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Pip Blom, The Caves, Edinburgh

  • Published in Live


Photographs: Cassandra Harrison

Oddly The Caves doesn't get a lot of gigs as far as I'm aware, outside of August when it's pressed into Fringe service. Then again my eye's not exactly on the ball so it could be hosting bands seven nights a week for all I know. 

Either way it's a good sized venue with great acoustics so ideal for tonight's show. Which starts promptly at 20:00 and those latecomers who managed to miss the first half of support act Personal Trainer should be kicking themselves. An energetic septet fronted by a man equal parts Anton Newcombe, Shaun Ryder & Ian Curtis they throw everything into their performance, having seemingly raided their old school's musical department for such items as a trombone, cowbell & a well used vibraslap. And they deploy a megaphone every so often too.

Their keyboardist/trombonist resembles Napoleon Dynamite and gets himself into all sorts of contorted positions with the microphone as a he hollers his head off on backing vocal duties. I've seen no unknown act this good since being introduced to Squid back in January at Rockaway Beach. Unfortunately they don't get the riot on the dancefloor which their sound and it's speedy delivery deserves but full marks to them for not being phased and fingers crossed that they can capture that intensity when they get an album out. £20 for two 7"s at the end of the night seemed a bit steep though.

Given the support act's efforts on this double Dutch bill I for one thought Pip Blom had their work cut out for them when they took to the stage at 9pm and yet they very nearly pulled it off with a 12 (possibly 14) song set shorn of any fat and battered out far faster than on the likes of recent album Boat. Drummer Gini beats the shit out of her kit, looking close to having a seizure at any moment, breakthrough song 'School' comes and goes early in the set with no favouritism and breaks to say thanks for coming along are the briefest of moments.

Most of Personal Trainer make it into the crowd for the closing few numbers of the set and, around the time of 'Daddy Issues' being played, the central part of the audience finally develops into the pit which all 11 of those who've appeared on stage & given it their all so rightly deserve as just reward for their efforts. There's no encore but that's entirely fitting for the punk spirit (oddly offset by the incongruous jazz from various eras which was on before, between & after the bands) which was channeled via the politeness of The Netherlands.

The bands have another six dates to play in the UK over the coming week and you really want to make sure you catch them at it.  


Physical Format-20190320

  • Published in Columns


Flying Vinyl's October 2017 selection gets our attention this week. So far none of the discs I've decided to let go have had any attention on Discogs but lets see if they'll be gaining company in the inventory from this iteration of the column's inclusions. Or indeed whether I'm well behind the curve in not having played the best thing since sliced bread until now.

Black Honey receive the transparent pink (slightly bloodshot) treatment for their 7" of 'Bloodlust' and 'Ghost'. The A side's got a good bit of pace to it and so progresses at a good indie rock clip. The B side's an acoustic version of what is presumably an album track. As mentioned in a previous column the point of such versions escapes me and this is a bit dull on the whole. £18.70 seems to be the going rate on Discogs so will take a punt. The band's website show's they're set to tour the UK & Europe during spring 2019.

Horsey fetch up in transparent bottle-green vinyl. 'Park Outside Your Mother's House' starts off unpromisingly but after it initially blows up there's a bit more oomph to it. Gallon Drunk come to mind as it rolls to a close. 'Weeping' begins with a similar late-night, intimate jazz club vibe as the A side but again comes to life as it progresses before dribbling away at the end. Doubtful I'll be playing either side often in the future or getting owt else by the band but for now it's being listed for sale & kept. The group's Facebook page shows them to be active at the present time.
Brighton's brotherly duo Underwater Boys take up the third slot this time around. 'Everyone You Know' is earnest, yearning, synth-driven pop. Pleasant if a bit drippy. 'Bye & Bye' wasn't likely to be anything other than similar to the A side. No one seems to want it on Discogs though (last sale at time of writing was 50p in January) so it's into the flea market box with it. The pair's Facebook page shows they were active up until at least November last year.
No such fate for disc number four however. Given that she and her band are going from strength to strength it's almost redundant to write up Pip Blom's 'Babies Are A Lie'/'School' double A sider this far down the line. But here goes. Catchy, honest and jangly the first track has that quality of sounding effortless in it's composition & performance whilst 'School' deserves multiple repeat plays and is surely one of the best tracks of its kind produced in 2017. Debut album Boat is coming out in May and all the details of live shows etc. can be found here.
Last out of the box this time is Maddee from Toronto. Mention of R 'n' B in artist blurbs always makes me wary, given that my concept of it doesn't seem to tally with what's meant (i.e. I'm stuck in the sound of the '60s). 'Lost' though conforms to what I understand to be the current usage. It's a bit Lana Del Ray meets Sade. Wine bar background music - enough of a beat to provide pleasant noise but turn it one notch louder and the atmosphere's ruined. 'Weight' leans a bit more towards Sylvan Esso territory but on the whole there's no compelling reason for this to stay in my collection. Facebook shows Maddee is still active.
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