ROCK/ POP Yo La Tengo
Glasgow: Mitchell Theatre, Sat 13 May.
Longevity can wreak havoc on the best of bands. Great talents can fester in a rut, or wrestle with wretchedly misguided makeovers. Not so Yo La Tengo. The Hoboken, New Jersey trio have kept their little corner of the world safe for fifteen years, edging towards a kind of pure and intimate art-pop eclecticism. They’ve kept themselves and their audiences consistently surprised too, and if they're not the type to shout it from the rooftops, it’s still a mighty achievement.
Their tenth album, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out, is an uncommonly gentle masterpiece of careworn reflections on love's sweet muddle, its post-alt.country brush-strokes lent added resonance by the fact that vocalist and guitarist Ira Kaplan's marriage to bandmate Georgia Hubley (drums/vocals) has lasted with the band. It’s both their richest and most coherent album, almost perverser so, given its genesis. ’It all started with jamming,’ says the softly-spoken Kaplan. ’It's such a bad word because it sounds like aimless and stoned noodling, but it’s more the three of us playing without any clear notion of where it’s going.’
Yo La Tengo don’t so much ramble as feel their way through discordance and melody, and it’s this intuitive artfulness that enables them to turn just about all accidents into happy ones. Take London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall show last year, where Kaplan even made the gremlins in his guitar sound purposeful. ’That was one of the best memories of the show,’ he quietly enthuses. ’lt's hardly something you can look forward to — you know, "gee, I hope my guitar breaks!” — but if it happens and it can be successfully navigated, that’s a
‘Jamming is such a bad word because it sounds like aimless and stoned noodling, but it’s more the three of us playing without any clear notion of where it’s going’
really great feeling.’
By augmenting their line-up for their current tour, they’re positively courting such possibilities. Neil lnnes plays with them at some shows, while Robyn Hitchcock and Sonic Boom, ex of Spacemen 3, join them at Glasgow. Kaplan is ’excited and nervous’ simultaneously, and happily so. 'We won’t know what it’s going to be like until the moment of the shows. We’ve got a couple of days rehearsal and then, blam! Ask me afterwards and I’ll tell you how it's working out.’
Difficult to imagine it working anything but perfectly, and if they get any better, it’s hard to imagine Yo La Tengo being pop’s best-kept secret for much longer. ’Obviously it's not mass appeal that motivates us,’ Kaplan laughs. ’One reason we've lasted so long is by trying to make music we like and be oblivious to what’s going on around us. Of course reviews and sales matter, but we try not to have any barometer for success other than what we feel.’ And with fifteen years of proof behind him, you don't doubt a word of it. (Kevin Harley)
Dubois house guest Mira Calx
Godspeed You Black Emperor’s first UK shows, sol did, and things just continued from there. There’s no particular reasoning behind what we do: the title of our newsletter sums it up, really. It’s called Because We Can.’ So who have Dubois promoted? The promoters’ track record is nothing if not impressive, with wiggy experimenters Stock, Hausen And Walkman, relaxed hip hopper Kid Loco and glitch pioneer Pole all making their Scottish debuts at Dubors events. More established artists have also been drawn to the capital, including raw rock ’n’ rollers Royal Trux and Throbbing Gristle frontman Genesis P. Orridge.
And plans for the future? ’The main
We bring you the brightest gems from the cavernous diamond mine that is pop music, this issue: House Of Dubois.
Since 1998, the House Of Dubois have been providing an essential service to fans of all things leftfield, experimental and downright peculiar by bringing the best artists operating at the fringes of
the mainstream to Edinburgh.
How did it all begin? Bob Mills, founding member of the House Of Dubois organisation, was fed up with the lack of opportunities to catch live performances by the kind of off-kilter groups that formed the mainstay of his record collection. ’No one else was putting on the kind of band I wanted to see in Edinburgh at the time, Mills explains, ’then someone rang me up and asked if I could help organising
plan for the future,’ according to Mills' current partner in crime, Kirsty Bowker, ’is to get more organised! We are entering the filing cabinet era.’ Organised or not, Ilouse Of Dubois' next event features two of electronica’s rising stars in the form of the live debut of Warp records artist Mira Calix, cureritly garnering much praise for her One To One long player and superb multi-instrumeritalist Max Iundra. (Jack Mottram)
All the musings, fusings and bruisings from the world of pop
A SPATE OF rescheduling has meant several gigs have been jiggled about. The Delgados show at the Liquid Room is now on Sunday 14 May, while Elastica’s date at Glasgow Garage is now scheduled for Monday 15 May.
LATEST ADDITIONS TO the T in the Park bill include l.loby headlining the second Stage and US rappers Blackalicious and Glasgow noiseniks Aereogramme being added to the King Tut's stage and Second stage respectively.
AS WELL AS Teenage Fanclub being added to the bill for Glasgow Green (see Frontlines page 6 for more details) Super Furry Animals, Ooberman, Shack, Cotton Mather, Nectarine N09 and Shed Seven have all also been confirmed to appear at the two-day festival on 25 & 26 August.
ANYONE GETTING EXCITED by the prospect of The Explorted gig annocinced for the Liquid Room will be disappointed to hear that it will definitely not go ahead. The band’s management and the venue said a third party was responsible for the announcement and apologise for any confusion this may have caused.
2000 DMC Championship Scottish Heat, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 28 May; Love/Hate, Cathouse, Glasgow, 4 Jun; Bis, King Tut’s, Glasgow, 8 Jun, Nick Harper, Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh, 16 Jun, Elliot Smith, Garage, Glasgow, 18 Jun; Utah Saints, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, l9 Jun; Methods Of Mayhem, Garage, Glasgow, 21 Jun, Joe Satriani, Clyde Auditorium, Glasgow, 23 Jun; John Martyn, Renfrew Ferry, Glasgow, 26 Jun; John Martyn, Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 28 Jun; Slayer, Barrowland, Glasgow, 3 Jul, Dream Theater, Barrowland, Glasgow, l8 Oct.
Elliot Smith plays the Garage, Glasgow on 18 Jun