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  • Alistair Braidwood

Just Say No: The November Musical Roundup…

Aye, the nights are fair drawing in, but some of the best music of the year has appeared in the last month to make things better. Lots of new stuff from the electronica of The Machine Room to the acoustic oddity of Bottle of Evil and the heads down rock of Underground. There’s some dark discordance from She’s Hit, a fantastic new album from Pumajaw and one of the albums of the year, indeed of the last few years, from one of my musical heroes; I’m talking about Mike Scott whose new Waterboys’ album adapts the poetry of W.B Yeats and which really keeps me warm at night.

First up is a contender for track of the year from Blank Canvas, which has chiming guitars, driving drums and a lead singer who has more than a hint of Richard Jobson about him. Whether it makes my top five or not you can find out next month when all sorts of best of 2011 lists will appear, but so you can make up your own mind this is By The Fire:

The Machine Room remind me a little of early Simple Minds. Before you turn away, this is definitely a good thing (think I Travel, Love Song, Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime etc). This is the track Camino de Soda, and it builds beautifully to a glorious finish which makes you want to go straight back to the beginning to start the journey again:

Now for something dark and mellow. Bottle of Evil hail from Lanarkshire, as many great people do, and this is the most interesting take on the current vogue for the music known as folk that I have heard for some time. I would imagine that they like their rock ‘post’ and occasionally gaze at their shoes, a position I often adopt myself. They certainly make great music while doing so. From the EP Inside LookingOut, this is The Boatman:

It’s hard to beat a great bit of noise, and that’s just what Underclass have produced with their latest single Beat Your Fist. What also helps is that it does what classic rock songs should do; hook you in, drag you along, then dump you after barely two and a half minutes. You barely have time to consider what just hit you. Enjoy:

Often people recommend or send things which are refreshingly different to what else is out there. That’s the case with She’s Hit. First time I listened I thought that this could fall apart at anytime, but they hold things together to make a lovely sound. There are influences such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Velvets and Nico and The Birthday Party, where I presume they get their name. This is Part One:

Out this month is DemonMeowMeow the new album from Pumajaw. Since coming into contact with their music only recently I’ve been catching up, not only through listening to the album, but also through watching the often brilliant videos which you can find here pumajaw/video. Pumajaw understand completely who they are, what they want to do and how they want to do it; their sound, look, and attitude. I suggest you take a listen and see if you agree with me that they are one of the most interesting bands around. This is Outlands, which in my alternative universe is the theme to a James Bond film:

Mike Scott is one of my favourite people, and not simply for his music. The first three Waterboys albums changed not only my perception of what music could sound like, but also what it could deal with. It really was ‘The Big Music’. Never a man to make the prudent or obvious choices (another reason to love him) he has reformed some Waterboys to make an album which takes WB Yeats poetry, treats it with absolute reverence, and once more makes magic. This is their version of Mad as the Mist and Snow, and if this does nothing for you then I don’t think you and I can be friends anymore:

As mentioned above next month will be about 2011 round ups, including a Christmas podcast which will be an end of the year review, so if you have any suggestions of songs or bands you think I have overlooked please let me know.


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