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. , , '19-. ,‘t‘r- a] f The ‘cilarrgfe isters: on the right track On the phone from her house in Montreal. Kate McGam'gle reveals that ‘We haven‘t played in our home city for about five years.‘ And adds wrny ‘I suppose it's because we can’t agree on a venue.‘ The McGarn'gle Sisters do. however. perform in other parts of the world and their imminent Scottish concert will be a rare thrill.
Not exactly household names. they are nevertheless famous among musicians and singers for their songwriting skills. the unique. often very beautiful mix of styles that informs their band sound. and above all, the sibling's delicate. highly emotional close vocal harmony. ‘We were brought up in a musical household. but I suppose it would seem strange to most people in that our father was born in l899. so the music played round the house when we were young was song. “art” song. and perhaps some music hall. No jazz. Well. maybe some Gershwin, and maybe some Stephen Foster stuff round the piano.
‘Later we formed a folky group with two older guys. doing things like Ewan McColl. Dylan. Bob McDermitt. We were picky about what we sung. and didn’t perform much — but we did rehearse a lot, and because we all sang there would be a scramble for harmonies. and Anna and l ended up ﬁnding unusual ways of working a line in. So our first album came out of many different inﬂuences, but to us it sounded like a “pop” record.’
A new album (their seventh) brings a promotional tour with the musicians from the recording sessions. ‘lt’s our regular band. Joel Siskin on fiddle and Michel Pepin on electric bass and guitars. Anna and l are basically playing acoustic guitars. but we also recorded. accordion and piano. And I‘m playing some banjo. The great thing about the album, and the band. is the way we all play together. There are no stars. No pretensions.‘
‘ Support on tour is from Rufus. Kate’s 23-year-old son from her marriage to Loudon Wainwright. ‘He plays a little guitar. but piano is his instrument of choice. He‘s classically trained and has such a talent. he can construct a song with shear ease. He's a Loudon Wainwright who never heard Bob Dylan.‘
The McGarrigle Sisters play Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Sat 26 Oct.
Telstar Ponies lust say no to commercial surrender_ If you’re looking for Britpop, you’ve come to the wrong place. If you’re looking for trouble however, The Telstar Ponies are most definitely, and indeed defiantly, on the case. The path one-time 18 Wheeler frontman David Keenan has furrowed since hitching up with ex-Teenage Fanclub sticksman Brendan D’llare (but hey, that’s ancient history now) and teenage wunderkind Rachel Devine has been an intense and exploratory rollercoaster ride into areas uncharted since early Mary Chain and Sonic Youth, while extended instrumental workouts bring to mind the dreaded krautrock word.
Their new album, Voices From The
New Music- their second for Fire records following last year’s In The Space 0! A Few Minutes - veers even further out of the mainstream into ethereal, folky, even (gulp) gothic waters. The music attacks you from all sides, played with a seriousness and commitment more akin to wired, out-there Ian musos. Sure enough, a brief ‘Bells For Albert Ayler’ opens proceedings. Whatever it is that follows, easy listening It ain’t.
‘Muslc is the single most Important thing In mine and David’s lives,’ says Devine, “but we do have pretty extreme tastes, so that comes through. lots of people think we’re up our own backsldes, but when you have these ideas about music you want to make them real. But if people aren’t listening then they’re not listening’, she shrugs, unconcerned by the Ponies’ position on the margins caused perhaps, by the band’s almost wilfully beligerent obtuseness.
Since the album was recorded, D’llare and bassist Cavln Laird have ridden off to pastures new, leaving Devine and Keenan to take their musical vision wherever they fancy, absorbing new influences into their snarling canvas. Japanese psychedelia’s a current iave, and Devine feels a spiritual affinity with some oi the more left-field bands breaking through, such as Banger. ‘I don’t think it’ll ever be a mass movement, but there’s an integrity there, and an attitude oi no compromise. like, if we stopped playing what we wanted in order to be commercial, what would be the point?’ (lleil Cooper)
Voices From The flow Music is our PW!" F"!
