v LISTEN! I
The Pastels: same date. new venue
I The future of The Apollo is ‘vague‘ after a fire in the building upstairs on 31 August resulted in thousands of gallons of water ﬂooding the basement venue and studio, which had to be evacuated. ‘The bar got wet, but the ﬁre was at the recording studio end, so that‘s where most of the water went,‘ says Apollo spokesman and former List scribe John Williamson. ‘We really don‘t know what's going to happen. We‘ve been allowed in very brieﬂy to to salvage studio equipment — we rescued the master tapes ofthe saidflorence album, which was no small relief to them - and it’s unlikely that it'll be used as a studio again.‘ Some gigs are being moved to The Bogle Stone (please note that The Pastels are now playing the Art School on Fri 1 1, but the future is vague until the extent of the damage, and whether the building even stays standing, is assessed. ‘l‘m sure we‘re covered for it, but we‘ve got to survive hand-to-mouth until an insurance settlement — if there is an insurance settlement— is reached. And you know how serious that can be for a small company.‘
I Meanwhile. disaster has also struck Renaissance Studio, a 24-track analogue facility in Tayside, which was devastated by a fire that caused more than £50,000 worth of damage. The studio was intended to open for business on 25 August, following eight months‘ work by sound engineers Steve Hill and Grant Milne renovating farm buildings in the outskirts of Dundee. They are now planning a brand-new studio on the same site, ‘as soon as possible’.
I Battles of the Bands are one of those phenomena that never die out; and there's a mammoth one planned for Motherwell Town Hall, from Mon 14— Fri 18 (8pm each night, door price £1). The winner of the annual event will go on to play at the Motherwell Music Festival in October and get the chance to use Radio Clyde‘s recording
The power of three
Kristin Hersh tells Craig McLean why a stripped-down Throwing
Muses is not necessarily a bad thing.
‘One lonesome body, one lonesome s'ong. . .’ Midwaythrough Red Heaven, Kristin Hersh goes all wistful on us. She’s good at this. She should be. Six years, five albums and one mini-album have afforded Hersh - as the ever-constant singer, songwriter and guitarist with Bostonians with latitude Throwing Muses — plenty ofopportunity for soul-searching and sole cogitation. While other band members, most notably Hersh’s former writing partner Tanya Donelly, found their muse for the Muses a more tidal affair, Hersh is still there. Still twisting guitar lines into folkrockbuzz monkey puzzles. Still summoning lyrics from deep down neuroses and observations. Still contorting vocals into wriggling squeaks and primal howls. Still possessed of a fire for Throwing Muses and their mien.
‘Yeah,’ Hersh almost sighs, ‘though sometimes I wish I didn't because I really wanted out of the business a couple of years ago. But it could be that I just don’t know how to do anything else! But “fire” is a good word for it.‘
Now the Muses have settled at a steady state core twosome: Hersh and original drummer David Narcizo. 80 Red Heaven, their latest album, portrays a group not shaken but stirred by familial wrangles and Iitigational traumas and the ebb and flow of band members that accompanied the recording and release of the last album, The Real Ramona, in February 1991. So Red Heaven is clearer. more fluid, less obviously poppy, but more subtly impelling.
‘Actually. we needed all that upheaval to kick us in the ass. I’d stopped caring, so I needed something to make me choose to do it again, and ifyou‘re making a decision there’s gotta be something backing it up. And hopefully that something is good material. Unless it’s just stupidity!‘
Stupidity, I think not; personal (and personnel) pragmatism, more so.
‘I think this album is maybe a little cleaner because there was nothing to come between our heads and the tape. The more people you have to justify things to, I think the more
watered down they get.‘ For their imminent UK tour, Throwing Muses will risk expanding into a trio, but no further. Between the pivotal duo and the full band line-up that was their last live incarnation lies the perfect vehicle for Red Heaven‘s shimmy and shake. ‘I like the interplay ofa trio,‘ says Hersh, applying scientific rationality to the number of bods occupying her stage. ‘There‘s more chance to give the music space, so there’s more dynamism inherent in every single song. And then the bass gets to play a really nice role instead ofjust pounding along as a rhythm instrument. It‘s working between the
guitar and the drums which is really what is should be doing. As opposed to a layer effect that doesn’t really have a chance to deliver dynamics.‘ Right. And, of course, as everyone knows, ‘trios’ are inevitably ‘power trios'. Take Husker Dii for example. Take that as a neat link to introducing Mr Bob Mould, whose sawing. rasping vocals suddenly growl through on Red Heaven’s standout track, ‘Dio’. Aside from his unmistakably splendid voice. can we discern a conﬂuence of work ethics between Hersh and Mould— both as mantle-wearers and prime-movers in inﬂuential. erm, power trios'.’ ‘We both wish we didn’t care so
24 The List 11 — 24 September 1992