Scottish quartet Idlewild is living proof that touring actually works. The band has been relentlessly driving, sweating, playing, driving, sweating, playing over the last year, supporting the wonderful 100 Broken Windows. A collection of melancholy guitar blasts laced with just-a-guy-trying-to-figure-it-all-out lyrics, Idlewild's American debut has been out for some time. Thanks to much critical acclaim for Windows (and, most likely, a killer DVD system on the tour bus), these lads have been able to carve their way into the American concertgoing consciousness and thereby cash the checks their next-big-thing hype has been writing. Although Idlewild aren't consciously retro in any way, shape or form, their meat-and-potatoes instrumentation is definitely the aesthetic yin to post-rock's current laptop-cluttered yang. More simply, they're our best hope that rock & roll created with guitar, drums and bass can still be exciting and intelligent. Singer Roddy Woomble and his sidekick, guitarist Rod Jones, generate enough energy live to power an entire nightclub, thrashing about while singing about dead authors and televisions thrown on a fire to keep warm. According to reports, certain band members used to knock each other's teeth out at shows; although they no longer indulge in such behavior, Idlewild bring the motherfuckin' ruckus and will have you throwin' dem bows left and right to their indie-punk introspection. There'll be plenty of sensitivity and Who-style yaaaahhhs to go around; Roddy & Co. bring both smarts and physicality to their songwriting. But be forewarned, fellas: Not only are these dudes charming, unassuming and talented, they're scruffily cute -- and they have accents. Bringing your alterna-boo could be risky business. Just a tip.
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