Add N To (X)
Venue, Edinburgh, Wed 25 Oct.
A far more enjoyable way of viewing Top Of The Pops is to mute the television and play a track of choice for the assorted divas, boy bands and R ’n' B fiends to prance along to. ‘Robot New York' by Add N To (X) is a particular favourite of mine: somehow all the dance routines onscreen end up in synch with that wonderful slab of demented electro.
Funny then that the London trio’s third album Add Insult To Injury is more of a disappointingly mainstream affair, although Steve Claydon, one third of the Add N To (X) machine, offers an explanation for this: 'Making the album a lot more rock 'n’ roll was still very experimental for us because we were trying to work within a different arena - not in order to be accepted, just to see what happened. Like trying to fit an elephant into a mini, cramming it in until the seams begin to burst.’
In any case, he continues, the band is a lot more punk rock live. 'We don’t use any backing tracks or sequencers, so essentially we've just got three pairs of hands to produce our sound. It's really more interesting that way because once you start playing a track you can only be the instigator. You’re in complete control.’
Not when it comes to their notoriously fickle analogue synths though, one of which was famously found in a Piccadilly bin. What characterises the Add N To (X) sound more than anything is the relationship between musician and instrument. ’We're entirely at the mercy of the machines - if one breaks down we can’t replace its sound, it's not like getting another guitar. The sound is easily as important as the riff for us: for example, we couldn’t really do an unplugged
The interaction between man and machine is readily interpreted from the band's shiny synth orchestrations, dotted with robotic vocals. But their most explicit representation of this symbiosis was the video for last year's single 'Metal Fingers In My Body', a cartoon detailing an unorthodox woman/robot relationship. 'It all came from the actual experience of working with our machines,’ Claydon confesses. ’There's no Kraftwerk Man Machine sterility here - they’re as dirty and filthy as we are, so this naturally evolved into the idea of robots having sex. But in the video a woman 'services' the machine until it's destroyed.’
As an extension of this, the promo for new single ‘Plug Me In’ features two females in various states of undress being introduced to the 'Add N To (X) Fucking Machine'. Claydon explains simply, 'We decided to present a new take on porn by giving a camera to two strippers and letting them get on with it.’
Controversial, perhaps. Adding insult to injury, definitely. But with Add N To (X), perhaps it's all about learning to turn the other cheek. (Jan Zeshcky)
session on harpsichords.’
ROCK . . . And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
King Tut’s, Glasgow, Thu 2 Nov; Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Fri 3 Nov.
...And you will know them by their love of jocks
44 THE “ST 19 Oct 2 :“.o\. 2000
Add /nsu/t To ln/ury IS out now on Mute.
There's no doubt it’s the coolest band name in the world, but for the sake of breVity let’s just call ’em Trail Of Dead for now. Right, now that's out the way, let’s begin, shall we?
If yOU haven’t heard of. . Trail Of Dead yet, you soon will They are one of those bands who come along every now and again and simply take yOur breath away. Four unaSSUming men from Austin, Texas, they create a brilliant and Violent storm of punked- up energised rock ’n’ roll, as evmced on their recent second album, Madonna.
But live is where Trail Of Dead really excel and they’re no strangers to taking the stage in Scotland either They've played in both Edinburgh and Glasgow several times already this year, and in fact are considerable Scotophiles. Conrad Keely, one quarter of the band, explains: ’Our tour manager is from Glasgow and we met all the kids from Nlogwai who were lending us their equment, so we kinda Just fell in With a group of people from Glasgow,’ he explains of their f-rst trip here.
’At the end of the last tour we had three days off, and we got to spend it
in Glasgow. Apart from all the people, I just enjoyed the city, it’s a beautiful place. Of c0urse Edinburgh is also a beautiful city.’ DeSpite differences of geography, Keely sees plenty of similarities between Scots and Texans. ’I think in general the Scottish attitude reflects more of a Texan attitude,’ he says. ’In a way Texas is a lot different from the rest of America, and people there tend to be a lot more uninhibited and personable, which is how we felt Scotland was, compared to the other places we played.’
One difference that’s worrying Keely, however, is the Scottish climate ’I’m certainly looking forward to the shows,’ he says, ’but I’m kinda anxious about the weather, so we’ll need to pack for warmth What do yOu people do during the winter there?’ Not exactly shy and retiring on stage (their last Visit saw several hospitalisationsi, it’s safe to say we can expect the unexpected and look forward to an entertaining show, ’We never know what to expect from a . . Trail of Dead show so it’d be silly for me to tell someone else what to expect,’ says Keely. ’Just come see us, and it should speak for itself.’ (Doug Johnstonei
All the shaking, faking and breaking in the wonderful world of music
COLDPLAY WOULD LIKE to apologise to their fans in Edinburgh after the last minute cancellation of their show at the Liquid Room on Wednesday 11 October. The gig has been rescheduled for 14 December, tickets for the original show will still be valid.
STEREOPHONICS FRONT FELLA Kelly Jones sets off on a solo jaunt around the country prior to the release of the band's new album J.E.E.P, due out in the spring. He plays Glasgow’s Old FrUitmarket on 18 November.
REEF HAVE BEEN forced to reschedule their UK tour due to singer Gary Stringer being immobilised by a knee operation he has had to correct a sporting injury. The Scottish are now Aberdeen Music Hall on 27 November and Glasgow's Barrowland on 28 November. Original tickets are still valid. GEOGRAPHIC, THE NEW imprint run by Glasgow pop svengali Stephen Pastel, are pleased to announce the signing of Future Pilot AKA to their label and are scheduled to release his new album Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea in the coming months. Look out for Stephen as he DJs at Glasgow cafe Tinderbox on Wed 25 October, the latest recording available On the Domino Records affiliated imprint will be on sale with free cappuccino for anyone coming dressed as a tree, You‘d be a plank not to go surely?
» Just Announced
Man Or Astro-Man?, Nice ’n’ Sleazy, Glasgow, 3 Nov,’ North Mississippi Allstars 13th Note, Glasgow, 14 Nov, Earthline No 9, Skin Dread and Liberty 37 Cathouse, Glasgow, 17 Nov,’ The Gentle Waves, Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 19 Nov, The Fall, LlQUId Room, Edinburgh, 25 Nov, Cathouse, Glasgow, 26 Nov, Terrorvision Venue, Edinburgh, 27 Nov; Craig David, Barrowland, Glasgow, 3 Dec, At The Drive In Arches, Glasgow, 4 Dec; Billy Bragg And The Blokes Liquid Room, Edinburgh, 5 Dec, Green Day SECC, Glasgow, 8 Dec; Amen Cathouse, Glasgow, 10 Dec.
Kelly Jones on a solo flight