Music Record Reviews

ROCK WEEZER Raditude (Geffen) ●●●●● Who’d have thought one day Weezer and Slayer would be in the same spot? They’re both highly influential, having spawned several generations of bands single-handedly, but

now struggling to find ways to push themselves musically. Both bands are enjoying


NUMBERS Based in Glasgow Roster The first three releases will be by Lazer Sword, Redinho and Taz Buckfaster, with more artists to follow. Bosses Jack ‘Jackmaster’ Revill, Calum and Neil Morton, Richard Chater and Adam Rodgers. Sounds like The three bleeding-edge-cool underground imprints which have merged to form this new superlabel: Revill, Morton and Morton’s Wireblock, Revill’s Dress 2 Sweat and Chater’s Stuff Records, which have released records by rising Glaswegian stars Hudson Mohawke and Rustie, amongst others. ‘That’s everything from hip hop to techno,’ says Revill, ‘from 100 through to 140bpm. A lot of dubstep, garage and what the kids like to call UK funky, which is just another form of dance music. Anything you can dance to, really.’ Why did you decide to merge the labels into Numbers? ‘We’ve become best mates from the club (also Numbers, monthly at Glasgow’s Sub Club, which the label team promote alongside others). All of us have a similar musical outlook, and it got to the stage where we were pinching each other’s artists to record or do remixes for us. It just made sense to combine our efforts and do everything a little bit bigger and better from now on. Adam’s the guy who did artwork for all three of the labels, so he’ll be doing that for Numbers now.’ What’s your ambition for the label? ‘Well, we’ve only ever released 12-inches and singles, so the plan is to start releasing albums in 2010. It’s not about comparing ourselves to other labels or saying we want to be just like them, but we definitely want to increase the profile of our artists internationally and develop into a strong label that’s known for releasing good electronic music.’ And you can do that while you remain based in Glasgow, right? ‘I think so, aye. There’s a really big buzz about Glasgow and the electronic music it’s producing at the moment. I think if any time’s right to do it, it’s now.’ (David Pollock) The Numbers Label Launch Party is at the Sub Club, Glasgow, Fri 6 Nov, with Lazer Sword and a debut live set from Rustie. 64 THE LIST 5–19 Nov 2009

mixed success with that endeavour. Weezer’s collaboration

with Lil’ Wayne is a tongue-in-cheek rap parody, Rivers Cuomo essentially throwing down some snuffly bling party lyrics while Wayne chirps in for a verse of arch analysis, it all feels a bit too clever for its own good and doesn’t go the whole nine yards and get truly surprising only Indian tinged ‘Love is the Answer’ really does that.

Bouncy, piss-takey singles abound once again, and Cuomo’s skill for a bittersweet love story with a fizzy chorus remains his strongest hand as with ‘Put Me Back Together’. Ultimately it’s not always about the new but just about the great and there are several picture perfect Weezer moments here, outweighing the sense of deja vu. (Mark Robertson)

SHOEGAZE MATT BARTRAM Left to Memory (Drifting Falling) ●●●●●

We could almost swear that Kevin Shields was trying to fool us with an alias, but Matt Bartram has been active on the shoegazing revival scene for over a decade now with his band, Air Formation. This is his second solo record after last year’s Arundel, and features an appearance from Christian Savill of 90s shoegaze stalwarts Slowdive. Bartram’s MO is what you might expect from someone whose influences include The Jesus and Mary Chain and Flying Saucer Attack: atmospheric swathes of noisy, distorted guitars piled on top of a voice which sounds like it was recorded from the other end of a wind tunnel. No great expansion on the tried ambient pop formula, but still dreamily beautiful. (David Pollock)

EVERYTHING VARIOUS Kats Karavan: The History of John Peel on the Radio (Universal) ●●●●●

There’s been plenty released to celebrate DJ John Peel’s legacy and this expansive four-disc set tries to replicate the magic of the quintessential John Peel show. By that we mean throwing the tough techno of Dave Clarke up against the delicate melancholy of Tindersticks or the righteous roots of Linton Kwesi Johnston against the twee jangle of early Pulp. This 74 tracker covers the period from the late 60s through to Peel’s death in 2004 and is even inter-cut with some classic Peel patter. One hit wonders, cult classics and soon to be superstars are all here. It’s low on the prog, grindcore, African and ragged electronica he delighted in, but is still the best representation of an evening with Peel outside those dusty cassettes recorded off the radio at the time. (Mark Robertson) JAZZ KEVIN MACKENZIE East of East 7th Street (Laundry Room Music) ●●●●●

A fine collection of intelligent and often absorbing contemporary jazz from Scottish guitarist Kevin Mackenzie, in partnership with three players from across the Atlantic. Mackenzie is a familiar figure on the Scottish jazz (and folk) scene in a variety of

contexts, but this latest outing as a leader reflects both a period he spent in New York, and subsequent collaborations in Edinburgh with the New York-based musicians Boris Kozlov (bass) and Ben Perowsky (drums). That core trio is

augmented by Donny McCaslin’s probing, inventive tenor saxophone work on ‘Dr K’s Conundrum’ and ‘The Life Sprinter’, two of the 12 Mackenzie compositions that make up the album. The guitarist’s fluid explorations of their melodic and harmonic possibilities are matched by inventive contributions and responsive interaction from his colleagues. (Kenny Mathieson)

INDIE THE SOCIAL SERVICES It’s Nothing Personal, It’s National Security (Stereo Test Kit) ●●●●●

With tongue firmly in cheek and sandwiches in knapsack, The Social Services head out on a jaunt round Popland to confirm that their frisky style is something pretty special. Two thirds Glaswegian, one third Swedish, the trio throw in some skip-along tunes, sing-along choruses and smirk- along lyrical conceits that at points, put you in mind of (in spirit if not exactly sonically) the best bits of The Divine Comedy, Camera Obscura and British Sea Power.

Playful, but bittersweet, their songs celebrate such Scottish geographical phenomena and cultural landmarks as the Electric Brae and Edinburgh’s much lamented club La Belle Angele but manage to avoid being too sickly or twee. There’s even space for politics and even moments of sweeping melancholy that gives this album more depth than the

rambunctious surface vibe might first suggest. (Mark Robertson) JAZZ PORTICO QUARTET Isla (Real World Records) ●●●●●

The opening sound you hear on this second album from the Portico Quartet is already pretty much a signature of their world the hang, a piece of tuned percussion that sounds a little like a more delicate version of a steel drum. It lies at the centre of their ambient- minimalist sound-world and pulsing cyclic grooves, along with the vaguely free jazz- inspired saxophone work of Jack Wylie. This album adds

layers of texture to the sparser soundscape of its Mercury Prize- nominated predecessor, Knee-Deep in the North Sea, but the basic tenets remain unaltered. Wyllie isn’t a particularly notable improviser, and his saxophone work is more effective when listened to as part of the overall texture, otherwise defined by the drums and percussion of Duncan Bellamy and Nick Mulvey (bassist Milo Fitzpatrick completes the band). (Kenny Mathieson)

WORLD TOTÓ LA MOMPOSINA La Bodega (Astar Arts) ●●●●● La Momposina is swinging towards her 70s in style, creating some of the most irresistible dance music to come out of Colombia in years. For La Bodega she uses the