Tag Archives: Errors

Connect 2008: roving report

Mud, glorious mud at the Oyster Stage

On top of the ‘live’ blogging I was doing for The Skinny while in the muddy environs of Inverary last weekend, I’ve also cooked up another series of rehashed mini gig reviews for the magazine. This covers pretty much everything I saw, with the exception of The Roots, who were so disappointing in the acoustically shite Unknown Pleasures Tent that I couldn’t bring myself to write about it.

Ladytron

Plonked behind eight synthesizers, black-clad and distant, like a state-sanctioned pop group of the former Soviet Union, Ladytron are definitely no festival band. Rocking their Eastern Bloc, disco-in-a-tower-block style for all its worth, they are pretty unemphatic in this open-air arena, but Seventeen and set-closer Everything You Touch remind us that they have produced some of the best electro-pop since the Human League.

Manic Street Preachers

There have been those, myself included, who wrote off the Manics as Britpop dinosaurs. How wrong we were, because Bradfield, Wire and Moore rollick triumphantly through their back catalogue, plucking out fan favourites such as Motorcycle Emptiness, Of Walking Abortion, Everything Must Go, You Love Us and tailor-made final song, A Design For Life. Covering Rihanna might smack of ageing desperation, but they’re still a superior live band.

Kasabian

With divided loyalties between Kasabian and Mercury Rev, I can only attest to the first half of the former’s Friday headlining set. They could have ended with a cover of the Postman Pat theme for all I know. But early on it’s business as usual: big, swaggering indie hits like Processed Beats and L.S.F, an impressive lightshow, and the newly long-haired Meighan’s hilarious rock-God complex.

Mercury RevMercury Rev

Having enjoyed the Kasabian spectacle for 40 minutes, it is a sense of musical duty that makes me head over to catch the remainder of alt-rock veterans Mercury Rev. Swirling clouds of dry ice may conceal them, but the music is clear, direct, and loud. Their take on Talking Heads’ Once In A Lifetime, with layers of intense guitar and crescendo, is immense, and they save Goddess On A Highway for a rousing encore.

Late of the Pier

Late of the Pier live up to their name, with their set delayed an hour as they’re moved up to replace the cancelled Joan As Policewoman. An early afternoon in a muddy field is not the best context in which to enjoy their schizoid, experimental pop, but the musicianship and free-range clattering of this freshly-hatched quartet are still mightily impressive. They’d sound phenomenal in a claustrophobic wee club.

Friendly Fires

Friendly Fires arrive hot on the heels of their self-titled debut album, and they match the hype with a sprightly set of punk-funk. Singer Ed Macfarlane is the main source of entertainment: dancing crazily in skin-tight clothes, a maniacal glare in his eyes, firing off plumes of confetti in all directions. Their music is anything but original, but it still injects some firey fun into a damp Connect.

SpiritualizedJ Spaceman

Spiritualized are one of the most highly anticipated acts of the weekend. We know Jason Pierce’s death-cheating tale, and it’s extra-special to have him, with full electric band, back on stage. They offer no connection to the audience though, facing each other like a studio band, and the set doesn’t nearly delve deep enough into their back catalogue. Just as well the few classics we do hear, like Come Together, are awe-inspiring.

Grinderman

If one band was made for the live setting, that band is Grinderman. On record, Nick Cave’s side-project comes across like cod-badass; it’s only when confronted with his spitting, lanky, wildly gesticulating frame at close quarters, along with his destructive, bearded side-kick Warren Ellis, that you get it. They run riot, dragging us all along with them on the road to oblivion – and huge fun.

ErrorsErrors

One band on the Your Sound Bandstand I am determined to see is Errors. The touted Glaswegians combine esoteric electro with crunchy post rock, and they play a blinding second-top billing set on Saturday night, to a sizeable segment of Scotland’s music-loving fraternity. Salut France and Toes are great, but, as was the case at their Triptych gig, it’s Mr Milk that stands out.

Young Knives

Young Knives are a head-scratching lot. One minute you’re enthralled by the wacky Britpop revivalism of Terra Firma, the next you’re tuning out, put off by the very same-ness of their guitar-bass-drums formula. They do their best to cheer the sodden Sunday early-comers with some witty asides, but it’s impossible to really let yourself forget the conditions with such ironic fare.

SantogoldSantogold

If anyone can dispel the rainclouds – or help us forget them at least – it’s Santi White, the effervescent urban diva behind Santogold. Although a delayed arrival means they only play half a dozen songs, White, in a shiny blue jumpsuit, gets the plastic ponchos in the crowd moving with Lights Out, You’ll Find A Way and The Creator.

