Hodger Evans dives headfirst into the demo pile and comes up smelling vaguely of roses.
()ne moment you are the yummy bubble gum flavour of the month in the music press. the nest your band is kaput through terminal slothfulness. Thus former Joyriders’ guitarist and Johnny Thunders nut Dunsy found himself up poop creek minus a paddle. Or even a canoe. Wipe that tear from your eye though for his new power trio Frame are sunshine on tap. Buffalo Tom and The l’osies being mentioned in dispatches. Another combo with a history are The loved Ones. two ex-Wild River Apples whose songs conjure up a veritable Kay"s catalogue of influences but I opt for Aztec Camera and The Icicle Works. Neatly packaged pop — nice but with little spice. Edinburgh-based ambient popsters Turquoise have no past. They hope to create ‘beautiful. timeless music and beam it into the domiciles of sentient bipedal carbon-based life forms'. Bonkers. Theirs is a wonderfully languid and hazy world inhabited by little green men with modems and '/.en philosophy. Reminiscent of the first Kitchens ()f Distinction LP and Bowie's Bur/(Ilia ()f Suburbia soundtrack. From 200/: A Space It’llnt‘)‘ l0 SEXY JBSSlca. ll group held ﬁrmly in the grip of time and gravity. Dreaming of an 80s revival. these cheeky monkeys deserve a crate of Babysham if only for name-dropping liva Gardener. A Taste Of Honey and Apple Macs in the one song. Does anybody out there remember The Higsons‘.’ The Sublimes emerged from Glasgow's DIY pop scene but we shan't hold it against them. ‘Slumber' is top of the demo pile because it swaggers like the Teardrop Explodes and deadpans like The Flying Lizards. And it‘s the only track on their tape — the teasing rascals. Imagine Joe ()rton ineeting Haircut l()() for happy hour cocktails and performing a karaoke Patti Smith number. But a whisker away from the cat‘s pyjamas.
0f the Glasgow scene that brimmeth over with exciting maverick bands, Uresei Yatsura are second only to Bis in the attention they’ve received - and the fact that Bis had the good fortune to score a Top Of The Pops slot did unfairly shift the scales somewhat in their favour. But after a clutch of well- received singles comes the debut album, We Are Uresei Yafsura, and a belter it is too. Every home should have one.
With songs about comic conventions, being in a band and the subculture surrounding bands, We Are Uresei Yatsura comes across as a combined celebration and critique of Glasgow’s
Uresei Yatsura: breakin’ out of da ghetto
‘But which bits?’ queries singer/guitarist Graham Kemp. ‘Maybe the hits you think are celebrating are the critique and vice versa. We’re just trying to put across the way we see things, not even trying to say that that’s the way things are . . . It’s basically about our lives, the way you live when you’re living a sub-student existence in a low-rent area. If I was living in Compton, I’d expect to be writing about fuckin’ da police.’
The Yatsuras may lack spit and polish, but they’ve got the good grace to admit that they’re too ambitious to lurk in an indie ghetto all their lives. ‘When we first started, we were doing recordings on cassettes and trying to get our music out that way, sol think that’s a sign of raging ambition. If you don’t have any money to get into a studio and don’t have contacts with suppliers, you’re still going to try to put things out, even if it’s only to ten people.’
What about the scenario of the Yatsuras breaking through to mass success (they’re doing well in Japan and on American college radio already) and spurring pop hopefuls, who might at one time have pretended they were from Compton themselves, to write songs about their imaginary plastic raygun collections?
‘That would be terrible. Imagine all these ungeeky straight people writing all this stuff. Fake nerds!’ (Alastair Mabbott)
Uresei Yatsura play King Tut’s, Glasgow on Thurs 30.
Julian Joseph has good reason to feel buoyant about his iazz career, and not just because he has picked up a slightly ironic Rising Star Award at the recent British jazz awards. He made his initial mark on the UK jazz scene in the late 80$ alongside the likes of Courtney Pine and Steve Williamson, but chose to hide his time before making his own recording debut as a leader in 1992.
He studied at Berklee College in Boston, where he linked up with the Marsalis clan, but opted to return home to London. A ground-breaking series of recitals at the prestigious classical venue The Wigmore Hall was followed by a major big band concert in the Albert Hall at last year’s Proms, and a forthcoming orchestral project at The Barbican. They have placed him firmly in the public eye at a time of cooling media interest in the so-called new British jazz boom.
‘l have to admit that the promise of the late 80s and early 90s has not really been fulfilled. So many of the artists I was enthusiastic about changed direction and moved away from iazz, but there are younger talents coming in now who will soon be the next movement.
‘I still believe very strongly in the potential of the music over here, and all it needs is a few dedicated people to see that come to fruition. That definitely keeps me here, and makes
Julian Joseph: risen star
me want to achieve more.’
Joseph returns to Edinburgh for the first time in four years this month, when he will be heard playing solo in the opening concert of Assembly Direct’s Kind of Blue series, while early June will see the release of his fourth album for East-West, Universal Traveller. Kind of Blue will also feature the South African piano giant Abdullah Ibrahim in another solo concert at the George Square Theatre (7 June), and the Humphrey lyttelton Band at The Queen’s Hall (Fri 31). Two additional concerts at The Tron have been co- opted into the programme, featuring saxophonist Mornington Lockett from London (Thurs 30), and a band in which Scottish saxwomen Gail McArthur and laura MacDonald will join forces (6 June). (Kenny Mathieson)
Julian Joseph plays at The Queen ’5 Hall on Fri 24. For Kind of Blue Info, call 0131 553 4000.
Alceste: portrays the pure honesty of the music and the drama
Something of a rarity in the repertoire of most opera companies. (iluck's .‘l/t't'X/U is a piece which really ought to see the light of day more often. Scottish ()pera's new production. which opened in Glasgow last month. directed and designed by Yannis Kokkos certainly verifies Alerts/r 's worth and is most remarkable for the way iii which it grasps the pure honesty of the dran‘ia and the intisie.
Premiered in lhth century l’aris. xli'r‘esle marked a major turning point in the history of opera through (ilnck‘s determined aim to really weld music and drama together. Keeping this to the fore. Kokkos steers clear of any ornate elaborations and strips the piece down to its bare essentials. 'l‘hns emphasis is invariably thrown on the simple story of the sacrificial love between the queen. Alceste. and her husband. Admete. the king. and (ducks charmingly sincere music. t’olours are stark. design is minimal but careful. the chorus moves in stylised but fluid tableaux. L'ndcrpinning it all. conductor Nicholas .\lc( Began draw s ex cry detail of the score to sweep and sigh or soar and despair in orchestral playing which is deft. swift and sure.
On stage. the abundant pic-opening hype. which centred on l'rench soprano Isabelle Vernet. is mainly ltlsllllt‘tl. If anything. her presence and \ one are a little too big and too relentlessly impassioned. but it would be a brave god who didn‘t tremble at her commanding pleas to save her husband from death ln contrast. .\lark l’admore‘s Admetc at first appears slighter but. in fact. is one of serene strength and deep courage fitting to the role. his voice suiting (ilttekK lyrical style. 'l‘rue. unadulterated love. the humanity of love and the reality of death are what shine through this production. Definitely worth seeing ((‘arol Main)
:l/t'esle: T/lt’tl/l‘t' Royal. (i/ttxqmi. 'li/iurx’
30 May; l‘T'S/ll'rl/ 'liliz'um. l-ft/lii/mije/t. l’ri l4 and ‘l'lnu's Elk/1m.
42 The List 17-30 May I996