Live Music Highlights – November 2012
They’ve got the daftest Beatles-cum-Star Wars punning name since, well, ever as far as we’re aware and they’re coming to blow an Alderaan-sized hole of scuzzy shoegaze and jangly Mary Chain melodies in Edinburgh this month. Yes, Ringo Deathstarr play new Glasgow venue Broadcast (formerly The Local, on 2 Nov) and Edinburgh’s Third Door (3 Nov) in support of second album Mauve, a record in which the Austin trio seem to have found a more singular and concise sound. These are the indie, noise-pop revivalists you’re looking for.
The classic album tour is now a staple of the old indie vanguard and so it’s the turn of The Wedding Present and their 1991 offering Seamonsters, which will be played in its entirety at The Liquid Room (7 Nov). Shorn of verbose song-titles and grittier in its Steve Albini-production, it was something of a change for David Gedge’s amorphous troupe. Yet this 21st anniversary dust-down is testament that it was a wise move and with a couple of well-received recent albums under their belts, we’d wager that the Leeds quartet can still pull off something of a ‘Dalliance’ with us.
Strange how the perceived cutting edge music press can get all frothy about someone as quintessentially backwards-looking as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Not that anyone should be complaining mind you, as 2010’s breakthrough album Before Today introduced the world-at-large to a hitherto cultish, lo-fi bedroom artist with little mainstream attention. This year's Mature Themes is, for our money, the better record and all the more enticing with which to follow singer Ariel Rosenberg’s lyrical command: “Step into my time warp, now!” Get your flux capacitors from Glasgow’s Stereo (8 Nov).
Another revivalist, who rose from relative obscurity over a decade ago, Jack White returns to the live arena minus his ‘sister-wife’ or any of his other myriad off-shoot personas. This year's solo debut Blunderbuss may not have particularly stretched the rigid template he laid down with The White Stripes, but it was a rollicking good slice of the bluesy garage rock we’ve loved since White Blood Cells first brought the enigmatic musician to public consciousness. Get to know Jack at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall (8 Nov).
In our last issue we awarded Moon Duo’s second long-player Circles our Album of the Month. Sounding both freshly invigorating and nostalgically warm, it’s an opinion we’ll be standing by as it continues to soundtrack our grey autumn days, giving a much-needed boost of sunshine and LSD. Hot on its heels, the San Francisco pair are playing Glasgow’s Broadcast (12 Nov), giving you the opportunity to fully appreciate their own brand of psychedelic, krautrock goodness.
On the back of 2010’s fourteen-year hiatus-ending album My Father Will Guide Me up a Rope to the Sky, this year's follow-up The Seer cemented Swans as a musical force to be reckoned with, regardless of their impressive heritage. Their appearance at Glasgow’s Arches (16 Nov) is supported by Sir Richard Bishop, a one-time Sun City Girl who’s been going it solo since 2005. Bishop’s contemplative, acoustic-picking is sure to give a suitable contrast to Swan’s driving, monolithic intensity.
Edinburgh quartet We Were Promised Jetpacks play what is fast becoming their annual autumnal Liquid Room homecoming (24 Nov). Yet unlike, I dunno, say Christmas, these local lads come with only a smidgeon of the build-up and expectation but will absolutely in no way disappoint you with an ever-depleting pile of presents from Santa, simmering family tensions or Noel Edmonds. Instead you’ll be treated to some class-A guitar-powered pop, bolstered by their two fantastic albums so far with nary a garish bauble in sight.
The irrepressible Dirty Three, who returned this year with eighth album Toward the Low Sun, continue their world tour with a stop at Glasgow’s Òran Mór (25 Nov). Having witnessed their life-affirming grandeur in a muddy Dorset field this summer, we can only imagine what the veteran Australian trio will conjure up in this more suitably spiritual setting. But we highly recommend you attend this congregation with all the zeal you can muster from your heathen heart. Praise the Lord and all that.
Do Not Miss: Aberfeldy Festival, 2-3 November
Now in its third year, Aberfeldy Festival returns after 2011’s sell-out event, with author Ian Rankin curating once more. Rankin and other local writers will provide a backdrop of talks along with art and craft displays throughout the town centre followed by local acts which the modern day crime writer has personally invited to play.
Aberfeldy's own Star Wheel Press, who conceived the idea with Rankin, make a suitable starting point followed by yet more of the cream of Scottish indie. Withered Hand nestles comfortably with the all-new Meursault line-up, whilst the much-vaunted partnership of Aidan Moffat and Bill Wells returns with more from their critically acclaimed album Everything’s Getting Older. The excellent Phantom Band top Friday’s bill whilst Gummi Bako, The Pictish Trail and Rozi Plain ease us into Saturday. The always-impressive Found will then kick things up a gear, with proceedings fittingly brought to a close by King Creosote himself. Consider that the royal seal of approval.