Elbow

It is more a lack of options than any fanboy enthusiasm that draws me to the Oyster Stage for Elbow, and this flat set of sleepy indie only embeds my prejudice. The bluesy single Grounds For Divorce does redeem matters slightly, but their uninspiring attempts at emotive, lighters-in-the-air ‘moments’ fail utterly in this early evening slot.

The Gutter TwinsGreg Dulli and Mark Lanegan

In the general hubbub of Connect, it’s easy to overlook two of modern American rock’s true greats. With little fanfare, The Gutter Twins, fronted by Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli, take to the stage before a sparse crowd. But instant respect is granted to the ever-morose Lanegan, who growls through the songs on autopilot, backed by the loudest, heaviest band of the weekend.

Sigur Rós

The dusk mist hanging in the pine forest on the hill behind the Oyster Stage provides the ideal backdrop in which to enjoy the mystical splendour of Sigur Rós. They open with the sublime Sven-G-Englar, and even reveal a sense of humour when a brass section marches on stage in See You Jimmy hats. The rest of their extensive set is rarely less than spellbinding, and they even trash their drumkit on exiting.

Franz FerdinandFranz Ferdinand

During their only festival appearance of the summer, Franz Ferdinand play a set that acts as a reminder of their sophisto-pop appeal and reveals the musical direction in which they’re headed. Hits like Michael, Do You Want To and Take Me Out rev up the masses, but another half-dozen new songs get an airing, the majority of which boast a fuller, synth-ier and funkier sound than we’ve been accustomed to.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under festivals, gigs, music, reviews

Errors – It’s not something but it is like whatever

Rating: ****

With the daft, verbose album title, Errors are presumably launching a pre-emptive strike at the music journalists who will try to categorise their sound in the coming weeks and months. The point being that the Glasgow band are too disparate for the old name-that-genre ploy. Sure, they’re electro, but they’re also post-rock, math rock, acid house… Moving on swiftly, we find that Errors have developed the basic, glitchy elements of their early 7” singles and EP into a cohesive album of instrumental electronica. The influence of their employer, Mogwai, looms large – almost too large – in the minimalist, adagio guitar lines, but when they break into a Battles-like jerk-frenzy on Toes they reveal yet another side to their sound. Oxford solo artist George Pringle adds her mellow spoken-word to Cutlery Drawer; a welcome dose of the human in a brilliantly synthetic album.

Released on 9 June through Rock Action

1 Comment

Filed under albums, music, reviews

Clinic, Errors, RememberRemember @ Cabaret Voltaire, 27 Apr

Clinic were always favourites in the Hawaiian surgeons' fun-run
 
RememberRemember‘s (***) Graeme Ronald chose his new musical moniker wisely, because by the end of every ‘song’ (in the loosest possible sense) the minimalist sequences and percussive noises are not live but recorded, looped, the stuff of memory. He may not be the first to compose and perform in this multi-layering manner, but with his use of a holepunch, bubblewrap, a plastic shark… oh, and a guitar, he is certainly the quirkiest. Joined by sax and violin, this trio is wilfully avant-garde in a kraut-rock style, and not as pretentious as you might imagine.

Upholding the leftfield Zeitgeist – with added electro muscle – Errors (****) emit bone-shuddering waves of synth, chiming, resonant guitar and a buzzing haze of glitch-core that sparks around the stone walls of the Cab. Salut France and set-closer Mr Milk are mesmerizing in their shamanic intensity, but their finest moment arrives in new single Toes, an elemental math-rock-out that shows that Errors are as tight as any of their more conventional contemporaries. Expectations of greatness, brilliantly fulfilled.

The scene is set for Clinic (***) to provide a rockier outro to Triptych’s Edinburgh curtain call. The Liverpudlian eccentrics appear in Hawaiian shirts and their trademark surgical masks; a rather bamboozling visual statement, given that their music is more in line with ’60s psych revivalism than conceptual performance art. But any semiotic confusion is obliterated by their klanging riffs and organ-led energy. It does all get a bit homogenous in a set that regresses from new to old, but tracks like The Second Line and Winged Wheel affirm their truly unique appeal.

Leave a comment

Filed under gigs, music, reviews

Interview: Errors

Errors were not happy that the lift was out of service

Anyone who has trawled MySpace in search of good music and been met by band after mundane indie band will know that it is acts that offer something a bit different (like Errors) that make it all at least semi-worthwhile. A year ago, maybe more, it was the track Mr Milk that made me sit up and listen: a simple minor key guitar riff – so far, so normal – followed by a blaze of electro that surges and builds and fades in all the right places. So with their debut album (finally) on the horizon, I spoke to drummer James Hamilton for a feature in The Skinny

————————————————-

Errors are a band who have buzzed, fly-like, around the electrically charged bars of the Scottish music scene for a few years without igniting in a satisfying pop. But that could all be about to change with the release of their debut album next month, the wordily-titled It’s Not Something, But It Is Like Whatever. If it’s not something, but it is like whatever, then what is it exactly, James Hamilton, Errors drummer?

