Dispatch: Sacred Paws, Ela Orleans and Current Affairs at Mono, Glasgow, 27 January 2017

Summer comes to Glasgow on a chilly January night. Mono's packed and there's a buzz in the air. Current Affairs (formerly Seconds) have a touch of the goff about them, in look and sound (think Banshees, The Cure, Joy Division, The Smiths, Magazine) but the determined grind of their rhythm section gets the blood going and they've melodies in spades. It's a compelling start to a flawless evening of live music.

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Instead of taking us down the infernal paths she has followed of late, Ela Orleans opts to take a detour through especially hypnotic deep cuts from her back catalogue, bringing to mind a more ethereal Suicide and hints of later Coil at points. It's no mystery why Orleans has become a key figure in the Glasgow scene in recent years, the journeys she takes you on are never anything less than transportive, even when the set is deliberately more low-key than usual.

Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans

They crowd are really raring to go now and they aren't disappointed. Two versions of Sacred Paws play tonight, alternately -the core guitar, drums and dual vocals of Rachel Aggs and Eilidh Rodgers, and a special five-piece version with additional guitar, bass and keyboards (provided by Lewis Cook of Happy Meals). Both are brilliant. You can hear their previous band Golden Grrrls in the sound, with a heavy dash of The Raincoats (who they played a few gigs with last year) and West African highlife. It's a heady mix, and just what we all need right now. What happens in Mono tonight is a coming together of people, and their respective genders, sexualities, colours, ages and countries of origin are inconsequential. They're together, in this amazingly uplifting music. This gig is the anti-Trump, the anti-May, the anti-Brexit. There's no anger in it, grins abound. It's how things should be all the time. And it proves it's possible. And it's pretty easy, at that. A night worth remembering, in more ways than one.

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws

Sacred Paws' debut album Strike a Match is out now on Rock Action.

Photos by Erika Sella. Text by Andrew R. Hill.

Dispatch: Field Music, Glasgow School of Art

Since 2004, Field Music have been busy lads - the core of the brothers Brewis (David and Peter) has produced five albums, a soundtrack, a covers album, a dozen singles and two albums with side projects apiece. As soon as you hear a new Field Music song, you know it's them, but that doesn't mean they've become stale or dull - far from it, in fact, as Sunday's gig at the Art School proved. Purveyors of complexly structured artpop they may be but this was no chin-stroking, egg-headed exercise in pomposity. This was funky and sweaty, if taut and intelligent with it. The brothers and their assembled touring band played a broad selection from their back catalogue, numerous cuts from their excellent new album Commontime included, and exuded a quiet confidence looking like they were having a lot of fun - almost as much as the (rather vocal) audience. The band is doing the rounds now, miss them at your peril.

Photos by Erika Sella. Words by Andrew R. Hill.

Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1

Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1

Visions of Change: The Evolution of the British TV Documentary Volume 1: BBC 1951 – 1967 is part of the British Film Institute's ongoing effort to chronicle and reappraise the UK's contribution to the documentary form.

This double DVD set features ten BBC-produced documentaries by directors such as Ken Russell, John Schlesinger and Dennis Potter and focuses on wide range of topics - from a poetic look at the work of sculptor Henry Moore to an impressionistic take on the life of an unnamed Northern city, from a science-based piece focussing on test flights to a fly-on -the-wall documentary on a dispute over redundancies at a car delivery firm.

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Come To My World: Sarah Records Reappraised

Come To My World: Sarah Records Reappraised

Sarah Records was a Bristol-based independent label run by Clare Wadd and Matt Haynes between 1987 and 1995. Committed to socialism and feminism and influenced by the fanzine culture and the DIY attitude of earlier UK music scenes, Sarah was as much about politics as it was about music. Equally revered and loathed, the label came to define a certain kind of wistful, melancholic indie pop (the kind that detractors - usually male rockist music journalist - often called 'twee', 'insipid' and 'sexless') whilst making agit-prop statements through their fanzines, written communiqués and objet d'art (their 50th release was a board game). 

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Dispatch: Ultimate Painting, The Bellybuttons and Vital Idles at Mono

Mono is barely at half capacity when Vital Idles take to the stage at Mono on Friday night, and more's the pity - they steal the show. Featuring former Golden Grrrl Ruari MacLean on bass, Vital Idles have a scratchy, garage-y vibe (some kind of loose triangulation of Flying Nun, Slumberland and 53 & 3rd), a droll coolness, an understated intensity.

 Not many bands can pull off a Smiths cover, but they make 'Jeane' their own and it isn't even the best song in the set, not by a long shot. They're into the music, and they don't give a fuck if you're even listening - you should, of course, because 'vital' is an entirely apposite descriptor.

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The Bellybuttons have a tough act to follow, but they have a certain free-and easy swagger about them that makes them easy to like (they also appear to have the happiest bass player in the world). They sound a lot like Pavement, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but a relatively long set renders proceedings more samey than they ought to be.

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By the time Ultimate Painting take to the stage, the venue is rammed. They are the obvious professionals of the night, everything is very together, and that's understandable given Jack Cooper and James Hoare have toured so much over the last few years with their different bands (Mazes and Veronica Falls/Proper Ornaments respectively). It's frustrating to listen to a set where all the songs are the same speed (mid-tempo), especially when they have so much potential. They have a great sound and melodies in spades - how couldn't they given their pedigree? - but there's a lack of dynamic variation and a certain spark, an energy, that they could do with carrying across from their other bands. Their potential is massive, but they need to remember to shift gear every now and then.

Photos by Erika Sella. Words by Andrew R. Hill.

'How We Used To Live' & Saint Etienne at NFT1 / Paul Kelly interview excerpt

'How We Used To Live' & Saint Etienne at NFT1 / Paul Kelly interview excerpt

Blasted first encountered director Paul Kelly's work with his 2011 portrait of former Felt frontman Lawrence. This summer, his 2013 film How We Used To Live has been on tour with a live soundtrack performed by Saint Etienne, including a screening back in May for Monorail Film Club at the GFT. An email from the Film Club prompted us to look further into Kelly's work and a filmography - whether you are a fan of Saint Etienne or not, his London Trilogy made in collaboration with the band, and the complementary short films, are essential viewing

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Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Arthur Russell

Songs They Never Play on the Radio: Arthur Russell

It’s questionable now that you would in actuality never hear this Arthur Russell song on the radio. Not so long ago many an eyebrow would have been raised at the notion that you might, but in the time since I first knowingly heard him on 2008’s superlative Optimo (Espacio) mix Sleepwalk (never mind his death in 1992) his popularity seems to have grown exponentially. The song on the Optimo mix was ‘This Is How We Walk On The Moon’, and even on that strange, nocturnal, hypnagogic record (a record that I would happily call one of my favourites) it stood out as particularly otherworldly

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