Glasgow, King Tut's, Thu 14 Oct; Edinburgh, The Attic, Sat 16 Oct.
Pete Voss, singer and sometime-percussionist with frazzled beat-peddlers Campag Velocet, is part Tony Parsons educated bigmouth, part barrow boy patter merchant. Thus ’pukka’ and ’laaavely’ pull up to the bumper of European literature references, and his speech is dusted with a kind of rhyming slang that doesn’t quite rhyme.
’I had a guy from Germany on the phone earlier,’ he drawls. ’And I thought he was hoaxing me, because this guy was too into it. He said he could feel the music in his head, his body, his mind and his balls. He said he’d never been moved by an album so much.’
Fritz was talking about Bon Chic Bon Genre, perhaps the last great debut of 1999, and therefore the Millennium itself.
’I would have liked it to have come out earlier, 50’s I could get on with my life,’ Voss admits. ’But I think the music could be quite apt for the end of the world. It’s the year of the penny change, innit?’
After a brace of low-key singles (high-tidemark the celebrated but scarce ’To Lose La Trek'), the Velocet missile ducked beneath radar for a while before resurfacing with their angular LP; a dreadnought of
schizo-disco and nu-thern soul. Ghostbusting the baggy spectre of the Happy Mondays by crossing the musical streams of beats and rock 'n’ roll, it sounds expansive, vehement and almost (gulp) political.
'I try and avoid politics, but we have a political attitude, and I think that’s underlined on the record. But that’s just sensibility, it's not connected with any parties or anything. It is quite angry in some places.’
They played Glasgow for the first time earlier in the year. ’We did King Tut’ , and that was absolutely superb. We had our very first stage invasion then. We didn’t know what had hit us, I must say. They were extremely enthusiastic; we had maybe fifteen kids jumping up and down on the stage. It was a bit like a P-Funk scene. But once I got my head round what was going on I was well chuffed with it.’
Listening to the strutting chip shop hip hop of ‘Pike In My Life’, a twisted tale of stalking the dancefloor for boozed-up slappers (sample lyric: ‘You look pretty ugly/Well that’s what I like’), it sounds like Pete has been out in Glasgow before. ’I went down to the Garage,’ concedes Voss. ’And I thought ’Pike In My Life' would be very apt. You can get quite frightened down there.’ Pukka up, kids. Campag are coming.
(Graeme Virtue) . Bon Chic, Bon Genre is out now — see review page 40.
Every rtnight, a new spring of talent bursts forth. Getting us damp this issue: Kate Jacobs Fragile folky waif, perchance? Pack up your preconceptions, shallow one. Well, OK, Jacobs's sound isn't exactly death metal. But her third album Hydrangea is a gently witty, sweet-as- pie meditation on life, love and family. Not a big whine about her dysfunctional upbringing, then? No; a
fairytale-esque glimpse of her Russian roots, in the style of a fanciful magic realist novel. ’Whenever I write songs, they come out of whatever I’m obsessed with at the time; and I've been really caught up with exploring old records and documents. Plus I’d heard these stories again and again when l was little, and they seemed very natural subjects for songs.’
Tell us a story. then. Jacobs' great- grandfather was a doctor who was
mates with Chekov and Tolstoy, and amongst his patients was a dying teenage girl named Elena. Her diary was found in his attic, and translated by Jacobs' mother. Jacobs’ song ’The Good Doctor' was inspired by ’this beautiful book, written in a clear, schoolgirl’s hand, so full of life and fourteen-year-old craziness’.
Sweet. It is sweet; music born of a poetic turn of mind and an all- American folk/country sensibility. ’What I do doesn't fit neatly into either category,’ Jacobs muses; though she counts Gershwin, Loretta Lynn and Woody Guthrie amongst her influences.
Quite a mixture. A second-generation Russian living in New Jersey, Jacobs is happy to celebrate the diversity of American culture, saying: ’Everyone here is some kindof immigrant, some mixture. My family has been in America for nearly 300 years; but still, when I go back to Russia I get this feeling of "oh yeah . . . that’s who I am! " lt fills in another half of my character.’ (Hannah McGill)
I Kate Jacobs plays Edinburgh: The Tron Cellar Bar, Mon 18 Oct.
preview MUSIC Personal Stereo
This issue: Marky Ramone of punk: royal family, the Ramones.
What was the last record you listened to?
Barbarella (starring Jane Fonda) soundtrack.
What was the last album you bought?
Austin Powers soundtrack. But it sucked.
Name a new band you'd trust with the future of music.
My band, The Intruders. It’s real punk from NYC, where it started.
Name an album that's an unrecognised classic. Jeff Beck’s first album,Truth.
Which artist or record first made you want to make music?
Name a song you wish you'd written. White Christmas (one of the most popular songs of all times).
Who was the first pop star you had a crush on?
What song makes you cry?
Any song by Backstreet Boys or similar. This music sucks.
Who would be on your dream Top Of The Pops?
The Kinks, Richard Hell And The Voidoids, Ramones, Sex Pistols.
Name a gig that changed your life. Seeing The Who when I was twelve, because of Keith Moon.
Name a band or artist who has influenced you.
Name a non-musical influence on your music.
World news, politics, current events influence me when I write a song.
What do you play when you're getting ready to go out?
What do you play as an aid to seduction?
Pink Panther soundtrack.
What do you sing in the shower? Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. I Marky Ramone speaks at Glasgow: 62, Thu 14 Oct
7-21 Oct 1999 THE U813?