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JAMES YORKSTON AND THE ATHLETES
Barfly, Glasgow, Tue 23 Jul; Venue, Edinburgh, Sat 27 Jul
This time last year, James Yorkston didn’t even have a record deal. Last month, due to an already hectic touring schedule, he had to turn down a full American tour with Beth Orton and the support slot on the recent Pulp gigs in the forest.
It’s pretty safe to say then, that things are snowballing nicely for the Fife-born, Edinburgh-based singer songwriter, and with good reason. Along with the Athletes, his erstwhile merry band of musical compadres, Yorkston released one of the albums of the year, Moving Up Country, last month on cooler-than-cool indie label Domino Records.
A wonderfully hypnotic and entrancing piece of nu-folk individuality, the record is a perfect end to an old school music fairytale which started 18 months ago with a demo tape sent to John Peel.
‘I know, it’s fucking ridiculous isn’t it?’ he says of the current buzz surrounding him and his remarkable record. ‘lt’s going really well, it’s been amazing. The reviews have been extraordinary, I’ve been absolutely amazed. I didn’t think people would be writing nasty stuff about the record, I just figured they would ignore it. It’s not like it’s an Oasis album or anything.’
And we can be thankful for that. Signed to Domino after an all-night drinking session with the label’s head honcho Laurence Bell in Edinburgh, Yorkston then took the unusual step of avoiding conventional recording studios for the band’s first release.
‘We hired a cottage just outside Hawick and recorded there for four weeks in November,’ he says. ‘There was a loch with boats there and I had to climb up a hill if I wanted
James Yorkston can’t believe his luck
vibe about it, which only adds to its charm. ‘We started off fairly regimented and everyone had to get up at noon but after a week I was like, fuck this,’ he says. ‘People were staying up all night just jamming, mucking around and having a laugh, and we recorded the last track at three or four in the morning in one take.’ Yorkston is the first to admit that an element of luck has played its part in his success so far, but then luck can only take you so far, and he has the talent to go much further. Besides, as big Ron Atkinson might say, you make your own luck in this game. ‘Yeah, that’s a cliche but it’s true,’ says Yorkston. ‘I realise it has been fairly lucky but then everything in this
All the stuff, guff and superfuzzb/gmuff from the wonderful world of music
THE SUNBURN. THE PAPER Cups. the men in kills and little else . . . it had to be T in the Park. It was a relatively peaceful weekend. aSide from Noel and Liam ending up noses to nose with James from Starsailor in what the Daily Record might call a sensational fracas'. It wasn't quite as rock’n'roll as reported. althOugh stories of handbags being removed from shOulders and primed for a swipe remain unconfirmed. Only the excitable din of Biffy Clyro awoke us from Our early afternoon sunbathe. but other things we can confirm are that Badly Drai-rn Boy does actually look like a Airedale terrier in the flesh. the Beta Band are. in fact. gods and that No Doubt are still rubbish. All good fun.
AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE festy subject, in case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve got a lovely 16-page Gig on the Green supplement with this issue giving you the inside story on all the acts at Glasgow Green this August. Enjoy.
to use my phone. We were way out in the middle of nowhere but it was great fun.’ The album certainly has that relaxed, middle-of-nowhere
business is promoters and PR people and stuff like that, so it’s nice that luck comes into it sometimes.’ (Doug Johnstone)
or the last ten days I have F found myself visiting family
overseas in Ontario, Canada, in a small town called Chatham. Even though I'm having a good time I should point out that this town is not exactly a hive of cultural activity. This fact was typified by the experience of witnessing live the Practically Hip, a Tragically Hip covers band.
Anyone who has had the misfortune to hear the Tragically Hip would be at pains to wonder why anyone would wish to emulate them. This was certainly something that I asked myself. But people were enjoying it so what do I know? A question that others regularly ask me incidentally. On hearing of this someone pointed out that the Tragically Hip were in fact Canada's Runrig and that every country has one. ie a band only
The man from Mogwai gets in a radio daze while finding Canada’s answer to
popular in their home country with no redeeming musical qualities whatsoever. It was mooted that the Manic Street Preachers were England's equivalent until sense prevailed and the Manic's Welsh identity was verified. Anyway I thought that everyone knew that Blur are England's Runrig. I wish their singer would leave the band to pursue a hopeless career in politics. Saying that. if he had. we wouldn't have discovered that new continent. Africa. One failing that Scotland and Britain as a whole have that really becomes apparent when in other c0untries is our lack of quality. diverse radio. Before I start. l'll point out that I am not criticising any of the presenters. producers or directors who are doing a good job (there are many) but the actual system. In most countries there
are upwards of 20 stations on the FM bandwidth that cater for various styles of mLiSic from easy listening and talk to heaw rock. alternative and hip hop. In the UK the number of stations is minimised by the government in an attempt to make sure that there is a higher quality of Output on the few stations that exist. Knowing that SO much bandedth is wasted whilst certain stations (not including the BBC) spew out a non- stop mix of chart mince during the day and bland house at weekends is quite infuriating to say the least.
Since Scotland can suppOrt two large outdoor rock festivals is it too much to ask to have a station that plays rock music other than Nickelback and Travis (nae offence likes) before 6pm? And dance music that won't end up on Ibiza compilations. The government has a system of fines which are meant to keep the commercial stations to their remits but these have as much effect on huge corporations as FIFA taking a few grand from Rivaldo. I think that we deserve better as radio is the medium through which most people hear new music. and at the moment it's stagnant . . .
WASHINGTON DC’S OWN hardcore masters Fugazi (above) have finally rescheduled their postponed Glasgow date. They play Barrowland on 29 October.
EXCUSE US IF WE BLOW OUR own trumpet but we can't help pointing Out that Our opening Hit List night starring the DA at Glasgow's Barfly was. to be frank. a rip roaring Success. A hungry crowd were fed the leanest Antipodean garage rock toasties and were left baying for scraps at the finale. LOOK Out fOr more Hit List shows :n the coming months.
THERE’S LOADS OF GREAT gigs just been announced: Bendy Toy and Policechief, the Von Bondies, Terry Callier, the Delgados, Coldplay, Papa Roach, Morcheeba, Snow Patrol, Beverly Knight and, erm, Shed Seven. See Book Now on page 59 for details.
l.“ 1 Aug; THE LIST 57