NINA NASTASIA Who: The Hollywood born, now New York based singer- songwriter.
What: She’s known for her sparse, cobweb-fine vocals and bruised, often world-weary lyrics. John Peel first drew her to a lot of people’s attention when he fell in love with her 2000 album Dogs and brought her in to play on his show six times. Where: Her upcoming album, Outlaster (see our review in the next issue) was recorded in Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Nastasia has worked with the prolific ‘studio engineer’ (Albini hates the word ‘producer’, among plenty other things) and member of Shellac on all her albums so far, and loves the way they gel together. ‘He’s good at telling me his opinion about what will work well, and I always like hanging out with him.’
Why: Nastasia’s new material sees her delicate, often uncomfortably heart-on-sleeve singing teamed up with a small orchestra this time, for a more lush sound, layered up with strings, horns and soaring melodies. Powerful stuff.
But fans of the storytelling style on previous albums like Dogs and On Leaving, will find more vignettes to savour, with songs about living alone, and a dangerous love triangle. ‘Singing lets me express myself,’ she says. ‘Maybe it’s because I’ve had a lot of time to think about it before. I sing about things I wouldn’t normally talk about, even to people I know well.’ ■ Nina Nastasia plays Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow, Thu 27 May. Outlaster is released on Jun 7. See page ?? for details of how to win tickets and artwork.
62 THE LIST 13–27 May 2010
DREAM-POP A SUNNY DAY IN GLASGOW Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow, Sat May 15
Belt summers. Does our country hold a fascination for Daniels? ‘I love Scotland,’ he nods. ‘Kelvingrove Park is one of
‘I’m a big believer in psychogeography,’ claims dream- pop journeyman Ben Daniels of A Sunny Day in Glasgow. ‘I think place informs our thoughts more than any of us are aware.’ my favourite places in the world. When I lived in Glasgow I always wanted to build a raft and navigate the River Kelvin but I never got around to it. Maybe someday. . .’
Daniels is well-qualified to speculate. He’s stayed in Did he ever visit Grangemouth, home of the Cocteau
Philadelphia, London, Scotland and Montreal (amongst others) and currently lives in Sydney. He started the band in 2006, but its cast has been similarly perambulant: many members have come and gone, including his own twin sisters on vocals. Now settled as a six-piece, and loosely based in Philadelphia, its roll call features Daniels (guitars, songwriting), Adam Herndon (drums), Annie Fredrickson (vocals, cello, keyboards), Jen Goma (vocals), Josh Meakim (guitar, keyboards, vocals), and Ryan Newmyer (bass). ‘It’s the best line-up ever,’ he smiles.
Once tagged ‘The Fleetwood Mac of New Weird America’ (an accolade to which they responded with an epic acoustic rendition of ‘Everywhere’), ASDIG’s balmy rock alchemy conjures – of course – precious Central
Twins – a band whose hazy lyricism and amorphous vocals are recalled in his quixotic pop? ‘Oh wow, I didn’t know that’s where they came from! The Cocteaus are one of my favourite bands, so if people compare us to them, I’m very flattered.’ They cite peanut butter and riding bikes as further influences, and . . . is it true they conspired to steal a mule? ‘Haha, I forgot about that,’ he laughs. ‘Yeah, every weekend when we were driving out to record [their thrilling 2009 album] Ashes Grammar, we’d pass this horse farm. There was always this tiny pony in the pasture, it was so cute. We named it Pancakes. We talked about kidnapping it all the time.’
Should we fear for the welfare of our equines? ‘Scotland’s ponies are safe.’ (Nicola Meighan)
VIRTUOSO GUITAR KEPT IMPULSES: JAMES BLACKSHAW, NANCY ELIZABETH & HAUSCHKA Roxy Art House, Edinburgh, Sun 16 May
Self-taught 12-string acoustic guitar virtuoso, James Blackshaw weaves together the minimalism of Philip Glass and sparse ‘American Primitive’ styles first played by John Fahey and Robbie Basho in the 50s. Bar the occasional tamboura or violin, his early albums were solo guitar affairs. Blackshaw has since branched out by adding piano and orchestration. 2009’s The Glass Bead Game, his first for Young God Records, featured strings, woodwind and Trembling Bells’ Lavinia Blackwell’s vocals, and while it was interesting to see Blackshaw experimenting with his sound, it was the solo guitar pieces, in all their austere beauty, which stood out. Intriguingly, his next LP, All Is Falling, due in August, sees Blackshaw
switch to electric 12-string. ‘It’s not my rock record,’ he points out. Blackshaw is now embarking on this collaborative tour with Wigan singer- songwriter Nancy Elizabeth and German piano experimentalist Hauschka. ‘There is some common ground in our music. The way [Nancy] plays is very unique; a lot of influences from classical music, folk and minimalism. Hauschka is a fellow called Volker Bertelmann from Dusseldorf. He plays prepared piano. He’s got bottle caps, bits of rubber, things like that. His music is contemporary classical. It’s lovely’. (Stewart Smith)