MUSIC PREVIEW .
[EEL- nuanr ROCK
‘I think everyone has got
a little bit of metal in their past. New rock music. if 3 not necessarily more 5 credible. is certainly less ridiculous. It isn‘t all about sex any more.’ Baby Chaos's lead singer Chris Gordon is trying to explain how his hands initial indie sensibilities mutated into the metallic- pop frenzy of their book- laden new single ‘l-lello‘.
‘We're most influenced by that time when rock became exciting again instead of all that Spandex pish. when Nirvana catne along. They had an aggressive sound but with tunes as good as the Beatles ever wrote. So we always have ttmes in mind. Sometimes we can get a message across just with sheer aggression and by screaming our lungs off. but to enter the public a psyche you need tunes to l hum along to.‘ Chris ! grins. ‘Having said that. I could listen to feedback for hours ifl wanted.‘ i
Baby Chaos's new- . found pop edge is fuelled by months of frustration following a year touring America and Europe. and i the enthusiasm generated T by a bristling new batch of songs written back I home in Glasgow. Replete with melancholic. guitar- based thuggery. their new album has the band ready to break into a wider audience. ‘We have a total belief that we‘re better ' than 99 per cent of all the i other bands otlt there. We‘re notjust rehashing the past: that‘s alright if you only like karaoke. Our arrogance stems from our confidence.‘
This doesn't mean that their lyrical negativity is any less piquant. ls Chris always under a black cloud? ‘Pretty much. Though in the past I‘ve been more guarded in my lyrics. now I‘m far more open. I'm far more honest now. ljust hope people can gain things from what I‘m writing. I'd like to feel that I'm not alone.‘ (Phil Miller)
Baby Chaos play [1! Belle Angele. Edinbumh. Mon 15; Cat/muse. Glasgow; Wed 17.
Palaces and pigsties
‘Uh. . . What was the difference
between me and Michael Bolton?’ Will
Oldham seems confused by the
question. Well, perhaps confused isn’t }
the word. In the eternal silences between his saying ‘Uh’ and commencing with an answer, there’s time enough to register a number of things. Firstly, you become aware that these are pretty dumb questions.
3 Secondly, you realise that Oldham
knows it. And lastly, you realise that he knows that you know that he knows it.
No matter. The difference between
i Oldham and Michael Bolton - or, 2 Sonic Youth, Barry Manilow or Stereolab — is that with Palace Music
and its various permutations, Oldham has created a body of work which constitutes a world. If you close your eyes you can see it, and it becomes hard to accept that he doesn’t inhabit that landscape himself. Will Oldham and his songs get mistaken for each
other a lot. For instance, it's a popular l, image that he’s some inbred backwoods shack-dwelling savant.
(‘Mmmm. I just let that slide’). But such a consistent worldview, it’s peculiar moral and religious constructs, biblical language, and prominent animal populace, must
surely have some autobiographical
World music: Will Oldham‘s Palace projects
have created a whole universe
‘Uh . . . There is,’ says Oldham, ‘but it
sort of exists in translation. It’s like an
exact translation of certain things . . .
But not necessarily the things they refer to . . .’
Palace Music is a very rural sound . . . ‘Who, that’s writing about music or
buying records in Chicago or Glasgow,
has ever heard “rural” music? All they’ve ever heard are records by people who left home and went to the big city. These comments are fine, because in a way they’re trying to enter this fictional world. I could do that too, but I’d have to be on drugs when l was having these conversations.’ Perhaps not. (Damien
Palace play The 13th Note, Glasgow on Sun 14. Oldham ’s new album, ‘Arise Therefore’ is released on Mon 22.
3 ‘I think they’re doing it for the right
reasons,’ remarks founder Mekon Tom
Greenhalgh of the reunion of his punk
contemporaries Sex Pistols. ‘The
i Mekons never had the sense to break up and re-form for huge sums of ‘ money. That’s probably been our
downfall.’ No, from raw and scratchy, but pointed, political punk thrashes like
’ ‘Never Been In A Biot’, the band
ploughed their own idiosyncratic furrow, embracing practically every kind of music and allowing themselves to be labelled, at various times, new English folk-rock and countrybilly. Whereas, they were, and continue to be, every kind of band at once.
Their most recent album, Pussy, King Of The Pirates, a collaboration with
deconstructionist NYC author Kathy
Acker, is a place where sea shanties and iungle rhythms can live side by side. And by the time their current tour gets up here, The Mekons will have indulged their fondness for costumes and silly aliases with a full-blown ‘cabaret-cum-pantomime’ in London and Brighton, performing with Ms Acker herself. The remaining dates, however, are straight Mekons gigs. ‘We’re not trying to set ourselves up as serious artistes. I think people who
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The Mekons run up the Jolly Roger
do are slightly suspect, because even though they might be who they say they are, they’re not really,’ Greenhalgh adds, cryptically. All the same, the band have benefited from the attention of high-brow American rock critics like Greil Marcus, and are
about to stage their first art exhibition
in Florida. But they are trying to avoid the ‘serious artiste’ pose by putting the burden of responsibility on the whole group, in much the same way as an album would be perceived.
‘lt’s not like the work is attributed to any individual, it’s work by The Mekons. We’re interested in exploring themes of working as a collective. It’s the same way we do music: there might be the whole band working on a piece or it might just be one or two of them.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
The Mekons play The Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 7 and King Tut’s, Glasgow on Man 8.
mumm- Last chance danz
The last word at this year's Edinburgh Folk Festival and the responsibility. as incoming Director. oforganising the
whole of next _\'c';ti“s event falls to
guitarist and Scottish dance enthusiast l)ave lirancis.
With the Desperate l)an/. Band. specially re-formed for the end-of- fest ceilidh. he'll be bringing south from
their .-\berdeen base one of the first
outfits to stretch the conception of what
constitutes a Scottish dance band.
‘The idea. and this was the tnid 80's. was to make a dance band different from the accepted standard no accordion. no snare drum because we thought that the sound of the old- fashioned Scottish dance band. at that time. was not turning anybodys crank.
‘We wanted to bridge the gap between what people were listening to on the radio, or T\' or when they bought albums. and the fact that ceilidh dancing was still very popular. it's alwa} s been popular especially in the North liast the dancing that is s- but the bands were tedious.‘
We've got fiddle. but also electric guitar play ing lead. and a second
‘~ electric guitar. and then bass and
drums. We do some rock. blues and
~ boogie. but essentially we're playing
straight ahead Scottish dance music but with a rock band sound.‘
The Band inspired a loyal following. many of whotn are being bussed down to Stonehaven this weekend for a
special ‘local‘ night and live rehearsal
prior to Edinburgh.
‘ln the band's heyday we ended up playing rock venues. not to play fora ceilidh. but people would form up sets and do their thing . . . it was amazing seeing this all happening in those slime-encrusted caverns.
‘()f course. and it‘s probably because l'm getting older. I listen to Take the
' Floor a lot nowadays. and l think the
younger bands could learn a lot from
the old guard. especially the rhythms
and tetnpi. A lot of the new bands are
wild and woolly. but are only superficially exciting. They might look good but they don't feel good to dance
to!‘ (Norman Chalmers) The Desperate Dun: [lurid play
IL'tltIi/mre/t I’m/k l’eslii'ul. Sun 7.
34 The List 5-18 Apr 19%