SUPER FURRY SOLO PROJECT GRUFF RHYS Glasgow School of Art, Wed 23 Nov
‘I don’t keep diaries,’ says Gruff Rhys, on the phone from his home in Cardiff, ‘but I’ve kept every bottle of free shampoo I’ve been given (in hotels) since I started to tour 15 years ago. I always wanted to build my own hotel out of all that free stuff.’ This minor obsession, it turns out, has been the inspiration for the sometime Super Furry Animals singer’s new solo album, due out in February next year. ‘I’ve been going through these items,’
he says, ‘and they’ve triggered off various memories of times and locations. So the album’s either going to be called Hotel Shampoo or Hotel Conditioner, although “conditioner” sounds pretentious and “shampoo” contains the word “poo”. I prefer “shampoo”, I think. We’ll see.’ [Just as we went to press, The List heard that he went for Hotel Shampoo in the end.] It will also, says Rhys, be a collection of autobiographical piano ballads; a stark departure from the SFA-style indie-pop of his last solo album, 2007’s Candylion, or retro electronica of 2008’s Stainless Style, his Mercury-nominated collaboration with Boom Bip as Neon Neon.
Maybe this is in keeping with his recent lifestyle, though. Rhys has been trying not to work too hard, instead focusing on family life and promoting his ‘concert tour of South America film, based on a true story’, Seperado! So what’s happened to his most famous band, recently described as on hiatus? ‘Oh, we’re still together,’ he says, ‘although everyone’s off doing their own thing just now. We’re thinking about our tenth album, but we’ll probably want to make a film for every song, so that’ll be a big job. It’ll be ready when it’s ready, I imagine.’ (David Pollock)
COUNTRY/POWER-POP JENNY AND JOHNNY Oran Mor, Glasgow, Sat 27 Nov; Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh, Tue 30 Nov
‘Jenny and Johnny just looks good on a T-shirt,’ drawls Johnathan Rice in his lazy transatlantic way down the phone from the Laurel Canyon home, which the Scots- American singer-songwriter shares with his romantic and musical partner Jenny Lewis, the former child actress and frontwoman for LA indie rock darlings Rilo Kiley. He rather captures the no-nonsense essence of this matter-of-factly-monikered duo. The pair have played together frequently since meeting in 2005, and Rice contributed heavily to Lewis’s 2008 solo album Acid Tongue. But their Mike Mogis-produced debut LP I’m Having Fun Now – a breezy, uncomplicated mix of West Coast power-pop and warm Nashville harmonies – represents the first
time Jenny and Johnny have shared equal billing.
They’re still very much in the honeymoon period of their collaboration by the sound of things. ‘We really are having fun,’ he says. ‘We get to travel all over the world; the wine is for the most part free. We get to play every night. At the moment we’re just at the stage where we truly enjoy it.’ Rice was born and largely raised in Virginia, but his
parents are both Scottish and he spent part of his childhood in Bishopbriggs. Glasgow represents something of a home-from-home for him and Lewis, and a favourite touring destination, where audiences – unlike in LA, Rice stresses – are never ‘too cool for school’. A staunch Celtic fan, he uses a sporting non- sequitur worthy of a pro pundit to reinforce his point. ‘It’s like when you go to see the LA Lakers play basketball,’ Rice muses, ‘the crowd isn’t singing for the entire 90 minutes’. (Malcolm Jack)
ELECTRONICA CARIBOU, WITH FOUR TET, JAMES HOLDEN, NATHAN FAKE AND ROCKETNUMBERNINE O2 ABC, Glasgow, Sun 21 Nov
Sonic and mathematical sage Dan Snaith is busy browsing a Slow Food market in Italy. ‘It’s great – I’m in Torino!’ he beams, while The List languishes in the Central Belt rain. ‘We had an awesome gig last night. Now we’re eating bourgeois commodities.’ Snaith – aka electronic diviner Caribou, formerly
known as Manitoba – is a London-based Canadian dancefloor fetishist with a Polaris Prize (Canada’s Mercury, for 2008’s Andorra) under his belt, and a sideline in academia. (Unfortunately, space restrictions mean we cannot summarise his PhD thesis, Overconvergent Siegel Modular Symbols). His ecstatic recent album, Swim, meanwhile, has
62 THE LIST 18 Nov–2 Dec 2010
just been revived with a raft of remixes from the likes of Fuck Buttons, Gold Panda and Ikonika.
Snaith is heading to Glasgow with an electronic cavalcade that includes his aural and earthly neighbour, Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet (‘we live round the corner from each other’), James Holden and Nathan Fake. ‘I’m so excited about this tour!’ he enthuses. ‘It feels like something really special.’ Although Snaith records at home alone, Caribou live is a full-on four-piece band. ‘The thing that I’m most adamant about is having a live show that’s genuine, spontaneous and interactive,’ he insists.
Indeed, The List recalls a Manitoba show in 2003, wherein Snaith and co thrilled the Tron Theatre’s Victoria Bar, bedecked in animal heads. ‘Was that for the Triptych festival? That was one of the first gigs we ever did – it was fucking madness!’ he laughs. ‘Unfortunately, our faces melted. So we’ve abandoned the masks’. (Nicola Meighan)