JEB LOY NICHOLS
Easy Now (Rykodisk) on.
That’s Easy Now in the sense of '. . . easy like Sunday morning'. And if y0u can put the memOry of Lionel Richie out of your head for long enough to be seduced by these thirteen love songs. then seduced you will be. And yes. it's perfect Sunday morning listening.
Nichols lives on a Welsh farm. but his music is as American as his Missouri birthplace - vaguely alt.country. vaguely laid- back funk and displaying a fine grasp of the well- made song. He has a voice that curls around you like the family cat. warm, relaxed and welcome. and a gift for melody that you can‘t shake off. Delicious. (Mark Fisher)
JAMES GRANT I Shot The Albatross (Vertical/Sanctuary) 0..
How refreshing to find James Grant singing with the likes of Lee Dorsey. Herbie Hancock and Freddie Hubbard: even if it is only through samples.
Long after the strained synthetic funk of his band Love And Money. it's clear that what this Scot does best is whip up an atmosphere. and his latest collaboration with producer Donald Shaw finds them concocting a rich stew of moody settings for poems by Blake and Auden. Emily Dickinson and even Charles Buckowski, who intones his own miserable ditty. It's hit-and-miss fare. nicely spiced with the wonderful, Emmylou-ish voice of Monica Queen. (Ninian Dunnett)
ELECTRONIC/VPOP ROSE SMITH DAWNRAIDING (Glasgow Underground) 0000
If you‘re counting down
the days till Dido's return. Rose Smith's debut release might just be enough to keep the shakes at bay. Dawnra/ding is a dreamy concoction of folky vocals. sublime harmonies and beats featuring melodies that worm their way into yOur soul and warm production hinting at Air, early Massive Attack and Lamb.
‘Life Changes' is cool. sassy and sophisticated. ‘lnto the Deep‘ evokes memories of Dubstar with its pretty chorus and smatterings of sax and the remarkable cover of Donovan's “Get thy bearings' is jazzy. uplifting and simply soulful. This impressive offering is more than enOugh to get y0u through. (Camilla Pia)
ELECTRONICNBLUES ROB DOUGAN
Furious Angels (Cheeky) 0000
When Rob Dougan laid down the ‘Clubbed to Death' for 'Mo Wax several years ago it stuck out like an erection at a funeral.
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106 THE LIST 20 JUN—4‘ Jul 2002
Amid the unfocused electronica and prototype jungle of the day it was a sleek and atmospheric stealth bomber of a track. and here it forms the backbone — and one of the highlights — of his debut
In a brave move. Dougan has woven his own sandpaper growl into the layers of plaintive piano and surging strings: ‘Drinking Song' may be Tom Waits by numbers. but the title track is Robbie Robertson fronting Massive Attack and others evoke thoughts of DJs Krush and even Laibach's more progressive moments. An unfashionably arresting debut. (Mark Robertson)
JAZZ JOHN GOLDIE
The View From Here (Jonjo Records) 0000
Airdrie-born guitarist John Goldie follows his excellent trio debut with a superb solo showcase for his accomplished and imaginative playing. While his technical prowess is obvious throughout. Goldie is also a very musical player. and never indulges in grandstanding at the expense of the music. The majority of the album features his own compositions. some with a definite Celtic tinge (and crossover potential). but he also tackles the jazz standard ‘Nice Work' and a couple of less likely pop vehicles. ‘lt's Not Unusual' and ‘Secret Love'. Good stuff. and if you have only heard him play rhythm guitar with Martin Taylor in Spirit of Django. then check this out. (Kenny Mathieson)
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All this blatant internationalism has gone too far! Damn you multinational pop-spouting conglomerates! We‘re going back to our roots! It's demos and local bods all round!
The Gents: now they're good aren‘t they? They've stopped taking the piss all the time and ‘Canada' (Hamburger O... ) is all subtle indie guitar purrs and harmonies. akin to the Starlets. a knowing bunch of kitschy popsters whose ‘Hypercool' (Stereotone COO ) lives up to its name. all coy winks and nods.
On 'Burn My Skin‘, Lady Jude (demo .0. ) weave a spooky web of acoustic instrumentation round Judith Williams' haunting tones. both dark but bewitching. Keep an ear out for Lowlight. ‘Hope from Seeds' (demo 0.. ) is a considered swathe of guitar jangle. doffing a cap to early Magnapop and PJ Harvey. I like. I like.
Something which has been kicking about a while but still worth mentioning is Bubblecraft's 'Technophobe' (Mint Blue 0.. ). a skewed early-Radiohead pop trip which doesn't suffer for the comparisons. Haywire's ‘Ellen' (Glass Cheque CO ) follows the US fuzzpop'n'harmonies rulebook to the letter and is energetic but all too familiar. Nacoya's ‘Live lnside‘ (Demo .0 ) showcases Julie Scade's powerful voice but the rather flat and predictable songsmithery her them down.
The Ruffness take dub and funk down an Edinburgh side street and slap it around with a bit of slide blues guitar and squidgey electronics. Their four tracker ‘Enfore Da Ruffness (demo COO. ) is an eclectic. if languid blend and suggests them to be a formidable live force. Another formidable live force is alt.country dilitante Dean Owens. ‘Anything' (Droma O... ) is an uplifting summer breeze into a rainswamped city. Keep listening here for a version of his Sublime ‘Blue December', a wee moment of genius.
Beware of the newest release from Ayrshire's electronica deviants Mouthmoth. Eye Man's skilfully titled ‘fucker' (Mouthmoth O. ) is just shock tactics and stubborn noise generators but let's applaud their sense of humour. an attribute missing from too many today
A band finally showing their true potential are Degrassi. Their excellent ‘Terminal Ocean' EP (SL 0... ) illustrates how diverse their SOurld has become. chiming, criss-crossing guitars all b0und up in jutting time signatures delivered with no little measure of plaintive twang. An essential release. Never so subtle but just as effective are Senator (Demo 0... ). Their beefy power altrock evokes thought of Shellac but with an injection of youthful over-excitement in place of the world- weary cynicism. Their imminent album will be a beast to be reckoned with. (Mark Robertson)