“The stuff that we come out with is kinda like a mish-mash of our own influences. Simon and Steve come from electronic music so there’s a lot of acid and house and techno but there’s also a lot of hardcore, post-rock guitar influences. Personally I listen to tons of jazz and latin, which is so not cool but I think that comes through, especially in some of the newer songs.”

The Glasgow-based band first caught local attention with the single Hans Herman in 2005. It was the beginning of their ongoing relationship with Rock Action, the record label established by post-rock behemoths Mogwai. Originally a purely electronic affair, Errors soon hired Hamilton to provide live drums, and guitars also became an integral part of their sound. The EP How Clean Is Your Acid House? brought them further exposure, and they supported dance veterans Underworld on their UK tour last November. It’s all steady progress, but Hamilton admits that the album has been a long time in gestation: “When I joined we were still working out different aesthetics of playing. We’d been planning on making an album for a long time but we didn’t feel we had the songs that were good enough to put out.”

But having Mogwai as their artistic patrons meant they had no shortage of time and understanding to make the record they wanted to make: “It makes it a lot easier for us, because they’ve got that insight, they know what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence.” It also meant that, when the time came to start recording, they had the run of Mogwai’s own Glasgow studio, the ominous-sounding Castle of Doom, and a ready producer in the form of ‘Gwai guitarist John Cummings. “John’s a ridiculously good producer,” Hamilton says. “The drum sound he got was amazing. They basically boxed me in in this room, and it was a bit claustrophobic. But he said, OK, play some stuff and then come through and hear how it sounds. So I was expecting it to sound a bit dodgy but I came through and it sounded like Bon Jovi or something. He got an amazingly epic drum sound.”

As well as ‘epic’ drum sounds, the album benefits from the husky tones of London-based diseuse George Pringle, who guests on the track Cutlery Drawer. “We assumed it was gonna be an instrumental record,” Hamilton explains, “but we were reading this interview with this writer and performer called George Pringle from London. She does spoken word stuff over electronic music. And she said in the interview that she didn’t like much new music, except for… and she said Errors. So we thought we’d just get in touch and ask her if she wanted to do vocals on a track. She said yeah and it’s turned out absolutely amazing.”

Errors have planned a tour in support of the album which includes, rather intriguingly, a four-date jaunt around Finland. Hamilton says that this unusual diversion dates back to the band playing Finnish festival Qstock last year – “this kind of gothy festival with a dance tent that was absolutely amazing” – and he’s keen to sing the praises of the Scandinavian nation, and its wildlife: “We were driving down this dusky, foggy road and this moose ran across and it was the most majestic thing I’ve ever seen”. As Hamilton observes, there are definitely worse places to be ‘big’ in. Soon Errors may be qualified to make the same statement about their homeland.

The release date for Errors’ debut album It’s Not Something, But It Is Like Whatever has been a matter of contention, although the band did post a MySpace bulletin this week saying it would be out on 2nd June.

This is the video to the new single Toes. It looks like it’s been made on MovieMaker, but have a listen at least…

1 Comment

Filed under interviews, music

Triptych, R.I.P.

Ratatat, photographed by myself

There are perhaps more serious things to lament than the death of a mere music festival, but then Triptych is/was no mere music festival. This weekend it bows out with a typically diverse barrage of gigs across Scotland, and I at least plan to attend the Clinic show, with Errors and RememberRemember in support, at Cabaret Voltaire on Sunday night.

The thing about Triptych which distinguished it from other festivals was that even if you didn’t know the names on the bill, you’d probably trust the organisers enough to go off and look them up, and learn a whole host of new artists every year. Last year I discovered one of my favourite electro bands, Ratatat (pictured), thanks to the open-minded programmers.

[By the way, if you’re reading this thinking, eh? Triptych? what’s the frick’s he on about – and shame on you – then read a handy pocket-sized history of the festival which I wrote for The Skinny.]

The demise of this truly intrepid event ties in with a general murmuring that the popularity of festivals has peaked and is now headed for a trough, what with Glastonbury failing to sell out in ten nanoseconds, etc etc.

Tennent’s have announced, as a rather damp conciliatory PR exercise, that a replacement festival called The Tennent’s Mutual is to be launched next year. The lager company says that “it will offer music fans the chance to shape Scotland’s live music landscape”. I can’t help but react with scepticism. Can we really rely on the general public to create an event that was as eye-opening, esoteric and exciting as Triptych? I wouldn’t even trust myself to curate a line-up as well as they did for eight years.

See: www.triptychfestival.com

Stay tuned for an interview with Errors on this here blog…

Leave a comment

Filed under music, thoughts, etc