ELECTRONIC/3v POP DOT ALLISON King Tut's, Glasgow, Sun 19 May
She’s been described as, ‘a cross between Marianne Faithful and Marlene Dietrich for the millennium.’ She was the angelic voice behind late, lamented Glasgow electro-dub champions One Dove. Torch singer to a lost generation, the original come-down queen, ladies and gentlemen, she is Dot Allison and you truly are not worthy.
Currently preparing for a UK tour and having recently worked with Slam and Massive Attack, as well as being asked to write a ﬁlm score, Allison is very much an artist in demand. She’s also about to release her second solo album. Entitled We Are Science, it marks a move away from the strung out pop classicism of 99’s Afterglow in a tougher, darker direction that draws heavily upon streamlined, electro and fragile, late night melancholy. It’s a sound and feel that she admits owes a lot to the involvement of Two Lone Swordsman, Keith Tenniswood.
‘You feel safe handing your stuff over to someone like Keith,’ she enthuses. ‘You know he’s not going to over process stuff plus, one, he’s brilliant, two, he’s very musical and three, he’s not going to clean it up:
he’s going to leave the bass and drums really fat and tough and driving.’
Right now, the question many of her admirers are going to be asking is: could this be the album that ﬁnally breaks Allison to a wider audience? After all, hers is a career that seems to have been characterised by set backs, frustration and brushes with near greatness. In a fairer, more just world she’d be a big star but despite critical acclaim, the big leagues have always seemed just out of reach. Not that this seems to phase Dot.
Dot teaches science
‘It’s pressure that I don’t put on myself. l’ve noticed it though,’ she admits. "lime Out said: “This could be the one; she could have a big smash on her hands.” But I kind of shy away from these kind of claims. As long as I get to communicate to enough people then it’s worthwhile.’
No plans to transform into a big time diva then? ‘No. I don’t feel frustrated and I don’t really want global domination. I’m kind of resigned - or should I say happy - about being in the wings. I don’t mind that at all.’ (Neil Ferguson)
HARDCORE BAD RELIGION
Barrowland, Glasgow, Sun 12 May
The Americans had the right idea about punk. While in
Britain it was all about where you had your safety pin stuck and the colour of your mohican. across the pond they were establishing the roots of a colossal underground movement that would influence global music for the next twenty years.
And godfathers of that scene are Bad Religion. Since their eponymous debut EP blasted out of the Los Angeles suburbs in 1981, Bad Religion have led the way in US hardcore. Their fifteen albums since have been a blueprint for the genre that marries breakneck rhythms with apocalyptic riftage and. most importantly. gloriously catchy melodies.
The band’s recently released album. Process Of Belief. has received rave reviews. and with the current emo trend (that's ‘emotional hardcore' to you and me) among the kids sweeping both sides of the Atlantic. Bad Religion are more relevant now than ever.
And the band have never lost that socio-political edge essential for any self-respecting hardcore act: new song titles like ‘lvtaterialist' and ‘Kyoto Now!‘ are evidence of that. So if you want to see the original hardcore masters at work and at their best. now is your chance. (Doug Johnstone)
Still on the edge
FOLK BERT JANSCH Edinburgh Folk Club, Wed 15 May
In 2002 Bert Jansch is still up there with the best of them. From his revolutionary. 60's debut album. subsequent success in groundbreaking folk/ iazzers Pentangle. through years of solo touring and albums. to his Current status with the Gallaghers and Cockers of the Brit scene. his BBC Radio Lifetime Achievement award. a Channel 4 documentary and the recent Dazzling Stranger biography. Jansch has remained an understated hero. He is the continuing archetype for every bedsit guitar geek.
Jansch remembers when it all started. at primary school in Edinburgh's Pilton, 'You didn't see guitars then. But one of the teachers brought a guitar into the class. and when I saw it in real life. I fell in love.' A year of piano lessons didn't turn his head. and the guitar became the centre of his life as he devised his own fingerpicking techniques and soaked up ideas from wherever he could. including one courteSy of Scots film documentary master John Grierson.
‘There used to be a television programme that Grierson made. and presented. called This Wonderfu/ World. One evening I remember watching Big Bill Broonzy, filmed in a Paris nightclub and he had this thing on his thumb. a pick. and I‘d never seen one: there weren't many guitarist going about then. So I had to hunt a thumbpick down.‘
Currently in the middle of recording his umpteenth album. he's still enthusing about the instrument. 'I don't separate practising, playing or composing. There's no distinction. it's all one thing. l suppose that's why I persevere: you always find new things on the guitar. even if it's something quite simple. But then a whole album can sometime centre round one phrase.‘ (Norman Chalmers)
r ELEC‘TRC-DhiICAH FOUR TET AND
. MANITOBA Bongo Club,
Edinburgh, Wed 22 May
When Scottish schlock
punk band the Rezillos went to the States in 1977 and met the Cramps they felt as if they had walked into a parallel universe and found a
bunch of musicians who
had independently come up with the same idea.
A When Canadian Dan Snaith first met Londoner i Kieran Hebden in 1999.
3 something similar.
he must have felt
Four Tet for dreamers
Within two years as Manitoba and Four Tet respectively, they w0uld
; release two of the most
critically acclaimed albums of the year (Start Breaking My Heart and Pause) and bring to a
electronica so warm in
SOUnd that peOple.
including the musicians themselves. reached round for a word that had that warmth and said 'folk'. If it s0unds like tolk then it's folk played by jazz musicians; a kind of
electronic Astral Weeks.
Four Tet drew more
attention, largely because he was conveniently ' positioned for the London
style mags. Hebden. too. is known for what he rather unfairly calls his ‘old school band’ Fridge who make organic drone music when they are not touring as Badly Drawn Boy's backing band.
It is Manitoba's label.
Leaf, however which is
the main well from which Springs this dreamlike- musrcal style. Hebden has put out the odd thing with them and Susumu Yokota is also on the label. It's the kind of stuff that lovers of the early Detroit SOund may find it all a bit quSy. Two weeks after they hear it though. they are the ones at the
record shop looking for
this beguiling mu3rc they keep dreaming about.