fresh and eccentric, delicate and intimate, Hard To Be Around works as a sneak peek into Kyle Wood’s psyche. The album is an obscure trip down the singer’s brightest and darkest sides, mystically keeping you on the edge of your seat after every track. An absolute delight if your mainstream conscious is switched off; a rare piece of raw music, which will provoke emotions in whoever dares to listen.

15 Pinact - Stand Still and Rot15 Pinact – Stand Still and Rot [Kanine]

With their debut LP Pinact have produced a piece of work that fully realises their significant talents. Stand Still and Rot is full of bluster and grace, exploring notions of uncertainty, joy and boredom, spiked with corrosive volume and sweetened with heartening melodies. The album is full of instantly likeable and catchy moments, loads of classy touches and tons more, including more hooks and big choruses than you can shake a stick at.

14 Young Fathers - White Men Are Black Men Too14 Young Fathers – White Men Are Black Men Too [Big Dada]

After winning the Mercury Prize for their 2014 album Dead, Young Fathers immediately travelled to Berlin to finish recording its follow up: White Men Are Black Men Too. The difference in the two albums is night and day. Whilst Dead was polished and gleamed with pop sensibility, WMABMT features lo-fi, raw production that makes use of rattling drum machines and scratchy, hollering vocals. Young Fathers may be the most innovative music group in Scotland, and go about it in a damn cool way. (Greg Murray)

13 Apostille - Powerless13 Apostille – Powerless [Night School]

Powerless. Horrible. Dark. Depressing. Makes you want to kill yourself, but that is the point. Everything is fucked so why not listen to this as you stare at the clock, waiting for it to end… (Paul Choi)

12 Rustie - EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE12 Rustie – EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE [Warp]

It could be said that 2015 was a rough year for Russell Whyte, aka Rustie, with the producer announcing a break from live shows due to “addition and mental health problems”, however one particular high point was the release of EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE; an album that saw him head back his raw beginnings. The album saw Rustie take full creative control, and when we say full we mean FULL; everything here was done by Rustie from the beats to the production to the vocal samples! It may not be the adrenaline pumping club effort many wanted, but it is a highly detailed maximalist release that demonstrates the producer’s prowess. Hopefully he’s not off too long.

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11 Kathryn Joseph - Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled11 Kathryn Joseph – Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled [Hits The Fan]

Kathryn Joseph was undoubtedly one of 2015’s greatest success stories, with the release of Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I Have Spilled propelling her to the forefront of the Scottish scene. Produced with simplicity, honesty and an instantly recognisable vocal, this album served as a perfect introduction to an artist who we are most definitely going to be hearing a lot more from in times to come. (Ellen Renton)

20-11  –  10-1  –  Tracks & EPs

Idlewild at Barrowlands, 27/11/15

After the release of their most critically acclaimed album in over a decade earlier this year, Idlewild are on a victory lap tour of the country after a pair of sold out ABC shows back in spring.

Choosing to delve deep into all corners of their back catalogue, for the evening’s show they choose to open for themselves, performing a short acoustic set before the main electric show.

It still works on a Friday night Barras crowd out for a good time, even with crowd favourites ‘American English’ and ‘These Wooden Ideas’ sounding a little quieter than usual.

The response is hymn-like, with a hushed crowd politely and hauntingly singing along to the closing refrain of ‘American English’ and echoing every word to ‘In Remote Part / Scottish Fiction.’

After a short break, they return energised and plugged in, in every way imaginable.

There is something different to those earlier ABC shows – where before there was a calculated self-awareness that this resurgence may not last forever, on this occasion the band really let go and throws themselves into every song.

For a start, this feels like a rock show, with Rod Jones covering the stage with his frantic soloing, and plenty of crowd pogoing on those tracks with anthemic choruses like ‘Live in a Hiding Place.’

Just as Jones gets caught up in the moment, so too does Roddy Woomble, displaying elements of that earlier aggressive sound, letting those screams come out on ‘Idea Track’ and ‘A Film For The Future.’

The amazing thing is how well songs like ‘Captain’ sit alongside ‘Utopia’, showing a beauty and the beast element to what Idlewild is in 2015.

‘Utopia’ is beautiful, with such a melodic chorus it is hard to imagine it coming from a band once described as a set of stairs falling down a set of stairs.

‘Left Like Roses’ is equally majestic, and has earned its place alongside early slower staples like ‘Quiet Crown.’

The great news is that Idlewild are back on an upward trajectory – this is the eleventh time the band has played the Barrowlands, but it is also the first time they have done so in eight years.

On the strength of tonight’s stellar, energetic, and genuinely exciting set, there is so much life left in the masters of Scottish melody.

Ending on a celebratory moment with a rousing ‘You Held the World in Your Arms’ gets the sold out crowd jumping, screaming, and dancing – Idlewild have not been this important in years.

Words: Scott Wilson

T in the Park 2015 (Sunday)

Sunday morning; we’re a couple of bodies light from last night, as a couple of my pals feel the excesses of yesterday a bit much to raise themselves from their bed, regardless those of us with a job to do make the trip up following the daily Greggs cure and the trip up is relatively easy going.