DIE—l Skip to the lou
When Sebadoh played the Reading Festival in 1995, their performance was out-weirded only by Courtney love’s post-Kurt catharsis. Technical hiccup’s, frazzled nerves and allegedly ill advised chemical choices resulted in something approaching a lesson in fruit topography. Everything went pear-shaped, dummy. This tour around, one hopes the appetite for self- destruction has been sated.
‘We weren’t very smart about having back-up guitars and the tension of being on stage made Lou hit his strings harder . . . I think this year we’ll actually play a few songs,’ drawls drummer-cum-bassist Jason Loewenstein who, along with Mr Barlow, the I.ou in question, and Bob Fay, is one third equal of the coolest combo Stateside today. (Well, jostling down the front of the queue with Beck and Many Star but, hey, you get the idea.)
lip until two years ago Sebadoh were very much a Ieit-iield proposition. That Barlow had played bass in Dinosaur Jnr ensured maximum credibility, while the combination of pop sensibility, hard-core punk inspiration and ludicrously prolific
Sebadoh work out in preparation for touring
output ensured mini-cult status. As Jason explains: ‘Most of our fans were in other bands. it didn’t really help us much but it was nice to have respect from a jury of your peers.’
The Top 40 placing of 1994’s Bakesale lP proved they were no longer solely the choice of the discerning hipster. And if that wasn’t enough to alienate snobs of the indie fraternity, earlier this year too Barlow found he had a hit on his hands via spin-off project Folk Implosion and ‘llatural Dne’, the single from the Kids soundtrack. ‘It puts a bit of an eye on us,’ says Jason.
And how would he describe latest lP llannacy to those few cloth-eared dolts not yet smitten with Sebadoh? ‘l’d say it’s progressive alternative music with its footing in folk music but i would warn them this may not be apparent.’ Cue manic chuckle. ‘That’s where we’re coming from but you might not think that’s where we’re at.’ (llodger Evans)
Sebadoh play the lienrrew Ferry, Glasgow, Thurs 24.
Brian Donaldson meets the demos.
lt’s apt in this column to tag a stream of comparisons onto the bands which make both the reader‘s and the writer's job easy. Being a lazy sod, l'm not going to buck the trend. The Starlets sound like Sleeper remixed by Tammy Wynette; a concotion which has to be heard to be comprehended; while Midlothian's Kiss The Bride have made a Plasticene ball out of Aerosmith and the Super Furry Animals with ‘Star’. Just don’t ask how. Crunchy Frog (ha ha) and their ‘Spineless-Part Two' (hee hee heeeee) three- track contains nothing that will have you demanding that wall-to-wall airplay should be theirs. Yet there must be a certain charm about a band who utter lyrics such as ‘Close your eyes/go to sleep/say goodnight/count the sheep‘ without crumpling in embarrassment. Or maybe, they did. i don’t know. For i wasn‘t there. i was there when Botany 5 were doing this kind of thing. We really don’t need another. Solomon Flynn have been around these parts before and their ear for a toon should ensure that the demo pile will soon be forsaken for ' good. "Gift Of Grace’ rumbles along with such cunning that they must have sold their soul to some bloke called Lou Cypher. Pleasant enough is Swansong aka Grangemouth-bom tunesmith Billy Mulraney. His ‘Strange Pollinator‘ kicks off in Blue Nile stylee before traversing territory formerly ploughed by the Big Dish. Forget the odd nod to the Wets and you may get through to the other side with a smile frolicking upon your lips. The Saffrons admit to being inﬂuenced by Elgar. lsambard Kingdom Brunei and Jelly. None of this is apparent on '1 Can’t Save The World, Girl' which. to these ears. owes more to Green Garside and Quinn Martin productions than any of the aforementioned. lt’s quirkiness would normally guarantee top billing but Wild lloney’s ‘Mary’s Song‘ has to be the pick of the poppermost of the batch. A whimsical cut of fuzzy guitar and melodic structure with lyrics you can actually decipher. Songs you can take home to your parents.
The List 18-31 Oct l99645