Tolbooth Centre, Stirling, 29 Feb; QMU, Glasgow, Mon 1 Mar
‘When two people have a project,’ posits the opening line of ‘Margerine Melody’, the nearest thing to a title track on Stereolab’s new album, Margerine Eclipse, ‘they begin a competition/In which there will be a loser and a winner/State of dominance over one or the other.’
Such is the eternal dialectic at the heart of a band which, for 13 years, has combined Gallic exotica and motorik disco rhythms with a swotty intelligence to create a distinctively jaunty and hypnotic brand of postmodern pop. That the band’s founders and composers, Latitia Sadier and Tim Gane, were a couple who married Marxist epigrams to studio boffinry in ethically sound harmony, only added to Stereolab’s homespun allure.
Margerine Eclipse, however, marks a personal if not creative split, that, like last year’s Instant 0 in the Universe EP, sounds like a band caught up in the whirligig of euphoria. It’s also, in contrast to previous work produced with fellow travellers in Mouse on Mars and Tortoise, pretty much back to basics.
‘It was supposed to be but it didn’t quite work out like that,’ according to a difﬁdent Tim Gane.
‘Normally we have little signatures that link the music, but here we just wanted a collection of catchy songs that were primitive and basic, without being complex or fiddly. Then we decided to work things so you could hear a different arrangement in each speaker. I like solving puzzles, but that one took forever.’
Having built their own studio in Bordeaux, however, Stereolab, now the ultimate cottage industry band, had time to spare. The result, according to Gane, is ‘more leggy’.
Leggy? ‘Spruce. Leggy. Leaping Salmon.’ . . ?
‘Propulsive!’ Gain eventually stumbles over this description.
Margerine Eclipse is dedicated, with love, to Mary Hansen, Stereolab co-vocalist and guitarist, and an integral contributor to the call and response bi-lingual textures of the groop’s (sic) make-up. Hansen was killed in a cycling accident in central London in December 2002.
‘It was one more of an appalling series of bad things to happen to us,’ Gane says now. ‘I don’t really equate what happened with the band, though. It’s more than that. You can’t do 40-odd tours around the world with someone and not feel
ACK To chanteuse Katie Melua put in an QRTSEYMAN THE BARS appearance on 2 March,
Barﬂy, Glasgow, Tue 2_wed folllowed by Neil Hannon's ever-
10 Mar foppish Divine Comedy on 4
It’s Katie’s round
In the first two weeks of March the Barfly clubs across the country are to present a series of special events for competition winners only, with the great, good and the downright gigantic of the UK music scene playing in venues they would normally consider a bit too pokey — even as a rehearsal space. Glasgow's very own Barfly is naturally in on the act, with possibly the largest band involved making an extra special return home.
In aid of War Child and Shelter — two charities which have long had many supporters in the music world — Passpon: Back to the Bars will see youthful blues
(David Pollock) 48 THE LIST 19 Feb—4 Mar 2004
March. Melua's forthcoming show at the Royal Concert Hall and Hannon's previous appearances at the Barrowland are a far cry from the ‘Fly, but the band who might be feeling really claustrophobic are Travis. On the 3 eve of their March shows at the SECC, they'll be playing a Barfly ‘ gig on 10 March — a gig that ' promises to be a truly special night for anyone lucky enough to
To stand a chance of winning entry, fans have to text their answer to a set question (see below for more details) by midnight on Friday 20 February. with the winners being picked the next day. All texts are chargeable. but the prize is well worth it . . . and remember, it’s all in a good
Project creator Stephen Budd says: “The Passport project has brought together some of the best companies and artists from across the UK music business who share a determination to demonstrate that music can make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of children.‘
For full details of how to enter, text charges and conditions. visit www.musicpasspOrtorg
“Fuck the Hook’ EP is currently enjoying major rotation. and with an album in the pipeline. shows like these can only increase Skinnyman's profile in 2004. Following his acclaimed Word Perfect LP. suppOrt l ' act Eastborn is another emcee for whom the next 12 months promise to be a very busy time. A true champion of hip hop north of the border, the Edinburgh-born, Glasgow-based rapper is § gearing up for a clutch of : new releases on his Drop Zone imprint. as well as a ' series of live dates — l beginning here. I (Hugh Leask)
Happy to be back in the ’Lab
like they’re family. Having said that, I doubt any of us would’ve got by if we hadn’t been working.’
Stereolab’s forthcoming dates will be the first since Hansen’s death, and while she won’t be replaced, two extra musicians have been added to flesh things out.
We can’t pretend that nothing’s changed and we won’t know by how much till the next record really, because all the songs were already written before she died,’ says Gane. ‘I just wish she would’ve been around to sing on it.’
Tellingly, the last track on Margerine Eclipse, ‘Dear Marge’, is a mini suite encompassing all of Stereolab’s contrary shades and hues. And the song’s last words are ‘The joy to love/To open up.’
The project goes on. (Neil Cooper)
King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Thu 23 Feb
With the odious Fatman Scoop Currently riding high in the charts and the late great Notorious BIG revered as much in death as he was in life. it often seems that hip hop's scales are perennially tipped in favour of the fatties. In fact. rocking XXXXXL pants appears to be key to many a performers success (just ask Michelle McManusi. Not so for Skinnyman, however. a rapper with a colossal talent and a beanpole stature.
Originally scheduled back in October. the Glasgow leg of the ironically-titled ‘Straight Outta Jail' low was shelved following Skinnyinan's untimely return to the slamn‘er after some prolonged legal drama caught up with him. Now fresh out of chokey. Skinnyman is finally coming back to Glasgow.
With countless legendary live performances under his belt. plus a CV boasting collaborations with UK premiership talent like Mark B 8. Blade. Rodney P and Lewis Parker, Skinnyman has earned a reputation as one of the finest rappers to emerge from these shores in a very long time. It's not surprising then that he's recently inked a
deal with Low Life Records. arguably Britain's best homegrown hip-hop label. His
Skinnyman finally makes his mark on Glasgow