Glasgow: Gara e, Tue 2 Nov.
Prepare to roc in an unexpectedly joyous fashion. After years of quiet fan-base building, self-confessed ‘rockin' trio' Semisonic are finally bringing their tender brand of sonic pop noise and sex-groove soul to Scotland.
With a critically acclaimed second album Feeling Strangely Fine, a Grammy nomination, heavy radio rotation of current single ‘Closing Time' and a third album already in the early stages, what makes Semisonic keep on keeping on?
'We're trying to make something that will fulfil what we're longing for musically . . . What‘s missing out there? What do I wish I could hear more of?‘ ponders frontman Dan Wilson. ‘l'm sick of Satanism and pain, and I'm sick of people feeling victimised, musically. Almost as a reaction against that, I end up writing things that are different. People hopefully respond to us because they feel a similar longing. I basically approach the whole thing from what do I passionately wanna listen to, what am I excited about. what turns me on?‘
Ask any bona-fide frontman what constitutes listening pleasure, and it‘s safe to expect the usual credible suspects. Wilson doesn‘t disappoint, citing Travis, Bob Dylan, Orbital and . . . Britney Spears? ‘Yeah. ‘Baby One More Time’ - I listen to that about once a day. I'm not kidding; it's so evil, but it's really great. I can‘t explain it, I just listen to it a lot.‘
The band's live covers have included Nazareth and Rod Stewart - perhaps a slight Celtic theme developing here? ‘What we do with covers is to pick something that people don't really remember that well, so we don‘t have to like learn the chords really accurately. Hopefully
The chemistry brothers: Semisonic
we‘re close enough that people don‘t complain a lot. Hey, check it out - we do 'Start Again' by Teenage Fanclubl' he laughs. ‘Obviously we're just really obsessed with Scottish culturel‘
Itching to play live again, Wilson enthuses, 'We were listening to tapes from our last tour . . . and it sounded fucking great. I kinda take it for granted that when we get up, the band is gonna rock. There‘s this special chemistry that we have that doesn‘t sound like anybody else. It was nice to be reminded. When we‘re up on stage the things that are going through my mind are really scattered - weird little ideas, things to do later in the set and like "oops, I‘ve messed up that chord” - all these thoughts are flying through my head, so I rarely get the chance to enjoy it in that way. But it's kinda fun to know that it’s there for the taking,’ he explains. ‘It‘s completely about the sweaty, exciting energy of playing live. That‘s our home base.’ (Mandy Lee)
I ’C/osing Time’ comes out on Mon 25 Oct.
Parrot likes maxims like that, further proclaiming that 'all you get in a pigeonhole is pigeon shit!’. He's irritated by the dance music scene's tendency to regard rule-benders as 'traitors to the cause', and his resistance to definition may jeopardise his chances of fame and fortune; but it also lends his music its eccentric breadth. 'lt's a strange, inbred bastard child,’ he says. ’We’ve always put out endless IZins with different names on them, and one of them was a flukey hit. But the workload just increases
LIVE PREVIEW The All Seeing I Glasgow: QM Union, Sat 23 Oct.
The All Seeing l's upcoming tour is not a prospect that their maverick mainman Parrot relishes. ‘l'm at that age where I need a bit of a nap after me dinner,’ he says, clearly thrown by the fact that after a good decade of music-making, the public has finally taken one of his projects to its heart. An inspired theft from 605 pop kitten Cathy Rich made 'And The Beat Goes On' one of the prettiest, catchiest club
44 THE U81 21 Oct—4 Nov 1999
Vision thing: The All Seeing I
hits of recent times, whilst monumental collaborations with the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Tony Christie secured the I a picnic spot on the more peculiar verges of the mainstream. Endlessly inventive, they're practically impossible to categorise, another worry for Parrot. 'It might be better if we could just say, “Right! We are going to make techno music!" But all these other silly influences come in. It's harder to sell stuff when you can't be easily pigeonholed. But put me in the middle of the road, I’m only going to get run over.’
with the perceived level of success.’ Fame is 'an alarming by-product,’ as the experiences of his friend Jarvis have confirmed. ‘l was in London visiting our record label, and I saw this very tall, lanky, speccy individual on his bike. So I shouted "Cocker! Cocker!" - but he blanked me. I thought: "why's Cocker ignoring me?"; and then I realised he thought someone was going to give him abuse.’
Cocker's was a woeful error. Ignore these genre-scuppering acid cabaret artistes at your peril. (Hannah McGill) I The All Seeing l’s debut album Pickled Eggs And Sherbet is out now on Earth Records.
Musical news, feuds and rumours
GLASGOW'S PREMIER INDIE haunt, the 13th Note, has adapted that memorable school French exchange experience for itchy-footed rock 'n‘ rollers. They've twinned themselves with a like-minded venue in Brittany called Le Guy XVI, and plan to exchange bands rougth every month. Details in the Rock Listings.
REJOICE, FOR THE new queen of 905 soul, Macy Gray, will bring her smouldering voice and arsenal of killer tunes to Glasgow Barrowland on Tue 14 Dec, as an early Christmas present to us all.
BIZARRE BAND OF the month are Frog Pocket, whose slot supporting the fantastic Black Heart Procession featured a man with the head of a pantomime horse doing crazy dancing, and another man with a pointy beard intoning about elves over bleeps and grinding noises. We foresee a glittery future.
GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI (speaking of the bizarre) will tour their lovely album Spanish Dance Troupe in November, with a date at Glasgow School Of Art on Sun 14 Nov.
HMV'S MASSIVE ON-LINE superstore is now up and running with a fully transactional (eh?) website at
- www.hmv.co.uk offering music
(including, astoundingly, vinyl), videos, games and DVDs, plus experts on hand to answer questions by e-mail, and live gigs broadcasted regularly. So keep your List subscription up to date, and you'll never need to leave the house again.
PRIMAL SCREAM MAKE a long- awaited return on Mon 8 Nov with the single ‘Swastika Eyes', described as ‘radical' and featuring a righteous tirade about democracy! Yayl It'll feature remixes by the Chemical Brothers and Furious Jagz. Expect a tour in Spring 2000.
BLUR RELEASE A NEW single. ‘No Distance Left to Run', on Mon 8 Nov, and play Edinburgh: Corn Exchange on Tue 7 Dec.
Radical: Primal Scream