‘WE TRACE OLD FOLK SONGS THROUGH JAZZ, BLUES AND A LOT OF ROCK’ Hitlist THE BEST ROCK, POP, JAZZ & FOLK*
✽✽ Paper Planes, Findo Gask and French Wives Fronted by ‘noo joisey’ girl, Jennifer Paley, Glasgow’s fabulously whiney indie- punkers PP join the line-up to raise cash for Mary’s Meals. Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Thu 18 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra See preview, left. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Emma Pollock, Josh Pike and Burnt Island Another date with novelist- fronted Burnt Island, (see review, page 64), supporting ex-Delgados singer, Pollock. King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Fri 19 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Tronic Quality, local weirdo electro with Frog Pocket and Plum (both Benbecula), plus VJ and DJ sets from team Tronic. Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Sat 20 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Limbo Another sterling bill: Withered Hand, Pictish Trail, John Egdell and Enfant Bastard ensure it’s 8 quid well spent. Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, Sat 20 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ New Young Pony Club, Is Tropical and Teeth Not so new ravey these days, NYPC (featuring occasional Bat For Lashes drummer, Sarah Jones) sound moodier and darker, with no neon in sight. King Tut’s, Glasgow, Fri 23 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Patti Smith Corinne Bailey Rae just finished this artist/ rockers memoirs (see First Word, page 2). The godmother of punk and Robert Mapplethorpe’s muse comes to town. Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sat 24 Mar. (Rock & Pop) ✽✽ Jerry Dammers’ Spatial AKA Orchestra What Jerry did next. After leaving The Specials, the ska frontman went leftfield, with the help of his 19-piece jazz orchestra. Usher Hall, Edinburgh, Wed 31 Mar. (Rock & Pop)
Sound of silver
Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra has the spirit of punk, backbone of politics and history of folk to keep things interesting, as Stewart Smith discovers
I nitially conceived as a side-project to Canadian post-rock heroes Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Silver Mount Zion has blossomed into a great band in its own right, evolving from a purely instrumental concern into an expansive rock group characterised by chamber strings and group singing. Their new album, Kollaps Tradixionales, is perhaps their most powerful statement to date, combining old American and Eastern European folk elements with ragged rock and elegiac string arrangements. The title may allude to the global economic situation, but guitarist and main songwriter Efrim Menuck has always been keen to play down the idea of Silver Mount Zion as a political band.
‘We say this all the time, but politics are for the politicians and we have no interest in that. We’re not mandating for certain types of legislation, nor are we demanding that everybody organise themselves in communes, we’re just looking at the world we’re living in and trying to map our place in it. We have the feeling there are people like us all over the world, an unrepresented community of folks trying to do stuff who don’t often have a platform to speak to one another. We really feel like we’re part of a global community.’
That community is addressed in the new album’s centrepiece ‘Thee Olde Dirty Flag’. ‘The old dirty flag is this thing that we all rally behind, this pathetic little papier maché flag. I’m not being negative, we like that idea,’ explains Menuck. Their ethics may be punk DIY, but Silver Mount Zion share certain affinities with the avant-garde free
62 THE LIST 18 Mar–1 Apr 2010
jazz of Albert Ayler and Charlie Haden’s jazz ensemble, Liberation Music Orchestra.
‘That first Liberation Music album, I think everybody in the band would agree it’s one of many records that are a big deal for us. We’re interested in tracing old folk songs through jazz, blues and a lot of rock and classical music as well. We like the idea that certain melodies, certain scales, certain musical ideas replicate themselves through different genres of music at different points in history. We don’t operate under the mistaken assumption that what we’re bringing to the table is unique or new or special, we don’t see ourselves like that at all. The way we make music is really grounded in a history of musicianship that has been going on forever. We’re just a link in that chain.’ Menuck pauses for a moment, laughs, then adds, ‘Maybe that sounds more pompous than it is. But it’s a humble idea.’ Silver Mount Zion’s name has been modified with each line-up, and the departure of three members in 2008 was, Menuck admits, difficult to adapt to. ‘We did one really long Eastern European tour last year with this new quintet line-up and getting ready for that was definitely difficult – feeling the absence of a second guitar mostly, and some of the singing parts. I think now though we’re feeling pretty stoked and comfortable with the way it’s sounding. We’re much louder live than we are on record and we’re a lot more sloppy. At the end of the day we’re a rock band and we’re most comfortable on stage.’
Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, Fri 19 Mar.