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Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE

Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom | INDIE
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Pensioner @ Ceol-Mor

Inverness, None, United Kingdom

Inverness, None, United Kingdom

Pensioner @ Cafe Drummonds

Aberdeen, None, United Kingdom

Aberdeen, None, United Kingdom

Pensioner @ Banshee Labyrinth

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Scotland? Angst? Surely not. Yet over the past few years the likes of Biffy Clyro have made big waves, weaving their angular anger around melody and musical power. Now it’s Pensioner’s turn in the limelight, although the Dundee quartet perhaps have more in common with our own ASIWYFA than any of their countrymen. That said, Pensioner use vocals to sustain their gloomy riffs and speed-drumming, and although Ross Middlemiss shouts a lot, he also displays adept range on songs such as Status Whoa . There’s plenty of stormy drama and dark waltzes here, tempered by the beautifully melodic passages on Enter Shakira and the pacey Like, Epic! It’s a respectable if uneven affair; suddenly the dichotomy of band name and album title makes sense. These are flighty songs in experienced hands.

See Download tracks : Enter Shakira; Like, Epic! - The Irish Times

The debut from Dundee math-rock quartet Pensioner provides some of the most indisputably silly song titles you'll ever encounter (this writer was particularly taken with Big Trouble in Little Richard, and Bruce Forsyth's 'Chin It To Win It'). That aside, however, humour is not a dominant quality on Yearlings. What the record does demonstrate is a remarkably assured grasp of dynamic possibilities, shifting rapidly between At the Drive-In-style screeching choruses and muted guitar lines.

Pensioner have a fondness for wrongfooting chord progressions and clean/heavy shifts which, combined with an unashamedly dramatic vocal style, sometimes brings brooding post-metal like Isis to mind. For the most part, though, there are too many ideas here, and too much hyperactive enthusiasm, to contain the music within that sort of template. The titles might suggest a band that don't take things too seriously; yet Yearlings is a deceptively accomplished record. [Sam Wiseman]
- The Skinny

I do love a band that has fun with song titles, and Dundonian noise merchants Pensioner certainly do that. Their debut album, Yearlings, features such tracks as Massive Ferguson, Big Trouble in Little Richard, the ever so risque Enter Shakira and my favourite, Annannannawiddecombe.

But strip away the silliness and you still have a band who know how to seriously rock. Formed from the ashes of Dundee favourites Juliet Kilo and Alamos, Pensioner have linked up with rising Glasgow indie label Olive Grove Records for the album.

It's refreshing to find a label run by genuine music fans - in this case, key bloggers and tastemakers in the shape of Halina Rifai (Glasgow PodcART) and Lloyd Meredith (Peenko). While Pensioner are unlikely to find daytime mainstream radio play at this stage, the underground isn't likely to be their final resting place. Like Biffy Clyro before them, they have the potential to take it all the way. Their take on melodic hardcore, coupled with a few musical twists and turns, is a joy.

As unpredictable as it is brilliant, Pensioner already have a contender for album of the year. How can you go wrong when the packaging comes complete with instructions to turn it into an origami horse? More at - The Scottish Sun

I had a beer-fuelled pub debate recently about the demise of the ‘proper’ rock LP. Namely, a record that’s about ten songs long, isn’t a concept album or some sort of thematic set piece, and just delivers a snapshot of a band’s development at a moment in time. The internet has done some great things for music, but alongside the somewhat double-edged swords of convenience and accessibility it also allows appalling self-indulgence to occur – the sort of nonsense which was once available only to the really rich and famous act who had money to throw away. But, in the midst of a market saturated with the over-egged and terribly serious products of fevered, suffering musicianship come Pensioner. Emerging from the churn of musicians which makes Dundee look potentially more incestuous even than Glasgow, Pensioner seemed to rise from the ashes of a number of bands some time last year. They brought with them that most elusive of all things in the music world – a sense of humour. This is evident from the earliest listen to their music, which is infectious and enjoyable in no small part because they’re having a blast playing it. There’s also a more immediately obvious comic outlet in the absurd song titles which bear virtually no relationship to the contents. After all, why should having grandiose, odd or ludicrously lengthy titles be the preserve of instrumental post-rock acts? But, despite daring to have fun and not being ashamed of raising a smile in public, it’s absolutely important not to write-off Pensioner as anything less than one of the most exciting emerging groups in Scotland at the moment, and “Yearlings” is a fitting opening to this career.

