ROCK Madder Rose Glasgow: G2, Fri 29 Jan.
The last time we heard the melodic introspection of this New York outfit on these shores was way back in the murky mire of July 94. They had just released ’Car Song’ from Panic On, their second album. Student union café jukeboxes hammered it in the slow afternoons, the romantic played it in bed late at night and radio didn’t touch it with a barge pole.
Madder Rose promptly vanished from sight faster than a plate of pies at half-time in the press box. Years passed and nothing was heard of them. Then, late last year, singer Mary Lorson made a brief re-appearance under the name of Saint Low with a single entitled ’Anywhere/Keep An Easy Mind'. The List’s’singles reviewer raved about it but, as you may have anticipated, it singularly failed to set the charts alight. Otherwise, we haven’t heard a squeak from them.
Nearly five years after the last full length offering, they’ve popped up again clutching a new album in their mitts. Tragic Magic actually came out a couple of years
Snowpony: sex 'n' death ’n' rock ‘n' roll
'dOing was being a lbll(.")lsl
Madder Rose: new sounds from New York
ago in the States. It did respectably for itself in the powerful College Music charts but is only now being released in Britain after Madder Rose moved label to Cooking Vinyl.
'We set about creating this album in a different way,’ says Billy Cote, guitarist and co-songwriter along with Lorson. ’We’d already done two guitar-based albums and we wanted to move on. In the beginning, it was just Mary and l with a guitar, drum machine and voice. We wanted to get back to that feel on this record: strong melodies going over hip hop rhythms.’
Public Enemy mixer Nicholas Sansano was called in to work on the track ‘Satellite’ and, while the result is obviously a million miles away from 'Fear Of A Black Planet’, it's certainly Madder Rose's most commercial album to date.
'Without trying to develop, you are putting yourself in danger of repetition and that goes for your successes as well as your mistakes,’ explains Lorson. 'Without challenging yourself and stretching what you do, there is no progression. With Tragic Magic, we’ve struck out in a new direction and moved on.’ (Jonathan Trew)
Tragic Magic is out new on Cooking Vinyl.
last fifteen years who are really amazing,’ she says, ’and I can’t think of anything to do With a guitar that hasn't been done already, so the next thing is to take oLiitar SOunds and play with them in a sampler. I’m a crap riuitar player I suppose yOu should just make the best out of your limitations'
What we and her fellow band members, including ex-lvly Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe, have made is The S/ow-Motion World Of Snowpony, a debut album which has drawn some reasonably accurate Garbage r'nrriparisons for the presence of dance. influences, dark imagery, brooding atmosphere and intense lyrics
ml that delivered in Gifford's detached vocal
Snowpony Glasgow: King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Wed 27 Jan Katharine Gifford, the extravagantly tattooed singer and songwriter With London mood merchants Snowpony, is proudly describing her latest piece of body art ~ an old sailing ship dubbed HMS Conspiracy adorning her ankle which she had done in Dallas while On a US tour
Apart from music she says, ’the only other thing I was really interested in
didn’t seem like a particularly ;levei option. It occurred to me ‘hat there were loads of really ama7intz fatti‘msts about. I thought there's no putt doing it if I've got to be up to that itandard.’
Gifford applies this aim-high-or-tlon't- bother attitude to her music From day one, despite some line-up changes and the recrUItment Of additional iriemhers, Snowpony has never featured a gtiitarist
'For me, there’s been lot of experimental guitar players over the
Are there any favourite lyrical themes she always returns to?
‘Oh yeah « sex and death,’ she laughs. ’Staple themes. We've got a lot of death songs. It's not because we're especially morbid. We've got a slightly different angle on it which is more that it’s a part of life' And a part of that sow motion Snowpony world which Gifford (Ullt ludes is ‘the w0rld that's in your head that's related to the OutSide \‘JOlld ll‘. a loose way' (Fiona Shepherd)
Glasgow: Henry Wood Hall, Sat 30 Jan; Edinburgh: Queen's Hall, Sun 31 Jan.
At first glance, finding a link between singing group Cappella Nova, whiffy aftershave Old Spice and the medieval equivalent of rugby drinking songs is like trying to find similarities between a badger and a bacon buttie. However, it all becomes clear when Carl Orff’s musical giant, Carmina Burana, gets roofs lifting in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The work is perhaps better known to many as the powerful background music to the rugged, testosterone- oozing surfer in the 70s aftershave advert, but that 30 second snippet can hardly do justice to a full hour-long rendition of the choral classic. Orff took the words from texts written by a group of itinerant university lads in the Middle Ages. Apart from the fact that they are sung in Latin, it seems not much has changed: bed, bawdiness and booze are recurring topics and are suitably loaded with satire in a wild celebration of life and love (with a certain amount of Christian piety thrown in for good measure).
Throbbing orchestration and incessant rhythms are generated by a massive percussion section plus two pianos, while the Cappella Nova singers have joined by children from local schools to ensure a truly energetic chorus.
The second half of the evening will see the world premier of Sentiment, the latest jazz-inspired work from Scottish composer John Lunn. As well as being responsible for the theme music to the BBC’s Hamish Macbeth, Lunn has written opera for Glyndebourne, vamped a string quartet on Billie Holiday's classic song ’Strange Fruit’, and done music for the BBC's Screen 2 drama, Getting Hurt.
'I like to bend the style to what will suit the text,’ he says simply. Sentiment highlights his adaptability once again. The 25 minute piece is based on a short love story by Dorothy Parker set in 1920's New York.
’It's a light piece, really, about love and remembering lost love,’ explains Lunn. 'The music is influenced by Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington to give it that up-beat swing feel.’ (Nina Large)
Remember Old Spice? Well, you know Carl Orff's Carmina Burana
2i Jan—4 Feb 1999 THE “ST 43