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2014 In Music - Editor In Chief's View

Having started off 2014 in a healthy state it’s safe to say that the malware infection which threw the Wordpress version of Muso’s Guide off track in the spring was a setback that we’ve been slow to get back up to speed from. Contributors disappearing into thin air over the past few months has also obviously been less than helpful in a year that, initially, was shaping up to be extremely good – we’d covered our first festival in the USA, reviews were being published at a rate seldom before witnessed and UK & European festival coverage was on the increase. Significant progress was also being made in the area of music-related books.

We’re still here though and as committed as ever to reviewing whatever we feel like, agenda-free and entirely honestly & whilst the past 12 months have thrown up challenges we’d definitely not anticipated it’s not been a bad year for music. I’ve personally thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at all of the festivals I’ve covered (Liverpool Psych Fest, Le Guess Who? & Long Division all for the second time and Beaches Brew & Bradford’s Threadfest for the first times). Practically everywhere you look now has a similar urban event going on at some point in the year so 2015 will see coverage from those already mentioned as well as the likes of Hipsville and a look at what Ghent & St. Malo have to offer.

On the recorded music front I’ve lost track of the enjoyable individual songs that have leapt out at me at various times across various platforms but we’ve tried to corral those we’ve particularly enjoyed on our soundcloud-hosted Underexposed playlists as well as collating the bigger named acts in a similar manner over on Rdio. As for albums keeping an ongoing list for the purposes of reference in this article has as ever been invaluable.

In no particular order then I can safely see myself still caring enough to be listening to the following in the year ahead:- Quilt’s Held In Splendor, Holy Wave’s Relax, Mark Morriss’s A Flash Of Darkness (which benefits greatly from his voice sounding a tad cheerier than with The Bluetones), The Faint’s Doom Abuse (possibly their best album yet), Chiaroscuro by I Break Horses, East India Youth’s Total Strife Forever, Bleeding Rainbow’s Interrupt, Pontiak’s Innocence, SkatersManhattan, from way back in December 2013 The Frowning CloudsWhereabouts (the only act amongst this lot who’ve managed to have another album out in the same 12 month period), Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time, Cuello’s Modo Eterno, Luminous by The Horrors (who’ve managed to fully change their spots with a work that came close to being played to death), Clipping’s Clppng, White Fence’s For The Recently Found Innocent and, finally, the musical riot that is the self-titled debut from Meatbodies.

Gig-wise Augustines, Teenage Fanclub, Muck And The Mires & The Black Lips stand out for me but the bulk of performances taken in were during the previously mentioned festivals with Gnod, White Hills, Nissenmondai, Theo Verney, The VaselinesEinstürzende Neubauten all delivering brilliantly (the latter being the best performance for this and many previous years combined). 2015 has a lot to live up to. 


Magners Summer Nights - Teenage Fanclub, Kelvingrove Bandstand, Glasgow

  • Published in Live


In a summer that has seen the word Glasgow spoken or printed more times by the UK and other media than possibly ever before, the city's cultural highlights are continuing post-Commonwealth Games. The beautifully refurbished Kelvingrove Bandstand, just up the road from the bowling greens utilised by the games, has already this month played host to Steve Earle, Alison Moyet & The Bluebells and The Waterboys as part of the Magners Summer Nights event series. Squeeze have a sold-out show here tomorrow night but tonight it's all about the home team. 

Teenage Fanclub don't play live together all that often (this is their first show in Glasgow in three years), given that they're a bit further from being teenaged and no longer based as close to each other as they used to be, as well as having other projects to work on (Norman Blake's New Mendicants and Gerry Love's Lightships for example). Over the past 20+ years though they've provided me with some of the most enjoyable and emotionally charged gigs of my life to date, none more so than when playing in their home city.

Typically the weather decides the summer's over and so it's a continually windy & none too warm night for seeing an outdoor show but the crowd's enthusiasm is undimmed by the drop in temperature and at least it stays dry. The band take to the stage promptly at 9pm, to tumultuous applause. Kicking off with 'It's All In My Mind' they can't go wrong. In the main tonight's set is comprised of the band's more considered and slightly slower output ('I Don't Want Control Of You', 'Baby Lee', 'Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From', 'Ain't That Enough'), rather than the more raucous material from the likes of Bandwagonesque or Grand Prix so it takes a while for the crowd to fill the gap at the stage front. As the venue seems to offer no bad vantage point that could also explain the lack of a need to get more involved in the proceedings.

Norman's on good form between the songs, whether letting on that the rider contains a mass of Haribos or that he remembers acts of youthful rebellion being perpetrated in the vicinity of the venue (some of which may account for his later memory lapses around what was the band's most successful single and a couple of their more recent albums' titles). Not that anyone's losing sleep over that and soon enough there's the expected seething mass of bodies pressing up against the barriers, bouncing about and singing along to 'The Concept' and 'Sparky's Dream' as the livelier material gets a look-in.

No chance unfortunately of a second encore even in their home for the band as proceedings are wound up as planned around 10pm, although it's clear the crowd don't want to go home that early. They've been well served over the course of the show though and other than the odd numb rear after sitting on the bandstand's concrete benches for the evening there's nothing to complain about. A shorter gap between this and their next show would be most welcome though.

Apologies to support act Linden as the hunt for a more reasonably priced bar kept us away from seeing them in action.

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