GARAGE ROCK WAVVES The Arches, Glasgow, Mon 8 Nov
Wavves’ slacker dude main-man Nathan Williams’ very public meltdown onstage at the 2009 Primavera festival threatened to prove the defining episode in the San Diego garage band’s short career. But they’ve since pulled back from the brink by cleaning up their act a bit and making an album that lives up to some of the hype. Thanks to reams of wobbly YouTube
footage, Williams’ notorious rambling one chord performance in Barcelona has become a minor rock’n’roll car- crash classic. The upshots were a cancelled European tour, Williams admitting he had to reign-in his drugging and boozing, and drummer Ryan Ulsh quitting the band. Wavves’ ranks have since been
replenished with the recruitment of a couple of the late Jay Reatard’s backing musicians. Their third album King of the Beach, released in the summer, has seen the band push on from its beginnings as a lo-fi (often unlistenably so) Williams bedroom recording project to a full studio LP with purpose, power and production values, marrying the oddball harmonic pop of the Beach Boys to the bratty attack of grunge.
That’s not to say fascination with Wavves is now focused purely on the music, because there’s always the matter of Williams’ romantic relationship with Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast, this year’s big American buzz band. The twosome have become a kind of Kurt and Courtney of scuzzy indie, whose baked little world can be followed daily, micro soap opera style, via their respective Twitter addictions. Truly the days of the enigmatic rock star are behind us. (Malcolm Jack)
58 THE LIST 4–18 Nov 2010
INDIE ROCK BORN RUFFIANS Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Thu 18 Nov
‘Our budget for the tour was not approved,’ mourns Luke Lalonde of party rock trio Born Ruffians. ‘So there will be no eighty-metre porcelain squid, no 35-member dance troupe, and the London Symphony Orchestra will not be opening. ‘Still, we’ll bring our regular stripped down rock show to Edinburgh,’ the Canadian singer-guitarist brightens, and rightly so. Born Ruffians’ ramshackle allure lies in their boundless live energy, their polyrhythmic indie- rock (as evinced on Say It, their second album, which came out earlier this year), and their scrappy pop anthems – not least ‘Hummingbird’, which you may recall they once performed on an episode of Skins.
Born Ruffians’ inception was as amiable as their
upbeat clamour: they formed at school, and have been together ever since. ‘Mitch [bass] and I are cousins, we’ve been friends since we were babies, we grew up together,’ says Lalonde. ‘We met Steve [drums] in high school and started jamming and formed a band when we were sixteen. That was eight years ago.’ Signing to electronic empire Warp in 2006 – home to
experimentalists like Autechre and Aphex Twin – is probably the most anarchistic thing that the choral punk rabble has ever done. That is to say, they’re not ruffians at all. ‘I’m sure there are plenty of good things to rebel
against,’ ponders the ever-ebullient Lalonde. ‘I think our mottos and directions lie elsewhere – I try and push optimism and good advice into the lyrics. We’re positive as a band,’ he concludes. ‘Maybe we’re rebelling against negativity.’ (Nicola Meighan)
ELECTRONICA GOLD PANDA King Tut’s, Glasgow, Tue 16 Nov
He’s from London, but Essex was the making of Gold Panda. (His real name? ‘Just Derwin, if that’s all right.’) ‘I lived in Peckham until I was about 15, then my family moved to Chelmsford, where a cultural scene didn’t really exist,’ he says. ‘I found myself in this white, suburban, middle-class area where everyone listened to Blur and Cast, so I rebelled by getting into gangsta rap and Tupac. This was before I realised I couldn’t make hip hop because I wasn’t cool enough.’
But what he could do was sample, as he discovered using an old Atari ST his uncle lent him. Now his debut album, Lucky Shiner, has brought him attention in all the right places: when The List spoke to him he was in the midst of playing ‘every day for a week’ at the CMJ festival in New York, and was about to leave for a showcase set alongside Four Tet and Jon Hopkins. ‘How I make music now is the same as back then,’ he says, ‘but I just use shorter samples to make bigger tracks. For me, taking a ten second loop from a funk record doesn’t feel like I’ve achieved making my own piece of music, whereas taking individual sounds and putting them together is like making a proper composition. That follows on from growing up with hip hop, where all the beats come from other records anyway, and you can hear the vinyl crackle coming through. I try to sample things other people haven’t and I don’t download .wav files. That’s old-school hip hop rules – if you haven’t got the track yourself, what’s the point of doing it?’ (David Pollock)