For all the simplicity of this concept, Pensioner are a tricky act to pin down. There are moments during “Yearlings” – not least early favourite “Gadgie Weddin’” – where it’s possible to close your eyes and imagine that you’re listening to something which Dischord Records would relish releasing – tight turns in mid-song, cascades of noise vying with spine-tingling melody, and a vocal range from a downbeat indie-drone to a hardcore howl of rage. In particular, the rhythm section appears capable of technical shifts and time changes which probably shouldn’t be possible – and certainly shouldn’t attempted by the uninitiated. No-one is doing this kind of thing these days – and those who are trying even parts of this heady mixture of elements aren’t doing it nearly as well as Pensioner. The trademark song titles reach a peak of silliness – and a neat musical in-joke – with “Annannannawidecombe”. In yet another variation of pace and tone this is nearly jangling indie-pop with a comparatively playful mood dominating. But there is a dark lyrical undercurrent here, indicated not least by the curious line ‘on this peninsula the broken bodies lie‘. The track builds and grows, finally strengthening into an epic ending. Next, “Sports Science” kicks off with a menacing intro and progresses with slashing guitars and a sinister bassline which support a genuinely unhinged sounding vocal. But even here, where Pensioner appear to be at their darkest and most serious, there are sudden bursts of deft, joyously complex guitar work, the melody ushering in a simple but swooning chorus. The track is coupled to “Daniel O’Dickhead” which marks a distinct change to chiming melodies and a snare-drum shuffle. These are two distinct but interconnected songs, and it’s certainly not just a case of having too many bizarre song titles to spare.

Of course there is risk when you’re dealing with a pretty straightforward band set up of guitars, bass and drums that things will begin to sound a little similar – but Pensioner pull off a neat touch in the sequencing and variation of this material which many similar bands seem to miss entirely. “Like, Epic” was an early taster for this record, and contains enough time changes and weird shifts of rhythm and volume to keep everyone on their toes. Here, Pensioner are beating those early 90s American acts at their own game, with solid drums and sinuous bass. Then, when you think you’ve got the measure of things, it all goes quiet and suddenly the band have become a pretty convincing post-rock act – producing a delicate but still driven instrumental coda to the track with neat guitar lines delicately weaving around the energetic rhythm section, before the inevitably noisy ending. This would have been a pretty incredible piece of music in it’s own right, but as another aspect of an already fine track it’s almost too much. The record closes with the dizzyingly complicated but remarkable “Massive Ferguson” which enters as a slow-burning anthem before switching up a gear to become a jittering, angry rant of a song – then down-shifts again resolving into a chugging indie-rock standard. It’s a fittingly diverse and complex closure to an album that is full of clever tricks, neat shifts and surprising turns. This could of course all be just a little showy – a bit too much of a portfolio of the possible for the band. However, it doesn’t ultimately work out that way at all, and the whole album hangs together as perfectly crafted collection of songs which have clearly benefited from lots of live performance, and the opportunity to tighten up into their technically precise recorded form.

It’s pleasantly challenging to be writing about a good rock record in a year which has so far been the preserve of the quieter, more reflective artist….and please be in no doubt, this is a great rock record – noisy, energetic and dynamic in equal parts and with a sense of the bands now legendary live performances captured and preserved in the recording. A huge amount of respect is due to Olive Grove Records too, for daring to buck the trend and for getting behind an act which falls well outside the at present rather restricted comfort zone of Scottish music. This is a powerful, slow-burning album which is packed with enough surprises to keep you coming back to Pensioner. It’s easy to forget in fact that this is a debut – and the fact that this band may have even more, yet to be revealed tricks up their sleeve is both daunting and exciting in equal measure.
- Songs Heard on Fast Trains

It’s hard to say what I like most about Pensioner at the moment. Let me count the ways…
1) They’re the most misleadingly-entitled rabble since The Barenaked Ladies.
2) Their melodic and raucous debut album, ‘Yearlings’ (Olive Grove), has the finest track titles this side of Half Man Half Biscuit.
3) Their Bandcamp page defines their sound as “indie jazz rock Dundee”…
4) Their album comes replete with directions to make an origami horse.
5) These Jute city dudes make stadium-baiting, loveable, wily rock ‘n’ roll.
WIN. - Nicola Meighan

You can tell a lot about a band without listening to a single note of music.

With song titles that include Big Trouble in Little Richard and (we shit you not) Annannannawiddecombe, it’s fair to say that po-faced Americana is well and truly off the table.

Whether you class their song titles as amusing or just a bit stoopid (let’s chuck Enter Shakira into the mix while we’re at it), the music bears very little relation to a glance at the back of their album cover.

