* MUSIC PREVIEW
Brian Donaldson girds his loins and does battle with the demo pile.
Just when you thought it was safe to dip your digits into the thing we call demo pile without fear of getting them scorched by a tribute band. along one comes. Carbona llot Glue are devotees of the Ramones' cult. and all that can really be said about their ‘Sheena ls A Punk Rocker‘ is that. well. it sounds dead like The Ramones. And in that sense. a truly successful. if largely shallow, venture. And would you Adam and Eve it. but the four members share the same surname - Carbona. How lucky is that?
Subconscious may not be a Pet Shop Boys tribute band but they really ought to be. 'Green Pond' shares the London group's fondness for frivolity and lightness of touch and. less handily. a penchant for dire lyrics. Cop a load of this - 'it‘s nice not grey, like most today/ down in the green pond/ the circus tent is full tonight/see through it for the first time/you cannot bash the bible anymorea.‘ Eh?
The sound of The Sound is. as a Scouse person may say. sound. Their ‘l.andlocked‘ is an utterly infectious ditty that kicks off and blows its ﬁnal whistle in Peggy Suicide- stylee while its nicely- rounded middle unveils one of the most gloriously catchy yet unsugary hooks you'll hear in a very long while.
The sound of StoneField. meanwhile, is quite. quite bizarre. By their own admission. they (Fraser FlﬁCld and Gavin Livingstone) incorporate Scottish. Eastern and Scandinavian influences. Alternatively. think ‘Scotland The Brave‘ remixed by a production team comprising Ravi Shankar. Gary Numan and Goldie and you have a close approximation of ‘The Wanton Seed.‘ If this lot get a sniff of next year's T In The Park. then good luck to the organisers when choosing which tent to lob them in.
For general weirdness. StoneField are your blokes. lf genuine quality is your basis for choosing your listening matter, it has to be The Sound. (Brian Donaldson)
Who saw you?
See page 96
extrema— Concerted Consort
launching itself on Scotland’s musical life this month is the recently formed Dunedin Consort, whose premiere programme includes liandel’s lelt Domlnus and motets by Bach. A fully professional choir composed of between four to fourteen voices, with most programmes requiring something in-between, it is the result of a meeting of longings between singer/conductor Ben Parry, an ex- Swingle Singer who now lives in Edinburgh, and soprano Susan Hamilton, brought up in Edinburgh and now enjoying an international career.
Both have, for some time, seen the need for a full-time consort based in Scotland which can offer work for young Scottish and/or Scottish-based singers while covering repertoire which existing groups are unable. for whatever reason, to include in their programming.
Proceeding with great care, Parry has been assidious in ensuring that
the first public performance is built upon a solid grounding - and not iust musically. ‘We’ve got a watertight business plan, great trustees, with Andrew Kerr, a fantastic chainnan,’ enthuses Parry. ‘The singers have so much potential. The repertoire is wide-ranging with, we hope, an annual St John Passion at Easter. Other ideas are for Amahl And The flight Visitors, a celebration of Ronald Stevenson, a five-part vocal arrangement of Byrd’s works and Britten’s Ceremony of Carols.’
Parry’s zest is boundless and he also feels that “there are opportunities for broadcasting as well, and the Queen’s llall would like us to be their resident choir. The only stumbling block is financial’. Even then, the Consort has already achieved considerable success and there are high hopes resting on the outcome of an application to the Scottish Arts Councﬂ.
‘The main thing,’ says Parry, ‘is for us to provide the opportunity for singers to work, and to work here, and for audiences to hear top standard choral singing. The whole idea is to bring singers back to Scotland.’ (Carol Main) Dunedin Consort, Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh, Tue 3.
Hardbody, soft centre
Even if you haven’t caught up with iiardbody at one of their recent gigs, chances are you might have heard the silky voice of their singer louise Guinn. She paid her dues busking in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street until, like a Charlie’s Angel, she was taken away from all that by brothers Alastair (drums) and Mick (guitar and trumpet) Cooke and Toby Barber (bass), who were getting rid of their frustrations in rap/death metal band Tetsuo. With the addition of Bonan Breslin on the unusual combination of keyboards/trombone, iiardbody were formed and eighteen months later were signed up by an offshoot of Epic Records.
Their slightly sinister, dreamy sound has earned them a trip hop label, though Louise, who writes the songs, points out that most are in 3/4 waltz time, which should lead to bizarre scenes when their music hits the discos. ‘Our arrangements are really quirky,’ he says. ‘We’ve got quite a unique sound because we all have different Influences, but the connecting thing is the emotion behind the lyrics and the brassy jazz theme.’
iiardbody: who do voodoo that you don’t da
‘On Your Own’, llardbody’s haunting, string-laden new single, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Garbage, was inspired by a tarot card reading Louise found uncannin accurate. ‘The moon came up which is the symbol of duplicity - sometimes you get the feeling that you can’t really trust people and you’re totally on your own. The song’s about not knowing the future, not knowing what’s going to happen to you.’
Ouinn’s lyrics are intensely emotional, which is unsurprising as she tends to write them when in the throes of premenstrual angst. ‘I’m usually feeling very sorry for myself - heh, the guys in the studio are getting embarrassed now.’
The band’s next stop is New Orleans to record their first album. ‘We’ll be staying in an apartment above a voodoo supermarket, so I hope we don’t fall out with each other or it could get nasty - we could all stock up on voodoo dolls and put curses on each other.’ Sounds like iiardbody could bewitch you in more ways than one. (Andrea Mullaney)
‘On Your Own’ ls released on Ilalku Records on 2 Dec.
ems— Grand tradition
Otis Grand: classic blues
If you are looking for someone carrying on the classic electric blues tradition. ()tis Grand is your man. Actually. make that traditions. because he dips into more than one stream. including the essential Chicago and Texas variants. but with a touch ofthe more laid-back contemporary west coast approach exemplified by Robert Cray. and the occasional exotic ﬂourish from even further afield.
‘l‘ve always looked upon myself as a real bluesman. I feel I‘m carrying the torch for the classic blues masters. and that original feel and beauty of the way they played. At the same time. though. I‘m trying to make creative additions to the blues tradition. i don‘t see that tradition as stagnant. it's moving and developing all the time. and I want to be part of that development.‘
Grand was born and raised in the USA. and cut his musical teeth in the clubs and bars of the San Francisco Bay Area blues scene. Later. though. he moved to England. and has made his base there. while touring and playing in both Europe and the USA whenever the opportunity has offered itself.
For his latest album. l’wj/imw And Grime. he dccamped to New Orleans. where he laid down the album with the aid of a slick. clued-up American session band and some distinguished special guests. including fellow guitarists Luther Allison and Joe Louis Walker, and ajuicy horn section. His own guitar work (which he describes with ample justice in the sleeve notes as 'out front in-yo-face‘) and Cray-ish vocals remain the focal point ofthe music.
‘l‘ve tried to maintain the deep roots of the blues in all my work on the record. but also to modernise them. i had an open mind and a batch of new songs when I went there. and I wanted to tap into the real new Orleans R ‘n‘ B feel, rather than come away from there with another Chicago or Texas album.‘ (Kenny Mathieson)
Otis Grand And The Big Blues Band play Queen '5 Hall. Edinburgh. Fri 29 Nov.
38 The List 29 Nov-l2 Dec I996