Category Archives: we were promised jetpacks

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Music Guide

As if your liver won’t come under enough strain, having spent Christmas Week pickled in mulled wine and Bier D’Or, the organisers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations have decided to extend the festivities. New Year will now be rung in for just the five nights, from 29th December to 2nd January. The entertainment is designed to offer something for everyone, so naturally, some of it will be a bit pish. But those willing to lay down their turkey drumsticks and jingle bells may find themselves rewarded with some decent live music. You just have to know where to find it.

Kicking off on the 29th Off Kilter will be combing live music and dance in the premiere of “an exhilarating new dance anthem for Scotland” mixed by DJ Dolphin Boy at the Festival Theatre. It all sounds pretty dodgy to me. They promise snippets of Franz Ferdinand, The Rezillos, Calvin Harris and Hugh McDiarmid. I promise nothing. Tread carefully children.

Calvin Harris plays a DJ set in the HMV Picturehouse on Wednesday 30th, but Mars and Jupiter align to produce negating circumstances, namely, tickets being extortionately priced, and Calvin Harris being a bit shit. So if I were you, I’d save myself for New Year’s Eve. I suggest getting yourself down to the Vic Galloway-hosted Waverley Stage, which is the clear highlight. The organisers have obviously been paying attention to the aural demands of the natives, pulling in Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Stanley Odd (some of the best acts on the Scottish music scene). Unfortunately they proceed to undo their good work by including rabble-rousing Coventry grease-monkeys The Enemy at the top of the bill. Why, oh why?

Madness and The Noisettes play sets at the Concert in the Gardens, on West Princes Street, and for those prepared to don their dancing shoes, The West End DJ Stage will feature performances from Mylo and sets from Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Tom Simpson, and Belle and Sebastian’s Richard Colburn.

I’m guessing that most of you will all be pretty hammered anyway and will have a debauch-filled night, regardless of who you see. Which is the name of the game, really.

Happy New Year, folks.

*A heavily edited version of this appeared in The Skinny’s Edinburgh Hogmanay Guide.

Diary of a Great Escape – Day Two

I should have known better than to have made even the slightest reference to the sunshine that beamed down on Brighton as I blogged yesterday. For no sooner had I closed up my laptop, the heavens opened. Cue torrential downpours and driving winds. The sea was as choppy as a Karate Kid box-set and I had a hole in my shoe.

So this is a British festival after all.

Whilst waiting to see We Were Promised Jetpacks on the Drowned in Sound stage (the first of a relatively unholy trinity of Scottish bands I had in my sights), we were treated to the spectacle of a policeman chasing a flock of seagulls along the beach, only for a gust of wind to take his hat twenty metres in the opposite direction. Wonder what the gulls had done?

We managed to catch the tail end of Jetpacks’ set which was, as expected, darn fast. The place was jam-packed, not sure whether that was solely down the Jetpacks’ draw or because Marnie Stern and Metric were on after them. We’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Maybe my focus has been to narrow, but the whole Indian rock n roll thing is not something I’m overly familiar with. Obviously the likes of Ravi Shankar have had an impact on mainstream music, but bar Cornershop and Nitin Sawhney, not many bands have enjoyed much success. It was pleasing, then, to see Indigo Children put on such a good show in the Providence.

They were followed on stage by Wintersleep, who may just be one of my new favourite bands. Halifax, Nova Scotia is where they call home, and whilst I am conscious of constantly bleating on about Canadian music, what the fuck are they putting in the water over there? They’ve been getting hefty airplay on 6 Music and are one to watch.

Since I moved from Edinburgh 4 months back, there’s been a Gulag-sized hole in my life. Since signing a lucrative contract to guarantee them a support slot at every single gig in Auld Reekie,
Broken Records became ingrained in my, and everybody else’s I guess, consciousness. So it was great to see them on the Mojo stage. Even if they did have to borrow a bass drum from Noah and the Whale.

Great Escape bills itself as “Europe’s leading festival for new music”, which is part of the reason why I’ve mostly chosen to avoid the big boys thus far. Faced with a choice of Ben Kweller, Metronomy, Noah and the Whale and Crystal Antlers, I decided to go see Polly Scattergood and FOUND. The former were an average synth pop outfit, fronted by a foxy young blonde and the latter were, as usual, a bunch of scruffy geniuses from Edinburgh.

This morning, I won’t tempt fate by mentioning the weather, but will remember not to wear those shoes. David Kitt is playing the Prince Albert at one, happy days…

Originally written for The Skinny – full review and pics to follow.

Q Magazine Track of The Day 24/02/2009

We Were Promised Jetpacks – Quiet Little Voices

Many record labels promote themselves as having a familial set-up; nurturing young bands through their first steps in the music business. Over the past few years, though, FatCat Records have taken the template to another level. A few years ago, their A&R men snapped up a Kilsyth three-piece, The Twilight Sad. They promptly shipped them out to America, rightly anticipating the positive reaction frontman James Graham’s broad Scottish brogue would gain from audiences out there. Their debut album, Fourteen Autumns And Fifteen Winters drew huge critical acclaim as the dust settle on 2007. So what did FatCat do? Why, sign their best mates of course.

Said best mates – and frequent touring buddies – Frightened Rabbit repeated the trick last year with their exceptional second album, The Midnight Organ Fight. The record scored highly in several end-of-year-lists and earned the band praise from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab For Cutie, who invited Frightened Rabbit to support them on their European tour late last year. Which leads us to today’s track by We Were Promised Jetpacks.

Born in Edinburgh, based in Glasgow and friends of Frightened Rabbit, WWPJ were the next addition to FatCat’s now burgeoning Scottish stable after the keen-eyed label noticed them whilst perusing FR’s MySpace friend-list. They accompanied Death Cab for a number of dates on the aforementioned tour and have been whipping up their own little storm of hype ever since. WWJP will be releasing their as yet untitled debut album in May of this year. Whether they will repeat the success of their compatriots and stable-mates remains to be seen, but the early signs are extremely promising.

Comparisons with Franz Ferdinand are flattering but not hyperbolic, as demonstrated by today’s track, Quiet Little Voices. It’s a blistering post-punk anthem of the highest pedigree: powerful and tuneful in just the right measures, with lead singer Adam Thompson’s understated vocals keeping proceedings in check just as they threaten to spiral out of control. It’s a definite statement of intent ahead of the band’s upcoming SXSW debut and a spring album release expected.

Video: We Were Promised Jetpacks – Quiet Little Voices (live)

Originally published here: