Wilco Glasgow: The Arches, Tue 8 Apr.
Uncle Tupelo’s acrimonious bust-up in 1993 had at least one positive fallout. It left us with two fine bands instead of one, as Jay Farrer went off to start Son Volt, and Jeff Tweedy launched Wilco with the rest of the band. Despite that continuity, there was no temptation to carry on with the familiar brand name.
’No, not really. Uncle Tupelo had been going a long time - I mean, lay and I started that band in high school, and I thought of it as very much a two singer-songwriter band. It wouldn't have been fair if either of us had kept the name, and I liked the idea of starting from scratch in some respects.’
Rather than replicating Uncle Tupelo's gritty, post-punk country roots sound, Wilco (the radio call sign for 'will comply’) set about creating their own identity with their debut album, AM, in 1994, albeit with some ambivalence about their audience.
‘Yeah, we tried to get away from the Uncle Tupelo sound a little bit. We went for a brighter, more poppy kind of thing, I guess. Uncle Tupelo was such a drag towards the end that we were basically just trying to have some fun making the album. We were a little hung up on wanting a new start, but also wanting our old fans to like us. Eventually we just thought fuck it, we can't set this up - they're either gonna like it or they’re not.’
The band gigged extensively, then
went quiet for the best part of a year before emerging with Being There (Reprise), a double album which dips into a lot of roots styles in the course of nineteen songs,
all by Tweedy.
'The writing just worked out that way, more than anything. There’s no block on anyone else contributing material, and I think everybody is comfortable with the situation. When I bring a song to the band, it’s in pretty
Wilco: everywhere at once musically
skeletal form anyway, and we all work on it from there. The record is a group effort, and it is closer to where the band is really at musically, which is everywhere at once.’
Wilco will be supported by Kim Richey, whose debut
album was one of the best country records of the current decade. Her new record, Bitter Suite, is a little less impressive, but she is definitely worth checking out. (Kenny Mathieson)
Edinburgh: La Belle Angele, Wed 9
Born and brought up in Freetown, Sierra Leone, guitarist and songwriter Abdul Tee—Jay has two brothers, both ministers in government, and a sister who's become the first woman judge in the former British Colony. But despite time as a student (including a spell in the mountains of West Virginia where he played the Appalachian dulcimer, and later success in an American Top 40 funk band called Spice) and his academic role as a visiting lecturer at Westminster University’s BA course in Contemporary African Music, his life, he revealed, has always revolved around performing music.
’When I was a boy I started learning drums like the keleng — a slit drum — then the urdu, which is a little lute, or somewhere between a lute and a kora but much smaller and without frets. I've always played thumb piano, and still do with Rokoto — all sizes including
44 THE ust 4—17 Apr 1997
Abdul Tee-lay creating a pan-African soundscape the kongoma and kondi, that's the
bass and treble.’ The gmtar became an indispensable
part of his life in the cosmopolitan harbour-front bars and dance halls of Freetown, then alive to the mUSIC of the great ’Palm Wine' singer SE Rogie, and guitar star Doctor Freddie Zairean Soukous, Ghanaian Highlife and Bembeyan Jazz from Guinea were also huge influences on the young musiCian, who now after years in established bands like African Culture, has created, in London-based Rokoto, a music best described as pan-African but heavin informed by the leader's musical return to his ethnic roots
Of the line-up based on kit drum, percussion, keyboards and bass he explains ’You can’t ignore, anywhere in the world, Western technology, but we sample and programme our own sounds We use a marimba sound a lot on the keyboards -- but in the band there are three of us who actually play marimba so we know what we're dOing. It’s just that a marimba is big, delicate and too sensitive to the rigours of touring — keyboards makes life so much simpler, We are electric and traditional — but the sounds are African' (Norman Chalmers)
Creeping Bent Singles Edinburgh: Adventures In Stereo/The Secret Goldfish, Cas Rock, Sat 12 Apr. Glasgow: Adventures In
Stereo/Spacehopper, The 13th Note, Wed 16 Apr.
The 7in single, that most hallowed of musical formats to the pop trainspotter, is enJOying a period of rude health at the moment, not seen Since the birth of independent record labels in the late 70s, and helped along by the increasing number of Singles Clubs series released on established indies, and of small labels for whom it is the favoured format
Glasgow’s Creeping Bent are the latest tO celebrate the 7”) With their own Singles Club. Adventures ln Stereo and The Leopards share the first single; thereafter non-Creeping Bent acts will be invited to share their wares.
in honour of the occasion, here's Creeping Bent mogul Douglas McIntyre’s list of definitive classic singles:
Subway Sect: Ambition (Rough Trade)
'Best tunes, best lyrics and a nice sleeve With Vic Godard at Marx’s grave in Highbury.’
The Beach Boys: God Only Knows (Capitol) 'The ability to make something complex seem siniple.’
T Rex. Hot Love (Fly) 'The best outro ever recorded '
The Buzzcocks: Orgasm Addict (Cla) 'Young and stupid in Strathaven spending Friday nights With my chum Matthew listening to the week's new punk 7in release’
Orange Juice; Blue Boy (Postcard) 'Postcard’s packaging was as impresswe as their groups'
The Honeycone The Day / Found Myself (Hot Wax) 'Mick from The Leopards turned me on to this Northern SOiil c'IasSic .'
Richard Hel/And The VO/(lorty’s Blank Generation (Sire) 'We all belonged to the Blank Generation '
Sheila 8 Devotion Spacer ('Carrerel 'I loved late 70s disco as much as I loved punk rock.’
5 tereo/abi C ybele ’s Reverie (Orion/ionic) 'Stereolab are the best singles group since The Buzzcocks '
LOW Over The Ocean Kl/ernon Yam)
'The last single I bought Truly a slot-r, slim slicler' iFiona Shepherd) :4 The first split 7in is out on Alon 27 Apr
Spacehopper: bounce into your atmosphere