SLEEP TALK! 1
Rumours of the death of grrrnge have been greatly exaggerated of late. yet Mudlroney. the group more responsible than most for spawning the wild-eyed monster. are intent on keeping the hair flying for a good few years yet. Not that it‘s easy to discern any enthusiasm in drummer Dan Peters' voice. He is so laid-back that the phrase 'asleep on one‘s feet’ could have been coined for him. His sentences are punctuated with slow pauses and each word is drawled out in a series of elongated syllables. All of which is in stark contrast to the musical vitriol Mudhoney produce on stage and on vinyl.
Their new album. My Brut/fer The Cow. rages against many of the ills of contemporary America. but Dan seems to be a completely anger-free zone. mellow to the point of a Mogadon trance. Happy. even. 'I'm a pretty up kind of guy. Few things really piss me off or burn me out. l'nt not oppressed. l‘m not black and living in the South.’ You can add your own gaps between the phrases to achieve the full sleepy effect.
Mudhoney's move from Sub Pop to major label WEA has had no effect on their music. and the band must be the last on earth that anyone could accuse of selling out. Vaulting ambition just ain‘t their strong point. ‘There's definitely a better climate for a band like ours to maybe get some success. But you know if that doesn't happen then that's cool. To have big expectations to be like a big-selling band is like really dumb. I guess that as a band we just don‘t give two shits.‘ says Peters. modestly.
Compare that statement with some of the more outrageous pronouncements of Oasis. etc. and a reversal of the stereotypical bragging Yank and reserved Brit begins to take form. (Jonathan Trew)
Mia/honey play The Arches, Glasgow on Sun 2 l .
36 The List 19 May-l Jun 1995
Mudhoney: odestly yours
IKE— Three’s company
Kenny Mathieson sounds
l outjazz singer Claire Martin.
l . . . .
j Claire Martrn is widely regarded as the
l rrrost accomplished young jazz singer
5 on the British scene. and she has given
- every reason to believe that perception is fully justified. She rrrade her Scottish
i debut in potentially daunting
i circumstances. opening for Tony Bennett at the Glasgow Jazz Festival to a packed Concert Hall in 1992. and carried it off with the kind of confident.
assured stage presence we might expect of a veteran performer.
Subsequent visits — although still too rare — have re-affirmed the fact that she is a genuine jazz singer. with no qualifying adjectives required. Her choice of material. impeccable in itself. reveals an awareness of a sophisticated
pop register in tunes like Joni Mitchell’s ‘Be Cool' or Tom Waits‘s ‘Old Boyfriends‘. but her subtle. beautifully—judged phrasing and off- the-beat timing are straight out of the jazz drawer.
‘l picked up on jazz at home. really.
from hearing my parents play records around the house. i love the human voice in a lot of contexts. and l listen to a lot of other music as well. but it has always seemed to me that jazz is what suits my voice best. and also maybe
: stretches my intellect the most as well.
i I wouldn't necessarily turn down work
Claire Martin: hooked on in: with a pop band i really liked. but jazz is the music i love. I like the freedom of improvising and doing it differently every night.‘
Claire's approach to both jazz standards and more contemporary tunes has been documented on three fine Linn albums to date. the most accomplished of which is the most recent. last year’s Old lioyﬂ'iem/s. Her
, fourth release for the label will also be 3 her first venture into live recording of
her stage show.
‘Yeah. the plan is to do a live album from Ronnie Scott’s in August. l‘m supporting Martin Taylor there fora week. and we will jUst record all the gigs and use the best stuff. with guest spots from Martin and people like Gerard Presencer and Mark Nightingale. it‘ll all be new material. just as if it was a studio album. Luckily. l‘ve got the whole A-team in the band. which is unusual — Clark Tracey usually has to dep otrt at least one
night. I've got a new pianist. a young Welsh guy called Gareth Williams, who is astounding. and Arnie Sornogyi on bass.
‘They are a very adaptable band. and I really like the trio format. quite apart from the fact that it's practical as well. The band with Jim Mullen on guitar was fantastic. and I hope we will be able to do that again. but the trio gives rue that little bit more freedom. although it‘s harder in some ways. I always got off on that Betty Carter Trio style of really going for it!‘
The singer made a successful US debut earlier in the year with Scottish pianist David Newton. and has a couple of Scottish dates lined up this month. followed by an appearance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival in August. as part ofwhat is looking like a busy summer schedule. In between gigs. though. the ongoing search for new songs continues.
‘I look for them all the time. and Joel Seigal. my producer. also seeks them out. btrt often you come across something by accident which you can bring over into ajazz style. 1 am a word person and I love stories and melody. but the crucial thing in bringing it over to jazz is down to the harmony — whether the chord changes can stand up to a jazz re-harmonisation. Sometimes I find a song with a great lyric. but when we try it out. there is no way it will ever work as jazz.
‘l‘m also writing more of my own songs — it's slow btrt sure with me. l‘m doing a lyric for one of David Newton's tunes at the moment. and 1‘” be working on some material for the album. so there will be a couple of mine on there. i hope.‘
The Claire Marlin 'I'rl'n play at The Queen '3 Hull. [:‘(lr'nlnnglr on Fri 26.
mm— Bad moon
The impulse to just load your gear in
1 the back of a van, kick up dust down
i the freeway and only stop where you
‘ can get a gig and enough beer to see you through till your next port of call is a romantic one and perhaps
: unrealistic even before you swagger into Great Yannouth, but it still exists, enshrined by the likes of Glaswegian quintet The Moondials, who have already toured parts of Europe on a budget of 20p and heads full of grand rock’n’roll tradition, simply turning up, plugging in and playing three-hour sets.
After a grassroots apprenticeship on the highways and byways of northern Europe, the group returned and ventured into the studio for the first time. The result was last year’s EP, ‘Never Knew Love’ (the one with the curious egghead cartoon creation on the sleeve), which is now being followed up with ‘Gan You See?’ (the one with the iron and lobster telephone on the sleeve - can you see a theme developing here? Well, you’ve obviously been taking too much acid).
The four-track EP is the third annual release on Electric Honey Records, the
pet project of Stow College’s music administration course, which takes the label in yet another direction after Baby Chaos’s adolescent bite and Eight Miles fligh’s dance orientation, towards pastures occupied by classic pop references like The Byrds and The Beatles and, on the EP’s emotional centrepiece, ‘The Only Gne’, providing a masterclass in how to write an epic tearierker without it turning Into an Elton John schmaltzfest.
What do The Moondlals want the EP to instil in their listeners?
‘The urge to go out and buy it,’
,/. .1 '
The Moondials: they know what time it is replies guitarist John Rooney.
And with Electric Honey’s unblemished record of providing their charges with a springboard to another 3 deal, where do the group want to be in a year’s time?
‘Travelling down to “Top Of The Pops” in the back of a van.’
‘Signed up and signed off.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
‘can You See?’ is out now on Electric lioney Records. The Moondials play King Tut’s, Glasgow on Fri 19.