Tagged: the walkmen

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Writer Of These Musings or An Ode To The Apple

Both poet and performer is how I would class Fiona Apple. I must impress that she is not a performer in the sense that she overloads visually. Well known for the angst filled lyrics that span her career, the recent footage from SXSW that fluttered across the internet documented her throaty, tendon exposing, raspy rendition of new album opener Every Single Night. She writes from the most raw and extreme portion of the female neurosis. Often, a blur of lyrics, beautifully worded, present the disastrous divinely. Her stage presence, even with her petite form, projects the unhinged emotions exposed in each song.

The little tantalising snippets from forthcoming ‘The Idler Wheel…’ drew me back to previous albums. ‘When The Pawn…’, especially, evoking my formative years. It was a device with which I could and still can relate and unburden.

I have been growing cautious of the pedestal that I was building for an artist that has been a defining musical stable of mine. Tethering my excitement, I took my first listen to ‘The Idler Wheel…’ this evening via NPR who are providing a preview in advance of the release on the 18th of

June. To use a parallel structure: Fiona Apple’s ‘The Idler Wheel…’ will be to women what The Walkmen’s ‘Heaven’ will be to men this June. Don’t think me sexist, some connections will forever be symptomatic of gender. We must consider author, audience and content. These vessels can appeal to many but may be owned by few.

The Walkmen – Oran Mor 19/01/2011

If you have been reading our blog lately or follow any of us on Twitter, you will know that times have been busy round ‘ol Elba way.  It is with that in mind that I present you with tales of live music, long overdue.  Two astonishing acts in two weeks have left me with a boundless energy and enthusiasm to fill my calendar with adventures new. This year has already been so very good to us.  The time has come to reflect a little.  I will talk about one today, the other later in the week.


The Walkmen are a band that I have always appreciated.  Yet, I feel it is important to note that they are a band who troubled me slightly.  There was something about them that I just did not ‘get’ on record. Often it can take experiencing a band live to finally hammer home what it is you did not (but should have) understood previously.  I learned this at the Oran Mor; a gig that seemed a peculiar but welcome addition to the Celtic Connections 2011 programme. For all the richness of their production, it wasn’t until I was getting battered with their distinct New York twang in person that my eyes widened and I felt like I had finally awoken.

In The New Year was certainly the first song that roused the above revelation and that also put emphasis on how reliant the band are on Hamilton Leithauser’s voice.  Indeed how he manages to retain a voice when the man sings somewhere between a nasal and throaty yell with perfect control and an ability to project an inordinate volume really does leave you wondering.

Latest album Lisbon’s outing was a proud one.  Blue As Your Blood bounced along on its 50s guitar riff. Victory was fantastic live realization of the pivotal ‘sound’ of the album.  While I Shovel The Snow was truly beautiful live; delicately scored with a full band tinkering away, perfecting the distant and subtle delicacies of the song to the reverent crowd. Stranded was played, apologetically, without any brass and was as moving without, as it is with, what you would think to be the pinnacle of the track.

The Rat, of course, rallied the crowd during the encore.  It is a song that speaks greatly to its audience. It is a miserablist and aggressive narrative, entirely indulgent and wholly intoxicating.  The chants around me of the infamous bridge had me wondering what heartache had fallen upon these many men.  You can read this and assume that I am being overly flighty but a lot of the testosterone heavy crowd were croaking as they left the venue as a result of screaming along for those four charged minutes.

Many things about The Walkmen can be appreciated live.  Whether that be their their strength of catalogue or instrumental precision; particular emphasis put on Matt Barrick.  But to appreciate The Walkmen is to live them.

If I were made of money…

…I’d go to all of these gigs. As it is, I’ve got a mortgage and a 3 week old baby so I’ll just have to be content with telling you that you should go to these gigs instead.

It’s by no means a definitive list, just some things we really would like to go to over the next while! If you do make it along to any of these, make us jealous and let us know how they were!

Sunday 16th January

Hazy Recollections, dubbed Celtic Connections’ Un-Official Hangover Cure, takes place tomorrow afternoon for the first in it’s series of weekly Celtic Connections residencies at the ABC. It all kicks of at 2:00pm and on this weeks bill there is Kitty The Lion, Rick Redbeard, Humbert Humbert, Rachel Sermanni and Elba’s latest podcastee AJ Roach.

If you like your Sunday nights noisy then get yourself along to the Liquid Ship for the first Brain Burner night. It’s free to get in and they are going to attempt 6 bands in the one evening! On the bill are Noma, Guanoman, Messiah Complex, Imperium and Public Spaces and late additions to the bill Roseanne Barrr. The Liquid Ship is tiny so get along early to make sure you get a space!

Wednesday 19th January

There seems to be a load of gigs on at the Oran Mor these days and the one that caught the eye this week is The Walkmen. Last year’s ‘Lisbon’ album was excellent so this should be a really good gig!

Friday 21st January

Friday, it’s the official start of the weekend and what a night you could have if you follow these two, easy to follow, steps.

1) Get yourself a ticket for Stereo. The Aye Tunes Blog are embarking on their first solo promotion and have Kochka, BoyGirlAnimalColour and Trapped Mice (fresh from recording at Elba) on the bill. Tickets are £3 in advance and £5 on the door. You can buy advance tickets here and as a wee special present, a sampler of the three bands can be downloaded here.

2) When booted out of 1) at around 10:30pm, hot foot it up Hope Street, along Bath Street and swing by Bloc where you will be just in time for BARmellodie, the new monthly residency from the peeps over at Armellodie. The bands kick off around 11ish and features The Douglas Firs, Battery Face and Le Reno Amps, a band that I have possibly seen more times than healthy. If all that wasn’t enough to put you off, us hipsters from Elba will be spinning some tunes throughout the evening along with the Armellodj’s. FREE until midnight, a bargainous £2 thereafter. We’ll see you at the bar!