The Dundee foursome have put together a slab of uneasy listening riffs, multi-parted songs and howled vocals that recall the top end output of almost forgotten (but actually rather good) ’00s Teesiders yourcodenameis:milo.

Once Intro ebbs away (I’m sorry, what’s so funny about ‘Intro’) we’re into the stop/start driving guitars of Big Trouble… and a relentless aural assault that doesn’t let up for another eight tracks. Gadgie Weddin’ even has a wee hook or too but that daytime radio playlist chance (ha!) hits the skids with a magnificently awkward time change a minute from the end.

The band, a four piece from Dundee in case you’re wondering, have crafted a hugely enjoyable rock record that will be difficult to pigeonhole. It’s also an unusual curveball for Olive Grove Records who’ve largely given us downbeat folksy stuff so far but let’s quickly list a number of non-genres you might be able to pile Pensioner into – screamo, post hardcore, carrot stew.

That last one might be even more made up than the others but it’s bound to appeal to band that have named a song Daniel O’Dickhead.

Anyways, it would be easy to how this album appeal to a fairly young audience (I believe the kids enjoy beat combos with loud guitars and shouting), but good music shouldn’t be bound by age restrictions.

This old rock veteran-cum-folkie reckons that songs such as album highlight Like, Epic deserve to be heard by as many people as possible. It’s an anthemic number that goes all hushed before it blasts back with a burst of wall-punching euphoria – an old trick that’s not difficult to mess up, but it takes a great song to REALLY pull it off.

God knows it’s better than anything Twin Atlantic have done. - The Tidal Wave of Indifference

They've been hyped on national radio and there are big things expected of them, so it was with some excitement GrapeVine opened up Pensioner's debut album after it had been dropped off "by someone who looked like Morrisey".

Even better then that the album packaging looked amazing, came wrapped in string and had instructions to turn the outer layer into an origami horse. With all this excitement, I honestly wasn't sure if the music could live up to it.

Thankfully, the Dundee four-piece obviously spend just as much time on their songwriting as they do on their paper manipulating skills and have produced a cracking 10-track effort.

That record, Yearlings, which was recorded with the local super-producer Robin Sutherland (Laeto, Stapleton, Avast!) crackles and fires from start to finish, combining excellent musicianship with enough hooks to draw you in and make you sit up and notice.

The band, Ross Middlemiss (vocals and guitar), Mike Lennie (vocals and bass), Mark Keiller (vocals, percussion and drums) and Callum Sutherland formed from the ashes of various well-known Dundee acts and they've brought together all the best bits for this outfit.

The influences spill across the alt-rock spectrum but it's difficult to make comparisons to other acts without being lazy and unfair to Pensioner. Ross Middlemiss' distinctive, and, thankfully, naturally Scottish sounding vocal keeps things flowing as intricate guitar riffs merge with pounding drums - illustrated none better than in the fantastically named, Big Trouble in Little Richard.

If the tunes weren't as big and impressive, the song titles would themselves stand out as a highlight for the album, with the likes of Gadgie Weddin', Annannannawiddecombe and personal favourite, Bruce Forsyth's 'Chin It To Win It'.

Status Whoa shows the band can combine crunching heaviness with subtle and more melodic noises as the album comes towards its close.

Since forming in early 2009, Pensioner have already recorded and self-released their debut EP and played all over Scotland with the likes of ...And So I Watch You From Afar, The Twilight Sad, Errors, Lafaro and have recently supported The Phantom Band.

If their debut album is anything to go by, it should only be onwards and upwards for Dundee's latest guitar heroes, and don't be surprised if they are making waves beyond the city over the next 12 months. Yearlings is released on May 2 on Olive Grove Records, Pensioner play Dexters in Dundee on Saturday night with support from Kaddish and Trapped in Kansas.

- Dundee Evening Telegraph

Pensioner hail from Dundee and this 4-piece band have released their debut album ‘Yearlings’ to a rapturous reception. Mike Lennie (guitar/vox), Cal Sutherland (guitar/vox), Ross Middlemiss (bass/vox) and Mark Keiller (drums) have proven to be an enormous breath of fresh air amongst the crossfire of alternative rock/metal of late.

Tracks such as ‘Sports Science/Daniel O’Dickhead’ are saturated with a punchy dynamic and maintain a clarity that helps the listener appreciate the melodic undertones amidst the mayhem. Screamo vocals are often stereotyped, however I think Pensioner would be almost bereaved without them. The excellent guitar weavings of Lennie and Sutherland combined with some of the best drumming I have witnessed care of Keiller show a rock intellect that is hard to ignore.

