I Bruce Flndlay’s new independent label is definitely going ahead. and it‘s virtually certain that Barky! Barky will be the first band to release a single on it. With Findlay also handling the affairs of saidflorence (described by one record label insider as ‘the most exciting thing to come out of Scotland in five years — in every way" ). there is speculation that the label‘s second single might be saidﬂorence's debut. Doubt has been cast on that theory. though. by the tremendous interest shown in the band by major London labels. CBS. who are said to have made them a substantial offer already. are ﬂying practically their whole office up for a showcase at King Tut's. and a similar showcase for EMl's benefit is also on the cards.
I Wet Wet Wet have put back the release oftheir new album. High On The Happy Side. to 20 January. the reason being that the band want to give away a free eight-track album of cover versions of some of their favourite songs. The Wets have always made a feature of including other people‘s songs in their set (and. as some unkinder commentators than ourselves might have it. in their lyrics). and have already released a similar album in their Big Day live set. but we can assume that the freebie won‘t duplicate songs from it.
I Captain America discovered the joys oflife on the road on their way down to Bristol to support Nirvana recently. To be more precise. they discovered the pitiless hell of being stuck in Carlisle for eight hours— an experience that has driven harder men than they to madness. alcoholism and suicide — when their van broke down. Needless to say. they missed the gig entirely. but Nirvana touchingly played a few Vaselines songs (Captain America‘s Eugene being an ex~Vaselinc. ofcourse) at the start of their set to make up for it. And still things took a turn for the worse. Deciding to travel on to London once the van was patched up. The Vaselines arrived at a friend‘s ﬂat with every intention of sleeping there — only to find that he had
'L just locked himselfout.
l v ROCK
Last seen around these parts supporting Voice Of The Beehive, Maidstone’s Airhead have been making diverse support slots their speciality, playing on bills with Big Country and Alison Moyet while their line single ‘Funny How’ grabbed unexpected handfuls of Radio One airtime and rose to 55 in the chart. It’s a policy that, with the weight of WEA Records behind them, is bearing fruit. The radio plays and the support slots are keeping their fan base fairly diverse, and the band are noticing a healthy proportion oi young women in the front rows. ‘Something for the
drummer anyway,’ says bassist Ben Kesteven, ominously adding, ‘We’re all a bit old forthat sort of thing.’
The appeal ofAirhead (originally Jefferson Airhead until lawyers representing members oi Jefferson Airplane threatened action) is a good reflection of what brought them together in the first place. As Kesteven explains, ‘We were all into three-minute perfect pop songs, all big Beatles fans,’ and they do have the edge on many of their peers. Their LP, ‘Bolng’ splendidly shows off their talent for delivering melodies with a brashness and pop instinct that recalls some of The Wonder Stuff’s finer moments. Any resemblance to Five Thirty he puts down to the two bands sharing the same producer, George Shilling, adding, ‘There are a lot of bands doing that sort of thing to varying degrees.’
Not that he regards them as competition, because ‘they all seem to be in a big sort of club. They hang around together and we’ve made a point of trying to reach a wider base. We are prepared to admit our music is vaguely similar, but we think we are a few leagues above that— that’s very arrogant, but you’ve got to have self-bellef.’ (Alastair Mabbott) Airhead play King Tut’s, Glasgow on Sat9.
Acapulco or bust
‘Live, we’re so sloppy you wouldn’t believe it. Amazingly, you can get away with it. People seem to get off on a complete cock-up. Even if we're playing crap, they’re still saying these incredible things. . . I rate our chances of being around this time next year as not very high. . . I can't see it lasting, probably be a backlash soon, because nothing we’re doing is original in any way. We’d never claim to be an innovative band . . . We’re not going to set the world on fire, but, for a first attempt, it’s not bad.’
No, these are not the words of Jimbob Carter, though perhaps they should be. They are selected statements from the self-eflacing Paul Thompson. grappling increduloust with the whirlwind progress and ecstatic reception of his band Midway Still, who have just blown out the candles on their first birthday cake and celebrate the release of their second single, ‘Wish’, with their first proper British tour.
His tempered analysis of their worth is typical of the way Midway Still refuse to run before they’ve learned to crawl; but through no effort of their own, they’ve found themselves prime targets of that favourite national pastime, Finding Britain’s Answerto Hiisker Dii. So let’s stick them under the microscope and examine their credentials: yes, they play heart-stopping tunes, simple melodies covered in lashings of grungey guitar; yes, they sound like they come from Minneapolis and not Catford or some
other metropolitan suburb with a dearth of freeways and gleaming open-top convertibles; yes, there are three of them - but one look at the band and it’s clearthat things are sartorially askew. Instead of the five-mlles-of-checked-shirt lumberjack look, Midway Still favour Polynesian chic, sporting Hawaiian shirts the like of which haven’t been seen since Presley’s technicolour nightmare ‘Fun In Acapulco’, and, not content with a functional short back and sides, the group boast Metallica-modelled bamets. Seek ye not the new Husker Dir, but for three-minute garage-pop adrenalin, look no further. (Fiona Shepherd) Midway Still play King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Fri 15 and the Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 17.
iing up a fuss
Kenny Mathieson looks at the latest twist in the career of saxophonist Steve Williamson
While others on the new British jazz scene were signing record contracts right, left and centre in the 80s. Steve Williamson decided to bide his time. For a couple of years at the turn of the decade, he was the hottest unsigned property around, while albums from lesser players came ,
30 The List 8 — 21 November 1991