A trawl through the latest tapes with Jonathan Trew
Slacker take it easy
Glaswegian four—piece ' Slacker get full marks for
the coyer of tltcit two—
track demo. Bit/title Ht'Ut/ The cassette sleeve features a close-up of a baby's ltead which looks as though it has just crammed a couple of hamsters into its capacious gob. The first track. ‘Shotgun Sayiour'. starts off with a squall of rising feedback before the drums kick in and the guitars start to grind. This is heavy rock in a pure fortn v— not a hint of grungy mess or funk crossover. Much the same cart be said of the second track. ‘Reincarnator'. although here the battle between the instruments giyes way at titnes to ntore introspectiye motnents. The yocals haye that kind of menacing intensity and deepness that suggests a lifetime of gat'gling gravel. Rock fans will lap it up and their efforts gave them third place in Radio ()ne's Rock Wars.
Back on the other side of the Ms. Dear John’s .S'untetinn's lint Haw '10 /.('l (in '10 Hung ()1: offers a blend of pop and rock that mixes melody with happy. smiley lyrics and some nifty guitar picking. ()ccasionally. but particulary on '(lirl In Time. the yocals alternate between strained and flat but let's not split hairs. l The fourth track. "fixtcey’. l brings Marilliott to mind l in places. if that‘s your i bag. l
Nowhere’s three-track demo bursts open in fine style witlt (in! lip (in! ()II (in! (ll/"which bill/es along energetically and is reminiscent of The .-\d\‘crts “(.iary (iilmore's liyes‘ II) the rush of its chorus. ‘Secret Smile'. the second track. starts off a lot tamer. although it picks tip and gains some raunchy momentum before petering out. Still. the filial track. ‘I Know You're Going To Break My Heart. redeems the damage with its jaunty swagger. Could haye been a post-punk Buzzcock's anthem fifteen years ago.
Phone The I.I\I t'tr contact numbers. g_.__-.____-
The band play
Gavin Bryars: captain of a sinking ship
Okay, it might not be marked in your
diary, but this month marks the 83rd anniversary of the sinking of The Titanic. On 14 April 1912, the unthinkable happened to the
unsinkable and almost 1500 lives were
I lost at sea, including those of the
’ liner’s band, who, so history now tells
; us, were still playing the hymn ‘tlearer My God To Thee’ as the ship went
down. Can they still be heard? Marconi’s theory is that underwater sound never actually stops, but simply
:- fades away, growing fainter and
It is a subject which has interested many, but composer Gavin Bryars became so immersed in the disaster that in the early 70s he took the story as the basis for a quite extraordinary multi-media piece called ‘The Sinking Of The Titanic’. It is a piece which, as new material comes to light, is still open to change, and the version which can be heard at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre is Bryars’ latest fresh look at it.
‘lt’s a version I’ve made for my ensemble of ten musicians, some pre- recorded material and various electronic devices,’ he says. ‘It’s about 35 minutes long and involves a number of self-contained ensembles. When I did the new version, I introduced elements like the presence of children on the ship, so we have a choir of boy trebles — they’re on tape in Edinburgh - and a group of string players, which includes my own two daughters, aged twelve and fifteen, playing cello.’
There were also a couple of bagpipers, from Ireland and Scotland, on board the ship, so Bryars gives the bass clarinet a solo like a Scottish lament. ‘When I first wrote the piece,’
he explains, ‘I did a massive amount of '
research and I’m always incorporating new elements from that and other discoveries into it. I know it’s a terrible pun, but it’s really just the tip of the iceberg.’ (Carol Main)
‘The Sinking Of The Titanic’ is at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Sat 15.
i The boy done (good
lleil Sturgeon: caviar attitude
If you want a song sung blue, tleil Sturgeon is your man. His recent ‘Badger’ EP showcased a selection of songs from the heart about the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune, about the unpredictability of life . . . on the football field. Firhill, to be precise. It was an EP about Partick Thistle. A eulogy to the Jags. Sturgeon performed some of the songs (which
1 were used in David Belcher’s play ‘Partick Thistle Football Grazy’) on ‘Sportscene’. Thistle manager John Lambie said he’d ‘heard a lot about the boy’s songs’ (note reference to ‘the boy’ - a footie seal of approval if ever there was one). It was a personal e epiphany for Sturgeon.
‘Why not be sensitive about football?’ he says. ‘lt’s a loudon Wainwright influence, I think. He had songs on hundreds of different subjects and I just thought, “Why not write some football ones?”’
‘They’ve been playing the tape before games at Firhill. It’s a total psychedelic experience.’
His solo sidelines (he also plays in indie janglers A Chocolate Morning and new mod/garage band The Afterglow) first started to take over when he participated in an arts exchange to India. This involved playing school concerts in a few cities in the north west of the country with co-performer Frank Gallagher. On their return, the duo assembled a studio and started the Troubadour label. The first release later this month is Sturgeon’s solo album, ‘Nothinghead’.
‘l’ve got quite consumed in it, the artwork and all that,’ he says. ‘A lot of the songs I’d written in the last year were quite personal things I wanted to go alone with. I think sometimes rather than ideas being enhanced by other musicians they’re just going through a cheese grater and getting diluted. I always wanted more time to do high vocals because I’m into The Mamas And The Papas and lots of vocal groups.
‘There aren’t many rules attached to making the album. It wasn’t a Bob Dylan sit-down-and-sing-a-song thing.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
‘Nothlnghead’ is released at the end of April. The ‘Badger’ EP is available from Tower Records, the Thistle shop and various Maryhill Road pubs frequented by Jags fans.
Respect is dew
‘Push just a little bit harder,’ they sang. and followed their own advice. Now. Moist are one of Canada‘s top bands and are making inroads here too. Alastair Mabbott is suitably impressed by their swift progress.
Somehow. we’ve learned over the years not to rely on Canada to turn ottt rock‘s bright young hopes. And that's despite Neil Young. Joni Mitchell. Leonard Cohen. Rush they. they had their moments). Bryan Adams (cr . . .l. Dream Warriors (new album otit
now) . . . and Moist. whose British fans raised a collective eyebrow as their debut album of last year. Silver. failed to ascend to the top of the charts and bring end-of—thc-year awards showering over the Vancouver live- piece that brought it into being. It's a different story in their homeland.
Real road-rats. Moist didn't stop touring to go into the studio when they got signed. They'd already recorded an album at their own expense, so just leased it to Chrysalis and kept on
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