My clear favourite on ‘Yearlings’ is the resplendent ‘Massive Ferguson’. This song is a beautiful braiding of so many eclecticisms that I am on my umpteenth listen and I am still finding delicately violent pieces of genius. From the opening assault of staggered percussion and unified yet defiant singing this is triumphant. We are left with a lucid melodic diminuendo that dilutes all the prior madness. From maximum ferocity to a flourishing breeze, Pensioner demonstrate fantastic musicianship on this closing album track.

Pensioner exemplify the ever diminishing fissure between bliss and confusion on this glorious debut. This is why they continue to remain unique in my ears and mind. - Glasgow PodcART

By the end of ‘Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension’, the opening cut on Pensioner’s new EP, there’s already a huge misnomer in play. It’s anything but elder, anything but rusty-jointed and it is anything but grey-haired.

The track concludes with Iron Maiden-meeting-math, with galloping bass and fluid lead guitar attacks morphing together in a melee of head-banging mayhem, but the rest of the song is equally as punchy. At times, this band from Dundee aren’t afraid of songwriting convention, with a classically swooping chorus punctuating most of the song, but it’s in the pulsing pre-chorus that we instantly find one of the EP’s gems, an ascending vocal melody that sneaks slyly into that hair raising spot on the back of your neck.

The kinetic ending of the first track is immediately displaced onto ‘Le Coq Sportif’ too, with a drum explosion leading into more math majesty. There’s dirty riffage and palm-muted gruffness, there’s an earthy aura pervading throughout. Time for an instrumental then to catch some breath, but ‘From Rags To Riches’ isn’t the most docile of interludes, with metal gusto interspersed with more hints of everyone’s favourite new genre – math-rock.

The final track – the gloriously nay-sayingly titled ‘Credit Crunch, Schmedit Schmunch’ – showcases this band’s penchant for shared vocals, but despite some chord progressions that simmer wickedly like a witch’s broth, it lacks somewhat the alluring panache of the preceding three tracks.

Despite the slightly less vigorous finale than this EP deserves, this is exciting stuff. It’ll be a long, long way off for many of us, but if this is what receiving your pension is going to be like, hitting sixty-something might just be a whole load of fun. - Glasgow PodcART

In many respects, one could write off Pensioner as just another Scottish band of talented musicians taking too much influence from successful Scottish bands such as Biffy Clyro and Mogwai. From the intricate rhythmic changes on opener ‘Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension’ to the distortion driven instrumental ‘From Rags to Glitches’, references to poverty and deprivation reveal that the band also take a lot of their lyrical influence from their surroundings. What gives them their edge, however, is their aggression. Expressed most clearly on second track ‘Le Coq Sportif’ and final track ‘Credit Crunch, Schmedit Schmunch’, it is this single raw emotion which drives this four track EP and should show Pensioner as far more than imitations of those that inspire them. - Is This Music?

Scotland’s quite good at doing emo, and its affiliated genres. There must be something in the water that makes them great, yet hard to book and prone to splitting up a short while after their inception. This is a good start anyway, and sounds much more accomplished than I expected. It spreads itself widely across the board, and engages razor sharp angular twanging into delay soaked shimmering in the flick of a hi-hat. It’s difficult to pin down and even more difficult to familiarise yourself with it. I especially like the vocals, as they shift between singing and shouting patterns. The yelps sound almost off-mic, which I always enjoy, as I envisage it to coincide with bro-hugging and the beating of chests. Then they crush that imagery by returning to the singing like choir boys. It all sort of reminds me of Kid Crash, yet a little bit more rabid than New Ruins, though not as relentless as Jokes, but equally dissonant and disjointed. Native also spring to mind, but I personally find Native irritating to listen to, as they build up awkward ideas that go absolutely nowhere, where as Pensioner show progressive and flourishing song writing, which makes this demo sound very accomplished and incredibly promising. - Collective Zine

There’s little straightforward about Pensioner. The name’s a misnomer, their history is written in colourful, far-flung prose, whilst this self-titled debut EP is a restless, mutating beast that jerks and spasms with inventive time changes and unexpected, crunching codas.