Opting to park near where we parked the first night, meant no issues with muddy hills tonight, but we were anticipating a reasonable amount of traffic tonight as people head home rather than camp another night another, plus there wouldn’t be any excessive head starts are one of the closers tonight is real attention grabber.

I arrive at T Break in time to catch the last part of Be Charlotte’s set; having given them a quick listen prior and having Louie from Hector Bizerk singing their praises at me the previous night, had me intrigued to see what they had to offer live.

Indeed Hector’s Audrey Tait is delivering some powerful rhythms for the innovative Charlotte; all the while sky-teasing synths come in behind a vocal that carries as much gritty attitude as it does technical brilliance.

In the short space of time I see them, she raps and sings with precision and struts the stage with a confident urban swagger and bags of gutsiness; plenty to look out for I reckon.

Wandering over to BBC Introducing and Tongues are already in full flow with powerfully backed tracks full of soaring synths and the occasional captivating harmony.

There’s some nice ideas here from the Glasgow boys, certainly enough to suggest they could be higher up the bill in years to come.

Next up is potentially my clash of the weekend as the chirpy fussy brilliance of The Van T’s at T Break crosses over with the wonderful Bdy_Prts’ set at BBC Introducing for all but five-minutes either side.

So, I start at T Break and it appears the Thompson twins have come a long way since I put them on at Broadcast over a year ago; they have acquired a shit load more presence, yet that fun filled surfy energy still emits from their set.

There’s even corners of their set that angle into full on riot grrrl power as there ‘boyfriends’ dance taps aff down the front; these girls have been coming to T for the last few years and they seem in their element a week or so after their 21st birthday’s.

The Van Ts-7 2

Having to miss the end of the set to catch the end of Bdy_Prts I’m severely hoping I haven’t made the wrong choice, but Jen and Jill never seem to let down.

The crowd is pretty sparse, but the duo is engaging as ever as they syncronise up, clad in the same pink and yellow skintight outfits they sported at The Hug and Pint launch a wee bit ago.

Indeed, each time I see these guys they seem to get more impressive, their set has gone from stripped back quirky harmonics to full on aural assault, all the while the girl’s impressive voices remain rightfully the focal point.

Even their banter is in sync as the duo, who seem clear as day to be best pals just having fun, deliver new single ‘Cold Shoulder’, which floats and weaves with their angelic vocals, backed with that extra push from a rhythm section that enhances their live set considerably; can’t wait to hear more.

Bdy-Prts-10

Next stop is the Tut’s Tent for Admiral Fallow, admittedly I’m not the best guy to be reviewing them as I’ve grown tired of this Scottish singer-songwriter, gone full blown big sounding indie folk band, still Louis Abbott and co. seem as strong as ever and their new material sounds comfortable in the set.

I don’t have to particular like it to say that they are fully entitled to the stature they have achieved in this ‘uplifting indie folk’ bracket, they do it as well as anyone else out there and will rightfully come away with plenty of praise.

After cutting about the press area for longer than anticipated I ample over for the latter stages of Idlewild’s set, and while admittedly they kind of bypassed my musical intake first time around, what I have heard of them has always been of considerable quality.

What the set does lack for me personally, which sadly is pretty essential during a festival like this, is a familiarity; for a band that hold this level of popularity you’d expect to recognise a few numbers, however the set passes by without much of an inkling.

Still, the set is solid and quashes and doubts about Idlewild’s live quality, with Roddy Woomble looking to have not aged a day in the afternoon sunshine of Strathallan.

At T Break Benjamin Booker pulls a fair crowd, and there’s plenty of snarly, guttural energy to them too, it’s deep south rock with plenty of twang and load of drive, that injects a level of power into proceedings before Modest Mouse’s airing over a Tut’s.

These guys have quite a formidable reputation and attract a much larger crowd than anticipated.

Still, despite the large crowd and Isaac Brock and co.’s powered, but disappointingly quiet, performance, this is a festival crowd and one that are hard to tap into unless you play the hits; ‘Float On’ predictably gets the biggest reaction, but this is another example of a band you need to see on a venue tour, on their own terms, rather than at a huge festival.

Cassels are couple of young boys, but their sound seems to pack a fair punch over at BBC Introducing as a cacophony of pummeling drums and crunching guitar form a formidable sound that could easily blast them into the public eye before long.

Indeed youth is their benefit, but admitting you’re in a “shitty mood” when on stage at T in the Park probably isn’t the best way to warm yourself to an audience mainly full of people chancing upon you.

Stumbling into T Break for a bit of Crash Club’s blasting electronics, which sounds massive and draws a big crowd, but still somehow feels like 90s lads throw back and being relatively underwhelmed by the over the top quirkiness of Spring Break it was time for The Prodigy.

By this time the weekend is taking affect, and the sleep deprivation isn’t helping the alcohol tolerance, but this is the kind of situation that is specifically designed for T in the Park.

We don’t manage to really get close enough to enjoy the full effects of the legendary dance aficionados, but still it’s powerful stuff that erupts with hits that you’d forgotten about, alongside ones you were waiting for; no wonder big Geoff Ellis made them the centre-piece of his speech at the line up launch all those months ago.

