Mercury Rev & The Flaming Lips and


MercLiry Rev & The Flaming Lips, Edinburgh: Potterrow, Mon 3 May. Fugazi, Edinburgh: The Liquid Room, Mon 3 May; Glasgow: School Of Art, Wed 5 May.

This fortnight, three of America’s finest bands will grace our shores. Fugazi, The Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev are united by common traits that make them the finest US exports since Ben & Jerry's ice cream.

All three bands developed a distinct guitar rock sound in the 805 that was often copied but rarely bettered. They pre-date grunge and the MTV-ification of American alternative rock, but continue to shine in their ability and willingness to stray from the alternative rock


Fugazi were formed by Ian MacKaye in 1988 and soon established themselves as a true alternative to cheesy American metal, offering stripped down, bass-heavy rock and a radical politics based on a strict no drink or drugs stance known as ‘straight edge’. Age has hardly mellowed them, and their live shows continue to prove the word ’explosive’ woefully inadequate.

Mercury Rev and The Flaming Lips are connected by Jonathan Donahue. The Mercury Rev singer was once a member of the Lips, and both bands have been known

Wayne's world: The Flaming Lips

as past masters of ferocious psychedelic rock. Both have

now changed the focus of their music from squalling guitars to more varied and reflective tones. Mercury Rev

even crossed over to the mainstream with 1998’s

Edinburgh gig.

Deserter’s Songs, an album which topped many critic's polls and explains why they are headlining the

But The Flaming Lips could be heading for similar crossover success. Their new album, The Soft Bulletin, achieves a sense of dynamics, not from feedback and fuzz, but soaring keyboard lines. Next time they play, they are unlikely to be supporting anyone. ’We've finally arrived at what we like doing as opposed to just emulating a style that we thought was good,’ says frontman Wayne Coyne. ‘Four or five years ago I don’t think we would have been brash enough to pursue a

record like this, now we are truly doing what we love.’

l M


Every fortnight we turn the spotlight on an act who are either new or criminally ignored. This issue: To Rococo Rot & Fridge Who? 7s<:._:ico

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id Lipixok are expert nitron'ca Their rntrSic' is highly rater: try dance afficioriaclos at lo<key Slut, Style (turus at PO and indie- lovino 7.32/75 hat i"

Cool customers: Fridge

That sounds suspiciously arty? Unsurprisingly so. To Rococo Rot was originally the name of an exhibition that the two Lippok brothers set up in Berlin instead of publishing a catalogue, they decided to make a record. Pausing only to n:ck Schneider from DusseIdOrf's highly rated Kriedler, they embarked on a new career of rock ’n' roll. They are Currently on tour wrth Fridge, new signings to (30? Beat, borne of Arab Strap. The bands are headlining alternate nights, \‘Jlill Fridge opening in Edinburgh. Members of both bands Will also be Dng

But this doesn't mean they've lost their experimental edge. Recent gigs have seen members of the crowd listening to the band through FM headphone receivers. 'We set up a little radio station right there at the show, broadcasting to these headphones.’ explains Coyne. ’Once you hear it, it really is a disappointment to hear concerts without it because it’s so clear, and everywhere you go the sound is the same. We’ve noticed people stay in the bathroom longer because of the headphones.’ (Mark Robertson)

Fridge, eh? Sounds cool liiiieetl F: in; Who release the s'r’iule 'liiriostirta (2.“. Ten 3 Eloy. are three


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Why are To Rococo Rot an Fridge touring together? w a .'7‘t.'.'...i

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'(') ’i,,' ‘l"i\.‘ '(jc- , ::..t the. fake i"-..e'it-.-s i'.‘i'!’. flail-.7, Tillii, turn. an: atiihiezit Sounds intriguing. Do they have records out? to Rm: t-I; Rut i . » . - "tl

released The Ari‘afz'ur . on {,ll'.‘ Slang Fridge release a whole. on Mon 3 May, \‘Jllh an ahuii; called 55p!) to follow in June. (Peter Ross‘

35:33 To Rococo Rot A} F‘ridrye, untied." Balloon 30 April


Studio Theatre Fr," '3:

preview MUSIC


Robert Forster and Grant McLennan

Glasgow: g2, Thu 13 May.

Few names carry more eriiotioiial weight to lovers of poetic: pop than that of the defunct (Ear-Betweens, the Brisbane group that rewrote the lexrcon of love in the i980s With Such classic tracks as 'Karen' and 'Cattle And Cane.’ Now their fans are getting a double Heat With the release of The Lost Album (unheard demos from 1978 779), along With a new best of compilation and a ioint tour by frontiiieri Robert Forster and Grant Mt Leiinaii

Forster, alteiiiately sipping coffee anu water iii Edinburgh's Carlton Highland Hotel, looks relaxed and cheerful, happy to be hooking up \‘Jllll his old paitiiei again, but also veiy glad that life as a full-tune (Bo-Between is behind him.

’I :lciit’t iiiean ttiis tr; sound uloatinri, or bar: to people that irked the group, but I was really happy broke up,’ he says 'I felt relieved for a lonr; time For six lY‘()llll‘.S, ! woke up and thought "I have to involve rityseff ‘.'./ith that ..iii‘.»'e.'se It's over" '

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