Spawned from Dundonian band Alamos, Pensioner carry the torch of now-defunct countrymen De Rosa in their soft, rousing vocal melodies. These OAPs are, however, a much heavier affair musically. Opening track Goodbye Tension, Hello Pension carves several, wrong-footing rock crescendos from its delicate opening bars, whilst Le Coq Sportif’s contrasting, to-and-fro vocal duelling are an easily spotted highlight. Instrumental offering From Rags to Glitches feels a little lost in amongst it all, and perhaps highlights that Pensioner need their all-singing abilities to tie their many strings together. Thankfully, finale Credit Crunch, Schmedit Schmunch (where do they get these wonderful titles?) gets these senior citizens back on track. [Darren Carle] - The Skinny


The debut album 'Yearlings' was released on May 2nd 2011 through Olive Grove Records. Tracks from the LP received airplay from Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland), Ally McCrae (BBC Radio 1), Jim Gellatly (Amazing Radio/Radio Magnetic/New Music Podcast), Georgie Rogers/Aaron Phillips (Amazing Radio) and a track also featured on the BBC Radio Scotland Introducing Podcast. Tracks from the album also featured in a live session the band did for BBC Introducing on Radio 1 in Scotland with Ally McCrae in July 2011.

'Big Trouble in Little Richard'/'Like, Epic!' single was released on August 30th 2010. The tracks received air play from Catriona Shearer (BBC Radio Scotland), Vic Galloway (BBC Radio 1), Jim Gellatly (Amazing Radio) and several podcasts including Glasgow PodcART & Detour Scotland.

Pensioner released their self-titled debut EP in December 2009, and it received air play from Vic Galloway on Radio One; Jim Gellatly's New Music podcast on Radio Magnetic, the Is This Music? Podcast (also on Radio Magnetic), Glasgow PodcART and Spain's Cielo Liquido.



Pensioner are an independent rock band from Dundee, Scotland. The band are: Ross Middlemiss (Vocals, Guitar), Mike Lennie (Vocals, Bass), Mark Keiller (Vocals, Percussion, Drums) and Callum Sutherland (Vocals, Guitar). Since forming in early 2009, they have already recorded and self-released their debut EP, a double a-side single and in May 2011 released their debut album 'Yearlings' on Olive Gr...ove Records. They have also played all over Scotland with the likes of …And So I Watch You From Afar, The Twilight Sad, Tera Melos, Errors, LaFaro and The Phantom Band.

'Yearlings' featured in several 'Best Of' lists for 2011 including Vic Galloway's Top 50 and Jockrock's Top 25 whilst also being mentioned in The Herald's 'Highlights of 2011'.

The band did a live BBC Introducing session for Ally McCrae on BBC Radio 1 in Scotland, with a track also featuring on the BBC Introducing show UK-wide.

Highlights in 2010 included a successful showcase at GoNorth in Inverness, airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Scotland, Amazing Radio, Glasgow PodcART and Spain’s Cielo Liquido! Pensioner also recently featured on the ‘Bands to Watch in 2011' lists of Vic Galloway (BBC Radio Scotland) and Ally McCrae (BBC Radio 1).

Their debut album was recorded with the impressive Robin Sutherland (Laeto, Stapleton, Avast!) and has had airplay on BBC Radio 1/Scotland, Amazing Radio and a growing variety of podcasts including the BBC Radio Scotland Introducing Podcast.

The album is available through Pensioner’s Bandcamp which you can find at

Full tracklisting is:

1. Intro
2. Big Trouble in Little Richard
3. Gadgie Weddin’
4. Enter Shakira
5. Annannannawiddecombe
6. Sports Science/Daniel O’Dickhead
7. Like, Epic!
8. Status Whoa
9. Bruce Forsyth’s ‘Chin It To Win It’
10. Massive Ferguson

"As unpredictable as it is brilliant, Pensioner already have a contender for album of the year" - Jim Gellatly (Scottish Sun)

“...full of angular rock classics” – Ally McCrae (BBC Radio 1)

"...raucous, fun-time calling card from Dundee noise-poppers" - Nicola Meighan (The Herald)

"The titles might suggest a band that don't take things too seriously; yet Yearlings is a deceptively accomplished record." - 4/5 Review, The Skinny (#2 in top 5 album of July 2011)

"...these are flighty songs in experienced hands" The Irish Times

" accomplished album they should be rightly proud of" - Muso's Guide

"’s absolutely important not to write-off Pensioner as anything less than one of the most exciting emerging groups in Scotland at the moment, and “Yearlings” is a fitting opening to this career." – Songs Heard On Fast Trains

"Pensioner exemplify the ever diminishing fissure between bliss and confusion on this glorious debut." – Glasgow PodcART

"The band, a four piece from Dundee in case you’re wondering, have crafted a hugely enjoyable rock record that will be difficult to pigeonhole." – The Tidal Wave of Indifference