ROCK PJ HARVEY Barrowland, Glasgow, Wed 26 Sep.
When marketing bods use the term ‘artist’ to describe those most of us know as pop stars, the response is usually a fit of giggling. Polly Jean Harvey is one of the few musicians who has the stature befitting of such a term. In fact, the Dorset- born singer almost took up an offer to study sculpture at St Martin’s College. Luckily for the listening public, she deferred for a year to concentrate on music and never got round to taking her place up, side-stepping the possibility of being a character in a Pulp song to be the composer of a few songs of her own.
It’s almost exactly ten years since Harvey released her first single, the frantic ‘Dress’. It failed to chart, but was awarded Melody Maker’s single of the week. Four albums later (five if you count 1996’s Dance Hall At Louse Point, recorded with long-term collaborator John Parish) and a four-month stint in New York provided much of the inspiration for last year’s Mercury winning Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea. Stories . . ., like most great albums, is a contradictory work, exploring the landscapes of rural England and urban America. It immerses the listener in the sordid and cerebral, from the twisted, raucous claustrophobia of opener ‘Big Exit’ to the serene transcendence of closing track ‘We Float’.
Harvey has long polarised opinions, the raw sounds of her early releases backing a woman who claimed to be uninterested in feminism while dressing liking a siren, and confusing indie kids no end with lyrics about periods and masturbation. Her often tortured lyrics (try ‘You’re not rid of me/ I’ll make you lick my injuries’ for size) have prompted much speculation into her private life. She has since revealed she suffered nervous breakdowns in 1992 and 1995, while her duet with Nick Cave came whilst she was in a relationship with the mulleted goth-father.
Harvey’s parents -— her father was a stonemason, her mother a sculptor — have often been credited with kickstarting her interest in music, and their interest in blues certainly gave Harvey a broader musical palette than many of her contemporaries. Her mother, with
No easy ride
scant regard for her family’s sanity, apparently used to play Captain Beefheart’s jazzy psychedelic masterpiece Trout Mask Replica over dinner, a choice of soundtrack that, according to Harvey, ‘would make me feel sick.’
A rather more positive connection continues to this day - now she is in regular contact with the cap’n, who now paints under his real name, Don Van Vliet, and sends him demos of her new songs. The band she has been touring the States with, meanwhile, includes ex- Beefheart collaborator Eric Drew Feldman on bass and keyboards, as well as drummer Rob Ellis, who left PJ Harvey in acrimonious circumstances in 1993. It’s a rather apt return, because Stories . . . has a rock ‘n’ roll sound that recalls Dry and Rid Of Me, while, on recent live dates, tracks from the new album have been played alongside the likes of 1992’s ‘Sheela-Na-Gig’. Her Barrowland date should be one to relish — but don’t expect an easy ride. (James Smart)
POP TURIN BRAKES QMU, Glasgow, Thu 4 Oct.
Brake brothers Knights 8: Paridjanian
Whichever way you look at rt. there's sornethrng fateful about the exrstenco of Turin Brakes. Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian may not have been giving much thought to their future careers when they first met In primary school at the grand old age of seven. but it didn't take thorn long to figure out what their
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true calling would be. “When we were about ten. we got obsessed by Chuck Berry,‘ recounts Knights. 'which is quite strange. because ten-year olds generally don't know who Chuck Berry is! Then we got given these full-size guitars for Christmas and we’ve been messing about with them ever since.‘ A close friendship remained and ~ via rnoro mature collaborations on film scores for Knrghts' work at St. Martin's College the pair now find the steep upvv/ard curve of their career graph has led thorn to a lvlercury Ivlusrc Pr'i/e nomination tor the sublrrno Hie Opt/mist ll ‘.
Citing Joni Mitchell. Ioonard Cohen and Neil Young among its influences. their first album rs a bitter but intenser palatable collection of good-oIV fashioned guitar tunes. new single ‘I rner‘goncy /2' borrrg only one of a whole heap of gorns. Although it lost
out on the Mercury to PJ Harvey. Knights — interviewed just before the ceremony — is modest. “There is an inherent fear about it. but if I‘m gonna go to the dinner and drink their wine then. fuck it, I wanna win as well.‘ he laughs. before common sense prevails. 'and if we lose. we've lost nothing because we're doing fine without it.‘ That they are. and. after confirming that vague plans are afoot to record the followup LP for next autumn. there's still time for him to tell us what sort of movie I'urrn Brakes' rnusrc would score. ‘It would have to be a road movie, wrth two young character‘s travelling and finding out all sorts about the world and themselves along the way. Told from the underdog's perspective.‘ And mm: or no pri/e, we'll drink to that. (Davrd Pollock) I The single Emergency 72' is out on Mon 8 Oct on Source Records
Music news now
A NEW FESTIVAL SITUATED at Glasgow’s Cottier Theatre is bringing together dozens of names from the world of left field electronica and experimental music. Burnt Out is scheduled to run from 22 to 28 October and will see Hood, Twisted Nerve’s Andy Votel, To Rococo Rot, Future Pilot AKA (pictured), Bola, Gescom and plenty more playing live at the converted church. Tickets will be available from Fopp, Missing Records and 13th Note Cafe in Glasgow, or consult www.deepburnt.com for full line-up and more information.
THE LINE UP FOR THIS YEAR'S Glasgay! Festival has been announced with a variety of musical highlights to be had including Rosie Wilby. Helen Reeves and Lorraine Bowe. See wvmglasgay.co.uk for more details.
TATTOO THE PLANET HAS been rescheduled for 11 October after being postponed when Static X. It has been confirmed however that Pantera will not be playing the new date but a suitable replacement will be found in time.
PULP HAVE ANNOUNCED A date at Glasgow's Barrowland on 22 November while Khan and Kid Congo Powers have a show at the Cafe Royal on 28 Oct. The Charlatans play SECC. Glasgow on 13 Dec.
GLASGOW VENUE CURLERS in the city’s West End has announced it is no longer running live band nights after 18 September after a change in management. The venue has proved popular with unsigned talent but promoter of the gigs Jeff Jeffrey is current seeking out a suitable new venue in the same area. ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE. Edinburgh has a new venue for live music as the basement of The Tron in Hunter's SQLrare plays host to a series of live nights. The initial dates are mostly rock acts but the plan is to provide a platform for a variety of new local talent. See rock listings for more info.
Future Pilot AKA burns out