Review: Meadowlark

There are few enough people gathered at the stage to watch Meadowlark at any given point during their set that I find myself keeping a headcount. At its busiest there are 33, though the number fluctuates depending on who needs another drink and whether someone decided pause for a moment on their way back or forth to the toilet, located stage left. Suffice to say, The Record Factory is an awkward venue that encourages a distracted kind of listening. The stage, where Bristol-based Kate McGill and Daniel Broadley stand in small pocket of darkness lit only by an array of those exposed filament bulbs you get in upmarket cafes, occupies a small alcove to the side of the room filled with chairs, tables, benches and sofas. To the patrons reclined in leather seats at the far end of the space, who presumably paid to be here, the live music we’re enjoying seems like an afterthought. 

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Review: The First Tree

Of the more experimental games to come out of the independent scene in recent years, many have a distinctly dream-like quality. Think big, empty environments rendered in striking colours, with horizons which seem to stretch into infinity. The otherworldly places in games like Journey, Proteus, Rain, House, Eternity and Eidolon have the feeling of expressionist paintings that you can visit, and you often awaken in these worlds with little idea of how you got there or what it is you’re there to do. Curiosity takes hold, and you find yourself drifting through these places as a dreamer might, exploring and observing slowly and thoughtfully, taking meaning where you can.  

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Review: LCD Soundsystem

James Murphy only makes big statements. Even the tiny minority of LCD Soundsystem songs that run less than five minutes long are dense with drama. Movement, the shortest track in the band’s catalogue, compensates for its more conventional runtime with a maelstrom climax that hits you like a cricket ball to the cranium. He is a man, and they are a band, for whom half measures are inconceivable. There are no filler tracks on LCD Soundsystem records, just as there are no raw sounds; every hi-hat snap, every keyboard bloop undergoes tireless processing, usually involving filters and generous decays.

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Review: Electric Fields

More field than Fields, Dumfriesshire’s two-day music and arts shinding was unquestionably a humble affair. But while the “arena” at Electric Fields, which was situated at the foot of Drumlanrig Castle, perhaps felt more akin to a country fayre than the grounds of premiere music festival (a tent offering introductory workshops on baking sourdough probably reinforced that impression somewhat) the line-up at  Electric Fields was anything but quaint.

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Review: Mac DeMarco

The house lights are up and a hundred or so kids dressed in second-hand clothes and skateboard trainers, ages ranging from late teens to late twenties, are hunkered down on the floorboards of the Usher Hall. Mac DeMarco, shirtless and laminated in sweat, is collapsed on the lip of the stage singing them a ballad about his estranged father. In the fenced-off trench between him and them, and dotted all around the venue, are event staff who stride and gesticulate while fast-muttering into their earpieces.

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