Music Record Reviews



Based in Leith, Edinburgh

Roster Linkwood (Nick Moore, from Bristol but based in Leith), Fudge Fingas (Gavin Sutherland, from Edinburgh), Vakula (from Ukraine), Intrusion (one half of the Detroit/Chicago-based duo Echospace), House of Traps (Lindsay Todd, from Leith), Linkwood Family (Moore and Todd).

Boss Lindsay Todd aka House of Traps, who formerly ran the Higher Ground night at Edinburgh’s Honeycomb in the late 90s and used to work in the city’s leading dance music shop Underground Solu’shn.

Sounds like ‘We’re starting to hear people say that other things sound like Firecracker,’ says Todd, ‘so we must have our own style’. Claiming he started the label partly to pay homage to his influences and partly to create something new, Todd has a lot of reference points: ‘Chicago house, Detroit techno, disco, psychedelic, jazz, world music’. How did the label start? ‘I used to be in Joseph Malik’s band with the jazz trumpeter Colin Steele, and when Nick moved up from Bristol, he, Colin and I wrote a track for Joseph’s album. It didn’t make it on though, so we pressed it up ourselves. Then the deal with the distributors fell through at the last minute, so I had to go down to London myself and sell them to a shop called Vinyl Junkies in Soho. Once that EP was out I just carried on from there, and we now release on collectable vinyl and download.’

What does the future hold? ‘I’m moving to London over the summer, because I’d like to put myself closer to the kind of parties and contacts who can be most beneficial to the label. Edinburgh’s a great place, but for the kind of music we make it doesn’t really have the potential for growth’. (David Pollock) The Firecracker/Prime Numbers All-Star DJs play Club For Heroes at the Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, Fri 24 Jul; Linkwood plays Huntley and Palmer’s Audio Club at Stereo, Glasgow, Sat 1 Aug.

LO-FI AMBIENT ELECTRONICA CRUISER HAPPYROBOTS:progr ammedtoloveyou (KFM Records) ●●●●● Despite a touring schedule which might fairly be described as minimal, Fife’s long- serving Cruiser are still criminally under-rated. So anything that gets the gospel out there particularly a well- realised remix version of their last album HAPPYROBOTS:smiling

people is a good thing. HR:ptly is a good to gorgeous record in its own right, although many of its contributors (Laugh & Peace, Tiger Tiger, pndc) might be

68 THE LIST 23 Jul–6 Aug 2009

unfamiliar names. Perhaps the most recognisable are Kid Carpet, who provides a suitably DIY electro version of ‘Input’, and Luke Solomon, with one of three versions of ‘A Gentle Press’. Edinburgh’s The Magnificents also make a welcome return with a suitably Krautrockin’ take on ‘It’s All Good Baby’. (David Pollock) ROCK CORNERSHOP Judy Sucks a Lemon For Breakfast (Ample Play) ●●●●●

It’s been seven years since Cornershop’s last outing, and they’ve clearly spent that time being happy, but not necessarily getting inspired. Judy Sucks a Lemon . . . is upbeat, sunny, summery fare, but almost pathologically derivative of 60s rock, pop, soul and reggae. More worryingly, it’s also like a faded copy of the band’s earlier incarnations. Opener ‘Who Fingered Rock’n’Roll’ is Primal Scream doing The Stones with added sitar, while the title track is Kula Shaker doing, erm, The Stones. With added sitar. Things reach a retro nadir with a truly pointless and soulless cover of ‘The Mighty Quinn’. Ouch. (Doug Johnstone) FOLK BORDERS TUNESMITHS Borders Traditions Vol. 6 (Borders Traditions) ●●●●●

The Borders Traditions series of CDs issued by the Scottish Borders Council to showcase the traditional music of the area has generally concentrated on precisely that, but this sixth volume in the sequence takes a slightly different tack by offering new rather than traditional compositions from a group of nine musicians, recorded live in a concert in Hawick in


The players fiddlers Shona Mooney, Lori Watson, Iain Fraser, Matt Seattle and Innes Watson, flautist Martin Marroni, piper Chris Waite, accordionist Christopher Keatinge and harpist Elspeth Smellie include a number of the best- known younger players emerging from the region, alongside a couple of more senior practitioners. Local traditions are well represented, but they also draw on a wider range of musical influences, including flashes of contemporary minimalism and sonorities and rhythms more evocative of Eastern Europe. (Kenny Mathieson) www.borders-

ROCK GARETH SAGER Slack Slack Music (Creeping Bent) ●●●●●

This is aptly named, because this debut solo album from a founder member of post-punk legends The Pop Group is an unhinged, ramshackle affair, with scattershot tactics producing moments of grin-inducing wonder and cringeworthy dreadfulness in equal measure. The opening salvo of ‘Hot Hits Vol. 27’ and ‘Bad Bad Loser’ is rampaging bluesy-punk fun, and the closing instrumental ‘Draining Swan Lake’ is a surprisingly poignant slice of anthemic bliss, but in between there are too many moments of self-indulgent, off-beat yodelling and riffing madness to really connect with the listener. (Doug Johnstone)

GRIME MASTER SHORTIE ADHD (Odd One Out) ●●●●● Adopting a grassroots approach to music, taking control of his own marketing and distribution shows this 19-year-old Londoner is determined to be master of his own musical destiny. What he presents is a diverse blend of hip hop, grime

infused with occasional guitar rock, and electro zapping. For the most part his creative personality shines through: ‘Right Time’ and the indie/rap hybrid highlight ‘Dead End’ showcase this perfectly. There are, however, too many filler tracks which feel embarrassingly overproduced, and, unfortunately, much of this has been done before and with a much slicker aesthetic. (Mark Petrie) INDIE WILD BEASTS Two Dancers (Domino) ●●●●●

AMBIENT ELECTRONICA VARIOUS Soma Coma Vol III (Soma Recordings) ●●●●●

Glowing ambient melodies here invite you to get horizontal, maybe stare at something moving in slow-motion, and zone out. A soft, melodic flip-side to the label’s techno and electro releases, it’s best enjoyed in one long spaced-out chunk, like an aural massage . Brief reminders of last night’s beats grow out of Alex Smoke’s epic ‘Prima Materia’, a slow- building, orchestra- backed slice of drama, while ‘Florence’ from Glasgow’s Marco Benardi, aka Octogen; and bleeping pulses from Slam on ‘Subject Invisible’ channel a smoothed-out, more tuneful Autechre. Cheaper than a trip to a flotation tank. (Claire Sawers) PSYCH ROCK KNIFEWORLD Buried Alone: Tales of Crushing Defeat (Believer’s Roast) ●●●●●

Imagine Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons fronting vintage Talking Heads. It might just work, right? Wrong, at least in the hands of Kendal kids Wild Beasts, it is. Maybe it’s all in the execution, which is at best seriously underwhelming and at worst excruciatingly painful. Singer Hayden Thorpe’s idiosyncratic falsetto has none of the emotional gravitas needed to pull this sort of thing off, his lyrics are asinine in the extreme and the band’s white- boy funked-up indie fare is drearily forgettable to the point of complete amnesia. (Doug Johnstone) After a few of the scattergun offerings on this, the solo debut from guitar visionary Kavus Torabi, images of great great and the good of the tripped out 90s indie come drifting into focus including Levitation and The Cardiacs .Fitting perhaps as Torabi was a giutar wrangler for the latter once, but rather than being locked in by his past, he strikes out on his own distinct, tongue-in-cheek path. Leaping from Canterbury folk whimsy to full on thrash and everything in between this is all over the place, but in a good way. (Mark Robertson)