ROCK James Grant Glasgow: Renfrew Ferry, Fri 1 May.
'I feel more freedom than I had in the band,’ says James Grant, ’and that’s no disrespect to them, but I felt towards the end that I was dragging them around into the morass of my psyche, and the band's following was becoming more and more cultish. Nobody's making any money, and you feel a bit responsible for that. So I feel there’s a weight off my shoulders in that respect.’
So Love And Money are no more, ' and Grant, their former leading light, is new trading under his own name. Well, it did Kristin Hersh no harm, as she’s now selling truckloads more as a solo artist than she ever did with Throwing Muses. Grant's first solo effort, Sawdust In My Veins, is such a strong album that, with enough exposure, it could do its creator proud. It’s a moody collection, which could fool you into thinking that Grant had had a terrible few years. Not so.
’There was a time not long ago when I felt like jacking it in,’ he confesses. But although he had to go on the dole for a while, he's
been very happily raising his young daughter. All the same, Grant has a way of making even his most
optimistic songs sound sad.
'I remember reading something recently,’ he reflects,
James Grant: happy days are here again, almost
comes naturally. It seems like a fairly visceral thing for me, when I sit down to write that’s what comes out.
When I try and write, I have tried to stretch myself, but
’which said that the natural condition of life was misery. And it struck a chord with me just because . . . you die. You get old, you die, you get lumbago, limbs start going, that kind of shit. But there are moments in life, if you have, like, a nice bath or a nice cup of tea, it can be okay. I don't want to come over all Morrissey-esque here, in that I’m incapable of having a good time - I’m very capable of it.
‘Sometimes I feel embarrassed about it, but it just
it just seems silly. I’ve written a song about my daughter - as I guess you do when you're a songwriter — but I was so concerned that I’d just written something really horrendously insipid, and I was really kind of embarrassed about it, but Karen Matheson, of Capercaillie did it on her record and it’s a song I really like now. But I guess even that doesn’t sound delighted.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
I! Sawdust In My Veins is on Survival Records. james Grant plays as part of FuncT ’98.
Adventures In Stereo: back to the future in mono
Adventures In Stereo
Glasgow: The Ferry, Fri 8 May; Edinburgh: Cas Rock, Sun IO May. Despite the name of his group — Adventures In Stereo and the name of his new album Alternative Stereo Sounds — former Primal Scream man Jim Beattie isn't very keen on stereo. As the Glasgow-based group have just released their second enchanting album, recorded in mono for various technical reasons which I pretend to understand but don’t really, you can hear that he’s got a point. ‘When you go and see a group, it’s not
40 THE LIST 30 Apr—IA May I998
stereo,‘ he says. ’If you listen to an acoustic guitar on its own, it's not stereo, it’s surround sound, so stereo is false. There's nothing really in nature that’s stereo. If you’ve got something over there and something over there, is that stereo? No, it’s just something over there and something over there. I hear things in mono. I’d rather have a wall of mono — unless it needs stereo, like a lot of dance and dub stuff. Maybe if I got into Abbey Road I'd try something in stereo.’
But the name, Jim, the name.
’l’ve always liked the word "stereo". It
looks great written down.’
Anyway, who needs stereo when you can have adventures in Byrds guitars, Beach Boys effects, Mamas And The Papas harmonising and Phil Spector production? Alternative Stereo Sounds, like the band's eponymous debut, has all this in excelsis. It's the same, but different, largely because of the presence of a full band this time around.
’It probably doesn’t sound as fragile as the first one. I think it’s more poppy,’ says Judith Boyle, she of the choirs of angels vorce.
Adventures In Stereo’s sunny, spring-like horizon is currently being blotted by horrible legal wrangling over copyright which, natch, we can’t discuss for, er, legal reasons. Suffice to say, it stems from associations formed back in the days when Jim and Judith were in Spirea X, and has coloured their view of the music industry.
’We have an extended shit list at the moment,’ admits Judith, 'but all the peOple close to us have been brilliant.’
Try Adventures In Stereo: one listen and all’s right with the world (for the duration of the album, anyway).
(Fiona Shepherd) I Adventures In Stereo ’5 Glasgow date is part of FuncT ’98
ROCK Kevm McDermott- Glasgow: Renfrew Ferry, Sun 17 May.
Kevm McDermott, you should know, is alive, well and, to his ears, sounding better than ever. For years, he’s had to lug around the perception that he’s the ’nearly man’ of Glasgow rock — the talented one who got left behind when the major labels made stars of his contemporaries. He insists, though, that this idea has never troubled him.
'I think I’m actually better than any of my contemporaries, if truth be told,’ he chirps. 'If anyone was looking for the new Deacon Blue they were never gomg to get it from me, anyway. There was no comparison between me and what was doing well at the time, and perhaps the public was right. They wanted hammed- up rock and l was never it.’
After spells on Island, his own Thirteen Records and Iona Gold, he now releases Kevin McDermott Orchestra material on his own label, Tula, and is feeling all the ’pen-pushing’ of running a record label eating into his creative time. But it should hopefully be worth it. The next release is a compilation — not a ’best-of' but an album of tracks from the KMO's archives that weren't widely heard first time around — with a view to whipping up interest in their current release, For Those In Peril, which came out just before Christmas. He’s looking at the possibility of re-pressmg their previous album, Bedazzled, after that, along with a new record.
Through all this, he’s still working with the same musicians that made Mother Nature’s Kitchen back in 1989. ’Without wanting to sound pious, we do reckon we have something of worth. We’re all creative individuals and we happen to think that we work pretty good together. Although perhaps in the future I might do something that might not fit with what the four of us do together, I reckon there's a common bond there, that’s not fear of what we would do Without this band.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
I KMO play as part of FuncT ’98
Kevin McDermott: never one to knowingly follow a trend