We have to dash 10-minutes from the end, some of us have work in the morning, but that’s not enough to miss the rush and we end up caught in traffic for what seems like forever; still it’s another enjoyable year.

Granted I didn’t see the campsite, but a few slight alterations in traffic organisation, parking and layout and things should be going swimmingly next year.

FridaySaturday

More Photos

Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray

Idlewild, Siobhan Wilson at O2 ABC Glasgow, 8/3/15

This is the second evening of Idlewild’s two ABC shows, marking somewhat of a comeback, supporting the release of their first album in six years, Everything Ever Written

Support for this evening is provided by Siobhan Wilson who opens with ‘Dear God’, a beautifully melancholy open letter to whatever omnipresent being may be up there.

Having last seen Wilson at the Cambridge Folk Festival of all places, the ABC is a completely different setting to the gazebo in which she played on a warm July day last year, although her voice and guitar (only accompanied by one other musician on keyboard, tambourine and guitar) travels well throughout the venue, albeit the audience grow increasingly louder with their chat throughout the set.

Wilson shows her stunningly high vocal range on ‘Say It’s True’, before closing with the slightly more upbeat ‘All Dressed Up’.

The young Scottish singer/songwriter Wilson proves herself as a very competent and deserving support act, to one of the country’s finest musical exports.

Idlewild come on stage playing ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’, from Everything Ever Written, before guitarist Rod Jones fires into the big riff of new album’s opener ‘Collect Yourself’.

Although both of these new songs receive a good reaction from the sold-out crowd, it is not until the familiar riff of ‘You Held The World In Your Arms’ (played on a violin, strangely, but to good effect) rings out that the crowd start to move around; before popular songs ‘I Understand It’ and ‘Little Discourage’ complete a trio of crowd pleasers.

New song ‘Come On Ghost’ is very good, with guest saxophonist Sam Irvine playing the solo, as lead singer Roddy Woomble walks offstage (as he does during many of the instrumental parts in the set) to allow the rest of the band to take the spotlight.

They then go from brand new Idlewild to some very early material, playing ‘A Film For The Future’ and ‘Captain’, which go down a treat.

With fan favourites such as ‘American English’ and an excellent version of ‘El Capitan’, new album closer ‘Utopia’ seems like a little bit of an anti climatic way to complete the set.

This is duly rectified in the encore, as ‘Too Long Awake’ is followed by the huge guitar riff of ‘A Modern Way Of Letting Go’, before the huge wall of sound accompanied by the poetry of Edwin Morgan at the end of ‘In Remote Part/Scottish Fiction’ close what is a very good return to Glasgow.

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Words: Neil Hayton

Idlewild – Everything Ever Written [Empty Words]

Listening to a new album for some is an incredibly ritualistic thing – if this doesn’t apply to you, it might be time to start.

Turn everything else off, get your speakers or headphones to the perfect volume, and sink into the first Idlewild album in six years.

Our first experience of post-hiatus Idlewild was ‘Collect Yourself’ and that is how Everything Ever Written welcomes us in, with a freshly familiar sound leading us into the band’s future.

It’s one of the louder tracks on the record, guitar driven with one of the more anthemic choruses on offer.

Another lead single, ‘Come On Ghost’, follows, with Rod Jones taking control of the track as his distinctive guitar tones intertwine with brass over a triumphant marching beat.

Idlewild have never released the same album twice, and true enough Everything Ever Written is the next logical step in their output.

Tracks like ‘On Another Planet’ harken back with a respectful nod to their heavier moments, without any of the shambolic traits of their early releases and with all of the things that make Idlewild just as important in 2015 – Roddy Woomble sings like a man revitalised and reinvigorated to be around music a little more punchy than his solo material.

Album closer ‘Utopia’ sounds like a do-over of Woomble’s solo ‘Between the Old Moon’ track, a delicate outro following a fine tradition of calming conclusions along with the likes of ‘Goodnight’ and ‘The Bronze Medal.’

‘So Many Things to Decide’, with its soft organ and acoustic strumming, sounds like it would fit comfortably on to a Decemberists record, while seven-minute long ‘(Use It) If You Can Use It’ sounds like a band just happy to be playing together again.

‘Left Like Roses’ is an unexpected earworm with its repetitive piano melody sticking with you long after the track has ended, while Jones’ soulful guitar melodies never sound more contrasted with the louder elements on the record than here as he beautifully uses his guitar to dance over the piano keys.

If there is any justice in the world ‘Nothing I Can Do About It’ will become a live set staple with an instantly memorable refrain and the right amount of build up throughout the verses.

‘Like A Clown’ is a gorgeous toe-tapper, with country music-esque vocal harmonies that sound like the perfect soundtrack to a Scottish highlands walk.

As the album draws to a close, you can forgive Idlewild for their absence, as you realise the solo projects and the time away were necessary for the band to take the next steps which led to Everything Ever Written.

They have taken what they have experienced and learned, and bringing that back to the Idlewild camp has made for a fantastic album, which sounds like a band that loves what they have created.

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Words: Scott Wilson